Mending, More than Making Do

Customer Service & Information Page

Mending is the process of fixing and patching clothing items to extend their life and usability. While there have always been people that mend their clothing, the practice became less common as, thanks to manufacturing, clothing became cheaper and easier to replace than fix.

Vintage Sign

During World War II, many countries had strict limits on the amount of cloth or clothing you could purchase. This made good mending skills extremely important. Trade committees devised campaigns to encourage and teach mending with booklets and pamphlets, such as Make Do and Mend, put out by the English Ministry of Information in 1943 and Make Mend For Victory, published in New York by Spool Cotton Co. in 1943 here in the USA. Of course, once restrictions were lifted, slowly, over time, mending became less common again.

These days fast fashion has made inexpensive clothing very easy to find, and the skills of basic sewing and mending are not as common. But that has started to change. More of us are becoming aware of the impact of fast fashion and how little space we have left in our closets. Not to mention the environmental impact, which is almost at crisis levels in some countries, of all the used clothing going to the landfills. Others want to keep a favorite garment going for a while longer and many are also beginning to realize the potential for mending to add to the aesthetic of a garment, making mending a creative process. Katrina Rodabaugh explores the creative side of mending in her fabulous new book Mending Matters.

Many modern menders are finding inspiration in the traditions of mending from other cultures. The Japanese traditions of Sashiko embroidery and patched Boro clothing have been very influential in the aesthetic being developed by those that practice "visible mending". Instead of trying to make their clothing look like new, they are intentionally working with mixed fabrics and threads to create interesting items that may have started out as off-the-rack clothing but become custom, one-of-a-kind looks.

Japanese tradition of BoroExample of Boro Cloth
Japanese tradition of SashikoExamples of Sashiko Embroidery

In India, women use old saris to make Kantha Cloth or quilts, stitching them in layers with bold quilting to turn them into beautiful blankets and pads. Re-using clothing in quilts is a tradition that is common around the world. The quilters of Gee's Bend are famous here in the USA for their bold colorful quilts that made use of old clothing and textiles.

Clearly, mending is a way to not just fix your favorite jacket but to create something new and unique, to the point it can really become up-cycling. We hope this inspires you to look at your wardrobe in a whole new way. Perhaps it is time to dye up some embroidery thread or make some patches with your ice dyed fabrics!


Customer Comments
Image of a notebook and pencil

If you'd rather speak with a human, please call toll-free from anywhere in the U.S. or Canada M-F 8am to 5pm PST

Phone: (800) 542-5227

Your item has been added to your shopping cart   Item Added to Cart
Your item has not been added to your shopping cart   Item Not Added

About Tiered Discount Levels

You can combine cotton and rayon clothing & accessories to get the greatest discounts. Your discount is figured on the total number of cotton and rayon items we ship, not how many of each type, style or size. Mix and match them to get the best discount.

Example: adding 4 each of 3 different T-shirts in any sizes will give you the 12+ price on all 12 shirts.

Visual aid for discount details

Visual aid for how discounts will look in cart

Some products may be excluded from discounts, and / or may discount only with themselves. If you have any questions at all please contact us toll free at 800-542-5227 (no buttons, just humans).

Drag and Drop chips to the Palette first.

ssl test img