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Do you make do and mend?

by Folksy Support

The Papered Parlour

The Folksy blog was recently contacted by The Papered Parlour, an independent craft venue in Clapham to tell us about the mini arts festival event they are hosting at the V&A Museum of Childhood called ‘Ethical Fashion in the Age of Austerity’.  It’s part of TimeOut’s First Thursdays where every month the galleries and museums of east London open their doors late for a chance to see amazing art, culture and events after hours. (Lucky East Londoners!)

We thought this event exploring ethical fashion through the frame of art and design would really strike a chord with our many members who believe that buying handmade is the best, often the result of a desire to be ethical and environmentally friendly by buying from UK artists and makers, but also because we want items that are unique and made with care. We know from listening to the discussions of our shopkeepers in our forums that they struggle with pricing their items, some of our sellers dramatically undervaluing the hard work that has gone into a piece in order to try and compete with high street prices and auction sites.

Ethical Fashion in the Age of Austerity

Thursday 03 March 2011, 6.00 – 9.00pm

Calling all fair trade fashionistas! Head down to the V&A Museum of Childhood for the first Thursday of March and join The Papered Parlour for an ethical fashion mini-festival. Uncover hidden workshops, live music, performance, panel discussion and craft stalls set amongst the museum’s exquisite collections. Celebrate the rise of ‘slow fashion’ as London’s leading eco-journalists, green stylists and ethical campaigners come together to discuss the key issues surrounding this growing social movement. In an age of austerity, can we justify the added expense of buying ethically? Or is Make-Do and Mend set to be the next big trend?

The line up reads like a who’s who of ethical fashion: Museum trustee and fashion legend Betty Jackson will be in attendance alongside the Guardian’s ‘Ethical Living’ columnist Lucy Siegle, who will be speaking about her forthcoming book ‘To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing out the World?’. London’s ultra-cool stylist Jocelyn Whipple will be running a unique workshop on green styling, plus eco-campaigners ‘Labour Behind the Label’ and ‘Love Fashion Hate Sweat Shops’ will be offering top tips on how to be stylishly sustainable. The event is hosted by celebrated craft venue The Papered Parlour, who will be holding a series of ‘make do and mend’ workshops with Piney Gir and Young & Lost Club providing a fabulous soundtrack along the way. So get your ethical act together and get into fair trade fashion at the V&A Museum of Childhood this spring!

What do you think?

We’d love to hear opinions from our readers about this issue – do you ‘make do and mend’ as much as you can enabling you to afford to pay a little more for ethically sourced clothing?  Were you taught to darn socks and sew on patches in school or at home by your mother – would you have the time or inclination to do this even if you were, would your children be happy to wear patched up clothes, not all of us are as skilled as some of the excellent seamstresses here on Folksy, especially when new school trousers from the supermarket cost as little as £4 (less than many kids weekly pocket money).

Do leave a comment and let us know your thoughts…

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Katie February 15, 2011 - 9:01 am

I try to make do and mend but its hard when it is SO cheap to get things from the supermarket and high street. I’m doing better when it comes to gifts and things though – New Year resolution 1 is to buy handmade gifts as far as possible!

Abi February 15, 2011 - 9:56 am

I always darn socks! Patching clothes never works quite as well as I hope, so a little skill-perfecting needed there. I hate buying cheap clothes, because I know they’re only cheap because someone else has been exploited. However, cheap or no, I would always make-do-and-mend because I feel it’s just plain wrong to throw things away.

Catherine Lloyd-Evans February 15, 2011 - 10:26 am

Yep. I’m totally all about the make do and mend, but for me it’s more about caring for the environment, and human rights and sustainability in manufacturing, than thrift. I only buy from charity shops or ethical fashion stores, and the whole basis of my business is upcycling and recycling pre-loved and second-hand fabrics into gifts and homewares too.
And yes, we need a revolution on value and pricing of Handmade, certainly!
x x x

Booboo February 15, 2011 - 10:36 am

Yes I hate throwing things away I re use buttons on my bags and save even the smallest pieces of fabric to patchwork with or to use for applique.Would love to attend these late evenings but live to far away great blog

Laura February 15, 2011 - 11:35 am

That date has gone straight in the diary! I love making but haven’t always been so hot at the mending. I hate throwing clothes (anything!) away and always tried to re-home them via the charity shop or clothes swaps with friends (if they were in good enough nick). Recently I have learnt to sew and am now able to do a half decent repair job or turn well loved but worn out items into something new. It gives an amazing sense of satisfaction in all respects and gives me a nice, warm, inside project for chilly nights! x

Victoria February 15, 2011 - 11:39 am

First time last year I bought a handmade dress, I really love it one of the best items of clothing I’ve ever bought! Will definitely be looking to get more in the future even if it is that bit more expensive.

Kettle of Fish February 15, 2011 - 3:15 pm

Everything is very carefully scrutinised before it gets thrown away in our house. I’m a terrible hoarder and hate waste, so if it can be mended or reused it will be! Even if it came from a charity shop in the first place. ‘Make do and mend’ always sounds like such a compromise, but it doesn’t have to be – it can enable well loved items to keep going and create wonderful new things with added value!

Wendy Fleckner February 15, 2011 - 4:08 pm

I mend socks but has anyone tried to buy darning wool these days!!! I hate getting rid of things and am a hoarder, I always think ‘it might come in useful’. My children are always telling me to get rid of all the ‘stuff’ but when they need some obscure item who do they ask first? yes you guessed it (and I can usually find something suitable). I can’t resist fabric and will use as much upcycled as possible but still can’t resist new as well. I do ‘make do and mend’ but as said earlier doesn’t sound good – perhaps we should call it ‘re-jigg and repair’? Perhaps someone else could coin a better phrase.

Kryshees February 15, 2011 - 4:23 pm

I fixed my holey jeans by cutting out stars with my bigshot and sewing them all on after I had embroidered them.

A bit retro, but it worked! I blogged about it on http://www.kryshees.blogspot.com

layla February 15, 2011 - 5:47 pm

yes yes yes! I hate throwing away things and am famous for my many uses for a worn out shirt!

Lalabibaby February 15, 2011 - 6:32 pm

I too cannot bear to throw anything away and hate waste …. buttons, trims, ribbons etc are all removed and fabrics re-used and I am always on the lookout for old textiles to upcycle into something else. I will mend where possible, have always made my own curtains (and taken them from house to house) and recovered the seat cushions on my sofas to make them last longer.

Julia K Walton February 24, 2011 - 8:20 pm

I was brought up wearing hand-me-downs and patched trousers and none the worse for that. I like buying clothes from charity shops or handmade as you get something that no-one else will have. I keep a lot of our old clothes to make into patchwork items, rag rugs etc.

Sherrie February 25, 2011 - 8:58 pm

I love recycling old items, from the demise of one item, breathes life into another :-)

Though it is hard to recycle materials for my handmade cards, though it is something i am keen to try.

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