Brief Reviews, VOLUME 2

Brief Review: Hand Mending Made Easy by Nan Ides. [Vol. 2, #37]

A Brief Review of
Hand Mending Made Easy:
Save Time and Money Repairing Your Own Clothes
Nan Ides.

Paperback: Palmer/Pletsch Publications, 2008.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

In the present age of planned obsolescence, cheap goods and disposability, one of the most radical economic acts is the fixing, mending or repurposing of worn goods.  Thus, I was very excited to learn of the recent book Hand Mending Made Easy: Save Time and Money Repairing Your Own Clothes by Nan Ides, a clear and simple introduction to mending clothes or other fabric goods by hand

Ides spells out her purpose in the book’s introduction:

This is not a “learn to sew” book.  This is for the person who wants to save some money and not continue to take simple fixes to the tailor.  It was written specifically for nonsewers, so you can understand the process and complete simple sewing fixes.  This book is for everyone – children, adults, men and women alike. Everyone can learn to do basic hand mending.

And the book does not disappoint!  Using the simplest and clearest terms and helpful color illustrations and photographs, Ides lists the basic supplies one will need for mending (including some non-essentials that might be nice to have in some situations).  She begins by showing us how to thread a needle and make basic stitches, and then demonstrates how to fix basic closures – buttons, snaps zippers. She also introduces hemming, fixing seams and holes in pockets and patching clothes.  Recognizing the book’s introductory nature, Ides closes the book with a useful list of situations in which you should “not try to fix your garment” (72).

This small book is an excellent resource for those who are committed to living simply and redemptively.  It has inspired me to be more careful about taking care of my clothes and I look forward to digging it out next time my clothes malfunction!

C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at:

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Reading for the Common Good
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