Director of Operations, Nicole Lichtenberg, recommends Modern Mending: How to Minimize Waste and Maximize Style by Erin Lewis Fitzgerald.
I really, really hate breaking in new clothes. I once wore this weird velveteen knit sweater until the sleeves only went partway down my arms, and I think my mom ended up disappearing it in the night. I also harbor, like many of us, feelings of guilt about the amount of water and other resources that go into the production of textiles that I don’t always translate into action.
Enter Modern Mending. This book explores a variety of ways to fix up clothing and other cloth goods such as dog bandanas and tea towels. It covers common mending materials and tools (pretty much the same as the contents of your grandma’s cookie tin), methods such as patching and darning, and provides numerous helpful and interesting case studies.
One of my favorite case studies is a shirt dubbed “Large Marge,” which was in tatters when it came to be in the author’s mending pile. Using such exotic materials as old underpants (they are great because they are usually really worn in and soft, I gather) and some basic techniques, Lewis-Fitzgerald breathes new life into a beloved garment.
What I like about Modern Mending is that it does a good job covering traditional mending styles as well as modern ones, and it has enough information that someone who doesn’t have a background in sewing or knitting would be able to jump in. One thing I appreciate about fiber arts is the wide range of possibilities that exist, and Modern Mending brings that spirit to a more commonplace medium.
So, go find a moth-eaten sweater, or a shirt with armpit holes, or a tea towel you burned, and try mending it. The stakes are low. If you do a really bad job, all you have to do is try again.