Hey everyone, Jen here!
Unlike Erin, I haven’t been sewing since I was little, and mending was very much NOT second nature to me. I always thought I didn’t have a creative bone in my body, but for some reason I had a desire to learn to sew after my eldest was born just over 7 years ago. I had never even touched a sewing machine, and as funny as it sounds now, I remember feeling genuinely pretty overwhelmed by it.
I sewed away happily creating the usual bunting and cushions, but still vehemently avoided hand sewing – to the point I wouldn’t even attempt to sew back on buttons when they fell off…!
All that changed when we embarked on a year buying nothing new, and I started a blog called My Make Do and Mend Year.
I realised at that point that mending was going to have to feature in our year, and that it might be churlish of me to out source it all to my mother in law…
The first mend I did was nothing more than sewing a line of stitching along a hem of a t-shirt that had come undone. I’m ashamed to admit it now, but as easy as it was, I genuinely don’t think I would have attempted it without the impetus of the year and the blog.
Spurred on by that first mend, I was inspired to attempt my first ever patch on a pair of the kid’s jeans. I read up on it online and in a couple of sewing books I had, but despite this I distinctly remember thinking I must have been doing something wrong as it was so fiddly to get the machine around the patch. I kept thinking “it must be easier than this”. After much swearing, I did it, and I was very very pleased with myself. For about three weeks, until it started to come away…!
Undeterred, I ‘re-patched’ it, and patching and I are now firm friends. Over the last 3 or 4 years, I don’t think there is a pair of trousers in the house, kids or grown-ups, that haven’t been patched. I’ve discovered lots of different methods, but have come to accept that sewing knee patches on jeans using a machine, is always going to involve some degree of swearing…
There must have been something about my patching, or maybe the frequency with which I blogged about it, but I was asked a couple of years ago to contribute to a series on mending in the Guardian. Here’s my piece on patching…!