denim, slow sewing, visible mending

👖 A crotchety question 👖

When I first told my family that I’d be writing a book called Visible Mending, they were excited for me—but a little perplexed. What is visible mending, anyway? I’m sure they wondered.

After my husband explained the idea to my brother-in-law, he got it—and promptly brought by several pairs of worn-out jeans to be “visibly mended.”

How to mend crotch of jeans

I was elated! How cool is it that my brother-in-law would allow me to let loose on his jeans—he said he loved these pairs so much but they were so worn out, they’d just been sitting in a bag. He couldn’t bear to throw them out. Isn’t that how many of us feel about our much-loved textile, tactile things? I have ancient jeans that, when I put them on, feel like a hug.

visible mending denim
Owned since 2012

Embroidery on denim

After reviewing the damage to my brother-in-law’s denim collection, I realized a lot of his jeans had the same specific rip. I got to thinking . . . perhaps it would be helpful to create a crash-course in mending the one area on jeans that we don’t really like to discuss.


At my day job I work as a content editor for this wonderful company, writing blog and social-media posts, so I know my way around SEO (search-engine optimization) rules. I decided to look up SEO on mending crotches. This is what came up:

Visible mending jeans
😮 😮 😮

It turns out that many people have been searching for an answer to their crotch questions. Well, well, well. I couldn’t believe it. So many crotchety questions!

So here’s a question I’d like to pose to you, ReMade Nation tribe: would you like to learn more about mending crotches? I’ve got some quick techniques at the ready, and I’m all about sharing.

Let me know what you think in the comments—I think this could easily become the secret bonus chapter to my book. (Thanks for the idea, accidentalcatlady.) 😻

I’ve finished a few mends on my brother-in-law’s jeans so far:

visible mending denim
Moon modeled by my husband 

Still got a few mends to go. Perfect time to set up a few tutorials!

Listening today. Sampled from this song.

slow sewing, thrifting, visible mending

A sandal, a seam ripper, and a stroke of luck

Any opportunity to explore a new thrift shop is like a gift to me. Like Christmas! I live in a farming town and the nearest thrift shop is 20 miles away. So when I venture into a big city, I always Google “thrift shops near me” and anticipate the fun ahead.

After attending a conference in my big city—Salt Lake City—I came across Uptown Cheapskate, a thrift shop smack in the middle of downtown I’d never heard of. It was there that I fell for a pair of Dansko sandals (I seem to have amassed a collection of both Dansko and Converse, all thrifted) that were a teensy-bit too wide for my feet. But I was confident that a couple of new holes in the straps would take care of that in a jiffy.


Later that night, I started honing in on creating those extra holes. They say you should use the right tool for the job . . . but since I don’t even know what a “right” tool is for putting extra holes in sandal straps, I decided to improvise.

First, I used a darning needle to pierce the sandal straps, as it was nearby and seemed like a decent tool. But the needle didn’t make the hole big enough. I needed something to insert into the hole to make it just a little bit bigger, so the prong would easily feed through the new hole.

I looked around my immediate surroundings. Ah! Yes! A seam ripper, that would do the trick! The blade was just the right width to increase the size of the hole. And I also didn’t have to get up from the couch. Win!

I had eight new holes to make. The combination of the darning needle to poke and the seam ripper to widen was working great. One, two, three, four, five . . . this was going so fast. I am a genius!

Then, hole six.

I’m sure you’ve already guessed what happened. The seam ripper did exactly what it was designed to do. It RRR-IPPED right through one side of the strap I was working on.

But guess what? As luck would have it, I’m a visible mender!


A little sky-blue sashiko thread and that same darning needle—the one I used to poke the holes—fixed what I broke. As my dad used to say when he was surprised: “How ‘boun that?”

I bought my summer sandals. I ruined my summer sandals. I saved my summer sandals!

So, what do you think of thrifting? Does it fit the sustainable fashion movement? I’m a die-hard thrifter, but I’m open. Is the most sustainable shirt/skirt/dress/sandal the one that already exists? I’d love to hear you take, so share your thoughts in the comments!

Listening today.

slow sewing, thrifting

Blue bamboo dress + a thrift that’s very *deer* to me

Hello, Nation of one! (Ha, well, you’ve gotta start somewhere. Thank you, accidentalcatlady.)

A project finish and a thrift to share today.

The alterations to my thrifted blue bamboo dress are done—mainly the hem. I wanted to mimic the hand-embroidery on the bodice on the hem of the dress, which was originally ankle length.



I chopped the hem to knee-length and added rustic rings of embroidery. The imperfectness of each stitch makes me smile.



I have an aversion to the idea that the things we make need to look “professional,” or store-bought, or perfect. And although I respect those that strive to achieve perfection, I don’t think I’ve ever perfected anything. I’m okay with that.


That’s me too, David.

I like this part of me.

And speaking of perfectly imperfect things, I thrifted this wonderful, weird ceramic piece last week:


Signature on the back. I have no idea what it means. But I do wonder.

The final reveal of that bamboo dress. I like it!

A side note: sewing and thrifting are two of my passions, but I have one more: music. In each post going forward I plan to post a link to a song that I am loving that day. I look forward to a year or two or more from now when I can go back to a post, click on a link, and go, “Oh my heck I forgot about that song!” Can’t wait for that. So:

Listening today.


