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Repairing It

Why the needle and thread ain’t dead yet

There are things that are worth repairing..and there are things that perhaps are not worth repairing(cheap knit tops from big box stores come to mind).

On the other hand, your Aunt Toby is not asked to do repairs very often, and even less often by the DH, so when he handed over what looked like a dearly departed silk tie with a sniffle, I couldn’t deny the request. After all, it was a gift from ME, for heaven’s sake. One hundred percent silk, famous name on the label. Hubba Hubba. But, a wreck, nonetheless. A testament to how often the DH wears it, this tie had a lower half that frankly looked as if someone had taken a piece of sand paper to it (see photo above). The hand stitching which held the edges together had loosened and come apart and the bottom half (which as anyone who wears a tie knows, is the part that goes to the inside, against the wearer’s shirt and goes unseen) had, in being worn, rubbed against the DH’s shirt (who knew the fabric from men’s cotton dress shirts could eviscerate silk?) and had literally shredded and worn away. (more…)

Bridging the gap

I think all of us who are female have had this experience: You see a dress or a top in a shop and fall in love with it (oh, ok, so you don’t fall in love with it, but it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, clothing-wise) and the price is right and you try it on and it fits.

Except for one thing. The opening in the front, is, shall we say, a bit too far ‘south’ for your comfort. Now, part of the issue is that the pattern drafting software that seemingly all designers and manufacturers use has some bit of code in it that says (more…)

Anatomy of a Broken Zipper

Once upon a time, your Aunt Toby did a little thing on replacing zippers in blue jeans. This is an entirely different kettle of halupkis (as we say here at Chez Siberia): A separating zipper in a jacket. (cue the scary music)

What makes this zipper different than a jeans zipper? (more…)

Things Worth Knowing: Fixing Glove Fingers

I don’t know where I read this but someone wrote that only the rich can afford to buy cheap shoes. This makes perfect sense to me, since a good, well-made pair of shoes is something that can be repaired, resoled, shined up and used for a very long time, whereas cheaply made shoes can’t be repaired and end up in the trash. The corollary to this homey rule is that women’s shoes, because they are all (I repeat: A double hockey sticks) made cheaply with glue, spit, and goodness knows what else, can only be cosmetically repaired and end up in the trash anyway. The day I can find a pair of women’s dress shoes with sewn on leather soles with a welt so that I can take them to the shoemaker to have them repaired is the day I buy them in brown, blue, black and tan or cream and get rid of everything else in the closet. That will also be the day that I personally win the Kentucky Derby, the big lottery, and magically lose 50 pounds off my hips. (more…)

Turning a Sweater into a Vee-Neck

I know a lot of people out there LOVE to go to thrift and consignment shops. Sometimes it’s for the bargain hunting and sometimes, it’s for vintage. But sometimes, what they’ve got is…just…not….perfect. And yes, Aunt Toby knows I covered this sort of thing before, but I think it bears repeating and re-demonstrating, which is when things are not perfect, (more…)

A heel you can fix

Aunt Toby has written about shoes and the total unfairness of it all vis a vis men’s shoes vs. women’s shoes cost of shoes

But here is as good an example and demonstration of the unfairness of it. (more…)

More Wool: A Prince of an Idea

It’s time to ‘fess’ up, as they say. Aunt Toby has never..ever…met HRH Charles Philip Arthur George, the Prince of Wales.
We just don’t move in the same, as we might say, circles.
But on the other hand, if we did meet, we’d have a lot to talk about.
He’s a organic gardener. Aunt Toby’s an organic gardener.
He believes in good solid architecture. I’m into barns, too.
He’s been a fierce advocate of protecting the ecology for years; moi aussi.

And he believes that the world would be a healthier, happier, warmer place if people wore more wool. (more…)

You Can Do This: Fix the Umbrella!

One of the great annoyances of life is not having an umbrella when you really need it. Another one is to open it up and find out that, damn, one of the attachments at the edge has broken off, or is missing, or has rotten out or something else. We’re not talking about damage like the picture at the top. that’s a total blow out and although with some manipulation, you might be able to get all the ribs back down, I’m not sure that anyone can turn it back into a usable umbrella. (more…)

Oh Sheet

The sheets supposedly chosen as being the finest (whatever that means – ‘best quality? Most comfy? Hardest wearing? No clue) in the world are supposedly made by Thomas Lee. They are 500 threat count pima cotton. best sheets They cost $239 regular/ $179 on special. That’s one fitted, one flat, and two pillowcases.

Now, it’s not that Aunt Toby and the DH are willing to sleep on burlap sacks. A good closely woven cotton (ok, perhaps with a bit of poly in it) sheet set is a joy to sleep on (more…)

What a Waist! (waistband, that is)

There are places in sewing an article of clothing that I like to call “drop dead points”. These are places where if you make a mistake, you might as well pitch the entire deal as trying to fix the item becomes truly onerous. The first one is at the cutting out stage; if you don’t measure your important bits on the paper pattern, you could end up cutting out the wrong size. Even if it’s too large, it’s a pain in the neck to fix. One of my favs is putting on a waistband. There have been a number of times when I’ve made slacks or a skirt which ‘seemed’ to fit me perfectly and then after I put on the waistband, the item looked hideous. (more…)

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