Mend & Make Fabulous: Book Review + Giveaway!

Mend and Make Fabulous - jacket art
Mend & Make Fabulous by Denise Wild
Interweave/F+W Media; $19.99

Interweave generously provided a copy of this book for me to review, but all opinions, thoughts, and verbal drool-age are my own.

I saw a meme recently that was something along the lines of comparing asking a seamstress to mend things to asking Michaelangelo to paint your garage. I lol-ed but let’s be honest. We all have a stuff-that-needs-mending pile and if you’re like me, it just keeps growing. Mending is generally much less interesting than picking up a shiny new project and lots of what’s in my mending pile is stuff I have no idea how to fix and am kind of in deniable about its salvageability but can’t bear to part with it yet.


But then Interweave sent me this book to review and I basically fell off my chair. (Ok, who am I kidding, I was reading this curled up in bed.) First of all, it’s written by Burdastyle’s own Denise Wild. (She was actually on the Today show last week, which you can see here!) Secondly, the photographs are absolutely beautiful. Like the vintage dress in the photo above. And this adorable pink dress so full of twee I just want to wear it to a tea party with eight kittens wearing mary janes. (I’m not joking.)


Denise divides her book into categories (e.g. hems, closures, rips, etc.) and each section includes detailed photographed tutorials on how to mend that type of issue/area as well as ideas of how to make garments even more fabulous.

Now, I don’t know about you guys, but there are some garment-related issues that I’ve always assumed were un-fixable. Like if you tear sheer fabric, you’re basically screwed. And if your jeans stretch out throughout the day and end up sagging down your butt, you should probably look into different jeans. But no, Denise has the answers.


And her DIY (or MIF, for Make it Fabulous?) ideas have all sorts of wheels turning in my little creative brain. I’ll be honest, I did not expect a book on mending to be such a huge source of inspiration but I’ve got several tutorials earmarked to try. Like this lace applique tutorial! I’m thinking of a peplum top with a lace applique collar. And I have a pair of cute denim shorts that are getting to a level of scandalousness that is a bit NSFW that I could add some lace to the bottoms of! And then this bleaching tutorial! Gah! Do you see those leggings in the top right??


On top of all that, the styling in this book is just beautiful. Even as I flip through random pages my little copycat-ing brain keeps twitching. Ineedthesecoats. Actually I’m pretty sure that entire navy coat outfit needs to be mine.


Anyway, excuse my drooling. Interweave is very kindly offering a copy of Mend and Make Fabulous to one of my readers! Just leave a comment below telling me your worst garment tearing/damaging/destroying/mending-absolutely-required mishap. Make sure you include your email so you can be contacted about receiving your prize!

The giveaway will be open until midnight Tuesday, April 15th and the winner will be announced shortly after.


66 thoughts on “Mend & Make Fabulous: Book Review + Giveaway!”

  1. Oh my god I need this book. My biggest issue is wearing out the crotch of pants (thunder thighs = chub rub = pants death). Even if there’s not anything in there that could help that, I still need this book.

  2. I don’t think i’ve made any major mishaps… one time my friend accidentally cut a hole in the middle of her bodice though! I don’t know if there’s a way to fix that other than recutting the fabric! This looks like a fabulous book- especially all the styling!

  3. That book looks fabulous! I always tell people that “I sew, I don’t mend” and so far that seems to have worked pretty well. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have to mend my own stuff! I do have a mum who’s very good at mending things and doesn’t seem to mind it as much as I do, but that’s really not something I can exploit endlessly…
    The worst thing I’ve had to mend was when I finished a cute little skirt and ripped a hole into it the very first time I wore it out of the house! But that’s already fixed, I just sewed a piece of ribbon on and kinda made it look like a design feature. Or so I’m telling myself.
    The worst thing I still have to mend is a worn-out patch in my winter coat. Sigh. Good thing it’s spring now!…

  4. I’m with Erika up there–jeans are the bane of my existence and don’t usually last me more than a year and a half before the crotch completely gives out. It’s the worst, too since at that point you can’t even turn them into cutoffs or a jeans skirt or anything. I’ve tried mending them before, but the thighs will inevitably bust through again in about a day, haha.

