An event held in Winnipeg on Saturday was centered around teaching people how to mend their own clothes as interest in the skill is growing due to inflation and environmental pressures.
It was held at Norberry-Glenlee Community Centre. Local organizations came together to encourage Manitobans to repair their clothing and learn the skills of mending, resist fast fashion, and keep more clothing out of landfills.
“It saves you money in the long run. It makes your clothing and your products last longer. Textile waste is a huge problem in Canada and North America,” said Colleen Ans, co-co-ordinator of the Living Green, Living Well Progam.
“They are not only ending up in our water streams when we wash our clothes, but when they go in the landfill, they’re not fully breaking down, and they’re putting microplastics into our soil.”
For some people, a pair of ripped jeans would mean it is time to buy a new pair, but for Winnipeg Sews owner Katherine Magne, it means it is time to repair them and get more years out of the jeans.
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“I would really like for people to come back to the idea that things can be repaired,” she said.
“Just a little bit of mending. All of a sudden you have your favourite pair of jeans again.
“Sewing in particular, I think, has skipped a generation – we’re hoping to be a stop-gap measure to be able to show people this is possible, you can do this. Here are the tools. It’s not as difficult as you think.”
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Magne says hand-sewing is a really cost-effective skill to take up.
“All you need is a needle in a thread and you can do most things,” she said.
Additionally, the skill provides a good example for young people about the value of clothing.
“It teaches them the idea that these things are valuable. I don’t have to just go buy another one. And then it also teaches them that skill, which makes them more self-reliant in the future.”
Event participant Erin Lougheed says in her generation, there is a big focus on going to thrift shops and avoiding fast fashion websites, and she agrees that clothes mending is a valuable skill for everyone to have.
“Whoever should learn how to at least do some basic repair like this. You know, you don’t have to shop every time,” she said.
Magne says she has noticed an increased interest in the skill since the pandemic.
“You are able to make what you have go further, which is just so useful, especially in this economy. Not everybody has enough to go around.”
And for participant Daniel Ho, the interest was born out of a want to preserve sentimental items like the handmade slippers his mother gifted him.
“I want to pass them on. Yeah. Yeah. So I can’t pass them on this way,” he said.
— With files from Global’s Rosanna Hempel
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