It’s funny, isn’t it? These little booklets have been hanging around for decades, unwanted and unread, gathering dust in attics and mouldering on charity shop shelves. While dimly aware of the Make Do and Mend campaign, and someone who cringes at the thought of throwing away usable fabric, I had never seen the pamphlets, or read them for myself, until about a year ago.
I was immediately captivated. The clever and frugal household tips transported me to a time when British citizens were permitted but one egg a week, a modest cube of cheese, a pat of butter, and a few ounces of meat. A time when coupons for clothes were cut from allowance books, and if you didn’t have the coupons, you couldn’t buy the clothes, no matter how much money you had in your purse. A time when enterprising women supplemented these rations with inventive recipes, and garments cut from recycled fabric.
In this era of economic uncertainty around the world it seemed particularly timely to look again at these lessons from the past and see what they can offer us today. Series 8 of Cast On, Make Do and Mend, will explore ideas around fashion and the clothing industry, sustainability, thrift, community, the creative use of resources. I’ll talk mending and darning with people who know how; explore ways to unravel sweaters, to reuse, revisit and recycle old stuff into new; and discover the knitwear home care secrets of ancient Wales. Frankly, this seems as good a time as any, and a better time than most to revisit some of our forebears’ thrifty ways and relearn their handiest household hints. Depression cake, anyone?
Please join me for Series 8, Make Do and Mend, beginning 1 May 2009.