Mend It May: A Waist of Time

A few weeks ago I went to put on my comfy I guess pajama bottoms but I use them like yoga pants to wear around the house, and this happened:


The tie just … disintegrated. I had gotten these at the local thrift shop, tags still on! a few years ago and have worn them a few times a month ever since. They get washed a lot (although I air dry them) so I understand. That waist tie has seen some serious wear. I yanked on the other side of the tie and it broke off just as easily. The rest of the garment was in good shape, so I wanted to fix them.

I thought this would be an easy mend — I’d just paw through my studio until I found something I could use as a drawstring, pop it in, and I could go on my merry pajama bottom yoga pants way. All seemed well. I found a webby cord ribbon thing that I believe I rescued from the student move out bins a few years ago — it was still on the cardboard roll but looked to be enough. I got a safety-pin to use to help shove it through the waistband channel, attached it, and got to work.

That’s when my safety-pin bumped up against a closed seam in the waistband channel. I then realized that the channel was sewn shut along four places — two on the sides of the pants and in the back where the tag was sewn on. I believe I growled. This mend was not going to be the 5 minute job I assumed it was going to be.

I thought about postponing the mend. I had a long week at work and wanted, no needed, to knit to get back into myself. But I needed these pants fixed, too. I got out my seam ripper and went to work. The back tag was easy enough and non-damaging to unpick, but the sides required me to actually open up the side seam to get into the waistband to remove those stitches — which meant I needed to then resew the seam when I was done. I believe I growled again. I want to knit! This was supposed to take 5 minutes!

I was ready to throw in the towel, this time for good! I was going to cut these %}%^{^€ pants up for the rag pile!! but I remembered my coupons. I only have 18 left for the rest of the year, and I really, really, really do not want to use them on pants that I wear in the house and get paint, ink, cooking stains, etc on. There was no guarantee I’d be lucky enough to thrift another pair, and I don’t have any suitable fabric to make some, so that would cost coupons, too. I took a deep breath and got back to ripping and picking. I tried not to growl any more.

It took awhile, but finally the channel was clear! This not only allowed the tie to go through easily, but I was also able to get out the last remnants of old disintegrating tie. My shoulders relaxed from being up around my ears. I found some grey thread and did a simple and strong overhand stitch to close the seams I had to open.  My pants are back in business!



This mend taught me a valuable lesson. I was frustrated not because the mend was difficult, but because it took time — time that I wanted to use for knitting. I had privileged the new and novel over taking care of what I had, which goes against all I am trying to fight for! Mending is an integral part of a thoughtful life that values resources, not an afterthought or something to be shoved in between fresh starts. It is making. Making anew, making useful and beautiful again, making meaningful, making whole. It’s all making.


  1. Well, I agree with all you said in your last paragraph . . . and still understand that new and creative and pretty is more fun than mending. I applaud your attitude and your efforts! Now, go knit!

    1. That’s the best part — I totally had time to do both 🙂 I was pitting them against each other when both are important — and fun, even! I felt such triumph when I got through that waistband channel!!!

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