Mend it Monday: no-match patches

Mend it Monday is an initiative begun by The Snail of Happiness.

Mending things, being frugal and saving stuff from landfill is the point. Clothing is cheap these days, mostly for all the wrong reasons. But just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s disposable in the same way as packaging, Just because it has a hole in it doesn’t mean it can’t be saved. Take the Husband’s work pants, for example.

Until quite recently, he’s been reluctant to pay ‘proper’ money for decent quality, because “They just get holes in them”. Gradually, he’s come to appreciate that the better the quality, the fewer the holes that seem to appear as if by magic… So far, none of the good quality ones have required mending. Funny, that.

I’m now mending the last of the medium-quality pants that were the interim measure. But I have a rule. More than three patches on the seat, and they’re not worth saving as garments, because I will have run out of fabric that’s sturdy enough to sew yet another patch onto. As a truck driver, he spends the great majority of his day sitting on that part of his pants, and the pressure and friction is significant!

This pair is on Strike Two.

This pair has one more go, and then it’s the rag bag.

You could say I make a point with these patches by not carefully matching colour and fabric. You’d be right. I see nothing wrong with patching, it’s not something to hide. I use what I have to hand. And if he insists on ripping the seat out of his pants with monotonous regularity, he’s going to take the mending I feel moved to give him!

I save the legs of the pants for patching material, I save the waistband buttons, which also have a tendency to disappear, and occasionally, I’ll be able to save a zipper. I’m looking forward to retiring the last of the cheaper work pants.

It’ll certainly save on the mending!

28 thoughts on “Mend it Monday: no-match patches

  1. claire93 says:

    what a gem you are . . . giving trousers 3 strikes ^^ Which reminds me . . . I’ve got a pair of the husband’s upstairs awaiting a repair on a leg area (ripped them while in veggie garden I believe).

  2. I’m fully with you on all the moral purpose for mending as well the unique personality of mended garments. My nearly 60 year old machine can’t get through heavy work pants, which is one reason we have learned to stick with excellent quality work gear.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m lucky my machine’s up to the job, and a denim needle helps too. Next Monday’s mend is going to be three of his hi-vis work shirts, a very different proposition, and a new set of problems to address.

  3. My husband says I have a PhD in mending, at my work we used to say it should be unobtrusive at six feet and obvious at six inches, but that was in museum textiles…I agree that most often the patch or darn is nothing to hide! I like your three patches maximum rule a lot, I think I will bring that into play in my mending pile!

    • katechiconi says:

      Despite my lack of matchy-patchyness, I’d be surprised if many people noticed them, due to their location in the Husband’s sitting department… I think the three-patch rule is valid if all the repairs are in the same place. With his shirts, it’s a slightly different story, as some mends are rips, and others are wear.

  4. J is a lucky man to have to mending all the rips & holes. Most would not take the time & mending and injecting new life for a second & then finally third time is wonderful 😍

    • katechiconi says:

      I can’t see myself throwing out a pair of decent work pants just because there’s a 2 inch tear in the seat. It takes a while for them to reach that point, and a while longer for the second rip, but by the third time, the seat is wearing a bit thin and I’m running out of sturdy fabric to stitch to. No point patching onto paper-thin fabric that will tear away the first time it’s under strain…

  5. You are a good woman and I’m sure he’s thankful for the patches.

  6. No coherent comment from me, I’m laughing too much …..

    • katechiconi says:

      Which bit in particular? Personally, I think the extra ventilation is no bad thing, but we need to spare the rest of the world the sight of his admittedly sober and discreet underwear…

  7. nanacathy2 says:

    With three Boys I spent many an hour patching the knees of their school trousers following impromptu games of playground football. Sometimes mending just has to be.

    • katechiconi says:

      I bet you did! When I was a toddler my Pa and a local builder put up our new house. We moved in before it was really ready, and I spent many hours crawling about on all fours on the uncarpeted concrete floor. My mother swiftly put knee reinforcements into all my little dungarees… Fashions come and go, but mending is forever!

  8. tialys says:

    Mr. T. has a rip in the crotch of his jeans which I keep thinking I must mend for decency’s sake. Miss T. the Younger was quite horrified even though it’s not as if he goes commando. He only ever buys Levis and I’m sure the quality isn’t what it used to be but he does tend to mix up his ‘going out jeans’ and his ‘gardening/dog walking/DIY jeans’ until they are all one and the same. I

    • katechiconi says:

      A repair would probably be advisable, if only to prevent it getting any larger! Do Levis still have a rivet where the crotch seams meet? It used to be a sales feature, implying that seams parting justabout there was unlikely… Maybe some tasteful boro-style darning might be the go…

  9. cedar51 says:

    Even some of the good quality clothing – ends up just wearing out – I’ve a couple of over tops that have holes but actually the entire garment is worn out so much that I just wear those items around home…some of course, inadvertently find themselves with art paints on them… sometimes in funny places i.e. one t-shirt has some gold paint at the rear near the under sleeve part – I’ve no idea how that got there!

    • katechiconi says:

      The Husband gives his workwear a very thorough workout, and it has to deal with coal dust, diesel and engine grease as well (which means so do I, by way of the laundry…). Also, our sun is very bright and hot, and colours fade and fabrics rot if hung outside to dry. But everything is recycled one way or another…

  10. Bear says:

    For my hubby, it just below the waist on the side where he hangs his cell phone. This point also rubs on his work seat and work bench. I refuse to pitch a perfectly good pair of jeans for a small hole about half the size of a credit card. So, I patch with whatever is handy…. Most recently a piece of sari silk folded a few times and Willy nilly stitched into place…. It’s lasted a year so far, compared to an iron on Jean patch that didn’t last one day!

    • katechiconi says:

      That sounds rather gorgeous! Shame it wouldn’t work for our situation, but there’s hi-vis, and then there’s hi-vis… With his shirts, there’s the hole in the shoulder where the seatbelt passes over it, worn thin and then torn, and also the side seam of the shirt front pocket where he shoves phone, pen, peperwork… same place, every time.

  11. I am with you on having the 3 strike rule or something similar. Most of my clothes come from charity shops and are worn first for ‘decent’ but when they start going into holes there is no point in trying to mend them very neatly because the fabric is failing- they get demoted to gardening wear and any large holes might get a patch if they are lucky.

  12. Good job on those work pants. I’ve done it and finally gave it up. It’s hard work repairing. My husband wore through so many pants and if he stayed home in some of them, I left him be but he better put on the better pair to go out past the gate. 🙂 Men don’t care about much other than comfort.

    • katechiconi says:

      To be honest, the Husband spends most of his day *sitting* on any damage, and the location makes it hard to see, but I’m a believer in fixing that stuff, because the more you leave it the worse it gets until finally the whole backside of the pants is flapping in the breeze.

  13. It’s well time mended garments get the appreciation they deserve… those proudly patched pant display character and nothing else! The G.O. has been wearing his 5+ year-old much and roughly patched -because they apparently weren’t going to last much longer- flannie shirts to town for months now… he says he gets some looks and the occasional comment, which amuses him. We bought new shirts but he will persist until the old are rags. But you make a good point… better quality will more than likely buy some patch-free time.

    • katechiconi says:

      How rude that people feel entitled to comment on what is clearly an effort to prolong the life of a garment! No flannel garment goes into the rag bin in this house without being extensively recycled. I’d definitely say that the better the quality of the original work garment, the better it survives the Husband treatment.

  14. Debbierose says:

    Wonderful save of a garment and from landfill. 3 cheers to you and mending monday

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