If we spent a bit of time mending and maker just a few items of clothing, it might help us connect with and value or clothes more fully. Would that possibly lead to less fashion waste and more responsible style choices that could significantly reduce the environmental impact of our clothes on the planet?
Fashion, and particularly mindless fast fashion, has been destroying the planet and harming the people who make it. Try one of these five mending or maker style projects to connect with your clothes and be a better fashion steward to the Earth.
Despite the $3 price of a shirt or the $7 price tag on a dress or pair of jeans at a fast fashion store, a lot of resources go into making our clothes and delivering them to our closets. We have become so removed from the process of designing and making our clothes, that many of us have lost appreciation for the level of resources and effort put forth to sew a simple shirt.
Fast fashion clothing articles continue to drown our landfills, and we are no long overdue to better connect with and appreciate our clothes. This can happen in many ways, including by becoming part of the maker process.
We may develop more appreciation for our clothes, take better care of them, make them last longer, and throw fewer of them mindlessly into landfills if we connect even slightly with the process of making and mending our clothes.
I’m not suggesting we all dedicate ourselves to learning master seamstress skills and sewing all of our own clothes, but we can acquire simple skills to mend our clothes, patch a hole, fix a zipper, or maybe even knit a sweater.
5 Mending and Maker Style Projects To Try At Home
Here are five relatively easy ways to make your clothes last longer and connect with your clothes
There are endless tutorials on YouTube to learn basic knitting stitches. You can also purchase a starter knitting kit from a company like We Are Knitters. I have We Are Knitters sweater kit (that I have yet to finish…). But even its presence and the overwhelming feeling of taking on that project reinforces my awareness of the level of effort put forth to knit a single sweater.
Don’t throw something out just because it has a small hole in it. Some garments with holes are on-trend right now. If you want something a little cleaner, check out this book, Mending Matters, from Katarina Rodabaugh. In her gorgeous book, she provides instructions on several mending techniques that are on-trend and really neat.
Patches are a really great option to fix a small hole or tear. They add interest to a simple piece and make it unique. Many patches can be ironed on or don’t even require stitching.
If you have a piece with a small broken part, like a jammed zipper, give it a shot and try to fix it. If the fix is out of your league, take it to a professional and have them fix it. For example, I have a winter coat with a broken zipper, so I plan to get the zipper replaced for a few dollars and breathe new life into my coat that hopefully will last for many more years.
DIY Jeans to Shorts
This might be the easiest project ever! If you have a pair of jeans that on it’s last leg or maybe the cut just isn’t in style anymore, cut off the legs and turn them into shorts. I did this a while back with a pair of thrifted jeans that I cut and made into shorts.
If all of these projects intimidate you, maybe it’s time to reflect on the $3 price tag. If you can’t fathom making or fixing the shirt yourself, is $3 (which consists primarily of the cost of materials and profit margin for the retailer) sufficient to pay the artisan that produced the product for their effort and technical skills?
As we spend more time at home (or even as we get back out and start visiting retail shops again), consider how much you might learn about your clothes and your relationship with your clothes by doing a mending or maker style project.
It might seem like an odd connection that sewing or knitting could make us better environmental stewards. But when it comes to fashion, developing deeper relationships with our clothes or at least appreciating what goes into creating them may be one key to reducing the churn our wasteful fast fashion habits have on Planet Earth.
Have you mended or made any of your own clothes? If so, what did you do and what did your learn from the project? I’d love to hear in the comments.