Where fiber art, inspiration, and words meet.

Mending Jeans for (Social?) Justice

img_2471One of my favorite pairs of jeans developed a hole where the top of right back pocket attaches. I kept wearing them. The hole got a little bigger and I just wore longer shirts. Finally, I heard them rip one day as I was getting out of the car to go grocery shopping. Thankfully, it was cold and I was wearing my winter coat, which ends about mid-thigh on me, so no one could see the rip.

I knew I had to mend them but wasn’t planning on doing it anytime soon, just at some vague point in the future. Then I saw a post from badasscrossstitch on instagram. She had one of her embroidery designs stolen by a jeans-maker who popped it onto the back pocket of a pair of skinny jeans without permission. She wrote a whole blog post about it and then, making lemonade out of a lemon of a situation, she started embroidering other designs on the back pocket of her jeans, wrote a tutorial on how to do it on her blog, and then started the #reBUTTal hashtag on instagram.

img_2473This has inspired me to do the same to my holy jeans. I took the pocket off my jeans this morning and will patch the holes – yes, there’s another one on the other corner of the pocket, and another small hole starting at one of the corners on the other back pocket – when it rains, it pours, I guess. At least I realized it now, during the mending process and not right after mending them.

I’m going to cannibalize a pair of Henry’s jeans that are too small for him now. I haven’t quite decided if I’m going to use my sewing machine to patch them discretely or if I’m going to use embroidery and patch them visibly, maybe with sashiko (Japanese technique for mending). I did at least get one pocket off along with all the bits of thread. I need to think about if I want to take the other pocket off or try patching with it on.

Anyway, while I’m patching, I’ll be thinking about what I want my pocket to say. It should be something feminist, I guess, and also have something to do with art theft, or paying artists. Ideas so far:

  • ®
  • © 1972
    (Yes, I’m that old, or maybe that young, depending on how old you are.)
  • Ask First
  • Believe Women
  • My eyes are up there
    (Just kidding, I think this would be funny but I wouldn’t actually walk around with that on my bottom.)

Do you have suggestions? Even if it’s not a suggestion, what would you put on your jeans if you were embroidering a back pocket?

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11 responses to “Mending Jeans for (Social?) Justice”

  1. Love this post and hate that corporate stealing story! Bah!! Great idea on patches–I’ll share with my son who has been really working on various jean mods these past few weeks. I love the idea!

  2. Some great ideas there 🙂

  3. You already have some great ideas! I’m three years older than you…so I would still say you are young 🙂 There’s nothing like being just on this side of 50 to make you go hmmmm (seriously…where did all that time go?) Maybe you could embroider a ball of yarn and some needles or hook?

    1. Oh hey! My brother is 4 years older than I am and he just went around that 50 bend, and the cousins I grew up with are all his age or older, so I get that I’m young to you. Just a whippersnapper here! Those are good embroidery ideas, too!

  4. Loving the new site, Mandy! And hooray for mending… There’s something really satisfying about prolonging the life of a favourite piece of clothing, and putting your own stamp on it at the same time. Sashiko is a lovely technique… Or how about a design of branches or leaves, that you keep adding to every now and again so it looks like it’s “growing”? 🤔

    1. Branches or leaves are a really lovely idea!

  5. […] wrote earlier this week about mending jeans and the reBUTTal hashtag. Out of all my possible reBUTTals, I decided to […]

  6. I had a pair of jeans I kept patching and embroidering over with flowers till they were so threadbare there was nothing left to hold the stitches. I finally had to get rid of them, but it was hard to let go.

    1. I hope these last as long!

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