I found out about Wardrobe Refashion 2008 from Mel at Pipe Dreams and Purling Plans. It's a simple idea for reducing my consumerism and environmental impact: recycle, renovate, repair and create my wardrobe this year, without buying new clothes.
I will be spending today on the mending/finishing basket. One day won't cut it.......uh, especially if I stop to blog about it......but at least it's a start. And, if you've ever wondered how exactly you're supposed to patch a pair of jeans, wonder no longer.
You'll need medium or heavyweight fusible interfacing, scrap fabric (preferably the same fibre content as your garment, and pre-shrunk), an iron, pins or Stitch Witchery (fusible adhesive webbing), a sharp needle and thread. Once you have these things around, by the way, you won't need to buy them for a long time. Just get a half meter of both interfacing and quilting cotton - it'll last you quite a while and only cost a few dollars. If you prefer a heavier fabric, such as denim, you can skip the interfacing stage altogether. You can also cut patches out of worn out clothing - choose the less-worn bits, of course.
Step One - Create a Patch.
Fuse a section of interfacing onto the back of the fabric, making sure it's on-grain, if you're using a woven interfacing.
Cut out your desired shape from the now-interfaced fabric (I used a sheep cookie cutter and an extra-fine Sharpie).
You can use any shape, keeping in mind that one with lots of points, such as a star, will start to show wear around the edges very quickly.
Now you have a patch - or, I suppose, you could always buy one from a fabric store. But it won't be nearly as interesting or satisfying, I'd wager.
Step Two - Baste the Patch.
You need to hold your patch in place while you sew it on. There are two ways to do this: you can use pins (and caution while sewing) or you can use fusible webbing. My mum calls this stuff "Stitch Witchery", which I think was a brand name back in the day. It comes in a roll from which you can snip off bits of the length you need.
Position the patch where you'd like it, with the Stitch Witchery underneath, completely covered by the patch - you don't want this stuff stuck to the soleplate of your iron.
Press, without steam and for a fairly long time. Use the appropriate setting for the fabric you're patching. The heat has to get right through the double-thickness of the patch, so test it by lifting up on the patch a little bit to see whether it's fused. It doesn't have to be solid as a rock - you're just trying to keep the thing in place while you hand-stitch it.
Or you could do it the old-fashioned way.
Step Three - Sew the Patch.
Hand-sewing is getting to be a lost art, as everyone knows. If you're not in the habit of mending, darning, reattaching buttons, and so on, you might have to practice a bit before you really get the hang of it.
For today's patches I used blanket stitch. I like the look of it on this patch fabric.
Working from LEFT to RIGHT, (though I hold my fabric so as to make it TOP to BOTTOM) bring needle out at point A (outer edge). Insert at point B (adjusting spacing as desired - I spaced mine about a millimeter apart), then with thread below the needle, come out at point C directly below. Repeat, noting that point C now becomes point A for the following stitch. Make sure your spaces are even - unless you want them uneven.
Taking the stitch - note thread is below needle tip (also note I did this one right to left - don't let it bring you down).
Drawing the loop smaller.
Here are a pair of finished patches on Charlotte's favourite jeans. These hearts had to be a bit on the big side, which brings me to my final note: Patch 'em as soon as they need it. Apparently it's true that a stitch in time saves nine.