Make and Mend

Make and Mend

Posted on: 
18th May 2022

The ‘Make Do and Mend’ campaign.

 Frade Shedders project is growing from strength to strength.

Originally we called it the Men’s Shed but as more ladies become interested in upcycling maybe we need to have our own SHE-Shed.

We have a beautiful coffee table hand decorated by Mariam and repaired and generally tidied up by Justin, available for sale.

Upcycling is not new and in the UK, we’ve a strong and interesting history dating back to the latter half of the Second World War.

The British embraced and perfected the art of upcycling after clothing rationing was announced on 1st June 1941.

Supplies of everything, including textiles were limited. The supplies which were available were used in the production of war uniforms and around a quarter of the British population were involved in the war effort and were entitled to wear some sort of uniform.

Not unexpectedly, this put huge pressures on Britain’s textile and clothing industries. Not only were raw fabrics limited, but the staff in the textile industry and even the factories themselves, would be repurposed for the war effort. Subsequently, civilian clothing had to be rationed along with food, fuel and other supplies.

By 1942, children were allocated an extra 10 rationing coupons [image displayed at bottom of article] to buy clothes, given they were still growing.

Mothers were encouraged to buy their clothes in bigger sizes so they can be taken in and then let out again gradually as the child grew. The ‘Make Do and Mend’ campaign was launched to encourage people to make their existing supplies of clothes last longer.

Women at home were having to upcycle just so they could clothe their family through this time of struggle. There was a lot of advice on how to make clothes last longer; how to wash them, how to prevent moth damage to woollen materials and how to make shoes last longer.

As inflationary pressures start to bite here in 2022, the ability to repair, and upcycle and make from scratch will be increasingly important, just as the war went on for five long years, inflation will be here for a while yet.

Supplies became so scarce that women couldn’t buy the fabrics to make the families clothes and resorted to using homeware textiles, such as curtains and tablecloths to make clothes. Many women used furnishing fabrics for dressmaking until these too became unobtainable.

Reusing war effort materials was popular too, blackout material was sometimes used, as well as parachute silk, which was ideal for underwear, nightclothes and wedding dresses. We can certainly learn from the past, and ladies you are more than welcome to pop into our ‘Community Emporium’ shop at 426 Marton Road, Middlesbrough and learn more about the Three R’s of ‘repair, reuse and recycle’.


Proud to be members of the  reuse network and Community RePaint

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Frade, Registered charity number 1020725, Registered waste carrier 19586, Company limited by guarantee number 2797811