Mending represents the ultimate shift from fast to slow fashion. But you may be thinking that patched elbows, faded colours and wonky hand stitching is too reminiscent of hippie communes and flea markets to be your thing. While buying or making something new feels fresh and exciting, you may feel that mending is just a tedious chore.
I'm here to tell you: Mending is cool.
Repair is beautiful
Taking the time and effort to mend may feel silly and naively idealistic when buying a replacement is so quick and easy, and often not much more expensive. But mending is worth it. Mending is a creative challenge; it is personal, useful, an art even.
Take a look at the wondrous contraptions maker-designer-artist Paulo Goldstein makes out of broken objects. His project Repair is Beautiful solves the frustration of fixing what is broken, but it also touches on the larger problems of a broken economy founded on always wanting more.
A commitment to care, not a to-do list
There are always things on my mending list. Waiting for me now are toe holes in my tights, jeans that need patching, a skirt that clings and desperately needs a lining, and a hole in my jacket pocket which means my keys keep disappearing into the deep depths of the lining.
A single adjective: annoying.
You may find, like me, you never get on top of your mending list. New holes will creep up on you. For a long time I found that very disheartening. I didn’t want my precious making time to be swallowed up by boring mending. Yet clothes get worn. It's a fact of life. The question is, what do you do about it?
I’m trying to shift my perspective. Instead of seeing mending as a list of things to get done, I’m trying to see it as an ongoing commitment to care. It is true, mending takes time, patience and effort, but in the process you will be investing in a huge thing: a better common future. Less waste, less shopping for new, more creative expression, more skill-stretching and a deeper connection to the materials that surround you.
Now, that is worth a little effort.
To get your mending muscles flexing and your creative juices flowing, here are some pretty cool mending resources:
- Katrina Rodabaugh’s project Make Thrift Mend started as a fast-fashion fast and expanded into the idea of mendfulness – a metaphor for accepting imperfection.
- Luke Deverell of Darn and Dusted has made mending into a business.
- For some hands-on tutorials, Patagonia’s repair and care pages offer guides on how to repair outerwear, patch jeans, darn holes and more.
- The Guardian's how to mend series shows you how to sew on a button and how to mend your jeans, but also things like how to mend a cracked iPhone screen.
- Purl Soho offers a colourful take on knitted elbow patches.
- The ultimate resource on all things darning, Tom van Deijnen of tomofholland.com certainly knows how to darn a sweater.
- A tutorial on darning socks with giant holes by Clara of claraundco.wordpress.com.
- More sock darning, in Norwegian this time: hvordan stoppe sokker fra Oda's naturogmat.no.