Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Lost Art of Mending

I've been thinking a bit lately about mending clothes and how this is something it seems people no longer even think about doing.
We live in such a throw away society. As soon as an article of clothing gets a hole, especially one not on a seam, we automatically think "Oh well, time to throw it out and get a new one". I'm guilty of this myself and I've been sewing since I was 15. Instead of tossing my clothes I'm making a real effort to mend them first and get as much life out of them as possible. This is especially helpful to remember when you are at a clothing swap or thrift store and see something you love but it has a hole here or there. Don't be afraid of mending, it doesn't have to be perfect and its perfectly fine if it's obvious that a mend has taken place.

Check out some of my most recent mends:

Holes galore!
I bought this shirt a few years back from Nordstrom's. I thought it would be nice and last a while but these holes appeared the first time I washed it. I never got around to returning it and have been wearing it for quite some time with these holes. Today I decided to fix that and give it a bit of a makeover.
Blue Shirt Mended
I chose to mend this shirt making it overly obvious that it had been fixed. I used contrasting colors and stitched wider than necessary. I like the way it turned out
Close up of stitching
I used zig zag stitch with colored thread on top and white on the bottom. I stitched in the direction of the ribs (opposite direction of the stretch) so that the shirt would still be able to stretch fine when worn.
Mended Tights.
I have mended these tights so many times. I love them and am not ready to give up on them. With this close up it is easy to spot the mending by seeing the alteration in the line pattern but most people never even look close enough to notice they have been fixed. Even if they did I would display my fixes with pride.

Seam fix
 Here is an example of fixing a split seam. This is a pair of yoga pants that had a few spots on the waist band that started to unravel. I got these at a clothing swap so who knows how many people had them before I did.
I fixed this seam by hand-stitching a whip stitch but this could easily be fixed with a sewing machine using either a straight or zig zag stitch.
Hole on butt of yoga pants
 This pair of yoga pants also had a hole on the left butt cheek. Not a great place to have a hole in your pants while taking a yoga class. I was slightly embarrassed when I found that baby. I hand stitched the seam using grey thread the closest to the color of the pants as possible (though it was still a little too light). It may be obvious there was a fix but its WAY better than having a hole there.
I pinched the hole together on the inside of the fabric then did a whip stitch.

Don't throw out your loved clothing because of a simple hole. There is life in it still. A simple stitch or two can bring it back in to your wardrobe rotation.


  1. I find it's just SO satisfying to fix something, don't you? I have a pair of jeans I've mended (in an omg totally hideous fashion) three or four times now and it never fails to please me.

  2. Thank you for this post. Could you please recommend how to repair split inner thigh seems on yoga pants? That's where mine split but there's still lots of life to them otherwise, and some are my favourites so I don't want to throw them out. I've tried stitching but the stitches pull out. I was thinking of some kind of iron on patch for the inside - what would you recommend?