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Make do and Mend




05.07.20 – Jessica Laughton

During these months spent in lockdown we have all seen many changes to our way of life.  Where we would have once taken an innocent trip to the shop to buy a card for an occasion, or perhaps buy that ‘thing’ that we need to complete this job at home etc has meant that over time we have had to become quite inventive.  

Inevitably life continues to progress, even in lockdown, and occasions come and go and children outgrow their clothes.  When such instances occur, I am often reminded of stories my Grandmother would tell me about gowing up during the war.  How they made their own clothes by repurposing materials and how communities came together supporting one another, sharing food they had grown or baked.  

In recent weeks I have adopted the ‘make do and mend approach’.   For special occasions such as birthdays, Easter and father’s day we have made cards using whatever we have to hand at home.  Both my children are starting to outgrow their clothes (baby Elodie especially).  So, aided by a very talented and helpful Grandma, we are able to repurpose other material to make beautiful summer dresses and bonnets.  

One memory that will stay with me from lockdown is the VE day celebrations.  The people on our street all decorated their homes with beautiful banners and bunting, ready for the self distanced street party. I wanted to decorate too but had no bunting, so after hunting around the house I managed to find old painting rags to produce home made red, white and blue bunting to join between our home and that of our neighbour.   We used red, white and blue paper to cut into strips to make paper chains that ran down from the house to the front garden and mirrored this on our neighbours side.  My son made poppy wreaths out of handprints and we used two large pieces of cardboard to paint two life size silhouettes of soldiers saluting, before finally cutting the flag on an Aldi bag to stick to the card and a cane to make large flags.  Surprisingly, we received several compliments on the way we had decorated both homes (ours and our neighbours) for VE day.  

We have found a new passion for upcycling.  Both myself and my husband have remarked at how liberating the make do and mend approach is. Born of necessity, it has proved enormously satisfying, and is something we plan to keep up with long after lockdown.