Mindful mending is the act of repairing and mending our belongings by hand and in a mindful way. It gives us the opportunity to realise all of the work that goes into making our clothes, to spend time touching and caring for our clothes and slow down the fast fashion cycle. Mindful mending can be a great way to repair and care for our clothes in a fun and loving way, by creating changes and improvements to our clothes while we mend!
Our team member Alice set out on a mindful mending mission over the last few weeks and she gave us some great tips for giving your well worn clothes a little extra love.
Alice says, “At Suitcase Rummage we love spending time shopping for second hand beauties, but what about when your favourite clothes and accessories fall into disrepair? We investigate some easy ways to mend your clothes which are relatively simple and enjoyable to do!”
Give some life to your old shoes –
Step 1: Clean your shoes! Find out what material your shoes are made of and get cleaning. Use a damp cloth, some soapy water and an old toothbrush to remove that grime! Use eucalyptus oil to remove sticky price labels. Sun dry and make sure your shoes are completely dry before moving on to the next step! Use a little bicarbonate soda to help deodorise.
Step 2: Give your shoes some new life and colour with a little paint, dye, or shoe polish! You can buy special dyes and paints that will suit different types of material such as suede dye or fabric paint markers! Some shoes may also do well with some water repellent spray, especially if you have used paint or fabric dye. Remember to use masking tape to cover the areas of your shoes that you’d like to stay clear of dye and paint.
Step 3: Repair your shoes! Glue your sole with a little shoe glue, stitch a burst seam, add new laces, or a new buckle! You can also take your shoes to a professional for a little extra help if you need!
Darn your socks –
We learnt that you can make your socks even more fun by adding cute coloured patches to your socks! Here is a great tutorial on how to darn your socks: https://youtu.be/NDkMShaLX9c
When darning socks, use a jar or a round container to hold your sock taught if you don’t have a special darning egg or mushroom.
We love this inspiring quote by Bryony Porter, “Mending our clothing is a political act. Mending our clothing is anti-capitalist. Mending our clothing is environmental activism. Mending our clothing is self care. Mending our clothing is resistance. Mending our clothing is the future. Mending our clothing is rewarding, skills-building and relaxing.” Follow Bryony on instagram @tickover
Embrace visible mending –
Be proud of the imperfections and the love and care you have put into your belongings. You don’t need to hide the imperfections in your clothes, instead lean into them to create something fun, like adding a cute embroidery over a hole or a stain. By taking on this attitude, it removes the pressure of mending perfectly.
“If you have mended something and your fix is visible, don’t feel discouraged. You are part of the visible mending movement! Check out the hashtag #visiblemending for inspiring visible repairs.” – Erin Rhoads
Repairing is caring, learning is empowering –
If you can repair a hem that’s come undone, sew up a little hole, or fix a lost button, you’re already on your way to a sustainable closet.
“Enrol in a mending or repair class to learn the skills and confidence to fix your stuff and help give it a longer life. If there are no classes available in your area, make a suggestion to your local council to run one or search classes and tutorials online.” – Erin Rhoads
One tip we’ve learned is to mend something as soon as you see it. A loose stitch or a little hole will grow over time and be harder to fix later. When repairing a hole, put a scrap of fabric behind the hole to reinforce the weak edges of fabric and stop the hole from growing.
Upcycle an old item to give it new life!
Jazz up a linen basic, swap the old buttons for some funky new ones! Add tassels, bedazzle, turn your jeans into shorts, add a new buckle, dye your shirt a different colour, get creative! Start collecting extra buttons, scraps of fabric and left over bits and bobs, you never know when they’ll come in handy. Make repairs a fashion statement – add some embroidery to cover a hole or stain, add a fun patterned patch of fabric to repair a ripped area, or use brightly coloured stitching. The possibilities are endless and your style is unique!
Get some help if you need it –
“Repairing provides jobs and keeps skills alive. Participating in repairing also puts value on the hours and skills someone spent making the item. If we don’t get our things repaired, then the companies who made our stuff won’t make them with repairing in mind” – Erin Rhoads
Here are a few more reads we found to continue the mindful mending journey!
1. “Waste Not Everyday – 365 ways to reduce, reuse and reconnect” – Erin Rhoads.
2. “How to save the world for free” Natalie Fee.
3. “Wear, Repair, Repurpose – A maker’s guide to mending and up cycling clothes” – Lily Fulop.
4. “Make + Mend – a Sashiko-inspired craft book” – Jessica Marquez
What’s on your list to mend…?
Mending photos via Alice Given @figments.paper.art
Repaired jeans photo from: @knitmetogether
Repaired shirt photo from Jessica Marquez @miniaturerhino