Guilt Patches

IMG_1017I used to think that parents were joking when they talked about how kids “went through” pants. I thought they must be exaggerating – especially city parents. I mean, how could a city kid put holes in the knees of pants? City kids aren’t outside climbing trees or playing kick-the-can or tromping through the woods, right?

Wrong. As proof I offer this pile of knee-less pants, culled only from the last few months. Apparently you can put holes in pants by repeatedly slide-tackling a soccer ball in the (carpeted) hallway outside our apartment or by diving for third base (also in the hallway outside our apartment, which is our default playground).

 Husband, bless him, tried those iron-on patches but to no avail; little fingers picked away at the edge and peeled the patches right off.

Yes. You’re right. Patches could be sewn on and probably I could do that while watching “Project Runway” as inspiration but if I were sewing while watching TV, how could I also be checking facebook status updates?

I’ve turned a few pairs into shorts, and another pair made for a great pirate costume last Halloween, and the particularly shredded I bring to the textile recycling stand in Union Square (a great place to dispose of holey socks, too-ratty gym clothes, and de-elasticized underwear)…but these holey jeans sit in my closet in a bag and make me feel guilty. They’re in too much disrepair to give away but they’re not totally beyond repair. I know I should forego facebook for an evening and just stitch, stitch, stitch, but somehow that chore never makes it to the top of my list.

And so it goes: more slide-tackles, more holes in the knees, another pair of pants shoved in the bag in the closet.  Maybe the thing to do is save all these knee-less wonders and then one day, after the boys have grown up, moved away, and are dealing with their own apparel, I can pull out all these little pants, rip them up, and make a quilt…that way, I don’t have to feel guilty now. I can delay the guilt for about fifteen years, when I will decide there’s no way in hell I’m ever making a quilt.

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5 Responses to Guilt Patches

  1. KSB February 6, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

    I don’t know if they are still there, or what their fees are now, but the dry cleaners on 4th Ave. just off Astor Place (on the east side of 4th Ave.) used to offer good repair services, so you might try looking into that as an option. I never used them (as my grad student budget required that I darn myself in the wee hours in front of the telly and my wise mother had made sure that I had learned how when growing up), but had friends who did, and they seemed to like that option. A reasonable fee might be worth your time and energy (saved). A friend of mine over here, who is a mother of three, swears by her investment in a sewing machine with stich options “perfect” for patching; a colleague of mine, who has one young son, “believes” that “the contemporary urban fashion” of torn jeans should not be exclusively available for teenagers, but also for 7 year olds.

  2. Deborah Quinn February 7, 2010 at 10:49 am #

    that’s really the crux of it, KSB: to pay someone to do something that I KNOW I could do myself…makes me feel guilty (again, still). It’s sort of why I don’t have a cleaning person. Maybe I could rationalize the paying-for-patches by telling myself that it’s cheaper than buying new pants… hmm. Or maybe that’s what I’ll do tonight during the super bowl. Get me a thimble and settle in. After all, sewing is about the only thing more boring that football so might as well put the two together, eh? thanks for the comment.

  3. Dick Horwich February 7, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    What happened to ripped jeans as a look? My students wear them.

  4. Deborah Quinn February 7, 2010 at 9:11 pm #

    @dick: the thing is that it’s COLD. and they don’t give two figs for fashion (thank god). They’re just not wanting hte wind blowing through their trousers…

  5. KSB February 8, 2010 at 12:46 am #

    Well, here’s how my brother puts it: it is not about whether or not you know how to do it yourself, but about how valuable your time is.

    I’m with you about the guilt part (soooooo with you on that one), but I do have to acknowledge that my brother has a point. He’s constantly lecturing me about opportunity costs (or something like that)–he keeps reminding me that just because I know how to cook, clean, wash, sew, etc., doesn’t mean that I always have to do it personally, and further, that I need to weigh the little savings I would get by darning myself against the “cost” of what that time would be if I were to do something else (i.e. more “important” or productive in terms of my skills and profession). We academics are not used to thinking of our time in terms of billable hours, but, I am slowly coming to realize that he may be right in certain cases. Since we always have more to do than we have time, we cannot but pick and choose on what we will spend our time, and yes, our attention/energy. Perhaps those few extra dollars will be worth your having more time to spend on writing, or even just relaxing so that the creative juices or intellectual power can flow better after a break? And, definitely cheaper than buying new pants, plus, you won’t have to feel guilty about using extra resources and polluting the environment more, so, seems like a winning game, no? (I know, hard to get over that initial guilt–still working hard at that myself–but, once you get over that, you can get rid of two or three other kinds of guilt!)

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