Thread Theory

Welcome to the new era of menswear sewing. Go ahead and create something exceptional!


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5 Reasons to Repair Your Garment Instead of Replacing It

 

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We now stock locally crafted lathe turned darning mushrooms, mini pin cushions and acorn pendants in our shop!

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You will probably recognize that these are the work of skilled sewing tool craftsman, Wray Parsons, who lives an hour south of us in Nanoose Bay on Vancouver Island.  We have devotedly stocked quite a few of his other sewing tools for the last couple of years.

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As someone who hopes to create garments that will last indefinitely, I am especially excited to add Wray’s darning mushrooms to our shop.  Aside from the way they align with my values (more on that momentarily), I think these mushrooms are incredibly beautiful!  They are turned from Yew wood that features the most intricate of swirled patterns.

Darning Mushroom and Mending

Wray crafts them with a needle case hidden inside the mushroom stem and a flat base so that the mushrooms can sit on your shelf as they would on a forest floor.

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A darning mushroom is a traditional tool that allows you to maintain even tension while mending a hole in a knit garment (such as a sock).  Even if you don’t yet know how to darn, you can use this mushroom as a needle case and a friendly reminder of a skill that you would like to learn one day!

To get you started, you might like to check out these tutorials on darning:

Darning Tutorial (Wool and Chocolate)

Make Do and Mend (Colette Patterns)

How -To: Darning (Zero Waste Home)

In honor of this new addition to our shop, I have a guest blog post to share with you today!

I imagine most of us who sew agree, it is well worth repairing your lovingly sewn garments rather than tossing them to make new ones.  I was recently chatting with Wesley, the founder of iManscape.com about what sewing means to him (as a person who, as far as I know, does not engage in sewing as a pastime/passion/hobby).  Wesley is a devoted menswear and self care enthusiast.  He quickly brought up the practice of mending his wardrobe and offered to write an article for my blog explaining why everyone interested in menswear should possess the skills and mindset to mend.

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Without further ado, here is Wesley to tell you why menswear should be mended:


 

Wear and tear can take their toll on even the most resilient garments. Despite your best efforts and care, your clothes will fray and rip from time to time. When this happens, the obvious step is to throw it out and buy a new piece of clothing. But what if there were another option?

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Learning to repair your own clothing is a valuable skill that used to be commonplace in society. While it may be time consuming the practice has a variety of benefits:

  1. Cost Effective: Depending on the type of repairs it will almost always be less expensive to repair an old garment than to purchase a brand new one.
  2. Prolong the Life of Your Favorite Clothing: Minor rips, tears, and frays that do not render the garment useless are common. Like a chip in a windshield, however, it will continue to spread. Learning how to make minor repairs now, and larger repairs later, will extend the life of that favorite shirt or pair of socks.
  3. Learn a Valuable Skill: Learning how to repair your clothing is a worthwhile talent to develop. Learning basic sewing and mending techniques will also allow you to make alterations to your existing clothes as well.
  4. A Worthy Return On Investment: Purchasing an article of clothing is an investment in time, fashion, and appearance. Whether your clothes rip or fray within one week of ownership or one year, accidents happen. Learning how to repair and extend the life of that garment helps maintain a positive return on the investment of your purchase.
  5. Stay Trendy: If the history of fashion has taught us anything it’s that everything is cyclical. Prolonging the life of your garments helps ensure they’ll last until the next time they come into fashion.

Tools of the Trade

There are a variety of tools to consider, each with specific uses. When starting out, you needn’t have all of them, however some common tools  you may want to consider are:

  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape
  • Seam Ripper
  • Thimble
  • Needles and Tread
  • Darning Tools, i.e. mushroom, egg

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Those Darn Darns

Darning is a method used to repair holes and worn areas in fabric. One of the more recognizable tools is the darning mushroom. Darning mushrooms are commonly used to repair socks, stockings, or leggings. The tool is noted for its mushroom-shaped head which the sock is stretched over. The affected area is held tight and is therefore spread out and more easy to work with.

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When first learning how to mend clothing, socks and other footwear are a great place to start. This way if you mess up, you can always cover it with your shoe! If you choose to go this route, a darning mushroom is an essential tool of the trade.

Speaking of Trends

The practice of repairing one’s own clothing has experienced a resurgence in recent times. There may be a learning curve involved, but given a little practice and guidance you can be mending your threads in no time.

Author Bio: Wesley is the owner of iManscape.com. A place of manly things such as the best safety razors, beards, and of course manscaping. To see more from Wesley visit iManscape or like them on Facebook.


 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on mending, Wesley!  It is interesting to hear the perspective of someone who doesn’t spend their days sewing and blogging about sewing (a surprisingly rare sort of person in my life!).  I am happy to hear that clothing and the work that went into constructing the fabric, design, and the clothes themselves is valued by someone who hasn’t actually performed the task themselves.

As someone who sews, do you feel inclined to mend garments?  I must admit that, while I am quick to mend clothing and linens that I have sewn, I am prone to letting store bought clothing wear out.  I think I should reconsider this as I will likely always have a few store bought pieces in my wardrobe.

Check out the darning mushrooms in our shop >

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4 Comments

Artist Made Wooden Sewing Tools

When Matt and I were at CREATE recently, a woman who took my Comox Trunks sewing class told us that her dad made beautiful wooden sewing tools.  He had some on display at the front entrance to CREATE so we went to check them out – and knew they would be a wonderful addition to our shop!

Wooden Sewing Tools

Wray Parsons is a skilled wood worker on Vancouver Island who specializes in creating sewing tools.  He is very particular with his selection of woods – he uses local wood or sustainably harvested exotic woods and creates precision instruments in very small batches.

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Each and every one of his tools is unique because of his wood choice and the different design elements he likes to add.  We’ve added a drop down wood selection list to each item in our store so you can choose the wood you like best!

As you can tell, I really admire Wray’s woodworking but, as a fellow designer, I perhaps relate even more to the time and effort he has put into creating very functional designs.

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The large, three legged velvet pin cushion, for instance, features a stable wooden base that prevents pins from slipping deep into the cushion or poking out the bottom (my pet peeves with the classic tomato shaped cushion!).

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The needle minders he makes include very strong magnets so that your pins won’t slip off.

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He includes one magnet embedded within the needle minder and a second one is loose so that you can sandwich non-magnetic things (a table leg perhaps?) and your needle minder will always be within easy reach!

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The seam rippers are probably my favorite item – the tapered handle really showcases the interesting grains in each type of wood.

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Wray has chosen high quality metal blades which include a safety ball.  Several years ago I cut myself really badly using a seam ripper that didn’t have a safety ball so this little feature is very necessary to me!

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To make these seam ripper’s even safer, Wray creates matching wooden lids that fit extremely snugly (unlike those silly clear plastic ones that are forever sliding off and cracking in my sewing box!).

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If you’d like to see all the wood choices and read more details, head on over to our store!

And one last note before I post this: In case anyone is reading this while planning gifts for me (***hint*** Matt, my darling hubby :P), a Zebra Wood Seam Ripper is on my wishlist!