I go into a little period of mourning every time a pair of favourite jeans wear out. I also get very despondent when shopping for jeans because so many of them are so horrible, so ugly or made for some weird stick-insect shaped people. The jeans on the left below are my Jasper Conran jeans that I splashed out on after my second daughter was born and they have been firm favourites, good quality stretch denim with just about the right amount of skinniness.
My jeans always wear out on the left knee first. I have no idea why.
The jeans on the right are some cheaper skinny jeans that I did some experimental visible mending on some time ago. They are now too small and covered in paint splatters so they will be my sacrificial jeans. I cut an oval hole from the jeans to be mended and a matching patch from the back of the sacrificial jeans, which I sewed into place with appliqué stitch. Then I just did a series of running stitches with sturdy white thread to create little white crosses.
Sashiko embroidery is a Japanese form of functional embroidery that was traditionally used to reinforce clothing and fix worn or torn areas of cloth. It is traditionally worked in white on an indigo background, so denim makes for a good backdrop. It is also often incredibly beautiful using painstakingly accurate geometric designs. I would say that my version falls firmly on the side of ‘functional’, but then I am just a beginner!
I am very taken with the concept of visible mending as a way of both embellishing clothing and prolonging its useful life. Mended textiles have a back story that new, disposable clothing does not. And don’t start me on jeans that are made with holes in on purpose….it is surely the lowest point of our throw away fashion culture that we would intentionally damage good, wearable clothes. I also don’t want drafty knees. So I am a mender.
This is how they turned out. Some of the stitching is a bit wobbly (two different weights of stretch denim can be tricksy) but I am really pleased with how they look and, with a bit of luck, I can wear my best ‘smart’ jeans for another couple of years. And I can postpone the dreaded jeans shopping mission for a bit longer, shudder.