(Disclosure: Some of these are affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you buy from them, at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I know and love.) I can’t even express how excited I was when I got my hands on this new book from Jenny Wilding Cardon called Visible Mending: Artful Stitchery to Repair and Refresh Your Favorite Things! I have been a bit tuned into the “mend and make do” movement for a few years, but, honestly, I wasn’t sure where to start with visible mending. Until recently, I was trying very hard to keep all my mending invisible! I sat down with something fun to drink and spent an hour or so just reading and soaking in all the beautiful inspiration in this book. Do you do that? I love to just sit down and read sewing/craft books. I enjoy getting an idea of the inspiration and personality behind the book. And this book did not disappoint!Not only does Jenny (can I call you Jenny?) give you five different methods of mending–she breaks down the materials needed, when each type of mending is appropriate, and tons of tutorials on each type of mending. Then she provides a hugely inspirational gallery of visibly vended clothing and objects (shoes, tablecloths, bags, even an American Flag!) to really get your creative juices flowing. I couldn’t wait to get started! I had been contemplating what to do with a pair of capri jeans that was looking pretty shabby due to the stitching coming out of the pocket. They were the perfect project to start with. Once I pulled them out, I also realized that they were wearing thin in the inner thigh area as well. Luckily, Jenny also addresses this type of mending. I settled on boro stitching for both of these mends. Boro stitiching is basically a very visible running stitch. I talk about my decision-making process on Episode 9 of the podcast–but in short, I started with some scraps of Liberty and linen on the pocket, which looked totally charming, but ultimately decided, that that was a little too visible on an area of my body I don’t really want to call attention to. So, back to the stash for some blue and other denim-like fabrics. I got them where I wanted them and fused them in place with some Steam-A-Seam before stitching. I marked some basic stitching lines with a heat erasable Frixion pen. Then I headed to the embroidery floss stash (aka tangled mess) and found some DMC size 8 perle cotton and set to work. I wasn’t happy with my stitches at first (a little TOO wonky)–so I ripped those out and decided to practice the stitching on the less visible inner thigh area. For that area, I put a patch on the inside of the pant leg and again fused it around the edges with some Steam-A-Seam. I simply did some boro stitching in both directions to reinforce that area. That was a completely pleasurable experience–handstiching outside in the beautiful spring weather, with a lovely beverage by my side. Buoyed by my quick success, I was ready to tackle the pocket mend. Again, I just sewed running stitch lines about 1/4″ from each other–extending past the patches and criss-crossing a bit. The stitches are wonky, but I don’t think anyone notices that. Anyway–wonkiness is part of the charm!I was even inspired to add a little detail to the other pocket, where the stitching is just starting to come out. I think it ties it all together nicely. I’m so happy to have these well-loved jeans back in rotation! I think they came out super cute. More importantly, I’m so happy to have the skills to repair favorite wardrobe items instead of just having to toss them when they get the inevitable rips and holes. I’m already eyeing another pair of jeans that are frayed at the hem… And I’m looking around for some knitwear to mend–I am loving the look of darning with contrasting yarn. So, I’m a fan. I highly recommend Visible Mending to brush up on (or learn for the first time) those mending skills and to even just add one-of-a-kind embellishments to your exiting wardrobe. There is a great embroidery section that is perfect for that. Since it just launched on June 1, you can purchase right now from Martingale and receive the ebook version for free! (Or just purchase the ebook version.) It will be available at Amazon on June 15.
Let me leave you with the reverse side of the envelope that the book arrived in. This highlights what can be done with machine mending. Amazing, right?!
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