Make Do and Mend

Make Do and Mend

The idea of Make Do and Mend became popular during World War II, when raw materials were in high demand for war efforts.  Women, in particular, were encouraged to be creative and mend worn clothing as much as possible, or recycle the material from worn-out garments to make something new.   It was all very patriotic, and a real necessity in Great Britain, where severe rationing meant women really had to Make Do and Mend.

I really like the concept of trying to make the most of what I have.  And although it’s fun to think about recreating whole new outfits from my existing clothes, in my life Make Do and Mend is mostly about Mend!  I’ve been sewing for many years, and I can be a bit of a perfectionist.  Mending is a nice change from all that.  It’s quick and dirty sewing at its best, which makes it perfect for beginners.  So what if you mess up?  It was already messed up!

Here’s a quickie repair job I did on the busted knee of a pair of John’s work pants.

Knee Patch Outside

They're stained because they're work pants...

I backed the rip with a scrap piece of fabric, pinned it in place, then stitched it securely using a 3-step zigzag stitch.  Here’s the inside of the patch.

Knee Patch Inside

The inside of the patch.

I used my pinking shears to cut the excess patch off.  They’ll keep the edges from raveling.  I recommend avoiding the urge to stitch back and forth over your patch a bunch of times.  Every time you take a stitch, you make a little hole in the fabric.  If you make too many of them, you can actually weaken the fabric.  Think about perforated paper – it’s easy to rip, right?  Fabric’s the same.  So just stitch around the edge once or twice, and call it good.

This little project took less than ten minutes.  Heck, it took me less time to do it than to blog about it!  I hope you’ll consider trying a mending project like this – it’s super easy, hard to mess up, and very rewarding!