Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Make do and mend: Earth Day edition

It is day four of my 12-day mend/fix/clean challenge. Today I’m very glad to keep an item going, because on Earth Day I am especially interested in making do with what I have.

I found an early 1970s suit in a thrift store in 1999, the year I began my vintage clothing business. I saw that it had no buttons on its jacket but I immediately loved it, took it home, found some white buttons to sew on and have worn it all the time since.

Yes it’s double knit polyester, yes it’s loud. On Earth Day about six years ago a music colleague of mine asked me if I would like to join in the local Procession of the Species wearing the outfit. Apparently I looked to him a bit like a wild critter of some sort. I took that as a big compliment.

This outfit was originally sewn with that nasty clear plastic thread that was used in the 1970s. I can’t tell you how many times I have pulled a little bit of that thread only to have the entire hem fall out of a skirt...this one included. I long ago re-sewed the hem. Now the casing at the waistband has come partly unstitched and the elastic is shot.

The elastic has stood up pretty well considering it dates from about 1973, but... 

I don’t have a fancy sewing machine. It has two stitches: Forward and backward. Still, I adore my sewing machine, a vintage Singer Featherweight that belonged to my mother. I restitched the casing and pulled elastic through (my waist size + about 1" in length), sewed the elastic ends together and sealed up the opening. 

Now I have my crazy wonderful suit back in time for Earth Day:

I’ll bet most of you know how to do this, or could easily do this when needed, and it is a very handy skill for vintage clothing appreciators. There are a number of simple tutorials for the technique online, such as this one.

Save your vintage clothing ...and Happy Earth Day!

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