Darning – My Version

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I have been unwell for a few days so blogging has not been high on the agenda but I am back now.

Tonight I have a quick post to show you how I mended a small hole in the sleeve on my woollen cardigan.

I noticed the hole a couple of weeks ago when I was about to lightly press the cardigan so I put it aside to mend and finally got around to doing it today.

Darning seems to be a dying skill and my method is far from the traditional method but I find it quite effective.  The basic premise is to replicate a weave by running a series of tiny stitches parallel to each other in one direction and then another series perpendicular to the first.  It is generally done in a fine matching wool on knitwear.

Today I used 4 strands of regular sewing thread in a matching colour to darn a small hole in the sleeve of my cardigan.  I do not have a ‘before’ photo but the ‘after’ one shows the result.  It is not perfect but I am happy that the cardigan is still wearable.


A New Bag


I promised I would share some of the things I spent my time on during my Christmas/NewYear break from work.


This is a bag which had definitely seen better days. It is over 20 years old and the handles were worn out.  I had cut the handles off before I took the photo but you can see that they really needed replacing.

My daughter arrived a couple of days before Christmas and had used a couple of large paper carry bags from boutiques to pack some of her Christmas gifts.  One bag had split and could no longer be used so I cut the heavy ribbon carry handles off it.  They were just the right length to use to replace the handles on my bag.


I wonder if it will last for another 20 years?

Luxury of a Long Weekend

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Thank you for your kind words after my last post and patience while I collect my thoughts.

This morning I woke and lay in bed contemplating the unusual situation of 3 days at home (it is a long weekend here in Queensland) and no commitments.  That is right – nothing, nobody, nowhere.  We had no plans.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love catching up with family and friends, entertaining and going places but it is such a novelty not to have anything planned.

The weather is cool and humid with showers of rain threatening.

GMan and I began by taking the outdoor table downstairs to clean it in preparation for painting.  Next, we have cleaned all of the concreted area under the house – swept, vacuumed and cleaned with the high-pressure water spray.

After using the outdoor vacuum cleaner GMan discovered that the filter bag was falling to bits.

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I decided that I could make a new one which appears to have been a success.

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Here it is attached to the lid of the vacuum cleaner.

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There are lots of other things we can work on and there will be more about those in upcoming posts.

I hope you are having a safe and relaxing weekend wherever you are.

The Importance of Ironing


I know many of you will not read this post and others will shake their heads in disbelief at the title but please bear with me.

Ironing is an aspect of homemaking that seems to be almost universally hated but there is a valuable aspect to the task.  I have mentioned before about the importance of taking care of what you own to get the maximum use from it and thus reduce the overall carbon footprint of any item.  This applies to clothes and keeping your clothes in good repair makes good economic and environmental sense.

Taking the time to check each garment while you are ironing can identify problems before they become too extensive to repair.  My previous post about my black linen top highlights this point.  I noticed they fraying at the hem and have repaired this by using a wide satin stitch (zig zag) along the edge that had frayed.  I have checked the remainder of the hem edge and cannot see any signs of similar problems, however, I will keep a close eye on it in the future.

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The mend is not invisible but reasonably well-disguised so I am happy to continue to wear this top.

Today when I was ironing I discovered 2 other issues.  The first was one of GMan’s business shirts.  There was a small yellow stain on the back near the armhole and I have no idea of the origin.  It is about the size of a 20c piece and not terribly noticeable as it is a dark checked shirt.  However, I have soaked the shirt in the hope that the stain will come out.

The other discovery was another minor mending job.  I have a pair of white trousers with a centre back zip and a few stitches of the seam had broken just below the zip.  This is not a huge issue at the moment but could be if I wore them and split the seam further.  I repaired the seam and they are as good as new.  This is a classic example of the saying “A stitch in time saves nine”.  It could also save me from a potentially embarrassing and costly situation if I had to rush out and make an emergency purchase.

Obviously, I do not iron everything but hanging out washing or folding clothes I also take time to make sure they are in good order and ready to be worn.


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I was doing the ironing today and one of the items I ironed was a black linen top that I bought in Melbourne when we were on holidays in December.

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I noticed that there seemed to be a small segment of frayed fabric on the bottom edge.  On closer inspection I discovered that that bottom has a facing rather than a turned hem and the fabric had been trimmed too close to the stitching leaving next to no seam allowance.

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Thanks to my spreadsheet tracking what I wear, I know that I have worn it 4 times.  This is not a $5 top and I am really disappointed that this has happened.

I could toss it in the bag to go to the op shop but I have decided to take responsibility and mend it.

My first thought was to align the edges and zig zag it together using a fairly short stitch.  This would be far from invisible but fairly effective.  The section in question is on the bottom edge at the back of the garment.  Alternatively, I could unpick the topstitching to access the section from the inside and restitch it.  My concern with this approach is that it could create a noticeable dip in the edge.

How would you approach this mending task?



Taking Responsibility

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I stumbled upon this article online today.  It is about a study showing the correlation between age, gender, race and political ideology to belief in the reality of climate change and the impact caused by humans.  The content did not surprise me greatly, however, I was bitterly disappointed by the following couple of paragraphs towards the end of the article.

“But accepting climate change did not necessarily make you greener, at least in your home life, the study also found.

While those who accept human’s role in climate changes were more likely to take more public action, such as signing petitions or joining demonstrations, that was not necessarily replicated in private action, such as cutting energy use at home and using public transport over the car.”

I find this very sad indeed and downright depressing.  It is yet another example of the overwhelming apathy which so many people display.  Everybody wants ‘something to be done’ but expect that it is the responsibility of someone else, usually the government, the mythical ‘they’ or in the case of climate change, the global community or, at the very least, another country.

