Every now and then I like to do a good deed or two for my loved ones, and this week's deeds both had to do with mending. The last time Zoe came over, wearing her hand-me-down warm winter coat, it looked a little bedraggled, with a sleeve strap hanging loose and buttons missing. I was too busy fixing Christmas dinner to deal with it, but when she came over yesterday the time was right!
I cannibalized places inside the coat to find a few replacement buttons, but finally had to root through the button box for almost-matches. Nobody will ever notice the non-matching button holding the hood to the neckline, and probably nobody will notice the non-matching sleeves unless it's a fashion-conscious cop handcuffing her behind her back.
What about that last cosmetic-only button? If it were my own coat I would have moved the second button down to the bottom, and filled the second space with an ultrasuede heart or a bright orange button. But Zoe voted to leave well enough alone. I reminded her to hold her purse over the blank spot if she's being photographed.
In doing this repair job I was reminded of the sheer volume of work required to properly attach a button that has to go through a heavy layer. You need a little button on the back side to relieve the tension and keep the thread from cutting through the fabric. You need to hold the button up from the surface as you sew, to give yourself enough slack to clear the thickness of the coat. You have to wrap those slack threads into a firm shank, and secure it firmly underneath. And even on this particular half-length little girl's coat, you have to do it 13 times, plus three buttons that can simply be sewed on without shanks. Tailoring doesn't happen in a minute.
By contrast, my good deed earlier this week was to mend a big tear in my husband's work shorts, which had been sitting in the studio since summer.
So, two jobs done. That should fill my good deed quota for the rest of the year!