Repairs by The Mediocre Wife
Sewing is a skill that really comes in handy. I’ve sewn since I was a child. Entering sewn garments in 4-H and Grange contests was a way to gauge improvements via the critique that the judges filled out. A report card so to speak, only one that comes with a ribbon attached. Entering contests is really a good self-esteem builder too. The anticipation of winning or losing is good for the mind and makes you strive to put your best effort into your project. In 4-H you also have to model your article at the fair, and if you show enough poise you move onto the State Fair. Gaaahhh, nothing worse than modeling a knitted short set in 95°F, in front of fair-goers. At the time it seems like a plan that adults have concocted just to embarrass you to death. But alas, I survived and stuck with 4-H as long as allowed and then became a leader so I could torture my own set of up-and-coming needleworkers ;)
Sewing was my way to afford more clothes; when I was in high school it was much cheaper to make your own clothes, than to buy ready-made. Times change, and tastes too; I no longer wear the same type of clothing, preferring my Carhartts to mini skirts and sweatshirts to tight cotton blouses. During the Bicentennial you couldn’t swing a dead cat without seeing a quilt contest, so I started patchwork and quilting, leaving behind all those frustrating garment-making sessions. Patchwork was my sewing salvation. I could still sew for hours on end and it was actually enjoyable. No more pesky sleeves to set in and collars to turn to perfection! Pure bliss. I could sew for miles making a quilt top, and it felt the same way I would imagine setting out on the freeway feels when you’re wanting to escape. The delayed gratification that goes hand in hand with quilting did not put me off, as I was used to waiting patiently for a calf to become a steak or a seed to become a pie.
So, that is the back story. From there it gets dicey. Dear, dear Hangdog really appreciates what he calls Woman Craft, and all things being equal (wink, wink); he feels the same about guys and expects them to know their Man Craft. (His terms, not mine.) So somewhere in this past 32 years his blood started to simmer until the steam came out his ears, all the while I never noticed since I was so busy
sewing quilting. Somehow in his mind, he assumed that if I saw he had clothes that needed patching, I would mend them, since after all, I spent hours a day working on quilts. What he didn’t understand was that sewing a quilt and mending clothes are two entirely different things. I am guilty of the same type of logic, I can’t figure out for the life of me why if he can build a barn, or a house out of logs, why he balks at making a cabinet for the house. Go figure. So finally after I explained I didn’t even patch my clothes, (Prince has nothing on me, I invented butt-out jeans) he relented and started patching his own clothes. Problem solved there. Now he patches my jeans, not that he doesn’t want to see my butt, but Ruthless can’t stand the embarrassment ;)
The other day, when he complained that the zipper on his work vest was about kaput, I stepped up to the throat plate, and offered to fix it, hoping to move up a peg on the score board. He was dubious; what seemed simple to me, looked difficult to him. No fear, I said, waving my Woman Craft wand, I can fix it right away. Secretly though, I was itching to use a 40% of coupon at Joann’s or just have a reason to peruse their fabric aisles. As luck would have it, Joann’s didn’t have the right kind of zipper. Dang, I would just have to make a stop at Fabric Depot which just happened to be on my way to Bob’s Red Mill. Not. But what can I say? I had to go to Fabric Depot, the selection is much better…muahahahahaha. No coupon, but I did find my zipper and I got to dream over several lines of fabric, sigh. If I didn’t already have enough fabric to make every quilt on my quilt bucket list x 3… Alexander Henry I love you!
But, I am digressing here. The failure in the zipper was the pin, somehow with all that continuous Man Craft business it got tore off. I’m of the mindset – don’t ask, don’t tell. It doesn’t matter how it got tore off, it is still off and not working. He works down in the Gorge where the wind blows mightily; it can be comfortable here at home out of the wind, and he has to go spend the day in the wind tunnel. So the vest really needed fixing.
The first order of business in this type of repair is to remove the old zipper. A seam ripper is the easiest way to do this without damaging the fabric. I had to release the top stitching and the seam that held the zipper.
Once you get the garment opened up, it is easy to see the stitches, and all you have to do is remove the stitches until the zipper is entirely free. (I didn’t get pictures of the entire process.) After the zipper is freed on both sides, insert the new zipper one half at a time and pin to secure. Sew, matching the stitch length of the top stitching. Repeat with the remaining half. Due to the heavy use this vest gets, I double stitched each half.
Loving the comments about what you’re reading! A friend brought by Every Living Thing, by James Herriot, so I am adding that to my list. And actually I don’t read in bed anymore, all mine are on the kitchen table! Otherwise I would be up all night ;)