July 7, 2011

I am my own blanket lady...

I have found that being unemployed self employed has rekindled my frugal side from my youth. It is so easy to drop a pile of blankets and sheets off at a tack store to be picked up and washed, dried, and mended. However, now that I am sans cushy paycheck, I have had to start getting creative again and doing things the hard way...myself. Surprisingly though, it's not so hard really, just time consuming. But luckily right now I have a lot of free time!

I learned to sew when I was younger, and if I could manage to get my hands on fabric I made all sorts of things, including curtains and quilts. Apparently, those somewhat rusty skills are now serving me well. Yesterday morning, I pulled out my recently gifted Grandmother In-Law's 1971 Viking 6460 sewing machine and Rose's fly sheet. Rose had previously worn her fly sheet last summer for one day before ripping one of the belly straps off. Actually, she didn't even wear it a whole day as she stepped on the strap, ripping it off, whilst I was putting the sheet on her. At that time I was too busy with work, the wedding, and everything else to find the time to fix it. It just didn't seem worth it to send it off to the blanket lady to fix, and I figured "I'd get around to it soon". So here we are more than a year later, and poor Rose has been showing up with giant mosquito welts and deer fly bites every morning after turnout. Fly spray just doesn't work for 16 hours straight. I decided enough was enough and I needed to fix that blanket! Here are my results...

The Repaired Belly Strap
 How to repair a belly strap on a horse blanket or fly sheet:
  1. I cut off all of the remaining thread on the blanket and the strap. In my case the strap was not broken, so I merely needed to re attach it. If your strap is broken, you will need to replace it with new material.
  2. I placed the strap in it's previous location, but shifted up an inch to have a solid area to sew onto, and pined it in place. The fly sheet material had been damaged when it was ripped out (but not enough to require a patch), which is why it needed to be shifted.
  3. I loaded my machine with heavy duty thread in both the spindle holder and the bobbin. I already had white thread from a previous project and I was being thrifty so I decided to use what I had. Otherwise, I would have spent the $3.29 on a new spindle of thread as close in color to the strap as possible. But hey, the white coordinates, right?
  4. I set my machine to zig-zag and reduced the tension on the pressure foot (due to thick fabric...I also have to do this to patch jeans. As such if you have a machine that doesn't offer this feature you may not be able mend your own blankets. The best machine you could use to do this would be an industrial sewing machine. I chose to use zig-zag because it was previously straight stitched, and well, we already know how well that held!
  5. I placed the sheet in the machine, making sure not to sew other parts of the sheet to my section accidentally (it is very easy to do this if you aren't careful).
  6. I sewed up all four sides and did a pass straight down the middle. 
  7. Then, I appreciated my not necessarily beautiful but totally functional work and placed it on Rose. All done!

Rose modeling the goods

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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  1. She looks smashing. You did a great job.

  2. Sorry about the job loss. My husband and I are going through that right now too so I feel for you.

    The blanket looks fantastic. You did a great job. :) I'm having to get more frugal too, but I love making stuff for my horse so I don't mind. So far for Chrome I've made a cavesson, driving reins, halter, lead rope and now I'm making a cordeo. :) So much fun!



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