Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Turn out and renovate
There's a book I bought at the Imperial War Museum called Make Do and Mend, which was issued by the Ministry of Information to help families get through wartime with limited resources. The book is silly, but it does serve as an illustration that deprivation can be really handy for stimulating creative reuse of stuff. In other words - all this excess is stifling us, people! As long as New Look is selling super cheap stuff at 70% discount, why would anyone bother to "renovate a blouse that is worn under the arms by letting in a broad band of material in a contrasting colour under the arm reaching from sleeve to waist" as advised by those crafty Ministry of Information writers?
However, the chapter titled "Turn out and renovate" must have inspired me a little bit - as does my teeny bank balance. I don't have half the expertise with a needle required to accomplish any of the renovations proposed in Make Do and Mend, but I do know how to make things shorter. Last night I shortened a skirt that, frankly, has always looked a bit dowdy. Today I've got it on with a pair of brogues and feel ready for strolling through Shoreditch. I also shortened the sleeves of a massive dressing gown I was given. Basically, the thing is so gigantic I can't just put it in the bin - I would be like binning a polar bear. Nor can I donate it, because it has my name (first and last) embroidered (in gold) on the chest (in 86-point Helvetica). (It was a gift - what can I say?) And anyway I would live in fear that a friend would go to Barnardo's and see my name hanging there, on a rack, in gold. Too embarrassing.
These two little jobs took an hour, kept me out of New Look, gave me some garments with which to clothe myself and saved me the embarrassment of anyone (except you) knowing about that goofy dressing gown.