On Mending

It is unlikely that upon the first appearance of a hole or tear that a garment has fulfilled its useful life. My interest in mending has developed both out of financial necessity and a growing commitment to sustainable practices. It is estimated that 85% of used textiles end up in national landfills despite the ability to recycle nearly 100% of textiles and clothing. As both a consumer and a craftswoman I do my best to reuse, repurpose, and recycle my textiles, keeping as much out of landfill as possible. Here is a look at some the mending projects I've completed recently. 

A small moth hole appeared in my trusty cashmere hat this winter. Cashmere is a luxury material; getting rid of this hat was not an option for me! The hat is in otherwise good condition and I chose to repair this hat with some roving wool. I chose wool because I thought that felting would be a more stable repair than sewing a patch in place, and I do not have any knitting knowledge. First I roughly needle felted a small circular piece of wool. I then felted this circle to the hat. The mend is visible, but I stopped the hole from growing and continue to wear and love this hat. 

Some mending projects are continuous, as is the case with my favorite pair of blue jeans. These were the first style of jeans I fell in love with, a style that I felt comfortable in, a style that fit me well. I believe I‘ve owned 3-4 pairs of these jeans over the past 5 or so years. Naturally this style was discontinued right as I found myself needing a new pair. I couldn't bear to let the pair go knowing that I'd never be able to purchase another one. Right around the time I started quilting I decided to try and mend these jeans back into existence.

I began hand mending these jeans but found that I couldn't keep up with how quickly I was wearing through them. Unable to let them go, I kept them tucked away for a few months hoping to bring them back to life at some point. I ended up mending them on my sewing machine and think that I can get some use out of them still. Even if this style of jeans had not been discontinued, quality, 100% cotton denim jeans like these that sort-of-actually-fit-me are a luxury purchase that I don’t take lightly. Yes, these jeans are very worn, but only in a few places; most of the denim is intact and still has a useful life. Finding a way to fix the belt loops is next!

Sometimes, objects in our life are beyond repair. Such was the case with a small pillow my boyfriend used for back support while driving. The cotton fabric was extremely thread bare and ripped in multiple places, with stuffing coming out of the pillow left and right. I opted to make him a new pillow instead of mending the existing one and was able to make good use out of some secondhand materials. The pillow cover is made from an old pair of chino shorts that I had over dyed with indigo. I chose to use these shorts because the thick fabric would be able to endure more abuse than a thinner cotton. I stuffed the pillow with batting scraps I had been saving from previous quilting projects.

Please feel free to comment with questions or pictures of your favorite mended items. Next up on my mending list: a pair of canvas shoes and my favorite long sleeve sleep shirts!