What does this domestic tradition have to do with Housewife MacGyver? Well, today our guest is Polly from Helping Little Hands, here to share some more modern methods of mending and helping clothes make it a few extra miles. No darning required. :) And be sure to read clear down to the end of the post because on top of her amazing skills, Polly has a fun giveaway for you!
Hi, I'm Polly. I'm mom to three busy kids, and wife to my amazing science teacher husband. I blog over at Helping Little Hands where I blog about whatever I'm working on...sewing, reading with my kids, cooking, random crafts, and fixing up and refashioning clothes. Come over and say hello sometime.
(All the patterns I provide on my site are free...but the site I'm using to host the images has started asking people to pay before downloading. I'm in the process of converting them over to Google Doc, but if you want to download a pattern before then, just email me.)
I've been wanting to go back and do a recap of some of my favorite Hand-Me-Down Rehab posts for a while. You know...because sometimes you see a project on someone's blog and you wonder how it really turned out for the long term...like after it was washed and worn once...or 10-20 times. I'm so glad Lorene has finally given me the motivation by being part of her Housewife MacGyver series.
I really got into what I call Hand-Me-Down Rehab during the year just after Hubby graduated with his PhD. We were lucky to be able to substitute teach consistently, but Hubby didn't have a permanent job yet. We were pinching pennies as tight as we could. Buying new clothes was just not an option, so we got creative with what we had or could get on sale at the thrift store.
So here are a few of my favorite techniques.
Applique is really versatile. I LOVE it for mending. It's also great for covering up a stain, random logo, or just making a plain shirt more fun. Rather than making a patch and trying to hide it...it's so much fun to go all the way and make it super obvious and cute. For applique, I have come to prefer knits (old T-shirts). You can sew around the edges easily and knits won't fray except just a tiny bit around the edge at first. (You can find my basic tutorial for it here.)
One last word to the wise
As awesome as it is to recycle, mend, and decorate old clothes, you want to be sure the materials you're using are going to last as long as you need them to. Jeans in great condition except for those holes in the knee are awesome to fix up. Jeans that have holes in the knee and are worn out with holes beginning in 5 other spots are probably not worth it. Some of the shirts my husband has worn out are SO worn that they're not even good for applique scraps...and some are still fine for applique scraps, but would not work for making capris because there are too many holes (from acid...he worked in a chemistry lab.) A shirt with just a stain or two is great for covering up with an applique...but you could make yourself crazy trying to come up with a design to cover up 5 different stains, so that shirt might be better to cut up for scraps. Even though I love being frugal and using what I've got...I have to factor the time in that it's going to take me to fix something and decide if it's worth it.
If you're interested in more Hand-Me-Down Rehab, I've got links to more tutorials on my Hand-Me-Down Rehab page. (I'm in the process of taking my bullet list and turning it into a browsable photo archive...so please excuse the mess.)
Isn't she awesome?!? And Polly is much more than just hand-me-downs... she does a little bit of everything. You might recognize her stamped washers as the inspiration for my rock & roll earrings; she also makes the best coconut cream pie ever, teaches her kids math in fun ways, lets her kids frost birthday cakes, sews some super awesome felt food, and in March, she hosted a kids' book read-along. She is one busy woman and one of you lucky readers will win one of her dino appliques to make your own dino shirt!
To enter to win, just be (or become) a follower or subscriber of just Lu and leave one comment here on this post. Tell me something... anything -- what you'll do with the patch if you win, what you're making for dinner tonight, what your favorite color is... anything. :) If your email isn't linked in your profile, please leave your email address, too.
Happy mending and rehabbing!