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mending our clothes...do you?  RSS feed

 
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Sarah Bedwell wrote:Inge - you solved a mystery for me today..I have be searching through charity shops here in the UK looking for some quality fabrics and old clothing but there is nothing to be found. I had no idea all the good stuff was going overseas. No wool jumpers/sweaters or even any natural fabrics. Just the cheap throw-away fashion of recent years. What a shame we are missing out. I'm going to change tack and see if I have more luck in car boot sales or local jumble sales or yard/garage sales. Oh well, another good reason to get more resourceful Sarah B



Rummage sale-ing a weekend away is a time honored one. Estate clearouts can be good as well IF the stuff hasn't molded and rotted from lousy storage conditions.

Here our thrift store turned over manager and they cleared out a lot of stuff and just chucked. I have been visiting the back door with my own bags to salvage recently. I don't know what they're trying to do but if they don't have anything to sell nobody's going to come buy anymore. Meantime I did have a gentle word with our city's finest this morning; they have had people leave stuff at the front door (donations) and they have been taken. I'm getting them from the back, that they don't want, and I wouldn't dream of touching stuff in the front. I am going by traditional dumpster diving rules, which means they're not liable and I don't make a mess. I also patronize the place heavily through the front door, both with various donations AND by buying clothes off the hanger.

Dumpster diving-it can be nasty. It must be on 24/7 accessable area. No blocking traffic or causing a nuisance. You can run into anything in a dumpster, the place is not liable one bit for anything you do run into. You go in the dumpster, it's at your own risk. Do not take anything proprietary or (tax records or business stuff) confidential. Do not put anything into the dumpster that wasn't already there (no dumping). Clean up after yourself. Do not block the trash truck, if they show you're outta there. Check your local ordinances first. Some places it IS illegal. I have been diving for close to 40 years, and most of the time people have been okay with my doing so if I have been found there. If they are not, I tell them I will cease and desist and not 'trespass' again (even though I do not trespass onto private property to do so) and will stay away.

My local finest are satisfied with that I am being responsible about it and not stealing from the business. Landfill fodder is legal to scavenge.
 
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So it isn't only a problem of the Netherlands, Sarah, but also in the UK (maybe all over western Europe). I'll try other ways too. Maybe FB-pages for local trade and give-away could be a source for quality clothing.
 
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Deb - I had no idea there was such an art to dumpster diving. You mentioning estate sales gave me another thought - there is a local auction house that does house clearance type stuff. I think they sometimes have mixed bags that include fabrics for next-to-nothing. Great for patching, making dog toys etc I'm looking for some heavy-duty canvas to make a log-carrying bag.

Inge - Yes, maybe it is all over Europe. Happy hunting..
 
Deb Rebel
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Sarah Bedwell wrote:Deb - I had no idea there was such an art to dumpster diving. You mentioning estate sales gave me another thought - there is a local auction house that does house clearance type stuff. I think they sometimes have mixed bags that include fabrics for next-to-nothing. Great for patching, making dog toys etc I'm looking for some heavy-duty canvas to make a log-carrying bag.



To me, thrift stores and rummage sales are sources of raw materials for recycling. Just beware that the cloth and clothing hasn't been stored badly and is rotten and/or moldy. There is nothing that will really get mold out to where you'll be happy about it or consider it safe.

If you were stateside, there is a big-box store, Walmart, that has canvas painting tarps for reasonable. They are about 6' x 9' (1.9 x 2.7m) and sometimes have a seam. Wash them, and they make great bag and tote material. Cheaper than buying off a bolt unless you need a heavier grade (in which case, you CAN double them). I buy webbing strapping cheap by the mass roll from sewing supply places (J Hittle, ex, stateside. http:/www.jhittlesewing.com/) to make sturdy handles quickly, extend the strap all the way under the tote bottom to give extra strength and durability to your bag. Else I use stripped denim folded back like doublefold bias tape and sew both long sides with a seam. That canvas is also good for exterior patching where jeans give it up on rear, knees, etc.

