How Am I Doing? Sew-Sew

Another thing I decided to catch up on this weekend now that my RESA tasks are done is some sewing. I learned to sew as a preteen, and spent my teenage summers making clothing. I made both my homecoming dress and my prom dress my senior year of high school.

However, garment construction is a straight up pain in the butt. It takes a long time, is not as cost effective as one might think, and the ability to understand a pattern ought to be considered an entirely separate skill set. Mostly these days I use my sewing skills for repair and adjustment, like the ReFashionista I so admire.

Several of my “to be repaired” items have been sitting in my sewing basket for months. A seersucker shirt that belongs to my husband. A linen dress I really like but tore at work. A fabric bag whose strap came off. A pair of hand-me-down shorts from my sister. It’s February in Ohio, clearly the shorts have been there for quite a long time.


The impetus to pull out my sewing machine this week was that a second grader at school ripped the seat of his jeans. Luckily, the school nurse keeps sweatpants on hand for just such occasions. But he really liked his jeans. I asked him if it would be okay for me to take them home and try to fix them, and he said yes.

Part of my thinking was, “If I make these jeans too small or tight for him, at least he has a brother in first grade who would probably wear them.” The next day, the brother in first grade asked me if I repaired the jeans yet. Nope, not before my RESA task was done, little one. But the thought of two kids asking every day if I’d fixed the jeans yet is too much for me. I can’t bear the thought of telling them “no, not yet” more than once. I don’t want to be an adult who promises things and then fails to deliver. So I pulled out the machine this morning and got to work.

The first thing I fixed was my husband’s shirt. It was a straight rip near a side seam so it went fast. Also, it’s seersucker, so I don’t mind the slight pucker. (It’s not my favorite of my husband’s shirts anyway, so maybe my standards weren’t so high to begin with…)

Then I fixed the strap on a fabric bag. I did play around with the stitch settings. So we’ll see whether or not this holds up, ultimately.

Thirdly, I got to those jeans. This is the epitome of a “good enough” repair. On the one hand, this is the only repair I was doing for someone other than myself or my husband, which means I started out with higher standards. But, look at that rip. It’s not quite a straight line, and it starts out close to a seam. Plus, denim is a tricky fabric to work with because it is so thick. That helps it be sturdy and durable, but it means you have to be very aware of your machine while sewing it. It can also fray a lot. Plus (and this is probably why they ripped in the first place) this pair wasn’t evenly thick — some parts of the denim were worn and thinner. But that worn denim is so comfortable! So I did want to at least do a decent job. (Then again, this is a repair for a seven-year-old boy, so it could be literally two seconds on the playground before all my work is undone.)

I had briefly considered using a patch, but I decided the seat of a little boy’s pair of jeans was not the best place for one. I’d use one for a knee rip, though.

On to my dress! I love this dress. It’s just from Target, but I have had it for years. I put a tear in the skirt part earlier this school year when I was getting up from being seated at a desk, and some metal under-part snagged the cloth.

It’s not perfect (the rip was sort of X-shaped, both with and against the grain of the fabric) but I figure I would always cover it with a little decoration if I want to. I’m going to iron it and wear it to work tomorrow and see how I feel about it.

I actually almost forgot to fix the shorts. I only wore them once before I ripped them right below the zipper. (Good thing I always keep safety pins at work!)

The crotch area of pants is a tricky place, because of all the pulling of the seams, in different directions. So whether this repair holds up remains to be seen. I’ll be slipping safety pins in the pocket next time I wear these, just in case.

All in all, it took more time finding my sewing machine’s foot pedal than it took to do any single one of these repairs. Hopefully they all work out in the end!


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