Sunday, March 24, 2024

Weekend Review: Creative Mending


Creative Mending / Hikaru Noguchi
Rutland, VT: Tuttle, c2022.
104 p.

One more Japanese mending book for this month's featured theme! I also found this one thanks to the library and it was really sweet to look through. Lots of photos, lots of repairs shown as examples of the different techniques on real items -- including a cat-scratched armchair. In fact there are lots of repairs made where it's noted that the damage came from cats chewing on fabric or playing with clothing ;)  

This book has a lot of solid content, some of it familiar from other books but some more intriguing as well. As with any Tuttle book, there are many clear and colourful photos to illustrate everything - this is pleasing just to flip through and look at them all. But it starts off with an intro to tools and threads then moves to four Basic Techniques: Goma-shio (basically seed stitch), Basket Darning (traditional weave) and two based on the buttonhole stitch, Honeycomb and Tambourine. Then examples for each. 

This is followed by seven sections on Advanced Techniques: Patching on top or from inside a garment, Repairing Damage to an Inseam, Underarm, or Edges, Darning using Wool Roving (ie: needlefelting) and Darning Large Holes. Each of these is a compound technique - they use the Basic Techniques and then apply it to the particular situation. She discusses small things to keep in mind, like inserting a finger darning stick into your gloves before stitching so they hold their shape, or using a long needle for larger holes so it's easier to pick up threads, or choosing fabric for patches that suits the garment,  especially for underarm mends. And this is all followed by some "darning samplers" -- more examples of how her techniques have been used on actual garments. I like the use of embroidery to cover stains, personally.

There is a lot of info and inspiration here, with the caveat that you have to share this aesthetic to really benefit from the many styles and examples. It is all Very Visible Mending, with colourful circles, either solid or radiating stitches, spread across the front of a shirt or jacket, or blocks of stitches covering ravelling edges, or "frankenstitches" (here really meaning they resemble Frankenstein's stitches) running up a seam or tear. I like the idea of patches, but I would have to tone it down a little for myself. I still enjoyed this one and particularly liked that she shares photos and info on many threads that can work for darning - I feel that sometimes people hesitate to start mending, thinking they need some special and unobtainable materials to begin. Not so! 

I've learned a lot from mending books this month but still have lots in my mending piles...thankfully nothing too bad that would need the kind of intensive care of the items in this book, though. This one is entertaining but best for those who love the idea of Visible Mending. 


  1. Like you, I like to read about techniques such as this but not necessarily incorporate them into my own wardrobe. Thanks again for another intriguing book to peruse. My library has it!

    1. I'm glad you'll be able to check it out via your library! Yes, reading about new techniques is always interesting even if we don't use them, at least not immediately.

  2. Based on your review I just borrowed this book from the library. I am so impressed with the ideas and techniques. Makes me excited to do some mending! Also thinking there are some interesting projects to do with my grandkids. This would be a great way to share my love of sewing and needlework. Thank you.

    1. So glad you were inspired! Lots of good ideas in this one and I hope you have fun if you decide to do a project with your grandkids. That sounds really great.


Share your comments, ideas or suggestions here -- I am always interested in hearing from readers. It's nice to have a conversation!