Learning incredibly useful skills is very rewarding. After learning some simple hand stitching I'm about ready to get a sewing machine and never bring ripped clothing to someone for repair ever again.

I took home economics in high school but never did any sewing, with the exception of taking thread from the sewing machine desks and running it in and out of the desk legs as a prank. All I ever did was cook and bake and whatever else we did in there that I don't remember.

While hunting with my son, I discovered that I ripped the seam in the crotch of my hunting pants. The fabric was fine, the stitching just came loose and I made it worse when kneeling down. Not a new experience for someone who has to buy pants with a much larger waist than I need for the legs to be large enough to accommodate my thighs.

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Andy Erickson/TSM

I have done dozens of do-it-yourself home repair and improvement projects, but when it came to clothing repairs or a broken buckle on my laptop backpack, I brought it to my mom, mother-in-law, or a professional. This time I decided to borrow my daughter's sewing kit and learn another skill from YouTube.

I googled the strongest stitch to mend a seam and among the results were several pages that said a backstitch and then found a video that did a pretty good job of explaining it.

My pants had ripped where four pieces of fabric came together and I had one short rip and another about 1.5 inches in length. I won't detail the procedure since I'm still pretty much a rookie, but I am confident in saying the first seam, circled in red below, was sloppy and overdone while the second stitch, circled in yellow, looks more like the example in the video.

Andy Erickson/TSM

The first one took about 20 minutes. The second, and longer one, took only about five minutes. After pulling on it pretty hard it held up and didn't make any popping noises. I put them on and kneeled in the same way that popped it to begin with and it was still together.

This is the best DIY project I have ever done for two reasons. One is that it's super cheap. A basic sewing kit can be had for as little as $7. Even hanging a picture would cost me half of that or more just to get it done right. The other reason is that I realized a lot of the gear I have purchased for hunting, camping, shooting, and other things is just fabric sewn together. Obviously, I have a lot to learn before I make or customize a backpack or a binocular harness, but I suddenly had ideas come to mind that were suddenly doable once I learn to run the machine.

Having said that, though, I would love to learn how to weld. But, as I said, the equipment required for that costs a wee bit more than $7.

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