Mending is not something we – as a culture – spend a lot of time doing these days.  Fast fashion and mass consumerism has taught us to simply throw older or imperfect items away and replace them with newer versions. I am all for the “Sewing Schoolyard” – let’s teach ourselves and our kids to mend – a satisfying task.

My favorite, 10-year old tea towels have seen better days; but, I just can’t find the perfect replacement.  I use our Alabama Chanin Tea Towels for most kitchen tasks but these have just given me so much kitchen love that I can’t bear to part with them.

In perfect wabi-sabi style, Olivia – our Studio Assistant (and budding pattern maker) – mended my old tea towels using scraps of our organic cotton jersey and Button Craft thread.  Using applique in combination with seed, whip and eyelet stitches, she repaired the holes and covered the stains.  Perfect.

(If needed, you can find instructions for applique and a variety of stitches in our books.)

I love my tea towels now more than I did before – kitchen love indeed.

It’s been written before BUT, Sister Parish said it best:

“Even the simplest wicker basket can become priceless when it is loved and cared for through the generations of a family.”

9 comments on “MENDING

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  1. amisha

    this is a beautiful and inspiring post. i vividly remember visiting my grandmother in india when my umbrella broke. i suggested going out and getting a new one; she reminded me that in her city, you don’t throw out an old umbrella– you take it to the umbrella repairman. now when i mend a hole in a sweater, i remember that those marks of mending are part of the history of my relationship to the object– not something to be hidden, but celebrated. the decorative mending that olivia did is just perfect.

  2. Sonia

    mending has almost become a lost art, that’s quite sad indeed. No later than a couple of hours ago, I mended a pair of leggins. Mending is like the marks we have on our body, in my opinion. It holds a story we need to remember.
    The mending on this towel is absolutely beautiful and adorable !

  3. Rose

    I recently did something similar to a chair. I made a slipcover for the chair years ago, and the slipcover has become worn thin in a few spots. Rather than make a whole new cover (who has time for that with kids running around?) I just patched the holes and now I somehow love the chair even more. I know exactly how you feel!

    1. Barbara

      There is a scene in the film Hideous Kinky where Bilal mends a hole in Lucy’s pant leg by embroidering a beautiful bird over it. I always loved that moment. I had been taught to patch, but this was something else. It was not merely fixing, but creating beauty and I found that to be so inspiring.

      1. Valerie Mourat

        I married into a French farming family, where mending teatowels, sheets and every piece of clothing is part of the life style. My 96 years old MIL still patches tea towels dating from a century ago. I have linen ( with my initials,) dating back to the trousseau of her great -grandfather.. There’s a lot to learn from these frugal habits.

  4. marci

    Some of the best things i have were thrown away because they had to be mended. There is nothing more satisfying for me then repairing a sweater or pair of pants.

  5. Diana from San Francisco

    There is nothing more satisfying to me than mending. Repairing something broken, polishing and cleaning a beloved pair of shoes, fixing a seam, or darning socks.