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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

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Item #11 in The Visible Mending Programme mixes new mending techniques with a familiar story. Zoë had heard of my Visible Mending Programme through word of mouth. She had a gorgeous green cardigan with some fraying cuffs, welts and pockets that urgently required my attention. Oh, and one horrifying hole:

Zoë’s cardigan story will be familiar to many people: when she spent some time in New York, Zoë did the inevitable thing, and went shopping. The sales were on and she spotted a beautiful green cashmere cardigan which was reduced in price. However, it was still very expensive, it wasn’t in her size, and she didn’t really have the money for it. With a sad heart, she left the shop. But you know what it’s like: the cardigan  stuck in her mind, and when she spotted another concession of the same shop, she just had to go in and check. Because you can never know. And there it was: THAT green cardigan. In her size. On sale. The only one left. What can one do?

Needless to say, Zoë returned to the UK with said cardigan. It has held up really well – I think the cashmere used is of superior quality. However, favourite items in your wardrobe make many outings, and get love worn around the edges: this frayed cuff shows signs of a mending attempt:

Stress points at pockets started to unravel, the welt started to fray, and of course, there was that hole in the elbow. The chunky knit meant I could try out some new ideas about cuff fixing and elbow patching, and I’m really pleased with the result. I used 100% Jacob wool in aran weight, as I like the contrast: the cardigan made of dyed 100% cashmere, a delicate and luxurious very soft fibre from goats. The mending done in undyed 100% jacob wool, which is very strong and has a more sturdy feel to it.

The elbow patch was knitted in (you can see stitches being picked up in the first picture). I used moss stitch, as Zoë mistakenly believed the cardigan was knitted in moss stitch:

The welt and cuffs were mended by picking up stitches and knitting a 1×1 ribbing. I used a tubular cast-off as it looks good and is very elastic. Jacob wool is strong and has lots of spring, so I’m sure it will keep up for a long time. I mended the pocket corner with a little bit of crochet:

I met up with Zoë earlier today. I’m pleased to report that she was delighted with Visible Mend #11. We had a nice chat and a coffee, when it turned out that she has another horrific hole in her wardrobe. That, however, will be the subject of another post.

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