Make a Pair of Berry Picking Pants

Make these sturdy berry picking pants by using an old pair of jeans and coating them with fabric cement to ward off sharp thorns and keep you dry for less than three dollars.

| July/August 1982

  • Making a pair of berry picking pants
    After you've readied the jeans, place them—zipper side up—on your work surface, and squirt about one-quarter of a bottle of fabric cement on the front of each leg.

  • Making a pair of berry picking pants

You can make a pair of berry picking pants to beat the thorny problems that go with summer berry-picking for less than three dollars by following the instructions provided here. 

Make a Pair of Berry Picking Pants

In late summer and early autumn, giant succulent blackberries—suspended tantalizingly from thorny canes—lure me into the bristly thickets near my Wisconsin home. And at the end of each expedition I used to crawl out of the prickly patches, clutching both my hard-earned half-bucket of berries and two thorn-scarred legs that looked as if I'd meandered into the midst of an in-progress cat fight!

I first tried to thwart the bushes by donning three pairs of trousers to protect my vulnerable shins . . . but the weight and heat of those leggings proved to be almost as unbearable as the prickly thorns. Furthermore, the layers of clothing became particularly uncomfortable in the early morning dew . . . and I soon found that few things take the joy out of woods-roaming more thoroughly than creeping around in three pairs of soggy drawers.

Soon thereafter, though—quite by accident—I finally discovered the solution that now allows me to tramp unscathed through the thickest of blackberry brambles. It all started when a pair of my well-worn blue jeans developed a severe tear during an unexpected encounter with a barbed wire fence. Rather than sew up the laceration, I temporarily glued a patch over it with some fabric cement. To my amazement, the repair stayed on as if it'd grown there . . . and even repeated trips through the washing machine and clothes dryer failed to dislodge the stubborn mend. With some curiosity, then, I examined the patch . . . and saw that the adhesive had completely penetrated the fabric, making the material both water proof and extremely tough.

"Aha," I reasoned, "if I coat the front of my jeans with the rubbery substance, I'll have a durable and inexpensive pair of berry-picking pants!" So I applied some more fabric cement to my old dungarees, and found to my delight that the covering repelled the sharpest thorns and even helped keep me dry while I walked through rain-soaked thickets.

Since my first experiment, I've refined the technique that transforms ordinary denims into brush-buster britches. The only items required are an old pair of pants (jeans work best, but any trousers made of a heavy material will do), some newspaper, and a six-ounce bottle of fabric cement. There are several brands of the adhesive on the market, but I prefer Val-A Tehr-Greeze, which is available for about $2.40 a bottle at most hardware stores, canvas and awning supply shops, and shoe repair services.

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