If you keep ripping underarm or at the bottom center of your jeans or sweats, put in a diamond gusset. This will give the seam more space and distribute the stress better. In those places the gusset won't usually show either. If you see movies or shows where someone like Chuck Norris is kicking the (deleted) out of someone, his jeans have the gusset so he doesn't rip them out. (Erica, might help you keep up with Ernie )

And yes, there are some dumpster diving rules that make for peace with whoever has claim on the dumpster. I am not too proud to scavenge and give it a new life. (as I sit here wearing a sweater made from two salvaged ones that were raveled and re-crocheted into something that is perfect for keeping me warm)
 
Deb Rebel
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Cotton fabric in good shape, make quilt tops. My mother would cut cotton into strips, then sew the strips together, and make a sort of rectangular spiral that would end up being quilt top sized. Or take a really large crochet hook (dad carved her one out of a narrow broom handle, else look for an S or 35 size) and crocheted oval rag rugs to cover the floor. You can also take plastic grocery bags, cut them in strips and do the same thing, tie them together or overlap them and crochet them into boot catcher rugs. (I end up with them now and again, and save every one of them. Our grocery store has really good clear ones not those biodegradable messmakers, and if they survive being scrap catchers for food processing... they get turned into rugs)
 
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:So it isn't only a problem of the Netherlands, Sarah, but also in the UK (maybe all over western Europe). I'll try other ways too. Maybe FB-pages for local trade and give-away could be a source for quality clothing.



I'm not in the UK, but I read this blog a lot as she has so much fun dressing up: http://vintagevixon.blogspot.de/ She buys at charity shops and then resells at various fairs - if you read long enough you get an idea of her tips and tricks. She also remakes clothing a lot. (I shudder at the amount of polyester she wears, but she always looks fabulous!)

I have definitely had much better luck at US thrift shops than here in Germany. I did volunteer at an Umsonstladen (roughly translated as free shop) where I got first pick of things, and some spectacularly beautiful pieces came through. So people are donating them, but they get lost in the massive quantities of junk. (Also true in the US, I think, but US stores are more... corporate? and thus better organized.)

I mend the clothes that are beautiful or meaningful to me. The ones that aren't go to the garden for harder wear, and are eventually cut up for other uses. The Japanese embroidered patches look like a lovely thing to try next!
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Morfydd St. Clair wrote:...
I'm not in the UK, but I read this blog a lot as she has so much fun dressing up: http://vintagevixon.blogspot.de/ She buys at charity shops and then resells at various fairs - if you read long enough you get an idea of her tips and tricks. She also remakes clothing a lot. (I shudder at the amount of polyester she wears, but she always looks fabulous!) ...


Sometimes it seems like the good quality but old-fashioned clothes from here (western Europe) go to charity projects in eastern Europe, but there are sold to smart (Polish? German?) buyers, who re-sell them to the more expensive second-hand-clothing shops here. I know of at least one such a shop selling only clothing they imported from eastern Europe. They had leather and fur, silk, wool and hand-embroidered blouses (folklore from eastern Europe)!
It's a strange world we live in ...
 
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A bit more Japanese boro inspired repair.  



When I find clothing that is comfortable, I like to hand on to it as long as possible.  This linen shirt I bought in 2004, which makes it about 12 years old.  Not bad lifespan.  Very cool and comfortable in summer.  After about 5 years, it got retired to my farm/garden clothing. It's finally time to patch it.  

Because the fabric is worn thin and not just torn, I decided to try some more Boro style as the stitching reinforces the fabric as well as repairs it.  This tutorial from Purl Soho was a great help.



The inside of the shirt looks like this.



It was really quick to sew by hand.  I used scraps of linen fabric of a simular thickness of how the shirt was at the begning of its life.  The thread is actually linen weaving thread that I seporated from four ply into 2.  I thought maybe that having thicker fabric would make the shirt uncomfortable, but is makes no difference to how it feels when I wear it.  Also, I'm surprised how little the patch shows when I wear the shirt, so I figure it will stay a farm shirt and maybe I can wear in places that don't mind people dressed up like farmers.  


Another Japanese inspired project.  Not a repair but a repurpose.  Zokin, or dust cloth made from old shirt that I cut and hand stictched together with linen thread/yarn.  This really is the most amazing dust cloth I've ever used.  Dampen one end and dust, the other end I use to dry the surface.  It's perfect.

