May All Your Dreams Be Indigo: a Wolf & Gypsy Collaboration

I’m very excited to announce a extraordinary Visible Mending Programme collaboration with one of Brighton’s finest vintage clothes shops: Wolf & Gypsy Vintage. I have been shopping at Wolf & Gypsy since they first opened their doors many a moon ago, so it was only a matter of time I’d walk in with some visibly mended clothes. Laura, the owner of Wolf & Gypsy, loved the look of my repaired French workwear so much, that she asked me to create a micro-collection for her. And that’s exactly what I did.

Wolf and Gypsy Window Display

May All Your Dreams Be Indigo, at Wolf & Gypsy Vintage Boutique, Brighton

All four pieces I repaired are of an indigo blue, and I think they were all dyed with a chemical dye rather than actual plant-based indigo. I decided to provide a contrast by using vintage Japanese natural indigo-dyed fabrics; by only using yellow sewing and embroidery threads I highlighted all the hand stitching.

Wolf and Gypsy Trousers VMP Detail

All garments have been repaired visibly, and the Visible Mending Programme logo is handstitched into each garment

Laura carefully hand picks all the garments for her shop, and I have used the same attention to detail in making the repairs. Although the fabric I used for patching is Japanese, I steered clear of employing Japanese embroidery techniques, such as sashiko and boro. Instead, I found my inspiration from my old, and very Western, needlework books.

I’d love to share some before-and-after pictures:

KLM Overalls

Being from The Netherlands, I could only ever repair some overalls originating from my home country. KLM (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij) is the Royal Dutch Airlines.

Wolf and Gypsy Visible Mending Programme Overalls Before

A crumpled KLM overalls in dire need of some TLC

Wolf and Gypsy Visible Mending Programme Overalls After

Rejuvinated overalls: new button, fraying cuffs dealt with, small holes turned into eyelets

Overalls repairs: fraying cuffs rebound with fabric, small holes highlighted with eyelet embroidery.

Friendship Sweatshirt

Although there wasn’t any actual damage on this sweatshirt, it did look a bit dull. To remedy this, I added a colourful darn to be worn as a badge of honour. “Friendship” is the unknown-to-me label of this sweatshirt

Wolf and Gypsy Visible Mending Programme Sweatshirt Before

The Friendship sweatshirt is looking for some pizzazz

Wolf and Gypsy Visible Mending Programme Sweatshirt After

A beautiful darn to be worn as a badge of honour

Sweatshirt repair: darn in multiple colours, created with my Speedweve.

French Workwear Trousers

These are very similar to the trousers I walked into the shop with and which led to this gig to start with. I’m happy with the look of the binding around the pockets (see picture above), and a fabric patch which shows fading. Most of all though, I love the tailor’s buttonholes, handstitched in a perlé cotton to make them stand out.

Wolf and Gypsy Visible Mending Programme Trousers Before

These French workwear trousers needed a fair bit of attention

Wolf and Gypsy Visible Mending Programme Trousers After Patch Detail

I love the fading on the patch, which I’ve sewn in using the flannel patch method, more commonly used for, you guessed it, flannel!

Wolf and Gypsy Visible Mending Programme Trousers After Buttonhole Detail

I love working proper tailored buttonholes, and this commission was a good excuse to really make ’em stand out!

Trousers repairs: fraying pockets rebound with fabric, fraying buttonholes restitched, hems re-sewn, patches, waistband cord ends replaced.

French Workwear Jacket

Possibly my favourite of the series: the pockets had a lot of tiny holes in them, so these got covered up by pocket-sized patches. One sleeve had a very ugly and stiff iron-on patch. This peeled off easily, and I replaced it with a classic felled patch.

Wolf and Gypsy Visible Mending Programme Jacket Before

The jacket sported a really rather ugly iron-on patch and some holes were crudely sewn together

Wolf and Gypsy Visible Mending Programme Jacket After

Luckily the patch came off easily, and a new patch was inserted with felled seams

Wolf and Gypsy Visible Mending Programme Jacket After Detail

Patches on the pockets, and the patches behind holes, which have been delicately outlined with a half-back stitch

Jacket repairs: buttons replaced, various patches, fraying cuffs rebound.

