Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Repairing a Wool Sweater

During the winter, an optional part of Husband's uniform is a sweater. This lovely dark blue wool sweater looks really great on him. Not that the military cares about that, but I do. A few days ago Husband was in a meeting and afterward an officer pointed out a hole in the back of Husband's sweater. Oops. He brings it home to me to mend. I have never mended a sweater before, but a quick survey of the interwebs showed me that this would indeed be a simple process.

We could afford to simply buy a new sweater. It is the same one that Husband was issued after basic training, and thanks to his bachelor clotheskeeping ignorance, the sweater has felted down and is starting to look shabby. But it isn't out of regulation and part of living thoughtfully and frugally is using things til they are worn out, then re-purposing. (I'm thinking someday this will make a great diaper cover!)

I saw online that the repair could be easily accomplished without any special tools. However, since I didn't have the right color embroidery floss, I had time to spare and I ended up coming across an old darning egg in my favorite junk shop. I'm loving having my "discretionary" money in cash. I don't have to wonder if I have enough money to buy something. 

Materials Needed:
-Holey sweater
-Yarn the same weight and fiber as the sweater (you know those little loops of yarn that come attached to new sweaters? Yeah. Save those.) OR - if you're a thrift store addict like me, embroidery floss will do a nice job. It's much cheaper than yarn (I paid 0.36/skein) and comes in a rainbow of colors.
-Darning needle (the really really big pointy needle)
-Darning Egg (optional)

Turn the garment inside out and place the darning egg inside and grasp the egg inside the fabric. Don't stretch the fabric tight, especially if the sweater is lightweight. Stretching could make the damage worse, and/or warp the fibers. Weave the needle through from side to side, pulling the loose loops back together firmly. Because this sweater is felted down and gets stretched a bit, I doubled over my stitches. On a more delicate garment I would probably not do that. Knot and cut the thread, and turn the garment the right way. 

Look how great that darn looks! From the outside of the sweater you can't even see the stitches. Just a few minutes of work saved us $35 + shipping. This is simple, frugal, green living.

Just a thought

I often hear the "I don't know how" excuse from people who admire what I do, and want to [knit, sew, crochet, bake, cook]. Ignorance is easily remedied, especially in today's world. I think what holds so many people back is fear of failure, or fear of making a mess. I tackle plenty of things I've never done before, and yes. I have failures and messes all the time. Just ask my husband. So many times when a project is completed I sit down and critique the process and the product, hoping to learn from my mistakes and improve.

So please, don't hold back from tackling something. Just give it a shot. What is the worst that can happen? Ask Husband about the time I cut too much off while hemming his expensive wool uniform pants. The poor guy had to wear high waters for a few weeks til I washed them (with his repeated assurances that it did NOT need to be dry cleaned) and they shrank to clownish proportions. Those pants represented two big mistakes lessons: 1) measure twice, cut once and 2) when in doubt, dry clean.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, this is what my living room looked like last night. I didn't take a photo this evening because I'm sitting here with a heating pad on my sore back. But the view is pretty much the same, except the kids are in bed.

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