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Repairing holes with visible mending


This cutsew OP from Innocent World was already well loved when I purchased it. The details and cut were cute. But it is made of cotton jersey and it was clearly not meant to last forever. A few years and a few wash cycles later, this dress had some pretty substantial holes in the front of the skirt. It was in desperate need of mending.

The dress languished in my closet while I debated what to do with it. The jersey material showed any attempts to mend it. I stumbled on visible mending techniques and got inspired to try some embroidery. I documented my process, so I hope it inspires you to try to breath new life into your damaged pieces. 

Assess the damage.

In my case, there were several small holes, as well as some larger holes. The jersey wasn’t very substantial to begin with, but the holes would make it difficult to embroider. I decided to patch the holes and create clusters of flowers with embroidery. 


This isn’t pretty, but since I was trying to use materials on hand, I cut patches from linen and ribbon and machine sewed them to back the holes. I was hoping to use these patches as a more substantial material for my expansive embroidery ambitions. 

Design the embroidery.

Since the holes were so random, I first sketched out the embroidery needed to cover the holes with a water soluble ink on the dress. Then I filled in spaces with purely decorative flowers that bridged the gap between holes and added small leaves. 

Stitch stitch stitch.

I chose wagon wheel roses because they covered large areas and they didn’t require complicated stitches. The leaves were simple satin stitches. My embroidery floss and hoop were borrowed from a neighbor. 

Step back and admire.

Every so often its definitely important to take a step back and admire the big picture. As a result I added a few more decorative flowers to fill out some places that didn’t quite pop enough. 

And here’s the finished result. Since the dress was pretty casual to begin with, I think that the rustic embroidered florals will look cute with loose weave sweaters and mori inspired looks.

I’m also glad to find a way to wear this dress again and squeeze some more life out of it. Plus, I definitely channeled my inner Momoko, sitting in my living room, drinking tea and stitching. Do you have any stories of visible mending or diy repairs? Please share them with me. 

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