Thrifty Tip #19: Make Do and Mend

During the Second World War, the British people were encouraged by their government to 'Make Do and Mend'.  Food, fuel and clothing were all rationed.

How different to today! These days, most clothes are comparatively cheap and disposable, often made in slave labour conditions in China. I can't remember the last time I saw an item of clothing made in Australia. Most people, it seems, throw out damaged clothes rather than mending them.

It is with great fascination that I have recently read Make Do and Mend: Keeping Family and Home Afloat on War Rations.  This handy little book is made up of reprinted World War II pamphlets.  Until I read it I didn't know the correct way to darn a hole vs. a tear,or how to make children's slippers out of rug wool.  I have never even considered reinforcing the family's underwear to make it last longer - who would?  Similarly, how many people today would cut down men's pyjamas for a little boy, or alter a man's old suit to become a skirt and coat for a lady?

Yet while many of the suggestions in the book seem extreme by today's standards, the techniques found there are both thrifty and environmentally friendly.

While I will probably never be a great seamstress, I do hope to improve my skills at simple clothing repairs, with  Make Do and Mend as my guidebook.

This post is part of my series, Thirty Days of Thrifty Tips.

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