Friday, January 16, 2015

Making Do - Making Use

My mother told me a story of making do during World War II. One of the things rationed was clothing, so she used an old suit of my father’s and “made it over” for herself. Since Dad was over 6 feet tall and Mom was 5’2”, there would have been plenty of fabric. My grandmother, whether as a result of the Great Depression or rationing during WWII, repeated the mantra "Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without" often.

Thinking about those things reminded me of all the heirlooms I have been given over the years. I have buttons from my grandmother and mother, embroidered handkerchiefs from a variety of women, crocheted doilies and runners, fabrics, a wedding gown, and much more. Since I have also been sewing and crafting for most of my life, I have a variety of items that are now considered vintage in my stash.

In addition, I have doll parts from my sister, who made porcelain dolls in various sizes; denim from jeans that can no longer be worn; orphan quilt blocks; beads, ribbons, and various items that started life in other capacities. All of these things seem to be begging to be re/upcycled. So,I am incorporating them into the products I am creating as a way of making use of beautiful materials and keeping them out of the waste stream, as I did with this piece.

Scattered Violets

It is also a way of using things that would have to be created anew and saving the energy that would be expended. That seems especially important in light of the report from NOAA and NASA that came out today: nasa-determines-2014-warmest-year-in-modern-record/


  1. In Britain it was a whole campaign from early 1941 called Make do and Mend there were posters information leaflets and classes in every corner of the country (including a famous one at Buckingham Palace).
    I run a modern Make do and Mend course at a community centre in London, as ther is a lot of revived interest in the concept.

    1. I'm actually quite jealous of the amount of interest in and support for needle crafts in Britain as compared to the U.S. How did your course come about?