Now, I know nothing about fashion, never have, so I don’t know what shape my jeans are supposed to be (in truth I think they gave up being any shape at all several years ago) but I’m pretty sure that trousers that are too short have never been fashionable in any decade. They used to be the right length, I honestly think they have shrunk – maybe due to the patching I’ve already done, or just the way the fabric has worn. Anyway – these are definitely too short, right? I toyed with the idea of adding a contrasting fabric to the hem – maybe in crochet! But decided this was a bit way-out for me, so given that the hem was quite deep, I decided to just let it down. If you’d like a step-by-step tutorial on doing this for yourself, there’s a clear one here. It’s a pretty self-evident process.
It would be a lot quicker using a sewing machine, of course, which I don’t have, so I did a double line of running stitches in a coppery brown, to echo the detail stitching elsewhere. The old hemline on my jeans is pretty worn, so I have applied patches (of old sheeting) to the back of the weak areas and stitched across them with some slightly decorative patterns. My hand-stitching is pretty ropey, but the weave of demin fabric is quite clear which helps in stitching regular patterns.
A few years ago, I always tried to mend and darn invisibly, or at least inconspicuously, but I feel much more confident these days that deliberately visible mending is the way to go – at least for the kinds of clothes I need for the kind of life I’m currently living. Of course the most beautiful examples of visible mending you will see involve a great deal of skill, and starting materials of a much higher quality (just search for sashimi or boro on Pinterest).
(No 2 Child loves her “owl trousers”, since I made a virtue out of a necessity last autumn, and No 3 child keeps asking if I can make her an owl next time she has a hole…) Anyway, here are the finished lengthened jeans. I’m much happier with the length now, although the darker colour of the hem fabric is quite noticeable. Some further embellishment might be the way forward to alleviate that a bit.
I also reinforced a section of the … um … posterior. Again, I’ve applied a piece of sheeting to the inside and stitched across the whole area in a linen colour which is barely visible, and then added more stitching where required on the weakest area. Most people recommend using an iron-on interfacing on the inside for this type of application, but if I could afford a packet of that, I would be able to afford new jeans… I have half an old pink sheet, so that’s what I’m using! I have also further reinforced the pocket where an earlier patch had given way.
None of this is in the least bit elegant, but at least I am no longer living in fear of a “wardrobe malfunction” when I’m out in public!
I have added a Mending and Upcycling Board on Pinterest, where I’m gathering practical solutions for household repairs and repurposing projects.
As always my focus is useful, thrifty, real-life solutions. So there will be no tips on “How to upcycle a piano into a drinks cabinet” (seriously, do you really need a drinks cabinet? And if you have a spare piano lying around, sell it for actual money or give it to someone who would love a piano!) or techniques involving large quantities of supplies (hot glue, enamels, grout, spray paint, sticky-backed plastic…) likely to bankrupt you and the planet.
I do understand – I’m a crafter and sometimes you have a vision in mind, and you just want to create the exact thing that will be perfect for you. But this sort of project, to my mind, does not come under the heading of thrift or recycling.