by Janet Barnstable (Global Virtual Classroom) - from Addison, Illinois USA
This proverb most likely originated during the time when people made their own clothes. They also mended them. Literally, if a seam starts to come loose, fix it right away otherwise you'll have a much bigger job when the seam opens even further.
It is used when someone wants to put off a task that has to be done. Leaving it until later does not make it better, but often makes it more work in the end. Also is used in relationships with friends. For example, if you have a disagreement and go away mad, and then don't talk to your friend, it is much harder to apologize later. The sooner things are 'fixed' between friends the better!
My grandmother always said this! It's a good idea to get things taken care of right away if leaving them alone makes the problem worse, so I remember this when I want to put off a job that has to be done.
This picture was drawn by Erika Aoyama on January 20, 2003 (http://oels.byu.edu/student/idioms/proverbs/stitch.html)