Make Do & Mend

Make Do & Mend Part 1 PDF | Make Do & Mend Part 2 PDF

My interest in the 40/50s began as a child watching old movies with my Grandmama. Then a few years ago I became much more interested in the fashion and following that, this year, I have become fascinated with the lifestyle. After watching the show “1940’s House” I felt a bit sick about everything we take for granted….especially by how much we waste. How often I had thrown out a cheap garment just because a seam came undone, how quickly I threw out the kids pj’s when they got a small hole in them. Little things that I just didn’t think of when it was so easy and cheap to replace.

My only redeeming quality was telling the girls to put things that they wanted to keep, but needed to be mended in the sewing cupboard…saying I would get to it, but somehow I never did.

This all changed when my brush broke. It was not long after I had been reading and watching everything I could get my hands on about rationing during the war. My hair brush looks almost identical to the one above and the glue came loose on the orange bit and it detached from the brush. As it cost very little I was all set to duck over to the chemist to grab another when I realised this was the perfect opportunity to put the “make do and mend” philosophy in practice. After all there was almost nothing wrong with it. The hubby dug out the super glue and five minutes later my brush was as good as new.

Just like that a fire was lit under me. I dragged all of my clothes that were in need of some tlc out of the cupboard and asked my girls to do the same. I sorted them into piles: items that needed buttons replaced, things that needed the sewing machine (then into different colours so I didn’t have to keep changing the thread), items that needed hand sewing and things that needed a complete overhaul.

I was more surprised with how much pride it filled me with, than actually managing to get it all done. After being educated by a friend recently on how much clothing goes into landfill it was nice to know that I was doing my bit. It was also much easier on the purse than replacing them all.

I have also been dabbling in sewing. Trying desperately to learn in order to make more of my own clothes. As a larger girl who loves vintage I find there is almost nothing available in my size…the few things I do find are either poor reproductions (so much lycra/spandex) or quite matronly vintage outfits that are way too expensive for me. I started out small with an apron and am currently working on a pair of high waisted shorts for summer (another post if they come together) and have a lovely 1950’s shirt dress pattern that I found on ebay in my size for a little under $10. But with Christmas around the corner and things being EXTREMELY tight this year I have decided to make a few things for my lovely daughters (who are thankfully the least consumeristic children you could imagine and I know will love whatever I make them, even if they are terrible!).

For Miss 12 who is trying out for the Australian Ballet School next year I am going to attempt a huge pancake tutu with matching tutu hair elastic and a new dance bag for all her gear.

For Miss 11 who is the opposite of her big sister and loathes anything pink or frilly I am going to make her a bean bag probably in an obnoxious skull print and a matching ribbon memory board and a library bag as she is visiting the library 2-3 times a week at the moment and can’t get enough of books.

Lastly Miss A & Miss H (our almost 9yo twins) have asked for anything “Pokemon” themed for their bedroom. I am going to be making them pokeball style doona covers…but rectangle shaped rather than ball shaped (like THIS iPhone case), these awesome Pikachu Pillows as well as attempting this totally mammoth (and will probably be a disaster) Snorlax Beanbag Chair.

As usual I am sure I have bit off way more than I can chew….but I just got so excited by the thought of making some of our Christmas presents that I just kept adding more things to the list. I will let you know how they go!

What can you make do & mend for Christmas this year?

Miss Fairchild

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4 Responses to Make Do & Mend

  1. Hi,

    Excellent post on making do! I am also a big fan of 1940’s style and decor, and try to follow the 1930’s and 140’s idea of “use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.” I look forward to more of your posts and followed in the wordpress reader.

    Leanne at Hanbury House

    • Hi Leanne, thanks for dropping by! I adore the work you have done on your place. We are unfortunately renting and it is a very modern house (It was built last year and we are the first tennants) and our lease won’t let us change anything. One day I would love to have a little place similar to yours and a huge cast iron claw foot bath (that’s the dream!). Hope you enjoy the rest of the blog.

  2. Renée says:

    How did the memory board turn out?

    • They turned out great – except I ended up making pin boards instead. I bought some cheap corkboards and then attached fabric using pva glue and to tidy up the edges I glued ribbon down. It worked so well I made one for all four of my girls!

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