Upcycling and recycling clothing is a trend these days but it’s not a new concept. Before fast fashion became the norm, mending and repurposing clothing and home textiles were common practices for most people. The “Make Do and Mend” campaign initiated by the British government during World War II urged people to get the last possible ounce of wear from clothing and household items. The government even published a pamphlet with hints on how to keep clothes in good shape or refashion as needed, and how to make do with things you already had instead of buying new.
But since that time, with less expensive and more readily available clothing options, most people moved away from such practices. The “wear and toss” attitude towards clothing, instead of “wear and repair”, has contributed to the tons of clothing piling up in the world’s landfills.
Recently, Fibershed announced its mending challenge to raise awareness of how important it is to keep our clothing in use, as well as how satisfying it can be to care for our clothing. If you haven’t signed up, it’s not too late to participate. It’s a great opportunity to learn some mending skills and connect with others.
You can find a list of recommended books and websites on mending and upcycling clothing here. And if you want to find some local mending tools, check out the darning eggs from Mark Supik, or the adorable darning mushrooms made by Jeff Struewing. You can also check out this Sustainable Closet mending class offered by local artist Heather Kerley.