If you find yourself in Brighton during the month of November, then you can avail yourself of one of these fine Visible Mending Programme garments. Each one comes with a special card that details the repair materials and techniques used. I hope four lucky people will enjoy wearing these as much as I enjoyed repairing them!

Wolf and Gypsy May All Your Dreams Be Indigo Banner

19 Replies to “May All Your Dreams Be Indigo: a Wolf & Gypsy Collaboration”

  1. Hi Tom,
    I love your visibly mended collection, those yellow buttonholes are so beautiful…I smiled when I saw the overalls as they reminded me so much of some that my dad used to wear….he used to work on road maintence (making all those multi coloured tarmac patches) and at that time the local council issued it’s road team with bright orange overalls…when he left he got to keep his old work clothes and my mum dyed them so he could wear them for gardening…the orange didn’t dye all that well (it went a funny old shade of blue black with the nylon thread not taking at all) and the rubber buttons obviously remained the brightest fruitest shade…as dad was a proper tall ‘un (some 6ft 4 and then some) my mum used to add several inches to ankles and cuffs, and while the alterations would no doubt would have made a tailor weep, did the job and dad was quite content to wear them.
    So many times when I read your posts I’m reminded of dad, he had proper trouble buying socks to fit his feet and from time to time would be found in the kitchen with a mug of tea darning any holes that appeared…(dreadful wretches that we were, me and my sisters wouldn’t do them but then our darning stitches were never so neat as his…)..if he was still alive I think he would have been very interested in your mending programme.

  2. It’s marvelous seeing repairs worn with pride instead of shame. Too many people will discard still-wearable items because they don’t want to appear in something mended. Your repairs are lovely!

  3. Fabulous work Tom .. loved the colour stitching the yellow makes it stand out. Indigo my favourite dye colour. Just reading Indigo by Catherine E McKinley the colour that seduced the world!! I reckon your lovely pieces will do just that. I just love the Speedweave piece you did .. I still can’t find one to buy!! May this be the start of many collections for you Tom …. well deserved! Norah

  4. What a lovely collection of visibly mended garments! Your work is really inspiring, and I am not just mending my own moth-holed sweaters with patches, but buying cheap second hand hole-y ones at charity shops and adding kintted patches to them. Thank you,

  5. Excellent post, so much fun to read + admire/study the photos. What a great exhibit/installation. I really enjoy your posts and the VMP! You skill and enthusiasm are very inspiring.

    I’ve been trying to be much more aware of my clothing choices, in fact have bought nothing in the past year other than an expensive, locally made cotton hooded sweatshirt from a company that has an environmental/sustainable program, plus one thrift shop shirt. I knit some of my own garments as required – thick socks for winter, currently a pair of scrap basket mittens on the needles, a sweater needing to be seamed. Not much mending yet, as I have limited sewing skills, and no significant recent wear & tear needing repair, but I’m committed to mend and make do with what I have (most of my fairly modest wardrobe I like and enjoy wearing). I think improving my sewing skills is a good project for the long winter ahead – any recommendations for a good beginners sewing book would be appreciated.

    I noticed a small hole in the sleeve of a favorite denim shirt I bought in NYC years ago…a visible mending opportunity! I think the eyelet idea is the plan – with either some indigo or madder dyed thread I dyed a summer or two ago…

    Indigo! I love indigo. So much history, and the process of indigo dyeing is like magic. The last few years I’ve been growing woad and Japanese indigo (plus a few other dye plants) in my garden here in Canada. Usually a dye pot or two in the late summer – yarn, thread, repurposed clothing, and nice t-shirt, a few pieces of salvaged fabric. so beautiful.

    Cheers
    Trevor

    1. Trevor, I love your slow approach to your wardrobe. Unfortunately I cannot recommend any beginners sewing books as the one I learnt out most is an out of print Dutch one. However, I can highly recommend reading through Peter Lapin’s Male Pattern Boldness (pun intended I’m sure) blog posts as I found them very inspiring and learnt a lot, too.

      I’d love to do more dyeing and sewing, so that’s my plan for the next 12 months or so.

      Good luck on your sewing journey!

  6. Hi my name is Megan and I work in film. I am trying to locate 4-6 vintage herringbone denim blue KLM overalls for a project i am on right now. Was wondering if you have any or know a great vendor to purchase them from

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