Make do and mend

Mending a much-loved cardigan

In my rock ‘n’ roll daily life, I have been attempting to rescue one of my favourite cardigans.

It’s a vivid greeny blue colour, which somehow manages to go with most things I wear, complete with fetching sparkly buttons.

Thankfully the holes are due to wearing it so much, rather than dastardly moths.

I would hate to throw it away, so I finally got round to darning the holes.It’s hardly the most elegant mending, but fingers crossed I can continue wearing my cardigan without it being immediately obvious.

After venturing out in the rain, I also discovered one of my best-beloved boots was leaking. Unfortunately the front of the sole had decided to part company from the rest of the boot.

I only acquired my current pair of boots last year, after a lengthy quest to find black leather knee high boots that would actually fit round my calves. I was not about to embark on a similar quest, so I headed off to the shoemenders. He was able to rescue both boots with new soles and heels. Now I can stride out on the school run in the rain confident my socks will remain dry. The repairs were not cheap, but cost distinctly less than a new pair of boots.

I find it hard to disentangle whether my desire to mend these items is from a sense of thrift, a desire to cut consumption by reusing what I already have, or down to sheer laziness and the reluctance to go shopping for replacements.

Anyone else keen on extending the life of their favourite items of clothing?


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  1. 12th December 2015 / 2:50 am

    I have a shirt that was used when my sister gave it to me and it has large green and blue horizontal stripes which should be hideous on me but, bizarrely, makes me look thinner and I love it. It keeps ripping at the seams and I keep mending it even though my sewing skills are pathetic. I also have used/resoled my black Doc Martens for over 20 years and just recently passed them down to my teenager (sadly, the clubbing years are now beyond me).

  2. 12th December 2015 / 5:40 pm

    I get very attached to some clothes/shoes etc and will do whatever it takes to keep them wearable! Shoe glue is a useful addition to your make do and mend supplies, for those times soles come away from uppers and the shoe mender says nothing can be done. I've fixed "unfixable" shoes and boots, and also the odd tent seam with shoe glue. My winter coat was from the local charity shop and had a rip in the zip which was easily covered by sewing some black tape over it, a little effort later and I have a perfectly serviceable coat for £5. In the past I've bought new but heavily discounted items that needed a good wash after being trampled underfoot, or with broken zips or holes that can be disguised by appliqué. Its amazing what ends up on the sale rail that can be rescued.

  3. 13th December 2015 / 9:10 am

    oh yes, I'm always trying to save my jeans. They seem to wear out at the 'inner thigh' area so quickly. No jokes about my fat thighs please, I'm blaming the flimsy fabric! I still wear them with holes around the house, forgot about this last year when we had someone in to fix a toilet, I needed to show him upstairs then remembered my holey jeans. So I paused, then gestured and said 'after you'! ha ha. He looked at me in such a way, but I couldn't go up first with my pants and legs flashing.

    I had some shoes and boots fixed a while back and was shocked about the cost. The flat shoes I just loved, ballet flats by Bloch, so I thought they were worth it, but the boots weren't worth it. It's just after all the hassled I'd had finding some I liked I thought it would be simpler to get them fixed. My current favourite boots leak, and I too had the sole away from the boot just last week. But being a tight fisted so and so, I got out the superglue and stuck it back!
    So to conclude. Yes, I am like you. If I like something then I will try my hardest to extend the life of it. :O)

  4. 13th December 2015 / 9:33 am

    Oooh yes! and for all of the reasons you suggest. I was lucky enough to have a mother who repaired faults in fabric for a living (those were the days – the fabric would probably go into landfill now) and who taught me to sew, knit and darn. Oh yes.. and to cook. How lucky am I?!

  5. 13th December 2015 / 4:55 pm

    Definitely, although I am a bit lazy about doing it! Basic sewing is something I learned at school and I am saddened by the fact that these skills are no longer taught. Still, most people buy super cheap clothes and just chuck them when they are bored with them. At least people like me buy them secondhand so that they are reused, and sometimes I mend them so that they last even longer!

    • 17th June 2022 / 8:14 am

      i am totally agree with your thoughts.

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