Make-do and Mend Monday : Let’s Break the shackles of fast fashion.

The character Mrs Sew and Sew, created to promote the Make Do and Mend campaign.

Rationing of clothing (and other things) was a large part in the lives of British citizens during WWII. This was before it was ‘acceptable’ to wear sleeping pajamas or workout wear to run about town.  People had to be careful how they spent their clothing coupons and needed to maintain the garments that they already owned.  In 1942, the board of trade began producing promotional materials featuring a character named “Mrs. Sew-and-Sew”.  She was one way that the British were encouraged to improve sewing skills. This is just one of the things that Laura Clouting mentions in her article “10 Top Tips for Winning at ‘Make-do and Mend’ “.

This is just a small rant, but bear with me.

Living in the ‘Fast Lane’ stresses me out.

It seems like there is never enough time to do everything that needs to be done and still do the things that I love doing while keeping myself physically healthy.  Do you ever feel this way?

On top of all that, as if I needed something else to stress about, there is the issue of environmental impact.  At the top of the list… fashion, specifically fast fashion.  Cheaply mass produced clothing that “goes out of fashion” (note: fashion is not style) every two weeks.  Closets are bursting at the seems and still we are buying more and more. I have heard of people with too much stuff actually renting storage units to store the extra.  It doesn’t take much time of monthly rental payments to exceed the original cost or even the replacement cost of the items being stored.

If we are recycle conscience, we may donate our used clothing to charity shops.  Guess what, much of what is donated ends up in landfills too. How much of the items that we are wearing on our bodies, donating to charity or that end up in landfills is made of materials natural materials? Most of the cheap fast fashion that we are addicted to is made of petroleum based products such as polyester.  Essentially, we are wearing plastic.  As you know, plastic doesn’t readily decompose back into the environment. We have all seen the images of plastic “islands” floating in our oceans.  More and more reports are being published with findings of micro-plastics being found in sea based food sources.

What can we, as individuals, do about such a large problem?  Consider each choice carefully, when deciding on what we wear or purchase. Take care of the items that we already own by mending or maybe even refashioning. Not buying so much stuff!

(jumping down of my soap box) I did squeeze out a moment or two for mending this week.  The first item on the list was this abused shopping bag.

Although it is not made from natural fibers, it does already exist and I already own it.  I am determined to get as much use from it as I possibly can.  The zipper and binding had torn away at the top.

Once I straightened out and untangled the zip and binding, it was an easy fix.  I wanted to sit on the sofa and watch a movie with DW so I chose to do the repair by hand.  It didn’t have to be fashionable and there was dark blue thread right there so that is what I used (If the checker at the grocery is judging my blue thread repair of my black reusable shopping bag, they have bigger issues). I thought I did a decent and sturdy job of it.

The next item on my list was Gson #1’s Easter sweater.


Right before Christmas he called me on the phone to tell me that the buttons had broken off.


He asked if I could fix it.  Of course I said “yes”. I did have to go purchase new buttons.  Covering my biodegradable needs, they are wooden toggles affixed to cardboard with a metal staple.


You may ask me about the fact that the sweaters themselves are made of synthetic yarn.  Yup.  This was a specific choice for wash and wear ability.  I have the small bit of extra yarn that I used to make them in case of repairs.  Gson #2 can wear Gson #1’s when it has been out grown.  With the extra left over yarn the sweaters can be sized up or I can frog the entire sweater and make something new. Do I prefer to work with natural fibers? ABSOLUTELY.  But this isn’t always practical, especially for children or busy households that don’t have time for special care laundering.  I have been known to purchase sweaters at resale establishments just for the yarn, then frog the whole sweater to make something entirely new.  Going forward I am going to make an effort to buy less new yarn and recycle more from used garments.  You are welcome to hold me accountable.  I believe that we all could use help staying accountable.  😀