Two Letters Re: Sewing, Mending and Altering Your Clothing After the Ball Drops

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James:
I would like to add a couple of things with regard to the recent article and letters on sewing.
 
1.  Get a button jar.  People used to save the buttons from discarded, worn out clothing and use them for repair or when making new items.  When a button hole begins to wear out even a novice with needle and thread can sew on a larger button and make the garment wearable until the button hole can be repaired. A riveted metal button cannot be sewn back on and neither can a broken button.  I have buttons that have outlasted several garments and are still doing their duty.
 
2.   Wal-Mart sells an assortment of needles suitable for most sewing tasks including some that are sturdy enough to sew leather.  They also sell a large spool of thread that is meant for sewing on buttons but is ideal for repairing work clothing as well.  Both of them together are less than $3.00.
 
3.  Next time you go to Goodwill or your favorite thrift look at the far end of the rack of denim pants/jeans.  Often you can find a pair of new or nearly new jeans in a very large size.  I bought a size 48 heavy denim jean that was  new or nearly new for $.99.  I hope to never be able to wear that size but by buying them I got several yards of heavy denim and a new zipper.  The back pockets are already cut and hemmed and can be used as patches on coat elbows or the knees of kids jeans.  When I buy a pair of bib overalls I put double knee patches on them right away.  It is easier to do this when they are new as the knees are not stretched out.  Put the patch on the outside of the overalls and leave the bottom of the patch un-sewn.  They dry faster when washed, you can put padding in there if you have to spend a long time on your knees and any lint or debris that finds its way behind the patch will fall out.  Jeans patched this way from the bottom of the pockets to below the knees are warmer and more comfortable to kneel in than before they were patched.  This large pair of jeans will provide patches for two pairs of bibs and that will double the wear that you can expect from them. – Larry K.

Jim,
Another reader commented: “Buttons. Lay in a store of metal buttons. I can’t tell you how many plastic, conventional buttons I’ve smashed working on something. Metal shirt and pant buttons don’t break and wear for years. Plan on making clothes using buttons, including suspender buttons. Zippers break, jam and are far harder to replace than good metal buttons.”

That’s another of the things that our zinc sandwich phony pennies are good for: Turning them into buttons is really simple and easy with a drill press and 1/32″ drill bit, but can be done with hand tools if necessary. – George S.  

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