It is not enough to weep for our lost landscapes; we have to put our hands in the earth to make ourselves whole again. Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.
Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants
Hey there! I was wondering if you guys knew anything about fixing shoes- I have a nice pair of work boots that are perfectly fine, aside from the wear of the fabric behind my heel. It gives me blisters, but I’m sure that if I knew how to patch it properly these could last me several more years.
Ouch, blisters suck! Let's have a look.
Mending worn-out shoes
Do you mean the lining at the heel of a shoe?
(Image source) [ID: close-up on the inside of the back of a sneaker. The white lining has a large hole in it, revealing the material below it.]
This bit of fabric tends to develop holes for a lot of people: as we walk, our heel rubs against it which causes it to wear out. Luckily, it's pretty easy to patch up.
Instructables has a good tutorial on how to mend holes at the heel of a shoe.
Get a scrap of fabric that's slightly bigger than the hole. Make sure to pick a fabric that's comfortable to you, as your heel will be rubbing against it a lot. If the material behind the hole is very rough, you could also add a layer of soft material (e.g. fleece) between your patch and the back of your shoe to cushion this part of your boot, but this is optional.
Get some fabric glue and glue your patch across the hole.
The next step's up to you: you could leave it like that, or you could sew your patch to the surrounding lining to make it more durable. This might involve some awkward hand positions: a curved needle can make this process easier, if you happen to have one lying around.
If you're working with boots or other shoes that are higher than your average pair of sneakers, sewing your patch might prove difficult as you have to be able to reach into the shoe. In this scenario, just glueing on your patch might be a better option.
(Image source) [ID: close-up on the inside of the heel of a pair of shoes. A denim patch has been sewn over a hole in the lining at the back.]
Fixing the lining in the back of a shoe is pretty easy! It might require some awkward angles, but the process itself is simple.
If you have trouble fixing this issue on your own, check if you have a cobbler near you. They might be able to mend your lining for you, and their fee will probably be lower than a new pair of shoes.
I work on a very odd, and very old machine. It's the last of it's kind, and the few other people who know anything about it are passing away & soon I'll be all that's left. I'm young and passionate, and I want to protect it and keep it running for many more years.
Since all infrastructures break, they require continuous maintenance. Information scientist Steven Jackson therefore proposes that the starting point to our thinking on the human relationship to technology has to be a contemplation of “erosion, breakdown, and decay, rather than novelty, growth, and progress.” If we accept that our world is “always-almost-falling-apart,” then instead of simply focusing on technological innovation as the vessel of our salvation, we need to look at the ways in which the world is constantly fixed, cared for, and maintained. This, of course, does not only translate to humans’ relationship to machines, but also to our relationship to our environment –in fact, feminist scholars have already made this point about dealing with our environmental problems: historian of science Donna Haraway’s concept of “staying with the trouble” explicitly pleads for the foregrounding of the inherent interconnectedness and interdependence of living, and for working on restoring our broken systems. What we are looking at here is a promising paradigm shift in human-machine and human-nature relations that promotes the recognition that the processes of care and maintenance are foundational to the way humanity relates to our biotic and abiotic environments.
Réka Patrícia Gál, Climate Change, COVID-19, and the Space Cabin: A Politics of Care in the Shadow of Space Colonization
Thanks for the blog, I've been knitting and embroidering for years, but hadn't really considered mending beyond the button hole, or small sweater darn, but now... I go through the knees of jeans *really* fast. I've converted all that I can wear/use to messy project pants and shorts. I have one pair that is still mendable, but I'm wondering if there is a way to reinforce the knees when they're new and buy some time at the beginning? They wear from the outside in, usually, as I kneel a lot.
Reinforcing your pants:
You can reinforce knees on pants, indeed. It's quite easy.
The main idea is to add extra material to the knee area of your pants so there's more to wear through, so to speak. If one layer gets a hole, the second layer's still there to keep the pants functional.
If you want an invisible reinforcement, turn your pants inside out and iron on some fusible interfacing or an iron-on patch onto the spot that tends to rip. This ought to make your pants last a bit longer.
(Image source) [ID: close-up on the knees of a pair of pants that have been turned inside-out. Two blue iron-on patches have been attached to the knee area.]
If you're okay with a visible reinforcement or if patches inside of your pants are uncomfortable to you, you could also sew or iron a patch onto the outside of your pants before it rips. Use a strong yet flexible material like denim or leather. This is a great occasion to upcycle some fabric scraps.
(Image source) [ID: four pairs of children's jeans with fabric patches sewn onto the knees.]
Mending knee holes:
There are lots of creative ways to mend holes in the knees of pants. If you're looking for inspiration, check out my post on mending knee holes in trousers.
Converting your worn-out pants to shorts is also a good technique to still get some use out of them as you mentioned. Cut the pants off where you'd like the bottom of your shorts to fall (+ seam allowance if necessary), then either keep them that way for a frayed look, seam them, or add a bias tape at the bottom.
Repairs to a skirt I got at a store in Japan between the train station and Nippori Textile Town for ¥400 ($4.) It's honestly the best basic skirt and it's too bad the fabric is thin and won't last forever. It's lined in a sturdier satin. I was going to repair this discreetly, but I just bought the dandelion patch at Dumpster Values in Olympia and had no other plan for it. I gave Mara a fenugreek patch I got from there! I looked for another patch to put on another hole, and I have the bee one because I have another of the same bee one on my patch jacket. Almost all of my patches are already on my patch jacket, or are ones I display pinned to my walls. The visible stitching is for looks.
When we get crazy, we use skills and repair the crazy.
Anger is a valid emotion. It tells us to protect ourselves, that something is hurting or harming us. It’s valid, it’s useful. It motivates us to make change. But when used to fuel actions it can be incredibly destructive.
I should be focusing on my assessment for tomorrow, but this feels more important. Repairing and rebuilding always feels more important. So tonight now needs to be for repair and rebuild. And also dealing with the shame of it all.
Repair… Apologising for how awful I was.
Rebuild… Grounding and rebuilding my (healthy) defences. A thicker skin so that everything feels less like an attack or less like it’s setting my skin on fire. Self-care and compassion - this was an emotional situation. I did the best I could. I also need to try harder. I need to be better.