Wednesday, 7 October 2009

A lesson in mending - Bury St Edmunds

Whilst at Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery, I had the great fortune to meet 83 year old Sybil Goodfellow who grew up during the Second World War, and is therefore one of the original Make Do And Menders. Being something of a darning novice, she took me in hand, and gave me an on-the-spot lesson! As a girl she would make blouses out of parachute silk as well as her brother-in-law's RAF shirts. The RAF's undies(yes we're talking pants) also came in useful as aprons! She assured me that the pants were only used as backing fabric - the front of the apron would be patch-worked cottons. Sybil even knitted entire jumpers out of the small lengths of yarn you'd buy to mend woollens with, by knotting them all together. I cannot imagine the patience needed for that. This was an era when Make Do And Mend was not only a necessity, it was seen as a duty. Her message to the youngsters of 2009? Slow down. Appreciate quality. Do what your parents tell you.

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