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Mend It Better: Creative Patching, Darning, and Stitching

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  199 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Don’t hide that patch, make it a bold, beautiful embellishment! Repair holes with bright thread and a creative darning stitch; revive a stained shirt with fun embroidery! In Mend It Better, popular craft blogger Kristin M. Roach puts a new spin on mending by adapting traditional techniques for today’s crafty sewers. With detailed photography to show each step, she teaches ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Storey Publishing
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  199 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Dec 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to Gwen by: "Thrift At Home" blog
Shelves: self-education
I have no idea who the intended audience for this book would be--the book's first project is a handmade tote bag, but then the next chapter covers how to thread a needle. There are definitely not enough pictures for explanations, and those that the book does choose to include are often not helpful or look shoddy. (The darning ones, especially. I darned socks for the first time last weekend, lessons courtesy of YouTube, and my darning was significantly neater than these pictures show!) The ...more
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Never in my life could I have imagined giving a five-star review to a book on mending! I checked this book out of the library because, well, I like to read about World War II on the Homefront, and the blurbs made it sound a lot like "make do and mend", something that HAD to be done in the 40s. What I found was so much more! This book is genius! If Ms. Roach had been alive in the 40s, she would have won any Make-do and Mend competition very handily! Filled with a million ideas and illustrated ...more
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
I could see how this book would be a good reference to have if you already knew how to sew. However I am not sure I would recommend this book to total beginners. I am a beginner and there were not nearly enough pictures to show the techniques she was teaching. Also I thought many of the tutorials were badly written. I had to read several of them several times to figure out what I was supposed to do. I also felt like that the book couldn't decide if it wanted to be a sewing manual or one of those ...more
Sarah White
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I saw this book by chance at the library and found it a good, basic guide to some of the possibilities of mending. The projects are cute and should give you some ideas for how to creatively mend or alter your own garments.

There are some particular things I wanted to learn that weren't included -- making buttonholes and hemming jeans while preserving the original stitching -- but I know I can find that elsewhere.

The crocheted heel project makes me regret throwing away store-bought socks
This book was a mixture of too-much-information and not-enough-information. The projects take valuable space away from more in-depth coverage of techniques that would make this a more comprehensive reference book for a utilitarian rather than fashion mender. I personally liked the tips for making fabric-covered buttons and cross-stitching over aida for a patch. It also helped me overcome my disdain of fabric glue. I guess if the professionals do it this way it's ok for me to use it too.
Nov 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Cute book -- if you're wanting to fix your child's clothes, this book has done ingenious tips and tricks to make fixes look like decoration.

It also has some useful sections on zippers, beading, and the like. It's inspired me to make my own pressing ham, but I really don't think newspaper stuffing is going to cut it--you can see how loosely stuffed it is in the photo. So I'm off to find some sawdust instead, like what's in my mother's sewing ham.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a pretty good book on mending tools and techniques but it does require some knowledge of sewing. There are a lot of photographs and interesting projects but many of the pictures of the mending techniques are teeny and hard to discern what's really going on, so that's frustrating. But happily, I did learn some new stuff even though I first learned to sew almost 50 years ago!
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
The darning section of this book has the most AMAZING project for darning socks by crocheting the holes in heels/toes. It also has great ideas for DIY cloth patches, hand stitches, stain solutions, seam fixes, and so on.

Yep, mending as devotion. LOVE IT.
Feb 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great techniques and ideas. Already lent to friend.
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book has a lot of really creative ideas for patching up your overly worn clothes. Kristin also has a great blog at
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Why I Read the Book: I do a fair amount of mending at work, and I need all the help I can get.
Format: Hardcover; borrowed from Irondequiot Public Library.
Synopsis: The title, Mend It Better, says it all. If you rip, tear, shred, break, or otherwise damage your favorite coat, tote bag, purse or other clothing, this book can probably help you fix it.

What I Thought: I have 2 complaints with this book. Otherwise, it's totally awesome! The author covers every type of mending I have ever worked on,
Irene Adler
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who sew and those who want to save the planet
Really like this book, and it has a lovely hand feel with its slightly puffy cover. I didn't want to return the library copy so much that I ordered a signed copy direct from the author as a treat (no, I don't know her).

Very thoughtful, very sustainable, lots of interesting projects and techniques for re-purposing and saving your favourite things. Don't buy those faux worn / patched jeans, keep it real and extend the life of your best fitting pair forever instead.

Excellent questions in the 'To
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
3 1/2 stars rounded up.

Includes a short section on the history of sewing and clothes manufacturing, so I geeked out over that.

Chapters at the beginning of the book include primers on tools and stitches. I think most of the projects are doable and easily adaptable. For me, this was more of an inspirational book than a how-to, and I can imagine that novices might need more detailed instructions than some of the projects provide.

