Slow Fashion

Visible Mending – Boro Sashiko Jeans

I get through jeans at an alarming rate. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I spend (although the most I’ve ever spent is £40 and they stretched out quicker than any of them). I think I’m a naturally messy person. I suppose it comes from ‘doing things’: I get grass stains from sitting outside, mud stains from the allotment, dye, paint and ink stains from making and holes from mucking about on the floor.

This pair of jeans has been going to holes for a while and I had resigned them to the painty jeans pile. But, the thing is, I have a huge painty jeans pile and I wasn’t yet ready for these to meet the same fate. Plus, how many pairs of painty jeans does one person need?

In an effort to be kinder to the planet and live more consciously, I am not going to buy a replacement pair for these. For a long time I have been seeing examples of ‘visible mending’ using embroidery thread and patches. The Japanese method of ‘boro’ caught my eye in particular. The haphazard hand ‘sashiko’ stitching suits my inpatient style of sewing: I never was very good at neat, invisible needle work.

Perhaps I should have mended these holes before they were so large I frequently put my hole foot through when putting them on. But hey, who among us is ever on top of things like that?

I cut two patches from a pair of truly trashes painty jeans from my pile. I set these aside to throw away but couldn’t bear the idea of them ending up in landfill.

I ironed a dodgy hem around the edges of the patches and used bondaweb to hold them in place on the jeans. If you don’t have any bondaweb you could pin the patches on but I am blessed with a well stocked sewing box thanks to my family’s generosity on my 19th birthday (the box has a cat sewn on, it’s a joy).

I picked up some mending thread from C&H in a pale grey. Embroidery floss would probably do the trick but I knew these would take a beating so wanted to use something stronger.

Sashiko stitches are running stitches sewn through layers of fabric. I travelled down my patches with rows of running stitches to make areas of sashiko.

I’m so pleased with the result of this mend. The patches are visible but neutral – I hugely prefer them to the original jeans. The jury is out on how long these will last before they start to pull apart but I remain cautiously optimistic.

Next up in my mending pile is a sweatshirt I stained within two weeks of buying from a charity shop.

Has anyone else fixed any clothing like this? Does anyone have any tips for fixing moth holes in jumpers? Moths are quickly becoming my arch enemies.


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