What’s old is new. Recycling, repairing and repurposing to keep materials out of the landfills are common practices and apply to almost everything we have used and no longer deem useful. Visible mending is a means of repairing and extending the life of a loved garment. Replace a missing button rather than throw the blouse away. It’s really simple to do, takes less than 5 minutes and will allow you to keep enjoying that favorite piece. I still have my great-grandmother’s button box. This was the metal canister that held all the buttons removed from garments before they were turned into rags, quilting fabric, aprons, the list goes on. Nothing was thrown away.
That was 100 years ago and we are wising up as a society and moving toward less garbage. [BTW, there is no place called AWAY; the garbage goes somewhere.] My first visible mending project was converting my dad’s old woolen army blanket from a moth eaten relic to my weekend beach buddy. By covering every hole with a swatch of fabric and embroidery it became a one-of-a-kind treasure and remains a favorite, though much bleached by the sun.
Embroidery is becoming popular again and perfect for visible mending. Add small swatches of fabric to a sweater or favorite t-shirt. It does not need to be fancy, just interesting, enhancing the piece. Embroidery is also popular on its own. My daughter has picked it up doing trendy designs for wall art.
Kintsugi is an artful Japanese repair for pottery using gold or silver colored epoxy to fuse the pieces together. By mixing 2-part epoxy with gold mica powder, you make a visible repair on a broken piece, emphasizing its history. The pieces are seen to be more beautiful because they are broken. Do not eat or drink from the repaired item. Watch the YouTube Video; How to Fix Broken Pottery| Kintsugi Repair
Even designers are repurposing their clothing. Eileen Fischer Renew takes back their used clothing and gives a $5 credit toward future purchases. They encourage consumers to mend, tend, wash and recycle all clothes. Sew on that button rather than send the clothing to a landfill. Their recycled clothes get renewed into one-of-a-kind garments. Read their story. https://www.eileenfisherrenew.com/our-story. Take a road trip to the Eileen Fisher Renew store in Irvington, NY, just over the Mario Cuomo (Tappan Zee) Bridge.
One of my favorite mending repairs are those tiny pinprick size holes in fine t-shirts. They usually appear in the mid section where your jean closure rubs against the fabric. These fine holes can be repaired with a bit of fusible webbing like Stitch Witchery and a lightweight stabilizer or lightweight interfacing, or some simple stitching on the wrong side of the fabric. Watch the YouTube video by Professor Pincushion called, How to Repair a Hole in a T-Shirt. This repair is mostly invisible but a bit of stitching could make it fun.
So make it visible, make it your own and keep it near for awhile longer.