This project is focused on changing our attitudes towards clothing. The act of mending creates a relationship with the garment, making it special and therefore something we won't dispose of, and mending allows the lifespan of our clothes to increase dramatically.
Researching Japanese Sashiko embroidery is what sparked my interest in mending. Jessica Marquez' Make & Mend has been my primary source of research for this. She describes sashiko (translating to little stabs) as the art of functional embroidery, used to strengthen and mend clothing extending their life and usefulness. Research into sashiko also inspired another area of my practice, exploring the use of patchwork, utilising some sashiko inspired stitches to piece scrap fabrics together.
I wanted to challenge myself to put these techniques I had learnt to the test by mending an item of clothing. My friend gave me his shirt to mend which was completely full of holes. I used a combination of hand darning with machine embroidery and patching for the larger holes.
I have continued developing my mending techniques and have begun creating a sample/tutorial book made up of small samples and step by step instructions for recreating them at home. I felt like this was an appropriate direction to take this project in as mending should be something everyone can do so that more people are encouraged to keep their clothes for longer rather than getting rid of them once they have a hole in or a tear.
The main focus of my mending project has been to find different ways to share the skills I have learnt. I have produced a mock up tutorial book to encourage people to mend their own clothes but I also wanted to finish this project by returning my friends favourite shirt back to a wearable state. It was full of holes of varying sizes so I used both patching and darning to mend it. This is something I will continue to do after this project is finished because being able to personalise an item of clothing and bring it back to life is so important as it highlights the potential our clothes can have even when we think it's time to throw them away.