Did the Mending

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, March 30, 1912:  Had to put things in some kind of order. Mended some of the rips and tears. No one else wants the position.

Torn overalls--An aside (An aside--in addition to frequent tears, farm work clothes often get stained by grease, soil, etc.)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Farm work is hard—and clothes often get torn.

Some things probably changed little between the time that Grandma was a teen and the time that I was a teen.

I have strong memories of there always being a pile of work clothes that need to be mended when I was growing up. On “slow” days it was common to do the mending.

One difference was that I used an electric sewing machine and Grandma would have used a treadle sewing machine.

9 Responses

  1. I learned to sew on a treadle sewing machine, and yes! I remember mending! Does anyone still mend, I wonder?

    • I’ll mend a torn seam–but once there is a hole in something I throw it out. In some ways it’s such a waste.

      Years ago I put a patch on a sheet that had gotten caught on a bed frame nail. Recently my daughter wanted an old sheet to cover the cage of her parakeet. I dug through my closets and found that sheet and gave her. She found it absolutely amazing that anyone would bother to patch a sheet.

  2. Of all the sewing tasks I hated mending the most. I don’t envy you or Grandma.

    • It’s funny, but in some ways I enjoyed doing the mending–especially patching holes. Each tear was different, and I think that I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to make each patch as neat and as invisible as possible.

      • I admire your persistence. It was the creative part of sewing I enjoyed…. perhaps I just never learned to mend well (don’t think Mum liked it much either). I’ve got two pairs of denim shorts in need of new zips that I’m avoiding ;-)

  3. Ha, I just did our mending here! It was mostly socks and my daughter’s tights, and quite different from your Grandmother’s pile, a pile of “princess” dress-up costumes.

    • It almost sounds like fun mending dress-up costumes. . . but the socks don’t sounds like much fun. When I was young I darned socks, but in recent years I just throw them out when they get holes.

  4. My aunt was a seamstress but she didn’t drive. When my children were growing up I would drive her around to do her errands and she would mend and patch the little ones’ clothes – it was a good arrangement!

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