How I earned $120/hour mending my jeans

If I told you I earned $120 an hour last week doing some very simple sewing, would you believe me?

It’s true…  Kind of.

I mended a couple of pairs of jeans.  How does that earn $120/hour?  I’ll tell you.

But first, a little bit of backstory:

In addition to blogging here at Orange Bettie and at Craft Gossip, I work part-time at a library.  One of my tasks is to shelve books.  Did you know that shelving books is like alternating squats with stair steps all while holding weights in your hand?  First a book on the bottom shelf, then one allll the way on the top shelf!  It’s a good workout for my legs, but I put a lot (LOT!) of wear on my jeans.

The other day I noticed that both pairs of my work jeans had sprung a leak.  Both were in the same place – the back part of the crotch.  That's the part of the jeans that gets the most pressure from all the squats.  Thankfully, they were just small rips but... I can’t wear a pair of jeans with a hole in the crotch!  Especially not to work where I will be bending and squatting.

How I earned $120/hour mending my jeans

The rest of the jeans were still in good repair, so I decided I’d mend them.

There are plenty of really good jeans mending tutorials out there already, but I'll go ahead and tell you how I did mine.

How I earned $120/hour mending my jeans

First thing first, I used a pair of small scissors to trim off all the threads.

How I earned $120/hour mending my jeans

I dug some denim out of my scrap bin that was close in color the jeans I’m mending.  I cut a small patch and then ironed some fusible webbing to the FRONT of the patch.

Then, I put it under the hole with the right side (webbing side) face up and ironed it in place from the top.  I held the hole mostly together while ironing but remember, THERE’S A HOLE IN THE FABRIC and there’s fusible webbing underneath – so I used a pressing cloth to keep any adhesive from coming through the hole ended up on the cloth and not my iron.

How I earned $120/hour mending my jeans

Once I had it fused well enough to hold it in place, I turned the jeans inside out and gave it another longer press to make sure the patch was good and adhered.

Finally, the sewing.  I took it to my machine and used a small zig zag stitch to go over the hole.  I went over the sides, the middle, and a few rows in between.  I changed to a straight stitch and sewing a small box around the whole thing, ¼” to ½” away from the zig zag sewing, to reinforce the mend.

That's all there is to it.

Here’s what it looks like from the outside.

How I earned $120/hour mending my jeans

It is not an invisible patch, but it’s not super noticeable either.  And frankly, if someone is looking at my crotch closely enough to see the patch, we’ve got some much larger problems than just wearing an old pair of jeans to work.

How I earned $120/hour mending my jeans

See?  Can't hardly see the mends.  And there are TWO patches on this pair of jeans!

Now, all of this – start to finish (and including digging out matching thread) took me less than 15 minutes.  A new pair of jeans would cost me $30.

So 15 minutes of work earned me $30.  Or, since I mended two pairs of jeans, 30 minutes of work earned me $60.

Multiply that out and you’ve got $120 an hour for some super simple sewing.

If that doesn't motivate you to tackle that mending pile, I don't know what will.

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1 comment

  • Ursula says:

    Hello dear Orange Bettie,

    Happened to land on your site because of the Basket Liner Tutorial which i like very much. Frugal was once considered oldfashioned but is finally making its way back. The jeans-mending is an old favorite of mine. I used to mend heaps the way you describe it and nobody ever noticed.
    The only difficulty i faced lately was to find out which holes were for the mending and which weren't ;-)).
    Kind regards from Switzerland

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