I have this purse that I made more than 10 years ago. At the time, I realized that I had begun collecting purses, not out of the desire to have a collection, but because each one was not quite right. I was the Goldilocks of purses: this one was too small, that one was too big, this one didn’t have enough pockets, etc.
The only way to end the vicious cycle, and avoid being buried alive in purses was to make my own purse specifically to fit my needs. Also, I wanted to brag about it. And I still do. As you are witnessing right now.
The problem is after 10 years of hauling my crap around, the purse started to have some issues, like this gaping hole in the side:
I was worried the whole thing would give way, because the hole is directly under the strap. So what’s a clever chick to do? Fix it! By the way, this purse is made from a pair of pants that shrank IMMEDIATELY in the wash, and I never got to wear, a t-shirt that shrank after I wore it to death, a belt, a Batman I cut off a child’s t-shirt, and fabric scraps. See? I have always been this crafty and
A friend of mine happened to be getting rid of some denim scraps, so I gave them a good home. I think more of them will show up here eventually. I cut a long rectangle of denim, folded it in half, and tucked all the edges inside. (At this stage, make sure it’s big enough to cover the hole). I then sewed all the way around it. Doing it this way makes the patch extra strong, and seals the raw edges inside so you don’t have to worry about it unraveling.
Next, I pinned the patch inside the purse, over the hole, and sewed it thoroughly to the purse. I stitched the purse strap to the patch directly to make sure the weight of the purse is evenly distributed, and the connection is strong.
This is what it looks like from the outside. I know most of the time when you’re patching things, you don’t want to see the patching. To that I say, “Meh”. This gives it character, and anyway that hole is so raggedy I don’t have any idea how I could have patched it invisibly, other than getting a Robin patch to go over top. And come on, Robin is a dork.
Here’s the final view of the inside. I used lots of stitches, and short pieces of thread, so that if one breaks, there are others to keep the patch in place until I can repair it.
I have used this method for patching blue jeans, too. It works great if you can find a close color of denim, because then it looks intentional, like those super expensive torn jeans the kids are wearing these days. Those kids, with their Rock Music, and their terrible clothes they stole from my generation! *Shakes fist in general direction of youths*
I tend to favor caulk for many home repairs. It’s easy to use, and looks clean and fantastic when you’re done. There happens to be a gap by our front door, between the tile and the door frame that collects leaves and other atrocities. I’m sick of the mess, so today I got down there to have at it.
I got down with the vacuum and a tiny screw driver to dig out as much of the mess as possible. I found 3 screws and more leaves than seemed physically possible in the process. I then sprayed everything down with vinegar and scrubbed it with paper towels, then let it dry.
You can see the gap here. It’s almost a 1/4 inch wide. After everything dried, I went to the garage to find my equipment. You will need: caulking gun, tube of caulk, paper towels, scissors, and caulk smoothing tool.
Caulking gun with tube of caulk already in it. When you go to put a new tube of caulk in, don’t cut the tip off until you have it securely in the caulking gun. Then you can use scissors and cut a tiny bit of the white tip off. Any time you have the caulking gun just sitting around, have a paper towels under it, because stuff will squeeze out slowly, but continuously.
I don’t know exactly what these things are called, but it’s specifically for smoothing caulking down into corners. These things are super cheap, and worth every penny. Don’t think you can use you finger or something and get a similar result.
So I filled the gap in with lots of caulk. It was really deep, but I went ahead and filled it. (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!!) (btw, it was very hard not to name this post “Why I Love Caulk”).
This is what it looks like when you first spread the caulk.
And this is after one quick swipe of the caulking tool. Super easy and fast. You can see I need to paint, but caulking comes first. Once it dries you can paint over it. This particular caulk will stay white, but they make other kinds, including one that goes on white and dries clear. I prefer the white in the bathroom because it makes the shower look all nice and clean. This particular problem was very easy to take care of, and it took me longer to write this post than to do the actual work!
My mom-in-law gave me an old quilt they had lying around the house. It was in pretty rough shape, and she doesn’t really have the time or inclination to fix something that busted up, so I took over. It’s probably from the 80’s, or 70’s at the earliest. If you come across some kind of antique quilt, for the love of all the snakes in Texas, please do not do what you will see here! Antiques should be left alone, unless an expert (or the Antiques Roadshow) tells you otherwise.
This is just one example of the injuries to this quilt. There were several patches missing, or so damaged that I just decided to add a patch over them, rather than trying to reattach the damaged pieces. To do so I dug through my fabric collection, and found pieces as similar to the fabrics already in the quilt as possible. Fortunately, this is a true scrap quilt, with a huge variety of fabrics, so I was able to use stuff I had on hand.
You can see the craziness inherent in the quilt. At the bottom are some of the fabrics I planned to use. To add a patch, I basically eyeballed everything. This quilt is very in-exact anyway, which made it very simple to repair. If it had some kind of precise pattern to it, this would have been a lot harder. I just picked a chunk of fabric that I thought would look good, cut a piece big enough to cover the wound, plus about 1/2 inch all the way around for hemming.
