How ‘make do and mend’ became a mantra for today’s on-trend fashion lovers

In a world of instant gratification, the art of mending and repairing clothes was one that seemed to have had its day; however, it has suddenly made a return, with a whole new generation wielding a needle and thread.

How ‘make do and mend’ became a mantra for today’s on-trend fashion lovers

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It is estimated that half a million people took up sewing recently. With shows such as The Great British Sewing Bee driving up the sale of sewing machines, an increasing number of people are becoming inspired to mend, make do and create.

Spurred on by economics

When the recent recession hit Britain, consumers became far more aware of how they were spending their money and clothing was one of the many items that suddenly became a luxury. Rather than buying new clothes, many people opted to update their current wardrobe and attend to any clothes that needed mending. A throwaway nation suddenly became one concerned with making things last, repurposing, upcycling and finding new ways to keep clothes fashionable.

Small clothing repair shops and anyone offering seamstress services suddenly became hugely popular, while learning how to sew became priority for many; in addition, sales of fabric such as cotton poplins from suppliers such as soared as people tried their hand at making their own simple shorts, dresses and skirts.

A growing industry

Altering clothes, mending them or updating them may seem like a simple pursuit; however, it has become a massive money-spinning industry, especially with vintage garments being so fashionable. In the UK the craft industry, which includes cake decorating, knitting and other similar handicrafts, is worth a staggering £3.1bn.

It is also estimated that around 3.5 million people are making their own clothes and the sewing machine industry has received a massive boost thanks to new purchases.

Refashioning fashion

The internet has also been a driving force in the huge upsurge of interest in repurposing and revamping clothing. Techniques and ideas are shared and although not much has changed in sewing circles in over 100 years, there has never been an easier, more accessible way to chat to others, to learn and to find inspiration.

Refashioning fashions and updating clothes has become a very satisfying, rewarding and enjoyable pastime for many. By acquiring new sewing skills, people can explore their creative side, extend the life of their wardrobe and always look good.

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