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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Here’s what we think of Modern Mending by Erin Lewis-Fitzgerald.
A review quote on the front of this book reads, “A fun, practical guide for anyone wanting to reduce fashion waste.” I couldn’t put it any better myself, that’s exactly what this fabulously colourful inspiring book is. It encourages you to bring your old clothes back to life instead of throwing them in the bin and running out to buy new things.
About the author
Erin is clearly a woman who wants to make the world a better place. She founded Bright Sparks, a social enterprise which re-used electrical appliances so they would not end up in landfill. And this book shows that same enthusiasm for keeping items going which have not reached the end of their life just yet. Erin’s mended creations have been displayed in exhibitions and she also teaches workshops in Australia.
Who is this book aimed at?
Anyone who has that desire to mend their clothing instead of just throwing things in the bin, or anyone who loves to sew and create who can see that this is a brilliant new planet saving hobby to start! That pair of jeans with a hole in the back? That jumper that ripped? That shirt you accidentally cut a hole in while you were making it? You’ll find an idea for all of those items in this book.
The tag line of the book is, “How to minimize waste and maximize style.” We’re not just talking about sewing a hole shut here – although that is an option – this book will inspire you to make your mending stylish. Make a feature out of that disaster you are fixing. But most importantly, save it from landfill, and you will also be saving your money at the same time! No need to go and buy a replacement garment, fix the one you have.
This book is really nicely put together. It has around five sections – the usual foreward, intro, tips and tools section, an excellent techniques section showing you different methods to use to repair items, a brilliant case studies section showing you fabulous repairs in action, a section highlighting the work of ‘modern menders’, and finally some advice on things like clothing care and how to help others. The amazing case studies sections talks you through 25 fabulous fixes.
The photos are lovely in this book. They are really bright, colourful, detailed, and Erin has provided lots to walk you through each project. They are the perfect accompaniment to the text describing what went wrong with each garment and how it has been restored to a new exciting life.
What makes this book special?
Erin’s clear joy at what the book can help you achieve is what makes this book special. It’s contagious. You can tell she is massively passionate about what she does. The amount of clothing which is sent to landfill sites these days is appalling and a lot of that is credited to ‘fast fashion’ which people dispose of really quickly. We need to work together to fix this issue, and this book is a joyful look at how to do that creatively.
Anything wrong with the book?
I honestly can’t think of a thing I’d say is wrong with this book. It’s jam packed with information, examples, a variety of brilliant ways to mend, it’s witty, it’s great. I never thought I’d sit and read a 272 page book about how to mend clothing cover to cover and laugh so much.
I mean, look at this, Erin even demonstrates the length of thread to use by using a cat – just brilliant.
In the UK (where I am based) the subject of fast fashion and how flippantly we dispose of clothing which could easily have a much longer lifespan is a hot topic. It has been highlighted on The Great British Sewing Bee, and is something Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant talks about a lot. With that in mind I have mended a few items of my own, but reading this book will really make my next mending project so much better and more creative.
The book is a really fun read which will help you do your bit to both save the planet and your bank balance – what’s not to love!