Monday, December 11

Darning, more darning, and hooks and eyes

I have a regular customer for whom I have done a lot of mending. When she comes to collect one job she usually brings another, and last time she brought another cardigan of her husband's (cashmere) for me to darn a hole in the sleeve. I will show you my darn, and then another darn, which is SO good that I hadn't even realized it was there!

This is the front of the hole -

This is the back - 

This is my darn - 

According to my book on mending - 

- my darn is a stocking darn. Basically it's probably the sort of darn most people would think of, where you just weave over the hole. It is the best I can do at the moment although I'd like to improve, so if you have any woollies I can darn, send them my way!

Then, when I was looking for my darn to photograph it, I found this superb one in the same sleeve.
Here's the front - 

and the back - 

It is amazing! Not surprising I missed it! When my customer collects the cardigan I shall ask her who did it - I hope she can remember. She has always been happy with my work so I don't think she will mind that my darn is nothing like as invisible as this other one.

I have looked at the different types of darn in my book but haven't managed to work out what type it is. 

Hooks and eyes

The same customer asked me to replace the hook and eye on a skirt, which is probably wool (no label inside to tell me) and certainly not mass market, although I've looked up the name and can't find anything about it.

This is the waistband after I'd removed the old hook, which was bent, probably because it was the wrong size and not strong enough, and what looked as if it was meant to be a handmade bar, but wasn't really doing anything.... As you can see, the two sides of the waistband are not level. The zip has also been sewn so high that to then pull the sides closer together to do up a hook and eye is very difficult. 

I was also surprised that the pattern matching at the back was not done properly! It matches horizontally but not vertically. You'd have been marked down in "O" - Level needlework (my only qualification!) for that! Not to mention the Great British Sewing Bee! (I wonder if that's coming back?)

Then I went off at a tangent on the subject of hooks and eyes, and hooks and bars, and hooks and hand sewn bars, and which you use where, but I rather like going off at a tangent as I always learn something new. My tangent got me looking at the collection of hooks and eyes etc that I have in an old ice cream box in my sewing room. I have collected this lot over the years - some of it was probably inherited from my mum and grandma, and some has come with sewing machines I have bought. In my lifetime of sewing I hadn't really taken in the fact that there are such a variety of sizes of hooks and eyes. These below are size 1 and 2, in black and silver. There are "eyes" with most of the hooks, and "bars" on the left. Incidentally, I love the old Newey's artwork in the card at the bottom. I must not go off at a tangent trying to date them.....

Or go off at another tangent and look up "japanning" - it's some sort of finish but what exactly I don't know. "Extra japanned" must be even better! More japanning anyone? Three different styles of Newey's art work here - 

As far as I can remember I have always made my own hand sewn bar, but I have learnt that you should use a metal eye or bar when there is likely to be more pull on it. That makes sense.You use a bar with an overlapped zip, and an eye where one side butts up against the other. The eye should very slightly overlap the edge so that the hook can hook into it. So now I know.

It was hard to do a good job on the skirt because of the zip being sewn too high and the two sides not lining up. I had to sew part of the eye to the zip itself rather than to the skirt. I sewed on a black hook and then thought - ah, I haven't got a black eye in the right size to go with it, silly me! But the silver eye is not that noticeable on the other side. The zip cannot come right up to the top now but I had to do it like that in order to sew the hook and eye on in the right position. Here it is anyway, not perfect but it will do the job for some time to come -  

Believe me it was impossible to do it any better!

What I think is the shame is that the zip and the waistband weren't done properly in the first place on what was probably an expensive skirt. Not to mention the bad pattern matching. But never mind! One wouldn't want to discard the skirt for these reasons.

There was a lot more to these two jobs than I thought when I was given them!