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mending our clothes...do you?

 
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I appreciate beautiful painstaking mends although I don't have the patience to make them anymore.

....I thought these were particularly lovely, and so nicely subtle.

Unfortunately they were posted with no credits by someone who always puts a lot of effort into crediting every facebook picture.

1.jpg
mend
mend
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mend
mend
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mend
mend
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mend
mend
 
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That almost looks like a "work of art" to disguise what actually needed mending, Judith! It's done as "weaving with needle and thread" rather than what we think of as "mending" in my house!
 
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This link popped into my email inbox, this morning, and this thread was my first thought: https://pieceworkmagazine.com/piecework-fall-2020-call-for-submissions-mend-remake-and-renew/

It's a magazine subscription, but their fall publication is entitled 'Mend'. I thought it might interest more people than just me, lol
 
pollinator
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Great find, Carla! The Fall 2020 issue of Piecework on mending is out now! ETA: If your public library gives you access to RBdigital, see if you can check out the issue that way like I did. It looks like a fun issue! I'm especially excited about the article on kantha. I grew up in Bangladesh, calling it (the art) or them (the quilts) nakshi kantha, and love this method and these textiles. It's not at all dissimilar from sashiko and boro, although the stitches used are less often straight stitches as far as I can tell. Anyway, old saris are layered up and stitched together much like the zokin cleaning cloths in Japan that r mentions in her wonderful cleaning ebook. When I was little, I always escaped from our yard into the neighboring bari, and among the many things I loved watching was groups of women stitching these quilts (I also loved watching them make roti on special pans sort of like Mexican comals on their most-wonderful and obsession-worthy earthen stoves, especially since they always gave me some roti to eat).
 
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I'd like to share this:
https://dieworkwear.com/2019/01/19/how-we-lost-our-ability-to-mend/
 
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May Lotito wrote:I'd like to share this:
https://dieworkwear.com/2019/01/19/how-we-lost-our-ability-to-mend/


That's an excellent article! Thank you!! :D

 
Beth Wilder
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May Lotito wrote:I'd like to share this:
https://dieworkwear.com/2019/01/19/how-we-lost-our-ability-to-mend/


Oh, that's like a love letter to mending, especially with all the great pictures! It's fantastic.

Mending -- especially visible mending -- has gotten very popular on social media the last few years, and now there are a few good books out on it.

One favorite, very basic/beginner in its techniques and explanations but just lovely, is Nina and Sonya Montenegro's Mending Life: A Handbook for Repairing Clothes and Hearts.



A great small-and-concentrated book that focuses on sashiko-style is Jessica Marquez's Make + Mend: sashiko-inspired embroidery projects to customize and repair textiles and decorate your home.



A beautiful, inspiring one with lots of boro style is Katrina Rodabaugh's Mending Matters: Stitch, Patch, and Repair Your Favorite Denim and More.



And a jaw-droppingly gorgeous book of mending as fine art is Claire Wellesley-Smith's Slow Stitch: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art.



I highly recommend all of these, especially Mending Matters, and all the work that all these women do. (So please follow the links I attached to each of their names if you're interested!)
 
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I'll fix a ripped seam or sew on a button, but most of my mending is on jeans.  I love jeans and when I find a pair that fits just right, I won't give them up just because they have a hole or two.  When I was a kid, grandma would neatly patch all of my ripped knees with a colorful fabric or scrap of denim.  When I bought my first sewing machine, it had a darning plate and I started using that to fix holes.  Later I was selling military BDUs and saved a few of the beyond repair pants as patches too.  This past winter I finally threw away two pair of jeans that have served me well for over ten years.  I believe each pair had been patched at least three times and some of the patches even had patches.  I contemplated patching them a fourth time, but the denim was just getting too thin.  I've recently discovered sashiko and would like to give it a try.  Fortunately I have a few pair of jeans waiting for their first mending.
 
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For me, one of the worst issues with fast fashion is how so little is worth mending. The quality is so poor that a mend doesnt last enough time to make the mend worthwhile to do.

