Friday, January 15, 2021

Visible Mending : Repairing My Work Gloves

I'm still darning and patching my way through a pile of socks, but I took some time out to mend my work gloves. They badly needed repair! 

My winter chore gloves are actually two pairs. The outer gloves are lined cotton work gloves, and the inner gloves are a fleecy fabric glove. If I wear only one or the other, my hands are cold. But when I wear them together, they keep my hands warm. However . . .

I let them get too worn out! But I hated to throw them away, so I thought, well, why not see what I can do to fix them? The first option was plain mending, but the hole is pretty big. Plus, I can't control myself when it comes to working with color, so why not do something prettier than plain and more fun to do?

I decided to patch the hole in the lining and darn the outer shell holes with embroidery thread. For the patch, I used one of the too-far-gone socks that I cut into rags

I didn't worry about finishing the edges or making it pretty. 

I just did the job, making sure the unfinished edges were sewn down. To darn the other holes, I used two strands of embroidery thread and a paint stirrer as a darning board.

The paint stirrer worked quite well, giving me a firm surface for weaving the threads to make the darn.

It was a lot to do, and it's not perfect, but the variegated blues of the embroidery thread made it fun and the darns sort of match the inner gloves. Plus, I didn't have to throw them away and spend money on new ones. Best of all, my hands are warm again!

If I'd used dark brown embroidery thread, the darning would be almost invisible. But the latest trend is "visible mending," which creates beautiful decorative elements from holes, stains, and tears; very fun. More on that in upcoming posts. For now, I'll close with a link to a page on the Collingwood-Norris website, "Visible Mending: Gloves." Lots of creative ideas there. ❤                                      

Mending Gloves © Jan 2021 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Mending: Visible

Traditionally, the goal of mending was to repair in a way that wasn't noticeable. But the times have changed, and mending has become not only functional, but decorative as well. It has become an art form in its own right. Techniques include embroidery, applique, and top-stitching are popular, as well as the Japanese techniques of boro and sashiko. 

Here are some examples of my own visible mending:

Saturday, January 09, 2021

Plain Mending: Darning and Patching Socks

Does anyone keep a mending basket? A basket full of clothing items that need a ripped seam sewn, or a patch for a hole? Apparently, mending is the latest cool, sustainable thing to do. Keep old clothes out of the landfill! Of course, I agree. But because I remember a time when mending was looked down on as totally uncool, I feel a little smug that it's something I've always done. 

Winter is a fine time to keep a mending basket handy. Lately, mine has been filled with socks. Of course, hand knit socks must be mended. Too much much time, heart, and soul goes into making them!

The is one of my most frequently worn pairs.

To mend: sock yarn, darning egg, and tapestry needle.

This is just plain darning.

Actually, weaving a patch where the hole used to be.

Done. Inside view.

How it looks on the outside. It's on the bottom.

The socks I really seem to go through, however, are everyday cotton socks. And because I buy a large pack, they all seem to wear out at the same time. I've never been a fan of the buy&throw-away cycle, so since I was doing socks anyway, I decided to mend some of those cotton socks too. 

Plain darn with matching carpet thread.

Small holes are easier to darn. I used carpet thread in the above photo because I had it. Embroidery thread is a popular option because it comes in all colors (easy to match) and is inexpensive. Sometimes though, the holes in the heels are too large to darn, like the socks in the photo below.

Cutting cotton socks into rags.

These I usually cut into rags, so at least they are still useful. The other day, however, I wondered if it would be possible to patch the holes in the heels. Most of the socks with the heels gone still have good toes.

Sock toe to be used as a patch.

Why wouldn't these make good patches? So, I started cutting off the toes, cutting them in half, and then using them for heel patches.

Patched heel on sock.

I put the sock on my darning egg and pinned the patch in place. A running stitch holds it in place and a whip stitch further secures the edges. A blanket stitch in a colorful embroidery thread might be fun too. I also stitched around the holes to help secure the patch. 

How well will it work? Time will tell! But they're comfortable and I feel really good about getting more wear out of my old socks. 

Related post:

Monday, January 04, 2021

Mending: Plain

I wonder how many textile artists think of mending as part of their skill set. Especially, in our modern consumer society, where it's easier and cheaper to discard old clothing and buy new. Even so, the techniques of plain mending are given their very own chapter in Thérèse de Dillmont's classic Encyclopedia of Needlework.

Encyclopedia of Needlework is now public domain and available
 as a free download from Project Gutenberg or the Internet Archive.

"How best to disguise and repair the wear and tear of use or accident is quite as valuable an art, as that of making new things."

 Thérèse de Dillmont, Encyclopedia of Needlework 

A page from Encyclopedia of Needlework.

I do think mending is making a come-back because people are becoming more environmentally conscientious, and mending is a valuable way of keeping discarded clothing out of the landfills. But also, it is becoming an art form in it's own right, and it's been exciting to rediscover the old techniques and explore the new. 

Plain mending utilizes basic sewing skills and generally includes patching, darning and seam repair. While it may not be considered a creative outlet, I still think it's important to master the techniques and take pride in one's work. Since I have an overflowing mending basket, I'm going to do just that.