By Claudia Cole
From baking banana bread to mending clothes, we’ve all taken up new hobbies for the sake of our sanity during the lockdown. In the wake of restlessness and uncertainty, mindful activities have become the perfect antidote.
Following our exploration of why baking is good for the soul, it appears that mending clothes are another popular hobby amongst a new generation. Not only is it beneficial for our wellbeing, but it’s also helping the environment.
With the rise of fast fashion and the lack of textiles classes taught in schools, mending clothes may seem like a forgotten concept. However, people are now finding creative ways to repair their clothes.
The UK’s biggest arts and craft retailer, Hobbycraft, said that their number of web views tripled when the lockdown began. The most popular searches included sewing machines, fabrics, and threads. Other than the nation helping to make reusable masks, many people took that time to clean out their closets and learn how to mend their clothes.
So Why Mend?
The simplest solution to the fast fashion crises is reducing our consumption. Fashion companies supply what they think we desire. However, this can soon change if we shift our cultural attitude. That’s why it’s essential to find a balance between fashion and sustainability. Mindful consumption is key. Therefore, mending clothes is essential to extend the life of your clothes.
Despite that, many are under the false belief that crafts like sewing and knitting are purely for our grandmothers.
“Don’t let that outdated (and ageist and sexist) stereotype keep you from practicing them,” says Lilly Fulop, author of Wear, Repair, Repurpose: A Maker’s Guide to Mending and Upcycling Clothes. “Older generations exercise mindfulness and sustainability, which are really important values to bring back. It’s our responsibility to take care of the planet.”
With more garments being cheaply made, the life cycle of modern clothes has become painfully short. The more people buy, the more waste sent to the landfill each year. To be apart of a change, we need to redefine how we treat our possessions and reclaim the power of mending.
What does mending clothes involve?
Mending clothes consists of repairing tears, covering stains, or restoring an item from signs of damage. Rather than disposing of some of your old clothes, you can extend its longevity and beauty to make it wearable again.
There are many different types of mending methods. While some require creative talent, the most fundamental ones are easy to learn. Deciding on which one depends on the following factors:
- The type of garment
- The fabric
- Where the damage is located on the garment
- The size and type of damage
The most common types of damage include the following:
Split seams –. This can be resolved through re-stitching using a sewing machine. However, a seam can be re-joined by hand if needed. Determining the cause of the rip can help reinforce and strengthen the repair process.
Securing or Reattaching buttons – A loose or detached button is one of the easiest things to replace by hand. Most garments often come with a spare button in case this happens, making it easier for you to attach.
What can mending do for the soul?
In addition to extending the life of your clothes, mending can help improve our overall wellbeing. It is increasingly recognised as an effective way to de-stress. In a world where everything is fast-paced, here’s some surprising ways how mending clothes soothes the soul.
It calms the mind
Mindful activities such as mending have proven to help reduce anxiety. It allows us to reconnect with our bodies and the sensations we experience. By centring your thoughts, mending clothes serves as the perfect distraction from our worries.
In addition, this meditative action can help you unwind and fully immerse yourself into a project. It’s an activity that can be performed in a quiet environment, giving you a sense of peace.
It allows creative self-expression
All types of crafting allow you to explore your creativity. It’s a great way to communicate and express yourself. What we wear has the power to boost our confidence. So, mending is an excellent opportunity to customise your clothes with a dose of colour and personality.
On top of that, mending your clothes provides a great sense of accomplishment. This increases your mood and self-esteem.
Creates an opportunity to socialise
Although mending is an activity that can be done alone, it can also be an excellent opportunity to socialise.
Manchester’s sustainable clothing hub, Stitched Up, helps to spread the wonders of mending. Their community is an exciting place for crafters, offering sewing and upcycling workshops. Not only are they here to help you reduce your reliance on the fast fashion industry, but they also want to help you reclaim ownership of your personal style.
Mending clothes goes beyond fixing split seams. It teaches us to be mindful of everything we consume and helps us to reconnect with the things we love.
So, let’s reclaim the craft of sewing to keep your stylish gems around your for longer. For guidance and video tutorials, visit Stitched Up for more information.
After these unexpected and strange few months, we want to know what hobbies you have picked up lately. Let us know in the comments below.