I used to mend my jeans, grew up doing it. By midway through university, the material had changed enough that by the time a section ripped in  pair of jeans (often the crotch, for me), the entire crotch area was so thin i couldnt mend it. Or i could, and did, but the repair would only last until the next wash or until the spot right next to the mend failed, buying me a few days to buy more jeans :( i developed ever more complicated ways of reinforcing that area before giving up. Same as tshirts. I put my thumb through a tshirt recently, the cotton is so delicate i promptly put a thumb through in another spot while i inspected the first spot for damage!

So those things i dont mend anymore, though i used to.

I do mend knit merino tops. Usually they need mending due to weak thread at a seam, or a catch, and will last plenty of time with a minor mend. I mend some leggings if they catch. I often restitch a sweater underarm seam . Small holes and rips in jackets, and other evidences of tiny accidents are worth mending. Dress clothes, blazers, yes. I have a dress in the mending pile where the seams came compleyely undone on part of the skirt at first wear so i need to redo all the seams. Its been in the pile for a while, but i will repair it. Gloves, and scarves? I mend them. Bras. Oh yeah, too expensive not to.

But commonly worn items, like underwear, socks, jeans, tshirts? The quality just isnt there these days to make it worth my time.
 
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I suppose you all know there's a BB for this. Or even more than one BB.
For the (new) straw badge BB on 'invisible mending' I did this. It's a dress (or tunic) I love wearing when riding my bicycle (with leggings, short or long depending on the weather). I don't know how it got those tiny holes, but as soon as I saw them, I decided to repair them, because I want to use this dress for many more years.

invisible mending

is it invisible of isn't it?

now I don't see it ...
 
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Excellent posts on beatiful mending, and I appreciate the art of Katarina Rodabough!

But yesterday I did a much simpler mending job:

While I love that my husband is as frugal as me, I hate to see him switch into his "home" clothes after work which consist of a pair of jeans that is torn so much it exposes half his leg (I am not conservative or prudish, but it bothers me).
So I took them and started to stitch patches under the smaller rips. The huge one could only be mended by overstitching a bit patch. I also fixed the torn hems. No matching thread colours, this is still his around-the-house-and-work-in-the-garden jeans.
(And don't think he noticed yet, yesterday he used another one).

jeans_vorher.JPG
torn jeans (the huge gap is not so obvious here)
torn jeans (the huge gap is not so obvious here)
jeans_nachher1.JPG
after
after
jeans_nachher2.JPG
detail
detail
 
Anita Martin
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Not sure if there is a better thread, but I haven't found one - so here I go...

I also took my old sweat pants that I use sometimes around the house to finally rip out the old waistband and add a broad yoga-style waistband.
The waist is low-cut so it not only exposes my lower back to cold, it also drags down all the time I keep rearranging it (if my hands are clean which they not always are).

I had some ribbing in the same colour (it is dark navy in reality, the pics are not true to the colour). It is some organic pure cotton so I overestimated the elasticity (rather: it is very elastic but does not pull back, does that make sense?).
So I ripped it out once and took out some centimeters - next best tool after a sewing machine is my seam ripper!
I suspect it might still be not tight enough but then I will insert a broad elastic.

So much better now! Well yes they look a bit like maternity pants but who cares?
I am planning on sewing some pyjama pants with the same waistband.

BTW, some people use the yoga-style waistband not because the pants sit too low, but because they are too high and have a too tight elastic (like here: https://mellysews.com/add-yoga-waistband-tutorial/)
I wonder why I haven't taken the time to make this adjustment earlier.


jogging1.JPG
sweatpants before
sweatpants before
jogging2.JPG
sweatpants after
sweatpants after
 
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Anita Martin wrote:
next best tool after a sewing machine is my seam ripper!


I always use my seam ripper when I use my sewing machine, but have mislaid it so have only been doing hand sewing and mending lately;  hopefully I find it soon.  I have sewn so many things over the years and for almost every one of them I had to use the seam ripper!

Great fix, and on the jeans too.  
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Anita Martin, if you go to the PEP forum, to PEP Textiles (https://permies.com/wiki/101129/pep-textiles/PEP-Badge-Textiles#833686) you'll see you can get a BB (Badge Bit) for your clothes repairs!
 
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I decided to stop buying new clothes (with the exception of shoes and bras) back in June 2017. Any "new" clothes either have to be made by me (from secondhand textiles), or bought secondhand. And mending what clothes I do have has become a big part of that ethos.

