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We Are Not Making Do

Time to update one of our favourite slogans...

Make Do and Mend - it's a great slogan that was first issued by the Ministry of Information in 1943 to urge people to repair, reuse and re-imagine their existing clothes during the Second world War (from June 1941 until 1949 buying new clothes was rationed in Britain).

Clothes may no longer be rationed, but those of us seeking to halt the climate emergency are urging people once again to repair, reuse and re-imagine their existing clothes. We must stress here that making do is not in any way settling for second best. On the contrary, when we make do and mend we feel we are making a conscious decision to get the very best from the clothes we love.

Women are often depicted as not wanting to wear the same thing twice, but might that be a marketing ploy to make us buy more? Should we be so easily fooled?

We've said it before: we love choosing what to wear each day and we definitely wouldn't want to stick to the same thing day in, day out. We see our outfits as part of our creativity and individuality.

But we only buy clothes we love and we want what we have got to last - not necessarily so we can wear it forever and a day, but so we can pass it on to somebody else. In the same way that nearly everything we buy and wear has been pre-loved by someone else.

But, back to the subject of repairs. This week saw the return of our ever-popular Introduction to Sewing classes. Learning how to do basic sewing, whether by hand or machine, is a great way to get the most out of your clothes.

Did you know that over 5% of the UK’s annual carbon and water footprints result from clothing consumption? We wear the average garment for around 2 years and 3 months.

Extending the life of a garment by just three months would lead to a 5 - 10% reduction in its carbon, water and waste footprint. Keep wearing it for another six months and you save 20 – 30%.

So, you can see making a small repair or adjustment is well worthwhile. Of course, it is also enormously satisfying.

What about re-using the fabric? While you may not want to wear an item of clothing again, look at it and consider what else you could do with it.

Can you see that fabric somewhere else in your home? As a cushion cover? Or a tote bag? Or inside a picture frame? Look at clothes creatively.

Use the same criteria when you are looking at clothes in our shop (other charity shops are available!)

You may not wear something, but could it be altered? Do you love it so much that you can justify paying someone else to make the alternation if you don't feel confident to do it yourself? If you do, you will almost certainly be supporting a small, local business. Always a good thing!

And finally, have you considered making your own clothes? Or are you scarred by the memory of complicated patterns that took you so long to figure out that you had no energy left to do the actual sewing?

You might want to look at some of the new, independent pattern makers, who offer much simpler designs, particularly those stylish Scandi designers. If you can think of a dress as pretty much a pillow case with sleeves, you might be more willing to give it a go.

Let's finish with a picture of an upcycled denim jacket, made for us here. We have a very talented volunteer who embroiders the jackets for us.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you get a totally unique garment. We love it!

PS. We currently have three of these upcycled jackets for sale. Each one is different 😊


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