Volunteer profile: Pam, the Skillshare sewing guru

We have asked Pam, who helps out with our Skillshare sewing workshops, to tell us how she got into repairing and upcycling clothes. Here is what she said:

As a war baby, I grew up in an environment when of necessity as little as possible was discarded. Old sweaters were unravelled and the wool reused, socks darned, elbow patches added, clothes unpicked for fashionable patchwork or rag rug making to name but a few. It was very much an environment of creative use of what was available or do without. So it was natural that using the sewing machine was an essential skill, one which has proved valuable not just at recycling but also in creating ones unique living space.

On a recent outing crossing the Cleish Hills I passed an unexpected hill. Man made. A ‘landfill’ site. Not buried as landfill would imply but very visible, very unsightly with discarded clothes and plastics obvious in the mess: a clear reinforcement of the need for recycling.

I look with regret at lost skills in our consumer society and so am keen to pass on my sewing skills. The basics are easy and practice enables one to tackle more difficult things. No need to throw out an object just because the zip is broken – and that can include holdalls as well as jeans; or a garment because of a tear o break in the seam.

Scottish government target is to cut landfill down to 5% by 2025. Tough target. So come and learn to use a sewing machine and enjoy being able to repair and recycle and work towards that target.

For more information on the skillshare workshops, join St Andrews Community Skillshare group on Facebook or email Tansy on tt39@st-andrews.ac.uk and ask to be put on the mailing list.

Pam also mends clothes for a small fee that is donated to Dundee Women’s aid, with carbon savings counting towards our project’s targets. To arrange your repair email Pam on pambrunt128@gmail.com. Please mention “Skillshare”.