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Just Me, Odds-and-Sods

Make Do and Mend

Earlier this week a button came off my coat. This has irritated me for two main reasons:

Firstly, it was a new coat, that I bought from Mango (name and shame) last week. I don’t like high street fashion as a general rule as I think it’s a false economy, and things like this prove my point (see my earlier thoughts on this topic, here). No problem if a cheap-ish item only lasts one winter: you get what you pay for.  But I bl**dy well do expect things to last more than a week without breaking.

The second reason I was quite so miffed is that this exposes one of my weaknesses: I cannot sew.

As repairs, DIY and household activities go, I am generally pretty self-sufficient. I can put up pictures and shelves. I can roast a chicken. I sometimes even do clever things with the stock. I clean my shoes properly and get them re-heeled when the Prague cobbles take their toll. 

But sewing is far out of my comfort zone and an embarrassing proportion of my wardrobe is unwearable as a result.  Not because I don’t like the clothes in question, or because they don’t fit.  As my body stubbornly refuses to change size regardless of what over-ambitious exercise regime or diet I throw at it, this is not an issue. But several items are rendered temporarily (or long-term) out of action. Missing buttons, stuck zips, falling hems. My wardrobe is a sartorial war zone.

I try to ignore these problems for as long as possible. I have been known to rock up to work with my hem stapled, or the bottom of my trousers held in place with sticky tape. I’ve used safety pins where buttons used to be. None of this says ‘professional’ I know. My mum is aghast.  “No matter how hard you work, no own will take you seriously if you turn up looking slovenly” she told me earlier this week. Point taken. So I invited her to come out and do my mending for me.  I think she thought I was joking. She asked if I had a thimble. Acting like a teenager I snapped “of course I have a thimble…duh”. I don’t have a thimble…

Sewing kit stored in an old chocolate box, for 'sewing chic'

I blame school. Our glass-ceiling-smashing headmistress did away with the cooking classroom and craft lessons in favour of language labs and science rooms. Now we have a generation of ballsy corporate wonder women, who all turn up to board meetings wearing suits held together with superglue.  In contrast my husband’s school taught him how to do useful things like iron a shirt and cook a healthy meal. Because guess what?  However ‘successful’ you are, unless you are royalty you might at some stage have to sew a button back on.

I currently have three autumn coats of varying ages, that are not wearable.  They are all missing buttons.  I have decided enough is enough. So: today is craft day at home. It’s not been without emotion, pricked fingers (due to the lack of thimble) and frustration, but the buttons are back on and so I’m taking the coat out to celebrate.

Far too many buttons. Next time I'm getting a coat with a zip.


About CzechingIn

A blog about an English lady living in Prague.


4 thoughts on “Make Do and Mend

  1. Zips are even harder to repair than buttons…

    Posted by MOTB | October 21, 2011, 3:47 pm
    • I get that impression, which is terribly sad as my first ever pair of leather boots have been out of action for the last 18 months with a broken zip. One day I will be organised enough to find a cobblers in Prague! (Dear readers – if you have any suggestions I would love to know them!)

      Posted by CzechingIn | October 22, 2011, 5:08 pm
  2. I completely understand, I hate sewing! My sister even makes her own clothes! (Which reminds me: It’s time to take some stuff from the pile of clothes in my wardrobe and beg her to repair it, with “doggy eyes”!)

    When I was trying to learn and use the sewing machine, my Mum banished me from it, saying I was going to break all her needles!

    However, we did have some “housework” classes at basic school (= základní škola – it’d be lower secondary for you, I guess?) – first, girls and boys were separate – they just learning how to repair and built stuff, I guess, and girls cooking… But then gender equality reached our schools, and so girls and boys got mixed up, so we all had some classes of sewing, cooking and “handicraft” ´- oh, and also planting and gardening!

    Mostly, those were the classes during which you could relax, fool around and have fun, but I remember that the teacher for handicraft was really strict and we were all scared of her! We had to cut a piece of wood so precisely that if you got it a milimeter wrong, you got a worse grade!

    Anyway, life teaches you best…

    Posted by Czech for Foreigners (@czechinprague) | October 21, 2011, 6:18 pm

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