Knowing When It’s Time to Throw Away Mended Clothing

When my mended pair of jeans needed to be repaired again, I knew it was time to let them go. I patched them after a year of wear and then wore them for another year.

It’s time to let these jeans go.

Nothing lasts forever, unfortunately, and while I could have mended these jeans for a second time, I just wasn’t feeling comfortable wearing them. I tend to wear out my jeans in the crotch. So, visible repairs are in an awkward place and I certainly don’t want to draw attention to my crotch! The layered fabric in the crotch creates a different kind of discomfort—it’s physically uncomfortable.

Right after the mending a year ago.

I took photos of these jeans when I originally mended them. The date linked is March of 2022. I estimate that I wore them for a year before they needed repair. I wore them for two years: one year as-is and a second year patched. Full disclosure: I am on sabbatical from working outside the home. A lot of days I just don’t leave home—I can get away with wearing the same clothes every day, from week to week. I wore these jeans multiple days per week for two years straight. Conservatively, I’ll say I wore them only 2 days per week. Let’s do some math!

52 + 52 = 104 weeks in the 2 years I wore them

104 x 2 = 208 days worn

I do laundry once a week. They were washed 104 times.

208 days of wear. 104 washes. Now, they’re done.

That’s pretty good and beats NPR’s LifeKit’s suggestion that you wear an article of clothing 30 times.

I learned a lot from this pair of pants. First, there’s a lot of stretch in these jeans. Look at how they wore out. It’s amazing how much the wear looks like stretch marks on skin.

Denim wore right down to the patch material.

Second, I think the stitching frayed and broke because I mended these jeans while they were clean. There’s a difference in the fabric when it’s freshly washed and when it has been worn a couple of times.

I used a single strand of DMC Cotton Pearl thread in a medium blue to blend with the color of the denim as much as possible.

The next pair of jeans, I will wear them a day or two before mending. Then, I’ll be stitching on fabric at its maximum stretched size, not at a shrunken size.

Layers of fabric

Finally, I’m not sure I’ll heave the whole pair into the trash bin. I’m going to try part them out—I’ll try to take out the zipper and maybe cut out swatches of relatively unworn fabric on the legs for future mending or other projects. All in all, eventually everything has to go. While only having this pair of jeans for two years seems paltry, after doing the math, I realize that I actually got a lot of wear out of them. Now it’s time to put them to rest.

Pretty stitches.

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