Belated Mending Monday

I thought I might do something a little more regular on the subject of mending. Just for the sake of alliteration, Monday will be the day. However, typically, I didn't get to it yesterday. Be prepared for Mending Monday on any day of the week, but know that my intention is to post on the actual day!

My neighbour Flora gave me this little book. Full as it is of detailed mending techniques, times do change and 1925's darning is today's intricate embroidery. I will try to give a few more practical tips and techniques to help make your mends easy and durable.

One very common repair challenge is a tear at a seam. Most likely, the tear has happened because of stress at that point. It will just tear again if a patch is applied that is too flimsy or poorly sewn.

What I do first is inspect the tear to assess the damage and figure out why it happened. Then, for a mend that won't be too noticeable, I choose a firm, fairly lightweight woven fabric, often a cotton broadcloth, that is in the colour range of the garment. I cut a piece larger than the hole, and pin it it place to the underside. I might have to open up the seam a bit for the fabric to fit smoothly. Sometimes I will handstitch the patch in place, but more often a zigzag or darning stitch on the machine does the trick. (Remember to lower the feed dogs if you can.

The idea is to keep the fabric flexible as possible so don't overstitch. (This is also why I don't recommend iron on patches.) It's easier to add more stitches than pick out too many. Once I have stabilized the tear, I can restitch the seam if necessary. Sometimes I will add a strip of very light seam tape to further reinforce the seam - occasionally this is the only fix that is needed, if you catch it in time.

For a more decorative mend you can apply the patch on the topside of the garment. You will still have to sew the darning stitches as above, because the stress on that point is still happening and the tear can grow from underneath the patch. Embellish with embroidery if you desire!

Click here for Sheri Lyn Wood's jeans patch.

(I will try for similar inspiring and/or instructional photos next time.)


  1. Anonymous1:36 PM

    It seems folk interested in textiles are paying a fortune for boro noragi - vintage Japanese workers clothing that has been mended again and again but has a great beauty and skill to it - perhaps you are starting a local version??? Have a look at this site, and you will see what I mean.
    All the best...

  2. Really enjoy reading this post. You took me back to my mom mending lesson she used to teach me. When I rummaging through the vintage Kimono pieces I often find some of them with holes, but already have been mended - thanks for the links too - Hugs Nat

  3. Anonymous1:23 PM

    Hello Heather!

    I think we met a couple of years ago at a workshop with the Braziers and you had a great idea for knitting at Skytrain stations as a way of bearing witness/keeping people safe. My partner Ian and I were there and I remember being so excited about meeting another artist with similar questions and inspirations.
    Well, I noticed your name and postings on Peter's list and I thought 'yay!. Ian and bought our little house on Lasqueti a year ago in June and are making the big move next week. What a lovely coincidence. So perhaps I will see you at the arts centre Thursday or the market on Saturday. Maybe you would like to have tea sometime?
    (the mending at the market is a great idea)
    Be well,

    Jennifer Brant

  4. What a beautiful idea - thankyou for sharing!

  5. I love your festive mending banner. I am not sure that its cheerful bidding could get me to give into that need to do chore.


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