As I’m sure that you can tell, this is not a new jacket. This is one of the most well-loved and worn garments that I have ever owned. For the past year or so it has fallen out of rotation because of some substantial holes at the elbow. It made it impractical to wear because my elbow would pop out of the hole and get stuck ripping the fabric even further. I was sad about my damaged jacket but I wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet. It has been sitting in my closet waiting for the perfect repair to make it new again. Enter Jessica Marquez’s beautiful new book Make + Mend.
Make + Mend is a brand new book from the mind behind the Miniature Rhino Embroidery Kits that showcases sashiko stitching techniques and patterns and gives ideas and instructions for incorporating them into sewn projects, dying, and mending. Armed with little more than a needle and thread you can accomplish most of the projects in this book!
Since the damage to my jacket was pretty substantial, I knew that there was probably no way to mend without it being pretty obvious. I liked the idea of visible mending but didn’t have any experience or idea where to begin. When I saw Jessica’s woven patch technique I fell in love. I had never tried any sashiko or visible mending before, but Make + Mend walked me through every step of the process from preparing the sashiko thread, needle selection, making tools and pattern transfer. I truly love the projects in the book (every page revealed something to dream about), but what I really appreciate is the beginning section of the book that walks you through the technique and practice of sashiko so you can build your own projects and make your own dreams come true.
While I was looking through the book in search of mending techniques I fell in love with the jacket embellishing project. I hadn’t originally planned on tackling an embellishment project too, but I thought it might pair nicely with the mending I was planning on doing and figured my old jacket could use a bit of reviving. I was completely right! My very veteran jacket feels brand new again and I am excited to wear it every day.
Since this was my first ever visible mending and sashiko stitching project I definitely learned a few things. 1) Do not rush the grid transfer process. It may seem a bit tedious when you are excited to get stitching, but this is the basis for the whole design. If you want an even, symmetrical finished project, spend the time here to get it right. 2) It is easiest to accomplish the woven patch when the patch is no longer than the length of your needle. If it is, you may need some sort of makeshift shed stick that spans the length of the patch. 3) Loosen up and have fun! Most likely your first project isn’t going to be perfect but when you step back and look at the big picture, the smaller imperfections are much less noticeable.
This is a great book for both beginners and more experiences sashiko stitchers. If you are completely new to this technique, like me, it has all the information to jump in with confidence. If you are already experienced with sashiko, there are tons of amazing projects and mending ideas that are modern, fresh, and oh-so cute.