Can I prevent my shirts from wearing out at the elbow?
January 14, 2005 12:02 PM   Subscribe

I have a bony elbow. I know this because the left sleeve of all my dress shirts reliably get a hole in the same spot after a while, long before the rest of the shirt shows appreciable wear and tear. Is there anything I can do about this? I've thought about the possibility of elbow pads sewn inside the sleeve, but I don't want stitching visible and anything substantial enough to prevent the tear seems impractical.
posted by mkultra to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total)
There is an iron-on fusing tape - sometimes called 'stitchwitchery' - that lets you adhere another layer of fabric without having to sew. You could create a small patch out of a soft material (felt, flannel, cotton, jersey) and fuse it to the inside of the elbow. Presto: invisible reinforcement.
posted by hsoltz at 12:21 PM on January 14, 2005

Here it is. It also comes in flat pieces that you can cut to fit.
posted by hsoltz at 12:25 PM on January 14, 2005

One of my co-workers had this problem. The corner of his desk was pretty sharp. Once he put tape over the corner of the desk his shirts did not tear.
posted by Frank Grimes at 12:38 PM on January 14, 2005

The one problem with fusible webbing (the non-branded term for the stuff hsoltz brought up) is that it will also change the texture of the fabric. It's basically the same thing as fusible interfacing, which is what you use to stiffen, say, a waistband or cuffs while sewing. So even if the fabric you use for the patch is soft, it may still look like a small stiff patch of fabric from the outside.

Basically it's a mesh fabric with glue on it, that melts when you iron it. Not saying don't try it, just warning you to try on an older shirt to start.
posted by Kellydamnit at 1:00 PM on January 14, 2005

Are you left-handed? Because I'm guessing it's your mouse arm dragging your elbow miles and miles across your desk every year, and that your left elbow is no bonier than your right. Roll up your sleeves and look like you're working. I know that might sound sarky, but it might also be the best answer, because you do not want to modify every one of your damned work shirts.
posted by pracowity at 1:23 PM on January 14, 2005

I'm a righty, which is what makes it all the stranger. I don't have any habits that leave my elbow on any given surface for any length of time, either.
posted by mkultra at 1:32 PM on January 14, 2005

Do you carry a backpack/bag regularly that might be producing friction in unnoticeable ways? (It took me a month to figure out why some of my sweaters would pill over my right breast.)

Does you left elbow actually look pointier than your right?
posted by Specklet at 2:22 PM on January 14, 2005

I'm a righty that gets really dry scaly skin on my left elbow. I didn't realise that I was leaning on my desk with my elbow as much as I was. When I became conscious of it it was easy to see how it was happening. at work a mouse pad or something underneath your elbow might just do the trick, if you can't seem to keep it off stuff.
posted by jimmythefish at 5:52 PM on January 14, 2005

Off Topic : I always rub through the elbow on my right shirt sleeve - it's nothing to do with pointy elbows - it's leaning my elbow on the can window sill thing as I drive. twine42 - stealing tal's pc again.
posted by talitha_kumi at 5:12 AM on January 15, 2005

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