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Pretty, practical or peaceful: why would you practice visible mending?

Mending a garment is something I get immense satisfaction from. I have always done this from when I started to sew.

I would mend jeans, repair zips and sew on visible patches all over the place and I was always patching that area not discussed - the crotch!

Even when I was travelling for six months and staying with people I would often borrow a sewing machine - if they had one and do a batch of repairs offering to do theirs too. Hand mending jumpers was another area that was enjoyable - but I never darned socks - until - I started knitting my own! Now, there is creativeness in incorporating as many colours as possible. When you take your shoes off at someone’s house they always get a shock and comment on those colourful darned socks!

So in this blog post I wanted to share why it’s so good to mend your own clothes and why it’s totally ok to see the mending.

Mending a par

What is Visible Mending?

Visible mending is the practice of repairing clothing in a way that the mended area becomes a visible and intentional part of the garment's design. Instead of hiding flaws, visible mending celebrates them by using creative stitching, patches, or darning techniques. This approach transforms a garment's imperfections into unique features, adding character and style. It's a way to breathe new life into well-loved items, making them even more special and meaningful.

From mending work clothes - in a practical sense, or making a flaw, tear or things just gradually wearing out. There are many reasons why you may want to consider diving into the world of Visible Mending and trying it out for yourself.

Why would you practice Visible Mending?


Steps to assess your clothing replacements

In a world were there is so much waste produced by humans daily, we can consciously choose to lessen our contribution by learning to mend our clothes. Fast Fashion is ever present with clothing being produced at a rapid rate to accommodate trends and inexpensive clothing - this is being thrown away as quickly as it is being bought by the consumer.

Online fast fashion sales are growing rapidly as we speak with more access to cheap and low-cost clothing through online stores across the world.

It is not just fabrics that go into this waste - think about all the other findings - buttons, zips, badges, studs and other aspects that you can save and reuse in your Visible Mending craft. And you know what - I just hate seeing clothing go to waste and I've always loved mending. My friends would often ask me to repair or alter stuff as they knew this!

The statistics are frightening in Australia, let alone in other developed countries in the world. In fact, the fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world, after the oil industry (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe). Absolutely mind-blowing! 🤯🫨


Visible mended jeans
Fun red thread mending a tear in my jeans!

Most of us would love to have a few extra hours in our days to be creative! Visible mending could be the perfect solution!

Visible mending is a great way to create small segments of time for small creative projects where you can express your love of making, experimenting with colours, patterns, and stitches to create visually appealing repairs.

Fifteen minutes, or less, may be all you need to take time to pick up a needle and thread and immerse yourself into stitching. I love to do this while listening to my favourite podcast or I have been known to take little projects with me to locations where I may need to wait (taking public transport is a great way to get creative crafting done!).

Sewing kit for visible mending

Create yourself a little sewing kit with some embroidery thread or yarn, a needle and a small pair of scissors and you are ready for creativity at a moments notice!

Economic benefits

Our wallets are more than aware of the current price of living!

Sometimes the stretch to replace items of clothing can feel like reaching too far, almost like we might pull a muscle or two! While it is always nice to have a shopping trip or two, there is significant benefit of lovingly mending instead of replacing your clothing and items - saving money. There is also the added benefit of saving money, and that is being able to replenish your wardrobe with better quality items, that last many years and many wears.

Preserving memories

Jeans being repaired with visible mending

Items which have been mended tell a story. When you are mending, it is meditative and reflective of the event. It may be a frayed denim jacket you wore in your 20's, a dress you wore to a particular event, or an item you have had forever that you just don't want to let go of.

One of the most enjoyable things about preserving memories through visible mending is taking from other items and adding to the piece you are mending. It could be yarn from one of your children's jumpers to mend one of your socks, or a piece of cloth from your son or daughters favourite shirt that is beyond repair.

Skill building

Using embroidery stitches when visible mending

If you are new to sewing or crafting or wanting to learn new stitching techniques, visible mending is a great way to start! We have a great online course to teach you how to slow stitch and creatively mend 🤗

Visible mending uses very simple stitches such as the running stitch, back stitch and whip stitch. Then, if you are feeling like you want to expand your repertoire of stitches you can try the blanket stitch, darning stitch and step into more embroidery like stitches for decoration.

It's not just stitching that you will build skills in! You will learn how to problem solve, become more resourceful, expand your creativity and self expression and get a real sense of accomplishment.

Most people who are sewers would be proud of the valuable skills they have learned from over the years and are most welcoming of people wanting to learn and try this craft out - you won't regret it!

Historical connection

Repairing work clothes with visible mending

Boy this is a big one! In our time we now have access to view the most exquisite hand sewn pieces from generations long ago and from other cultures. We spoke briefly about this in recent article about Slow Stitching.

Mending was a necessity in times past, and has deep roots in historical sewing practices and it makes sense, there were less resources available - there was no mass production of clothing or textiles and garments weer painstakingly made by hand.

Scouring your Instagram or Pinterest boards, you will see stunning images of Boro, Sashiko or Kantha stitching. Their textures, stitching and layering is simply delicious and we are so lucky to now have access to various cultures who share images and the history of crafts. Each had a practical purpose and were often handed down through families and continued to repair instead of replacing the items.

In addition, different cultures have unique styles of visible mending that reflect their cultural identity. The patterns, colours, and techniques used in mending can reveal aspects of a community's history, beliefs, and values.

The history of mending is rich and stunningly intoxicating when you immerse yourself into it. Who would have thought this from a mended pair of socks or dish cloths!

How you can get started...

Visible mending for socks

Choose something that needs repairing. It may be a pair of socks where a hole is forming or a top that has a little bleach mark on it from when you were cleaning. Find a thread - embroidery thread, cotton thread or yarn, a needle, and a pair of scissors and just start.

Even better, you can join us in our Slow Stitching and Visible Mending online course!

In this time of consumerism and glut in industry, distribution and availability, sewing by hand seems to be more of a romantic notion. We encourage you experience the beauty and fulfilment to be found in mending, making items last, and creating something new out of something old.

Share with us what you would like to mend or have mended in the past? 🧵🥰

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