Sewing is not my greatest talent. Thanks to my mother, who is an accomplished seamstress, and my eighth grade home economics teacher, I can manage the basics: reattaching a button, mending a loose seam, fixing a small hole, and hemming pants. In the past I have made curtains for our house, but that only involved straight sewing.
This winter, my husband and I have been doing some sorting and getting rid of items we no long need or want. The other day when he went through his clothes, he decided to get rid of four pairs of work jeans that all had holes at the knee. He remarked that he wished they could be fixed because the rest of the pants were still wearable. In my mind, I thought patching them seemed pretty easy. I cut patches from the back of the legs of one of the pairs and pinned them to cover the holey knees of the other three pair of pants. Then I began to wonder how I was going to sew them on the machine. It would be easy if the pants were not sewn down the sides, but I really did not want to take the time to rip out the side seams and then resew them. The first pair was the hardest: sew a little, then turn it a bit, make sure I was not sewing through the back of the leg, and repeat all of these actions over and over. Then partway through, the bobbin ran out of thread.
That is the way sewing usually goes for me; but when I was done, I felt successful in redeeming something that was destined for the garbage. So the next day, I patched the other two pairs of paints, and it went a lot easier. When I was almost done, I did manage to sew part of the front to the back, but I caught it before I had too many stitches to rip out and redo.
I guess my husband had some confidence in me, because he also asked me to attach pockets to the ripped ones on his work jacket. He bought the jacket soon after our daughter was born, so he has got about twelve years of wear out of it. Maybe he will get twelve more years out of it with new pockets and the holes in the sleeves mended!
Aside from the satisfaction of repairing items, there was another benefit. I had been wanting to teach our daughter some sewing basics, but it had not happened. With me sewing quite a bit over the weekend, she came in to the room and was watching. When she picked up a scrap of the denim, I thought, “Now’s the time!” So she learned how to thread a needle, make stitches, sew on a line, and attach two- and four-hole buttons. I think she did quite well for her first effort.