The denim clinic: mending my favourite jeans

I can’t throw these jeans away.  They aren’t particularly ‘cool’ but they are comfy and they fit me and I like them, so they are staying.

The problem with these jeans is that they are very light weight denim and so are wearing out at a very fast pace.  The only solution is to keep fixing.

They started out with a single knee patch, then a second knee patch and now I am onto fixing more knee thinning.




I patching it up, to strengthen the area.  I used some grey and white striped cotton fabric, a scrap I found in my box.  It’s a thin cotton and because I wasn’t at the studio and machine-less, I just used iron-on glue to secure the piece. I left the edges raw.  Just because.



I used the white lines in the stripe to guide the straight lines of sashiko stitching.  I thought I would experiment with the crosses.  I think it paid off.  The white rows were an afterthought, aiming to pull it all together.  You can see there is one row of straight stitching.  Clearly I missed that row, oh well, happy accident!

Can you spot the straight stitch row?
Close up


If you are wanting some visible mending on your favourite jeans,  just drop me a line.  I am happy to help.


Mending, thou shalt not be boring!

I picked up a pair of jeans recently.  They were new jeans with fake ageing.  I have to say I am generally not a fan of such techniques, but they fit really well and I was in need of a quick fix.  This doesn’t exactly fits with my ideals, but hey ho.

I knew that the knees would go pretty quickly as the ageing made them pretty weak and so a hole quickly emerged.  Of course, cool people leave such holes, but I just can’t.  I see creative possibilities and I just can’t leave them.

I have been wanting to try some more complex Sashiko for a while and these jeans presented an opportunity to experiment.

A few months ago I visited the Craft and Quilt Fair in Sydney, not exactly my bag, but worth a trip to meet Jane MacDonald, the owner of Bebe Bold, a local Sashiko supplier and teacher.  It was crazy busy but she chatted to us for a while and helped me choose some thread and impart some of her vast knowledge.  I bought some lovely pieces, three Olympus threads, long Sashiko needles and some Kogin fabric.  Jane also gave me instructions for a pin cushion, the Hitomezashi Hydrangea pattern.

NB: Kogin fabric has little dots printed on the fabric, it helps to make the stitching process a little easier.  When you wash the fabric, the dots disappear.

I have been dying to try it for a while but it looked frightening complicated so I have been sitting on it.  Time to bite the bullet.

Here’s what I did;

WRONG SIDE: I started by repairing the hole.  I used the selvedge of the Kogin fabric (no waste here!) and used some iron on glue to press it in place. 
RIGHT SIDE: Hole reinforced and ready for patching
I cut a piece of Kogin fabric to cover the hole and pinned in place
Then it was a case of following the instructions, starting with 2 rows of crosses in blue and orange thread.
The final stage was weaving the white thread between the crosses


I am not the neatest hand sewer, even with the dots to help me out.  But it’s quite lovely all the same.


Boring mending?  Definitely not. Enjoyable mending?  Most definitely.

I loved sitting down with the kids, I rarely do it.  They watched ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ while I stitched away.

Cosmic x

A practical need for sewing


I have a pile of sewing to do.  Not ‘fun’ sewing like cute dresses or kimonos or sashiko-style mending  but the practical kind.  I mean things like sewing on Cub Scout badges, fixing holes in the kids uniform, hemming my pants and sewing my hubby’s swimming badges onto his sweatshirt (don’t ask!)

This is the kind of sewing that I shove on a pile and leave for a rainy day, which in Sydney isn’t that often. It’s not creative (like visible mending, my favourite mending of all time!) that’s why I don’t enjoy it but I think it’s time to change my attitude.  Sewing is a practical skill and not only should we enjoy it for the loveliness it brings but we should also sew for a practical need.

Many years ago, while try to survive my life as a new Mum, I remember reading Buddhism for Mothers.  I didn’t get that far into it, read the first few chapters and got the basic idea.  Not because I didn’t enjoy it, mainly because I was too tired to read for about 5 years.  But what stuck with me was the being ‘in the moment’ with the housework and chores and not taking them on with a ‘get through it’ attitude.  Yes, I can see that, it’s hard to do but it’s worth a try and I often think about this when I am folding 12 tons of washing.

So I am going to apply this ‘in the moment’ idea to my practical sewing and enjoy every stitch of adding the Scout ‘fishing badge’, so proudly earned, to my sons shirt and the WWW (that’s Winter Without Wetsuit) badge to my husbands sweater!

It also means I need to make a few ‘boring’ items for me and the kids.  I need some pyjama pants and Bertie needs some trousers.  I yawned at the idea.  But then I really surprised myself by how much I enjoyed the process.  They were quick, a quick sew has been few and far between of late.

The first ‘practical’ item was my pyjama pants.  I used the Tilly & The Buttons, Margot Pyjama pants pattern from her book, Love At First Stitch.  This is the first pattern I have used from this book. Super easy and super quick.  I cut a size 4, they are comfy and loose.  I made the process easier by adding elastic to the waistband instead of a drawstring, which in my opinion is ‘faff’.

The fabric I used was a charity shop find, bought about 6 months ago.  I had about 2.5m, luckily, as it was not very wide.  It’s a cotton mix paisley number, cost all of about $3.

Shockingly unflattering, making short legs shorter, but does it really matter?
Lets not even discuss pattern placement here!!

The second ‘practical’ item was a pair of trousers for Bertie.  He is growing at an alarming rate (god knows how as he eats like a sparrow) and having already made two pairs of Mini Hudson Pants in the last month, something else was called for.

I made Parsley Pants by Made by Rae.  I am no stranger to this pattern, I have made it many times over, I even wrote a post about my love for them here.  It’s super easy and with only two pieces (the front & back are one piece), it’s a doddle to cut and sew.  I thought I might add some pouch pockets as he always needs somewhere to stuff his lego minifigures or his cars.

He’s almost out of this sweatshirt I made him, I wrote a post about one very similar here.


My child, the shoe refuser!

The fabric I used was another charity shop find, I bought it last week.  It’s a yummy, thick, olive green cord.  It cost $4.  It is a fairly thick fabric with a little stretch. I was originally going to add knee patches but the thickness was just too much.  The pockets are a little clunky. I changed the direction of the cord on the pockets, if we are going to see them, then lets see them, I say!  I lined them with some green duck cloth scraps left over from a previous make.


I am thrilled to have spent only $7 to get two fantastic pairs of pants. Both pairs are cosy, both pairs are comfy and both pairs are necessary and dare I say, they are both ‘practical’!  OK, procrastination over, pass me those Scout badges someone….Hooray for practical sewing.