 
Deb Rebel
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Recycling jeans, came across this patch. The jeans legs are being recrafted into 2 liter bottle carriers, one walk I do is 2.4 miles round trip and I need sturdy durable... front and back. Other knee of leg pair had a much worse shape smaller patch as well. Actually feels good to recycle a good patch into further use...

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I have always enjoyed mending and darning my clothes and fabric items.  I also find myself hemming things fairly often, as I am only just over 5 feet tall.  To make the hemming more fun, I sometimes use a bright contrasting color of thread, or add a bit of fabric if I have it handy.  All of my sewing is by hand, because I enjoy the pace of that better, and find using machines to be stressful.   Setting up the machines seem so fiddly to me, and While sewing I can make big mistakes very quickly!  Maybe someday I will get brave and take some lessons and learn to use the sewing machine properly.  
I get most all of my clothing used, either from thrift shops or "hippie Christmas"-- bulk trash week, especially in college towns when the leases all change.  A few years ago, when helping with a weekend retreat for teenagers, I offered a workshop on creative salvaging of favorite clothes( simultaneous with other activities).  Several teens had great fun reworking their jeans with wild and luxurious fabrics peeking through from behind the worn through holes.
A few years before that, I had repaired a pair of jeans by covering a few small holes with some little shapes I had crocheted with waste embroidery floss. I added some features to make them look like a two-inch tall cat and teeny mouse.  I even included some whiskers from clear nylon thread.  This is purely play here, not a practical use of my time at all.  The boy whom I babysat around that time,was maybe 4 or 5 years old.  I remember the first time that I wore those jeans to his house, and he leaned in close and petted the cat's whiskers, and he was so delighted.  I was, too.  I'd include a picture, but those jeans are long since fallen from use and probably in a box with other fabric for reuse, maybe as a rug, or who knows what.  
I'm glad to know that others are repairing and repurposing fabrics and such.
 
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This came across my Facebook feed and I thought I'd add it here:
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Darning Instructions
 
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Roberta, thanks for sharing how to darn, I've been mending/darning for many, many years but was never taught how!
 
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A little to add on the thread of darning. One tool that makes it easier, especially on a curved area of clothing (think heel of sock or elbow) is a darning egg. O have an old wooden one of my mother's that also has what looks like a handle, but is intended to put in the finger of a glove to keep from darning it closed. There are also fancy old antique ones in glass, stone etc. Once, when I couldn't find my egg, I used a croquet ball.
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darning egg
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Gail Vance wrote:A little to add on the thread of darning. One tool that makes it easier, especially on a curved area of clothing (think heel of sock or elbow) is a darning egg. O have an old wooden one of my mother's that also has what looks like a handle, but is intended to put in the finger of a glove to keep from darning it closed. There are also fancy old antique ones in glass, stone etc. Once, when I couldn't find my egg, I used a croquet ball.


My grandmother used such an egg. I have a small wooden Japanese doll seemingly made just for that purpose (photo will follow)
 
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Oooooh! It's really neat to see a tutorial on darning socks! Thank you! I started darning at around 14 (read so many fantasy books that I wanted to be able to darn like the people in the books ). No one that I knew darned things, and the only sewing stitch I was taught was the "running" stitch (I just looked up the term, but it's the stitch that they teach you in kindergarten with shoe laces on cardboard, lol). So, I really made up darning as I went along. It's neat that, over the years my method became pretty much exactly the same as the "darning a hole" method. Of course, I rarely spend the effort to truly weave my stitches as shown in the tutorial--it would take me forever!

Is there some trick to hand sewing quicker? It always seems to take me forever to sew something by hand, and I've always wondered if there was some trick to going faster. Surely there must be if people sewed quilts and clothed by hand...right?  
 
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Is there some trick to hand sewing quicker? It always seems to take me forever to sew something by hand, and I've always wondered if there was some trick to going faster. Surely there must be if people sewed quilts and clothed by hand...right?  



