Make do and mend was a concept that came about during the Second World War when it was considered patriotic to utilise existing resources, rather than buying new. At the time a pamphlet was issued to housewives offering tips on how to live a simpler and more frugal existence. Over the years, this concept has gone through many revivals and once again it is back in vogue.
Why Make Do?
We’re no longer living in the shadow of a world war. Many of us have adequate clothing budgets, and there are countless cheap clothing stores offering the latest styles, so what is the value of making do?
- Making do with what we have already reduces the items we throw away. This has a positive impact on landfill and therefore reduces our carbon footprint. If everyone had the same attitude to their clothing, we could not only reduce waste but reduce the manufacturing processes and energy consumed to keep up with demand.
- Clutter is not good for our health. Research has shown that it can increase stress levels which has a negative impact on many areas of our life. If you have a wardrobe bursting at the seams, you might be familiar with this. Buying less and making the most of our current garments helps reduce the clutter and accumulation of unwanted items.
- Making do with what we have brings about a different mindset. It changes the way we think about things and often, as a result, it increases our creativity.
- Living a simpler existence and spending money on experiences, rather than things is frequently acknowledged as a healthier existence.
5. Embellishing and enhancing what we have already creates unique and interesting garments that no-one else has.
Where Do I Start?
Start by going through your wardrobe and taking stock of the items. Dig deep and unearth all those hidden pieces you’ve forgotten about. Make a pile of the items you’re no longer wearing or are unlikely to wear. With the rest, assess them carefully. Are there ways you can create new outfits by mixing separates? Look for unexpected combinations. Don’t throw out the items you’ve set on one side. You’re going to make good use of those.
What Do I Need?
You’ll need a few basic items to make a start. This should include a simple sewing kit to include the following:
- Pins and pin cushion; though if you don’t possess a pin cushion, make your own rather than buying one. You can find lots of ideas at pinterest.com/explore/pincushion-patterns.
- Needles and cotton
- Dressmaking scissors
- Tape measure
In addition, it’s a good idea to invest in an affordable sewing machine. Take a look at sites like sewingmachinejudge.com/brother-xl2600i-affordable-sewing-machine-review for further details.
As you progress, you’ll find that you may need to add other items to your kit, such as tailor’s chalk, etc. But for now, start with the basics.
Once you’ve made a good assessment of the items you have at your disposable, it’s time to make some embellishments. If you have limited sewing skills, find some online tutorials to help you remaster the basics.
Start small. For example, if you have a cardigan or jacket that you’ve fallen out of love with, could you breathe some new life into with a set of new buttons? If you have a plain blouse, what about creating a simple fabric brooch or corsage made with the fabric of some of your unwanted items? Dresses and skirts can be transformed by taking up the hem. Buttons, sequins, ribbons, and bows all make create enhancements and will transform old or dull items. Use everything you have. That unwanted summer dress could be used to create headbands or belts for another outfit. Look at the work of inspirational dressmakers for ideas.
Make do and mend is a concept we could all embrace to a greater or lesser extent, to simplify our lives, create a healthier planet, and enhance our style and creativity.