Mending Holes and Souls


RUDE Girl’s cashmere canvas recreation inspired by the Japanese patching and stitching technique known as boro.  Styled with a recycled black satin and tulle underskirt.



Boro are a class of Japanese textiles that have been mended or patched together. The term is derived from Japanese boroboro, meaning something tattered or repaired. [Wikipedia]


There is not much I have discovered that is more therapeutic for my well-being than dancing and mending.  Both are my favourite heart and soul activities, and they could not be more different to each other.  Dance is active and stitching is passive for starters.

Beauty really does exist in the eye of the beholder, especially when it comes to an XL woollen cardigan fulled to a size S, and then rescued from the piles of discarded textiles at the point of landfill [TIP SHOP]

This cardigan really was worn and treated badly.  Lots of holes, shrunken and pulled out of shape.  But when I spotted it’s sadness in the bottom of the textile bin, it begged to be rescued.

What did I see in this cardigan that was beautiful and/or magic? 

The fact that the cardigan was made of cashmere and was soft to the touch was a winner.  That it had lots of holes made it a piece that could be mended by my contemporary boro style technique.  The metal buttons are unique, as are the metal rings that attaches them to the garment.  I loved the shaggy fringing and exposed seams around the cardigan’s edges.

What did I see in this cardigan that other textile scavenges had not?

That it was a blank canvas for a textile artist to work magic upon.  That it was ripe for rescue.  That it could be worn again a la scavenger style.

What was the main thing required to undertake, to save this cardigan?

It had to be placed in the freezer for a couple of days to kill any moth eggs.  Then it was gently soaked and washed.

What is something else special about this cardigan?

It has been made in the USA, and is the most unique design for a cardigan that I have ever seen.  In an era when many garments are made in China and third world countries, I love rescuing garments, regardless of condition, that have been made in Australia, UK, Italy, USA, France and New Zealand.  And if these garments are made of natural fibres, especially wool, I am driven to save and preserve these limited resources.

Click on all photos for an explanation


Beat the Man and recreate from what is already available.

Photos below:  Some close-up photos of cardigan’s details

Lost and Found


“In many ways my life has been rather like a record of the lost and found. Perhaps all lives are like that.”
Lucy Foley, The Book of Lost and Found

RUDE Girl does not like loosing things.  I am sent into a bit of a spin when I cannot find something.  I know I have oftentimes put the ‘lost’ thing away safely but where?

This anxiety I feel for lost objects goes back to being a pre-teen and accidentally loosing what was probably my mother’s last $20 for the week.  On my return and without the money, her angry disapproval was expressed by that look on her face and tone in her voice.  The memory has never left me.

These days the above experience, is probably part the reason why I rescue that which is lost, and promise to care for it.  Who knows, but maybe.

This week RUDE have been on our separate missions to find the lost.  RUDE Boy has headed to Gulgong in NSW.  And, I have searched on-line and found out more about the Japanese patching and stitching technique of boro.

Should you be interested in boro, please join my new Facebook group by clicking on the link below.

In Gulgong RUDE Boy and our son Shane, have visited it’s Olde Time Print Shoppe.  In this moving museum, in the middle of nowhere, RUDE Boy reacquainted himself with a working Intertype C4.  For years, we had been searching to find such a machine.  Yesterday in Gulgong, the mechanic and the machine found and touched each other once again.

Many people we meet are in awe of RUDE Boy’s repair skills.  As an apprentice Linotype mechanic he studied fitting and turning, and how to maintain these machines.  When you see the size and mechanical complexity of these machines, it makes you appreciate RUDE Boy’s aptitude for all things mechanical.

There was a video taken which will be presented in due course.  For now, I was sent two photographs to share.


RUDE Boy, the last apprentice Linotype mechanic at The Age newspaper visits Gulgong’s Olde Time Print Shoppe at the town’s Pioneer Museum.  He is standing in front of a working Intertype C4 machine that makes line of type

Many of these machines ended up in landfills, a bit like treadle sewing machines also did.  It is reassuring to know that some Intertypes and Linotypes have been preserved.  Many are not operational nor in good working order.  At Gulgong that’s not the case, with a newsletter being published.

RUDE Boy would like to extend a grateful thank you to the staff at the Gulgong Pioneer Museum, especially Arthur for allowing him to relive the memories.



RUDE Boy at the entrance to the Gulgong Pioneers Museum which includes the Olde Time Print Shoppe


Beat The Man by seeking not to give up on finding and reliving that which he [The Man] wants you to forget.

Repair on the Run

Toss it, no way! ~ Repair Cafe International


Melbourne (Inner West) Repair Cafe is part of Repair Cafe International

RUDE had a fun and very busy few hours at the first Melbourne (inner west) Repair Cafe.  It was held in Seddon, Melbourne on 6 March, 2016. 

We had a drive down the highway, as the repair cafe we are participating in,  is not held in our town.  We were keen to make this event memorable. We arrived early at the cafe where the event was to be held.  Our mantra which is Beat The Man was foremost in our renegade repairer minds. 

The previous day, we had spent time trying to think what might be necessary to use.  It was a big unknown really but we gathered together enough but not too much, in order to mend and make do.  We were hoping that some fixees might also bring some of their own repair resources, like fabric for patching and appropriate coloured thread.

