Saturday, June 13, 2009

On Darning and Mending

Back in the day when we were farming and making a whopping $2-3,000 a year making do was very important. One way I stretched our dollars was by darning dh's socks. Now good work socks, wool socks, can easily cost 3-8-12 dollars a pair depending on the thickness and quality. Dh kept wearing them out in the same place on every pair and I found after they were darned that they lasted FOREVER because they had been reinforced by the darning wool in just the right spots.

Repairing the knees in jeans so they could be wore on the farm was another, then there was the basic hand mending of little rips, tears, and loose hems too.

I'll give you a hint about mending jeans... use one pair that has really lost it to be cut up for patches. If you look at jeans you will see that the inner seam is just a regular stitch, pick that seam open, open the jean leg flat, put the patch on with a sewing machine, then restitch the inner seam. Makes it a whole lot easier!!!

Now that we are powering down the same making do is coming back to me. It's time to set up my mending and darning basket. I was looking for a basket with a lid that I could put on my end table in the living room that wouldn't be an eyesore and that I could store my basic hand sewing supplies in. I found one at a garage sale for $2, it was quite an eyesore when I found it with lots of bright wool stitching and horrid raffia flowers on it. A couple minutes with a pair of scissors revealed the nice plain basket underneath. It now sits on my end table looking just fine. I've put a variety of different threads, needles, small scissors, as well as thin grey, white, and black yarns for darning. An African market basket was then pulled out of the closet and tucked behind my library basket beside the end table for items that need repairing. I'm all set up!

It is amazing how much you can do if you make a point of darning or mending one item a night after the chores are done before you pick up a book or turn on the internet :o)

Tonight I repaired my 11yo dd's favourite skirt. She bought it at the second hand store herself and last Sunday she caught it on a nail and tore a little rip in it. It is a lovely handmade skirt with beautiful hand embroidery around the hem, it would have been a shame to let the tear ruin such lovely item. A little iron-on interfacing and some stitching put things to rights. She can go back to wearing it nearly daily, at least til she out-grows it!

Some resources:

Darning socks video and tutorial.

Fancy darning for hand knit items using a duplicate stitch can be found here.

A quick article and video on mending, here and here.

It is time to buy some basic sewing supplies and a good book about sewing. It is time to learn how to hand sew. Also teach it to your children. They need to know.

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