I sit and I sew

I’ve just finished reading a very soothing book called ‘Craftfulness’ by Rosemary Davidson and Arzu Tahsin which, as you might surmise from the title, recommends various forms of crafting as a useful adjunct to mindfulness and meditation. I needed no convincing. I am a fairly regular crochet and knit person. But one thing caught my attention. The idea of decorative mending, referring to the Japanese art of Sashiko stitching.

Cut to another day and another time. My dog has ripped out the pockets and/or the linings of several of my coats in search of the treats in the pockets. I’ve cured this now, no long keep treats in my pockets, and had mended or arranged to be mended, two out of the three damaged items. The third seemed to be beyond my ability to repair, so I decided to charity shop it. But first I washed it, as I didn’t think I could send to the charity shop a coat all covered in dog slime and dried biscuits.

Having washed it, I then thought I couldn’t send the coat to the shop with the lining hanging in rags. It was actually torn into strips, reasonably clean rips, so I tacked the edges together with matching thread so it was at least tidied up. But I was attached to the coat, and it sat in the bag, waiting to go, but not being taken.

And then I read this article. And I began to wonder. Could I embroider along the joins and make them obvious, but beautiful? And yes, I could! I used a mixture of herring bone stitch and running stitch (the true Sashiko stitch) in pale pink embroidery silk. This created a different effect on either side of the join, as the herringbone on the back gives two rows of running stitch, which are very strong. Where the fabric was too thick for the needle, I used running stitch on its own.

And here is the result. I am so pleased with it! I almost prefer the mend to the coat!

6 Replies to “I sit and I sew”

  1. I love this article, Chris! I connect totally with the sentiment and have similar thoughts. I see that your raincoat is from one of my favourite retailers, too. I recently acquired a raincoat of the same brand, from an online auction website, with a tear in the pocket. It was a nice raincoat but cheap because of the tear, so I bought it and mended it. My stitches weren’t quite as artistic as yours, mind. I note that you say you were attached to the jacket. I get attached to items of clothing and other possessions too but I don’t see this as ‘attachment’ in the sense of something to let go of, in order to move forward, spiritually. I see it more that these non-sentient items have value, life and usefulness and discarding them, at that point, doesn’t feel quite right. A lovely read.
  2. Inspiring to read about the process of how your mind set towards the garments evolves from seeing something that is not-fit-for-purpose and you want to get rid of, to seeing something of beauty you want to keep around. It is in essence a creative process. Speaking of mending as an art form, Kintsugi is a mending technic for ceramics where cracks are repaired using gold, the repaired piece is considered to be more beautiful then the unbroken piece. KintsugiKintsugi
  3. Yes, I’d love to be able to do that gold stuff Ayse. My daughter has tried with a couple of precious pieces, but it’s very difficult.

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