|Mending with Kids / Nami Levy
trans. from the Japanese by Nancy Marsden
North Clarendon, VT/ Tokyo: Tuttle, c2023.
I found this cute book via my library -- but I have to say I was a bit sceptical when I first saw it. Having young kids do mending? Is it possible with their motor skills? But this book convinced me. It's well laid out, with the techniques which kids could do clearly identified, and which steps they might take on in more complicated mends.
The book starts with a section called "Hints and Warnings for Mending with Kids" and this addresses all the concerns you might have when picking up this book. She discusses sharp objects, irons and things like that, giving tips on managing them and which parts only an adult should do. But there is also a nod to the fact that different parts of the world have different expectations of "child safety" and what kids can do, with an example of how the Netherlands doesn't fence off water areas, rather they teach children to swim to prepare for any accidents. Interesting discussion!
Anyhow, on to the mending. I loved the way this book was laid out, with tons of illustrations, many using the two children I'm assuming are the author's. The first bit of the book is aimed at mending WITH kids. It starts out with simple ideas, like stamping over stains with eraser stamps or paper stencils, then goes on to simple patches made with felt shapes, or scrap fabrics that kids can draw on. She even shows an older child using some needle felting techniques (with finger guards, and an adult's help). In the second section of the book, she aims things more at mending FOR kids. There are examples of darning socks and tights, or using embroidery in fun ways like making a hole into an eyelet feature with a larger surrounding motif to make into a cool design feature. There are also some invisible mending tips if you don't want to show it off. And there are cool ideas to fix frayed cuffs with binding, or to fix worn knees and make pants longer at the same time with inserted bands -- keep them wearing their favourites for longer!
I found some new ideas in here, especially the idea of mending tights. Love it! It's a short book but really clear and it communicates both the why and how clearly. The images are bright and informative, and the whole book is just a lovely read. It would be great for families wanting to live more sustainably.