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By Helen Harris

Learning how to stitch and mend clothes came into my life at an early age.

Every Sunday, my Grandma Lomperis would come over to our house for dinner. After dinner she would begin to make a dent in my mother’s mending basket. I was very fascinated by her hand sewing skills and she noticed. Little did I know at the age of 8 that I was now on my own mending journey and appreciation of all thing’s textile related.

First, I was taught how to thread the correct needle and sew a button onto a scrap piece of fabric. I would sit at her knee watching her mend my father’s suit coats, alter sleeves on his dress shirts and darn socks. This led to overnight stays at Grandma’s house learning how to sew on her electric sewing machine. Eventually I made my way through every sewing class in Jr. and Sr. high schools all the while making my own clothes, sewing patches on my jeans in the 1970’s and ending up with a degree in Textile Design in college. As a poor college student mending mattered to me and continues to be my go-to solution before making a new purchase.

Recently I have noticed great shifts in the consumer’s interest for sustainable fashion. Learning how to repair our textiles can give them significantly longer useful lives while cutting back on the volume of textiles being discarded and its impact on the environment.

This Fall, the Montana Fibershed will begin hosting Mending Bar Happy Hour events across the state. These events are space for you to practice breathing new life into your favorite textiles with local mending experts. In these mending bar happy hours, you will learn how to transform your favorite moth-damaged, torn, or distressed garments, homewares, and other textiles by visibly mending and patching (cotton, wool) and developing your own stitch patterns. In this creative opportunity in repair, you will be fusing fabrics together with stitch, so they become a new cloth. *

Please stay tuned to this website as additional information becomes available for a Mending Bar Happy Hour in your area.


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