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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fun Repairwork With Embroidery

I hear you thinking - how can repair work be fun?? It seems that mending clothes is one of the things a sewist dreads the most. Mending for others? Even worse! I am no exception, my repair pile is usually quite high. For me this has to do with aesthetics and the satisfaction of creating something beautiful. The thing that makes repair work so annoying for me is that you are usually not creating something pretty. Yes, it is wearable again, but does it look as good as before the tear? Even with a well done patch it's usually a compromise at best.

So when my favourite jeans started to tear at the knee, I really wanted to find a way to repair them in the best way. They're skinny jeans and the tear was at the knee, it would be hard to mend with the machine. So since I had to do it by hand anyway, I decided not to try and make it look invisible, but instead to make it into an interesting detail.

I cut out a cotton patch and pinned it to the inside, covering the tear. I didn't have embroidery floss so I created some by doubling up sewing thread, twisting it and then let it twist in on itself, creating a 4 strand thread. I did this for every new line, but you could also make one long strand of each colour. I then started with the red chevron line, to make sure the tear was held in place. Since the whole area was wearing thin I extended above and below the tear to make sure it won't tear in some other place close by. I made the pattern up as I went along, creating a rectangular patch. After finishing I trimmed the patch at the back and finished the edges with a serger-like stitch I have on my machine.

Embroidery is by no means something I'm good at or do regularly, but it really was fun to do. The best way to go at it is probably to draw the pattern on the fabric first. And depending on the size of the tear, maybe also stitch it closed in a matching thread, and then embroider over that. If you like I can do a little tutorial, also on how to make the embroidery floss out of sewing thread. My other pants  also have a tear anyway :) Let me know in the comments!


  1. ths is such a clever idea, and it looks pretty! I'll have to keep it in mind, although my pants usually only tear at the inner thighs so maybe that's not the best place for an embroidery detail :)

    1. Hehe, yes the location does play a role :)

  2. I totally agree with your first sentences in this post.
    And I hate the comments of my co-workers when they hear for the first time that I am sewing: "oh, then I can bring you me jeans which have to be shortened etc. pp." Haha! Yes, that's why I learned to sew - noooooot!
    But I have just finished a repair-project which was also a little bit fun:
    Pimp my Jacke. The post is in German but I think you'll get the idea ;-)
    I really like your "new" jeans, they look really great. Some kind of Desigual-Design :-)
    But I wonder if the backside of this patch doesn't disturb/irritate?
    I have a jeans which has some kind of patch at the knee area, too and this irritates me, when I sit all day. (I hope you know what I mean, I don't get the right words...)

    1. Exactly! Or people who think you can just sew them a sweater. The elbow patches are a good idea too. The knee patch doesn't irritate me, but I can see that it could.

  3. Have you seen Tom van Deijnen's work? His visible mending programme is all about proud and decorative mending.


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