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.