Make Do And Mend

One of my money saving low waste ideas from this blog is to mend your own clothes. Instead of buying new to replace worn out of "damaged" items. I have been patching my favourite jeans for about a year or so no, mostly in the inner thigh. To be honest, that mend is easy for me because it doesn't much matter what it looks like.

But I finally had to put my skills to the test when these jeans split at the knee a few weeks ago. I was excited and in disbelief. I can't remember the last time I blew a hole in the knee of a pair of pants.

Now, it's best to get this note out of the way early. I did not research visible mending before I fixed the knee hole. I had some peripheral knowledge, and memory of some I've seen shared on social media. But this project was definitely a make do and mend one, and not some sort of intimate practice at the art of embroidery or something.


This is not a comprehensive how-to. There are proper videos and write ups online if you are truly interested in the art and history of visible mending. And if you want a more thorough instruction. Again, I believe that so many great low waste swaps come about by using what we have on hand, trying something out, and not being obsessed with perfection.

I started out by cutting a scrap of denim to fully cover the hole, then pinned it in place. I was able to purchase a bag filled with random embroidery floss many years ago at a thrift store. It has served me well over the years. For this project I chose a few blues, greys, and blue-greys. And then I just started stitching.

The ability to do a simple straight stitch has come in so handy for me. It's definitely a necessary life skill (makes notes to teach her son...). Again, this was not meant to be a perfect patch, so I was less concerned with the absolute straight-ness of my stitches.

This took me a few hours to complete, split over 3 days. I treat most (all) hand stitching work as meditative "flow" work, so I wasn't overly concerned with how long it took. The doing - the journey - is as important as the end result. And it was a great way to spend the long pandemic evenings. I could put on a podcast or some music and let my mind wander.

Also, this project cost me zero dollars. I had all the supplies on hand, which happens when you come at life from a "make do and mend" mentality. And the longer I prolong the life of these jeans, the more money I save and the happier I am. I love these fricken jeans.

I am excited to share more of the ways I make do with what I have, mend and repair items, and still live a very full and fulfilling life. I realize that this "lifestyle" isn't for everyone. But I also realize that capitalism is a drag that tells us we need to buy more and more new shiny things to feel good about ourselves and that's a lie. And the more I point that out, maybe the more people will move towards this other option. There are other options. And they feel really good too. FURTHER READING

I wrote out seven Money Saving Low Waste Ideas at the beginning of the month. There are some easy swaps in there to try. If you're interested in more low waste money talk, check out my (low waste) Money Diaries from a week in March. I went back through my Instagram and added a tag to all the photos I could find of these jeans. I've had them for 200 weeks or so. The two visible mending techniques (styles?) I read about after I was done with this patch are called sashiko and boro mending. There are indeed a lot of tutorials available online. Perhaps if these pants don't turn to dust soon, I can try one out on the other knee!

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