Sunday evening I decided to mend my laundry bag. Well, really it is my husband's laundry bag - it says 'Schiffer' in block letters on the front side. I don't know whether his mother made it for him to take off to college or he bought it in the base PX when he was in the army ... I've never thought to ask. It is a very handy, utilitarian object and well-designed for it's task. It is made of a heavy, good quality muslin fabric - not quite as heavy as canvas and very smooth from many, many washings. It suits my personal sense of aesthetics - useful and beautiful at the same time. :)
The way it was made, there are only two seams - one across the bottom and another up the center of the back (unlabeled) side. The top closes with a drawstring and, as you can picture I'm sure, the most of the physical stress on the bag happens at the top of the vertical seam, where the bag holds closed when it is full. That seam allowance had been mended once before (might have been done by me, I don't remember:) but the seam allowance itself had torn out - that is, the fabric was torn along the sewing at the seam line.
I decided that it should be mended. I could have been sewing or knitting during my non-work time all along as I've been here, but lately I have not been able to muster the interest. Sigh. So, a spot of mending seemed like a good begin-again task to me. I really wanted to strengthen the seam area to make it at least as strong as the surrounding fabric and disperse the stress along the entire fabric area.
I chose a couple of scraps from my recent piecing that were on the top of my pile and started in. First I basted the torn seam allowance fabric to the body of the bag:
This shot shows the outside of the seam basted in place. It was late afternoon when I was sewing (at the kitchen table) and the light coming in the window over our sink was warm. Maybe you can see the lovely texture of the muslin fabric this bag is made from - it feels wonderfully vintage and strong at the same time.
Next I sewed a covering patch over that broken seam area using doubled fabric; this is quilt making cotton and two layers is about equal to one layer of the muslin bag. I used a strong back stitch and doubled Aurifil cotton thread to sew the seam (I usually only sew with one thread but this job seemed to call for stronger 'glue' to me:).
Because I had a folded edge on the patch, I could just sew it down to secure the fix. Then I started thinking about the back side of my sewing and the stitches themselves. They would be exposed to friction from the dirty clothing in the bag when full .... so I basted on another patch on the inside of the seam to cover my stitches.
I used a single layer to protect my sewing inside the bag and a soft torn edge on the patch.
Finally, I decided to sew through the entire patch-seam-cover patch sandwich to hold it all together with strength and to distribute any stress the seam would be under across the entire bag's fabric:
Before I did this through-and-through running stitching, I considered a sort of boro-style pattern of parallel lines of running stitch ... but it turned out to be painful for my hands to do this sewing (through four layers of tightly woven fabric), so I settled for something simpler.
I'm pleased with my mend and with my sewing session. Only time will tell for sure whether my fix is durable but I think it will be. I wish everything else I am doing here in Ohio were as sure.
Monday I spent doing errands in town - including taking my brother Kevin and I to the pharmacy to get flu shots. I had tried to do that when we were at my brother's doctor appointment last week but the doctor did not have the new vaccine for this winter. I usually get a flu shot every fall (for the past twenty plus years, since I had Chronic Fatigue) but Kevin has never had one. At 55 years of age, he might be a little young to really need one ... but I thought it might be prudent since I am moving him to Kansas, into a metropolitan area with a whole new set of potential germs to assault his immune system. Shrug.
Tuesday I drove to Cincinnati to visit my brother Jeff. He is slowly, slowly getting stronger. The doctors where he is now are starting to talk about moving him into a somewhat less emergency facility. (I'm learning all kinds of Medicaid-speak ... from an 'acute care facility' into a 'skilled nursing facility' a.k.a. nursing home). There is one in Batavia, Ohio, to the east of Cincinnati and closer to the farm as well as my niece's home. Jeff's caseworker is going to try to get him a bed there. Sigh. It will be the fifth place he's been cared for since June.
I am struggling to make progress on the whole sorting and packing process this week. My brother Kevin will help if I ask but mostly I reserve his assistance for heavy lifting needs - he would take everything or nothing along and is no help in prioritizing. Me, I am not a very material person ... I am tempted to throw everything away and go bare to a new life ... but it isn't my life I'm moving. Grin.