Today, I'm boro-stitching a piece of bedsheet into the seat of my favorite old pajama bottoms. They are Mossimo brand, from Target, and came from a discard pile over a decade ago. Back then they were a gray-and-black checked flannel; over the years the nap has completely worn away and the original fabric is now closer to cotton voile. But they're still holding up, and still fit, and I get weirdly attached to clothes and hate it when they finally "die," so they're getting mended and reinforced.

One leg got snagged on a nail and torn last month. It was a fairly big L-shaped tear--about 3 x 6". So I grabbed a piece of flannel from the scrap bin, and boro-stitched it in place behind the tear. I used three strands of DMC embroidery floss (which I bought at Goodwill in a mixed bag of maybe 100 skeins for $1.99), and used the checks as a guide for simple vertical stitching.

Then one of the cats, while trying to get my attention, snagged another, smaller tear at the top of one thigh, so I used an external patch on that one (source: brown sateen-stripe pillowcase, from a free pile). I lined up the stripes and the stitching with the checks of the original fabric, and it looked pretty nice.

But while doing that, I held them up to the light to check for other holes and thin spots and realized that the entire seat and rear crotch area was perilously thin, and in a couple of spots was developing frayed holes. Fortunately, they were still small. To avoid the inevitable butt blowout that would be a nightmare to fix, I decided to reinforce the entire seat and rear crotch with more boro-stitched patches, big enough to run seam-to seam across the entire width of each panel (source: dove-gray heavy sateen cotton sheet, from the Humane Society dumpster). I got one done last weekend, and should have the second one done by this weekend, and will have my favorite pajama bottoms back.

I plan to keep boro-stitching patches inside these pajama bottoms throughout this winter, until virtually the entire garment has been reinforced. Every time I add a new patch, I use different colors of embroidery floss, and orient the stitching differently along the vertical lines of the checks. I like the way it looks so far, and look forward to getting it done.

One thing I love about visibly mended clothes is the transformation that occurs--a mass-produced garment suddenly becomes interesting, and totally unique. This anonymous, unremarkable thing suddenly has a history. So many clothes aren't even worth wearing; a garment must be really special to be worth mending, right? Even if it's "just" a favorite pair of old pajama bottoms.  
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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=Melissa Bee...
Today, I'm boro-stitching a piece of bedsheet into the seat of my favorite old pajama bottoms. They are Mossimo brand, from Target, and came from a discard pile over a decade ago. Back then they were a gray-and-black checked flannel; over the years the nap has completely worn away and the original fabric is now closer to cotton voile. But they're still holding up, and still fit, and I get weirdly attached to clothes and hate it when they finally "die," so they're getting mended and reinforced.

One leg got snagged on a nail and torn last month. It was a fairly big L-shaped tear--about 3 x 6". So I grabbed a piece of flannel from the scrap bin, and boro-stitched it in place behind the tear. I used three strands of DMC embroidery floss (which I bought at Goodwill in a mixed bag of maybe 100 skeins for $1.99), and used the checks as a guide for simple vertical stitching.

Then one of the cats, while trying to get my attention, snagged another, smaller tear at the top of one thigh, so I used an external patch on that one (source: brown sateen-stripe pillowcase, from a free pile). I lined up the stripes and the stitching with the checks of the original fabric, and it looked pretty nice.

But while doing that, I held them up to the light to check for other holes and thin spots and realized that the entire seat and rear crotch area was perilously thin, and in a couple of spots was developing frayed holes. Fortunately, they were still small. To avoid the inevitable butt blowout that would be a nightmare to fix, I decided to reinforce the entire seat and rear crotch with more boro-stitched patches, big enough to run seam-to seam across the entire width of each panel (source: dove-gray heavy sateen cotton sheet, from the Humane Society dumpster). I got one done last weekend, and should have the second one done by this weekend, and will have my favorite pajama bottoms back.

I plan to keep boro-stitching patches inside these pajama bottoms throughout this winter, until virtually the entire garment has been reinforced. Every time I add a new patch, I use different colors of embroidery floss, and orient the stitching differently along the vertical lines of the checks. I like the way it looks so far, and look forward to getting it done.

