Happy Zero Waste Week everyone! I hope you’re all as excited as I am. This year, the tenth Zero Waste Week, we have a theme for each day of the week. We’re starting today with Make It Mend It Monday. I like to think we have a bit of a ‘make do and mend’ culture in our house. Before we rush out and buy new things, we check if we already own something that could serve the same purpose. Before consigning broken items to the rag bag or the tip, we see if we can fix it first.
For example, we recently bought a second hand Gaggia coffee machine, which has worked fine until this weekend. My husband isn’t afraid to take something apart and see if he can fix it himself. So this is the current state of our coffee machine, hopefully soon to be mended:
For Mend It Make It Monday, I decided to fix a hole under the arm of one of my husband’s coats. I’m not a very confident sewer, but I’ll have a go at easy makes and mends. I love working with felt and enjoy making felt Christmas decorations for family and friends. My sewing machine is also out of service at the moment, so I’m a little restricted in the things I can sew.
This is the hole:
I turned the sleeve inside out and pinned the binding over the raw edges, holding it all together:
Then I sewed along the binding, making sure all the fabric was inside as I went:
Voila! Fingers crossed it holds okay.
As I said, I’m not a confident sewer, so if I can manage this I’m sure most people could! I think that even if you haven’t done any sewing since school, you could probably manage basic repairs like sewing up a hem, reattaching a button or fixing a simple hole like the one above. Easy repairs such as these can prolong the life of your clothes, reducing the need to buy new. Furthermore, if you can change buttons and sew hems, you can also start customising second hand clothes. Not only does this open up a whole world of possibility to create a unique wardrobe for yourself, it also reduces your impact on the environment.
Putting together a basic sewing kit is a good idea and makes you feel prepared for attempting those first sewing projects. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to put together and you can often pick up sewing equipment in second hand shops. You could keep it in an old tea tin, clean glass jar, an empty shoe box or a spare handbag.
I have a decent sewing box (above) that belonged to my grandad’s second wife. When she died, he passed it on to me. It has a great assortment of threads, cottons, needles, pins, buttons and scissors. There are also quite a lot of gadgets that I have no idea what to do with! I keep this sewing box upstairs in our guest room and downstairs I keep my mini sewing kit, which holds enough essentials for most jobs, like reattaching buttons or ballet shoe elastic.
I made this sewing kit (above) when I went to university in 1999 and it used to be housed in a Bonne Maman jar. Now it’s kept in this cute little tin that held delicious sweets and was a present from my husband’s aunt and uncle a few years ago. The contents of my kit are:
- tape measure
- range of safety pins
- felt needle and pin case, filled with needles and pins
- reels of cotton in my most-used shades
- a couple of buttons
So, for Make It Mend It Monday, why not hunt out that repair you’ve been putting off and make a start on it today? Or why not put together your own sewing kit? You could also start collecting second hand tools at car boot sales to build your own tool kit for handling home repairs. Let me know what you’re doing for Zero Waste Week and Make It Mend It Monday in the comments.
Love this practical post; thanks Helen. My sewing skills are negligible, but you’ve inspired me to gather together a kit and give it a go next time something needs repairing. I hope you get your coffee machine working!
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Thanks, Rachelle. Glad I’ve inspired you. Have fun putting together your sewing kit. If you’re anything like me, that’s the best bit! The coffee machine is still in bits unfortunately. It doesn’t bother me, I’m a tea drinker! 😉
I hope you get your coffee machine fixed.
Great tip about having a simple sewing kit. I don’t know what I’d do without mine.
I really, really, really need to improve my sewing and mending skills. I can darn well, though, and my other half has DIY covered!