A vintage cardigan repaired with vintage wool

I popped into my friend Alex’s shop recently, and she was wearing a vintage cardigan with roled up sleeves. We were chatting away over a nice cuppa and the conversation turned to mending and darning clothes and soon it became apparent why her sleeves were roled up:

Look at those HOLES!

A challenge I couldn’t resist. A Prime Visible Mending Programme Item. This was clearly a love-worn garment. Upon inspection it appeared the damage was mainly due to general wear and tear. The right sleeve had worn through completely and the left sleeve showed thinning in the same area. And what better to use than vintage wool? Ms. Busby’s wool in clear blue seemed to go very well with the green cardigan.

Here’s how I tackled it:

To fill the huge hole I knitted a patch on the right sleeve and ‘duplicate’ stitched thin areas (clearly, this isn’t true duplicate stitching as I used a different gauge) in order to keep the inherent stretch of knitted fabric:

The left sleeve has lots of lovely darning and loads more duplicate stitching to inforce the thin areas. Duplicate stitching is the new darning!

Both cuffs were badly frayed and Alex had made an attempt to fix that with embroidery thread. However, whip stitching around ribbing makes it flare out, so I unpicked it and folded the cuffs double, and on the inside I herringbone stitched it down. This ensures maximum stretch is maintained. I like how it gives a pinstripe effect around the cuff. Here’s the end result. What do you think?

10 Replies to “A vintage cardigan repaired with vintage wool”

  1. What a beautiful job you did here; I love the whole visible darn aesthetic and the vintage with vintage strategy is very fitting.

    Your friend must be delighted with her new old cardigan!

  2. Love the look of the blue “mend” against the vibrant green…Very “abstract art”…Some clever soul should be doing original designs in this manner…Black-and White…a la Robert Motherwell”…I’d love one…

  3. Hi there, this image just popped up on my Pinterest feed and I thought to myself, that looks just like Alex’s cardigan! Alex is my lovely sister-in-law and when I saw her wearing this cardigan it sowed the first seeds of visible mending in my mind. Thanks for the inspiration, I have yet to tackle a mend of these epic proportions, maybe I should try. Mary x

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