mend it better April 17, 2012

I’m very excited to be reviewing Mend It Better, a wonderful new craft book by Kristin M. Roach (also author of the lovely blog/project/zine Craft Leftovers) today! Mend It Better offers a wide variety of useful techniques, from darning and patchwork to weaving and crochet, for reworking and salvaging garments and beyond.

Mend It Better

As Diane noted in her recent review, Mend It Better is arranged like a textbook, with her suggested techniques neatly organized by chapter. There are tons of photos and tips for undertaking a new mending project, which is also a nice touch.

Stitch Smarts

I am very happy to have contributed one* of the 22 mending projects to the book, and along with my contributor copy, Storey Publishing sent me an extra book to give away at our Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting this week. I asked Kristin a few questions about mending, especially patchwork projects, and here are her thoughts…

Do you have any favorite decorative stitches for covering a seam or line in a mended patchwork project?

I know it’s so bland, but I really love the whip stitch or overcast stitch. Just going to town and completely covering it, kind of sloppy, in a bright color!

What’s your favorite mending or embellishment use for binding tape?

I love using it as straps, or sometimes a little accent in a seam, like small piping. So cute!


Have you ever mended a larger quilt or patchwork project? Any general tips for that?

I’ve done some light mending on a quilt I made – one of my first sewing projects – just some basic patchwork. I’m really excited to be embarking on a huge mending adventure this year: restoring a quilt my husband’s grandma made. She passed away a long time ago and it’s in tatters. He doesn’t remember her, so it’s his only connection to her. It’s going to be one of those “for the love of it” projects because mending it will probably take more time than completely making a new one!

Here are a few tips for mending quilts:
1. DO NOT wash it before you mend it. It will just make the damage worse.
2. Unlike darning where you want to stretch the fabric taut, if you stretch the quilt in a hoop before making the basic structural repair, it will actually cause the fabric to ripple when you take it off, or stretch the tear even further. You’ll want to mend it while it’s flat, then repair any quilting stitches in the hoop only after the structure is sound.
3. If you can, work on a large smooth surface with the quilt completely flat. The kitchen floor works great!
4. Sometimes you won’t be able to match the pattern exactly when patching, if that’s the case, think accent vs “sloppy”. One of my teachers used to always say “do it or don’t do it”. So if you can’t match, make it look intentional. Bold contrasting colors can be really fun!


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I think quilters, sewists, lovers of vintage, upcyclers, and wardrobe-refashioners will all love this book. This pieced-vintage-fabric skirt hem idea Kristin included is my favorite project… so adorable!

Patchwork hem idea

I’ll be giving away a copy of Mend It Better at our PMQG meeting at 7 pm this Thursday, April 19 at PNCA. We’ll be meeting in room S1 upstairs in the Stagecraft Building right across the street from the main PNCA building (where we’ve met the last two months as well). Hope to see you there!

*Here’s my little project! Thanks so much again, Kristin!

Button Patch Pocket

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