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How to Mend a Skirt on the Fly




Back in the day before my entrepreneurial life, I worked as an appeals clerk at Phoenix Municipal Court. My whole world revolved around scoring vintage dress clothes that I’d show off at my so-called prestigious office gig as the appeals clerk.

One morning I slipped past my boss, late as always, decked out in a ’50s-era body-hugging emerald suit. The extra-fine sharkskin fabric had zero give, and with the skirt tight enough to cut off my circulation if I sat too long, I knew it would be a long day.

In my tiny office across the hall from the courtrooms, I plopped down in the chair behind my desk, ready for the day’s angry defendants to line up and file their appeal paperwork. And then—I heard it.


My skirt’s back center slit popped apart, along with part of the hem. After already being tardy, there was no way I could ask to go home. So I did the next best thing that any crafty working girl would do: I whipped out the Swingline stapler.

I pulled down the shade on the Plexiglas service window of my office, locked the door, removed my skirt, and performed press-n-punch surgery on the skirt’s gashes. I slid on the garment, opened the shade, unlocked the door and continued as if nothing had happened.

Later, about five minutes before lunchtime, two jock-like dudes rang the bell at the service window. I explained the appeal process, and one of them decided to proceed. I turned, walked to my desk, bent over, and sifted through the folders for the proper paperwork.

I returned to the window and noticed both guys grinning. Creepy grins that made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I handed the paperwork to the first and the other one cut in . . .

“Hey—I’d like to file an appeal too,” he said, folding his arms over his chest and nodding at his friend. “I want the same paperwork you got for him. Over there, from your desk.” He pointed across the room to where I’d just been.

Weirdos, I thought. I politely turned around and walked to my desk again, bent over and grabbed the forms. When I returned to the window, they both laughed. The first guy asked for another set, just in case he needed it, he said. I knew something was up but had no clue.

“Kathy, sit down—I’ll take care of them,” said a booming voice from the dor entrance. It was my friend (and future husband) Patrick, who had arrived to take me to lunch. He signaled for me to have a seat, and then he gave the guys a cold side-eye stare as he approached the window.

I wondered why Patrick had such a rude attitude toward these men since he had only walked in a second earlier. As soon as I sat down, I knew.

I felt the icy sting from my metal chair against the bottom of my upper thighs – and nalgas.

I whisper-gasped in horror! My fancy hem job? Busted! Not only that, the staples had snagged on my pantyhose (this was the 80s, okay?) just above my bootie. No wonder those dudes wanted more paperwork. Every time I turned around and bent over, they saw all up the back of my legs, my butt, and chonies!

How to mend a skirt on the fly!

Don’t let this happen to you! While it seems likes a quick fix, staples are not the answer. There is so much that can go wrong. That’s why we need to plan ahead.

Always pack a sewing kit! Keep one in your purse, your suitcase, and your office desk drawer.  Because you just never know when you—or someone else—will need an old school needle and thread. You can find small kits at the fabric store, or just make your own.

How to make a mini sewing kit:

Find a container like a small mint tin or a lipstick case. Place inside your tin a couple of needles, black and white thread, and if you can find some, a teeny set of scissors.

If you don’t have a sewing kit:

Tape of any kind.

If you have any kind of enamel pins or safety pins, even post earrings – just to hold it together until you find a better solution.

If you are at a hotel or even a restaurant, ask the attendant if they have a sewing kit.

If worse comes to worst, see if there is a shirt you can tie around your waist!

Or  – if the back slit rips open like mine did, slide your skirt around to move the slit the side of your leg. Then own it, and act like that is how you meant it to be!

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