When I decided to start sewing all my own clothes a few years ago, the task seemed daunting. True, I could whip up a tank top in a single weekend using my sewing machine, but surely I didn’t want to spend all my free time sewing. I envisioned a whole new wardrobe with color-coordinated pieces that I could wear both to work and to the beach, because (don’t hate me) my work and the beach were almost the same place. I made a list. I purchased fabric. And then I waited for some of my clothes to wear out so that I could replace them. For the most part I’m still waiting.
What has happened in the intervening time is a gradual falling apart. Tiny holes appear in my favorite shirts. Jeans grow threadbare between the legs. A cotton jacket becomes worn at permanent creases in the cloth. Sometimes it takes me a while to notice. Sometimes the hole or distressed area becomes so large that I consider declaring the item officially worn out, but then I think about having to sew a whole new piece to replace it and the patching or darning or reinforcing seems like a much easier task.
So there’s the secret to getting your mending done: the alternative must involve even more effort.
Of course the flaw in this secret mending motivational strategy is my overabundance of clothes. They fill up more than half of my shared bedroom closet. They spill onto the floor from the laundry basket. They are piled on shelves and in luggage. They are certainly not all needed. Not by a long shot.
But my oh my the mending pile has grown. And by this point it holds not only some of my favorite clothes, but some of my husband’s favorite clothes. The procrastination period must end, and to help it along, here are some of my favorite sources of mending inspiration:
- Examples of both visible and invisible mending.
- How to fix store-bought socks with little patches over the holes from Tasha.
- Karina Rodabaugh‘s blog and instagram with pictures of mended pants, sashiko, and boro.
- Tomofholland‘s blog with pictures of mending, including mending knitted clothes in interesting ways.
The above images are only a small sampling of the mended articles littered around my apartment, including (top to bottom) handkerchiefs, baby clothes my mom saved from when I was a baby, my husband James’ jeans, a pillow case my mom made for me when I was young, and even more handkerchiefs. In addition, I have mended my own pants (both stretch and non-stretch), undies, cloth diapers that were starting to fray, shirts, a dress or two, and my husband’s winter jacket that had developed holes in awkward places (like every single pocket). For adult clothes, at least for James, I usually try for invisible mending, but for many household items (such as the pillow case), I enjoy visible mending using a large box of fabric scraps. Now that I have a couple t-shirts with tiny holes in them, I’m thinking about using applique methods a la Alabama Chanin to cover them up in a way that only makes the shirts more beautiful over time.
Do you mend your clothes?