I first heard about Mend It better via a Bath based Tweeter, mender, and contributor Eirlys Penn, which is interesting as the book itself is American and written by Kristin M. Roach of www.craftlovers.com. It’s not the usual type of book that I review but it is self help. It just happens to be about self help of the mending, fixin’ and patching variety! And I loved it so am sharing it with you now.
The book itself is collection of ‘how to’ chapters, such as how to deal with a broken zip or something as basic as sew up a hem. It’s also full of ideas for never wasting anything and ‘re-purposing’ items; its philosphy is very green:
Make a rule for yourself, as you venture from thrift shop to yard sales, to never pass up a fine fabric just because it’s not useful any longer for the purpose that it was intended. Good cloth is good cloth and often its next life is more exciting than its original.
But the chapter I was particularly drawn to was the one celebrating the evolution of sewing and the traditions of crafts being passed down through the generations, usually mother or matriarchal figure onto younger girls in the family. The author herself references her grandmother often and has dedicated this book to her, Phyllis Powell:
It has been a long road from running around my grandma’s sewing table to writing my own book. I went through a pretty punk phase of rejecting all things feminine when I was a teenager. Regrettably, during the years when I could have gained the most from my grandmother’s lifetime of sewing experience, I was not the least bit interested. Duct tape was the only mending tool I would go near….After my grandparents passed away I was left with a void that was open and painful. I refused to let my grandma’s sewing supplies be sold. My mom, seeing my pain, let me hold onto the bins and bins of my grandma’s fabric and yarn, her serger and sewing machine, and many of her crafting notions that I had no idea how to use…
The other thing to mention is the sheer physical pleasure in holding the book. I suspect with the advent of eBooks that publishers are playing to the tactile sensibilities of real book buyers. The book has a thick padded cover and is full of beautiful coloured illustrations and photographs, something Kindle can’t yet compete with! I loved holding it and riffling through it’s pages.
This book will remain a fixture on my bookcase and may get loaned from time to time to craft minded friends and family. It is full of inspiration for new ideas and ‘re-purposing’ and somehow this book does more for me than just tell me how to do things. It is a comforting, enjoyable book and reading it I feel I am joining and connecting with a long line of venerable, thrifty women from the past.
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