Thursday, January 07, 2016

Month of Mending: The Mending Kit

I talk a little bit about why I mend over here, but it essentially boils down to wanting to have clothes for longer than they were intended to be worn. If I find a pair of jeans that I like. I want to keep them on my body for as long as possible.

Today, I shall be breaking down the mending kit. Those of you who follow on Instagram will have already seen mine. I use a tidy little plastic box that once held facial cleansing wipes and it's just the right size to toss into a bag and take with me if I need to. Mending can be remarkably portable.

This is the whole shebang, plus some, laid out in all its glory. Much of it is self-explanatory, but I wanted to share how I use what you see here.

These are the scissors I typically use for mending, though I do also have a nice set of shears that I keep at my sewing desk for cutting larger pieces of fabric.

Each one has its niche: The red-handled pair is sharp and slightly bent at one tip, which makes it good for picking out stitching. The grey-handled pair is sturdier and easily cuts smaller pieces of fabric. The gold-handled pair is excellent for taking out seams, and the silver pair is basically a glorified thread-cutter that I keep around because sometimes that's all I need.

These are the various threads I use. Much of it is in the "stonewashed jeans" family of colors, but I've got a wide range stashed away if I want something funky or if I want to match something that isn't jeans. The embroidery thread is just run-of-the-mill cotton DMC thread and the spooled threads range from 100% cotton quilting thread to 50% polyester/50% cotton to 100% rayon. Not pictured is a thicker thread used for sewing on buttons. I use the cotton and polycotton for mending that requires some strength and the rayon when I need something more delicate. 

I know you've been waiting on pins and needles for...

The pins and needles. (I think I'm funny)

Here we have:
  • Sharps for regular hand-sewing (sharp tip, small eyes). Good for medium to lightweight fabrics
  • Embroidery needles (sharp tip, long eyes) for heavy fabrics and embroidery
  • Assorted yarn needles (blunt tip) for repairing knits
  • Glass-head pins for holding work in place
  • A handy wooden needle case with assorted sewing needles in
I'm not sure of the provenance of the needle case, but I love it. The little cap fits on nice and snug and it's compact and safe storage that I can toss into my kit. The yarn needles usually go in my knitting kit and I don't usually have more than a couple pins in the actual kit, but those are here for purposes of thoroughness, since I do sometimes use them for mending.

Some assorted tools:
  • A small crochet hook (usually found in my knitting kit)
  • Seam ripper
  • Plastic thimble
  • Needle threader
That particular seam ripper is dull, so I usually use the gold-handled scissors above if I have a seam to take out, but I keep it in the kit anyway. I almost never use the needle threader. When I thread a needle, I do it the manly way with a near 100% success rate. The thimble is essential. If you're to have a mending kit, you need a thimble. Nobody wants a perforated finger. It took me some years to settle on this one as my favorite and for your kit, I suggest you try different ones to see which you like best. There are lots of different kinds.

And finally: Stuff that was tossed into the kit and forgotten about.
From left to right:
  • A connecter-y thingy that was meant to repair a problem with a car I no longer own
  • Stitch markers on safety pins that really belong in my knitting kit
  • A blob of wax that I sometimes, but not always, use to keep thread from tangling

And that's it! Next week, I'll be talking about blackwork embroidery and how it's used in mending. 
Last year's Project Make shenanigans are up for sale on Etsy at my shop. Hop on by if you're feeling froggy. 
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