Love Clothes Part II: Make and Mend

Hi there, Tanita here with the second of our blog posts on the topic of clothes. Last time, I discussed the benefits of using charity shops and today I’m going to look at why taking care of your clothes is a great way to save money and look after the environment.

Challenging a Throw-Away Society

It is tempting to throw away a stained piece of clothing and buy another for £5 from a high-street store rather than take the time to fix it. According to an article in the Telegraph the trend to throw away clothes has been dubbed the ‘Primark effect’ with the cheap cost of clothes failing to reflect the labour used to make them. It may now be cheaper in some cases to buy a new top than it is to pay to get it mended.

Lady mending clothes

In addition, with demanding workloads and busy social lives, people often say that they do not have the time to mend something or do not know how to. Items such as razors, plastic cutlery and plastic gloves are cheap and disposable so we are encouraged to use them once and then put them in the bin. This may also encourage us to view clothes in a similar way. However, with many households experiencing a squeeze on their finances now may be the perfect time to challenge the throw-away and ‘wear-it-once’ society and start making and mending our clothes ourselves.

Mending Clothes

Although some people are a dab hand at working the sewing machine and using a needle and thread, others like me struggle to know where to start and what to do with the clothes we have that need care and attention! Can you think of the last time you sewed a button back on or fixed a tear in a pair of jeans? Perhaps you do it all the time and can point some of the rest of us in the right direction! The book Mend & Make Fabulous: Sewing Solutions & Fashionable Fixes gives novices like me great advice on how to take care of your clothes. There are many other books and YouTube videos that provide guidance on everything from how to fix rips and tears, make patches, and replace a zip to how to let out piece of clothing. Mending clothes can give you the satisfaction of knowing that you extended the life of the item of clothing, saved some money and looked after the environment in the process. For more great tips be sure to check out the Love Your Clothes campaign which has fantastic advice on how to take care of your clothes.

Close up of hands stitching a shirt

I was recently a bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding and managed to get some delicious wedding cake on my delicate dress. After washing the dress in the machine when I got home, it still had a stain on it so I decided to soak it in very strong soapy water and after some perseverance it did come out – hurrah! Tips on Stylecaster are useful because it gives specific advice on caring for clothing depending upon the kind of material. Taking the time to remove a stain saves you money and is also better for the environment because energy and resources are not used to produce another item of clothing. However, what if your clothes are ripped or torn? Fear not!

Workshops in Aberdeen

There are lots of great classes in Aberdeen to help you learn how to make and mend your clothes. The local charity Aberdeen Forward has a number of workshops on sewing and knitting – from beginners level to advanced (I would definitely be at the beginner’s level!). They also have a curtain making course for those who have experience with working with fabric and material.

Lady using sewing machine

Aberdeen Forward offer 25% discount for students and 50% discount for people on benefits for these workshops too. Tips and skills gained at workshops such as these can last a lifetime and are an excellent investment.

Making and Customising Your Clothes

Research undertaken by the Craft and Hobby Association suggests that as many as 3.5 million people in the UK make their own clothes and 433,000 have started sewing in the last twelve months alone. This could be attributed to people wanting an outlet for their creativity and to gain a sense of satisfaction from being involved in customising and making their clothes. But how do you get started?

Collection of ribbons and trimmings

Katharine from the Sew Well Travelled blog offers six great tips on how to get into sewing and making your own clothes:

  1. Your First Pattern Should be a Real Challenge
  2. Get a Sewing Book
  3. Just Do It!
  4. No Machine? No Problem – learn some basic hand stitches
  5. Get the Right Tools – needles, pins, scissors and seam rippers
  6. Be Brave!

To read more be sure to check out Katharine’s blog! Charity shops (my regular hangouts) are a great place to pick up materials such as buttons and costume jewellery that can be added to clothes to give them character. Perhaps you already make and mend your clothes and have tips to share. If so we’d love to hear them, or see some pictures of your best fixes and/or creations. You can leave a comment on this post or send us a message on Facebook.

Happy Making and Mending!


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