Zoe Edwards is someone I have mentioned many times on here over the years. Zoe started the annual wardrobe challenge Me Made May where each May participants set their own personal challenge to wear the me made items they already own more, find any gaps that are missing from their wardrobe or discover why they aren’t wearing certain items. If you have never done the challenge before I urge you to give it ago, even if you don’t have any me made items as it is more an exercise at looking at your wardrobe rather than items you have made. It really helps you connect to the items you own regardless of where they came from.
2021 was a big year for Zoe as she launched the Check Your Thread a podcast about sewing more sustainably and she released a book Mend It, Wear It, Love It! which she wrote during the 2020 lockdown in the United Kingdom. I had wanted to read it since it was released and recently borrowed it from my local library.
As you can see from the front cover the book is all about having a sustainable wardrobe. This book focuses more on the impact of fast fashion and moving away from that rather than having a me made wardrobe. Regardless if your wardrobe consists fast fashion items or me made items you can apply the ideas in the book to any item you own. Very few people have an entire me made wardrobe so the truth is the majority of us are wearing items made by someone else, they may not be the fast fashion trends but there is a high chance they were made in similar conditions to those made for the fast fashion industry. The aim of the book is to help reduce the number of wearable items that gets sent to landfill by educating readers on ways they can repair, alter and care for their items to prolong the life of them. You don’t need to be a sewing expert to do this, this book is actually aimed more for those who are aren’t garment sewers and don’t think they have the skills to do so.
The book is broken into 5 sections
- The basics – What basic sewing items you need
- Mend Your Clothes – Ways to repair common problems
- Wear Your Clothes – Ideas on simple alterations you can make
- Love Your Clothes – Tips on storage, laundering or disguising issues
The introduction at the start discusses the impact of the fashion industry on the plant, on the people who make the items and how wasteful the industry is in general. It has some interesting facts and statistics which I had never even considered. The layout of the book is very clever. It helps guide novice sewers through basic techniques and skills whilst at the same time allowing anyone with sewing experience to be able to pick up the book and go straight to an idea or skill they may wish to try. You can pick it up and read chunks of it when you have time or reference back to them later (if you haven’t borrowed it from the library)
The illustrations and graphics used in the book are perfect, which in turn, makes you want to read it. There are some photos of mended or altered garments but the instructions on how to do each skill are all illustrations. This gives the book a really relaxing feel and doesn’t making it feel like a sewing text book. Photo tutorials are great, but, had they been used in this book it may have been a little intimidating for a novice person without the sewing confidence. The illustrations add to the encouraging nature or feel of the book. The illustrations work for the more experienced readers, it helps you to focus on the skill or technique rather than focus on the garment. Sometimes you forget the basics, or you were never taught them.
I really enjoyed this book. I’m guilty of not properly caring for my clothes, I don’t over launder them but at the same time I don’t necessarily hang them up neatly between wears or take them off the line when dry thus reducing their expose to sunlight. This book is focused on prolonging the life of your clothes but the principles can be transferred to any textile item in your life: bags, linen, homewares. Mending them, altering or repurposing them, caring for them. Putting thought into the item so that you can extend the life of it.