October 10, 2016

Mending, Mending, Mending

Well, if you have visited my blog before, you know that what I do is a whole lot of mending.  For those of you are who new here, my profession is repairing antique/vintage quilts and clothing. For example:

I mended this unfortunate tear in a mid-19th century tulip appliqué quilt.

I replaced missing beading on a gorgeous wedding dress

I'm fascinated by finding old pieces that have been previously repaired over the decades of their lives.  And I am simultaneously saddened by what seems to be a growing proportion of folks who have no sewing knowledge whatsoever.  A real change over time, I think!

The other day, while enjoying my morning tea, I came across an inspiring article via a long bit of following links from one page to another.  Sometimes these sessions are not totally a "waste!"  Right?

The article is called "The rise of mending: how Britain learned to repair clothes again".  It appeared in The Guardian in 2014.

The article describes an English shop called Make Do & Mend that opened in 2002.  And then as the owner, Pippa Bray, relates, “When the recession hit, people became more conscious of cost and started valuing their clothes more. We do a lot of replacing zips, taking up hems, altering old clothes to fit.”  The shop's popularity skyrocketed.  At the time the article was written, the shop had expanded enough to employ 12 people!

The article also mentions an idea called Home Repair Café.  These are kind of little pop-up workshops where people can bring all sorts of broken things and find people to repair or teach them to repair.  It's done as a community building activity and sounds really neat.  The website serves as a networking hub for cities - all over the world - that are creating their own repair sites.  Sounds like bunches of fun!

Why do I like repairing things so much?  I've thought about this a lot, and have concluded:

#1 - I like making things neat.  Repair cleans up all the rips and dangling threads.  (By the way, this does not mean my house is neat as a pin.  But I do put my clutter in fairly neat piles!  And I am also aware that I enjoy weeding because it neatens up the yard.)

#2 - Repairing and reusing is frugal - both for my money and for the world's resources.

#3 - I enjoy handling old things, and getting to explore the fabrics and construction techniques up close.

#4 - Repair is a way to learn about and preserve the history embodied in each item.

#5 - Repairing honors the creativity, skill, and work of whoever made the item. 

Mending can actually be very creative - lots of problem solving.  I show some fun mends on a previous post.  It's not necessarily the drudgery that most folks expect!

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