Category Archives: repair work

My mother was a seamstress, she gave me old blue jeans

Remember The Animals? If not, here’s the link:

My Mum never learned how to make her own patterns, Taht never stopped her sewing and repairing scores of garments including worn blue jeans. Her sewing machine is sturdy and was only sold because she missed being able to make buttonholes easily.

She’s now 91 and recently moved to a smaller flat than before. This move prompted a clean-up, and because I bought her old sewing machine and make things out of cast-away scraps including patchwork, I also took home a bagful of jeans letftovers.

So when she talked of getting a bed spread for the guest bed I stopped her saying I’d make her one. And here’s the beginngs of it:


12 patches sewn together, 12 more cut and ready to be added. Depending on accumulated weight the restwill be either only regular calico patchwork or more Jeans pieces + calico. And I’ll be dot-quilting these pieces with some of all the buttons she gave me over the years.

So did anyone guess what animal I am? Yup, that’s right. The hoarding squirrel.

Bang, bang, button

Are jeans makers lazy? Sometimes I get that feeling. Because when you buy a shirt, jacket or cardie the buttons are always sewn on.

Not so with jeans. Instead it’s one of those things you just punch in. Even though most jeans only have one single button.

So what, you might say. Most of the time – nothing. But when such a button comes out, there’s precious little you can do, because it leaves a hole in the material.

So when my daughter’s favourite pants lost the button she was so sorry. Only worn three times which is enough to be impossible to complain about and far to early to discard.

A bit of creative thinking, two scraps from worn-out jeans and my trusty sewing machine later, this was the result:

Only the backside really shows my ingeniousness. The front plainly works. And she is so happy she has me.

As the mother of a teenage girl that’s woth a lot.

Erica Jong and secrets kept from Mum

Sorry about two things here: The delay since last post and the lack of any snaps in this post. The reason for the former is work and an ambition to meet a ridiculous deadline (failed), for the latter sheer embarrassment.

It’s all about pants. And zippers in pants. So what does that have to do with an English feminist writer? Easy-peasy. Jong’s famous book “Fear of Flying” introduced the “zipless fuck”. Though I confess not to have read the book I have my own interpretation of what she means: When the zipper goes in your pants, you’re f’ed.

Or at least I certainly am. Knowing full well that a new zipper costs 20 times less than a new pair of pants I’m too stingy to ditch my pants and boy a new pair. I’m also too stingy to pay someone else to change the zipper. Now to do it correctly you need to remove the waistband or at least the front parts of it, remove the old zipper completely, baste in the new one, sew it on (and in the process likely as not break a needle) and finally re-attach the waist band.

Not for me such hassle. Cut out the old zipper, pin in the new one and sew it on. Fold in the excess material at zipper top. And last but not least do not let Mum see the sloppy job. Because in my case Mum is a trained seamstress.

Sturdy Swedish steel


My sewing machine. It’s old, about 50 years old or so, and a little worn though not as such camera shy. The sun just got in the way. It has some pattern seams if not the widest range and does not  make button holes automatically. Today it impressed me.

Levis med lap

Biting through a folded seam in jeans – and these are genuine Levis – just because I changed to the correct needle is neat. Only one bit proved impossible due to so many layers the gap between needle and machine tabel was too small. Nothing like quality. Oh and did I mention this green beauty and I are the same year?!