“Clothes make the man.”
— William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Blue jeans and cotton tee shirts

Blue jeans and cotton tee shirts

“I’ve had that raincoat for ten or twelve years now.  That’s my coat.  I have one coat and one suit because, for one thing, I find it very difficult to buy clothes at a time like this.  I somehow can’t reconcile it with my vision of a human benefactor, to be buying clothes when people are in such bad shape elsewhere; so I wear out the old things I’ve got.  Also, I can’t find any clothes that represent me.  And clothes are magical, a magical procedure, they really change the way you are in a day.  Any woman knows this, and men have discovered it now.  I mean, clothes are important to us and until I can discover in some clearer way what I am to myself I’ll just keep on wearing my old clothes.”
— Leonard Cohen, from “An Interview with Leonard Cohen,” by Michael Harris, Duel (Canada), Winter 1969

I am most comfortable and most myself in blue jeans and cotton tee shirts.  Interestingly, we girls did not wear blue jeans on the farm when I was growing up.  We wore dresses and jumpers, and in winter we’d wear corduroy pants underneath.  My mother sewed our clothes, and she was a fan of corduroy.  I must have started my love affair with blue jeans when I was in college (bell bottoms were the fashion then).  I feel fortunate that I can wear blue jeans and tee shirts to my current job at the Seattle Public Library.  Today I am wearing a pair of my Dad’s worn Wrangler jeans, which I took back with me after cleaning out his house after his death.

I wear a few favorite pieces of clothing, over and over again, until they literally wear out.  I’ve written before about patching a pair of blue jeans.  I still wear the mended jeans, but for work around the house.  Last week I wore a sleeveless black top that I’ve had for over 25 years. I still wear a pair of black Birkenstocks that I’ve owned for over 20 years.  I guess my wardrobe is the outward manifestation of my frugality (and its shadow side, stinginess?).  I’ve never really been interested in shopping, so I just don’t think about clothes that often.  I find shopping and thinking about clothes a waste of time — time I would prefer to spend on other things, like reading!





Patching Blue Jeans

March 2, 2012

Newly patched blue jeans

Time to patch another pair of blue jeans.  I had worn a hole in the knee, but denim is such a durable cloth that the rest of the jeans were still serviceable.  The colorful, log-cabin quilted patch will give new life to these jeans.  This patching project was quick, pleasurable, and satisfying.

Hole on the knee of a pair of blue jeans

Finding fabric for the patch from the scraps of my scraps

Sewing a log-cabin quilt block from the scrappy strips

Big enough

I used adhesive bonding to hold the patch in place.

Then I machine-sewed the patch to the jeans along the outside edge of the block.

Finally, I hand-quilted along the inside seams.

All done. Patched jeans. Ready to wear again.