There are many helpful things to make handsewing easier and therefore faster although I think the biggest is ones own mindset...focusing on the task and not on all the other things to do.  I find if I'm embroidering or sewing something by hand I can either feel frustrated by trying to finish or I can relax and enjoy the process and the 'time' it takes isn't an issue anymore.  I do remember what it was like to try to mend quickly with young children though....

Making sure to use the right size needle and a well fitted thimble, whether metal or leather, good light, sometimes waxing the thread.  There's a rocking motion that hand quilters use that seems to speed up the quilting.

..and then there's the speed that comes with practice...like any hand done skill it takes awhile for our hands to learn what to do.


I rarely spend the effort to truly weave my stitches as shown in the tutorial--it would take me forever!


I remember thinking this with so many new things...and in the end for most of them it, again, just took practice and hands that knew the work and could move automatically.  When I first learned to weave, forty years ago now, threading the loom, tieing fringe...so many things that really required focus, no rush and most of all 'time'.....I found that usually the stumbling block was in my own head.
 
r ranson
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Another way to darn socks (or anything) is with this small loom:



It's great for larger holes and it works well on woven and knitted cloth.  
 
Deb Rebel
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R Ranson wrote:Another way to darn socks (or anything) is with this small loom:

It's great for larger holes and it works well on woven and knitted cloth.  



Where do you get one of those looms? I've never seen one before.
 
r ranson
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Deb Rebel wrote:

R Ranson wrote:Another way to darn socks (or anything) is with this small loom:

It's great for larger holes and it works well on woven and knitted cloth.  



Where do you get one of those looms? I've never seen one before.



I got mine at a yard sale.  I think the patent has run out so I'm trying to convince a fibre arts company to make them again, but alas, they aren't interested.  I think it's called something like 'speed weave'.

I don't have time right now for a proper tutorial, but basically, the hooks that hold the yarn  are a specific shape.  When flipped back and forth, create a shed for the needle holding the weft to pass through.  Use the needle to push down the last pass, then hook the end of the weft pass into the fabric.  It's fast and simple to use once you get the hang of it.







 
Deb Rebel
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Hand sewing and hand quilting, I have done both.

Including sewing entire garments by hand. At 11-15 stitches per inch. On cotton or linen of an even weave, this is pretty easy. References from the late 1800's, just at the edge of everyone buying a treadle sewing machine, that with the fine linens and cottons available, a true seamstress was supposed to produce around 22 stitches to the inch on a seam... and even and straight. I tried sewing that and that is unreal. My average is 11 to the inch.

It takes practice, cutting as straight and as accurately as you can when you do the garment pieces, and having some sort of fabric that doesn't unravel easily.

You just sort of get into a groove and just stitch.

As for hand quilting and the rocking the needle, it is easy to learn how to do this and thus you do several stitches at once which speeds things up. I will take a dremel wheel and carefully mark a ring around a larger needle at say 1/4", then use this for making gathering stitches. No guesswork on how much of a bite, it's measured by the mark as I go, and it makes the work go very fast.

On seam finishing... the Elizabethan era, the clothes were made by folding over fabric at the edge and flat stitching it (running stitch or a back and forth (advance on the bad side come up, back stitch then go under and stitch, aka back stitching. And gap the top stitches to about half the row being stitched, and half not, in appearance) THEN butt the two edges of pieces together and whipstitch together. Also some of the fancy outfits, the ladies were SEWN into them, then the stitching cut to get out at night. Or pinned. Pins were an important part of dressing from the 1500's (and possibly earlier) into the late1800's. (literary reference, Silas Marner, George Eliot, where fashionable ladies preparing for a ball, and  it is mentioned the necessary pincushion with lots of straight pins, which was most important to putting your outfit together!!! Written circa 1860)  Paintings from the time of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, the Hans Holbein paintings, clearly show the seam finishes (his work is so exact you can count and recreate the blackwork embroidery shown) were done. Blackwork style embroidery can also be done over your seams to nail down edges inside the garment and thus produce both decoration to the garment and seam finishing.

