Wednesday, April 13, 2011


mended sweater sleeves

Mended Sweater Sleeves from/by Sweetie Pie Press

I have been repairing a lot of things lately (notice my new blog layout? still not completely done with that though). I have discovered the wonders of resoling shoes, made a bicycle from a pile of old bike parts, and most recently, I have learnt how to darn holes in clothing (and I am ridiculously excited about it, photos soon, but must tidy house first).

It is hard to express this in words (I have been trying to write this current sentence for the past 40 minutes) but right now mending things feels important. I have never really been one for adding too much sentimental value to objects, preferring the simple, useful object to one overly adorned and less functional, and not caring that much if something breaks and has to be thrown away. As I grow older, my views are changing a little. First of all, my idea of what if means for something to be useful have become more in line with what I do as an artist, which is create art and objects where the only purpose is to be something to look at, and to maybe make someone think about something other than usual as a result. Thus I have more pretty necklaces and dresses.

Secondly, as my career/life continues, I can finally afford to buy some nice things. Unlike a cheap, pilling old cardigan like I used to wear (which could also be easily and cheaply replaced once it passed it's use by date), now it would be a shame to throw my nice woolen cardies because of a hole or two. A lot more costly to replace too.

Finally, and despite my unwillingness to want to admit this to too many people in real life, I am sort of putting more sentimental value on the items I have. Maybe this is because of the two reasons above, or perhaps because I am a bit nostalgic and missing the "old days". Maybe because pretty much everything I have these days comes with a story that relates to an adventure I have been on. I don't know. Anyway, no matter what the reason is for me wanting to keep my things, mending and fixing is fun and good to do.

Here are some interesting repair-related resources to help to inspire you to mend things too...

Love and Thrift: Focussing on sustainability and textiles. Both good things.

Repaired Things: All sorts of different things, repaired.

Karen Barbé's Blog (mentioned below): here is another really interesting repair post from her.

Sweetie Pie Press: Becky keeps her favourite items of clothing forever and continues to repair them (as documented on her blog). She is a big inspiration to me for many reasons, but in the context of this blog post, especially her mending (also, if you haven't already, please pledge money to her Kickstarter project!)

Corky Saint Clair: Chris reviews an interesting product for fixing sweaters. In a kind of unrelated note to mending, he has also just updated his online shop this weekend, so you should look at that too.

In general, the internet is a fantastic resource for finding out how to fix something... if you are someone who has to see something being done to understand it (rather than just follow written instructions, this is how I am quite a lot of the time), there are so many videos on Youtube these days which are really helpful. Oh, and don't forget Instructables either.


hellojenuine said...

mending is certainly important. the way people buy clothes has been something that's been on my mind over the past few months. too many people are throwaway with clothing, more so since fashion & trends change so quickly. cheaper, less well made clothing is abundant on the high street, with sellers well aware that most of their stock is bridging a gap until new trend takes over. mending & buying second hand (or handmade) are my ways of avoiding becoming part of that cycle. though i'm not against people buying new clothing, i do believe people should be more conscious about it. (end tiny essay)

i definitely need to look into how to darn. i still just stitch up all holes in the simplest way possible.

kerri said...

i loved this post so much. i am sat looking at your wolf print in my room as i write this to you.

love from edinburgh

sweetie pie press said...

sarah, thank you for the kind words. i have so many thoughts on these topics (stuff, ownership, repair) that they tend to boil over and i am so happy to hear your current and changing thoughts on matters of repair and acquisition.

also, darning has changed my life.

side note: on my current tour of europe, i only brought one wearing-out pair of jeans. this meant lots of butt patching on trains. maybe not the wisest decision but a funny reality i am living through.