Tag Archive | repairs

A stitch in time

“A stitch in time saves nine.”

I never understood this proverb when I was a kid. I think it was the “in time” bit that threw me. I was thinking of it in “A Wrinkle in Time” kind of context. Which then leads to all kinds of questions: Why are we stitching time? What happened to it? Saves nine whats? I don’t know when I finally figured out what it really meant — that a small repair made early would save time and work later. But now I get to live it. With the ability to sew comes the responsibility of repairs. Often, little rips and tears need to be addressed by hand and, as most of you know by now, I hate hand sewing. It’s tedious enough as it is, but then to do something uninteresting like sewing up a hole? Ugh.


Granota came to me yesterday with a tear in her winter nightgown that I had made a few months ago. She has a habit of sitting with her legs pulled up under it and then anchoring her toes into the fabric. Eventually, her toes weakened the fabric and drilled holes right through it. Lucky for me, this was a fix I could do on machine. I didn’t have any more of the penguin flannel left that I had used to make the nightgown, but I did find a scrap of plain blue flannel. I sewed it to the inside of the nightgown, covering the weak area of the fabric. On the outside, I zigzag stitched the tears closed so that they won’t rip any further. With damage like that, there’s not really any way to make it pretty.

Other items in my repair pile include three small stuffed animals: an elephant needs its tail sewn back on; a whale has a hole in its side; and the triceratops, well, I don’t know what it’s there for, but the kids brought it down. I’ve noticed a seam separating in my own flannel pajama pants that I made several years ago, not to mention the elastic seems to have lost its stretch. And speaking of elastic, do you remember that peasant top I made last spring? I made the elastic too tight in the sleeves and hate to wear it; it’s been in the pile for months. Now that the weather is warming up to where it’s actually conceivable to wear that shirt again, I need to address the elastic issue there, too. Rana’s coat is missing buttons. I could probably spend a whole day making all these little two minute fixes. I guess I should get to it before those solitary stitches increase to nine.

The unglamorous side of crafting

When my daughter, Granota, was nearly 2 years old, I made curtains for her room in a cute polka dot cotton lined with blackout fabric. But, there was one fatal flaw. To my eyes, they looked like curtains, but to a little girl, they looked like a jungle gym. We caught her one day in a leap from her bed into a full-on Tarzan swing, polka dot curtains clutched firmly in her chubby little hands. A few strands of thread were no match for our little swinging monkey, and the curtain ripped away from several of the rings. Too disgusted to take them down, I told myself, “She’ll just do it again anyways” and used that excuse to justify leaving the curtains in this sad state for a year and a half.

Finally, after being woken up at 6:30 too many times, I decided that today was the day to repair the curtains. I have a basket full of different items that need a repair of some sort or another, and usually, they take me less than twenty minutes to do. But it’s not exciting, it’s not glamorous, and I have lots of other ways I’d rather spend those twenty minutes. Really, I should just sit down and fix things as they get ripped or lose a button instead of throwing them into Sewing Purgatory. Maybe someday I’ll have enough willpower to do that.

    Hand-sewing is not particularly enjoyable for me. It is one of those necessary evils as far as I’m concerned. I will probably never make a couture gown (I won’t rule it out completely, but just don’t be astonished that you don’t hear my name mentioned alongside Chanel or Givenchy). I’m hoping someday to get good at embroidery; being such an ancient and delicate craft is appealing to me.  Right now, I’m putting it off until I find something worthy of embroidering. I have some ideas and, who knows, I might even get around to them before the end of the year.

When I took the curtains down, I saw that the thread had held strong around the rings, but the fabric had ripped out, which meant I had to darn it first before I could reattach the rings. Yay, more hand sewing. I missed lunch for this, but I had to get it done before Granota’s nap. “Nap” being mostly a figment of my imagination and wishful thinking.

Well, I didn’t finish before naptime and Granota squealed with delight when she saw the wide-open view she had through her window, minus one curtain. What is this fantastic vista that she was so excited about? The roof of our neighbor’s duplex. But hey, it was unobstructed. She may grow up to write real estate ads.

The curtains are back up now and Granota promises that she knows better than to pretend they are jungle vines (She also wanted everyone to take special note of her kitty cat calendar. Which is turned to January). So there’s one thing off my to-fix list and my sense of accomplishment shot right up there to… ambivalent.