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Sewing Green: Visible Mending

If you subscribe to our newsletter you saw that I've started including some "Sewing Green" tips in honor of Earth Day this month. (Psss- Last week I included a link to a free pattern for a market tote bag. If you sign up for our newsletter now you too can get the link!).

Today is all about visible mending. If you head over to Pinterest and search "visible mending" you'll see some beautiful examples of Sashiko used to mend, but it can take some other forms too!

For example, my kids are incredibly tough on clothes (like all kids) and since they wear a lot of hand me downs, things like knees wear out even quicker. Those iron on patches work great, unless a big hole has already appeared and then it's time to get creative.

The last one got a very excited response from my 6 year old: "It's ENERGON!!" I'm still not sure what that means, but he was stoked. Of course, doing this sets an unrealistic expectation that every busted knee is going to get an elaborate work of art, so enter at your own risk!

There's other, less splashy, and perhaps less fun, visible mending that's just as important.

Take for example, the blanket on our bed. This is the thin woven cotton blanket between the sheet and the comforter. The one that you don't think is all that useful until you have one of those nights that's either freezing cold and you need another layer, or it's getting warmer and you're in that weird in between temperature.

Anyways, this is also the blanket that, when your lint trap gets wonky, gets stuck and ripped in the dryer. I saw this hole and my first thought was to chuck the whole thing and head out to Home Goods or Amazon. But here's the thing-- nobody sees this blanket. It's BETWEEN the sheet and the comforter. It's meant to be hidden, so who cares if I mend it. Saves me some money and saves it from heading the landfill!

First up, trim around the rattiness.

Next, cut your piece of patch fabric a little larger than your hole and finish the edges. I used my serger, but an easy medium-width zig zag would also work! I used an old receiving blanket I had recently uncovered, but use any flannel or woven cotton you can find.

Place the patch fabric under the blanket and pin like crazy. I usually use pins as sparingly as I can get away with, but this blanket is such a loose weave and so shifty that it needed just shy of a million.

Time to sew! Set your machine to zig zag with a short-ish stitch length (mine was around a 2) and a wide-ish stitch width (mine was up to 6). You're going to sew twice. The first time sew over the raw edge of the blanket so half the zig is in the patch fabric and the the zag is on the blanket (see the black line). The second time you're going to sew a larger oval (or whatever your patch shape is) trying to catch the outer edges of the patch (see the red line). It can help to draw your sewing line first so that you know you're catching everything!

If your patch is too long you can cut it back and finish the edge.

And that's all there is to it! Is it the prettiest thing? Not really. But it's been on our bed in this state for over a month now and I don't notice it at all. And I'm seeing some other weak spots in the blanket, but now I'm picturing a blanket covered with old patches which will be super comfy and/or a perfect fort making blanket in the future!

What kind of visible mending do you do? I love seeing your Green Sewing projects so make sure to share on our Facebook page !

Happy Stitching!


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