My sustainability fails: mending clothes

In order to become a bit more sustainable, I wanted to get better at mending clothes so that I can wear them for a longer time.

I can fix smaller holes in some clothes by hand but when my mom gave me my grandfather’s old sewing machine, I immediately got super excited.

All of a sudden, the sky was the limit!

I was going to sew pillow cases, barefoot shoes (not joking), slippers and dresses for myself!

It would be amazing.

I thought.

Now, for some context: my grandfather was a tailor. He sewed and mended clothes for a living.

And now that I had inherited his sewing machine, the stakes were high.

So high.

My mother on the other hand is terrible at sewing and because I’m so much like my mom in many ways, I feared I would also be terrible at sewing.

But, my brother, as it turns out, has a huge talent for sewing. So all of a sudden, I had high hopes for myself.

So, I set out on this specific path of my sustainability journey with a sunny outlook on life and my capability.

Needless to say, things did not just end quickly but also terribly.

I was tasked with the mundane art of mending my boyfriend’s jeans but I accepted willingly, thinking it would be good practice before diving headfirst into making a pair of shoes. Because that would be downright irresponsible, right?

So, I watched a Youtube-video on how to mend jeans and learned that you just need another pair of jeans that you can cut into pieces big enough to cover the holes and then sew the pieces onto the jeans.

The woman doing the tutorial was pretty sassy and said “and now, don’t cut in the wrong pair of jeans” at which I laughed derisively cause who could be so careless?

Then, after you’ve sewn all around the patch, you sew criss-cross all over to strengthen it and it’s done.

Easy. As. Pie.

I felt like a magician, sitting at my sewing machine while in my head, images of all the amazing clothes I would make once (I had finished patching up these jeans with such flourish my grandfather – had he been alive – would be immensely proud of me) popped up constantly.

I finished it up, cut off the excess thread, called on my boyfriend to admire my excellent work, turned the jeans the right way out and…

… promptly became horrified.

I had not just mended the crotch (as was the initial idea) but had somehow managed to make an entirely new piece of clothing by attaching the leg to the crotch.

Also, since I had sewn this criss-cross pattern all over the patch (to strengthen it in the face of future damages), I had essentially created an indestructible crotch-leg-mutant.

It was impossible to remove any of the thread. There was no going back.

So, I had to rip it off – creating a completely NEW HOLE!

Joke aside, I was a bit disappointed but laughed about it (and, luckily, my boyfriend did too). This does not mean that I’ve completely given up. It just means that I have to practice. Preferably with clothes I’m not that careful with.

But I guess making shoes and dresses will have to wait.

Stay tuned for more updates on my journey toward a sustainable city-life and (of course, because life wouldn’t be life without them) fails.

I’m sort of embarrassed to include the picture of the jeans here (post-“mending”) but because I appreciate you coming here and reading through the entire thing, here you go:

You may think it doesn’t look that bad and now, when looking at it again, it doesn’t look absolutely horrifying. But, this experience still has left me deeply scarred.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Going Batty in Wales says:

    Learning any new skill takes time. If it is any consolation I have been sewing for years and still sometimes find that a piece has folded itself under the stitching I am doing just as the leg did for you. Also patching something which will not lie flat is hard. Try mending a hole in a skirt or a pillowcase until you feel more confident. But accidents will always happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Josefin says:

      You’re absolutely right. I think I’ll start with something that is a bit easier and then get more confident. Luckily, my boyfriend just laughed and now we have lots of jean fabric to repurpose 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bear says:

    I’m with you, entirely. Jeans are a real pain to mend. I did an experiment on my Hubby’s jeans. He wears a hole just below the waist where his cell phone rubs. So, the experiment was one iron on fix, and one patched. Patched won, hands down. the iron on didn’t last a day. I put a small piece of broadcloth on either side of the hole (I didn’t have any scrap denim) and made a “sandwich”. Then, got out the needle and thread. (My Gran was a seamstress who taught me to sew without a machine). The piece that I’d painstakingly hand sewn all willy-nilly to reinforce is still there and doing fine months later. Don’t give up your dream, dear. It can be done. As they say, practice makes perfect…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Josefin says:

      That’s nice to hear! And kudos to you for doing it by hand, that can’t have been easy, especially since denim is such a tough fabric. Thanks for your support 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sustain blog says:

    Mending clothes is a skill that will take a lot of time, but your passion will make the time shorter. Good luck 😊


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