  5. This book looks great. My biggest problem is wearing out the inner thigh of my pants. To be able to fix this to a high standard would be great.

  6. Jeans wearing out or ripping in the interior thigh is super common for me. But I can never bear to throw them out because 80% of the fabric is still like new. My best “mending” story is probably in high school. I once ripped the inside thigh of my jeans, next to but not at the seam, jumping off the stage at play practice. I mended them with duck yape and a haidryer, using the heat to make surecthe tape would stay stuck all day. I kept it up for about a month before I had to throw them out, lol.

  7. This book looks totally amazing. Probably the biggest project in my to-mend pile is a sweatshirt cuff that totally ripped in half. Not sure how to go about fixing that one yet.

  8. Looks good. I love what Denise has done.
    My worst to be mended piece is one of those layered silk skirts from my friend. She let me borrow it and I ripped the under layer. Then after she gave it to me, because she never wore it, I caught it and ripped down by the hem. I’d love to know how to mend sheer layers because I love the skirt and would like to make it beautiful again. Right now I can’t wear it because it will catch and tear worse on things..

  9. This book looks fabulous! I have a viscose tunic that I somehow ripped alongside of the back shoulder/arm seam. Not on the seam mind you, but right next to it; ugh. I’m not even sure how to fix that.

  10. My worst mend is actually not mine, but my husbands! He ripped his brand new vest one night out at dinner (worn only once previously – to our wedding!). I would love to know how to fix this as it holds a lot of sentimental value, and I’m too scared to try anything in case I ruin it!

  11. Wow, I might sound like a snob but I also assumed that I knew everything about mending an if I didn’t know how to fix something it must be unfixable, e.g. sheer fabrics. Shame in me, learning never stops. And obviously I need to learn quite a few techniques from this book.

  12. I recently made a bow tied blouse for the mad men challenge and the fist time I wore it, it tore in the under arm, not the seam but the fabric it self. It was long before I had even photographed it and It was ruined. I did mannish to mend it with some fusible interfacing and allot of hand stitching completely improvised, I’d love to learn how to mend our thing in a durable way .
    I love to find new interesting book this way.

  13. My worst garment destroy was when I decided to wet part of my silk muslin with water after purring some gravy on it.
    Guess what it still shows….

  14. My worst garment destroy would have to be when I was sewing a Hemlock tee in a tissue knit. I accidentally stitched together some of the back fabric(slippery devil!) and when I unpicked it, I was left with a line of holes in the back!!

  15. This book looks like a beautiful Godsend! There are so many mending mishaps in my past that they all blur together. The most horribly recent though is last summer I was picking raspberries and my shorts caught on the fence, the way it happened I thought they might have ripped, but I was too scared to check right then, (crazy stupid, but I loved those shorts as much as I love denial) so of course I forgot about it. I didn’t find out for sure until several hours later when one of my friends commented and I didn’t even have the advantage of surprise, It was more of a “Dang it I thought they might be!” reaction. It tore right though the fabric, not on a seam or anything. But at least I had on pretty underwear! lol. Right now they’re sitting in my get rid of pile, but if there’s a way to save them I would LOVE to know!

  16. I’m with you – this book looks like a must-have, even if ‘only’ for the pics and inspiration!
    Worst tear fear, which unfortunaltely cale to reality alrady: a tear in the lining. And no, I don’t mean the seam, but dead center of the lining fabric.

