I love May. It’s the start of summer and there is an annual event, Me Made May, started by our fab friend Zoe that gets my Instagram and Twitter feeds full of gorgeous handmade items. This May, I spotted our contributor Jen doing something a little different. So I asked her if she’d share her slight twist on the theme…
So Jen, tell us all about your ‘May’ idea …
It has been fabulous to see a rise in all things handmade over the last decade or so, and this is epitomised by the popularity of Me Made May, the brainchild of Zoe at So Zo What Do you Know? Me Made May is an annual challenge designed to encourage people who make their own garments to actually wear and love them.
I really enjoy taking part in it each year, and I love how my Instagram stream is filled with selfies of people in their Me Made clothes each day during May. However, I struggle to find something Me Made to wear every day, and I noticed that although I don’t have a wardrobe full of handmade clothes, I do have an awful lot of Me Mended things!
The more I explore mending, the more it feels as if there is something of a mending revolution in the air, with growing numbers of people starting to embrace the magic of the mend and learning to love their stuff again.
Up until about three or four years ago, I had never mended a thing – not even a button. I just assumed it was something other people did and that if I tried, it would just go wrong (kind of stupid now that I think about it – how much more broken could I make an already broken thing?!).
All that changed a few years ago when I dragged the family along with My Make Do and Mend Year, a year of buying nothing new, and I realised pretty quickly that it would be faster and easier to mend the holes in the kids’ jeans than it would be to try and find them ‘new’ second-hand pairs. (Read more about Jen’s Mending year here.)
Since then, I’ve quickly become a huge fan of mending. Between us, hubby and I have fixed socks, trousers, the washing machine, the dishwasher and even the odd mobile phone or two. There is something enormously satisfying about mending something. Saving it from the scrap heap or the recycling bin, means that it can be used and loved once again.
Mending used to be something that our grandparents did out of necessity during the war years. Some of us have become so used to our disposable culture that we’ve forgotten that stuff even can be mended. But all of that is changing.
Back at the start of this month, I launched Mend It May, over on My Make Do and Mend Life, as a month-long celebration and exploration of all things mending. And I’ve been blown away by the response. There are now over 300 people in the Mend It May Facebook group, and it has been amazing to see people joining in on Instagram, responding to my daily ‘prompts.’
It’s been wonderful to see that I’m not the only crazy one who patches her jeans multiple times and who actually darns socks. And I’m not the only one who cares about my stuff and all that it represents. Cares about the people who made it, and the impact that it has on the planet. I love mending (you may have noticed), and I think that the simple act of mending can be incredibly powerful, and empowering.
When we choose to mend something, rather than just throw it ‘away’ (although we all know there is actually no ‘away’), we are choosing to value that thing, the resources that have gone into it, as well as the person, possibly in some far away country, who has made it. And we are choosing to say “No” to the constant demands of retailers and big business to upgrade and buy new stuff only to throw it away when it breaks or something better comes along.
It’s lovely to know that I’m not the only one. There is a small but growing army of mending revolutionaries, and we are on the march—come and join us.
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