Mending is trending: give new life to old favorites with visible mending (+ giveaway!)

When is a hole-in-one not a happy event? When it’s a hole in one of your favorite sweaters! Some of us shed a tear when we find a tear in our go-to pair of jeans. But you can turn those frowns upside down with ideas for repairing lovingly worn garments with Visible Mending.

Visible Mending

In this virtual guide to giving worn clothing and fabric items new life, you’ll discover not only inspiration and eye candy (35 examples and 150+ photos), but multiple how-to methods to experiment with—Japanese boro stitching, embroidery, darning, patching, and machine mending.

From the Visible Mending book

The toughest part isn’t choosing which method to try, it’s finding enough things that need mending. But don’t worry. We’ll keep your secret, even if you “mend” something that wasn’t really torn to begin with. Yep, that’s right—the results are so cute you’ll be ripping things apart just to have a reason to mend.

From Visible Mending

Jenny Wilding Cardon is the author of Visible Mending, and she’s going to share with you what drives her mending madness. We’re lucky to work with her every day (that’s right, she’s a Martingale employee by day, mender by night)! So, Jenny, give us your take on why mending is trending!

—Jennifer Keltner
Chief Visionary Officer, Martingale


Jenny Wilding CardonThank you for the introduction, Jennifer!

Stitch This! friends, it’s been my pleasure to write for this blog since Martingale’s inaugural post in March 2012. As of today, I’ve written 986 posts as Martingale’s content editor. Oh my heck, can you believe that? I think I have the best job in the world, sharing all the latest and greatest books from Martingale’s talented and inspiring authors with you.

But today’s post is different. Today I get to share with you my very own book. My baby! It’s called Visible Mending, and I hope it will stop you in your tracks—particularly if you’re a quilter who’s been asked by a family member or friend to mend something for them. (I mean, what quilter hasn’t had that happen?)

I’ve been a quilter since 1997, long before I turned to mending as a creative outlet. And I think there are two things you need in order to be creative: skills and ideas. The sewing skills I’ve learned as a quilter have made the transition to visible mending an easy one. And since I already had the skills, I could jump right to the ideas!

Of course, I know all about sewing patches:

Visible mending patches
This patch on the back of a sweater consists of woven strips from a fat-quarter pack

And I already have basic embroidery stitches in my quilting tool belt:

Visible Mending embroidery
A simple eyelet stitch mends a hole in a sweater; I added a little embroidery sampler around the hole for flair

The Japanese tradition of boro stitching couldn’t be easier—a simple running stitch is all you need to begin:

Visible mending boro stitching
With boro stitching you can mend holes with patches under or on top of a tear, using as many or as few fabrics as you like

Darning was new to me—but again, straight stitches are the foundation for the technique:

Visible mending - darning
Darning is fun to do on both knit fabrics (left) and woven fabrics (right)

And sewing by machine? Are you kidding me? Me and my machine are besties!

Visible mending by machine
These patches are secured with free-motion stitching

I use so many of my quilting skills in my visible-mending projects. But the best part? This unique kind of mending is fun and creative, quick to complete—and sew fun to show off!

Visible mending jacket
This boro-stitched elbow patch is one of my favorite mends from the book

There’s one more thing about visible mending that I think marries perfectly with quilting: the idea of using what you have and creatively making do, just like our quilting sisters of yesteryear did with their quilts. In a world of fast fashion and throwaway quality, visible mending offers the opportunity to step away from that world and put love, thought, and care into pieces we truly treasure.

visible mending tablecloth
A stain on a tablecloth from my grandmother gets a new life with an embroidered “mend”

Visible Mending is half how-to book, half inspiration guide. My goal is to provide a technique book for people who have never sewn before and an inspiration book for people who have been sewing all their lives. And in the book I’ve created an experiment just for you. When clothing or other textiles (yes, even quilts!) become worn and torn, think of it as an opportunity for creativity. Follow along in the book and you’ll soon be giving a new life to items you might otherwise throw away, all while letting your creativity take center stage.

An exciting experiment is waiting for you inside the pages of Visible Mending, and it starts with this: embrace the imperfect. Make do and mend. Repair it and wear it. I hope you’ll join me on this fun sewing adventure!

Follow Jenny online:
 Remade Nation blog   Instagram


Visible MendingWe have a copy of Visible Mending to give away today! To enter your name in the drawing, tell us in the comments:

Which of your quilting skills might you use with Visible Mending?

  • I know all about patches and embroidery.
  • I can sew a running stitch like nobody’s business.
  • All of the above: patches, embroidery, darning, machine work—I’m ready to mend!

We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you’re ready to start a visible-mending adventure right now, you can order Visible Mending at our website and instantly download the eBook for free.

Comments are closed for this post.

Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Maureen, who says:

“Patches, embroidery, darning, machine work—I’m ready to give them all a try.”

We’ll email you about your prize, Maureen—congratulations!


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