Sewing is a fine hobby. You can make yourself all sorts of cool things and fit them to yourself. But if word gets out that you sew, you start to get requests. Can you hem these pants? Fix this zipper? Take this in? Let out these seams? And of course, can you do it for free? As a fairly selfish sewist, I usually say no and if I do say yes, you might be waiting a while. I have a pair of Mr Asks pants awaiting hemming, that have been there so long, that they no longer fit! I much prefer to sew nice things I can wear than do boring alterations and mending. I can even stretch to nice new things for my girls. Mending though? But if I feel kindly, I can make exceptions for family.
My nephew has secured a welding apprenticeship and has four pairs of work pants that are trashed! Ripped stitching, torn crotches and of course an army of holes that started as sparks. Apprentice wages aren’t great when you are out of home and work pants are pricey. Like anywhere from $60-$120 a pair pricey! So I said I would take a look. And when I looked, I knew this was going to be quite a job! I’m really proud of my nephews, who live together out of home. They are really getting it together. So in proud Aunty mode, I said I would do what I could to rescue and mend.
Part of the challenge was where the damage was located. It would be hard to manoeuvre my machine in there! Definitely need to go to the free arm mode (as you see me doing above). Some of the areas were shredded and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stabilize them enough. Plus sewing through layers of tough, stiff fabric can be really hard. On the upside, these repairs were about function and looks weren’t the same sort of priority. I decided to start on the biggest areas first and see what was possible. When my nephew works onsite he must have clothing with no rips, tears or damage and he recently had to buy two new pairs of pants. If I could save even two pairs that could then be worn for day to day, it would be a win.
A few years back I wrote a post about how to mend a hole in a pair of jeans. This would be very similar but since I had so much to try and patch, I knew there would be some tricky bits I hadn’t covered before. Plus I have a video of me doing it! The jeans mending post has been a super popular and I thought this would be a good follow up. I have used the mending technique I used in the jeans post several times since posting it. I prefer to use interfacing in most cases because it is more flexible but these work pants needed the toughness of iron on mender! If you don’t have iron on mender, use vliseofix (iron on, double sided sticky stuff often used in applique) and matching cotton drill instead. I also changed out my needle for a denim needle, to make it easy to get through the thickness. Despite being freshly washed, these pants smelled of hot metal, which was particularly noticeable during pressing. For a second I thought that there was something wrong with my machine and then I twigged lol!
The first pair had a very frayed and strained crotch with some smaller holes. As per the jeans, I ironed on the mender patch and stitched over the area. I made the crotch patch (another thing about sewing is that you say ‘crotch’ so often it becomes a non giggly word) fairly big as the fabric was so shredded. I made sure to sew over a bigger area and over the seam too, for reinforcement. I can only hope that it has a combined effect of stabilizing the area enough so it holds. The smaller holes were very difficult to reach, so I was only able to sew horizontally. It should hold the patch in place and be sufficient.
The second pair was missing all stitching from the bottom of the zipper flap, right down to the crotch seam. Plus I could see holes/wear when I held the area up to the light. I decided to stitch the seam closed first. Due to the bulky nature of the pants and the difficulty getting in to the area, it wouldn’t stand as a repair on its own but it didn’t have to. It just kept things together so I could patch and sew as per the previous pair.
The second pair also a decent sized, almost square hole, with lots of broken threads. I patched and sewed that too. I put a paper towel under the hole and arranged the threads into the gap before ironing on the patch. I though the patch might stick to the pressing surface or paper towel (in the gap) but luckily it did not.
The third pair had an L shaped tear and the fourth had a rip in the knee. The knee was such an awkward area to access! Which brings me to the lessons learned.
- I think it’s okay to sew in just one direction (rather than both horizontally and vertically) if you have no other option. I really had no other options when it came to some holes. I just couldn’t move the fabric any other way.
- I saw that the iron on mender patch left some gum on my sewing needle so, I either need to toss it or save it for the next round. I’ll probably toss it because gummy needles can cause damage to the machine. I am so glad I used a denim needle though!
- The front crotches seem to be the point of failure in these pants. I’m sure it has something to do with the body position needed for the work or perhaps where a tool rests? I’ve asked my nephew to look out for signs of wear because it’s better to fix it sooner rather than later. If anyone has any crotch reinforcement ideas that work, I’d love to hear!
I feel like I should win some sort of mending medal for all of that! My previous jeans repair for Mr Ask added eight months of wear. Hopefully, I’ve added some life to those pants for my nephew. I know that he was really grateful that I would look at mending them, so I think he will be happy when he gets these in the morning. I did get the sweetest thank you text when I told him they were done. I also hope that no one will give him a hard time for wearing something mended. I’m pretty sure that if someone did mention it, he would defend my mend xxx
P.S. Yes, there is fur on the pants. For once it’s not from my cats! My nephews have their own cats, Macy Marie and Charlie. And also Mums doggo Reg was very interested! The pants are King Gee type but not all that brand, they are dark blue but I was sewing on an awesomely sunny day and the natural light bleached out lots of pics