Tips for invisible mending.

Tips for invisible mending

In this blog post I am going to show the repair I made to one of my customers dresses. She works as a teacher in a school for children with special needs. She made this dress to wear to work. A child grabbed at her clothing resulting in the tear at the front neck. As the fabric is actually ripped rather than the stitches being broken its not possible to repair it particularly discreetly.

This is an ideal candidate for visible mending. Amy and I discussed an idea and she agreed to allow me to mend it and photograph it for this blog post.

When creating a visible mend that is in such a visible place I think its a good idea to sketch out your idea before starting. Its good to have a plan to work to even if you adapt it along the way.

Invisible mending tips Bobbins and Buttons

  1. The first thing I wanted to do was to stabilise the rip so that it wasn’t weak. I wanted to ensure that I had a flat base to work on so the neckline didn’t get distorted while working on it.

Invisible mending tips Bobbins and Buttons

2. I pressed the ripped area flat, butting the two edges together. I used a wide zig-zag stitch to hold the rip together. If the fabric has frayed or is quite lightweight you could apply a small piece of lightweight fusible interfacing behind it. This will help stabilise the area while you sew the zig-zag stitches.

Invisible mending tips Bobbins and Buttons

3. Its a good idea to save pieces of fabric left over from projects and create a box of mending pieces. As it builds up you could make files and separate pieces into different colours or weights. It doesn’t matter if pieces are lightweight you can always apply interfacing to make them more stable and robust.

I found a piece of teal green needlecord providing a tonal contrast to the dress. To prepare it for cutting into a shape and ensure edges that didn’t fray I applied a lightweight fusible interfacing to this piece of fabric.

Invisible mending tips Bobbins and Buttons

4. We had discussed the idea of making a banana leaf shape. I drew the shape freehand onto the fused side of the needlecord. I started by laying the piece behind the neck edge to trace the shape of the ‘V’. I also cut a second smaller piece with the same ‘V’shape at one edge.

Invisible mending tips Bobbins and Buttons

5. I carefully cut these two pieces out.

Invisible mending tips Bobbins and Buttons

6. I created a mini finished neck edge by placing right sides together and stitching a very small 0.5cm seam allowance around the ‘V’ edge of the two pieces. Clipping into the point, turning to the right side and pressing.

Invisible mending tips Bobbins and Buttons

7. This upper edge sits neatly in line with the neck edge, covering the weak point. I pinned this in place ready for stitching.

Invisible mending tips Bobbins and Buttons

8. I chose a contrast light khaki embroidery thread for stitching the patch in place by hand.

Invisible mending tips Bobbins and Buttons

9. I used a blanket stitch to attach the patch. Blanket stitch is a nice, strongly visible stitch. I thought this style of stitch would work well with the rustic colours and design of the mend and dress.

There are all sorts of different styles of hand stitches. You could have a lot of fun playing around with stitches or keep it simple with a stitch like running stitch.

Invisible mending tips Bobbins and Buttons

10. I started the stitching a little way up the neckline. This helps blend the mend with the dress.

Invisible mending tips Bobbins and Buttons

11. I worked the stitches along the neckline around the leaf shape and along the other side of the neckline.

Invisible mending tips Bobbins and Buttons

12. On the reverse I used regular sewing thread to slip stitch the other side discreetly in place to the neck facing.

Invisible mending tips Bobbins and Buttons

The finished result adds extra character as well as extra life to an otherwise ruined dress. Amy was very pleased with the finished mend.

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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