Stitch and save your socks
We're sure you're all as amused as us when you read about how knitting and handmade clothing is the next new thing in these recession hit times. You've rolled your eyes along with us at the suggestions in the media that knitting your own clothes is a great way to save money when you're watching every penny. Do these people never see how much the lovely, lovely yarn costs? Do they not know how many hours, stabbed fingers and curses you put into the fine hand-made garment? Are they mocking us with their claims?
However, there is a way that your crafty skills can save you money, save the planet and save the poor bleeding fingers of tiny children in sweatshops. Yes, the way forward is to renew, recycle and renovate.
This is not something that is particularly new – independent designers have been modifying old clothes for some time, some high street stores have concessions full of customised second-hand clothing and even Heather Mills has hopped onto the recycled fashion bandwagon with her fascinating (and slightly scary) be@one range.
But why would you buy recycled clothes with the skills you already possess, a frenzied dash around a haberdashery department and your own imagination, you can do it yourself.
An old coat looks a bit shabby around the edges? Add grosgrain ribbon trims, take out the lining, buy some fabulous buttons. If your favourite jumper is falling apart, don't bin it, darn and repair it. Lovingly handmade socks developing a hole? Don't dump them, fix the hole.
Knitting pattern books of the 1940s contained incredible intricate details of how to make your own buttons and how to perform invisible repairs on knitwear. These days, Knitty can start to fill that void with a quick and easy guide on how to rescue a holey mess.
And, best of all, there are some opportunities to have a go at this in London this autumn for (almost) free. The Imperial War Museum is offering completely free all day Mrs Sew and Sew workshops in its family events (get the kids hooked early!) over a couple of weekends in October where the objective is to sew a giant quilt while learning some handy make do and mend tips.
John Lewis are also offering some fashion fix classes (including darning tips) which are charged on the basis of materials used – bargain (unless you start playing with the cashmere).
So get out there and make do and mend, you thrify S&B Londoners. That way you’ll have more to spend on shiny new yarn.