Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Creative Space: Make Do and Mend

My Mother once commented that I must lie awake at night dreaming about projects to do. I have to admit that she was right. Of course, sometimes even when we dream of doing big things with our creative energies life has an habit of getting in the way and our creative muscle goes unflexed. This is where we need to find pocket size projects that fulfill that need but that we can fit into slivers of time. We also may need to redefine our creativity. Make do and mend is an old idea that really had its day during the Second World War when shortages made it an absolute necessity. The concept of scarcity is foreign now but we can choose to apply some of the vintage strategies it demanded.

If our Grandmothers stained or damaged a garment, most of them could not afford to toss and replace the item as so many people do today. Clothing was far more expensive relative to income and was chosen with care for longevity in a way that few of us consider now. This may be why there are beautiful vintage clothes available sixty or seventy years after they were made. I usually wear an apron to protect the clothes I own but on rare occasions it is hanging on the hook in the kitchen instead of being usefully worn by me. The sweater pictured here was being worn by me when I splattered myself with a bleach solution. It should have been a 10 per cent solution which would not have removed colour from the fabric when I immediately tried to rinse it out but it was not. I was left with a sweater I really liked that had some horrible bleached out spots at its hem. I tried to re-dye the area with a 'sharpie' pen but the colour was not intense enough. This is where my habit of lying in bed thinking up projects came in handy and I decided that maybe black lace appliques would cover the offending marks attractively. I did need to purchase the appliques but they are the kind of thing you might see at the thrift store. Covering the bleach marks took very little hand-sewing and I decided to balance the effect by placing an applique on the shoulder. While I was happy with how it looked, I further embellished the appliques with some seed beads that had been purchased for another project.

The relative speed and success of the sweater mend has inspired another quick repair: one of the pictured bobbie pins had lost the marquise-shaped stone. I have a nail polish of the same amethyst shade as the stone and layered a few coats in the setting. Now the missing stone is hardly noticeable and I am not too upset by its loss. It is just a good thing that it is not one of my favourite vintage pins with a lost stone.

Be inspired by all the other creative spaces on Kristy's blog.


Anonymous said...

these are 2 great make do and mends you have done, I totally agree with the make do and mend philosophy and I try to do it when I can,it's a great feeling. I did watch the special features on The Duchess I love special features on period movies!! so interesting. Hope you are feeling well xx

Fleur de Boheme said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leave a comment ;-)

Your aprons are very pretty!

Bye Kirsten

Kate said...

What a great post! I too lie in bed at night and dream of changing the world with my craft but like you during the day need to tackle some more realistic smaller projects. I love how you mended your clothing and hair clip. I hope you get many more years out of them.

yardage girl said...

Both of these are great mends, but the nail polish in the bobby pin is very clever!

gardener-b said...

both are great mending jobs..the sweater now looks better than the orignal.

beck said...

Hey, just wanted to say hi and that I have been enjoying your comments on my blog, thanks so much for visiting! I am in love with your vintage aprons too, they look so beautiful. I'm making my girls skirts made from aprons this week, they look pretty cute so far! Hope you are snuggled up warm and cosy and that some sunshine comes your way soon xo

Julia said...

I could not tell from the bobby pin that you fixed it. It looks great!

And I need to be more creative with fixes... Sadly I usually just toss stuff. *sigh*