Growing up I was exposed to the needle arts—with embroidery hoops and such. It was always fun to pass the time by working the thread to see an image come through on the fabric. In my later college years and beyond, I took up counted cross stitch and then quilting (see in progress holiday table runner images right and below). I don’t have any cross stitches I can show you, because I gave the “good” ones away. Ha!
But another by product of plying my embroidery needles—and a few knitting needles and crochet hooks—was that I became the family clothes mender, for very straightforward mends.
Buttons seem to be the first things that go on coats or shirts and such. And I find that to be true even more so these days. Where is the mercerized cotton thread (image below) that is supposed to last forever when you need it?
My father frequently had suit pants inseam rupture issues when I was growing up. I’m not sure why these seams were the weak link in his garments—especially since he didn’t wear his suit pants overly tight, that I could tell. I had to break out the sewing machine for those repairs—to try to give the repaired seams extra strength. Ha!.
Then, of course there were the dresses and skirts—usually of mine, because I’m petite at 5’ 2.5”—that needed/need to be hemmed shorter, which I did by hand. However, after I hit 40, I stopped hand hemming skirts for a while and just went with the longer length look. Or I would yank up the skirt waist to just under my breasts and wear a long blouse over it. Although, I have discovered petites women’s lengths that are just right in skirts, but way too short in dresses. I like my knees covered—long enough so that the knee hi hose I wear suffices, saving my money on pantyhose which always runs.
And there was the occasional actual outfit or decorative item that I made—for choir robes/outfits, baby clothes for my niece and nephew, a fabric doll with hair and corduroy overalls, an altar Easter hanging, and Halloween costumes, etc. I’m strictly amateur when it comes to sewing. A neighbor lady made me a kelly green elf blouse costume (similar fabric image at right) for 6th grade—with no hemming on the sleeves, collars, and bottom hem.
My elf shirt just had shoulder and side hems, the rest of the edges were trimmed with pinking shears (below, looking like a scissor shark). I love pinking shears! I also had a kelly green pointy hat with a green pom pom on the flopped over pointy end.
Ten years later when I was in graduate school, I still fit into that green elf blouse and hat for Halloween—I don’t know how, especially with my older bouffant hair, ha!–and I added a rainbow striped stretchy skirt that I made to complete my Halloween costume in graduate school. But I had the stripes going horizontal—not good for the illusion of slim hips, you know. Ha!
These days, my hubby far exceeds the pants blow out capacity of my father—mostly because he doesn’t tell me about small holes until they become big holes or cataclysmic seam failures. So we take his pants/coats to professional tailors to fix. And when I started losing so much weight, I took some of my favorite dresses to a 4H lady who teaches girls how to sew, to have them resized smaller for me.
My fingers don’t do much needle work these days—though I have many projects I could pick up, and hope to in the future, including quilting that holiday table runner. These days, my fingers dance on the computer keyboard as I blog and write my stories.
However, what prompted my musing about sewing was that I have a pair of favorite loose cotton undies—think cotton shorts or pj bottoms—that has a seam rupture of about a half inch, in an important area. So I’m going to bite the bullet and mend it after I upload this post.
But I also wonder what you would do faced with a mending need? And I wonder if mending something oneself vs having someone mend it for us, is a generational thing (image right of 1800’s seamstress).
I’ll admit to using all of the above mending methods from time to time—sometimes in combination, using glue tape and hand hemming. Hey, whatever works! Ha! Have a great day!