This challenge has come at a great time for me. I love making and mending, and have a number of half finished projects lying around, some have been waiting for years! A new added incentive is that last year my mother died, and left me and my siblings a house full of things. Lots of decisions needed to be made, and I’ve said yes to loads of stuff.

I can’t bear to throw things out! The waste of resources and adding to landfill horrify me, so I end up with a lot of ‘clutter’ that might come in useful. And my experience is that it does! But to stop myself drowning in it all, I resolved to clear out some cupboards and make this my year of making and mending, and that was before Zina told me about her festival.

So, the projects I have on the go at the moment are

  • Patching and decorating some pairs of old jeans
  • Making curtains out of bedspreads for bathroom and toilet
  • Making a fruitcage out of home grown hazel and salvaged trampoline poles
  • Making a dress out of a top and a scarf
  • Making a net curtain for our bedroom to replace the ripped one
  • Decorating boxes with pictures from flower catalogues as filing containers

Others I’m planning are

  • Mending socks and tights
  • Mending duvet covers
  • Mending my canvas tent

My way of doing things is a bit chaotic, so I’m not going to show neatly finished things before I start on the next project! Part of my reason for doing this is to finish things I’ve already started, or had planned for a while, so that I can actually use these things, instead of having them sitting in the cupboards.

I was cutting out patches for jeans when I remembered the curtains for the bathroom would help reduce our energy bills, so moved onto that. Then I realised the currant bushes  and cherry trees needed to be netted to stop the pigeons eating the emerging buds, so the sewing had to wait. And of course, there will be all the normal interruptions of daily life: housework and childcare, and the garden…

I’m not in the habit of taking photo’s, so I may forget sometimes but I’ll try to show most stages of the process. Here are some pictures of some of the things I’ve done so far.

Cutting our patches, and some of the holes that need repairing. These jeans are my favourites!

Here’s the first bedspread cut in half to make two curtains. The colours were the inspiration for the tiles we chose for the bathroom more than ten years ago, so I’m excited about finally completing the scheme!

And here’s the fruitcage being made! Coppiced hazel from the garden, and 8 sturdy uprights from my neighbours’ trampoline net, offered at exactly the right moment!

I’m really looking forward to hearing about and seeing your projects, to feel part of this making and mending buzz, and to get inspiration and encouragement.

I’ve decided to do this challenge because there are far too many things floating around in my life annoying me because I want to mend them but haven’t got around to it. I also have lots of ideas floating around in my head of Christmas tree decorations which I could make out of old tetrapaks, and I think it would be very satisfying to finally try some of them out, so here goes...

1st week 1st project: Mending a nightdress.

I have two nightdresses which I’ve been wearing for years. They are comfortable and made of cotton, and I love them. But now I’ve worn them for so long that they are starting to grow holes in a big way. So far I’ve just carried on wearing them as the holes get bigger and bigger, but if I continue like this soon they will be unwearable...so, at least this mend doesn’t have to be beautiful, just comfortable and strong.

So as to have the right texture fabric, I cut fabric from the hem and then rehemmed (they were very long) and used it to patch the top – it was interesting how much the colour at the top had faded over the years. I covered all the holes with 3 enormous patches so that the neckline still had some shape, and then semi-darned the thinning material to the patch as a strengthening device.

It took about 2 hours, but I wore it last night and it was comfortable and didn’t tear, so hopefully it will last a few more years now...and then maybe I’ll cut up the nightdress and make a pattern for a new one from it (and use any remaining fabric to make hankies).

It was great to finally get around to this as I thought about it every time I put it on in the evening. Now for making a tree decoration from old tetrapaks.

Zina

Do you want to get involved in the Make and Mend Jubilee 7x7 Challenge too? Or do you know someone who would like to get involved? Check the Make & Mend Jubilee 7x7 Challenge page for more information

 If you are on this page today, you have probably been called or received an email by a friend to check the site, you have seen a link on Facebook or Twitter or you have searched us on google! Whatever the reason, it is great to have you!

Today is the official launch of Green Festival of Making and Mending. Leicester Footpaths website is now LIVE!

We have plenty of activities for you to join in throughout the year. You can learn all about it on our current event page! If you want a challenge too, why not joining the Make & Mend Jubilee 7x7 challenge.

To get emails about additional Festival and pre-festival events as they are arranged, you can sign up to our mailing list by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . You can also follow us on Facebook : footpaths/leicester and Twitter : @makemendfest .

Please share the words with your friends, your family, your work colleagues and anyone else who you think would be excited. Let's Make and Mend this year in Leicester and use our ingenuity and creativity to connect us to others!

 


Marie (festival organiser)

I want craftsmanship to be shared as a gift for each of us to gain the creative confidence to create a world where all is respected and truly valued. I want a world where the power in our hands is unlocked to take care and repair our possessions. A world where we appreciate the time and effort needed to make and mend, where we come to the recognition that having fewer possessions to take care of give us more time to be with those we love and all other fellow humans. This is why I am involved in the Green Festival of Making and Mending in Leicester 31st October 2015