Fashion, Fun, Musings

Make do and mend

I needed a button sewn this weekend and having no sewing skills whatsoever I had to plead with my mum who hates sewing herself to help me out. Growing up, I had no instruction at school in sewing, knitting, mending and it’s left me pretty short when it comes to practical know-how.

I think it’s real shame that such skills seems to be dying out. I love clothes and am always moaning how things in shops never look or fit quite right. I’d love to be able to make my own clothes or be a whizz at the sewing machine but I’m hopeless! If I’m ever able to cut down on work I’d love to take a class so I can finally learn these things.

I actually did learn to knit although my skills are pretty low rent and did produce two winter scarves. I attempted to do a throw for my room but gave up because nothing looked right. I find it frustrating and disappointing that I’m not creative in this way.

If there was ever a clothes shortage, I think my generation would be pretty hopeless at getting through it. We live in such a disposal society now – people can buy a cheap top from Primark rather than mend an old favourite or make their own clothes but it’s sad to see the art dying out I think. I hope one day I can learn to do something otherwise if I ever have children I’ll have to buy them new shirts because I can’t sew on new buttons 🙂

How are your sewing skills?



51 thoughts on “Make do and mend”

  1. I’ve taught both of my sons how to sew on a button and even basic sewing machine skills (in case ver needed)…however, you have no idea how many friends (grown women) have asked me to sew on buttons for them because they have no idea how.

  2. My mother taught me basic sewing, even how to darn socks!) You are probably too young to know anything about that, but in those days we had to fix stuff; there was no money to go out and buy new! She also taught me how to knit, which came in useful when I started having my kids. I knitted them hats, bootees, mittens, jumpers, etc., and it was a lot cheaper than buying them.
    I taught my kids how to sew on a button, take up a hem, but that’s as much as they can do – enough to get by anyway!

  3. I can sew a button, and a simple hem, but if it is anything further, I am going to be out of luck. I totally agree that we live in a completely disposal society. I think that is why I am so fascinated with the whole program at Stone Barns where 20 and 30-somethings are learning how to produce food and maintain livestock for consumption.

    1. Wow that sounds wonderful. There is something so attractive about becoming more self sufficient instead of generating more waste and wondering what is in the food we are putting into our mouths and what affect it will have on our bodies.

  4. My sewing skills are horrible. I think it’s funny in a way that it skipped a generation with me – my mom made a lot of my clothes and was very good at it. I never had the urge to learn it, but my daughter did. About a year ago, my mom handed down her sewing machine to my daughter, and she enjoys making curtains and such. Just not my thing! 🙂

  5. My sewing skills are next to none. I do know how to sew buttons, though. I’ve always admired those who could put together, design, make their own clothes. I’m so not into fashion (obvious by my lack of sharp wardrobe and fashion sense) yet I often wish I was, because there are a lot of really cute things out there!!

  6. I would normally say I can’t sew (because I’ve never really learned and I find it tedious), but last Halloween I did make pieces of the costumes for both of my boys and was pretty proud of myself. Okay, I only used felt, and the darting on one son’s vest (or waistcoat, for non-yanks) is pretty awful, but they were happy. I hope to never have to do that again!

    However, I can knit (somewhat poorly) and crochet (quite well), thanks to my grandmother. It’s a fun release for me in between writing projects.

  7. I can’t sew. My mother thinks it’s a crime. And it’s true – if electricity were to go out, we’d all be screwed, haha! Not just at creating and making clothing, but about getting food, and having fun and just about everything.

  8. I always wanted to learn how to sew. I have basic skills, but nothing amazing. But I live in hope. I really want to improve and make fantastic things. I love crocheting and knitting. Do you think everyone made their own clothes? I wonder, I mean you see it on TV and my Grandmother used to (she was a seamstress among other things), my Mom and my Aunts did sort of, but really we buy our clothes. I can make mends, but I am a little intimidated by the idea of sewing a dress. But I think if I got over it, rather when I get over it, I think I would be good. Maybe it’s time to take out that sewing machine. Now I just need a good table. Must pluck up courage.

    1. I think def poorer people made their own clothes and during the War people had to mend and make their own as there were loads of shortages. I’d love to make my own dress as I find them a nightmare to fit me!

  9. This is a weird coincidence but I was trying to fix one of my favourite dresses this weekend. Like you I am trying to teach myself to knit (but I’m rubbish&I don’t even know what I’m doing wrong) and have been saying I will learn to sew for years. I finally took the plunge a few months ago and bought a cute, cheap and simple little sewing machine from John Lewis (it’s hot pink), even with help from my mum I still can’t thread it properly and have already bent one needle. Oh well. I’ve lost the manual now as well :S Hopefully another go with my mum might help- I guess I’ll just have to persevere if I want to make myself some lovely homemade clothes. Sigh.
    Katie xx
    P.s. my sewing didn’t even fix my dress for more than 5 minutes- hope you had better luck with your button!

  10. I can relate! I finally took it upon myself about a dozen years ago to buy an affordable sewing machine and an instruction book. My first sewing project was a loose-fitting pair of pants in a cute pink & white palm tree print. I adored them! I even managed to insert an elastic waistband. I plan to teach my daughters how to sew clothing when they’re a little older, but for now they do simple sewing crafts.

  11. I miraculously sewed a bunch of cushion covers for some benches. Though I just velcroed them shut b/c i founding figure out out to hand sew them shut. I did take a sewing class and we made a pair of PJs and a bag. I was very impressed with myself, but I can’t do stuff like that on my own. I did learn to knit and have about 20 scarves now. 🙂

  12. I know how to sew on a button! I also mend my cardies/skirts too (i.e. stich them up at the collar). That is where my sewing skills end. I’d love to make my own clothes but have a fear they’ll look wrong….!!


  13. I can sew a button on, do general clothing repairs although the kids have managed to tear trousers in such a way I have no hope of ever repairing them. It’s quite funny really having been banned from the Home Ecc room when I was at school yet I’m a perfectly competent person in the kitchen and at making things. My boys can sew buttons on, Poppy makes her own clothes, Fuchsia is the one that lets the side down and many a time do I end up having to take out safety pins to do mild repairs.

  14. I can sew on a button and do a few minor fixes. I haven’t used a sewing machine since middle school though.

    Like you, I can do some basic knitting. But I’ve never tried following a pattern, and I can pretty much only do the garter and purl stitches.

  15. Sewing buttons back on stuff is the one and only non-cooking domestic thing that I managed to retain from middle school Home Economics class 🙂 (I can also cross stitch… but no one needs that skill ever.) I watch Project Runway or flip through fashion adverts and wish I could create clothes like those designers, but that’ll never happen!!

  16. I used to make my own clothes when I was in high school, some of the dresses I sewn were actually very nice… now I don’t do anything, not worth it with the amount of cheap clothes available everywhere.

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