Isn’t it just a bummer when you get a tear or hole in one of your precious clothes? It’s terribly sad when you have to say good-bye to your favorite piece of clothing because of that small hole … or do you really have to?

What if  the hole could be almost magically repaired? Well, one Japanese craftsman who was featured in a Korean television program seems to be able to do exactly that, and his mending technique is amazing — just take a look and see if you can tell where the material was repaired!

The Japanese craftsman who was introduced in a program on Korea’s SBS network is 73-year-old Takao Matsumoto, who has 55 years’ experience in the craft of invisible mending, or kaketsugi, as it’s called in Japanese. We found the SBS TV segment featured in an article on the Kaikai Hanno Tsushin website, and we thought we’d share the amazing images with you.

Invisible mending involves repairing damaged cloth by taking threads from another part of the same cloth that isn’t visible from the outside and using those threads to weave oner the damaged area. It requires expert skill, but when done properly, you can get near perfect results with the repair.

Let’s take a closer look at that, shall we?

▼ Here’s Takao Matsumoto, the kaketsugi craftsman:


▼ In this instance, he was going to work on a coat that had a hole from a cigarette burn.


▼ He cuts a small piece of cloth from inside the garment where it won’t be visible from the outside.


▼ An acetone solution is brushed onto the piece of cloth so that pieces of thread can be taken easily out of it.


▼ The piece of cloth is gently stripped …


▼ … and individual threads are painstakingly taken out of the cloth.


▼ Here we can see the pieces of thread that have been isolated from the cloth.


▼ Matsumoto comments that you have to use the same cloth from the original garment, otherwise you will see subtle differences in the thickness and color of the material.


▼ The thread is used to sew over the hole first in one single direction.


▼ It’s a delicate process but the hole is gradually covered with the newly obtained thread.


▼ You can see it takes a huge amount of skill and patience, as you have to sew precisely through the pieces of thread.


▼ A close-up look at the material during the complex process:


▼ The hole also needs to be repaired on the inside as well.


▼ Adhesive bond is applied where the hole was …


▼ … and the leftover thread is used to cover the area.


▼ For the finishing touch, the area is ironed out …


▼ … and here you have the end result — you can hardly tell there was a hole at all, can you? It looks as good as new!


Isn’t that just amazing? Matsumoto owns the shop Emiya based in Nagoya that specializes in kaketsugi mending, and the price for repairs varies depending the material and size of the hole but seems to start from around 5,000 yen (US$42). While that may not make it cost-effective for cheaper items of clothing, based on the comments from Korean Internet users posted on Kaikai Hanno Tsushin, it seems people who saw the program generally were impressed with Matsumoto’s mending skills, with one comment even saying that the repair work was like “turning back the clock“.

It’s good to know that if you do tear a precious piece of clothing, there are skilled craftsmen like Matsumoto whom you can turn to. And thank you, Matsumoto-san, for making your considerable kaketsugi talents available to us!

Source and images: Kaikai Hanno Net