Mending things


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I have an old wicker basket in my house where we toss items “to be mended.” That sounds like such a quaint word- mended. Do you mend items for your family?
Sewing is not a skill that I would generally make mention of. I have the basic “sew a button back on” skills and that’s about it. One Christmas my parents gifted me with a sewing machine…and while I have on occasion used it, it rarely sees daylight other than for quick bang-up costume jobs at Halloween.
It’s not for lack of interest actually- I am in love with the idea of sewing. My Pinterest boards are full of adorable little dresses and projects to make for my girls… but it’s unlikely they’ll ever appear in reality. I’ve tried. There’s a bin in the closet full of scraps from the fabrics I bought to make dresses for the girls. I once produced a sundress that my oldest actually wore to church a time or two. I can hardly pass up a good sale on patterns and have a box full- some still unopened and far too small to even fit my children any longer.
Sewing just doesn’t work out for me. It’s just one of those things. I can see the dress, read the pattern, cut the pieces…but they never come together right. I can’t sew a straight seam to save my life. It’s hugely disappointing really… Dashing my visions of happy “farm girls” playing outside in the super cute homemade dresses that their thrifty mom has crafted…. Not happening here.
Despite her many efforts to teach me the skill, I still show up at my mother’s door with handfuls of pants to be hemmed. Sorry, mom.
I will stick to the mending. It makes me feel good- picking up a needle and thread and “saving” something from the  rag bin. These are packs of needles I scavenged from my grandmothers basket when she passed away. It thrills me to think that something so old can still be so useful. Most of my sewing kit is from what was left behind in her basket- little sewing implements that I don’t even know the use of, but keep just in case.

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I know it can be done better, that there is probably an actual “method” to properly stitch up a seam, replace a button, and close up a hole… but I get it done and wearable, and I figure that’s what counts. Plus, the kids think its cool when I fix their favorite shirt or “save” one of their stuffed toys. Mom and her sewing basket to the rescue!

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What do you think? Is “mending” a lost art?  I hope not.  I like to think of it as one of the ultimate green-skills that we can use and teach to our children- how to FIX something rather than toss it.  We live in such a “just trash it” culture, where it is so easy to throw out clothing because of small flaws and cheaply replace it with a new one, it can be hard to convince people that “mending” is still worthwhile.  Sure, there are times when there is just no saving a pair of pants with completely blown-out knees, but that doesn’t mean that it’s completely without life!  Just this winter I stopped myself from tossing one of my husband’s sweaters that had begun to unravel despite my efforts to stitch up a seam.  Two nights before Christmas I was thinking that I wish I had just “one more thing” to add to the kids’ stockings, and I remembered that sweater I had just pulled out of his closet to get rid of.  I cut it up, got out my sewing basket and fabric scrap bucket, and a few hours later had made 2 of these goofy little stuffed owl dolls for the kids out of odds and ends.  They LOVE them! I even found buttons from my grandmother’s old stash to use as eyes.  They are certainly not “perfect,” but that’s kind of the point.  Things don’t always have to BE perfect.   The buttons don’t always have to match.  The stitches don’t always have to be straight.   Sometimes, a little mending can make things just good enough.

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