Mending, repairing, reusing, and recycling
Mending clothing is the act of repairing imperfections that have developed from being well-worn. These include holes, tears, missing buttons, or permanent stains. Most often, repairing these involve some kind of sewing. Mending is all about embracing the imperfections in your clothing. Making small repairs instead of throwing them away means you can wear them for longer. Repairing clothing can also add character to your clothing pieces. Stitching or repairing your clothing can add a new personal touch.
The importance of mending clothing
The fashion industry is one of the most wasteful industries. Its negative impact of fast fashion continues to destroy the environment. More and more items of clothing are being thrown away each year. In fact, one garbage truck’s worth of clothing is disposed of every second, even though many of these items would still be wearable. The fast fashion industry holds the idea that fashion is disposable. Fast fashion brands produce clothing made of cheap materials and encourage disposability over care by basing their designs on short-term trends. Over time this has caused us to lose the generational skill of mending clothing because fast fashion has made it cheaper and easier to buy new clothes instead of repairing old ones. A good way to decrease the amount of clothing that is thrown away whilst also a great cost-saving tip is to repair clothing. Buying new pieces isn’t always the better option.
Slow fashion focuses on clothing that is designed to last long and be worn again and again. If your goal is to work on building a more sustainable capsule wardrobe, it is important to invest in good-quality clothing and practice mending to ensure that your clothes last longer. Clothing that is well taken care of has the chance to last a lifetime.
Mending your clothing can feel daunting if you are not used to sewing. Thankfully there are plenty of easy ways to repair and improve the look of signs of wear and tear, from fixing a hole to sewing a button back on a shirt. Learning to repair your clothes is an empowering and creative way to maintain a sustainable wardrobe. There are two main types of repairing clothing, visible mending, and invisible mending.
Visible mending is a technique that aims to make a statement with a repaired or mended area of clothing. The repair is turned into a feature or key detail by using brightly coloured or contrasting threads, embroidery, or patches. The idea of mending clothing in a beautiful way goes back centuries. One of the best things about visible mending is that there are no limits. You can add your own style to it. With smaller holes, you can try embroidering a shape and with bigger holes, you can experiment with stitching patches of fabric onto the item of clothing. Swiss darning in contrasting colours is also a great mending method for repairing knits that add a unique touch to clothing.
Visible mending has recently begun taking off as more and more people are now taking pride in expressing their individuality and creativity through their clothes.
Invisible mending is a technique where you don’t want the mended area to stand out. This could be by repairing/darning a hole or a tear using colours that match the garment, to keep them looking new and fresh after years of wear.
Here are a few things you will need in order to start repairing your clothing.
Needles: A good selection of different sizes and strengths of needles. The tougher the fabric is, the stronger your needle will need to be. It is also a good idea to get some darning needles.
Threads: You will need a variety of different coloured threads. It is a good idea to start with neutral colours as well as some thicker, bright-coloured embroidery thread.
Pins: This is to hold any patches in place while you sew.
Darning mushroom: This will help you hold clothing items in the right place during the darning process.
Embroidery hoop: Essential for holding the fabric tight to ensure your embroideries turn out neat and to avoid fabric bunching.
Sewing scissors: It is important to have a pair of sharp fabric scissors to cut through fabric and threads neatly.
Thimble: Not essential but it will protect your fingers while you sew.
It’s also a good idea to save leftover garments/fabrics that are beyond repair to use for new projects.
There are many online tutorials available to you for mending specific items.
Although very few brands have mending services because caring for your clothing doesn’t fit with their desire for constant consumption instead of longevity, at Patra, we pride ourselves on creating styles that last and provide matching threads with all of our knits to advocate ‘mending instead of binning’ so that you can get the longest wear possible out of your garment and even pass it down to loved ones.
Investing in slow fashion prioritises longevity. Buying sustainable and long-lasting clothing with trusted slow fashion brands results in less environmental pollution. It is choosing fashion that respects both the environment and your body. Mending is a beautiful and therapeutic way to extend the life of your clothing. It also makes a powerful statement about your values. If we want to play our part in fighting climate change, both brands and consumers have to consider the lifespan of clothing and avoiding waste. Once you develop a routine for mending your clothing, you may find that you enjoy indulging in your creative side!