Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mending: A Lost Art

Yesterday I realized that I had gone to work wearing a sweater with a tear in the shoulder seam.  I was completely embarrassed because this wasn't a subtle rip, and it very clearly showed my skin (God forbid :) ).  This year I have been trying extra hard to have a neat appearance, so an obvious tear in a black sweater is unacceptable.

While I've owned this sweater for nearly ten years, it still should have another ten to go.  A quick mend would do the trick, especially since it's black, and it will be good as new.  As I was sewing it up this morning, I wondered how many of us actually take the time to mend clothing anymore.  Mending piles were one of the most common things seen in households 50 or so years ago, but now they are rare to find.  Whether it be lack of time to do the mending, or lack of knowledge (or both), this seems to have become one of many lost arts.  But the amount of resources it saves is wonderful.  Instead of throwing out an article of clothing that has become damaged and purchasing a new one, mend the tear, rip or hole and the item will be perfectly fine.

Here are some resources I have found helpful to learn how to repair all kinds of damage to clothes.

I have referenced this book in the past, but would like to give it another plug.  The information given on mending of all kinds is quick, to the point and very useful, with pictures to aid in the process.

Craftzine.com had an entire mending month, which offered a variety of articles on how to repair all sorts of things, even how to get certain stains out.

TLC Home has an article about repairing clothes, resoling shoes and fixing a broken zipper, among other things.  Such a useful tool!

Now I'd love to hear from you!  How often do you bring out the needle and thread to patch up a worn piece of clothing?  Or do you just toss it?


  1. Blake and Evan are always handing me a shirt or pair of pants and saying, "Can you sew this?" The most recent was Blake when he burned a hole in his pants in welding class... That one was too far gone, but most of the time I can add a few more months to the article of clothing. My most recent mending job was on my purse, when a strap broke off. I hate change, so I'd much rather repair old stuff than buy new stuff.

  2. I grew up in a house that used to mend things and I still do, but that being said, I am lazy and will wait until I have a few things to fix and do them all at once. My grandmother used to darn socks, I don't go that far. Thanks for stopping by today, I was wondering if you have a nice vegan recipe I could put up next Tues. we have vegetarian and vegan nieces and nephews but I am not usually cooking when they visit, we usually go out. I know some of my other readers would like something like that as well. If you want to email me something I would be more than happy to give you credit. :) I hope you are having a great week so far!!

  3. I mend things until there isn't enough fabric left to mend (i.e. my darling husband's socks) because I hate shopping for clothes, and I hate wasting resources. I am so thankful that my grandmother taught me basic stitching, too, because without her, I'd be clueless. In my household, sewing was referred to as "the s word." My mother was severely allergic to needles and thread.

  4. I've done it for a lot of years. For some reason, I like the weaving/darning type of repairs. But I know that sometimes it's just beyond repair...

  5. I don't mend and I don't toss. It usually just lays on the floor of my closet.

  6. Wow, either I'm entirely wrong about the lack of menders or I just surround myself with like-minded people :).

    Bernie, that was most often my case until recently and it made me laugh to read your comment. I never wanted to actually throw my clothes away, but I certainly didn't want (or know) how to fix it up.


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