Friday, September 22, 2017

Saving Doris

How's my cold, you ask? Well, I'm not sure. I feel like I'm past the phase of "active illness," but I am still congested as all get-out and coughing like crazy. So I don't know what's going on. Either I'm just clearing out my body after defeating the bug, or I'm courting a secondary infection.

I had planned to walk another segment of the London LOOP this weekend, but I'm not sure I'll be up for that. I won't rule it out yet, though. Let's see how today goes.

I think my Doris shorts are on their last legs. A big hole opened up in the soft, 23-year-old cloth the other day, and it wasn't along a seam. It was right over my thigh, showing a clear deterioration of the cotton. This is not a surprise, as old as they are and as much as I wear them, but I'm not sure I'm ready to give them up yet. Last night I sat down and sewed up the hole as best I could. My repair looks terrible -- like a four-legged brittle star crawling up my leg -- but it may prevent the fabric from tearing any more. Maybe I can get one more year out of them.

(Photo: A racing car and bicyclist at an auto yard near Erith, South London.)


  1. I didn't realise that school librarians were so badly paid. Perhaps regular visitors to your blog will be willing to contribute to the NEW SHORTS FOR STEVE fund. I will kick it off by pledging £1.50. After all, if more holes appear in the shorts you could be arrested for indecent exposure and Olga wouldn't get her regular walks on Hampstead Heath. Also you would lose your job...

  2. Time for Doris to retire...and a trip to Oxfam for shorts...

  3. I lived in West Africa for two years (Peace Corps Niger) and those African tailors were AMAZING. So I bet those shorts are the most comfy shorts in the history of Steve.

    Wentworth Street (E1) has lots of African fabric shops, in which can be found African tailors. They could do you right. Maybe they could make Doris into a pocket for your new pair so you'll never be parted.

  4. I have a dress that I bought at Goodwill many, many years ago and I have worn it when each of my grandchildren was born. It is blue and linen and it is literally falling apart and I am going to have to try and make it presentable for one more (at least!) birth and I need to do it soon. It is my welcome-to-the-world dress. Blue like the oceans and the sky. Isn't it funny how attached we can become to certain garments? It's as if they have become ceremonial skins.

  5. hate it when a favorite piece of old worn out clothing finally bites the dust. I imagine that your attempt at repair will be invisible against that pattern and colors.

  6. You can save Doris with beautiful patchwork. She will become a work of art that you can wear! I remember saving many pairs of jeans that way in the late 1960s and early 70s. Hope you start to feel better soon and well enough for a nice walk this weekend.

  7. I like Vivian's idea for Doris. At the very least, a trip to that part of town would make for an excellent blog post!

    Hope you are feeling much better soon. In my experience though, coughs like to linger for much longer than we want them to...

  8. This made me laugh. I have a 20 year old sweatshirt that I still wear. I bought it in Annapolis and that is exactly what it says across the front. I like it because it's not like most sweatshirts, it's lighter. It has holes in it everywhere but, I still wear it around the house. In fact I was wearing it last night when I watched TV. When the neckline tore along the seam, I just pinned it close. I'd be totally embarrassed if anyone saw me it but, I just can't seem to throw it away.
    Good luck with that residual cold. I hope you kick it.

  9. I HATE throwing away favorite items of clothing, no matter how old they are. I have a pair of blue jeans on that keep raveling at the cuffs. When I notice those threads hanging down I cut them off with a scissors. One of these days, my jeans will probably be a pair of cut-offs!

  10. Are there fabric stores in your area? You can buy iron on patches. Do both sides of the tear, and try to have a tiny bit of the tear open so the two patches can seal in the middle. You'll need to take them somewhere to have the edges machine sewed because they always unstick. I have shorts like Doris, mine just ripped in the back, so there will be mending. They're only eleven years old...

  11. The cough may just be part of the initial infection - some viruses play out differently than others. But coughing is so tiring; I hope it leaves quickly.

    I feel your pain about your Doris shorts but had to chuckle at your description of the resulting fix, as I've been there and done that! (before I knew how to sew) ... A piece of material to make a patch is generally simpler than using thread. I do like Vivian's idea, too, of new shorts with a piece of Doris as a pocket :)

  12. Lemon and whisky ..........the cold will go but wash it down with vit c and gin

  13. YP: Ha! My devotion to the Doris shorts is all about sentimental attachment, not economic necessity!

    E: Maybe, but I think I can get them to hang on a bit longer!

    Vivian: That is a GENIUS suggestion! I love the idea of doing something else with the Doris fabric. If (when) they tear again I'm going to look into that.

    Ms Moon: Definitely! I have several articles of clothing like that. In fact, that may be a future post!

    Ellen: Yeah, it IS true that you can't really see the brittle star. At least, not from any distance.

    Robin: I thought of patches, but I think I need a sewing machine for those, don't I? At any rate, I could always take them to the tailor again and have HIM patch them.

    Bug: It WOULD be an interesting place to visit. I've never heard of that African tailor neighborhood!

    Sharon: I have a sweatshirt like that, too! Mine is from the United Nations.

    Catalyst: At least frayed jeans are kind of stylish!

    Allison: I didn't know anyone still sold iron-on patches! I'll have to look into that. I have no idea where to get them around here. But I'm sure there is a place, and then (as I mentioned above) I could always have the tailor do the sewing. If I go that route.

    Jenny-O: Yeah, it could be part of the original cold, but I'm not sure. It feels more like a secondary thing. I think it's subsiding, though, slowly. Vivian's suggestion is great!

    John: I would go myself if I drank all that!