The way I did this was to lay the quilt out, lay the patch on top of the damaged area, and fold the edges of the patch under, to prevent it unraveling in the future. If you leave the raw, cut edge of the fabric hanging out it will slowly disintegrate, which is why you fold the raw edge under, which is called hemming. Fold it under, and pin the patch flat onto the quilt. Feel free to go all the way through the quilt. Don’t worry about only sewing onto the top layer, because sewing all the way through is what makes it quilted.
Personally, I didn’t iron anything, but you can iron each patch after you’ve folded the edges under. This ensures that the fabric stays in that position, and you don’t have the edge keep popping out. My iron unfortunately vanished in the move, so I just pinned the crap out of everything.
The best way I found to sew this is called a running stitch. The way I do this is not necessarily perfect, but it’s easy. You don’t go up and down all the way through the fabric. I hold the area that’s going to be sewn, and fold it in half along the line that will be sewn. I then sew through both layers at once, sticking the needle in the back, pulling all the way through, then sticking it in the back again. Let me go fabricate some pictures I didn’t take at the time, then I’ll be right back.
You can see the pin on the left, and the needle going all the way through in the middle. I used white thread on dark fabric so it would show up, but generally you’d want to use something that blended better.
This is the first stitch. You can see I pulled the needle all the way through, and inserted it into the same side as before. The maroon fabric is the patch, by the way, and the blue is original to the quilt.
I made big, fat stitches so they’d be easier to see on my poopy little camera. Generally, you’d want to make smaller stitches. Here you can see what the series of stitches should look like.
The running stitch is great because it’s easy, fast, and super versatile. I’ll be referring to this in an upcoming post, so be sure to practice! I’ve also heard this called a whip stitch, which makes sense. You hand makes a whipping motion as you do a series of stitches.
Always remember this is a hand-made item, so all the little imperfections, and uneven stitching make it look more authentic. This is not the process you’d use for creating a quilt from scratch, but you can use this method to patch or sew a ton of things.
This is a shot of the (mostly) repaired quilt. It’s now sound enough to be used and run through the washing machine, but it needs a whole new backing put on. The backing is the plain fabric on the back which holds the whole thing together. My plan for this is to buy a king sized sheet at the thrift store, and just layer it on top of the fabric already on the quilt. Fabric at Hobby Lobby, or wherever, generally is only a yard wide, which means you’d have a seam running down the middle of the quilt. This is generally a no-no, but extra wide fabric is expensive.
Hence, thrift time!! And my loyal minions know I loooove me a thrift store! Sheets are usually cheap, and I make sure to get a high thread count, which makes it more durable. That’s a tale for another post, however.
Yes, there is a glut of posts today, but I’ve been hauling my booty all over town for the Census Bureau lately, so there’s a back-log. I have a bunch of T-shirts that are waaaayyy to big for me, but I don’t want to cut them up for the t-shirt quilt of doom I’ve been collecting for for 5 years. If I ever need to wear XXXL, I want to have these shirts available to me. So what’s a clever chick to do? Copy my sister-in-law!
She has dozens of concert t-shirts, but since she’s ridiculously petite, they rarely fit her. Now she has dozens of kick-ass throw pillows that show off her musical tastes (vital, being here in Austin), and add comfy-ness to her living room.
You will need: T-shirts, pillows that fit inside said t-shirts, thread to match aforementioned t-shirts, needles, pins, and scissors.
I used regular bed pillows, folded in half. I have a bunch that are so thin they are laughable, so I designated them for this project.
I did a running stitch around the outside to hold it together while I was working on the project. As you can see it’s not exactly a decent shape, which definitely affects the way the finished project turns out. Keep that in mind. The running stitch is explained in my quilt repair post.
The trickiest part of this project is folding the t-shirt around the pillow.
First, center the pillow under the artwork inside the shirt. This whole process would probably be easier if I had used real pillow forms, but I didn’t feel like it. Meh. Now keeping the artwork (in this case, Bettie Page tying up a fellow hot chick) centered, fold the arms, neck, and bottom excess fabric into itself, behind the pillow. Try to create even seams running all the way down the sides, top, and bottom. I, being as clever as I am, could not find a simple way to do this. It’s possible using square pillows and an iron would simplify the process, but I decided to do it this way. Because I like a challenge (or maybe I’m stubborn).
As soon as you have any part of this arranged how you might want it, pin the be-Jesus out of it. (Side note: my computer had be-Jesus in it’s vocabulary. Odd). Use your running stitch all around the outside. If you truly intend to possibly wear these shirts again, use large, spaced out stitches, so there will be less to pull out later, but do them close enough together so that the pillow stays in one piece.
I decided to skip to showing you the finished products, and leave out all my swearing and hair-pulling that Hubby got to enjoy. Oh, that Bettie Page is a naughty girl! I now have three gorgeous pin-up pillows, where I previously had shirts I couldn’t wear taking up space in my closet. Not bad for 2 days work, while sitting in front of the idiot box. I loooove me some pin-up girls!