Invisible and visible Mending
About 10 years ago I got a fantastic bargain at a local jumble sale – a classic cut designer coat made by Aquascutum for £2.00! However I found that it had a moth hole in a visible place on the sleeve. I decided to cut some threads from the underside of the hem (where they don’t show) and to weave them in to the area to mend the hole. A picture of my mending is below. The fabric is woven from a relatively thick thread, so the repair was easy to do. The threads have held in place so far and the mend doesn’t really show - so I’m pleased with my efforts.
I’ve found out that the method I used is called ‘invisible mending’ and this is suitable for use on garments and upholstery to re-build fabric that is damaged due to moths, snags, burns, accidental cuts, etc.
There are specialist companies such as the British Invisible Mending Service that can do invisible mending for you at a cost (as it takes a lot of time to mend the garment properly), but a quality finish is achieved.
See how it is done
Here are a few websites that show the process:
Takao Matsumoto, the kaketsugi craftsman
Article on invisible mending done by Isabelle Godfroy (based in Lille, France)
Have a go at repairing your garment – Tom of Holland shows you how he approaches the task: Invisible mending a moth hole in a tweed jacket
It is also possible to invisibly mend knitted garments using Swiss darning also known as duplicate stitch. This post from Tom of Holland shows a successful mending project that he did using the technique and this post from Wool & Chocolate shows a slightly different method.
I’ve been given a jacquard linen bedcover by my Mum. It has been handed down through several family generations and has been mended (see the picture below). Even though the mend is not as neat as it could be and clearly visible, it has stopped the fabric from fraying.
I find it really interesting to look at old textile items - the stitches worked and materials used tell the story of the item and you can see how they have been mended to extend their life.
Mending is popular again - many people would rather hold on to favourite garments than buy new ones (which is something the Love Your Clothes team are all for!). Instead of hiding mending stitches, contrast coloured threads are used to make a feature of mending. Below are links to some examples of this:
Tips for mending your own garments
You can choose whether you want to make your mend visible or invisible – but here is the Love Your Clothes guide on mending techniques for woven and knitted garments.
Another clever idea is to make felted patches on thin areas of your knitted garment. Make sure that the wool you are using for felting is washable and colourfast!
If you have done something similar, it would be great to see it – send us your tips or pictures on our social media accounts.
Sue Baughan - Love Your Clothes Team