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Make Do and Mend – Embroidery

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Inspired by the special exhibition Forever Changed – Stories From the Second World War, the War Museum’s virtual Make Do and Mend workshop series reacquaints participants with many of the household skills that were part of everyday life in wartime Canada. Each event features a wartime “skill” and one of the Museum’s experts to provide historical context.

In many ways, the current pandemic evokes the hardships experienced during the Second World War: uncertainty, family separation, and in some cases, limits on certain consumer goods. And just as in wartime, Canadians today have found ways to be more resourceful and find creative ways to cope.

The collections of the Canadian War Museum offer practical and inspiring ways to learn from the past. This new virtual workshop series is taken straight from the booklets, posters and pamphlets distributed during the Second World War. The “Make Do and Mend” philosophy was popularized during the Second World War when clothes rationing was introduced. This inspired people to be more resourceful in general, and it offers parallels to waste reduction movements today. Seventy-five years later, this new hands-on series is sure to spark your historical imagination!


Learn to Make Do and Mend, and travel back to the Canadian home front during the Second World War in this series of virtual workshops.

Presented in conjunction with Forever Changed – Stories From the Second World War.

An example of embroidery
Photo: Hipster Stitcher

Inspired by the “Make Your Own” series of booklets produced by the Royal Canadian Legion in 1942, learn how to make an embroidery sampler with Ottawa’s own Hipster Stitcher, Alina Fedorowicz. You will learn the basic stitches, plus other tips and tricks. Museum historian Dr. Tim Cook will join in and share the fascinating story of a precious embroidered quilt featured in the special exhibition Forever Changed – Stories From the Second World War.

Register on Zoom

Purchase your kit or see a list of materials and the pattern transfer instructions.

List of Materials.

  • Embroidery needles
  • 6-strand embroidery floss (DMC 3866 (off-white) and DMC 224 (pink))
  • 5” embroidery hoop
  • Fabric (100% cotton)
  • Heat erasable or washable pen

Image: Shutterstock, 1841189374

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