Day Two Hundred and Four: Sewing Misadventures

Part of the intention behind this blog was embracing a more DIY approach to things whenever I could. Combine that with my ethos as exposed in the last post, and sometimes you get a basket of mending.

I’ll confess here that my husband usually does the fine mending work. The kind of little pinholes and tiny tears that you get in knitted T-shirts and such are entirely his domain. I do heavier knits and anything that needs the sewing machine.

At the beginning of the summer, we bought a light cotton bedspread to replace our winter duvet. One of those woven numbers that your grandmother probably had. The first night it was on the bed, the dog chewed a hole in it. A ragged 1.5″ square hole, almost right in the middle. The patch on this thing could be no little thing, either, because the dog has a touch of OCD. Once he’s chewed something, it becomes irresistible. If one little ragged yarn edge showed, I might as well have not bothered.

Step one: extract patch material from a bottom corner of the spread.
Step two: laboriously hand-sew the patch on, through a thick fabric, while tucking under all the edges. (Bonus points for sewing through another piece of fabric and having to back up several stitches.)
Step three: Hand-overcast the edges.
Step four: Come down to the sewing machine. Re-sew the hem, which I can’t do very well because of my tiny, underpowered sewing machine. This means sewing a tiny hem to keep the edges from raveling then sewing a half-inch hem to match the rest of the blanket. The first time I sewed the second hem without folding the first one under. Add 15 minutes of seam ripping.
Step five: hand-sew the thick edges of the hem, where the machine won’t go. They look a little rough, but the job is done.
Step six: zig-zag stitch over the entire patch, to control the tangle of blanket threads on the back. A lot of these are still intact, so it makes more sense to keep them than to cut them.
Step seven: step back, and admire work. From an appropriate distance, it looks great.
Step eight: realize that my carefully crafted hem is on the opposite side of the blanket from my carefully crafted patch. All my beautiful work will never be visible at the same time. Instead, from one side you’ll see my lovely hem, complete with a sewed-down ragged mass of threads. From the other, you’ll see my really excellent patch, then my awkward hand-sewn, slightly crooked hem.

No wonder Americans don’t do more mending.


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