Candle in the Wind

“Good Bye Norma[l] Jean…”

Today was the day of the Jean. Or should I say Jeans. Aaaaand also not the day of the Shirt. Nor Bra come to think of it.


You, my friend, are bespoke…

Eh? Wha..? I hear you all exclaim, your minds boggling at different speeds.

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A mere number no more!

Well the thing is, my mother gave me one of my dad’s shirts and asked me to shorten the sleeves, to make it into a ‘summer’ shirt, for those two days when we have a summer in the Northeast (usually the two days after the schools go back for the new school year). No problem! This proved to be the shortest job in the history of jobs. So much so that I forgot to take a picture. But it also left me with some cloth from the sleeves.

A little before this, a lovely friend of mine had asked me to mend two pairs of her jeans, both worn through in the inner leg, as they so often do (or is that just her and me?), both now with large holes and frayed cotton where there should be denim.

At about the same time one of the wires in one of my bras broke (my dad tried to weld it back together (the wire, not the bra), but after road-testing, the…. errr… ‘strain’ proved too much and the joint failed). Thus I was left with a perfectly good and pretty bra, but which gave only lopsided results in its current format. Time for some cunning recycling.

For the first pair of jeans I used a double thickness of the cotton shirt sleeve, cut a piece to fit over all of the thinning area, then used some variations on green thread colours, and a zigzag stitch to mend the hole.

I began by stitching around the material patch (which was on the inside of the jean leg). I used a neutral, grey/blue colour on the bobbin thread (which becomes the outside, visible thread), so that it blended a bit better, and hopefully the eye would then be drawn to the inner stitching.

Then I chose my three tones of green for the bobbin thread for the inner stitching within the area of the patch. The greens made me think autumnal thoughts so I made a very rough outline of two leaves in the mid-tone, followed by highlighting this in the lighter tone.

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I used a neutral grey to stitch around the square of the patch

In the darkest green tone I stitched at odds to this rather abstract leaf pattern, mainly to make sure I had caught all the pieces of patch and denim necessary to reinforce the mend.

At one point I realised that my needle thread (a bog standard black) had got caught a little and ended up stitching through (my fault as I am still getting used to my new machine, and was also using an old thread which was perhaps to old and or slightly too thick really for the job). I quickly changed my needle thread to a thinner and more recent black and continued my work. I considered unpicking where the black had come through, but decided I rather liked it against the rest of the pattern!!

For the second pair of jeans I already knew what I wanted to do, and sewing the first pair had really been more of a trial-run to see how I managed in general.

This second pair had a really funky sewing detail on the back pockets, in purple, turquoise, green and red, in triple straight stitch.

The old bra mentioned above had a very pretty flower design on the fabric of the cup, which matched the colours of the threads on the pocket detail, so I carefully unpicked the bra seams to maximise the amount of material I had to work with.


The worn threads of denim held the hole together while I stitched

I sorted out four threads which matched the original colours pretty closely. I knew I also had a similar stitch on my machine, although only double straight stitch, but good enough.

To attach the patch, I simply stitched lines up and down around the edges of the patch, zig-zagging back and forth along the length of the new fabric. I deliberately tried to stitch slightly wobbly lines, overlapping the colours carefully, while also trying to make sure I was evenly covering the cloth with stitches.

There was a lot of worn thread from the denim on this pair of jeans, which I sewed over, as the thread kept the hole sitting reasonably well while being mended. However once I had finished and sewn up all my loose ends, I decided the thread got in the way, hiding both the fab colours of stitching and underlying patch so I carefully trimmed away all of the excess fray and thread using both sharp scissors and, at times, a seam ripper.


Zig-zags up and down the length of the patch

Rather chuffed with the final result!

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The finished result


About Hannah Wiggins

An ICT specialist, musician, landscape archaeologist, linguist and crochet enthusiast with over 40 years' life experience packed with constant adventure and learning. Articulate, dedicated and passionate in everything I do.
This entry was posted in DIY, Mending, Recycling and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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