One thing I love about visibly mended clothes is the transformation that occurs--a mass-produced garment suddenly becomes interesting, and totally unique. This anonymous, unremarkable thing suddenly has a history. So many clothes aren't even worth wearing; a garment must be really special to be worth mending, right? Even if it's "just" a favorite pair of old pajama bottoms.  


Hi Melissa. That's great. I love the Boro mending technique(s).
Do you know you can get a BB (Badge Bit, part of the PEP program) for patching your pajama pants?
Read more here: https://permies.com/wiki/105492/pep-textiles/Sew-patch-PEP-BB-textile  
There's another BB, more advanced, on invisible mending: https://permies.com/wiki/146953/pep-textiles/Invisible-mending-small-hole-tear
 
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We also mend clothes. You always need something to wear when gardening, repairing, etc. Here such clothes come in handy.
 
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The winter is a good time to get round to some of those mending projects.  I've made a start on my trousers.  Sacrificing the worst to patch the better.  This is my current project.  

The other side is going to be a tree I think.  Hand sewn with backstitch for strength.
 
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I love darning socks and mending! Especially mends that are beautiful enhancements to the garments! So many beautiful and inspiring photos on this thread.

Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle, Rot!
A533AD65-3230-4633-8368-A2854C259497.jpeg
[Thumbnail for A533AD65-3230-4633-8368-A2854C259497.jpeg]
BAA7B856-67D8-470C-AC32-C8428A6D8E61.jpeg
[Thumbnail for BAA7B856-67D8-470C-AC32-C8428A6D8E61.jpeg]
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Jenny Erickson wrote:I love darning socks and mending! Especially mends that are beautiful enhancements to the garments! So many beautiful and inspiring photos on this thread.
Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle, Rot!


Hi Jenny. Did you know you can get a BB (Badge Bit) for darning socks (if you use all natural materials)? Here you can read more: https://permies.com/wiki/101129/pep-textiles/PEP-Badge-Textiles
 
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Over the summer I accumulated a huge basket of cotton socks to mend. Some of them were turned into rags. Many of them I've been darning. Some, however, have so much of the heel worn out that darning is a big task.

I let too many socks get this bad.

I don't know if it was me being lazy or impatient, but I started to wonder if there was a way I could patch them. I experimented with the toes from socks turned into rags and discovered these make great heel patches!

Repurposed sock toe becomes sock heel patch!


One toe from my husband's socks makes two heel patches for my socks.

I've worn and washed these numerous times. They're comfortable and the patches are holding up pretty well.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Hi Leigh. My husband used to wear those cheap white cotton socks. I never mended them. He could wear them until they were in very bad shape (even worse than yours). Then I cut them through the middle. The foot part I tossed away and the other part I used (some are still in use) as 'cut off sock device' when painting watercolours. Very handy to wipe brushes! (wearing it around my wrist)
 
Leigh Tate
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Inge, that's an excellent idea! I can see a lot of possibilities for that. Thanks!
 
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To Joseph Lofthouse - you look sexy in your kilt! All Celtic, flowing red Saxon hair and freckles on your muscles! Bless you.
 
Jay Angler
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To me, "mending" is about using the embodied energy in something as long as possible, so without hijacking this thread too far, I'd like to suggest that there are other things in our lives other than "clothes" whose lives can be extended with some judicious "mending".


Old cotton T-shirt meets up with worn coverings on #2 son's favourite computer headphones! The next picture will show how it was done, more or less.


Yes, you can buy replacement pads for many headphone cushions, but there was nothing wrong with the plastic or the foam - just the fabric was starting to leave little plasticky bits on my son's ears. The covered version works fine and is comfy.
 
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I've mended 2 clothing apparel items thus far, if you don't count mending something like ear muffs with gorilla brand duct tape.  Those 2 items are light canvas pants with some kind of silly bell-bottom zipper that went to pieces which I awled back together, and snowboard boots.  The Flexseal stood up to a lot of snowblasting, being on the tip of the boot, but it was applied on a highly textured surface.  I used the awl to stitch the inner foam boot back together and coated ripped foam/Frankenstein stitch in fabritac.  5 seasons later and they still are good to go.

