The Art of Repair

The idea of repairing or altering clothes to prolong their life is not a new idea. Indeed my own grandmother’s main form of evening entertainment seemed to largely centre around darning socks, turning shirt collars, letting down hems, unpicking old jumpers, re-using wool and a whole lot more. While this was all undoubtably admirable, as a child, it always felt a little dull to me - how could she possibly sit there, I thought, night after night, tediously stitching something that would in the end be, so fastidiously neat it would barely be noticeable. So, when she asked me if I wanted to learn how to darn, I shook my head firmly. If I’d put that much effort into something, I’d want the world to know!

Years later, enter stage left, my son’s partner Elinor - a highly creative individual – all set to make me think again.

When she turned up to our house wearing this rather amazingly renovated t-shirt I was more than impressed.

What made you think of doing that, I asked her?
The moths, she replied, smiling.

Renovated T-shirt

Then, in an echo of the past, she added more seriously, it’s a favourite shirt, I’d like it to last a fair bit longer yet.

Her work was every bit as painstaking as my Grandmothers, but oh so much more exciting!

And then, when just a few days later my son turned up wearing this… I was well on the way to seeing the possibilities for improvement, are only as endless as our imaginations

Dispensing with the effort of turning a frayed collar he’d simply trimmed, folded and stitched it in place.

And so with a new found respect for my Grandmother, as well as our, innovative younger generations, I went off to search out a rather special item.

A wise and clever woman, she’d very insightfully, left this darning mushroom to me.

I’m aware I may never be as good as she was, but, I promise, from now on, I’m going to give it my best shot.

Darning mushroom


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