Make & mend day(s)
The Fashion on the Ration wardrobe rationalization project continues! I’m taking some time out between new sewing projects to do a few days of making & mending. It’s all very well sewing conversation pieces from vintage patterns, but I’m seriously short on normal street-wearable clothes and summer is icumen in.
After my wardrobe inventory, I purged my closet of all the irredeemable duds I hated the sight of or absolutely never wore. I also created a Please Try Harder drawer in my dresser for clothing I don’t like but have to keep until I can buy or make something nicer, because who can get by without any t-shirts? Then I set about the largest category in my wardrobe inventory: Needs Work.
Needs Work is practically ready-to-wear’s middle name. Nearly all my shop-bought garments have some tragic flaw. This blouse is all right, but the sleeves are unflattering. This skirt would be great if the hem were 2″ shorter. I would love this sweater if it were a bit more nipped in at the waist. And so on. So I’ve been revamping, reshaping, altering and generally titivating.
Accomplished so far:
- Redyeing all my black cotton. A lot of garments I’d vaguely assumed to be worn out were, on closer inspection, merely faded. I flung in a load of blacks with some Dylon Wash & Dye and hey presto! Half a dozen “new” tops in fresh-from-the-shop black.
- Shortening the hems of several vintage and me-made skirts to a more flattering length — just below the knee instead of at the widest part of the calf. This was also a great opportunity to redo hems I’d done sloppily the first time around.
- Hemming too-long jeans.
- Re-pressing crisp pleats into skirts and trousers.
- Pampering and prettifying my everyday handbag with a dose of nice leather conditioner.
Still to come:
- Darning yet more holes in my beloved Falke wool tights.
- Slicing off or reshaping bicep-squeezing puff sleeves on RTW blouses.
- Reshaping and cropping the waists of a sweater or two (sweaters that end near the natural waist seem to look better with skirts).
Contrary to my expectations, I find that mending or altering a garment makes me more attached to it rather than less. Instead of seeing a faulty garment whose imperfections have been patched up, I see something I’ve customized to my exact measurements and specifications, which feels faintly luxurious. I also feel a new bond with the garment, like working on it has given me a relationship with it that I don’t have with clothes I buy, wear and throw away. This definitely makes for a friendlier wardrobe!