Not an artsy mend, but the following products seem to work really well to make "gear" keep on going.  
https://www.strapworks.com/Sewing_Awl_p/awl.htm
https://www.flexsealproducts.com/product/flex-seal-liquid-rubberized-coating/
https://www.beaconadhesives.com/product/fabri-tac/
 
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Jay Angler wrote:
Old cotton T-shirt meets up with worn coverings on #2 son's favourite computer headphones!


OMG this is AMAZING and totally what I need. I have a pair of wireless headphones that are pretty old-- work perfectly but leave a huge mess from the peeling fake leather whatever it is. Thank you so much for sharing!!!
 
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Judith Browning wrote:I've always loved old time 'mends' where it is almost as though they were 'proud' of the hole and took great pains to repair.



This I love.

 
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I'm always poking holes or rips or tears in things. I need to mend up my coat in several places.. but it stinks of sulpher from treating the sheep after shearing, so it needs washed before I start it. And being a high of 20*F for the week, that isn't at the top of the list.

I have several mends to do though. I'll have to pull them out tomorrow to work on and get some pictures. I know I have a patched pinned to an apron ready to sew.. socks to darn.. wool socks to be hand washed.. Probably more I'm not remembering haha!

A while back I was looking at a dress. It's basically old fashion, house on the prairie looking to most people. Well I've worn it so much the whole torso and sleeves practically looked like a different fabric. So faded and worn thin. I decided to cut it at the waist, turned it down, ran a pull string through it. Now it's a skirt until it wears out too.

I have another dress that I've lost three buttons on. I somehow have no buttons. I better start a collection if I'm ever going to pass for a proper crazy old lady when I'm old...
 
Jay Angler
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Welcome to Permies Mishail Khan! You wrote:

I told my wife that the sewing machine is a tool, and if there is a tool in my house that I don't know how to use, I'll be damned.

Yes, I love my sewing machine and for doing big jobs like sewing clothing from fabric, it is wonderful. Mending a finished pair of pants with a machine is actually harder in my opinion, than sewing from the start, because of the order of doing the seams. There is totally a place for hand-sewing patches, or making "invisible" mends by hand, and it is totally worthwhile to learn and improve one's skills in both hand-sewing and machine sewing. We have a whole program here on permies called "PEP" - https://permies.com/f/178/ - and it's all about learning new skills and there's a big section about sewing and mending in all it's forms.
 
pollinator
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Jen Gira wrote:

Another thing I would like to share with the community, is my GO TO thread. It is really thick. It is called "Furriers Skein"- It is not made of animal, but it is to resemble Sinew.- which is obviously very strong. Primarily used for sewing up rips in furs and leather, this thread. (which is not easy to find, but I have included a link to the shop I order it from for you It kicks every threads' butt. There is nothing one can buy, whether that is the finest Guterman threads, or anything you'd get at a sewing shop. Nothing compares to this. It is, I suppose something that is from the "old school" I had never seen this, (and many other genius items) until I moved to New York, because to work in production, and had to find things in the garment district.

https://www.wardrobesupplies.com/products/silamide-thread

When I have a rip of a seam comes loose, 90 percent of the time, I reach for this thread, and a "glovers needle"- This needle is a specialist item. (and don't buy the "glovers needle" they sell at places like Joann, buy this one:)


https://www.wardrobesupplies.com/products/leather-needles-large-5pk

It will seem "hardcore" to most sewing folks who are used to the needles they sell at Joann, but despite it being a bit of a "beast" (yes, I would avoid this one on silk fabrics, but even on thin linen, it rules, and doesn't damage the fabric-because it is a professional item-and very sharp, get a thimble for sure, or you will bleed!)




The links above no longer work. Here's an update:

https://www.wardrobesupplies.com/silamide-thread.html

and

https://www.wardrobesupplies.com/leather-needles-large-5pk.html



 
echo minarosa
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Interesting article on the topic...

Feed your moths and hide your trousers: the expert guide to making clothes last for ever

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2021/feb/24/feed-your-moths-and-hide-your-trousers-the-expert-guide-to-making-clothes-last-for-ever
 
Carla Burke
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echo minarosa wrote:Interesting article on the topic...