Overall, a nice read for anyone who’s not a fan of fast fashion, and
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not just a how-to, but also full of history, personal stories, and project inspiration. The projects are a good blend of specific ideas (for inspiration) with generic instructions (to work for various situations). I want to go mend all my stuff now!

I borrowed it from the library, but I might want to buy it.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: diy
2 stars - didn't learn anything new
3 stars - learned something

Didn't learn much, but gave me a useful idea for adding buttons.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
I borrowed this from the library. Lots of good ideas in here. My fave is Cal Patch's crochet darning method. I can't wait to try it out!
Annette McIntyre
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is full of instructions on how to mend almost any item of clothing.
Reading Cat
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Really useful handbook of all the ways one can think to mend stuff, in a very approachable format.
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lovely book illustrating multiple ways to mend/repair clothing. Picked up some excellent new skill ideas - and a couple of craft ideas. Fun!
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, craft
Good for repairing clothes that have seen damage. Basic techniques, not as much of the decorative stuff as I'd originally hoped, but still good info.
Shala Kerrigan
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: diy, greener-living
Mend It Better: Creative Patching, Darning and Stitching by Kristen Roach is a wonderful resource for mending clothing to keep it wearable, or for buying clothing from thrift stores and garage sales and being able to mend it into something for your wardrobe. Mending is one of the most ecologically sound choices you can make.

It's well thought out, and the instructions are clear enough for beginners. Even experienced sewers may find new things in this volume. There are instructions for doing
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sewing
This a great book about how to mend and care for your clothes. It covers a variety of things from simple fixes such as patching holes or sewing torn seams to more advanced repairs like zipper replacement. There's even a chapter about repairs for special fabric types including lace, leather, and velvets. Whenever possible the author tries to include instructions to complete repairs either by hand sewing or using a sewing machine so you can use whichever method you're more comfortable with. There ...more
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What a neat book! Filled with the basics and beyond, Mend it Better is a toolbox for anyone who's hesitated to get rid of something previously loved just because it's stained, has a hole, is a bit outdated, has a bleached spot, etc. It's a great source to have on hand these days, whether your concern is saving a much-loved garment, helping the environment, or preserving the contents of your wallet. Roach writes in a non-threatening manner, explaining everything in just enough detail for the ...more
Mar 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
When I end up marking just about every other page, it's a clear sign I need to own the book. This is a fantastic resource. In addition to some basic information on the history of basic mending styles, each aspect of mending is explained two different ways. First, as if you do not want the mending to show. Secondly, using the mending as a means of embellishment. In both cases, there are directions, and in the case of embellishment, there is usually an example of a possibility. The techniques ...more
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's not a very long book, but the photos are lovely and the author writes with generosity and kindness of the women in her life who influenced her creativity and love of sewing.

The idea that mending, repairing, and patching clothing is good and may have more value than throwing worn items away is a concept dear to me. My grandmothers and my mother were skilled menders, and passed the love of it to me at an early age. In junior high and high school I patched my favorite worn jeans, let out hems
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crafty, own
Absolutely AWESOME 'text book' style book that walks you through all kinds of ways to repair clothing and other fabric items. The book includes decorative repairs as well as more subtle ones including things like zipper repair and replacement.

There are a few projects included as well, but really I think the book's strength is its detailed instructions and gorgeous photos of the process. Mending and darning are the kind of thing you're supposed to 'just know' or 'learned from your mom', and I'm
Becky H.
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012
I just won a "First Reads" copy of this book. I am so excited!
Book came in the mail today. I have been flipping through it and it seems to have lots of good ideas and instructions. One of the ideas I want to try it fixing holes in jeans with fancy fabric peaking through the holes.

Lots of great ideas that are fun and inspiring. Basics for mending, but some of the instructions were a little over my head (but I'm a beginner). I believe this will be a good reference that I will turn to again
Mar 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: art
The is the work of a lot of talented folks, but I am not ace at "getting" crafty instructions without adequate photos or diagrams. The ideas are original and fun. As you'll find in a lot of craft and art books, the book tries to recreate the wheel with information on stuff that could be googled or found in an intro sewing book. For example, the info on clothing care. Some of the example ideas photographed have no instructions. I found so much potential in this book, great ideas, but the book ...more
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Mend It Better: Creative Patching, Darning, and Stitching by Kristin M. Roach, which I received a free copy of through Goodreads "First Reads," is very well laid out and informative, easy to understand, with charming photo illustrations. The book contains some very creative and useful ideas and only fell short of being 5 stars because it lacks a spiral binding (allowing it to lay flat) as all craft and cookbooks should have :)
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: creative, handicrafts
All sorts of ideas for creative mending and upcycling clothes. Very detailed guides to everything from tools to buy to pinning fabrics the right way. Includes a guide to threads, fabrics, using a sewing machine...really, everything you'd need to know, including darning techniques.

Excellent resource for beginners and near-beginners in sewing and mending who want something more attractive and creative than an iron-on patch.
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