Thursday, January 23, 2014

An almost broken heart, mended.

Exactly two years ago today, I posted this silk blouse I made:


I loved it then and I love it now.  So you can imagine my dismay when, trying it on for my closet clean-out, I almost ripped the center back seam. 


The fit was close when I first made this blouse two years ago; thanks to middle age spread and a whole lot of rowing, my back is even broader now than it was then.  I got the blouse on well enough, but trying to get it off was a chore, and almost resulted in a ruined blouse.

Today we had good sunlight despite the frigid temperatures, so I decided to take advantage of it and pick out part of the center back seam where it had ripped to insert a vent.

You can see here that the threads of the fabric got pulled away at the seam line:


I carefully unpicked the seam in the center back for about 6 inches.


To make a stable surface for sewing, I fused some strips of tricot to the seam allowance:



I cut a piece of black silk 2.75" wide and 7" long and interfaced it as well.  Then I folded back 3/8" seam allowances and sewed those to the interfaced seam allowances at the opening I'd created.  I did the stitching on the machine, but left long tails so I could do the first and last few stitches by hand.  Once the vent piece was sewn to the blouse, I pressed it flat like a box pleat:


It's almost invisible, but gives me enough room in the back that I can once again wear my lovely silk blouse.  It would have broken my heart to have to scrap this pretty blouse.


The hardest part of this project was making myself do it.  Isn't it always the way with mending?  Here's my little trick to keep the UFOs and mending pile from sitting for too long:


I hang the pieces to be mended on the knobs of my dresser!  In the middle drawer are my socks; every time I need to get out a pair of socks (i.e. every day), I have to shift the pieces hanging in front of the drawer.  Usually after about two weeks of this, it becomes tiresome enough that I just do the darn mending.

Do you have tricks to make you do your mending?  Or do you let it pile up?

34 comments:

  1. I usually wrap my mending in a non-see through plastic bag, and then stuff it in a drawer or box. Then I don't feel guilty.

    Seriously, you've got a great idea!

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  2. Wow, that fix was so clever! I'll have to remember that or perhaps just put a vent in my next blouse just because.

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    1. It took me some pondering to arrive at this solution, but I'm glad I finally did! I may also do it in the future, just because!

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  3. That is a clever trick! I'm glad you could save it.
    I keep my mending in a tub under my ironing board. It is spilling over right now - as I hate mending - and I can barely get to my board. :)

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    1. I'm glad too - I only ever got to wear this blouse a couple times (because I save it for "special" of course). It's so much more comfortable now, in addition to the almost-tear being fixed.

      Hehehe - maybe you should have counted mending in your Diet: like, 3 mended items = 1 piece of fabric used.

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  4. Great fix! I am HORRENDOUS at mending or alterations. I'd almost rather throw the thing out. Stupidly, I realize.

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    1. Ha! I draw the line at alterations! (After an item is completed that is, or in RTW.) But I do try to keep on top of the mending.

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  5. Beautiful blouse! I'm glad you could save it. I have one pair of trousers that need the hem sewn in again and three other pairs that need restitched around the zipper. I'd be much more likely to fix these if my sewing machine worked!

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    1. That's a lot of mending! The combined cost of taking those to a tailor would probably be more than the sewing machine service! (Just sayin'!!)

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  6. Clever! I never used to have UFO's, but then I went on holidays and wanted a million things to take, none of which came, all of which are UFO's :|

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    1. I hardly ever have sewing UFOs, but knitting? TONS of them! Actually, I think of them as different projects to suit different knitting moods :-)

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  7. Nice save! I wouldn't have thought of a vent to save a blown out back seam and will keep that in mind as I'm sure it's going to happen to me one of these days :)

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    1. It made sense to me, because it happened right where I'm widest. It's SO much more comfortable to wear now with the vent in too!

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  8. This is lovely Gail, I'm so pleased you were able to save it. What is the pattern you used? I really like the shape of this top.

    I generally put off repairs/alterations as long as possible. This week I altered the waistband on a skirt I've been meaning to do for about 6 months. I left it and left it thinking it would take ages, in the end it took about 20 minutes!

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    1. This is Simplicity 3688, one of their retro patterns. It's a very nice blouse pattern with some lovely details. I think the trousers get great reviews too, although I haven't made them yet so I can't say.

      The repairs usually do end up taking a lot less time than we think, don't they? This one did!

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  9. i hate mending, altering, re-fashioning, or anything of that ilk! but... whenever i make myself do these things, it's always rewarding and i feel super proud of myself. great save on the blouse! that's a neat little trick, thanks for sharing it!

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    1. I think we all do! Why is it so fun to create something entirely new from a piece of fabric, but such a chore to do a couple little seams to fix it? One of life's great mysteries . . .

      I was super proud of myself yesterday because not only did I fix this top, I also fixed a pair of Hubby's pants that ripped, and took the ill-fitting darts out of my Charlotte muslin. Note to self: don't use perfectly matching thread on a muslin, or else you'll have to wait for a sunny day to pick it out!

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  10. Since I spend so much time mending and altering things for clients, I rarely get around to doing that kind of work for myself or my family (the lining in my winter coat has gotten so bad it's a real chore to put it on). My husband did manage to find a way to motivate me - he threatened to pay someone else to do it. Then I finally replaced the pockets on his favorite winter jacket! I love this back vent technique by the way - I'll be stealing it some day for sure!

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    1. Hahaha, that's an excellent motivator!

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  11. It's great that you managed to save your silk blouse. Love the idea of converting the back seam into a vent. I will definitely keep this in mind. I love altering and mending clothes so they fit better, makes me smile everytime the altered clothes gets worn.

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    1. You are the first person I've ever heard say that! Does that mean you don't procrastinate about it at all?

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  12. This is exactly what happened with that skirt I just made! I got all excited for a second thinking maybe your fix would be mine too, but I don't think this would look very good good in a hip-level side seam with an angled pocket in front... So glad you were able to save the blouse, it's lovely!

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  13. I hang my to-mend clothes in the closet in my sewing room. NOT a good place because it's out of sight, therefore out of mind. I like the idea of keeping them in the way...literally.

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  14. Excellent save, Gail! I'm a bit confused by how you did this (woke up late... not enough coffee yet!) but will pick your brain about it in April. Here's my dirty secret: I take new RTW pants to the cleaners to be hemmed to the right height. This is something I could do in my sleep, but I hate it so much that I pay someone else to do it for me. So.lazy!

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    1. Oh, that is shameful! You KNOW I'm going to be teasing you about that!

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  15. Great ideas, both adding the vent and keeping mending projects out in the open! It takes a miracle to get me to mend something-- I'm just never in the mood!

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    1. Well then, this will impress you (it did me!): today I mended something THE MOMENT I noticed it needed it! Whaaa?

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