Clothes Mending: Book Review of Mend It, Wear It, Love It! By Zoe Edwards
Clothes mending, of all types is having a moment. I’m a little obsessed with it, but I’ve lost track of all the books that have or are about to be released on the topic. I’ve even reviewed one on this blog already (Mending Matters by Katrina Rodabaugh). Honestly though, the options are kind of overwhelming. So, when I saw that I could get an advance copy of Mend It, Wear It, Love It! By Zoe Edwards I jumped at the chance. The book looked promising and I was more than ready to stop browsing and start reading.
Mend It starts with a short introduction and a brief overview of the dangers of fast fashion. This is followed by an overview of tools and supplies. These tools are all illustrated, rather than photographed in a bright, simplified manner. This style of illustration is used throughout, giving the book a cheerful and cohesive look.
The next and largest section of the book covers a variety of different clothes mending techniques, from replacing buttons to darning holes to dealing with zipper issues. The instructions strike a nice balance between clear and brief. One of the challenges with mending is that each repair is going to be a little different. Edwards’ instructions give just enough information to get the reader started without overwhelming them with possibly unrelated details.
I’ve done my fair share of clothes mending, altering, and repairing clothing, so I wasn’t expecting to learn too much. However, I did find one tip in this section that will definatly impact my wardobe care going forward. Edwards suggests using iron-on interfacing on the inside of garments to reinforce weak spots or holes.
I generally prefer to use reweaving or to stitch on patches by hand when I need to reinforce a spot, but I’ve never been 100% happy with those options when repairing the crotch area on pants. So, I tried the interfacing method on two pairs of pants I had been meaning to fix. I used a weft knit black interfacing on a pair of leggings that had gotten a hole and a white woven interfacing on a pair of jeans that were getting thin at the inner thighs.
It worked so well on both pairs that, honestly, I’m kind of annoyed at myself for not thinking to use interfacing before now. The material is thin enough that it doesn’t create the bulk that a traditional iron on patch does, but it is just as quick and easy to apply. I don’t know how well the repairs will hold up long term, but they were so fast and simple that it was worthwhile. And I can always go back and reenforce the area with stiches (as suggested elsewhere in the book) if I need to.
The next section, “Wear Your Clothes” focuses on ways to alter clothing, both for style and fit. These fixes range from hemming to adding a patch pocket. All little fixes to help the reader wear things that are already in their closet but languish because they’re not quite right. Again, the instructions are clear but generic. More inspiration than a step-by-step run-through of any specific project. Which is exactly what is needed since every garment will have its own challenges.
The final part of the book looks at clothing care and maintenance. This includes laundry and storage. The stain removal section also includes information on dyeing and using decorative embroidery to cover stains. What I love about this is that it encourages the reader to think of an irremovable stain not as the end of a garment, but as an opportunity. A stained garment is usually still fully functional, so finding ways to make them wearable again is such a great idea.
While the book generally hits the right balance between providing information on clothes mending and leaving out excess, there was one thing I feel is missing: information on fabric types. A lot of new sewers don’t realize that knit behave differently than wovens or that not all fibers shrink at the same rate when washed. A paragraph or two on the basics of fabric could help point a beginner in the right direction and help them start to troubleshoot any fabric-related problems. However, that is a minor issue in an otherwise great book.
And I do think this is a great book, particularly for beginners. It covers a wide range of common issues and how to fix them in an easy-to-read manner. It doesn’t overwhelm the reader with details, but it teaches enough sew vocabulary that a reader will know what to search for if they run into problems. The illustrations are clear and the color pallet is bright and approachable. This book would be a great gift, especially for someone who’s just starting out on their own (graduation gift, perhaps?) or has recently developed an interest in clothing and fashion.
Mend It, Wear It, Love It! By Zoe Edwards is available February 9th at BookShop.org or wherever you buy books.