Mend it Better: Creative Patching, Darning, and Stitching is not only a fun reference guide as the title implies, but also contains a nice assortment of projects to inspire on your journey to repair, reuse and repurpose. It's a book you can either read from cover to cover while relaxing with a cup of tea, or pick it up and quickly reference the section you need for a repair. I love that this book teaches everything from sewing basics to advanced repairs, all while feeling as if you are sitting with your grandma or great-grandma learning how to sew and mend. You'll find chapters on everything from hand sewing stitches to zipper repairs and darning techniques.
Like a lot of people, many of my sewing skills beyond the basics are self-taught and I never learned much about how to repair clothing other than ironing on a patch. One read through this book and I'm ready to tackle that hole in my favorite pair of jeans and repair the back of a sweater that is coming unraveled, all with materials I already have in my sewing stash.
There are many helpful details that Roach thoughtfully included in the book. Have you ever wondered what those little pictures on your clothing's care label mean? I have, and had to go searching. Roach conveniently includes a complete list for deciphering all those little pictographs. I love the detailed pictures covering things like how to make a double loop knot, the correct way to attach hooks and eyes and more advanced techniques like modifying a garment to add an in-seam pocket. There's even instructions for creating your own tailor's ham, which I'll definitely be making.
One of the author's first recommendations is to create a mending toolkit so you always have the necessary tools neatly gathered and don't have to search your sewing space for those little snips, your seam ripper, or a needle and thread before getting started. She even includes a pattern for a cute little zippered clutch and instructions on how to make your own mending toolkit as well as a Stitch Smarts Needle Book. I don't know why it didn't occur to me before but I definitely need to make myself a needle book rather than having needles with bits of trailing thread tucked all over my sewing space. This would also be a great little gift for friends who sew.
Mend it Better includes several projects in each chapter (complete with instructions) as well as many single page "inspiration" pictures with a simple paragraph description. One of my favorite projects in this book shows how to repair holes in the heels of socks using crochet. You can bet I'll be looking around for socks to repair now! The Repurposed Mending Bag, Rickrack Skirt Updo and Woven Star Darning are other favorites of mine from the book.
Mend it Better takes the guesswork out of repairing damaged clothing and linens. After reading this book I'll never need to resort to one of those boring and tacky store-bought patches again. Instead I'll be making the most of that worn area with beautiful patches, stitching, and darning. I know this book is going to be a great reference guide on my shelf as well as a source of inspiration for repairing and repurposing worn fabric and clothing.