#68: Visible Vs Invisible Mending
This episode is a fun exploration into the qualities of, and differences between, visible and invisible mending. What are their strengths and when are they likely to be victorious?
Taking a deeper look into these approaches to mending can give us a clearer idea of how we want to tackle each repair job we are presented with. Which one will you deploy for your next mending project?
Support the podcast over on Patreon!
Basic materials mending:
- Strong thread suitable for hand sewing to stitch up holes, rips and tears, and for stitching on patches.
- If you’re likely to try darning, some darning yarn, or possibly leftover knitting yarn should also be in your mending materials stash.
- Fabric scraps for making patches. These can be harvested from old garments that have gone beyond wearability, and leftovers from previous sewing projects. It’s useful to have a mix of woven and knit fabrics and different thicknesses so you can create patches for different types of garments.
- A selection of buttons in a range of sizes. Although pretty much anything goes in terms of holes or shanks, colour, shape or texture, a replacement button will have to be the same size or a little smaller than the missing one. You can always close up a button hole a bit if the new button is a bit smaller, but you’re inviting a bit of a headache if you try to make the buttonhole bigger to accommodate a larger replacement button.
- Scraps of fusible interfacing. These are useful to strengthen a weakened area, particularly because it’ll give you more grace with your choice of fabric for patching, or your choice of reinforcing stitch.
- Eventually you may find it useful to also have a collection of Iron on patches, lengths of bias binding, and pieces of elastic in different widths, but you can gather those as the need arises.
Basic equipment for mending:
- Hand sewing needles are a must. A little pack of different sizes to match with different thickness of fabric will make your life easier.
- Scissors that cut fabric and snips to cut thread.
- A tape measure or other measuring tool. These can help you figure out how big to cut a patch or what length and width bias binding you might need.
- Some kind of fabric marking tool such as a water or heat erasable pen or a chalk pencil.
- A seam ripper AKA stitch ripper or quick unpick.
- Pins and safety pins to keep what you’re working on in place.
- An iron will also be handy to apply the fusible interfacing and prepare neat looking patches.
- Certain visible mends might be quicker or longer lasting if a sewing machine is used.
Mending inspiration and knowledge:
- Mending Matters by Katrina Rodabaugh which is all about subtle, visible patching and decorative Sashiko stitching.
- Modern Mending by previous-guest Erin Lewis-Fitzgerald is a wonderful primer on all sorts of mending techniques and encourages creativity at every step.
- @mendingmayhem, a community that celebrates mends in the wild
- @roberta.cummings a creative maker and mender whose work often focuses on colourful, visible darning
- @akemi__harada is an artist and maker incorporating boro
- @blue_movement2017 creates stunning garments using traditional Japanese techniques including indigo dyeing and boro
- @yung_curmudgeon (AKA Noah Hirsch) is a talented and bold repairer of everything, as well as a previous guest on this podcast.
- @tomofholland is one of the first champions of visible mending that I became aware of