Jul 27, 2014

Old Fashioned Wifery: Mend Your Clothes

I didn’t disappear, I promise! I’ve been illish. I’ve been absent due to fatigue, sleepiness and lethargy. I felt like I had the flu without the pain. It was all very strange. I had enough energy to fulfill my husband’s shmoozing commitments, and that was about it. Otherwise it was a lot of laying on my couch and binge watching “Roseanne” on YouTube. Needless to say all blog work and blog reading went by the wayside, and I now have over 100 blog entries in my feed to read. It’s good to know that no else was feeling illish!

I’m much better now, and I’m excited to move forward in the Vintage Domesticity Series. Not a moment too soon since July is almost over. How did that happen? By late next month football will be on, and pumpkin beer will be available. Can you believe it??

3. Mend Your Clothes.
My third reflection on vintage domesticity is on mending your own clothes. I have a very long history of mending my own clothes though not conventionally.

I didn’t grow up in a way that most in the first world would consider comfortable. I was safe, fed and had plenty of fun, but I didn’t experience the same sort of consumerism that my friends and family seemed to enjoy with normalcy. About 90% of my clothes and shoes were hand-me-downs or second hand while the remaining 10% were as cheap as possible. Looking back on my childhood I feel grateful that my parents could provide me with clothes, but at the time I felt very sorry for myself. When you’re young and unable to express yourself in a way that seems easy to everyone else it can feel really frustrating and oppressive.

Everything changed in my mid-teens when I discovered the poor girl slash Desperately Seeking Susan slash Pretty in Pink fashion of the 1980s. This opened up an entire world of possibilities in terms of what could be done with clothing.

The concept of reconstruction was a game changer.

I started “mending” the holes in my clothes with safety pins – not because they were cool, but because they were all I had. People started telling me how cool my pins were, and they eventually became my signature. People would give me their random safety pins because they knew I would put them to use. With my safety pins and dedication to reconstruction, I was able to create a look for myself that I loved and could maintain.

Sometimes I cut old stockings and made gloves out of them.

I didn’t look like everyone else, and that was ok by me. I was able to satiate the teenage need to rebel while accepting my circumstances. I felt more confident in who I was: A poor kid. 

I’m no longer a poor kid, but my attitude towards clothing hasn’t changed much. I still buy second hand when I can, but now it’s in an effort to reduce waste. I still mend my clothes, but no longer with safety pins. 

Properly caring for your clothes saves you money, reduces waste and ensures that you’ll be able to keep your favorite pieces for a long time. The internet is an invaluable resource if you’re new to clothing care! We just don’t learn these skills anymore unless we seek them out. Here are a few great resources to get you started:

T-Shirt Reconstruction
I love love love reconstructing t-shirts. I’ve done each of the following by hand with great results.
With a little love and care your clothes can be kept for years and years – despite what you paid for them!

vintage mending