What begun as a rabbit-hole interest in the now-solidly popular niche of shuttle-loomed denim has taken quite a strange turn indeed. Raw and unwashed denim, denim that let you make your own fades, scratches, loose threads and thin knees, naturally led to the question of what to do when those weaknesses in the fiber actually showed. Although the general online consensus was to send your jeans to a professional machine darner, my budget in college (for art) vetoed this idea. Not long after, different menders and artists all over the internet discussed the truly simplest route: take a piece of denim, and some string, and run the stitches across that hole. Done.
I wasn't so frustrated at this simple task as much as I was... disappointed? I thought, "That's it?" Yes, that's it. There really isn't much to mending, even when talking about mixed fibers, or stretchy wool knit sweaters, or darning styles. I'd go so far as to say that the information behind mending textiles is like jumping into a kiddie pool that happens to be as deep as the ocean. These skills can be picked up. The actual journey happens through the relationship with each garment, the deliberation of what is best to mend the garment with, the handfeel of fabric weights and stitch counting, and even a decision of how visible the repair should be.
I learned that I loved seeing my efforts, distinct from the original garment, complimentary to the original fabric and assertive to anyone looking closely. The relationship with garments doesn't end when you buy it and wear it. The connections to clothing that you love don't need to be seasonal, or even fashionable in some contexts. Textiles receive care brilliantly. Garments are so positively receptive to repair when compared to other objects or environments that people live in. This makes it all more shameful to me that currently, profit motive dictates these garments to become formless heaps, burned to keep a brand's demand up- or tossed into landfills to rot, despite the water, land, labor and time it took to grow the fibers or raise the animals these garments begun on.
Today, a little over a year after I found my interest in repairing garments, I own a mended wardrobe. shirts, button-ups, coats, undergarments, pants and socks that have been patched and darned and dyed to make functional and beautiful again. Mended garments make me happy to see, they become desirable to wear more often. These clothes would have gone in the trash or the dreaded garage storage, had I never learned how to care about the history and foundations of what I wear.
This is all to also say, I hope that there's something you haven't worn in a long time that you're possibly thinking about now, something you know deserves fixing and deserves another life experienced with you.