Rose and Mabel, on Hazel’s birthday earlier this year
Mabel’s had the top she’s wearing in this photo for at least two years, probably three, or maybe even four years, and she has worn it at least once a week as long as she’s owned it. It’s a size 7/8 and was meant to be a dress, and she’s 12 now, but she’s petite and it still fits her as a shirt. It’s faded and has some snagged and dangling threads, and a couple of permanent ink stains, and when she was putting her hand-print on the wall at the Hale Theater (a tradition at the end of the run of a show) she got some purple acrylic paint on it. At that point I thought it was surely time to retire it–but although the paint wouldn’t wash out, I was able to scrape off quite a bit of it, and the rest doesn’t actually show very much. So we kept it for a while longer.
Then today I was ironing it, and found a large L-shaped tear in the back of the ruffle. And that’s when it would have made perfect sense to finally throw it out. I actually started to put it in a bag to send to a thrift store. But then I remembered thrift stores throw away torn things, and then I thought it wouldn’t take long to do a quick mend on it so someone could get a little more use out of it. And then I thought, “Well, if I’m going to mend it anyway . . .”
So I found a scrap of cotton in a print that was close to the color of the top, cut out a patch with pinking shears, used fusible webbing to fuse it to the back of the tear, and machine-darned over it. It probably took ten minutes, maybe fifteen. (Probably less time than to write this post.) And it was a lot less miserable of a task than patching jeans, which I do all the time, but hate. And now Mabel can get a few more months out of the top.
(I think I did recently throw out the matching top Rose is wearing here, though. It was just as abused as Mabel’s, and I was fortunately a little less nostalgic about.)