For the ‘mending’ week for Mend It Month Revisited, I was going to do a tutorial on how to darn a hole or fix a broken zip or something – but then I decided that there were loads of great tutorials online, which I’ve encouraged all of the members of the Caring for Your Clothes Facebook group (feel free to join, it’d be lovely to have you!) to share on one of my posts. So hopefully if you’re in need of any mending know-how, that’ll be the place to go! If you fancy having a go at some visible mending this week though, give my Sashiko Embroidery post a peek.
Shortening what this post is about into a title was very tricky to do, so in case it doesn’t convey the idea right, here’s what I mean:
How to categorise your fabric scraps, thread colour and leftover notions of past projects so that you have an easily accessible, go-to mending and patch kit for that particular garment!
You can see why that didn’t fit.
I’ll let you in on some top-secret info though… there just might be something coming soon to the Hobbling Handmades Etsy shop to help you with just this sort of thing, so favourite the shop in advance so that you don’t miss the launch!
Anyway, I’ll get on with it now.
When you’ve just finished making something, you’ll undoubtedly be left with funny little scraps of the fabric that are a bit too small to do anything with, probably a bobbin with not an awful lot of thread left on it at all and one single button. Things that, on their own, are going to be pretty useless to you. So why don’t you keep it all together in a safe little place so that, heaven forbid, you can quickly mend holes or tears that could occur from day-to-day wear? Or moths?
So, here’s what you need to do:
Take a note of the thread that you used. A lot of brands, such as Gutermann, have a number at the top of the spool to reference the colour. Write that down, so that if you need to take care of a popped seam, you can head over to your threads or down to the shop and find the right one easily rather than spending ages comparing the colours to your fabric. If you’re feeling particularly organised, you can stash some of the thread in the same place as your scraps (and again, I’m not being very hush hush, but do keep an eye on my Etsy shop)
Something else that you could do is numbering your bobbins – if like me you have scores of different coloured bobbins on the go, this could really up your mending kit game. I can never successfully tell whether I’ve matched the right bobbin to the right spool of cotton, and only figure out that I’m about three shades off when I look at the finished seam. If you number up your bobbins, you could write down which number bobbin matches the thread for that given project. When it comes to mending, you’ll be able to have a quick check to see if the thread is still on that bobbin; if it is, you can whip it right into the machine, and if not you can simply wind a new one rather than peering at them all for hours to find one that matches. I’ll admit that this step isn’t wholly necessary and won’t be offended if you choose not to take it on board, but since thinking of it I’ve found it pretty useful – more in thread tension than anything, because I was forever pairing bobbins and threads of different thicknesses and making my sewing go all loopy – literally!
Once you have the thread colour stashed, you can think about scraps of the fabric. I’m one of those hoarders that saves every little bit of a fabric that I have left over (in fairness, I do always use them for one thing or another in the end) in case I have a genius idea for using it – so if you’re the same, you might even be able to do some backlogging of older projects.
Choose a few different sized remnants, from around the size of a penny to the size of a £5 note. If you’d rather have one piece rather than a few or are simply from a different country and haven’t got any idea of the sizes of British money, you can choose one pretty big scrap of the fabric that you can cut into smaller sizes for patching if need be.
Any other bits that you might have left over from a project can also be stashed: keep lone buttons, beads, lengths of ribbon or whatever else you might’ve used in the same project with the thread and fabric, making a note of where you got it from and any other relevant information that you can remember. That way, if you lose a button or a few beads, part of the ribbon becomes stained and needs to be replaced or whatever else, it’s all conveniently in the same place, to make mending just that little bit less of a chore.
Keeping those extra buttons and beads goes for shop-bought clothes too – take those little sealable bags with buttons in, and put them in your ‘handy scraps for mending’ box (or whatever you decide to call yours) with a bit of paper tucked inside to let you know what item of clothing that particular button has come from – no use having it without knowing what it’s actually for, so make sure that everything is labelled clearly! This is a bit less necessary when there’s an easily distinguishable fabric in the little set, as you’ll be able to easier recognise what it;s from – but better safe than sorry!
Hopefully, having this bit of extra organisation will encourage us all this Mend It Month to actually get that mending done and keep our handmade clothes in the best condition they can be.