  17. This book looks beautiful. I share your envy of the gorgeously photographed clothes! The other day I caught a chiffon top on a door handle and ripped a massive hole in it! Gutted

  18. My biggest oopsie(or the one I remember the best) is the one why I am super paranoid when I am using my serger. A few years ago I was making a dress and I was doing the last seam with the serger and what did Mrs Numbnuts do? I cut into the fabric with the knife. 5cm above the intended seam line. DOH. Luckily I discovered it quite early so that the rip was only 3cm long, but still. I ended up using a decorative ribbon on the line of the hole. In the end it looked good and unless I told that it’s not supposed to be there and that there was a hole in the garment, people wouldn’t know. But I did and it was awful. Now I am super careful and still think half of the time that I’ve done it again. *shudder*

  19. Oh my goodness this book is beautiful! I love those tweed coats! I was at a conference one and my pencil skirt had a slit on the front right thigh. When I sat down after a speech the slit split so it really wasn’t a very professional looking skirt anymore if you know what I mean! Haha! I think I’d use this book most for revamping old clothes though. I have hundreds of charity shop buys that I was sure I could salvage into something gorgeous but I just never had the inspiration. Thanks for the opportunity!

  20. I’ve sewn a Beignet skirt (Colette patterns) and stupidly cut the seam allowances to short. So after only one wash the seams are falling apart. It’s such a shame, because it took forever to sew and I zigzagged every seam allowance. So if that’s mend able I would be so happy!

  21. Last year I was sewing christmas presents for the whole family and I was so proud of a bag which I was making for my mom.
    Everything except of the closing buttons was finished and I wanted to use those which you apply with a hammer on it for the first time. Was a bad idea not to test this before..the holes turned out so big that just a flower application rescued that bag :/

  22. My most depressing hole that ever appeared was in this pair a beautiful drid mitten I was knitting. I was just about to seam up the second one when I notice a hole in the first one where it looks like the yarn was just cut threw. It mush have happened while I was hauling it along in my purse to have it close by in case a knitting opportunity attived. That was over a yer ago and the mittens are still laying next to my bed waiting to be fixed.

  23. I need to sew buttons on a shirt dress…I lost a few and now need to replace them all with new ones that will match. Ugh. I hate sewing on buttons. Other than that I’m pretty on top of my stuff…I have a BIG pile of kids clothes that need me to hurry up and fix before they out grow them.
    This book looks like its filled with a ton of cute ideas.

  24. It sounds like a wonderful book! Thanks for telling us about it!

    I have the feeling that I have something that I really really love that needs mending, but I can’t remember what it is, because it was just too painful to lose the ability to wear it…

  25. I would love to win this book! My saddest mending story is that I have a pair of sweatpants I just can’t seem to stop wearing that are held together at the bottom with safety pins because the zipper at the ankle is busted. Sometimes they pop open and stab me. I’m too intimidated to try replacing the zipper in this thick athletic performance-y material, but too attached to them to throw them out!

    My email is argarg27 at hotmail dot com.

  26. I don’t think I’ve ever torn my clothes, but I bought a dress that turned out to be way to big, and I sewed it up, and now it’s one of my favorite dresses! I’d love to have this book; thanks for the giveaway!

  27. Woah,t his book looks really neat! I don’t have a horrible story, but I do have a huge pile of “mending”, if you even call it that. I’ve been trying to lose weight, and now a lot of my skirts and whatnot are too big in the waist, so they need to be fixed. I’d love to win this book!

  28. gah! the worst ever is my favorite pair of jeans… My best friend gave them to me right before we moved apart from each other. I was riding my bike to school and the knee, which already had a little tear, got caught in the gears, and ripped right down to the ankle. The worst part is is that I still insisted on wearing them for about 6 months before I admitted that I had to put them to rest… they are still sitting in the back of my drawer because I can’t bear to throw them away 🙁

  29. I just completed a Lady Skater dress last week and i noticed on the skirt portion 2 diagonal lines in black on my magenta fabric when i was wearing it 🙁 super bummed out . I decided to try and dye the skirt portion in violet to make a color block dress but after 2-3 hours in the dye, it didn’t take any color at all! My next idea is to use the last bit of fabric to cut out a wedge/triangle and make it a design look lol Hoping it will work out.