Welcome to ReMade Nation

Hello there, and welcome to ReMade Nation, where I have no idea what’s going to happen.

Well, okay, I have a few ideas.

I’m an avid thrifter and frequent maker/stitcher/quilter, and one of my favorite pursuits is to find ways to blend those two worlds. Because two worlds is better than one!

I recently finished writing a book, now in production with Martingale, called Visible Mending. I’m excited to see my two favorite topics combined in this book, coming June 2018.

I used to blog regularly at an old site called WildCard Quilts (I’m no longer paying for the site, so the aesthetics are sad, but the writing is still there). Back then I blogged about mama life, my tiny kids, and my thrifting and sewing escapades.

WildcardQuilts--March 2010 banner
An old banner from Wildcard Quilts. I did have so much fun making those banners.

Now I have big kids. Thirteen and nine, both boys, Jack and Charlie. But I still thrift and sew, same as back then. (Is it only me, or are creative outlets sometimes the only things that keep life on an even keel for the long haul? Same?)

thrift-1thrift-2Latest thrift: Indigo Soul eyelet tunic

20171128_114531.jpgLatest sewing (needles motif from the book Lunch-Hour Embroidery by Adrienne Smitke)

If you choose to follow along here, I hope to hear from you about your creative journey. Because creativity + creativity = more creativity. And who doesn’t like that?

Setting sail on a new adventure can be scary, especially when you’re not sure where you’re going. But here we go.


ALERT: Jackspeak

Harry potterThis weekend I found a gem at a local yard sale–a kinda beat-up paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I gave it to Jack. He immediately began reading. After a while, he stopped to note that he'd read 12 pages in only 10 minutes. Not bad for a seven-year old.

Me: "Twelve pages, huh? Pretty good. So, what's happening in the story so far?"

Jack: "Well, I learned something already. I found out that his first name is Harry and his last name is Potter. This whole time, I thought his first name was Harrypotter!"

Charlietalk, family

Four years.

Our Charlie turned four years old last week. And boy oh boy, was he ready. He’s been talking up his birthday for months. In fact, according to him, it’s still his birthday because it’s still April. And that’s fine with me. Hey, if you can find a reason to celebrate, by all means—celebrate!

Charlie, this year has been another fascinating peek into who you are, what you love, and how you interpret the world. You’re bigger, you’re braver, you’re LOUDER. More aware, more gentle, more compassionate. Independent. Full of in-the-moment joy (of course, the year has been interspersed with plenty of three-year-old doses of in-the-moment crankiness too.)

What fun we’ve had with you this year, little one. Let’s take a look back.

You love to be silly. And when you make someone laugh, I can see it in your eyes—you feel like you hit the jackpot.

Charlie01Your silly side gets me giggling.

No surprise–you’re still hamming it up with your brother.

Charlie09You still tell me secrets about how much you love Jacky, when Jacky’s not around.

If there’s a moment of silence in the room, you fill it with a request: “Can I have some candy?”

Charlie11Or ice cream, or cake, or… anything sugary sweet. Sometimes I worry. But I’m learning that a little (five jellybeans) goes a long way.

You’re still falling asleep in strange places.

Charlie06Foot in the popcorn bowl.

But you’ll fall asleep in plenty of normal places too.

Charlie12Story time with daddy.

Your speech is near perfect—all of the right sounds are in almost all of the right places. But your daddy and I never encourage you to say some words correctly. We find the way you say them too adorable to put an end to.

* brefkissed (the first meal of the day)
* lellow (the color of daffodils)
* sumping (I'd like to tell you…)
* teese (brush twice a day)
* mouse (what you put your brefkissed in)
* a-yoad (in regard to Nerf guns)

I see you consciously working on your “L” sounds. Last year you would sing “ya-ya-ya.” This year you make an effort to sing “la-la-la.” Part of me is proud to hear you challenge yourself. Part of me wants you to stop trying.

You have an unexplained affinity for people dressed up like animals. Unlike your brother, you don’t run screaming from them. Instead, you chase them down and jump into their arms.

Charlie13I admit it–they do look kinda cuddly.

You're such a charmer. You started an unexpected exchange of words a few months ago, between you and me. I don’t know where it came from. But I hope it sticks around for awhile.

Charlie: “I’m in love with someone.”

Me: “You are? Who are you in love with, Charlie?”

(He points to me.)

Charlie, we've spent such a fun, funny year together. You're always willing to try new things, and you're always striving to be self-sufficient–you just may be the most adventurous soul in our famly. But in the small, quiet moments, you still reach for my hand, still want to be picked up, still want to cuddle and be close. Sometimes it seems like my heart will burst if I love you more. Sometimes it hurts. And then I love you more.

What I'm realizing is that my heart won't burst. My heart grows with you.

Thank you Charlie-Barley, for helping me grow an ever-bigger heart. I am grateful.

On to year five.


ALERT: Jackspeak

I love music lessons with my boys. Tonight, while folding laundry, we’re going old school with a little Frampton Comes Alive! (Do You Feel Like We Do?, of course.)

Jack: “Is Peter Frampton dead?”

Me: “No.”

“So, is he really old?”

“Well… he’s older. He’s kind of a rock legend.”

“If he was dead, he’d be a real legend.”

“They have a name for legends who are still living. They call ’em ‘living legends.'”

“And if he was dead, he’d be a dead legend.”