Anyone else obsessively save old clothes because ‘that fabric might come in handy’? I have an entire cupboard full of jeans, cords, cotton shirts and skirts that aren’t really fit for the charity shop, but I can’t bear to throw away because it just seems a terrible waste of good fabric, zips, buttons, scraps…
If you’re guilty of this kind of stashing (I am refusing to call it hoarding in case Channel 4 come round and make a documentary about me), then Make Do and Mend by Rebecca Peacock and Sam Tickner is just the thing for you. The book is aimed at people who are newish to the Make Do and Mend philosophy and who might have to blow the dust off their sewing machine before they get started, so there’s lots of really useful sewing basics in here, as well as lots of ideas and techniques for actually mending clothes in the first place. These are such fantastic skills to have, and such a shame that people don’t learn this kind of thing any more. It’s great to learn the basics of darning, for example.
Where the book really comes into its own is with ideas of what do do with stuff that’s just too far gone to repair. There are bags made out of T-shirts, scarves made out of blouses and T-shirts, skirts made out of old jeans, jewellery out of T-shirts and buttons. There’s also lots of ideas for making household bits and bobs like coasters, cushions, blinds, curtains, laundry bags out of remnants and thrifted fabrics.
The instructions are good and very clear, although I really miss the presence of colour photographs to illustrate the projects, but that’s a little quibble, and it feels harsh to moan about it, especially when it’s a book so full of good ideas. It’s just that I’m just the sort of girl who needs a bit of colourful styling to get inspired! A big plus point, on the other hand, is the lovely list of resources, fabric websites and good blogs at the back of the book. Just the sort of info I like!
If you’d like a copy of this book, I have one to give away. Just leave a comment on this post before midnight on Friday 18 May telling me the last thing you mended… The last thing I mended was Danny’s homemade Kikwi toy – the nagging of small children is very persistent!
Funnily enough, I have been delving into my stockpile of thrifted fabrics this week, because I’ve been asked to make some props for a musical that a friend of mine is stage managing, and they want to keep the costs down. It struck me that a good way to make the recycled stuff look good was to pair it with some smaller scraps of new stuff. Here’s the first pouch I’ve made:
I’ve used some recycled denim and some polkadot cotton from a Top Shop dress (which sadly you can’t see!), snazzed up with this fab floral from Melody Miller’s Ruby Star Shining collection. It was great to make a dent (no matter how tiny) on the huge pile of ‘just in case’ fabrics… Hopefully there’ll be more to come, otherwise we’ll have to give up even more of our cupboard space….
Speaking of fabric hoarding… there’s some more Liberty charm packs available in my shop right this minute, if there’s a little space in your stash for them. They’re only small..!