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The Yankee Express

Fabulous and functional mending class is April 27th

Lynda Shoup displays a sample of Embroidery Mending.


On Thursday, April 27, an interesting and innovative class will be held at Southbridge’s Jacob Edwards Library from 6 – 7:30 p.m. The class is Functional & Fabulous Embroidery for Mending with instructor Lynda Shoup from Webster. Using the latest trend of Upcycling or, creative reusing, which transforms unwanted textile items into new and creative materials, participants will embark on an environmentally-friendly cause and are invited to bring along items to mend. Additional mending materials will be provided by Ms. Shoup who will showcase the many ways we can all contribute to our world’s sustainable goals.
“I’ve been sewing since I was about five years old since many of my family members sewed,” said Lynda, “but my mother was a ‘magic mender’ meaning that whatever she mended was invisible to the eye. She really knew how to make an item look new again. This valuable skill has become a lost art as people have gravitated to the world of fast fashion where much of our clothing is discarded and new inexpensive clothing is purchased in its place. In the past few years, however, I’ve learned and read that many of the Third World countries that our discarded clothing donations were being sent to just don’t want our textiles anymore as it ruins their own textile industries. When people in these countries purchase or accept our used items that means they don’t buy their own country’s new manufactured goods.  After learning about this, I stopped donating my old clothes and decided to mend them or make then into something useable like cloth bags, cleaning cloths, etc.”
“The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry world-wide,” says Lynda, ‘with the oil industry being the first and many fabrics are made from petroleum. I haven’t purchased new clothes in a while since learning about the mending trends. When I researched this development, it’s what inspired me to pursue Visible Mending, a mending technique that’s meant to be shown and admired vs. the invisible method used by our parents or grandparents which wasn’t meant to be seen.”  By the way, as of November 1, 2022, Massachusetts residents must now recycle their old clothing and textiles instead of throwing them into the trash.
Lynda stated that sewing classes are not taught in school anymore and she gave an example of a young lady she met who had no clue about sewing on a button when it fell from her shirt. Not only did the young lady explain that she did not know how to sew the button back into its place, but she further stated her shirt was quickly replaceable by going online to L.L. Bean or Land’s End and ordering a new one. Ouch! Is this what this world has come to?  “Fast fashion is so cheap,” explained Ms. Shoup, “that sometimes it really is more economical to just buy a new item. But, many of these new items are made in countries where unsafe working conditions are the norm using child labor. The news brings us stories about the tragic loss of life in these Third World garment factories where, in just one case, an unsafe Bangladesh factory collapsed killing over 1,000 workers and injuring 2,500 others. The cost of all those lost lives is immeasurable. So, really, the only remaining local menders in the U.S. are those individuals who might alter suits and/or wedding gowns.”
Through her association with Southbridge’s Jacob Edwards Library Director, Margaret Morrissey, Lynda Shoup will be pleased and happy to demonstrate, teach, and expound upon all types of mending techniques, both simple and elaborate, to her fellow learners. Her goal for this class is to have a good group of people who are looking forward to a fun event. “I hope our participants will learn new skills such as attaching a patch, learning some new stitches, and learning mending/embroidery flairs. I’m looking forward to them leaving the class with reasonable skills and an understanding of the mending trends. If there is a strong interest for additional classes, perhaps additional lessons will be held. There is a growing movement of the mending art. It’s people who are becoming much more conscious of our environment.”
Ms. Shoup has also taught previous classes at the Jacob Edwards Library, namely Introduction to Art Journaling and Using Historical Images in Mixed Media Art. 

If you are interested in attending or if you have any questions, please pre-register with Ms. Shoup by emailing [email protected]  Get ready for a most interesting and educational program!  April 27, 2023. 6-7:30 p.m. Jacob Edwards Library, 236 Main Street, Southbridge MA 01550. (508) 764-5426.