The kind of darning and visible mending I’ve been writing about recently aren’t to everyone’s tastes. If you prefer your clothing repairs to be more discreet, then you’ve got a couple of options. You could learn some invisible mending skills, or, you could master the art of mending with embroidery.
I’ve been looking at a lot of examples of embroidery used to repair clothes lately. I’ve got a coat that I love, but which is in dire need of some TLC, and I think embroidery is probably the way to go.
Mending With Embroidery.
So, today I’m sharing some of my favourite examples of mending with embroidery. I hope you find something here to inspire you to tackle a mending project of your own.
1. Decorations Not Holes!
Isn’t this a beautiful mend?
The finished result looks intentional like it was an original part of the garment’s design.
This is visible mending, but you wouldn’t look at it and assume it was a repair. Instead, it’s a beautiful decoration that adds something special.
I’m in love with how the embroidery creates eyelets from the holes.
I’m also a big fan of clothes that tell a story, and I bet this sweater is filled with memories from the many periods of mending it’s undergone.
2. Embroidered Jeans.
If you’re going to start your mending journey, jeans are a great place to begin.
I’ve got a few pairs of jeans that I patch endlessly, like ongoing samplers of my (still pretty basic) sewing skills.
I enjoy knowing that I’ve had one pair of jeans for more than ten years and seeing the scraps of fabric from various craft projects immortalised in their patches.
I really like this mend because it’s a great combination of a good, honest patch, and some pretty embroidery to disguise it somewhat.
It’s definitely a visible mend, and it’s not pretending to be anything else, but it’s also beautiful at the same time.
3. Embroidery On Patches.
This picture isn’t actually a repair. It’s a piece of beautiful textile art.
I’ve included it here, though, because it absolutely could be a beautifully embroidered repair.
If you look closely, you can see that there are several different fabrics making up the background of this piece – just as there would be in a patched garment, for example.
Can’t you just imagine something like this disguising a patched area on your clothes?
All those extra embroidery stitches would work to bond the patching fabric and the original garment even further, making for a stronger repair.
4. Making A Tiny Hole … Bigger?
It seems counterintuitive to mend something by making the holes in it larger, but that’s exactly the approach taken here.
A tiny hole near the hem of a sweater has been opened up and bound with stitching, and then incorporated into a larger, mandala-like design.
The finished result, as with the first embroidered sweater I showed you, is beautiful.
5. Mending Kids’ Clothes.
Here’s a cute way to mend children’s clothes (although I’d absolutely love this starry repair on my own jeans too).
This repair makes use of interfacing and fusible web for a strong, fast repair.
I love the bright sashiko stitching across the whole area too. Such a fun touch.
6. Combining Embroidery With Darning.
I adore everything about this jumper repair.
I’m a bit obsessed with traditional darning techniques. (As anyone who follows me on Pinterest will no doubt have noticed).
What’s special about this piece of visible mending is the way that the darning has been shaped.
Formed into a triangle, it creates the background for the rest of the beautifully embroidered design.
Once again, a visible mend that doesn’t jump out at you as being a repair.
7. Simple Stitching.
Proof that you can be successful at mending with embroidery, even without knowing dozens of fancy embroidery stitches.
All the stitching here is very simple, but the overall effect is stunning.
Simply-patched holes, giving the look of a reverse applique piece, and lots of simple stitching to stabilise the whole piece.
Simple and practical, and beautiful with it.
8. Blanket Stitch.
Another very simple fix.
Blanket stitch is easy to learn (and once you can do blanket stitch, you’re well on the way to being able to make beautiful buttonholes too).
This is a quick repair to a frayed edge, and it would work beautifully for collars or cuffs as well.
Personally, I love the brightly-coloured thread used for this mend, but you could also choose to use matching thread, making for a very discreet repair indeed.
9. Mending With Embroidery On Silk.
Repairing fine fabrics can be really challenging.
Do you try for an invisible repair, and then worry that it’s not quite as invisible as you’d hoped? Or, do you do something really obvious, and out of character with the rest of the garment?
This example strikes a beautiful balance.
The embroidered repair is visible, but it’s discreet at the same time.
Using embroidery in a similar style and design to other details on the dress makes it look beautifully in-keeping.
10. Geometric Stitching.
This image jumped out at me because of the vibrant colours.
I love all the geometric shapes created by this stitching.
A solid area of embroidery like this would be perfect for disguising a not-so-beautiful mended area, or for hiding a patch.
Part of the appeal here is the very simple stitching.
Everything in this piece is worked with a simple backstitch, very straightforward (although there’s definitely skill involved in making such beautifully even stitches!)
11. Simple Circles.
These embroidered circles are beautiful.
I love how they’re worked across the borders of all those patches, blending the fabric into a unified whole once again.
As you’ve seen elsewhere in this list, simple stitches, well-executed, can be incredibly effective.
When you’re looking for ideas and inspiration for mending with embroidery, it’s worth looking at a lot of different kinds of embroidery, rather than limiting yourself just to images of mended textiles.
Combining embroidery with patches, as seen here, can give a beautiful result.
Basic Skills, Big Results.
Most of the examples I’ve shared above use very simple embroidery skills.
There’s a wealth of resources available for learning basic embroidery techniques. I especially like this book for its clear, simple instructions.
You can also go a long way just with a simple running stitch, as used in the sashiko designs above.
The trick is not to be afraid to give something a go.
Start on something easy, where the results don’t matter too much – a pair of jeans, pyjamas, your favourite sweatshirt that you’re not quite ready to part with yet.
Really, if something’s already headed for the ragbag, what have you got to lose?
When you’re shopping, whether online or in person, take a look at the kinds of embroidered designs you see on mass-produced clothes. Use those ideas as inspiration for tackling your own mending projects.
Then, join my visible mending group board and share your finished mending!