I’m not a fan of fast fashion. I think it’s disgusting how much waste it causes. I am, however, a huge fan of slow fashion.
Slow fashion isn't a new concept. Historically clothing was mended, repurpoused, and given to other people – sometimes for generations! Perhaps the best known example of this is the Make Do and Mend movement during the Second World War.
Make Do and Mend was actually a pamphlet distributed by the British Ministry of Information 1942. It was originally titled Mend and Make Do to Save Buying New, which I only found out recently. The things you learn!
Make Do and Mend are also an American post-hardcore band, but this isn’t about them.
I’ve wanted to do a post about mending since I decided to start a blog. The only problem was I was finding it hard to edit down the information into a single blog post, so I’ve decided to do #MarchMending. I’ll be posting at least twice a week from now until the end of the month covering different mending techniques along with some other helpful bitlets and boblets.
This post is going to focus on the basic mending kit.
Mending kit essentials
I like to have both fabric and embroidery scissors in my kit, although you could get away with just having one or the other. These scissors should never EVER be used on anything else except for fabric and threads! Paper will make them sad and blunt.
Pins and needles
You can’t do much sewing without needles! I’d suggest a variety of sharps (general use needles), and at least one embroidery needle.
It’s good to have a decent amount of pins in your kit. I like glass headed pins because you can’t melt them if you iron over them. I am rather fond of my silly little plastic topped novelty pins too though.
I’d also recommend at least one safety pin. Safety pins are useful for all sorts of little pinning jobs, as well as pulling elastic or cording through a casing – for example, fixing the waistband of a pair of pants or a skirt.
I keep my pins and needles in a pin cushion like these. If I want to take a few out and about with me I thread them through a piece of scrap fabric to keep them safe and together.
General sewing thread is used in either one or two strands, depending on what you’re sewing. It’s good to have at least black, white, and grey in your kit, along with other colours you wear frequently.
Spools of thread are nice and compact, but if you’re looking for more portable kit you can keep your thread on bobbins or little bits of card.
You can get away without having embroidery thread but I’d recommend it. It’s really handy for thicker fabric, and it can be used on knits instead of using mending wool. It’s also fantastic for more visible mending which can look beautiful.
Embroidery thread comes in easy to fold up skeins, or you can transfer it over to a little piece of card which is also called a bobbin (they look like the body of the mending person in the poster above). The thread in the photo was some I found at an op shop which came knotted together which is another way to organise embroidery thread.
Closures and fastenings
Buttons, press studs, and hook and eyes are fantastically handy to have around. They’re often the thing that needs mending or replacing on clothing. They can also be handy notions to have on hand if a zip breaks. Just stitch on some press studs or a hook and eye and your clothing will stay closed until you can replace the zip!
Quick unpick (aka seam ripper)
These are such handy little things! They make opening or unpicking seams so much easier. I have used pins when I haven’t had my quick unpick around (I don’t keep one in my travel mending kit), but boy does it make a world of difference!
Sometimes I try to keep the thread I'm unpicking long by using the quick unpick to break the thread at the start of the seam and then skipping ahead a few stitches and pulling the it through. That way I can use the thread again later for things like re-sewing the hem, or stitching on buttons without worrying about finding a matching thread.
Other times I quickly snap the thread every three to seven stitches and pull the fabric apart. It’s so satisfying and so fast!
There are occasions, like changing elastic in a waistband, where you don’t need to unpick a whole seam. In these situations I usually find the middle of where I want my hole to be, snap the thread, and pull it gently to either edge. I use the thread tails to tie knots so the rest of the seam doesn’t start coming undone.
Unsurprisingly, scraps are handy for patching and reinforcing. They can also be used to cover buttons to give garments a fresh look!
The next installment of March Mending will be up on Monday. When it’s up I’ll add in a link so you can head straight there to read it! Click here for Basic Hand Stitches.
Until next time! xx
Edit: I've changed the name from Mend It March to March Mending because someone else has started #MendItMarch on Instagram this year.
I've also added in the link for the next post.
I'm Beth the human behind Little Grassbird. Welcome!