Hey Threadsters and welcome to my teeny tiny snippet of the internet.
Today I want to talk about the dreaded mending pile. If you’re anything like me you have a growing pile of mending. Shirts that need buttons sewn back on, clothing with holes that need patching, hems to hem and the always present: those darn socks! (see what I did there). The mending pile grows quietly in a box under the bed or in the wardrobe or somewhere else out of sight. Well, let me tell you the time is now to explore some creative mending.
Note: This blog post turned out to be more epic than I intended as I did some research on mending techniques and the fashion industry’s impact on the environment. Be prepared to potentially fall into an embroidery and mending vortex of resources after reading this post. Y’all have been warned!
In recent times, mending has been enjoying somewhat of a revival. A response to the ever increasing fast fashion movement, the Slow Clothing movement is gaining ground. Mending used to be a source of shame or an indication of poverty and was craftily hidden as much as possible.
Thankfully, that stigma has done a solid about turn and is now growing as a sign of mindful clothing choices and the general trend towards living in a more eco friendly way.
It’s like an eco bat signal to other eco friendly people. We are not only saving money by mending, we are minimising our impact on the environment.
We all know how devastating it is when your favourite item of clothing gets a hole or starts to become threadbare in one spot. Will I ever be able to wear it again? Yes! It’s time to get some mending inspo…
Making A Mends
My mend story starts around a year ago when a good friend gave me this great winter top. It already had a small hole in it and I thought ‘Well, I’ll fix it and then wear it’. That did not happen. I would forget all about the hole until I pulled it out of the wardrobe to wear.
At this point I would throw caution to the wind and wear it anyway, sometimes wearing a brooch to cover the hole.
It would get washed and put away only to have this whole cycle happen again the next time I pulled it out to wear. Finally I thought that’s it!
Stitching at O’Heart Festival
This past weekend, I had a market stall at O’Heart Festival, a conscious awakening/indie music festival held in Tyalgum, Northern NSW. I usually take some form of work with me so I had some prep for an upcoming Eco Expo and I also took the shirt that needed mending. As luck would have it, on Sunday morning there were some beautiful musicians playing. The courtyard where my market stall was bathed in winter sun. A perfect time to mend.
I started by placing a small patch behind the hole and trimming the jagged edges of the hole to make stitching easier. I pinned the patch in place. I chose a style called visible mending.
No longer hidden, a trend called visible mending is breathing quirky new life into those old favourites.
I sewed a circle of running stitch around the hole just to keep the patch in place.
A quick how-to about running stitch:
Then I focussed on the actual hole in the fabric and began to sew around the edges of the hole to prevent further fraying.
The effect I wanted to create was like a little window in the shirt revealing a pop of brightly coloured fabric underneath.
I also wanted to create sort of implied concentric circles by sewing multiple circles in running stitch all the way around the hole. This is not only decorative, it anchors the patch on the inside of the garment and makes it a stronger fix.
The Mend-i-tation is Complete
And Ta-da! I really love how it turned out. Even though the weather here in Northern NSW is warming up and I probably won’t wear that top until next year. I’m sure I will thank my past self next winter! It really inspires me to mend more clothes. Or even embellish ones that don’t need fixing.
There is something relaxing about sitting under a tree and working on a hand sewn project. Mending is mindfulness. Slow down; focus on your stitching.
Mending shows care for the garment and care for yourself. It saves you money and time shopping for new or secondhand clothing. It’s also better for the environment, both in the production of new clothing and the disposal of discarded clothing in landfill.
Some resources that might be helpful to your mending journey:
Here is a great Youtube Tutorial on sewing an Invisible or ‘Ladder’ Stitch
Here is a great article on Ways to Mend and Repair Clothes Using Embroidery
There are some great blog posts around the subject of mending inspiration.
I have bought this book and am currently drooling over all the beautiful photos of stitching. It also has perforated stitching cards that you can tear out and use to practice stitching techniques.
This website has loads of mendspiration to get you super excited about fixing your beloveds.
If you would like to know more about the Slow Clothing movement, Jane Milburn has written this book, all about making more mindful clothing choices, using what we have, choosing quality over quantity and celebrating wearing beautiful natural fibres.
Also, you could check out my Pinterest where I’m pinning ideas for Mending on this board.
It’s up to all of us to make mindful choices in our everyday lives. Change can start in your sock drawer. Who knows where it may lead.
Until next time –
May your bobbin always be full,