15 Reasons Why You Should Learn to Mend
Extend the life of your favourite clothes
Clothes that need repair aren't available for wearing. You can increase the size of your wardrobe in a few minutes by mending.
Don't spend money on new clothes when you can repair the clothes you already own at little or no cost. Second-hand and vintage clothes (and sometimes even new clothes) are often cheaper if they need mending.
We are encouraged to think of clothes as disposable, because so many cheap clothes are available and they are of such poor quality. When we trash synthetic fabrics they disintegrate into indigestible plastic fibres that kill fish and other animals.
Avoid a wardrobe malfunction
A timely repair can prevent embarrassing, inconvenient or uncomfortable exposure.
Connect with a craft tradition
People have been mending clothes for as long as we've been wearing them, and many mending techniques are ancient. These were skills our ancestors practiced routinely. In some cultures mending has been turned into an art form eg boro or kantha.
Respect for the workmanship and resources of the garment
Whether your clothes are cheap or expensive, new or old, they were all manufactured from raw materials. Wool is from sheep, cotton from plants, fleece from recycled plastic, synthetics from oil.
Skilled workers, often grossly underpaid and labouring in inhumane conditions transformed these raw materials into the garments you wear. Every stitch has been made by a human being.
In mending, you honour the animals, plants, minerals and humans who worked to create your garments.
Be prepared for a time when new clothes might not be so easy to come by
Right now you probably have access to an abundant choice of new clothes whenever you want. But there may be a time in the future when you can't easily replace a damaged garment. Economic hardship, natural disasters, war or some other unforseen circumstance (like being stranded far from civilization) could make mending a temporary (or long term) necessity. Confidence with mending skills increases your resilience.
Mending is a gateway to other textile crafts
Until recently children were often taught to mend by hand as the first lessons in a skillset that would grow to include sewing, embroidery or weaving. The basic skills are transferable to all sorts of textile crafts.
Increase your independence from consumer culture
Repairing instead of replacing damaged clothing gives you more choices about how you engage with consumer culture.
Impress friends and family with your skills
People who don't sew are usually sure you must have some special talent because you can fix a saggy hem or reattach a button neatly in the right place. Enjoy the glory.
Provide practical help to others
Mending clothes for other people is a wonderful way to show appreciation, love or support for a friend, relative, colleague or even a stranger in need.
Opportunities for giving without spending, for acts of service and for repaying favours abound if you want to offer your mending skills to others.
Add character to boring clothes
Each mend, whether subtle and discreet or a deliberately visible, adds a patina of history and embodied memories.
Express your creativity and style
The way you mend can express your personal style by adding a unique element to even mass-produced clothing. There are almost limitless opportunities for creative expression through your choice of techniques, fabric, thread, button or embellishments.
Practice fine motor skills
The basics of mending can be learned by all ages. Even very young children can learn to sew by hand and it's a great way to practice fine motor control and hand-eye co-ordination.
Mending is fun and relaxing to do
Mending is a great activity to do while you chat with friends, supervise children or watch tv. Or you can take the meditative approach of the slow stitching movement and attend mindfully to every movement as you push needle through cloth.
Let me know in the comments if I've missed any good reasons for learning to mend!