Feed your moths and hide your trousers: the expert guide to making clothes last for ever

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2021/feb/24/feed-your-moths-and-hide-your-trousers-the-expert-guide-to-making-clothes-last-for-ever



Excellent article!! Gave me some great ideas - THANK you!
 
echo minarosa
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I once met someone who bought Harris Tweed coats from yard sales, eBay, thrifts, etc. He was so enamored of them he would also buy them with sizeable moth holes. He said he could patch them well but I never heard how he did it.
 
echo minarosa
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:
What you say about clothing from before 1970 is true Jen, but - I don't know how it's in the USA or other countries- here in the second hand stores clothes are not that old They sort out the clothes and if it's 'old-fashioned', they send it to projects for 'third world countries' or for 'helping refugees'. So they sell the 'bad' clothes, because they are newer, more 'trendy', and the good quality clothes are sent away!
Once I saw them sort out some very interesting old-fashioned underwear made of wool (Jaeger)! I said I wanted to buy it, but they said 'no, we don't sell it, it's for a project in Eastern Europe'. OK, that's nice for the people in Eastern Europe, but still I don't get it



In my area a couple of things happen. The castoffs and any that don't sell after a while get bundled in huge bundles for shipping overseas. A long time ago I had an Economic Botany class. At that time we were told that 100% cotton clothing might get sent to cotton rag buyers for making things like cotton bond papers, etc.

Another recent development (though I understand they've been doing it mostly in the western states) is the Goodwill bins. They have separate stores where they wheel out long bins in rows. The change out half the bins in the store every hour. Everything is dumped into the bins and you go digging. You end up paying $1.29/pound (not sure if it's like that out west) regardless of whether it is household items, clothing, textiles, etc. Not bad price on most stuff but for heavy items like dishes it's not that great a price. Anyway, what doesn't sell gets put into large lots and dealers can buy them. Not sure whether they still ship overseas if something doesn't sell. Most of the stuff in bins is cast off from other stores.

My local Goodwill also has a large bin of free stuff for the homeless.
 
pollinator
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echo minarosa wrote:

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:
What you say about clothing from before 1970 is true Jen, but - I don't know how it's in the USA or other countries- here in the second hand stores clothes are not that old They sort out the clothes and if it's 'old-fashioned', they send it to projects for 'third world countries' or for 'helping refugees'. So they sell the 'bad' clothes, because they are newer, more 'trendy', and the good quality clothes are sent away!
Once I saw them sort out some very interesting old-fashioned underwear made of wool (Jaeger)! I said I wanted to buy it, but they said 'no, we don't sell it, it's for a project in Eastern Europe'. OK, that's nice for the people in Eastern Europe, but still I don't get it



In my area a couple of things happen. The castoffs and any that don't sell after a while get bundled in huge bundles for shipping overseas. A long time ago I had an Economic Botany class. At that time we were told that 100% cotton clothing might get sent to cotton rag buyers for making things like cotton bond papers, etc.

Another recent development (though I understand they've been doing it mostly in the western states) is the Goodwill bins. They have separate stores where they wheel out long bins in rows. The change out half the bins in the store every hour. Everything is dumped into the bins and you go digging. You end up paying $1.29/pound (not sure if it's like that out west) regardless of whether it is household items, clothing, textiles, etc. Not bad price on most stuff but for heavy items like dishes it's not that great a price. Anyway, what doesn't sell gets put into large lots and dealers can buy them. Not sure whether they still ship overseas if something doesn't sell. Most of the stuff in bins is cast off from other stores.

My local Goodwill also has a large bin of free stuff for the homeless.



Obligatory Macklemore video ( WARNING LOTS OF SWEARING ): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

Wow, that's almost 10 years old.  The scenes in the warehouse-y place with the blue bins?  That's totally the big Seattle Goodwill bulk bin store.  /homesick
 
Pearl Sutton
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Poor favorite jeans... they are starting to be more mends than pants... I added the black pockets years ago, then one promptly ripped, so it got a leopard patch, then the front and knees started going. Anyone who has seen the pants I've been sewing, this is why my knee reinforcement goes all the way up my thighs, this is where I kill jeans.

Poor overmended jeans!!

 
pollinator
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Pearl, I think they look very artistic ;D
 
It's in the permaculture playing cards. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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