AAsk a visible repairer to explain why they like to fix clothes using patches or colored darns and the response will usually include narration. Most menders take pride in adding to the story of a garment: a skillfully mended hole is proof that something has been saved from the landfill.
They will also insist that it shouldn’t be perfect. The charm of visible repair lies in the character of its flaws, so the important thing is to try. Here are some tips from visible expert repairers on how to get started.
Store a sewing box
As with anything crafty, it’s important to have the right tools on hand when you go to fix something. Jo Cramer, Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Design at Oslo Metropolitan University, says, “You don’t need a lot to get started.” She suggests having a darning needle with a sharp point and a large eye, a good pair of fabric scissors, a pack of pins, embroidery threads, an iron and a board.
Textile design and craft specialist Eileen Braybrook says her mending toolbox contains a simple sewing kit, thread or yarn, a darning mushroom, safety pins, a fabric comb and needles for tapestry, felting and embroidery. Most visible menders also collect scraps of fabric for later use as patches.
Practice to improve
Before trying to fix your favorite sweater, it might be a good idea to master a few basics. Erin Lewis-Fitzgerald, author of Modern Mending, recommends practicing sewing, mending, and patching on socks and dishtowels because “the stakes are low, and they’re washed and used regularly, so you can see how your repairs hold up over time. ”. She advises using a contrasting yarn to better see what you’re doing.
Learn your stitches
When you’re first starting out, Cramer suggests learning to backstitch, which is a straight line stitch. Simply thread a needle, tie off the end of the thread and push it through the fabric until you feel the knot touch, then make a small stitch and push the needle back through.
On your next stitch, pull the needle up, leaving a little space between the end of your first stitch, then sew backwards (hence the name) in order to get the needle through the furthest end. close to the point of origin. You should have two sharp stitches on one side and a long stitch below. Repeat this to form a straight line.
Another thing Cramer recommends mastering is a satin stitch. Used for embroidery, each stitch is made as close as possible to the one next to it, creating a block of stitches.
A satin stitch can be a useful way to cover small spots. Cramer says, “sew a border around the perimeter of the stain” using backstitch, then fill in the shape with satin stitch or other types of decorative stitches.
Lewis-Fitzgerald says another way to cover stains creatively is to use fabric paint or markers. “Depending on where the stain is, you can sew a new pocket on it and get additional functionality as well.”
fill the holes
Like stains, there are several ways to repair holes, including darning and patches. But Lewis-Fitzgerald says you have to account for what caused the hole. If it’s the result of “normal wear and tear,” you’ll need a stronger solution than you would use if it’s the result of a one-time accident like a cigarette burn or a moth hole.
For crotch holes in jeans, Cramer recommends machine darning, which requires a sewing machine. “Put a patch of heavy cotton or denim behind the tear and machine darn over the surface,” she says. “Check your machine’s manual – [it] probably has a special checkpoint.
Holes in the knees can be repaired with a Sashiko hand stitch on top of a patch. A Sashiko stitch is basically a utility stitch, but when done with a contrast thread it can be used to create lovely geometric designs on the patch. She suggests looking online for examples to learn from.
Cut the patch to the desired shape and pin it in place over the hole. Take a threaded needle – starting a few inches from the edge of the hole to capture the solid parts of the fabric – and push the needle through the underside of the fabric. Run a stitch around the edge or just start by sewing through the patch. Keep working back and forth until the patch is secure.
The mesh must be approached differently.
To reinforce patches in knits, start at the bottom of the v-shape in the stitch, bring your needle through the base of the stitch from behind, then pass it under the two strands of yarn that make up the shape of the stitch. V. Pull it through and finish the stitch by pushing the needle back through your starting point at the bottom of the V. The effect is to weave new stitches over old ones, and the technique can also be used to cover stains. .
To fix a hole, Cramer says to use Swiss takeover as a “method of picking up loops around the edges of a hole and filling in with new stitches”. She says to try contrasting colors. “It can look especially pretty when moth holes are filled in on a sweater in lots of different colors – like a sprinkle of confetti!”