Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Make Do and Mend (a Pinterest edition)

I’ve alluded to it some time ago and I’m sure it’s obvious anyway, that my blog name is inspired by the old WW2 propaganda /policy of ‘make do and mend’ / ‘mend and make do.’

Recently, while browsing Pinterest I found some gems that I thought I’d share with you.

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Note the emergency spool and snaps.

Pinned Image

I think these days we call that ‘re-styling’

and this is my favourite …

Pinned Image

I especially love the spiel at the bottom: “It’s up to you to keep the home fires burning, to see that you and your family stay easy-on-the-eyes.”

Obviously a lot of things have changed since then. We are not currently in the middle of a world war and we have not just been through the Great Depression (although we do have a current economic crisis nonetheless!)

When searching on Pinterest with the search term "make do and mend" I encountered quite a few links for sewing techniques on how to mend clothes/ darn socks etc. And with these I saw that quite a few people had commenting how sad it was that things such as the art of sock darning have been lost.

However I disagree in a way, as a lot of things have changed for the better. Yes, it is sad that perhaps less people sew and knit than before (although I think there has been a bit of a resurgence) but in my mind really one main thing has changed since then:

We have more options, resources, and information (especially from the internet) at our disposal

Back in the day (so I’ve heard) people had to basically knit their whole baby layette. And staying with the baby example, I would be rich if I had a dollar for every time an old lady has accosted me in the street to tell me that back in her day they didn’t have these fancy prams/ car seats clothes etc – they just had one or two brands.

With all the options we these days comes competition, sales and things being made cheaply offshore and therefore cheaper prices for us the consumer. But this can be both a blessing and a curse. I can’t say what it was like back in those WW2 times, but today’s society seems to me very materialistic, always wanting bigger, better and more stuff. (And I’m no exception.) Also because things are made cheaper they are more disposable which leads to more waste and want.

Of course, on the other side a lot of things have improved over the years due to innovative ideas and developments in technology. For example modern cloth nappies are a vast improvement as are the modern disposable ones. ( I just can’t seem to get away from the baby examples, can I?)

The internet is also something that has provided us with great opportunity as well as potential to do us harm . The whole social networking phenomenon can make us think that everyone else is very successful – has a nice house, things and a happy family. It’s like Keeping up with the Jones’s on speed and makes us discontented with what we have.

But then on the other side the internet provides us with ideas, inspiration, the ability to buy things from the other side of the world and a you tube clip on ‘how to darn socks’ at the click of the button. (This is why I really like the ‘Pin real life’ idea started by Dee – using Pinterest “to inspire not promote desire.”)

So, it really is a matter of taking the best that this option filled, internet age has to offer and leaving the rest.

Perhaps we need the attitude of then, but making use of the resources we have now…

For me, I’m happy to:

  • Scour op-shops for bargains and deals,
  • Make a few things (and have fun while doing it),
  • Take advantage of all the inspiration the internet has to offer but try to be happy for others but content in myself,
  • When the budget allows, splash out on a few things such as high thread count sheets (there’s nothing like nice sheets – and I figure I deserve it for saving money in other areas.
  • And should my socks get holes in them I think I’ll just throw them out and buy some cheap ones that were probably made in China – I am happy to mend a lot of things but socks are just not one of them.

Jenny X


Anonymous said...

Great post Jenny!
Personally I think a lot can be learnt from looking back on the generations before us and adapting their way of life to modern day. I much prefer to live a frugal life to one of luxury but that is by choice. There are certain things I love to do from scratch such as cooking and some craft but I am with you and agree that some things are better just purchased new :)

Notchka said...

A really thoughtful post there - I just skimmed, but I'll have to come back to it later. We are 'birds of a feather' - you might want to check out my clothing brand and its philosophy - there are links there to the slow fashioned movement which encompasses much of what you talk about. Also - high thread count sheets last longer and are a better use of your money in my book, so not only nice to sleep in but an eco-concious consumer choice too. My motto is buy the best that you can afford and take good care of it :) Joyful Christmas wishes to you!