Make It Last: Machine Mending
My favorite Levi's have had a rough year. They have essentially gotten a complete overhaul in the last month, due to the need for major repairs. I put in a new crotch gusset to fix holes worn by my bike saddle. I patched a hole in the upper thigh with Sashiko Stitching (video here). Most recently, I patched the knee by machine (I'm working on the video for this one).
Each repair was done in a different way for a reason. I chose to add a gusset to the crotch because it would not only be an easy swap when the new crotch ultimately wears though from too much biking, but because having two seams to split the stress that was previously applied to just one seam will make the whole thing last longer.
The thigh is a low stress area to begin with. It tore because I snagged it on a very sharp corner, not because the fabric was wearing poorly at that location. Because this spot doesn't take a lot of stress, I could use Sashiko stitching to attach a non-interfaced patch keeping the area nice and soft. No one wants a big, stiff, bunch of fabric right at the thigh crease of their jeans.
The knee on the other hand is a high stress area. By the time I got around to fixing the hole in the knee it was as wide as the front leg of the pants, but it began as a hole the size of a dime. For this repair, I decided to place the patch on the inside of the jeans so that I could keep the loose threads on the outside of the jeans (I just liked the look of it). In order to access the knee on my sewing machine, I had to unpick the outseam of the leg. Yes, this is necessary and very simple, do not skip this step.
I could also use the opportunity to beef up the fabric at the outseam where it was starting to wear. I stitched the patch into the seam allowance behind the hole, and then stitched a geometric pattern right through both layers of fabric, turning them into one layer. Afterward, I just re-stitched the outseam, and the jeans were as good as new.
I am working on a video showing how I did the machine stitching for this repair. Possibly next week...fingers crossed.