Repaired Things

I fixed my shoe.
October 2, 2012, 4:54 pm
Filed under: fabric, rubber | Tags: , ,

Hey Anne, do you still have your blog about repairs?  I fixed my shoe.

Hey Allan! Thank you for the photo! I will post it. What happened to your shoe? I have kept Repaired Things going, but just barely.

It’s what happens will all my shoes, the inside of the back of the heel came undone.  And all the shops were like, “Oh, we can’t fix that.  You have to stop kicking your shoes off.”  Scolding me!  So there was this flap of shoe hanging around the inside, so I sewed that very crude patch on.

There are plenty of people in India who will fix things like that. Our cobblers are just lazy.

And it’s a cost of labor vs. cost of manufactured goods thing.  I don’t exactly understand it.  The relative cost of a repair, vs. the cost of a new item, is higher in rich countries than in poor countries.  It’s because labor costs are higher in rich countries than in poor countries, but since the shoes (everywhere) are made in the poor countries, the new shoes end up being relatively cheap vs. the repairs, because the repairs have to be done by a high-wage-earning person in the rich country.
Unless there were some way to outsource/globalize the repairs.  Send a container-load of damaged shoes to India, have them fixed at the local rate, and then ship them back.  Just need to convince people in North America and Europe to wait three months for their shoes to get repaired, but for only $1.
This is true, but if you were willing to pay a fair 1st world rate for someone to sew the back of your shoe back together, then why wouldn’t they do it? Because they don’t want to – not because they can’t. Even in India people told me that my sandals weren’t worth the time to repair, but they did it anyway because I was willing to pay.
Besides, it is worth it in the long run. We are just externalizing the costs of producing cheap goods; the costs are there in environmental harm and human rights abuses; we just don’t see them. So if I want to not hurt anyone with the things I wear, it might be cheaper to pay $20 for my things to be repaired rather than buy expensive new free trade / organic shoes.
Maybe if the economy stays crappy more people will go into the sneaker repair business.  At least the high prices are forcing people buy smaller cars.  It’s a start.

Patch Happy!
June 3, 2012, 8:53 pm
Filed under: fabric, leather | Tags: , , , ,

Workshop lead by Sewing Rebellion NYC at NURTUREart, May 27, 2012

Photos by Tsubasa Berg

Social Sculpture Workshop
June 3, 2012, 7:03 pm
Filed under: metal, wood | Tags: , , ,

Lead by Kristyna & Marek Milde at NURTUREart, May 12, 2012.

And the sculpture in use!

Tote Bag
April 21, 2012, 3:07 pm
Filed under: fabric | Tags: , , , ,

Langmusi China, 2006. One handle had pulled off my tote bag, and this guy stitched it back on and reinforced the other one.

Very cool sewing machine! Looks like he’s mainly a cobbler.

Darned Socks
February 15, 2012, 11:47 am
Filed under: fabric | Tags: ,

Thanks to Sarah of Fixer’s Collective for initiating me into the world of darning.

Japanese Boro Textiles
January 16, 2012, 2:27 pm
Filed under: fabric | Tags: , , , ,

Boro Cotton Kimono, Yamagata Prefecture (Northern Japan) c. 1900

“Boro textiles were made in the late 19th and early 20th century by impoverished Japanese people from reused and recycled indigo-dyed, cotton rags. What we see in these examples are typical—patched and sewn, piece-by-piece, and handed down from generation-to-generation, where the tradition continued. These textiles are generational storybooks, lovingly repaired and patched with what fabric was available. Never intended to be viewed as a thing of beauty, these textiles today take on qualities of collage, objects of history, and objects with life and soul.” — via Accidental Mysteries

This image (via Wafu Works) reminds me of Tsubasa’s Jeans, which his mother has mended over and over again.

Barter Town 2010
December 17, 2011, 12:35 pm
Filed under: fabric, wood | Tags: , , , , , ,

A year and a half late …. (yikes)

I set up a “Repair Booth” at Heather’s awesome Barter Town project …

Makeshift cardboard button

Pocket hole

George actually broke his pencil and then handed it to me to repair. What?? I think I used glue and then prettied it up with yellow duct tape.

Redid part of Jackie’s seam.

The Workshop Of a Shoe Repairer
November 29, 2011, 2:46 pm
Filed under: leather | Tags: ,

What a treat to see Karen’s photographs of the workshop of her local cobbler.

Not just the tools, materials, and process, but the fantastic wall art.

What an eye for details…

See the whole post here.

August 21, 2011, 12:48 pm
Filed under: fabric, wood | Tags: , ,

Vrindavan, India / 2008

Karen Barbé’s darned socks
March 19, 2011, 6:08 pm
Filed under: fabric | Tags: ,

Textile designer Karen Barbé darned her socks, and they are beautiful. Best of all, she included a pattern and links to darning instructions on her blog.


It looks like she’s preparing a post on “creative mending”, which I’m quite looking forward to. I’ve never darned or knit anything myself, but I’ve got a few socks and sweaters that could use it. For now, she’s posted a materials list