Similar to the Japanese process of kintsugi (repairing broken pottery with gold), visible mending is a way of artfully repairing torn clothing, turning the item into something even better than its original form. There’s no gold involved in this process (well, unless you’re feeling extra fancy) – just some clever stitching.
Here, I’ve used simple embroidery stitches to save a pair of jeans from the donation bin. You can follow the design below, or dream up your own – the possibilities are endless.
4-5 skeins of embroidery yarn (as many colours as you like)
Garment to be mended (in this case, jeans with a tear at the back pocket)
1. Draw out your desired shape on paper to cover the length of the tear. You can use this template to trace if you need.
2. Cut out your shape. Using your drawing as a stencil, trace the outline onto the garment with chalk.
Note: As this tear was right at the pocket edge, the embroidery acts as the mending patch with no need for an actual mending patch! If your tear happens to be in the middle of your fabric, you might find it helpful to pin a little scrap of fabric or ironing a mending patch behind the hole.
3. Thread your needle with the colour you’ll use for the outline and knot it at the end.
4. Chain stitch around the edge of your shape.
To chain stitch, start with a small straight stitch. Bring the needle through the back of the fabric and then back down through the front of the fabric near the first hole leaving a tiny bit of slack. Come back again through the back of the fabric a short distance above your first stitch catching that slack loop of thread and repeat.
5. Change the thread colour for the inside of the leaf.
6. Satin stitch over the entire shape. Get creative with this part! Here I’ve divided the shape into sections and used 4 different green tones to make the monstera leaf pop.
To satin stitch, bring the needle through the back of the fabric from the centre of your shape. Re-insert your needle directly across from your last exit point. Pull thread all the way through to make your first stitch. Repeat process with second stitch, bringing your needle again through the back of the fabric as close as you possibly can to the first stitch.
Photos by Amie Mai.