Sunday, 16 October 2011

Day 107: A Stitch in Time

Is there any implement more useful to the frugalist than a needle and thread? 

This week it is buttons.  Upon digging out my winter coat, I remembered belatedly that a button had fallen off last February.  Although I did not have the foresight to do the actual stitch in time, I did at least have the foresight to store said button in the coat pocket.  Then my light raincoat decided to shed a button today as well, so I clearly need to set aside half an hour for a couple of repairs.

I was brought up by a mother who is highly skilled in all areas of needlework.  Having very little money back when we were children, she used to sew and knit all our school uniforms and a goodly proportion of our clothes as well.  There is a highly embarrassing photo of me and my sisters, all in identical green nylon trousers and hand-knitted green tank tops (sweater vests).  But hey - it was the 70s - I think we can cut my mother a bit of slack.  And they were very well made trousers and tank tops!

Despite producing two daughters whose abilities tend more towards the cerebral than the practical (the third daughter, my younger sister, combines the two superbly), Mother has at least succeeded in passing on some basic skills to her offspring.  But despite her best efforts, my ability does not extend far beyond the button-sewing-on level. 

So while it is a shame that I cannot save money by making my own clothes (!!), I can at least look after the ones I've got.  I can sew on a button, repair small rips in seams, and have even been known to darn a woollen glove.  Mother also darns the toes of her nylon stockings and tights, which extends their lives quite considerably.  As I have said before, I think my toes wreck the knee-highs too much even to attempt to mend them - but I confess that is often because I have not done a more immediate repair. 

I am therefore resolving, even as I write this, to be more truly my mother's daughter this week.  I shall lay out all my winter wardrobe and make sure it is mended and fit to wear.  If I am super organised, I may even be able to do the same for the summer wardrobe before packing it away for the next few months.  But that, I suspect, is very wishful thinking indeed.  I am constantly oppressed by my good intentions.


Jan said...

Go on, do it. It will make you feel so very virtuous afterwards.

I have lost a button . I wore a brand new shirt (present) for the first time yesterday. Buttoned cuffs just below the elbow. Today one cuff is unbuttoned and I have no idea where the button is. Moral of story, check buttons on new clothes and reinforce if necessary. This was an expensive, well made shirt otherwise. I did actually reinforce buttons on pants last summer after I noticed each button had precisely two strands of thread through it.

Jan said...

Hurrah. Button found. I'm glad because while I have plenty of replacements of ordinary small shirt buttons, this button was unusual. I've been unpacking boxes in my spare room and when I finally vacuumed newly re-discovered floor, there was the button. I'll check all buttons on the shirt now.

Actually, I unpacked what was labelled as "button thread." Heaven knows how old this is. I tried to snap it, thinking it had probably perished in the years it's been packed in my mother's bits and pieces. It was still so strong that it almost cut my fingers. It just occurred to me when writing this that perhaps it's button thread for buttons on boots. I've already found a button hook for boots. I think these have possibly come from my grandmother. I'll check it again and will use if possible. It looks almost indestructible.