  30. I cut a hole right through a shirt’s sleeve as I was trimming the allowances! I managed o mend it using interfacing and fabric glue…now I’m always super careful when trimming…

  31. I always wear out the inner thigh of my pants and the elbows of my sweaters. However, my biggest mending challenge has to be a 15 year old Nirvana t-shirt my big brother gave to me. It was AWESOME. He had bought it for himself it in 1994 when I was a tween and he was a scrangly teenager, so the fit was snug and slim. By the time he could not fit in it anymore, the black knit fabric had faded to a perfect grey (I hate the black color or new t-shirts!), yet the stencil was still going strong. Needless to say it was alreadyy old, but I wore it so much it began to litteraly fall apart: it was barely hanging on at the neck and shoulder points and every seam was worn to nothing. It did look cool though. In the end it was so bad that I begrudgingly tossed it because I looked like a homeless person in it (and you could see way to much of my bra under there!). There was no way to salvage it (or so I thought).

    Damn I loved that shirt!

  32. Definitely a pair of shorts. I was on a sailboat, squatting to pick up a rope and my crotch split. I didn’t know until later when I was sitting get around talking and put my feet up on the chair with me. Eeeek. Still not sure how to fix that one.

  33. My biggest mending issue? A few rtw dresses who’s delicate little blind hems have fallen down. And I just don’t have the motivation to fix! Maybe the beautiful pictures would help me!

  34. Oh wow I definitely need this book! My worst tearing/damaging story has the be the time I was having coffee with two rather handsome young men, and discovered about halfway through the that crotch seam of my skinny jeans was shredding along the back seam…oy! Needless to say, I spent many anguished minutes in the bathroom of the coffee shop trying to figure out how to hide such an embarrassing tear!

  35. We got our first dog as a puppy almost five years ago, and those needle-like little puppy teeth tore through so many of our clothes, I couldn’t even tell you about all of them. One of the garments was my favorite skirt at the time, and I still have that skirt sitting in my mending pile after five years (and two moves!). The tear is right in the middle, and I have no clue what to do about it.

  36. My favorite pair of jeans seems like it never stops getting holes. I’ve had to fix the crotch, more than once, once using blanket binding as a stabilizer, I’ve had to fix at least 3 large tears around the pockets, and now the area between the legs connecting to the butt is almost threadbear. It’s actually pretty painful to see 🙁

  37. My Pants always get flimsy between my thighs. This week at work my favorite Jeans cracked. This was very embarrissing!

  38. I think my worst mishap was when, during a conversation about flexibility with a couple of friends, I attempted to put my foot behind my head. Turned out the jeans I was wearing were too tight for such a manoeuvre – I got about two-thirds of the way there before the crotch split rather comprehensively! My two witnesses still laugh about it, particularly at the memory of the astonished/horrified face I pulled when I heard the ripping.
    Thank you for the giveaway! I’d love to learn more fixing/making skills, and this book looks great.

  39. Mending mishaps? One would actually have to tackle the mending pile in order to have a mishap. I’ve made a habit of safety pinning things together rather than actually fixing them. I’ve actually got the, “But you know how to sew, don’t you?” comment in response to my (non)efforts.

  40. I always wear out the inner thigh of my jeans, but so far as long as I sit with my legs together no one notices 😉 My sister’s boyfriend asked if I could mend his shorts but he ripped them right down the crotch and I have no idea how that could be fixed so they’ve been sitting on my dresser for months

  41. My biggest constant problem is wearing out the knees of my jeans.. I’m sure there’s an awesome fix for this somewhere out there! Thank you for this giveaway, the book looks lovely!

