Category Archives: Mend it Monday

How a Lion Went From a Purse to a Stuffed Animal

Perhaps I’m hoping to instill a little bit of the Post-Depression sense of MEND EVERYTHING into the children I know, as I got my “little sister” from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in on Mend it Monday.

Together we did some stuffed animal mending. She calls them “stuffys” (or perhaps “stuffies”), but what we  had were two very different cases. There was a dog with a rip across the paw — she was able to sew that up using a simple ladder stitch. Then there was the lion reconstructive surgery:

Ripped Lion in need of Stuffed Animal Mending

Ripped lion in need of stuffed animal mending

Quite the dilemma for this poor guy. Her dog had ripped off the head, which may have been when the zipper broke. We thought about unstitching the zipper and replacing it with Velcro, but instead, we stuffed it with polyester fiber-fil and sewed it shut. She wasn’t that interested in using it as a purse.

Impressively, she did almost all the stitching herself! He does have a slight, quizzical turn to his head now, but it really just adds character. I did the first couple stitches of each part to show her how to do the ladder stitch, but she even ripped all the stitches to get the zipper out properly. She learns fast!

After all that reconstructive stuffed animal mending, he looks pretty good. You can hardly see the scars stitches:

Lion after stuffed animal mending

Lion after stuffed animal mending

She decided after we were done that his name was Simba. A good choice, since it means “lion” in Swahili.

I also did a little mending on my own clothes as she did that. I replaced missing buttons on my husband’s coat and shirt, and I also patched up a small hole in one of my undershirts:

Undershirt patch on stretchy fabric

Undershirt patch on stretchy fabric

My hand-stitches aren’t quite up to snuff when it comes to patches, so I used my sewing machine. I switched the needle to accommodate for the fabric type and was careful not to catch the underside of the sleeve. I actually didn’t have any problems, and now I get a little more use out of this blouse.

I didn’t intend it to be a business/professional undershirt, so I went with the same bright fabric to make the patch that I used for the DIY Kindle cover and the One-Yard Wonder car trash bag. I love the colors and design, though being on my elbow it may be hard to show off without using some odd gestures.

As far as Big Brothers Big Sisters crafts go, mending is a solid skill to show and teach.

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Mending Clothes With a Little Heart (or Two)

What makes a blue and yellow streaked stain anyway?

I was helping a friend patch up some of his wardrobe this weekend and realized I had a whole pile of clothes awaiting the same treatment. Inspired to finally complete what needed to be done, I took to needle and thread to fix up two blouses and a turtleneck sweater with easy-to-mend seam rips.

My final task was not as easy. I had this white, wide necked blouse that I really liked, but it somehow got these light blue and yellow stains on the front. I’m not sure what they were from — perhaps something bled on it in the wash? — but I had been meaning to cover the stains up via bleach, dye or magic for at least two years.

That’s right. I put off a mending project that took me 30 minutes for more than two years.

Crafter’s procrastination continues to astound me.

When I finally set down to do it, I decided immediately that I wanted patches done in a colorful but somewhat slapdash fashion. So I used a few of the fabrics left over from my topsy turvy doll project and traced a heart shape using a water soluble pen. I cut one and intended to have it appear as if it were streaking across my shirt, since the stains were on both the left and right of the front. However, I didn’t have enough fabric to pull it off, so I settled for a heart on either side.

I then got to use one of the special stitches on my Kenmore sewing machine to create a vine of clovers all the way around each heart in red. The edges are rough and I’m curious to see how it turns out after its first wash. If it sucks, I haven’t worn this shirt in a long time anyway.

Just because, I also cut off all the boring white buttons and replaced them with slightly larger yellow buttons pulled from the depths of my grandmother’s sewing desk. While these only barely made it through the button holes, they are really only for decoration anyway, so no matter.

After finalizing the project, I accidentally created a small rip in the front of the shirt. Sigh. At least I was in a repairing mood, eh?

Heart patches in ACTION!

Another stained blouse rescued with homemade goodness.

Mend it Monday — Darn socks!

Three Darned Socks

Holey socks have become usable darned socks.

One of the burdens of being one who wields needle and thread is I am also the designated clothing repair expert of the house. After I left home and went to college, my mother would still patch something up if I couldn’t, but now I live about four hours away. Much too far for a ripped stitch.

So began my most recent quest to repair a pair of pants and three pairs of socks for my sometimes-celebrated Mend it Monday. The pants were easy, as they were just a ripped stitch.

For those who are uninitiated, when you repair a sock, it is called darning. I previously bought a wooden darning egg from Arcata’s Fabric Temptations and I always have tapestry/yarn needles around; all that was left was for me to do was to learn how to darn socks. I had never done so before but I was feeling impatient, so I just glanced at a few diagrams and had at it.

Here’s the breakdown of my slapdash way to mend a holey sock (based loosely on the tutorial at the  ZigZag Stitch blog):

  1. Insert wooden darning egg into sock. Stretch the hole over the top of the egg.
  2. Thread yarn or thread onto tapestry needle (or any kind of blunt tipped needle). I used yarn that was split in half because I felt it would last longer, even those these socks aren’t yarn-based. Also, I had matching yarn colors for all three socks.
  3. Insert needle about a quarter-inch or half-inch away from the edge of the hole. Pull through then insert the needle on the other edge of the hole, putting the same distance between where you insert the needle and the hole’s edge.

    In the midst of darning

    Completing the first set of stitches across.

  4. Repeat across. When you’ve finished, run another line of stitches across that are perpendicular to the first set. Weave through the previously laid stitches as you go across.
  5. Weave in or cut loose ends.
Although this may not be the official way to darn a pair of store-bought socks, they fit well and give my three pairs of socks a little longer to live.
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