I can say the flat seaming does the job of edge finish and producing a sturdy seam, and if you embrace the finishing as a design feature, can be rather attractive. Add some Japanese Boro, and you can totally rock your clothing. Or decoration along the style of that one pair of jeans I posted, with the surface stitching details.
 
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I also have found a lot of junk in the thrift stores.  One reason is that more people are snapping up good stuff  to re-sell on Ebay.  As far as sending the good stuff to Eastern Europe-  Jobbers buy clothing in bulk, at cents on the pound by weight, then re-sell it. One solution is to go to small thrift stores that are not part of a chain, which tend to be overlooked by the entrepreneurs and  have small treasures in the junk.  At my local thrift store, I found a length of silk fabric which I had assumed was polyester, until I washed it in the machine.  Cold water- saw by the response of the weave that it was silk, no harm done.
 
Deb Rebel
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https://tomofholland.com/2011/06/23/the-speedweve-lancashires-smallest-loom-directions-for-use/

(listed under Textiles, you might have to do  https://tomofholland.com then enter Speedweve in the upper right search to get the log post)

They are UK made and apparently from up to the 1950's. Thank you for letting me know about one of these!
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Deb Rebel wrote:...

It takes practice, cutting as straight and as accurately as you can when you do the garment pieces, and having some sort of fabric that doesn't unravel easily.

You just sort of get into a groove and just stitch.

...

On seam finishing... the Elizabethan era, the clothes were made by folding over fabric at the edge and flat stitching it (running stitch or a back and forth (advance on the bad side come up, back stitch then go under and stitch, aka back stitching. And gap the top stitches to about half the row being stitched, and half not, in appearance) THEN butt the two edges of pieces together and whipstitch together. Also some of the fancy outfits, the ladies were SEWN into them, then the stitching cut to get out at night. Or pinned. Pins were an important part of dressing from the 1500's (and possibly earlier) into the late1800's. (literary reference, Silas Marner, George Eliot, where fashionable ladies preparing for a ball, and  it is mentioned the necessary pincushion with lots of straight pins, which was most important to putting your outfit together!!! Written circa 1860)  Paintings from the time of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, the Hans Holbein paintings, clearly show the seam finishes (his work is so exact you can count and recreate the blackwork embroidery shown) were done. Blackwork style embroidery can also be done over your seams to nail down edges inside the garment and thus produce both decoration to the garment and seam finishing.

I can say the flat seaming does the job of edge finish and producing a sturdy seam, and if you embrace the finishing as a design feature, can be rather attractive. Add some Japanese Boro, and you can totally rock your clothing. Or decoration along the style of that one pair of jeans I posted, with the surface stitching details.


Thank you Deb, this is very helpfull! In fact I did this way of hand-sewing, but I didn't realise this was the way they did it back then.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Here's the Japanese doll I use as my 'darning egg'. Because it's only the top of her head I touch with the needle, the lady stays OK in the sock (or whatever).
 
Deb Rebel
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You're very welcome, Inge. Another note on handsewing, if you are right handed sew your seam working left. That way your left hand can manipulate fabric and the seam you're working on. If you are left handed, work right. You will go faster.

To thread needle, I will pull the thread through to roughly even ends, then hold the needle up and gently run each thread separately through finger and thumb. You want to encourage it to lose any extra twists. Then double strand knot or offset single knot and get to it. About one meter or three feet of thread before doubling is about the most to put on at once, or it just gets snarly and nasty. You can also pull your thread lightly over some beeswax to help it from snarling up, after convincing all the extra twisting out. Even if you are working with embroidery thread or yarn (in a needle), do take the time to get the extra twists out, you will appreciate it later. Also don't be afraid to experiment with what thread works better for you as hand sew. Some stuff works better in the sewing machine and is terrible for hand sewing. If you snarl a lot try a different brand thread. Quilting thread often has less issues... but not always. I've met a few spools that were just wrong somehow... from a usually trusted brand. Good luck in mending.
 
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Darning eggs
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Painted ceramic darning eggs
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Victorian glass darning egg
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Victorian with sterling silver handle
 
Nicole Alderman
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So much good information!

