Tuesday, March 2, 2010

trading and trending

Blokey never throws anything away (and rarely acquires new clothes), but sometimes his more hole-filled and worn clothes are home or layering pieces only. This includes an older GAP denim shirt (he guesses 2002) with great snap pearl buttons. These are evidently all the rage again in 2010, in boyfriend and fitted styles. I'm trying not to spend and consume more, but how awesome is it when older clothes recycle into current trends, and you can be current without consuming?
His shirt had large elbow holes in the pocket, so when I was in the garment district, I picked up brown suede elbow patches by Dritz (available online if your local notion store doesn't have them). Fella teaches college classes, so the old school elbow patches are a nice touch.
If I had to do it again, I think I would have used iron on patches first on the shirt to make the sleeve more solid, but this works fine for now.

Before: a well worn western demin shirt, with honking elbow holes.

Solution: if you click through, you can see that there are holes already made into the patches, but a sharp needle can pierce it. You can also the holes in the pictures below.

Before I sewed, I used this fray stopper to prevent problems when it's washed. But now I realize that I have no idea how to wash this. Dry clean? Freeze?

The hard part is lining up the patches so they're relative even. I did this by covering up the bigger whole (the right one) the best I could and pinning it. (Three pins, and I ruined 2 other pins trying to pierce the leather/suede). Then I sewed through the holes twice (just a regular stitch, with resulted in something like this the first time around:)

Please excuse the roughness of my graphic.
The second time around, I sewed through the opposite holes, making the stitching complete around the holes.

Then I laid the two sleeves down so they faced either (the hole side on one sleeve faced the patched side) and stuck the unsewn patch on top of the sewn on. I turned the sleeves over so the unsewn sleeve was on the bottom, and the patch on top of the hole, pinned it, and repeated the process. Highly unscientific, but it's even enough.
Fella was pleased with these results. It took me about 1 hour and some change (I watched a few episodes of UK Office, which are now streaming on Hulu, after dinner). But I informed him that since I mended the shirt, we have to share it. He was just relieved that I did not commandeer it entirely.

He looked at me with a wrinkled nose and said, "You look like an Old Navy ad." Maybe an Old Navy ad from 1993?

Edit: I also tried it with a belt. I like this look a lot too, but I think a longer, looser belt wore a bit lower would look best. (At the natural waist looked a bit odd with all the loose fabric).


  1. Wow... I am impressed!!! It looks reallllly good! I kinda want to do that for my jean jacket now :D


  2. You are so handy with a needle and thread! I wish I knew how to sew something besides buttons.

    You do have a vintage Old Navy look about you (12 year old Bob would be proud), but it works :)

  3. Hey Elaine, it wasn't hard, and it's fun! It'll be cake after your skirt (which I want to try soon).
    Thanks for the compliment, Anne. Hand sewing is oddly relaxing. Maybe this is what the knitters are always talking about?