  42. The worst mishap is actually still in my to be mended pile, it’s a one of the first skirts that I ever made, one of the high-low types and the hems are all kinds of screwy, the zipper is going off in ten different directions and there is something funny about the waistline that I can’t put my finger on, let alone try to figure out to fix.

  43. Hey, thanks for the chance to win this awesome book!
    I split my pants right through the crotch seam a while ago.
    I’m not sure how to repair that, so they’re still on the mending pile.

  44. Clever book!
    I have a cat, an old and clumsy cat who keeps tearing holes in my knits: I can most of the time rely on my mother to fix them, but doing it myself would be much better…

  45. I’m currently in a mending black hole replacing pockets in three pairs of my husbands combat trousers. This blog post reminds me that mending can be something other than tedious and I might have to treat myself to the book so I can recover some forgotten favourites in my wardrobe.

  46. I’m really bad about getting holes in leggings/pants from my thighs rubbing together. Ha, once I melted half of the lining (that I had just inserted) of my dress because I used too high of a setting on the iron. Oops!

  47. I so need this book! I am ridiculously clumsy and always ripping my clothes. I have half a dozen shirts that all have a hole just at the hip from running into these metal loops that stick out from our counters at work. I’ve worked there 8 years and I still hit them all the time, lo, much to the dismay of my wardrobe. I’d love to be able to fix them properly so it doesn’t look like a big patch!

  48. This book looks wonderful…
    The worst thing I still have to mend is the inner lining of my beloved 8à’s leather vest… It looks like it has been torn down by a hysterical cat… It belonged to my mother and it really makes me sad to see it like that!
    Thank you for this giveaway!

  49. On my way to a wedding the strap on my dress broke, very embarrassing. But these days it’s the knees of my jeans that wear through so quickly from crawling around after my 3 year old and 9 month old! I really could do with some ideas on what to do with these. The jeans that is, not the kids!

  50. I hate when I (and yes it has been plural) melt chiffon or light fabrics with the iron – never sure how to fix that!

  51. ohhh i just skipped past this book yesterday online, thinking i already knew how to replace a zip. it now looks like a fabulous read, and as someone who wears her clothes until they are threadbare and faded i could definitely use a copy (those bleached leggings, yes yes yes!!!) 🙂

  52. A couple of months ago, I was doing the finishing stitches on a sweater for my oldest son with my serger. When I wanted to cut off the threads with the serger’s knife, it ran INTO the sweater with a hole in the garment as a result!! How stupid can one be?

    Maybe this stupidity could make me win this book?

  53. Just stumbled upon your blog from another blog I have been following. Sooooo glad I did as your blog is lovely. My worst mishap was when I was serging and the bottom fabric got caughts so while it looked a-okay from the top, when I finally finished, there was a big chunk stitched (and cut) at the back. So sad! Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

  54. I once bought this super cute peacoat except it was slightly too small but I could totally deal right? Wrong. The first time I wore it I lifted my arms above my head to grab something and tore the jacket right between my shoulder blades. So sad. I guess I should just buy clothes that are actually my size no matter how cute they are. Sigh.

  55. I luckily haven’t had a major garment mishap, but I do have a few pieces that are in need of mending. The worst is probably a patterned skirt that got caught on a nail and has a hole ripped in it. Since it’s patterned I have still be wearing it (with leggings underneath), since I figure no-one would notice right? Yeeeeah…it would probably be good to figure out how to mend that, and I imagine this book would help!

  56. My worst mishap was finishing my first fully lined dress and happily pressing the hem and chatting away until I realized I’d melted a hole into the polycotton fabric right on the front 🙁 it required deep breaths, a nice cup of tea then fusible mending fabric and a new hem line 🙂

  57. I may have discovered this too late but a book like this would be fantastic in any sewers library! I often get asked to repair and revamp items . The most interesting challenge was a moto cross jersey that been cut off the rider after a racing mishap! It was more like a puzzle. It was apparently his lucky shirt! I guess that term “lucky” is debatable!

Comments are closed.