Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mend Writing

An artful technique for tacking down patches, covering stains, or decorating a repurposed used garment.

Mend writing tacking down a blue jean patch insert ("ripped")

Tacking down the other side of the insert ("soft wear")

This embroidery strategy lets you get a word in edgewise by using the English alphabet but arranging it so that it looks vaguely like some kind of Asian writing.

Mend writing concealing stains

After laboriously hand-stitching the top above, I found it discouraging that I managed to get food stains on the front in fairly short order. Here, mend writing right over the stains pretty much solves the problem.


In mend writing, you incorporate some letters inside of other letters. Note the "t" inside the "s" above; the "i" inside the "a"; and the "e" inside the "n."


Because almost no one else can read mend writing, you can be very sarcastic and/or blunt in your communication.

Repurposed altered and patched shirt with mend writing

Above, a used shirt has been altered by removing the collar, shortening the sleeves, adding a pocket (using the sleeve material), shortening the length, and adding side slits. Some mishap or other shortly after it was completed also necessitated a patch on the front.

"used clothing"



The flip side

"wear it out"

"use it up"

Try deciphering the mend writing below on your own, and feel free to offer your translations in the comments section. Note - here I get a bit sarcastic about American consumerism.

A hint: the top horizontal bar appears to be missing from one of the "a" letters


  1. Hi- Very cool stuff you have here! I am going to link a post to your blog (embroidered bread) this week if you don't mind... saw the permission given on Etsy. The embroidery / messages in this post are quite interesting too. Just love the creative use of fiber/mixed media/stitch...

  2. "Buy More Stuff"

    "Go Into Debt"

    "Shop Now"

    "Throw It All Away"

    Instructions for how to be American.

    1. You did well - I was able to read the first three but was truly stumped on the fourth!! Good Job - I love this post!

  3. Bravo to pahavit -all correct. I have friends who still can't read mend writing no matter how hard I try to decipher it for them.

  4. I LOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHING! <3 I want it all <3 <3 <3


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