A Stitch Up: Mending Our Clothes and the Planet  

by Kirsten
Sewing at home

In today’s fast-fashion world, clothes are often seen as disposable. A ripped seam or a missing button leads to a one-way trip to the donation bin (or, more likely, the overflowing landfill). What if, instead of tossing a slightly damaged garment, we learned to mend it ourselves? Learning to repair clothes simply at home offers a surprising wealth of benefits. It’s a fantastic way to be more sustainable, save money, extend the lifespan of your favourite pieces, and even foster a deeper appreciation for the clothes you wear. 

Mending isn’t just about saving the planet; it’s also about rediscovering the value and satisfaction of taking care of your clothes. In a world of instant gratification, mending teaches us the importance of patience and resourcefulness. Learning a new skill like sewing creates a sense of accomplishment and self-reliance. There’s also a certain satisfaction that comes from fixing a comfy old favourite. Instead of tossing it aside, you’re giving it a second chance – a chance to tell its story a little longer. Mending can also be a form of self-expression. A simple repair can be transformed into a creative embellishment, adding a personalised unique touch to your clothing. I do not fear a beautiful cashmere jumper with a small hole repair, I see the repair instead as loving gesture of care and consideration. 

The Unsustainable Cost of Fast Fashion

The fashion industry is a major contributor to global pollution. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the equivalent of a garbage truck full of textiles ends up in landfills every single minute. Fast fashion, characterised by cheap, trendy clothing with a short lifespan, is a big driver of waste and it thrives on the idea of constant consumption. New styles appear weekly, encouraging us to buy more and discard clothes without hesitation. This creates a cycle of wastefulness that has a significant impact on the environment and our wildlife.

Mending your clothes is a simple act but with a powerful impact. By fixing a ripped seam or replacing a button, you’re not just extending a garments life but you are also reducing the demand for clothing production, which in turn helps to conserve resources like water, energy, and raw materials. Fashion is also a major polluter when it comes to chemicals and dyes, by repairing your clothes, you’re helping to minimise the release of these harmful toxins into our waterways and wider environment.

Here is a pretty Liberty style sewing box filled with everything you need to get you started, and would also make a lovely and practical gift for a friend.

It’s Easier Than You Think!

  • Online Tutorials: Websites like YouTube offer a wealth of free video tutorials on basic mending techniques. From sewing on buttons to patching holes, there’s a tutorial for almost any repair imaginable.
  • Sewing Books and Magazines: Local libraries often have a selection of sewing books and magazines that offer detailed instructions and inspiration for mending projects. These resources can be a great way to learn new skills and discover creative ways to repair your clothes.
  • Local Sewing Classes: Consider enrolling in a basic sewing class at your local community center or craft store. These classes offer hands-on instruction in a supportive environment.

Essential Tools for the Home Mending Kit

  • Needles and Thread: Invest in a good set of needles in various sizes for different types of fabrics. Make sure to choose thread that matches the color and weight of the fabric you’re repairing.
  • Scissors: A small pair of sharp fabric scissors is essential for cutting thread and fabric.
  • Seam Ripper: This handy tool helps you remove stitches without damaging the surrounding fabric.
  • Sewing Pins: These help you hold fabric in place before sewing.
  • Thimble: This protects your finger as you push the needle through the fabric.
  • Patch Fabric: Keep a small selection of scrap fabric in different colors and textures on hand for patching holes.

Common Repairs and Simple Fixes

  • Replacing Missing Buttons: This is an easy task that requires minimal sewing skills. Simply choose a button that matches the size and style of the ones already on the garment. Sew it securely onto the fabric using strong thread.
  • Sewing Up Rips and Tears: For small rips and tears, simply sew a straight stitch along the tear to close it up. For larger tears, you might need to use a patch to reinforce
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