Make do and Mend

I can’t help but feel a sense of achivment and a sense of sadness this evening for something that seems to be a dying frame of mind these days.

Since I have been home this evening I have repaired 3 pairs of trousers and am working on my fourth. Nothing major, a couple of seems coming appart, a button come off and a hem that has come out in the middle.

All of these trousers are perfectly fine except from a few stitches coming undone in some fairly important places. One of them I will admit is quite worn, but I like it that way. The total amount of money it would have cost to replace these particular trousers would be somewhere around the £100 mark (one pair is a fairly long standing and hard living North Face pair I have had for a long while which don’t come cheap).

I will admit to using a cheap small sewing machine Demelza got a year ago or so to do all this, and while I could have done this even more cheaply by hand, my hand stitching is not quite up to par in some places (what is it about a straight line that is so complex!). The point is, even using a sewing machine, in this one instance we have in effect saved £80 (£20 sewing machine for thoese who can’t keep up).

A few years ago with rationing still ringing in their ears the general public at large would have considered this not only easy to do, but also the only sane choice. These days people seem more than willing to part with yet more money to replace something which was far from gone.

I will admit that several years ago I was probably the wrong side of the line, but a couple of years living with Dan (who is one of the ultimate “Keep Calm And Carry On” people I know) and I was soon on the right path.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting spending all waking hours tending to the vegtable patch or clothes with more patches than sleeves, but just a little more bias towards mending and making do.

This of course does not just apply to clothes. Never would anyone in their right mind in computing let an old dead machine go to waste. Of course it will be thrown out, but first it will be stripped for parts, anything that might come in handy and save a trip to PCWord and the land of silly prices.


  1. Thomas says:

    Since my skill at sewing is pretty much nonexistant I’m unlikely to mend clothes, but I’ll certainly do simple (and not-so-simple) bits of DIY to repair stuff. A recent example is my speakers. Most people would have just binned them, but a) they’re actually quite good for what they are and b) I know my electronics. A minute with a soldering iron and they’re as good as new.

    On computers, I’ve only thrown out two x86-based systems: an ancient 386 (from which I kept the keyboard, and still use that today) and there’s a 10-year-old Duron-based system with leaky capacitors that’s waiting for a trip to the skip. And even then I intend to desolder anything worth keeping from the motherboard before binning it.

  2. Jonathan says:

    “general public at large”

    Well slightly over half the population anyway… ie women

  3. Jonathan says:

    I agree with Thomas about DIY, repairing or building something is manly. If you don’t do it then you are a shallow husk of a being… alternatively you could sow I suppose.

  4. Craig says:

    To break, fix, repair, build, knock down are all manly pursuits. It does not just have to be building some big with nails in a Clarkson kinda of way. Making clothes from scratch, now that is girly, fixing something that is broken, that is manly.

    The manly sense of achievement does not coming because of what you are fixing or how you are fixing it, it comes from knowing you could have thrown it away, but instead you took out your brain and your tools and you fixed it. I am just as happy from fixing a computer, or a door or a lock as I am a pair of trousers.

    Also, wrong “sow”…

  5. Jonathan says:

    I will say I meant sowing seeds but I didn’t…

    I’m sorry but fixing clothes is not and never will be a manly pursuit.

  6. Craig says:

    Perhaps if you had seen Dan (my old housemate) sitting on his bed mending something you would understand how such a task could in fact be very manly. Although I will of course have to admit that me sitting at a sewing machine does not counjour up quite the same image…

  7. Nandini says:

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