Adventures With Visible Mending

I’ve never been much for embroidery or mending.  For a long time, I’d been putting off Chris’s request that I mend a torn glove that he likes to use.  But then I came across a beautiful post by Better Homes on the basics of visible mending.  Since we are still largely in stay-home-stay-safe mode here in my area, I had time to give it a try.

But first I would need embroidery floss.  I found a fun collection of vintage embroidery floss at The Swagman’s Daughter on Etsy.  I ordered six colors, and I love the cards they came on – so cute that I almost didn’t want to use the floss.

Vintage embroidery floss
Vintage embroidery floss from The Swagman’s Daughter.

The shop owner included a note with the package saying that she had recently cleared out an old haberdashery warehouse, and now she has a huge variety of vintage sewing items.  I will definitely be visiting that shop again!

Getting Started

I practiced on the glove (which I still haven’t finished) before tackling some other mending projects.  And, if you are new to visible mending and want to try it, I highly recommend that you practice first before taking a needle to any precious antique textiles you might have.

What I love about visible mending is that it doesn’t attempt to be perfect – or to hide the fact that something was mended:  On the contrary, it highlights it.  The mending becomes a sort of folk art – and a way to make a piece look unique and loved.

Here are few of my simple mending projects.

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used in this post.  For more on my affiliate links, please see this page.

Edwardian Tablecloth With Holes

Some time ago, I inherited a beautiful Edwardian-era tablecloth.  The fabric is very fragile, and it has a few holes.


I loved that I could use fabric scraps from my sewing room to create patches.

The patch was secured to the underside of the tablecloth using a fabric glue stick.  And then it was pinned.

Then came the fun part:  Choosing the floss colors.

Using an embroidery needle, I created running stitches in a circular motion with a few straight lines added for interest.


For a larger hole near the edge, I used a semi-circle patch of fabric.


There is not as much of the fabric patch showing through as I had hoped, but I think the subtle look works well for this sweet old tablecloth.



Torn Jeans

I went on the prowl for other things to mend.  Both knees were torn on my favorite pair of Levis, so they were fair game.

This time I wanted lots of color, so I used a bright batik fabric and blue and red floss.



I mostly used simple running stitches in vertical lines.  I drew lines first with tailor’s chalk since I didn’t trust myself (and rightly so) to stitch a straight line freehand.  And, although it’s better to do the stitching right-side-out, I discovered that it is impossible (at least for me) when working on knee tears because the inside of the fabric is so hard to reach.

So I worked on this project inside-out, and it turned out okay.

“Ah, there you are, human. Why aren’t you in the kitchen feeding me?” – Eddie.


I do wish I’d used a different color fabric.  The red looks a bit like I scraped my knees.


A Boring Sail Gets An Edge

I was enjoying visible mending so much that I began to look for other things to mend.  But I couldn’t find anything.

However, the sail on the little toy boat that I’d built with my niece was very plain and boring.

So I made a new sail, and I added a few interesting scraps of fabric.  For this project, I used crossed straight-stitches.

Our innocuous little sailboat is becoming a pirate ship.  With a few more tweaks, we’ll be ready to christen it the “Skeleton Crew.”

My method here was not exactly as recommended in the Better Homes post on visible mending.  I was just experimenting.  But I do highly recommend reading the post (and watching the accompanying video) if you are interested in learning some simple techniques.


Rustic Americana Napkins

I found a couple of fabric scraps (one from a bandana) that I thought had a fun “old Americana” look when combined.

With a few simple running stitches, they became soft and informal cocktail napkins.



More on how I made these napkins can be found in this post.


It’s A Gateway Craft

I have been warned that visible mending is a gateway craft.  It can lead to doing things like intricate embroidery.  But I really don’t see myself going down that path.  I’m happy with my basic running stitches and crossed straight-stitches.

And that’s the beauty of it:  Visible mending is as simple or as complex as you want to make it.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.


Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!


Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel








13 Replies to “Adventures With Visible Mending”

  1. I enjoyed your post. I ove doing simple embroidery stitches, especially on pillowcases. I hope you do get hooked; it is relaxing and much easier than counted cross stitch where you have to be so careful! I’d suggest going to a dollar store at Halloween for a garland of skeletons to make your skeleton crew for your sailboat!

    1. Kathy, I love the skeleton idea. It is exactly what I need for the pirate ship! I might try my hand at a few other embroidery projects in the future. Maybe I will branch out with my stitches. I really enjoyed my little mending projects.

  2. Had not heard of ‘visual mending’. My mending has never been very neat. Now I know to just make the mending area more visable!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.