The new book Joyful Mending: Visible Repairs for the Perfectly Imperfect Things We Love by Noriko Misumi shows us practical and creative ways to give stained, torn, or moth-eaten garments a functional and charming new life. No need to toss an otherwise fine sweater or scarf: repair and embellish it however you like.

If you are shifting toward a more environmentally-friendly life, also see 5 Handy Zero Waste Kitchen Ideas to Reduce Plastics.

These images from Joyful Mending by Noriko Misumi are used with permission from Tuttle Publishing who also provided a review copy of the book. Opinions are my own.

Giving Favorite Clothes New Life

You’ve probably seen footage of massive, compressed bundles of old textiles being loaded into shipping containers and sent across the sea. As if sending away our old shirts, socks, coats, and jeans ‘over there’ is somehow less wasteful than keeping them here.

But no. Trendy ‘fast fashion’ where this season’s garment is next season’s trash, the use of unrepairable fabrics, and the lost art of mending, all contribute to this incredible world-wide problem with textile waste.

Years ago, around the same time that it became far more affordable to buy a new appliance instead of repairing the old one (if you could even get it repaired), clothing stores started overflowing with cheaper, single-season garments and accessories: stuff that only lasts a few washes before losing its color or shape or stitches.

Joyful Mending reintroduces the lost art of mending clothes—taking better quality clothes that have the potential to last a lifetime—and fixing holes, stains, or tears to make them useful once again.

It’s perfect for those of us seeking practical and creative ways to reduce our environmental footprint.

The Eco-Friendly Art of Fixing Clothes

Excerpt from Joyful Mending by Noriko Misumi
From the Cover

With Joyful Mending, rips, holes, frayed edges and stains become a pleasant challenge—a chance to turn flaws into features so you can continue enjoying the clothes (and toys, rugs, and accessories) you love.

Using basic sewing, darning, felting, and crochet techniques, as well as a handful of simple embroidery stitches, you can repair and restore your favorite belongings in a transformative way.

Joyful Mending shows you simple techniques for:

Repairing fabrics—knitted or wovenWorking with flat or curved surfacesCreating repairs that blend as well as repairs that add elements of whimsy and surpriseDarning your handmade socks and gloves

Moth-eaten scarf and oil-stained sweater get a new life.

The joy to be found in working by hand, the artistry you find within yourself while giving new life to old things, and the satisfaction in doing more with less are at the heart of this book. While nothing lasts forever, there’s pleasure as well as purpose in holding off impermanence for a little while longer.

Contents Include

The Mending Consultation Booth
Inspiring examples of various repairs and embellishments.Basic Mending Techniques including darning different shapes and needle felting, invisible and statement mending, patchwork, embroidery, and rug hooking methods.Embroidery and Mending Sewing Techniques (20 different stitches and crochet basics)

If you have an interest in this sort of thing, get a copy of the book to see the numerous examples of clothing restoration. It is inspiring. Your repairs can be as subtle or creative as you like and it’s so satisfying to keep that beloved jean jacket going.

~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