Monday, September 19, 2011

'Cause I'm cheap

We all spend a lot of money on our horses. The best hay and feed, supplements, custom-fit saddles, vet, chiro, acupuncture... the list goes on. So I tend to cut a few corners where I can, 'cause at the end of the day, I'm actually kinda cheap.

I keep fly masks on all the boys every day during the day, and normally each horse uses one fly mask per season. This year with the heat, fly season has extended long past its usual time, and the fly masks are all looking a little worse for the wear. Mine usually tear along the seam on the cheek, and this year is no exception:

Torn right at the corner.

In order to squeeze them through another couple of weeks ('cause let's face it, new fly masks for 4 horses is $100), I did a little ghetto repair job on them. If you have a sewing machine and know how to use it (or can fumble your way through using it), then you can also do a quick fix and limp your fly mask along for a little while longer.

First off, you need a piece of fairly sturdy fabric or webbing that's double the length of the tear plus about three inches. I had some extra upholstery-grade linen bias tape laying around from another project that was just right. It's about an inch wide. You'll also want a heavy-duty needle in your machine as you will be going through several layers of thick fabric.

Next, you want to run a zigzag stitch down the frayed side of the fabric on the fly mask. This is to help prevent it from fraying further. Also, don't cut the bits that are still holding the pieces together, as any cut edges will only fray faster.

Using your zigzag stitch, sew the support fabric to the back (inside) of the fly mask on the side that's most intact.

Here's what it looks like when the first side is done. I'm about to start sewing the second side, the side that's badly frayed. This is a bit more tricky, so take your time and be careful not to catch any of the frayed threads on the fly mask.

Here's what it looks like with both sides done. Notice that I've sewing far to the right of where the mesh fabric has frayed - that will help keep it from fraying more. Also notice that I've gone over it twice with the zigzag stitch - that will also help keep it secure.

Here's what it looks like from the inside. Not terribly neat, but functional enough.

Now, fold your support fabric over the edge of the mask, and line it up. All those messy ends are now covered, and you didn't have to cut them!

Sew both sides down with the zigzag stitch, and fold the end under so that you don't have any raw edges (if you're using webbing, you can burn the edge and just sew it, no need to fold it under). You may need to go slower because you're sewing through additional fabric and your machine may have a hard time with it.

And here's what it looks like all sewn down. Just nip off any stray ends of thread, and you're set to go!


  1. Nice job. Better than I'd have done!

  2. This is why I was taught to sew. I didn't want to, but it's got it's uses lol. Had issues with Greta's blanket last year foding under and rubbing her shoulder. So we sewed the the two flaps together and now it's a slip on blanket and I didn't have to spend money on a new one (although when these Tough-1s wear out, I'm definitely going to try and cough up the money for Horsewear or Weatherbeeta or Baker blankets that will last FOREVER).

  3. Meidhbhe, let's just hope it all holds together!

    Dressager, sewing really is a great skill to have, even if you only use it for the occasional repairs and such!

  4. Mine usually only last a season as well, and I've been trying to stretch this one out. Lilly's usually comes apart by the Velcro piece and I'm not sure it can even keep flies out anymore. It's all stretched and funny looking but nothing has actually torn... yet. I have a sewing machine, but let's just say it's pretty dusty. :) You did a great job with yours, though!