Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Jeans Patching

My sister, Deb, was a great jeans patcher; I had a pair Levis in 10th grade that featured her handiwork: some kind of silk brocade material over the knees, and—although I might be making this up—a one-inch border on the bottom of each leg that kept their frayed edges from unraveling all the way up to what dad would have referred to as my “pupik.”

I learned what I could from her and spent many an evening in 11th and 12th grade tracing thread around fabric in the holes of my denim trousers, Levis jacket, and probably even a sock or two.

Not that I had to from an economic standpoint; my mom at least pretended to be aghast, assuring me that I could take the credit card to Kaufman’s and buy a whole new wardrobe if I so desired; but it was the 1970s, after all, and that was, for certainly a few months, the style at the time, and besides, I’m sure I got some enjoyment out of doing something that struck my parents as unnecessary, if not downright ridiculous.

But I’d entirely lost interest in patching over the last few decades, so much so that when the knees went out of my favorite biking jeans a few months ago, I bought some iron-on patches, even though I knew those things never work.

And, of course, they didn’t, curling up at the edges even before the first wash and all but falling off after they went through the dryer the first time.

So, I got out a needle and thread, and after taking a good ten minutes to insert the filament through the eye, sewed around those flipped-up boundaries until both knees had that solid old-fashioned Frankenstein look to them; those patches weren’t going anywhere now.

Today, I sewed some fleece over the seat of some other jeans I was ready to throw out; they’re good now at least until the next wash.


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