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Repair Because you Care – Saving the Planet One Stitch at a Time!

One of my reasons for starting this business and wanting to teach as many people as possible how to make clothes for themselves and their family is my utter horror at fast fashion and the way that the people who sew those clothes are treated by the companies who make mega bucks from their labour.

I want to instil in my audience a sense of the value of clothing, which has been diminished in recent years when you can buy a dress for less than the price of a cocktail.

Big retailers with heaps of bargaining power are negotiating prices with suppliers down to the lowest possible penny and in doing so the factories are cutting corners to fulfil the big orders.

And it’s not just happening in far away countries, (Not that that should make a difference to how you feel about it!) it’s happening on our own doorstop with factories in Leicester, that supply Boohoo, paying workers £3.50/hour to work in conditions were it was impossible to adhere to social distancing, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

You can’t truly understand how undervalued clothing has become until you have spent the time and effort to make a garment yourself. The skills to make clothes take time and practice to get good at and when you realise that you can’t even buy the fabric, never mind the time it would take to make it, for the price they are selling the finished garments.

It becomes easy to see that someone is being short changed somewhere along the supply chain!

And once clothing becomes appropriately valued again, it doesn’t remain part of the disposable culture that society has created, it becomes something to love and to treasure.

Clothes should be heirlooms, passed on from generation to generation. Loved clothes last and one of the most important things we can do to help them last longer is to consider how we care for them.

Washing our clothes on gentle cycles, less frequently, will reduce the damage on the fibres caused by harsh chemicals and washing machine spins.

It’s worth repairing items at the earliest possible opportunity to reduce the chance of further work being required. As the old saying goes: a stitch in time saves nine!

Whether that is sewing a button back on, or stitching a dropped hem, it gives our clothes a new lease of live and allows us to love them for longer rather than relegating them to recycling or landfill for the sake of a few stitches.

I most admit that repairs are not my favourite kind of sewing, I see it as a chore rather than a pleasure, but I am always happy to keep clothes that I love in a regular wearing rotation.

You may have seen recently I shared on my Facebook page that I had a pile of various mending that I had allowed to build up over a period of time. Some were simple repairs and other would take a little more time and attention, but I’ve finally completed them all!

Firstly I did the simplest repairs. Fixed the seam on this top made from an upcycled scarf.

Then I repaired and strengthened the seam around the belt hole in my wrap Zadie Jumpsuit.

This wasn’t in my original repair pile, but I had popped the hem on my recently made Pipe Dream Patterns Eilidh Twist Dress. I unpicked the original hem and restitched using a stitch with more stretch in it.

I then did some visible mending for the second time on these ready to wear jeans. I pull them up using the belt loops and this has created an area of stress around the back pocket. Hopefully this repair will have strengthened the area enough that it doesn’t happen again! But if it does I will get out my Sashiko Needle and thread and stitch it again.

And then last but not least I did another visible repair on my Sew Liberated Metamorphic Dress.

I hope I have inspired you to do some mending on your own clothes. After all, loved clothes last!

Love & Stitches

Alison xx

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