|Mending Matters / Katrina Rodabaugh
New York: Abrams, c2018.
Although I love the look of sashiko mending and denim patches and so on, it's not really my own aesthetic -- I don't really wear jeans or even the kind of casual jeans & tee style very often at all. But the ideas in this book are still relevant. Think about your clothing use, consider buying less and mending more, think of mending as cool and fashionable and we'll increase its frequency among more than just dedicated sewists. I can get behind all of those things, and I do mend and upcycle, though not that often in this specific visible mending way.
Rodabaugh's own story is interesting and weaves its way in and out of the essays and the techniques. She went on a clothing fast and ended up repairing and renovating her wardrobe to keep it going, and found that it was satisfying and not that hard to do. Her style is quite minimal, lots of blue and white, denim and sashiko. It's visually lovely even if it's not my own style.
I feel like this is a book for the moment -- with increased interest in sustainability among younger people and many people who haven't thought about it before, this kind of beautifully made, stylish and modern approach to the art of mending shows it up as a feasible and stylish thing to do. That alone is important, to change the mindset of those who aren't already convinced.
Personally I felt that the book was inspiring both in concept and in projects. There are 6 essays alongside the 22 projects, and the tone of the book is consistent and achievable for beginners. It does feel a tiny bit repetitive because of the themes being covered in a few different places, but that's also likely most noticeable when you're reading the book in one go. It's the kind of book that might be used more in a project by project way. She talks about patches (interior & exterior), darning, slow stitching and weaving. There are a few other techniques that she doesn't mention at all, but one book can't cover everything, and the focus of this one is on visible mending and entirely wovens, too. If you're looking for knit techniques, well, perhaps that'll be her next book, who knows!
This book has gotten a lot of hype, and has been sold out more than once. It's a pretty good one, and I think it has captured the zeitgeist in some way. If you have never thought about mending before, it could be an illuminating read. If you mend regularly you'll recognize most of the techniques - but it's still worth a good perusal, especially if you can find it in your local library like I did.