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We are Not Making Do


Time to update one of our favourite slogans


Make Do and Mend


- it's a great slogan that was first issued by the Ministry of Information in 1943 to urge people to repair, reuse and re-imagine their existing clothes during the Second world War (from June 1941 until 1949 buying new clothes was rationed in Britain).


Clothes may no longer be rationed, but those of us seeking to halt the climate emergency are urging people once again to repair, reuse and re-imagine their existing clothes. We must stress here that making do is not in any way giving settling for second best. On the contrary, when we make do and mend we feel we are making a conscious decision to get the very best from the clothes we love.


Women are often depicted as not wanting to wear the same thing twice, but might that be a marketing ploy to make us buy more? Should we be so easily fooled?


We've said it before: we love choosing what to wear each day and we definitely wouldn't want to stick to the same thing day in, day out. We see our outfits as part of our creativity and individuality.


But we only buy clothes we love and we want what we have got to last - not necessarily so we can wear it forever and a day, but so we can pass it on to somebody else. In the same way that nearly everything we buy and wear has been pre-loved by someone else.


We love the idea of Shedding not Shopping. Instead of buying a present for someone, why not give something you already own? But here's the important bit. Give something you really love, not something you just want to get rid of. We guarantee that even though you may at first feel a pang of regret, that will soon be replaced with a great glow of satisfaction.


We have started a new venture at our Community Wardrobe, encouraging the re-use of fabric. So while you may not want to wear the item of clothing that catches your attention, look at it again and consider what you could do with it. Could it be altered? Do you love it so much that you can justify paying someone else to make the alternation if you don't feel confident to do it yourself? (If you do, you will almost certainly be supporting a small, local business.)


Or can you see that fabric somewhere else in your home? As a cushion cover? Or a tote bag? Or inside a picture frame? Look at clothes creatively



And finally, have you considered making your own clothes? Or are you scarred by the memory of complicated patterns that took you so long to figure out that you had no energy left to do the actual sewing?


You might want to look at some of the new, independent pattern makers, who offer much simpler designs, particularly those stylish Scandi designs. If you can think of a dress as pretty much a pillow case with sleeves, you might be more willing to give it a go.


One of our regularly Community Wardrobe volunteers recently got a fantastic sewing machine from Facebook's Market Place, a real bargain. We bought ours from a charity shop several years ago. But if you are just starting out, you don't even need to go so far as buying a second hand machine. Ask around to see if anyone has one you can borrow first. And if they do, it's likely they also have a good pair of scissors you can borrow too.


Let's finish on a very optimistic note. Just look at what one of our younger volunteers did with a plain t-shirt she found on our rails. She chopped off a good 20cm and then painted on her own design.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you get a totally unique garment. We love it!

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