Mend It Like Beckham

by Katy on December 28, 2008 · 8 comments

The following is a reprint from an previously published Non-Consumer Advocate blog. Enjoy!

Who among us has not heard that unmistakable riiiiip as a favorite garment turns into a favorite rag?


For want of a needle and thread, pajama pants were lost.

Our grandmothers knew how to mend. Period. Even boys knew how to sew a button back on.

Socks got darned. Pants got hemmed. Clothes got mended. Just about anything that could be salvaged, was.

What does this generation do? We don’t repair. We replace.

Mending is helpful for your own clothes, but is very helpful when you’re a parent. I probably mend something for my sons a couple times a month, even more when they were preschoolers.  And my somewhat-clumsy 40-year-old self?  I’m certainly not immune to the occasional need of a needle and thread.

Don’t know how to mend?

Fret not, fellow Non-Consumers, it’s not rocket science. Websites such as have great instructions that can get you started.

Don’t have the supplies?

Keep an eye out for secondhand spools of thread at garage sales and thrift stores, you’ll be surprised what you can find.  Your mother or grandmother might even let you raid her sewing box.

Don’t have the time?

Mending is the perfect activity while vegging out in front of the TV. A typical half-hour show can easily see you through a couple of repairs.

I feel such warm satisfaction when a few minutes of mending can bring something back to life.

I think my grandmother would be proud.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”  

What have you mended? Please share your mending stories in the comments section below.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Middle Way December 28, 2008 at 12:04 pm

I’m not that great with sewing but the one thing I do do somewhat competently is pant hems.

Being fairly petite, I rarely find pants that are the right length. I got pissed off with what I was charged once to get it done and started shortening them myself and haven’t looked back.

I actually find it therapeutic now!


Klara LeVine December 28, 2008 at 11:48 pm

Firstly, kudos to you on everything you write – all meaningful. I am one of those procrastinators who save and save the item I mean to mend and don’t seem to get around to it. And many times do regret it.

just a teensy typo – usually I ignore those, but this time it changes the meaning – when you wrote “fret now” I’m hoping you meant “fret not”!!!

Keep up your wonderful work. You’re an inspiration.


linda December 29, 2008 at 6:11 am

My husband decided that I should darn his wool socks not long ago! He said, “you know you can.” I didn’t know that about myself but I gave it a try and sure enough, I did it! It was relaxing enough that I found myself trying to find more wool socks to mend:) Not sure if I did it correctly but they are holding up really well.


Daphne December 29, 2008 at 7:49 am

Katy, you’re making a real difference in the life of this Kansas family. Thank you!

A few months ago, I sorted through my overstuffed closet (I am a reformed consumer) and pulled out all the things I can’t/don’t wear. I was initially puzzled to find 2 neglected pair of cute pants…why hadn’t I been wearing them? Oh yeah–the hem came out the first time I washed them. And that cute little sleeveless top…why hadn’t I EVER worn it? Oh yeah–the arm hole openings are just too big. I confess that those clothes are STILL hanging in my closet, unmended, but before springtime comes back to Kansas, I will hem those pants and take up the shoulder seams in that top so I’ll be able to wear those sharp clothes, instead of just storing them!

My daughters are both quite tall and very slim, so we will all be getting better acquainted with my sewing machine, so their clothes will fit their beautiful young shapes. Sloppily rolled up blue jeans aren’t a fashion statement; they’re a proclamation that this mommy has been too distracted and lazy to hem up those britches!


christajean December 29, 2008 at 11:35 am

Mending is a task I must remind myself that I can do! I don’t want to be lazy and wasteful with what we have.

I linked to your post on my blog last night! My post is about giving old, stained clothes a new life with Rit dye. I knew you’d be proud of me, being the frugalista that you are!


Magdalena December 29, 2008 at 12:56 pm

What don’t I mend? I have an Irish sweater my mother made me about twenty years ago, and I’ve danred and mended it about a hundred times. I’ve gotten to the point of knitting elbow patches for it.
My husband hates shopping for clothes so much that I have to keep patching and mending because he is just not going to replace something. A caveat on old thread, though: Unless it has been stored in a dry, temperate space, it may be weak. Cotton does not hold up to heat and sunlight. Unroll a little bit and give it a good stretch to see if it is still viable. Old needles can be spiffed up with fine steel wool, or the old fashioned emery bag, that little strawberry hanging from the red tomato pincushion your mom has. If only modern pins and needles were as good as the old Sheffield or German steel ones!


tammy December 29, 2008 at 3:37 pm

This weekend I mended a wood sweater (a fancy brand bought for a dollar at the thrift mart) and my boyfriend’s hoodie/sweater- it’s a cable knit so it was easy. I love mending. It is very relaxing and it’s a great to make things last a little longer…or a lot longer!
Love this blog- i subscribed last week!


rebecca December 29, 2008 at 10:38 pm

I patch the knees of my kids pants regularly.
I’ve darned once — my husband has to wear expensive compression socks through medical necessity and the toes always wear out. I can’t say I cared for darning but at about $50 a pair I’ll work to make them last a little longer.


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