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This is the third in a series of the essential books in VFG member Maggie Muellner’s vintage fashion library. Read about the others in previous recent blogs.

The subtitle of this little book is “Repairing and Preserving Garments and Bedding”. It is such a gem! The author—who had a long career as a physician and psychiatrist—became chair of the “mending committee” for a Vermont charity after her retirement. The group became increasingly expert menders as the years went by, learning by doing and sharing, as well from feedback given by recipients of their efforts. I love the picture this conjures for me of that group—I wish I could sit in with them for a session or two!

The book is slim at 180 pages, but it is dense with the kind of handy advice your grandmother might have given you if she was a domestic goddess. For example, I have a sewing machine and know about “machine darning”—I rescued the torn seat of the bib overalls I wear for gardening using machine darning recently. Lucky for me that denim fabric is fairly firm and dense, and the repair went smoothly. One of Ms. Foote’s tips for machine darning is to stretch the area you are working on using an embroidery frame so the fabric won’t get puckered during the process.

The manual is sprinkled with simple pen and ink illustrations—73 in all, covering tasks such as crotch repair, frayed cuffs folded inside, and invisible woven-in mending.

There is also a section titled “Other Problems” that offers tips for working with knit materials, making rag dolls complete with yarn wigs, making your own bias binding, and how to turn discards into something altogether different.

More of Maggie’s favorites to come!

This book is out of print. However, you can purchase a used copy:

The Mender’s Manual on Amazon

The Mender’s Manual on eBay

(If you click a link in this post and make a purchase, the VFG will receive affiliate income. As an Amazon Associate the VFG earns from qualifying purchases.)

Mender's Manual
Mender's Manual 2