Fixing Jeans


Glue stick works amzingly well! I’ve heard all over the place people using regular old glue stick for basting. I imagined a dreadful, sticky mess, and passed it off as people with poor taste.  Well, I actually tried it for myself when was fixing a pair of Lachlan’s jeans, for lack of a better idea of what to do. As anyone who has tried mendind heavy denim knows, pins are impossible in it. First off, the bend. Second off, if they don’t bend, they’re so thick you can hardly get them through the fabric. And thirdly, once you finally get them there, the pull and pucker the fabric so bad, you wind up taking them all out, and winging it.

In this case, Lachlan’s jeans were perfectly fine except for ripping and fraying at the back pocket corners. So I trimmed the frays, and then I cut out small patches from a different pair of jeans. I got them good and sticky, mactched grains of the fixers with the fixees, and stuck them in place. Worked like a dream! It didn’t gum up my needle or anything. I used my 3-step overlock on the edges, and then trimmed the patches. Perfect!

A hump-jumper is a tremendous help when sewing denim.

Another thing I noticed about sewing with denim–although my brand new Husqvarna Viking machine has the power to go through a flat felled denim seam turned under twice (as one would in traditional sewing), I cannot sew through it if it is more than a certain thickness. Because the tension disengages? No, though I have seen this on many other (inferior, in my opinion) machines. For this machine, it is different. After some slow experimentation (hand-wheel only), I discovered what the problem was. Since the needle enters the fabric so soon, and the feed-dogs continue to pull the fabric through, the machine winds up pulling the needle along with the fabric. This causes the needle to hit upon the face plate–which is NOT good at all. (I only bent the tip of my needle, but it could have been much worse.) I did actually hem a pair of jeans at the dealers before I bought my machine, but it was one of my jeans. I suppose it must have been a lighter weight (and thus thinner) denim than what Dad’s jeans are. At any rate, I am satisfied that it is not a lack of power that limits me, so that is good.

I wonder if I might be able to still do it if I lowered the feed-dogs as one would for free-motion quilting? Hmm. . .maybe some day I will get brave and try, but for now I think I will stick with over-locking the raw edge and stitching it down. When I do it that way, the flat-felled seam is only folded over once, instead of twice.

Speaking of sewing denim with the feed-dogs down, I wonder if I could finally patch knees this way? I wonder if I really want to find out? After all, do I really WANT to spend all my time hemming everybody else’s jeans? Maybe it would be better to just let their jeans wear out. . .

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