Mending Roundup

I’ve been busy with needle and thread this week and last, getting some repairs out of the way and off my desk (where I have been carelessly piling them). And I mean a literal needle. While some of this (all?) would have been easier to do with a sewing machine, I don’t find it efficient to use mine for small jobs. For one thing, I can’t use it while watching my children for fear they will interfere with it somehow and get hurt and/or break something. For another, I have no good place to keep it set up, so I store it in my closet. In its original packaging. So setting it up is a minor pain. If, on the other hand, I sew by hand, I can take my sewing to the park with me.

So here’s what I’ve been up to:

Replacing camisole strap adjusters

61gmPf71gQS._SL1500_The strap adjusters broke on one of my sundresses, but it turns out you can buy replacements at any fabric store–I got these Dritz ones. I successfully repaired it, but made a couple of rookie mistakes that I’m going to share with you in hopes of saving you from making them, too:

  1. Not realizing I need both ends of the strap free. The strap needed to be re-sewn to the front of the dress, so I cleverly did that first… then realized I would need to cut it off again to replace the strap adjuster. Oops.
  2. Not replacing the circle part at the same time. As soon as I had finished the project, I realized that the little circle on the back (joining the strap to the much shorter strap attached to the back of the dress) was broken. So now I will have to cut the strap off again and start over. I don’t think I’ll have to cut if off the front of the dress, at least.

I found that I needed to look at an example to figure out how to thread it. Unfortunately, both sides had broken, so the dress itself had no working adjuster. I resorted to looking down the front of my shirt to study the adjuster on my bra. Had I worn my Genie Bra, I might have been thwarted altogether!

Sewing up a seam

Mr. FP scored a free T-shirt at a street fair, but a shoulder seam was not sewn all the way. I stitched it up for him. I have trouble working with knit fabrics on the machine anyway, so maybe it’s just as well I did this by hand.

Fixing a leather purse

Mr. FP bought me this leather purse from a street vendor in Rome, but one of the straps popped out of the little pocket holding it. The lady at

I glued this strap back into its socket. But will the glue hold? Stay tuned.

I glued this strap back into its socket. But will the glue hold? Stay tuned.

Jo- Ann recommended a glue called E6000, which seemed to do the trick.

Ironing on patches

This was not successful. I didn’t expect an iron-on patch to last forever, but… two washes? I liked the way it looked (I out a brown corduroy patch on khaki toddler pants to cover a whole in the knee), so I suppose I will just sew it on. I probably will need to get the sewing machine out for that one. Sigh.

What are you fixing this week? Or have you given up on something and thrown it out?


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About frugalparagon

I'm a part-time librarian and mom to two small boys. I blog about striving for the long-term goal of financial independence while running a tight ship at home.

8 responses to “Mending Roundup”

  1. Autumn @ The Barefoot Budgeter says :

    I’m terrible at sewing. I’ve never attempted to use a machine, but I have a thread and needle for small jobs. I’m ok with buttons, but fixing the hem on pants has never quite turned out right. I should probably put the time into learning how to do it correctly instead of taking the “ah, that can’t be too hard” approach.

    • frugalparagon says :

      I would not try to hem pants by hand. No way you can ever get the stitches neat and straight enough. I think it’s worth learning to use a machine! Especially if you are a nonstandard height like me. I was fortunate in that I grew up with a mom who sews. (See below! She knows everything! She’s the one who told me I could buy replacement strap adjusters, too.) I can sew approximately 23% as well as my mom but I’m trying to advance my skills.

      I’ve saved money not only by doing my own alterations, but also we have sometimes found clearance pants in Mr. FP’s waist size that were too long, and I hem them to the right length. Hemming casual pants with a machine is EXTREMELY easy.

  2. Mom says :

    Mending knits on the machine takes a “ballpoint” -yellow-band needle. You can even shorten T-shirts using it. Iron on patches- much like those on Girl Scout uniforms, usually require some stitching or a very hot iron and a lot of patience.

    • frugalparagon says :

      I always use a ball point needle for knits! I always still get puckers. I can never seem to get the right tension, right stitch, whatever. I will try a hotter iron next time I try to iron a patch. I wonder if I should use a damp pressing cloth like i do when I use Stitch Witchery–my Stitch Witchery usually holds until I take it off on purpose.

  3. Amy K says :

    Definitely check your patches – the last time I went to Jo-Ann’s the prominently displayed patches were just decorative – you were supposed to take them off before washing! The “serious” patches were down at ankle level and took me a while to find.

    My mending pile is getting large. I have 2 or 3 pairs of my husband’s jeans waiting to be patched, with the iron-on patches sitting right on top. I have a sun dress with a hole in the hem that should be easy to mend. A seam in the shoulder of one of my shirts came undone – we’re back to long sleeve weather so I should really get on that, I love that shirt! I did mend a hole in a pair of knit pants (yoga type). They were hand-me-downs for my daughter and I could have tossed them, but they’re such a cute Halloween print I wanted to get a couple of uses out of them. My husband also sewed a button back on a polo shirt while watching videos. So I guess the minor mending gets done, just not the ironing 🙂

    • frugalparagon says :

      Decorative patches?! That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard today. I ironed a patch on my pajama pants (I had caught them on a floor nail) to keep ahead of the cold weather here, too.

  4. thesingledollar says :

    I would never trust iron-on patches. Just go ahead and sew ’em on (you could also iron them, for a little extra stickiness, but they just won’t last.)

    For the purse, and other leather things, it’s worth buying a leather needle instead of trying to use glue. (You might notice, I don’t trust things that are supposed to stick.) Leather needles are the bomb; they cost a couple bucks and while most people don’t need to use them that often, they’re handy to have around for the two days a year you need to sew a purse strap back in. I even did a simple shoe repair with mine not that long ago.

    • frugalparagon says :

      Yeah, I sewed the patches on. I just did them top and bottom because that’s all I could reach on my sewing machine, but I think I will need to hand-sew the sides as well. I’ve used the purse a few times and the glue is holding for now, but buying a leather needle is definitely my backup plan.

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