Visible Mending Techniques
How to repair denim jeans with embroidery and sashiko
Visible mending is creative and fun way to preserve clothes. I have always been a fan of vintage and upcycling. And it’s also been a trend recently to try minimaze the waste to protect the environment. There are many visible mending techniques to repair the clothes. For this project I’ve chosen the sashiko, embroidery and needle weaving techniques.
Sashiko is a traditional japanese way of decorating textiles. The technique used is single hand-stitching forming simple lines or patterns. Whilst the lines are quite easy and straight forward, creating ornaments can be more challenging. They need to be alike so using a washable stick-on stitching pattern is one of the easiest ways to do sashiko.
Sashiko also goes in hand with other japanese crafts such as boro or even kintsugi. From what I have learned, sashiko seems to refer to the stitching process itself, whilst boro is the final textile result of patching and repetitive sashiko stitching. Together they form a unique textile visible mending art piece!
Using the easy sashiko technique, you can either apply a patch (a piece of denim, cotton, linen etc.) on top of the rip or a hole and stitch over the patch. You can also apply the patch from underneath the hole and then stitch over it with sashiko stitching. It is a good idea to first cut off any ripped loose threads around the raw edges of the hole. You can also stitch the patch to the jeans around the edges and then apply the sashiko stitching. The last technique you can try is taking a piece of denim, cotton or linen with a print or one colour (non stretchy durable fabric works best), and apply a sashiko pattern stitching on it first. Then you take the stitched patch and apply it onto the damaged area, either on top or from bellow.
Like sashiko, kintsugi is very similar and beautiful way of preserving a piece, this time ceramics and pottery. Kintsugi is a technique of mending broken pieces with lacquer and then dusting the lines with gold. The results are truly original and unique! You can also enjoy decorating glass or ceramics uing the wire with our karafa DIY project!
Embroidery is another wonderful way to repair your denim jeans or knits! You can easily cover any holes or fix rips by applying an embroidered design. You can do so either directly on the ripped place, or you can apply a patch first. In this project, I made a small moth embroidery on one of the repaired holes. The hole was already fixed with a patch applied from the inside and stitched around using a free motion quilting foot and a sewing machine. You can embroider small motifs or create interesting patterns over a small area, it’s completely up to you!
I remember needle weaving technique even as a child. My granny used to use it to repair holes in the socks. Nowdays, you just throw the socks away and buy a new pair but when I was little my nan used to have a small wooden tool which looked like a mushroom. And she used to place the socks over it and use needle stitching to cover any holes with. Similarly to the weaving loom, you first create the warp threads in vertical direction (you can include any white fibres of the denim you have left, cut the ripped ones out of the way) and then you use the weft thread horizontally through the warp thread as shown on the image.