Another "stupid" question: What is the reason for using a thimble, other than to avoid accidentally getting poked? Or does it operate like a darning egg? I've never used one (I don't think I even have one...), let alone a darning egg. I just hold the fabric taut with my left hand and poke the needle between my fingers and back up again. Maybe the reason I'm so slow is because I've never used these tools... How exactly do you use a thimble or darning egg?
 
Deb Rebel
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Nicole Alderman wrote:So much good information!

Another "stupid" question: What is the reason for using a thimble, other than to avoid accidentally getting poked? Or does it operate like a darning egg? I've never used one (I don't think I even have one...), let alone a darning egg. I just hold the fabric taut with my left hand and poke the needle between my fingers and back up again. Maybe the reason I'm so slow is because I've never used these tools... How exactly do you use a thimble or darning egg?



A thimble has little dentys in it and allows you to push the needle through more easily without making your finger sore or worse, back poking yourself. You can get a little more force and control when pushing the needle, which speeds up your sewing. It takes a bit to get used to using one. You're supposed to wear it on your middle (expressive) finger, but I end up with it on my first finger. It's whatever you prefer.

Metal-to-metal tends to dull points and edges so you usually do NOT use a thimble as the sharp end backstop.

A darning egg is to hold the sock still and 'inflate it' to do the mends, and usually you're mending the heel which is very rounded and shaped so it helps to make sure the repair is contoured a little to help the heel keep fit afterwards. Place the egg inside the sock, position the area needing work over the main part/side of the egg and proceed. I usually put my sock on a bit of old towel on the table with the egg inside sock so as to do the work more easily. Handle is more for keeping it in place or positioning it. As you work you LIGHTLY jab the needle and sort of let it slide over the egg underneath, not STAB it right into the egg. Using an egg guarantees that you will not accidentally darn through and catch the other side of the sock and sew the sock shut!

Here's a page of a basic handstitch tutorial with a few pictures

http://yesterdaysthimble.com/tutorials/basic-hand-sewing/  nice little place and has other things too.
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:So much good information!

Another "stupid" question: What is the reason for using a thimble, other than to avoid accidentally getting poked? Or does it operate like a darning egg? I've never used one (I don't think I even have one...), let alone a darning egg. I just hold the fabric taut with my left hand and poke the needle between my fingers and back up again. Maybe the reason I'm so slow is because I've never used these tools... How exactly do you use a thimble or darning egg?


Nicole, I tried using a thimble a few times, but I can't work with it. I need the feeling in all of my fingers for holding the needle with thread and the fabric in the right position. I know I get soms rough spots on my fingers caused by the needle, but I don't mind.
The purpose for the darning egg is to prevent me from sewing parts together in the sock (or whatever I mend), while I only have to pick up the part next to the hole.
 
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Deb Rebel wrote:
A thimble has little dentys in it and allows you to push the needle through more easily without making your finger sore or worse, back poking yourself. You can get a little more force and control when pushing the needle, which speeds up your sewing. It takes a bit to get used to using one. You're supposed to wear it on your middle (expressive) finger, but I end up with it on my first finger. It's whatever you prefer.

Metal-to-metal tends to dull points and edges so you usually do NOT use a thimble as the sharp end backstop.


Fascinating! I had no idea it went on the hand holding the needle!


Deb Rebel wrote:
A darning egg is to hold the sock still and 'inflate it' to do the mends, and usually you're mending the heel which is very rounded and shaped so it helps to make sure the repair is contoured a little to help the heel keep fit afterwards. Place the egg inside the sock, position the area needing work over the main part/side of the egg and proceed. I usually put my sock on a bit of old towel on the table with the egg inside sock so as to do the work more easily. Handle is more for keeping it in place or positioning it. As you work you LIGHTLY jab the needle and sort of let it slide over the egg underneath, not STAB it right into the egg. Using an egg guarantees that you will not accidentally darn through and catch the other side of the sock and sew the sock shut!

Here's a page of a basic handstitch tutorial with a few pictures

http://yesterdaysthimble.com/tutorials/basic-hand-sewing/  nice little place and has other things too.



Ah, that makes sense, and I can see how scraping across the darning egg would speed things up. When I darn, I just stick my left hand inside the pant leg, sock, etc, to keep from sewing the sock/garment closed.


