At Mr X Stitch we love to review textile art and embroidery books for you. There are so many great books to discover, packed with needlework inspiration and textile techniques, so we dive into each book to find out what’s good, what’s bad and let you know why you should pick it up.
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Artist and slow fashion influencer Katrina Rodabaugh follows her previous popular book Mending Matters with this offering, make thrift mend. Threaded with personal narratives, slow-fashion advice and a mass of mending, this publication will last inside your head long after you have read through its pages. It is all about a mind set and way of life, not just a “crafternoon” playing with old clothes.
About The Author
Katrina is the author of three books so far: Make Thrift Mend: Stitch, Patch, Darn, Plant-Dye & Love Your Wardrobe (Abrams, 2021); Mending Matters: Stitch, Patch, and Repair Your Favorite Denim & More (Abrams, 2018) and The Paper Playhouse: Awesome Art Projects for Kids Using Paper, Boxes, and Books (Quarry 2015). She is an award winning artist in her own right and has done much to focus the industry towards an environmental approach – there is a depth to her creativity, a meaning to her craft.
She earned her MFA in Creative Writing and her BA in Environmental Studies having spent many years working in nonprofit arts organizations. She lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over a decade but currently resides in the Hudson Valley of NY in an 1820s farmhouse with her husband, sons, chickens, honeybees, and many dye plants. Not a bad life eh! For more information visit her website or instagram.
Who Is This Book Aimed At?
Due to its portrayal of mending, it surpasses the textile artist community and can capture the interest of those who have an interest in social and environmental issues. You certainly do not have to be a proficient embroiderer, simply have a desire to slow down, mend and heal, both materially and at times physically. Maybe this is your way of saving the environment, doing your bit by learning how to preserve what you have and live a more natural life.
Note this example visually above, meaningful comments such as those highlighted here make for the depth of this books subject matter.
The content of this publication is divided into four chapters, each forking off through a certain topic. For example chapter one looks at build, focusing on the back work before the stitching……..
Moving on to the content inside, you will find many visual step-by-step instructions as to how to mend your own clothes. Instead of invisible mending, we are encouraged to celebrate the hole as it were, using contrasting colours to mend and patch.
Dyeing of the natural kind is explained and taught. This will appeal to those who want to be chemical free or have less impact on the earths resources. So not only are we taught skills, we are taught a way of life.
For those who are new to dyeing, they may not know what they need to do the job itself, so the author has included visually what we require, such as a dyeing pot.
There is a mix of projects, many are not particularly difficult. This one encourages contrasting embroidery on dresses. Even if you do not wise to remake or mend a dress you own, adding a little stitch work may be achievable for you.
The imagery is thoughtfully done and works so well with the books subject matter. Model views of the mended clothing along with the flowers some of the actual natural dyes have been made from are all included.
The book has been divided via photographs too, each chapter has something like the image below:
What makes The Books Special?
The quotes and narrative additions to this book give it both variety and depth and universal appeal. Designed to make us think long after reading about world issues we are currently facing and our part in society.
We also enjoyed the variety of mending options, even one for those who have worn down the back of their jeans!
Finally, even the basic stitches used are taught, and those we might not have used before!
Anything Wrong With The Book?
Nothing we have found, this book has a general rounded out appeal.
If you enjoy this one or want to know more about other books on this subject, read our review of Mend and Patch by Kerstin Neumuller.
In the meantime get your copy of make thrift mend from BookStore and support independent bookshops!