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Kim Explores Visible Mending


I am hard on my clothing. It’s just a fact I’ve had to accept about myself. Generally, it’s more a matter of my being a bit of a klutz than anything, but I also know the specific rage of wearing through the thighs in my favorite jeans or finding the occasional moth hole in a beloved sweater. Over the years, I’ve become familiar with mending, and lately, I’ve really gotten to appreciate the visible mending movement.

 If you haven’t heard of visible mending before, it is exactly what it says! The mending I learned as a younger person really tried to make any repairs blend in to the garment, but visible mending celebrates repairs by making them stand out and become a design element on the garment. I think it is a wonderful thing to not only prolong the life of a garment, but to give it new life with new, unique touches! Pretty and practical.

But where does one start? I love embroidery, so to me that was a natural place to start, but I understand how intimidating it can be trying to decide on how to repair something so visibly, especially if you aren’t used to hand stitching. Enter the Wren Bird Arts Washable Mending Transfers!

These transfers are, honestly, brilliant. They make it so much easier to get into visible mending! No worrying about rulers and marking utensils and getting everything drawn just so or eyeballing it and hoping for the best. These transfers are a peel and stick stabilizer printed with a variety of designs for mending or embroidery (or both!). One simply needs to stitch over the printed lines and rinse to reveal a beautiful pattern and a gorgeously mended garment. To try out these new products, I decided to mend two different garments.

For the first project, I finally decided to fix a tear in one of my favorite shirts. I’d caught the sleeve of this double gauze blouse on a nail one day, and tore open the top layer only. I was so mad when it happened, but the moth transfers were a perfect fit for this repair!

To get started, I trimmed the loose bits off, to get a cleaner finish, and secured the fabric in an embroidery hoop.


Picking a moth was hard, as they’re all really cute, but the size of the tear helped me make my choice. It needed to fully cover the damage!
My pro tip for placement? Place your transfer where you’d like and then hold the whole thing up to a bright light! These have some ability to be repositioned, so if you need to adjust, you can. This moth fits pretty perfectly!
Once it’s positioned as you’d like, it’s time to embroider! The transfers come with helpful tips on how best to embroider different parts of the moths, but it’s really a personal preference. I happen to love using chain stitch to fill, so that’s most of what I used.
Now for the magic part! To get rid of the white transfer, simply hold under running water. I find warm water works best, but cold water works too with a bit of time. You can gently rub at it with your fingers to help to process along.
Now just let everything dry, and voila! A beautiful moth where once there was a hole. Wren Bird Arts suggests using the moths to cover actual moth holes in knit sweaters, and I love that idea!
I wanted to do some preemptive mending. My favorite linen pants were starting to pill and wear in the thighs, and I thought I’d get in and reinforce the thin spots before they could get worse. I shaved the pills off best I could, layered a bit of the same fabric leftover from making the pants inside to act as my patch, and then decided on a design to stitch.
I ended up choosing a design with lots of closer stitches, to really help reinforce the area. I trimmed the transfer to fit the spot a bit better before peeling it off the backing and placing it on my pants, pinning it down in spots to help keep all three layers together. Then I popped on a good movie and got to stitching!
Once done, all it needed was a good rinse to melt away the transfer, and my pants were stronger and good to go! For these, I went with an embroidery floss in a color that was close to the fabric, but not exactly a match. I figure something subtle would be fine here. I also really liked this design because if I decide to extend the area of my patch later on, it would be very easy to add more concentric circles and match the design.

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