Visible Mending is a process of repairing fabrics that doesn’t attempt to hide the repairs made. Instead, the repair itself brings character and identity to what is being brought back to life. If you wish to recreate any of the repairs shown below, first read our blog post on basic clothing repair! This will give you a good overview of basic repairs. Once finished, return to this post.
To prepare for mending, have a wide array of needles and threads available to you. It’s important to have the correct tool and material for your repair. Building a stockpile of needles and thread is invaluable when fixing garments yourself.
If you’re on a budget, try buying sewing supplies second hand. Sewing supplies can be found in lots online. Try this link to see what’s available → Ebay Search
Styles of Visible Mending
Below is a form of ‘Sashiko’ mending which utilizes cotton thread and running stitches. Note that the stitch does not stop and start at each junction, rather the stitch continues to minimize weak points. This example uses a patch for the hole is quite large. Check out our TikTok account @irl2dpu for a tutorial on the ‘Sashiko’ stitch.
When stitching small holes, a patch is not always needed. This stitch below is used for small holes by tightly sewing the edge of the hole. This helps prevent the threads from fraying. Decorations are added at the perimeter by pulling the needle up from the underside, creating a knot, and pulling the thread back down under the garment. Repeat until you’re happy with the results.
Alternatively, holes can be patched by sewing a weave. This brings the edges of the hole closer together, adding stability and strength.
Alternative weaves can use different shapes, colors, and thread tension.
Weaves can also be used for patching socks!
Don’t be afraid to experiment with shapes. A weave can be both straight, circular, or both!
Visible mending isn’t just for clothes! A couple of tears in the headliner of this old Volkswagen doesn’t mean the entire headliner must be replaced.
Using a simple whip stitch and colorful thread, the holes in the headliner are no longer eyesores but focus points.