I've always kind of wondered, when other people sew a running stitch, do you "load" stitches onto the needle, and then pulling the needle through and sewing multiple stitches at once? I often do this, especially when in a hurry. The stitches generally aren't as neat or tiny, but they sure are fast and easy (it's this "technique" that makes my weaving stitches especially inaccurate when darning. But, I usually just can't afford to care...)
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Picture of stitches "loaded" onto a needle to be sewn all at once.
 
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You can do either, one stitch at a time or load. Practice will help you load the needle more evenly. Maybe marking a ring around the needle at a standard distance will help you. It may snag slightly but if you get it marked so you can see it, it speeds up how far to stick the needle in before rocking it to come back out, or how far to slide it before rocking it back in. You will have to score or sand it (I mark with a marker then follow with a dremel with a grind bit or cutoff wheel carefully to make a mark all the way around the needle). As I said, I do this at 3/16 or 1/4 inch (about 1 cm) to make a gathering stitch needle, to run it fast and get even gathers. When sewing a running stitch, if you do load the needle, press down a stitch or two behind where your current bunch of stitches is to pull the thread flat without gathers. You do not want to gather usually when making a running stitch. Sometimes for gathers I will get a 4" (10 cm) 'dollmaker's needle' and run that. It allows you do a LOT of gathering stitches at once.
 
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This thread has been so interesting, especially since it has gone to hand sewing.  I had a friend whose mother made all her clothes by hand. At that time I couldn't believe people were making dresses without a machine.  Now I prefer to do all my sewing by hand.  

I also never have liked using a thimble except when having to push through something like heavy duck or canvas.

That little speed weaver was a great find!  And thanks for all the sewing lessons.

 
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I just scored a Chesstok Speedweve, #1, off Ebay. It looks NIB, and circa 1952, box was mailed from the UK to someone in Canada. It is being mailed to me from Canada. IF it works, I have the capabilities of reproducing it coming online here, and I will look into the patents. Do an 'improved' version. Thank you, R. Ranson, for putting me onto one of these.
 
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Deb Rebel wrote:I just scored a Chesstok Speedweve, #1, off Ebay. It looks NIB, and circa 1952, box was mailed from the UK to someone in Canada. It is being mailed to me from Canada. IF it works, I have the capabilities of reproducing it coming online here, and I will look into the patents. Do an 'improved' version. Thank you, R. Ranson, for putting me onto one of these.



Wow, that's great!

If you need someone to test your improved version, I would love to give it a shot.
 
Deb Rebel
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R Ranson wrote:

Deb Rebel wrote:I just scored a Chesstok Speedweve, #1, off Ebay. It looks NIB, and circa 1952, box was mailed from the UK to someone in Canada. It is being mailed to me from Canada. IF it works, I have the capabilities of reproducing it coming online here, and I will look into the patents. Do an 'improved' version. Thank you, R. Ranson, for putting me onto one of these.



Wow, that's great!

If you need someone to test your improved version, I would love to give it a shot.



Sure, first I have to get mine, do a little testing myself and some reverse engineering.

We can take it off here, about what should or shouldn't be done about one...
 
Deb Rebel
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Still  trying to keep us clothed, and still have a Chesstock Speedweave staring at me. I have looked at the machining and jigs, and am saving for a 3D printer to try some of this. Alternative may be to cut a ring of hardwood, predrill, and make pegs to produce the 'round' that the Speedweve handles.

I am still a firm believer in trying to make sure spouse won't take the afternoon out on his chore wardrobe then show too much at coffee and donuts. (edit corrected spelling, at this hour I shouldn't have to worry about that!)
 
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this is a pair of longjohns i've had for about 6 years and i absolutely love them
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longjohns
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They're getting better all the time!!
 
r ranson
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Jeans earned another patch.  Starting to look good.

My first patch, on the leg with only one patch, is starting to fall off.  I'm going to take it off and stitch it like the others, maybe even make it into several little patches.
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patchwork jeans
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japanese decorative patchwork
 
my overalls have superpowers - they repel people who think fashion is important. Tiny ad:
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