Sunday, January 3, 2010
How many times have we all heard that? Look in the stall or out in the field and see our horse standing there in the freshly shredded remnants of their blanket, sheet or both. I have known horses who it seemed like they lived to shred and destroy blankets. I have also seen blankets so shredded, you question how many times they can be repaired before the owner just gives up and either buys another blanket or says Enough! and forgets about even trying any more.
This is my TB mare MAM's blanket. Not a home made version of my design, but this is a 1200 denier turnout blanket I got from Petsmart when they removed the State Line Tack/equine departments from their stores. I picked this up for an unbeatable price of $25. Some things you can't or rather just Don't pass up. She ripped it last year, towards the end of the cold season and although it was cleaned and put away for this year, I didn't bother to fix it. And this time procrastination has paid off in the blogs favor...
For anyone willing to fire up the sewing machine and give it a shot repairing their own, hopefully this can make it all easy for you. The blankets are not tough to work on, just bulky and seemingly obnoxious at times, but in the end it's not anything tough to do.
If you are already familiar with sewing, you know to use matching thread, run it through here there and the eye of the needle. Pull the thread from the bobbin up and you're ready to get started.
I start by laying the blanket out flat- like in the middle of the living room floor, because we all know the horses are in charge, even inside the house... Lay all the pieces where they are supposed to go or were originally attached and see that the edges all line up. This is if you were able to find all the pieces and recover them from where the horse is at- stall, pasture, round pen.
If you were not able to recover all the pieces lay the replacement fabric under the blanket to size it up and see that there is enough for the giant 'patch' you are about to create. I start by pinning everything together. If the edge of the fabric runs left to right, the pins go up and down. This is so that as you sew, when using just a plain straight stitch, you can sew right over the pins and keep on going.
Occasionally the needle will come down and hit the pin. One of them will either bend or break. I usually find I break at least one or more needles on every project. It's me. That's an issue I have with sewing. It makes my sewing perfectionist mother absolutely nuts. There are a few other things about my sewing that has that effect on her, but we won't go into that now.
If this is a blanket with a shell, insulation and lining, I start with pinning just the shell material first. Fix the outside and work your way in, sewing one layer at a time. After the pieces are all pinned together, wrong sides of the fabric facing out, if you prefer to baste them together by hand, now's your chance. I just pin it.
Hand basting to me is a waste of time and thread, since you machine stitch it then go back and take all the hand basting out. My Home-Ec teacher in school wasn't to fond of this, since it was not in the pattern instructions for any of the sewing projects. She also didn't like that I thumb pressed the seams and told her "That's how my Mom does it and nothing she makes looks 'home-made'..." Anyone care to guess my grades in the class? Yeah, not so good...
Once the blanket is pinned together or hand basted, it's time to take it over to the machine. Start at one edge of the torn pieces and put them under the presser-foot a few stitch lengths in. I start by reverse stitching back to the edge, then just stitching across the tear. This helps secure the ends of your threads so it doesn't all just come undone and need to be restitched later on.
If your machine is in a cabinet or a place where it is always out, then this shouldn't be an issue of the blanket being on a particular surface like the kitchen table. If the machine is being dragged out for blanket repairs and the kitchen table is a concern- the dollar store is your new friend. A cheap huge table cloth will protect it all or at the very least, keep it clean when used like a drop cloth.
I stitch along the tear one end to the other, reverse stitch the end and snip the threads. When working on the outside shell of the blanket, I then fold the excess of the material down and stitch it along the edge, reinforcing the new seam.
This picture is a little blurry, but not so much you can't get the idea. This blanket has insulation and lining, of which the tear only affected the shell and lining materials. Since the tear is far enough down the side of the blanket that the insulation was not affected, the lining is not an issue.
In a case like this the lining can be trimmed off and stitched to the shell fabric, which is what I did with this one. The shell fabric had torn along the web trim, so I removed the stitching on the web trim along the shell fabric, pinned it accordingly and stitched it all together again.
This shows where the trim was ripped off the shell fabric. After sewing the trim back to the blanket shell, I moved it all back to the middle of the living room floor. Lay the blanket out again and pin down the ends of any straps that have been torn off. Go back to the machine, stitch them on, reverse stitching as needed for added strength. Watch for any D rings or snaps, help the machine through any really thick spots and you are now done.
Congratulations on a job well done!