When the time came to start repairing, it was full on, with the cafe rocking repair.  RUDE Boy was thrilled to repair two vintage Planet lamps.  And I had a couple of garment repairs to keep me busy on the sewing machine.  There were two other fixers besides RUDE, also kept busy with repairs.  And our Repair Cafe organisers, triaged the repair jobs and gathered statistics. 

It demonstrated to me how resourceful I can be when the need arises, and is immediate.  Repair Cafe is not only a test of how quickly you can think on your feet but also your physical resilience to multitask.  I was literally juggling a couple of repairs at once, chatting with people, showing them how to repair and operating a sewing machine, filling out forms and having photos taken.

I guess debriefing in this blog post, has bought to mind speed dating.  Repair Cafe is akin to speed dating and could be titled speed mending!

Seriously, it was the most incredible reuse and repair experience for RUDE.  The best parts were meeting the fixees, discussing with them their precious and/or useful possessions before their items were repaired, and then showing them how to repair,
and interacting with them during the repair process.

The icing on the repair cafe cake was the photos taken of the fixers with their respective fixees.  The thing that stood out the most for RUDE Girl was there was not too much time to ponder and procrastinate over the repair. I just had to get to it, and mend and make do with what I had bought along.


Karen and Harley 6 mar 2016

RUDE Girl with Harley, who was shown how to sewing machine mend a very large hole, in a difficult spot,  on his favourite jeans.  Photo credit Doug Palmer



Karen and Hardie 6 mar 2016

RUDE Girl with Hardie who had a large rip in the knee of her favourite jeans.  She was shown by Barbara another textiles’ fixer at Repair Cafe [background on sewing machine] how to open up the seam of the leg.  Then RUDE Girl showed her how to patch by sewing machine and hand.  The patch is from a shirt rescued from landfill.  Photo credit Doug Palmer



The same recycled fabric from a recycled shirt, rescued from landfill that patched the jeans above, made this pocket pouch for the storage of our flash drives.



Karen and hardie B 6 mar 2016

A very easy fix of the shoulder pad on a bag strap that required some sewing machine stitching. Photo credit Doug Palmer




RUDE Boy fixing two vintage Planet lamps that belonged to Lauren’s father.  Apparently she brought in the two lamps,  hoping for one to be fixed with the parts of the other.  But RUDE Boy was able to fix the both of them!  Photo credit Doug Palmer



Danny behind counter Rhubarb 6 Mar 2016

RUDE Boy’s talents did not go unnoticed by the venue’s staff.  As a thank you gesture for letting our Repair Cafe use her venue, he ended up helping behind the counter.  Photo credit Doug Palmer

Beat the Man by cutting out the middle man, and try speed mending.  It’s free and a blast!

Renegade Repairers

“It is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary”  Richard Whately


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RUDE are volunteer fixers with the Melbourne (Inner West) Repair Cafe supported by Transition Town Maribrynong


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RUDE Girl on her hand cranked Singer 179N sewing machine at the launch of Victoria, Australia’s first Repair Cafe





RUDE Boy demonstrating how to repair pesky garden hoses and leaks.  Photo: Doug Palmer


RUDE [reusers of unloved discarded excess] are mad about repair.  It’s a good skill to have a passion for, when you like to reuse all kinds of secondhand stuff that has been thrown away.

The quote above by Richard Whately resonates with RUDE because we are extremely practical people.  We are owners rarely consumers of stuff.  Being owners we care for and maintain our things.

We want to have a good working relationship with our things.  And any relationship needs to be cared for and maintained.  And for those things, we simply love and that give us joy, we want to care and maintain them too, just like any loving partnership arrangement.

We suspect most people these days, are more consumers than owners of things [refer graphic from PLAN  below].  However, we do believe we are seeing a shift to more consumers, wanting to know how to mend and make do.  Changes to household finances, an increasing awareness of resource depletion, poor quality new products etc are some of the reasons for this shift.



And that’s where RUDE feels it is time to share with interested people, what we have both been doing for a lifetime.  Yes, it’s repairing stuff, but mostly we maintain our things from the outset.  This ensures we have better quality things to repair when they fail.  This of course, is an important message when first learning about the art of repair.

Many of you who follow on our Facebook blog at Rude Record, know that we participated in the launch of the Melbourne (Inner West) Repair Cafe on 21 February.  And this Sunday we are off to the first in-cafe Repair Cafe.

RUDE Boy will be testing and troubleshooting electrical appliances.  I will be carting my 1980s very basic Janome sewing machine along, for any fabric/garment mending that presents.  This sewing machine was rescued from landfill and is a similar model to my first machine that ended up with the metal recycler recently.  Of course I striped it of all parts first!


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RUDE Boy troubleshooting a vintage theatre lamp



RUDE Girl making a festive bunting in the beautiful Yarraville Gardens to demonstrate off-grid sewing with a her hand-cranked sewing machine.  Photo: Dominique Hes


You can check out some photos and read about our launch on the link below.

And this is a video I created, of our wonderful Repair Cafe coordinator Michelle Fisher setting up for the launch.

Beat The Man and own, really own and care for your stuff.