More Mending


Mending is to sewing like using leftovers is to baking.

Most people can bake or create a meal by following a recipe but often you need to have a good understanding of the underlying principles of cooking and meal preparation to be able to creatively and effectively use leftovers or random ingredients.  The same applies to sewing.  It is one thing to follow the instructions on a pattern to make an item but sometimes you need to use your understanding of some of the methods to apply it to mending tasks.

Today I was confronted with a pair of The Duke’s business trousers that had worn through right on the crease of the hem.  I do not know how this happened as the trousers are the correct length and do not drag on the ground.  It is difficult to see but the area just to the right of my thumb is a split.  It is more obvious in the following photograph.

Worn trousers
I unpicked a section of the hem.

Split in trouser hem
The damage is clearly evident.  I trimmed the couple of loose threads.  I placed a piece of iron-on interfacing over the split on the wrong side.  I made sure that the two edges of the split were closely aligned and then ironed the interfacing to seal it.  With the sewing machine set on a short zigzag stitch, I stitched over the split.

This is the wrong side after I had stitched it.

Mended trousers
Then it was a simple matter of rehemming the section of the hem which had been unpicked.  I have not posted the ‘after’ photo as the mend is virtually invisible.

Do you mend clothes?  If you have any mending questions please ask and I will see if I can help.


Making Way


As many of you would be aware, I have been streamlining my wardrobe for nearly 12 months.  My goal is to have a modest selection of good quality clothes that I love and are flattering to wear.

The Duke generally keeps his selection of shirts under control but after our  shopping spree in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago it became obvious that he had too many pairs of trousers that he rarely wore.  So, this evening we went through them and culled 3 pairs of trousers as well as the suit he had replaced.  I have also put 3 skirts into the op shop bag.  I am planning on refashioning 2 other skirts but the these do not fit with the clothes I need and love.  All of the items we are letting go of are good quality and in excellent condition so I hope someone can use them.

2013-02-18 01In the back of my mind I keep thinking of the money that we have spent on these (and clothes) over the years but I know that I cannot use that as a reason to hang onto them for ever.  That is no way to recoup the money spent. However, it is a timely reminder to be very thoughtful about what you spend you money on, whether it be clothes or something else entirely.

It is far better to someone else the opportunity to gain some use from the items that are no longer wanted or required.

Finally, a warm welcome to all of the new readers and followers.  I hope you find something of interest in my blog and thank you for joining in.

Project Streamline – Trousers


It is now the middle of May and halfway through the 3 month period of my participation in Project 333.

I flouted the ‘rules’ on Saturday and wore a plain red knit top, white ¾ trousers and red/white striped overshirt.  None of these were on my original list.  The weather was unseasonably warm and all of these items are on my ‘big picture’ list.

Let me explain.  Ever since I started the challenge of wearing only 33 items for a period of 3 months, I have been mentally working on creating a master list.  This means I will not look at my wardrobe in terms of the next 3 months but rather the whole year encompassing all 4 seasons.  I am identifying what works and what doesn’t and rather than have a major cull it will be a matter of removing things as they wear out and replacing only if required.

The first part of the journey is to catalogue what I really have instead of simply saying that I don’t have many clothes.  Each week I will photograph and discuss one type of article of clothing.  Today is trousers so you can judge for yourself.


This category includes everything from trousers to wear to work to trackpants that I do not wear outside the boundaries of our property.

2012-05-14 01Charcoal grey work trousers
PROS – colour, weight, style
CONS – too big in the waist, slightly too long, only one pair, about 7 years old
DECISION – wear for the rest of the winter  then send to op shop.  Replace with 2 pairs of well-fitting trousers.

2012-05-14 02Black ¾ trousers
PROS – good fit, nice fabric, suit work and casual wear
CONS – nil
DECISION – keep wearing until they wear out, consider something similar as a replacement

2012-05-14 03Jeans No 1
PROS – perfect fit, op shop jean which I bought and altered to fit
CONS – nil
DECISION – keep wearing them

2012-05-14 04Jeans No 2
PROS – good fit, well-worn
CONS – getting threadbare in places
DECISION – keep wearing till the end of winter, send to op shop, look for another pair to replace them

2012-05-14 05Black Cotton casual 3/4 trousers
PROS – good fit, basic colour
CONS – a few years old, won’t last forever
DECISION – keep them continue to wear

I also have an identical white pair (the ones I wore on Saturday).  Same as above.

2012-05-14 06Striped 3/4 cotton trousers
PROS – there are 7 nice matching buttons that I can salvage
CONS – 6 years old, a bit faded, the top I always wore with them has gone to the op shop, not really my colour, a bit tight
DECISION – remove buttons, send to the op shop

2012-05-14 07Navy 3/4 trousers
PROS – go with most tops I have
CONS – starting to fade a bit, am a bit over navy
DECISION – they get a reprieve at least until next summer.  Op shop if I find that I am not wearing them

2012-05-14 08Navy trackpants x 2
PROS – comfortable
CONS – unflattering
DECISION – keep wearing them at home

2012-05-14 09Grey drawstring pants
PROS – comfortable
CONS – unflattering
DECISION – keep wearing them at home

2012-05-14 10Cotton 3/4 pants x 3
PROS – comfortable, suitable for home and local activities
CONS – not my colours, starting to wear out
DECISION – keep wearing them at home

2012-05-14 11Sage green lightweight jeans
PROS – good condition, bought from op shop
CONS – not my colour, don’t wear them them much
DECISION – back to the op shop

2012-05-14 12Charcoal travel pants
PROS – comfortable, zip-off legs, love them
CONS – nil
DECISION – keep wearing them and buy another identical pair before we go overseas later in the year.

2012-05-14 13Beige travel pants
PROS – zip-off legs
CONS – not super comfortable, dry more quickly than the other style
DECISION – keep until we go overseas then decide their fate

This has been a cathartic exercise and if you are trying to minimise your wardrobe I would strongly suggest trying to convince someone else either verbally or in writing why you should keep certain items.  It has also been useful to do all of one type of garment together and then you can see just how many you really have and the range of occasions that they cover.

Watch out for more posts on the same theme each Monday for several weeks.  Categories will include skirts, dresses (that will be short as I only own 1 dress), shorts, cardigans and so on.

Now that I have laid bare the inner secrets of the best and worst of my trousers please feel free to comment – the number, quality etc as well as my thoughts and decisions.

Take One Pair of Trousers


I have a pair of ¾ length lightweight travel pants that I bought about 8 or 9 years ago.  I have been wearing them for some time with a patch just below one knee, however, the fabric around the patch has given way, too.  I love these trousers as they are really comfortable and have several deep pockets.

I decided to salvage what I could from them.  The latest buzzword seems to ‘upcycling’ but you could call it ‘refashioning’, ‘making do’ or just plain ‘thrift’.  I cut the lower legs off and was left with a pair of knee-length shorts which just needed hemming.  Since they are an existing garment I know that the fit and function of them will be perfect.

002The bottom of the legs had drawstrings so I removed them and they will be used for the drawstrings in two of the Christmas gift bags I am making as they match the material rather well.

003There were a couple of button tabs on the lower legs so I removed the buttons to add to my collection.

008All I had left was the lower leg pieces.

005So I cut them into strips to use for tying up plants in the garden.

006Here are my ‘new’ shorts and nothing else has been wasted.  I hope to get a few more years wear from them.

007I would love to hear your thrifty/upcycling stories.