Why do we mend?by Selvedge Team
To celebrate the release of Issue 102 Mend, in the coming weeks on the blog we will be asking some of our contributors and writers why they mend and what repairing textiles means to them.
Kerstin Neumüller - men's tailor, author and maker
Why do you mend?
I mend because I want my clothes to last as long as possible. I don't really like shopping for clothes, because it is so rare that I find something I really like. When I do find clothes I really like they tend to be an investment for me, usually being made of good quality materials by people who were paid properly. I wear my clothes until they disintegrate and then some more, mending certain pieces with bold visible mending but most things I just mend as invisible as possible to make them not be broken.
What does repairing textiles/fabrics mean to you?
I look at repairing my own clothes as an act of self love. Just like cooking wholesome food regularly and keeping my living space clean and tidy I consider it optional, and sometimes I cheat but I know that if I get it done I will feel like I am taking care of myself. When repairing clothes for others it's more of a job to me and I try to understand, as with all craft commissions, what the customer prefers and what would make them happy, and then try to match that with a reasonable time+price frame.
Like all craft, mending also makes me feel connected to the past - the long history of people who were not willing to (and could not) solve every problem in their life by throwing money at it. Being able to create items and also mend them makes me feel more resilient and prepared to meet whatever I may encounter in life.
Molly Martin - artist, illustrator and maker
Quotes Molly Martin’s book 'The Art of Repair.'
"To repair something (anything) in the modern world is a defiant act, which flies in the face of consumerist values"
"When we repair something by hand, our motor skills are honed and our head is fully engaged, leaving a sense of calm and balance."
"Repairing a beloved item of clothing can enhance the experience of wearing it and leaves the repairer with a renewed sense of closeness and ownership"
"It struck me early on that mending things yourself can instil a confidence in your own capabilities, which in turn increases our connection to the things that we own."
"Slowing down, and finding value and meaning in the smaller things in life can contribute to a more thoughtful approach to our clothes and the world we live in."
Why do you mend?
I mend to keep loved clothes alive - but it's more than that. I love the way it feels to mend something broken and give it new life, stitch by stitch. I mend everything by hand, which helps you better understand a break and why it's there and how to fix it. I also love the look of hand repairs - whether perfect or wonky, there is a human quality within the stitches you cannot achieve with a machine. Mending can also give you confidence in your own abilities - it feels so good to mend something yourself, and to know what tools and techniques you need.