Staying Sane: My Sewing Machine and my patches

This seems like a strange topic for me to write about. First of all, I don’t sew. At all. So really I’m not going to write about the sewing machine itself. But from the limited research I did (on amazon, I love that website), I think it is a good one. It has features that many do not. Features that I know I do not need. But you never know, maybe one day I’ll consider myself a bonafide expert sewer. Or, maybe not.


What this post is really about is the need that I had to accomplish specific, distinct tasks that I perceived as ones that “traditional” mothers should be able to do. For example, in the past when each of my kids were babies, I became a fanatic about making home-made baby food. Even though I was working crazy hours. On weekends I would go into a frenzy finding receipes, going shopping, and making vats of baby food – labeling them, freezing them, storing them for later. This to me was “catching up” on those motherly duties that I thought I was dropping the ball on. I think because I felt guilty. I think because I secretly wanted the time to do the same thing less rushed during the week. To be a mom to my babies. To cook for my babies. As a full-time worker, my weekend time was time I needed to catch up on these sorts of activities to make me feel good about myself and make me feel like I wasn’t being only 1/2 a mother.

Fast forward 5 years. My son is an active BOY and his jeans always take a serious beating. Without fail, he always wears down his jeans at the knee on his right leg. ALL of his jeans wind up this way. So the options are 1) cut them into shorts, 2) ignore the holes; 3) throw them out and buy new ones; 4) iron on a patch; 5) sew a patch that matches the denim of the jeans that he destroyed.

I know the range of options require a range of effort. But even though I was working full time, I decided to take the hardest route. Buy a sewing machine, and I don’t even know HOW many yards of denim (probably enough for 100s or 1,000s of patches), and just start sewing.

  • My first attempt was horrendous. I sewed the pant leg together through the middle. Front and back side. Completely fused together. I just ripped out the stitches and started again.
  • My second attempt was much better. Except you can tell that a Novice sewed the patch. It all looks even and aligned except when you get to one corner, the last corner. I had too much material. So the patch is all bunched up at that one corner. I decided that this error was acceptable and moved on to the second pair of pants.
  • The third attempt was much, much better. It was a lighter pair of pants and I got fancy and turned the denim material over to better match the colors. I sewed the edges of the patch first, and then sewed it to the pants. Scrunching and twisting and turning it around, and in the end the corner seemed OK and honestly it looked pretty good!!!!


After that, I got wiped out. So after at least 3 hours of setting up the machine, learning the parts, experimenting with practice garments, and then actually trying to sew the patches, I only have two pairs of pants to show for it. I still have a stack of about 5 more pairs. Poor Big Bro is wearing these two pairs of pants non-stop and rotating them and washing them non-stop. My goal over the next few weeks will be to bang out at least two more pairs.

Why do I do this? To feel like a Mom. To feel like I’m fulfilling a need for my son. Sure it would be easier to iron on a patch. I know that. Of course that is the rational thing to do. But I am not rational at these sorts of things. I over-do it. I create projects for myself. I document my children endlessly (that’s probably why I’m still doing this blog). I feel the need to make up for the shortcomings and time that I’ve missed because of having to work full time. I know this sounds silly. I know that it is ridiculous that I have a sewing machine that has 40 stitches pre-programed, and has different “feet” for quilting projects. I know this. It is so ridiculous.

But it makes me feel good that Big Bro has those two pairs of jeans fixed by his mom. And it feels good to have that sewing machine sitting in my house just in case there is another article of clothing to mend, or even if its just the perfect space to start stacking the things that need to be mended.

I’m sure I’m not the only working mom with examples like this. What other “mom” related activities/tasks do you do to make you feel more like a mom???? Please comment! I’m interested to hear and may also replicate your ideas!!!!

Thanks for listening!
– Mama K


  1. Marsha Kevitch says:

    I can SO RELATE to this! I went to work when my girls were three and one. I wanted to stay home with them and it was gut-wrenching to leave them. But not working was not an option for me. I had to work. Once the girls were in elementary school and my only opportunity to stay home was not because one or both of them was sick, I would send them off to school, do “domestic” things around the house, and when they got home, the house would smell like freshly baked cookies. They loved it! They began to expect it as time went by. If they knew I was at home, they would think, “I know Mom baked cookies today!” It’s a very simple thing but it meant so much to these little girls. I wish I could have those days back and do it – and other things that they would love – more often. So Mama K.. do whatever it takes to give yourself that feeling of fulfillment, no matter how simple it seems. It means the world to Big Bro just to know that his mom loves him so much that she would sew his pants!!!! Or baked some home-made cookies! Here’s an idea: when he brings home his first report card, serve his dinner on a very special plate. They sell them, you know! Maybe his grandparents could get him a “Good Job!” plate for Christmas!!!! You are an awesome mom.. I can tell, just by reading your blogs. Keep up the good work!!!!

  2. I do sew. My grandmother taught me when I was 9 and I followed up with home ec in middle school. I was groomed to be domestic apparently (but somewhere I went awry). Anyway, I loved sewing my daughters clothes when she was little. I channeled all my creative juices into her wardrobe. She is my only girl amongst 4 brothers and I couldn’t make enough frilly pink confections. I even found that it could be lucrative. I began shopping thrift stores for basic items and clothes with eye catching fabrics. I would disassemble the recycled clothing and create my own designs. She would have levi blue jeans that I cut the bottoms off and attached triple tier ruffles and then co-ordinated a t-shirt attaching the same ruffles to the sleeves or neckline. I made co-ordinating hair accessories and matching ruffle socks with beads. She was my walking talking artistic canvas. She grew to hate all the attention but I was able to sell her ensembles on ebay. It was fun at the time and gave me purpose. I also learned to employ my marketing and research skills from my MBA and still expel my creative outthinking. Sometimes our basic actions my seem to be over obsessing but they likely serve multiple purposes, unbeknownst to us. One final note…..the thrift store can be an amazing place to replace hole in the knee jeans. With four boys sliding on their knees….I have truly appreciated $3 Levis.

  3. Sort of related- Buy Gap jeans. They are a little more exoensive but they LAST. I usually get a 35% off coupon too.
    I totally understand why you do this stuff. I do the same thing because I’m a stay at home mom. I don’t contribute finacially to my family so shouldn’t I be the perfect mom??? I drive myself crazy, going totally overboard with any and everything that has to do with my kids. You are not alone my dear 🙂


  1. […] just always wears through the left knee of his jeans, without fail. Several months ago I bought a sewing machine – which was nice in theory. Well, I pulled it out tonight and the kids got all excited about […]

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