Mending Jeans for (Social?) Justice: Part 2

I wrote earlier this week about mending jeans and the reBUTTal hashtag. Out of all my possible reBUTTals, I decided to embroider BELIEVE WOMEN on the back pocket of my current favorite jeans.

img_2506After taking the pocket off the jeans, I wrote the words on the pocket with a marker that washes out in the laundry. Then I searched high a low for my embroidery needles and could find them, so I had to go to JoAnn. I ended up picking up some DMC Cotton Perl embroidery thread along with the needles – it’s not quite as shiny as the usual embroidery thread, but it’s colorfast. It’s also not divisible into individual strands/plies. I probably should’ve chosen a different color, although I do like how subtle the final pocket is. At least the message is positive if no one can make out WOMEN – I’ll happily wear these.

I sewed the pocket back on by hand using thread made by Singer that’s specifically for jeans.(Note that I patched the pocket holes before sewing the pocket back on.) It’s a bit thicker and sturdier than regular thread. Most surprising to me was how easily the needle went through 3-4 layers of denim; I thought I’d need to break out the thimble, but there were only a few times I needed to put the eye end of the needle on something hard to push it through.

I also used this thread to mend the holes in this pair of jeans and another pair that had a rip in the crotch from my lunging to move a wedding dress. I patched all the holes from the inside using denim cannibalized from a ruined pair of Henry’s jeans and did some sashiko embroidery to keep the patches in place. I’m a little worried that I didn’t finish the edges of the patches, but trust that the sashiko stitches will keep the fabric strong.

While I was at JoAnn, I also decided to upgrade my sewing needles storage. I’ve been using this Crowleys needle case for as long as I’ve had my own needles; I’m not sure if it’s my Mom’s or if it’s from my Great Grandmother Smith. About a month ago, my husband needed a needle and spilled them all on the floor of our dining room. The new needle cases have less charm, but they do have a magnet in them that doesn’t come out when you tilt the case, so there’s nearly no chance that he’ll be able to spill all the needles again. The new cases don’t have the same charm as the Crowleys case, which I’m going to figure out another use for (or at least display it somewhere) so I can still see it and handle it.

And now it’s back to knitting baby shower gifts that I can’t show you until after the shower!

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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