DIY Project: Salvaging Ravaged Clothing with Visible Stitching

how to mending sashiko upcycle

Mending with soul. 

While it isn't the easiest or fastest way to save a torn jacket, adding visible mending and patches makes a bold statement. Take this jacket, that I thought was really ugly, but I needed a practice piece to for this idea, and I didn't want to use a "good jacket" just in case I really effed it up. What turned out was this really cool, soulful piece that feels more like art then clothing. I fixed up that jacket that was bound for the landfill for under $10, though it did end up taking me about 10 hours over a few days. 

Deciding what to embroider 

This jacket had holes on each shoulder. It looked like the result of a lion attack, except there probably would've been blood, so it was probably something far less exciting. With rips of this size, a patch is your best bet. 

Cut off the fringe

This is a must for patching this way, because the leftover fringe from a tear will tangle with your thread, and it just looks kind of crappy. 

Color/Pattern Schemes

I like to use a couple of different patterns, but still want to have some subtlety, so I used patterns with gold and red for each of the shoulders, and then a variegated red thread for the sashiko embroidery on the back panel of the jacket. The patches that I refer to are small scraps of cotton fabric. 

To secure the patches to the jacket, I pinned the fabric to the inside of the jacket, and then added some sashiko style stitching around the edges to secure the fabric. 

mending denim with patches

Shoulder Detail

For the left shoulder, I secured the fabric to the inside of the jacket, and then used gold thread to make diagonal sashiko stitches beginning outside of the patch, and continuing over the fabric, and then back onto the denim. Then, I stitched tiny x's around the patch on the denim to give the patch even more stability. 

Visible mending on denim

The right shoulder was less beat up, so I used a smaller patch with horizontal sashiko stitches running over the denim and the patch. 

adding a patch to a ripped shoulder

How about that back panel? 

sashiko jean jacket

Using a sashiko stencil, I traced the design down the center of one of the back panels, and then stitched using a variegated embroidery thread for a multi-hued effect. 

As I mentioned before, I really had no love for this jacket, and now I have no plans to part with it. 

upcycled jean jacket

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  • Carolyn Aichele on

    Great tutorial! Visible patchwork was fashionable in the 1960’s when I was an adolescent. It went with the bell bottom pants, midi skirts and “flower power” era. Your tutorial has inspired to try sashiko mending! Hope you enjoyed the hand me “ups” I sent home with Marcus.

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