Radical Mending

This weekend, I spent a little time being environmentally radical.  My husband’s zipper had broken on his orange biking jacket.  During my last visit to Ginny’s Fine Fabric, I purchased a better-than-ever-before zipper for $9.  In my route, delivering kids to track practice, I stopped by Only Shoe Repair, where Ginny said they could easily remove a few teeth from the zipper to fit my husband’s jacket perfectly.


I spent about a 1/2 hour last weekend, ripping out the old zipper and replacing it with the new.  I was told this kind of work would cost about $60 (on a different jacket than the one referred to here; possibly the other jacket would have been more involved in the zipper removal).


My husband has worn this jacket since my parents gave it to him as a Christmas gift about 10 years ago.  It is his biking jacket.  For extra safety, I’m glad he wears the color orange while biking the 14 miles to and from work.

Mending isn’t always perfectly clean.  What I mean is that there is a cost for the repair, and it doesn’t always go perfectly.  Any alteration can cause a mar on the garment.  So I do review closely whether an alteration is the best plan.  Maybe you can see it, there is a little scuff on the very top of the jacket front edge.  I did my best to stitch it up, but it’s still a mar.

However, mending has been a way to add a little to the bottom line of my family’s budget.  It’s not often thought about these days, but it’s still true that ‘a penny spar’d is twice got,’ said George Herbert in 17th Century England.  A new coat would be somewhere between $60 and $139.  My husband likes to point out by mending little fixes, we can decide when we purchase a new garment, and when we do, we might move up in the level of quality of the item.  For example, by mending the old jacket and getting a few more wearings out of it, I can delay my purchase for a few weeks, maybe longer.  Then, instead of buying a jacket sold at Walmart for $19.99, I might have the ability to purchase a Colombia jacket at Macy’s for $60, or even a few weeks later, I might be able to go for something for $179 at Pendleton USA.  See where that goes?  It’s a bit of freedom.

You might be laughing by now.  Most conversations I’ve had with fellow American moms go something like this:  “Mending?  *laughter* “Who spends the time to mend clothing when you can throw it out and buy something new?”  I’ll admit, sometimes that’s true.  Sometimes I succumb to that line of thinking as well.  We pass a lot of clothing between families and just find something new or used to replace the garment.  We have enough to do already, so why mend?  Will we even remember how?

The Patagonia company calls mending ‘a radical act’ and the cleanest way to help our environment.  They are talking about how effective it can be for the environment, and they’re even teaching people how to mend again.







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