Sunday, April 25, 2010

Making hiking clothing from scraps

A while back I led a Sierra Club hike on a primitive trail to a special place called Gorilla Rock. Along the way I tore a hole in my hiking pants. I hiked along for quite some time before the guy walking behind me finally said something about the growing hole in my pants. By the time he said something, the hole was about 6 inches long.

When I got home, I tossed my torn pants in a corner thinking I'd either toss them or fix them. Well, now that I have a sewing machine what I did instead was harvest them.

I recently bought some nice Ex-officio pants from the thrift store. When clothing companies that specialize in outdoor clothing make things for men they make them with reasonable waistlines, full length pants, useful pockets and a cut that accommodates physical activity. When these same companies make clothing for women they usually include none of those things, but they do use the same good fabric. These pants had very short legs (do women hikers somehow not mind sunburn and mosquito bites?), but the waistline was somewhat reasonable (a tad bit of gap-osis to show off my underwear to the world, but there are belt loops). The pockets are useful for small things, and there's one zippered pocket on my thigh which I like. In other words, they could work with a little modification.

So I made frankenpants out of them. I cut the legs off the torn pants and sewed them onto these Ex-officio pants. The pant legs are gray and the Ex-officio pants are khaki, but it doesn't look any more stupid than if I wore knee-high gaiters.

I was just about to throw out the rest of the pants but then I noticed they have good pockets. Perhaps I can harvest the pockets for my future hiking skirt project.

I also edited a Patagonia skirt so that it's actually useful for hiking. It was so narrow I couldn't even walk up stairs. I added a panel of nylon from the pants to flare it out so I can actually step over a log or something. I also fixed some casual pants.

By the way, I had a chance to try out my bomber hat this weekend. I wore it to bed when I camped out on my bike ride. It's very warm. It's also very big. My friends were polite and said nothing about how silly it looks on me. But I'm happy with how warm it is. It's a good addition to my sleep system.

This is very fun.

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