Australia may be a small player in the global sandpit in terms of population but we create far more than our share of mess when it comes to environmental vandalism.  Yet, our governments consistently drag the chain when it comes to making real changes that will tackle climate change and benefit the planet.  Sadly, government policy by all parties seems to be limited to the interval between the present time and the next election.  This is not limited to addressing climate change but policy in general.

In the absence of clear government action, the driver of change must come from each and every one of us.  Remember the saying, “mighty oaks from little acorns grow”.  We can and should all play our part in changing everyday habits.  Addressing the problem of climate change is not just about legislation, coal mines and power stations.  It is about each one of us doing our bit.

Can’t afford solar panels?  Live too far from public transport?  Organic food is too expensive?  This does not mean that you cannot make a significant contribution by reducing your carbon footprint.  In fact, many of the actions you can take to save money will also save the planet.

Buy second-hand – clothes, furniture, tools, toys
Do not waste anything – use up leftover food, finish the last shampoo in the bottle
Consider re-usable alternatives – cloth serviettes instead of paper, lidded containers instead of plastic wrap, refillable drink bottles instead of bottled water

These are just a few examples.

What have you done to reduce your carbon footprint?

Running Repairs

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Both GMan and I have have some really old clothes which we wear when we are gardening or doing other outdoor jobs.

Last weekend we were busy building a new hen house and we both managed to cause some damage which necessitated some mending.  After the clothes were washed today I set about repairing them.

Here are the ‘before’ shots.

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I ripped a 3 cornered tear in the back of my cotton trousers.  They are very thin and some would say they are not worth repairing.

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Gman’s patched trousers had a different problem – the stitching of the crotch seam below the zip gave way.  I think the thread had just worn out.

Here is a close-up view.

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I started with my trousers and placed a patch on the inside using double-sided iron-on interfacing.

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Zig-zag stitching over the tear plus around the edge of the patch and the job was complete.

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This is the view from the right side.

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For the crotch seam I sewed a seam from the wrong side and then 2 rows of stitching from the right side.  Like many of my mending jobs, it won’t win a prize but it is effective and extends the life of the garment.

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Do you mend clothes?


Red, Recycled & Revamped


It is definitely spring-cleaning time and it seems that many of us are taking a long, hard look at what is in the wardrobe.

i 001This is a gorgeous, lightweight trenchcoat that my sister retrieved from her wardrobe recently.  She offered it to me as she admitted that it was really a bit too big for her and she had never felt entirely comfortable with it.  The coat fits me perfectly and being the perfect shade of red made it doubly attractive.

She did point out that the buttons on one sleeve had been damaged with one completely missing and the other one broken in half.

i 002I went to Lincraft in the city today and found some buttons to replace them with.

i 003They are the same size and style as the originals but are plain red rather than a variegated red/black as the others are.  I am going to replace all 4 buttons on the sleeves and while they will be slightly different to the ones on the front opening, I don’t think that is going to matter.

I am looking forward to doing the necessary repairs so that this coat is ready to be a really useful addition to my wardrobe.

This is the sort of positive story that is happening every day when you choose to let go of things that are not quite right and languishing in the cupboard.  There is someone out there for whom it will be perfect.  They may be a family member, an op shopper or someone looking on eBay or even a Facebook Buy, Swap, Sell page.

Old News

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While I have been sorting through the blog photos, I have come across some that I took to use in blog posts that never eventuated.  Maybe it was because something more exciting came up or I simply did not get around to it.

Anyway, here are some that were sitting in a folder just waiting for the story to be written.

2015-03-17 01I noticed these small holes just below the collar on one of The Duke’s polo shirts.  It was where the label was stitched on and it was beginning to tear away as there was only a single layer of fabric and no facing.  2015-03-17 02

I carefully unpicked the label.

2015-03-17 03The next step was to iron a small piece of fusible interfacing to the wrong side.  This helps to reinforce the fabric.

2015-03-17 04I then stitched over the holes using a zigzag stitch.  The thread was a close match and the mend is barely visible.  It is certainly an improvement on the holes that were there.

2015-03-17 05Finally, I trimmed the interfacing back close to the stitching and the repair was complete.

In future, I think I will remove any labels that are on a single layer of fabric when the garment is new to avoid this happening.

Oh, and you may have noticed that ‘The Duke’ still exists.  Thank you for your suggestions and I have have come up with a couple but none of them really captured his imagination so I will ponder a bit more.  It is enough of a challenge to change once but I do not want to find myself in the same position in the future.

Sew My Stash Sunday – 6


The only problem with having a commitment to a weekly series is that the weeks fly by incredibly quickly.  This week has not been completely devoid of progress as I have cut out the mint green linen skirt.

2015-02-15 01Belle was here today and was most impressed with the skirt I had completed.  I showed her the pattern drafting system and some of the pattern choices.  She commented that she wanted some long-sleeved shirts for work but that she finds that the ready-made ones are not long enough to stay tucked in.  We delved into the stash and found a piece of fabric which would be suitable and she has chosen a pattern so that has been added to the list.

2015-02-15 02Meanwhile, I had a couple of bits of mending to do so I completed those jobs and can now get back to the skirt.  I darned a sock for The Duke.  There is nothing fancy about my ‘darning’.  I use a zigzag stitch on the sewing machine  which is not particularly pretty but is effective.

2015-02-15 03Then I patched (yet again) a pair of his trousers.  These are his stylish weekend wear when out in the yard and there are now patches on the patches!

2015-02-15 04This is the inside of one leg with no fewer than 3 patches!  I guess there will come a time when they are more patches than trousers but in the meantime they remain perfectly serviceable.