Several years ago retired nurse Jen Love-Huppatz found herself living in a tiny house amongst "permaculture communities" with her daughter, which revived a love for mending broken things.
The newfound passion for the environment has spurred Ms Love-Huppatz to launch Mending Grandpa's Jacke, a startup run from her Mangerton home aimed at highlighting beauty of forgotten treasures and revamping damaged fashion.
It was her daughter Brenna who introduced her to a sustainable way of life in Victoria and "modern thinking" about the environment, which was eye-opening for the burnt-out medical professional.
I found it astonishing that others didn't have the confidence or time to mend or darn.Jen Love-Huppatz
"After spending several years living within the strong and friendly sustainable permaculture communities of Hepburn and Castlemaine in Victoria, I found myself using various visible mending sewing techniques to extend the life of friends' clothes and in return I was gifted produce, unique living opportunities and shared knowledge," Ms Love-Huppatz said.
Her techniques involve colourful embellished patches in the style of the Japanese 'boro' technique or funky thread that can turn a holes in jumpers into features with flair. She also loves hearing the stories behind items of clothing or tired old items in need of repair.
"I found it astonishing that others didn't have the confidence or time to mend or darn," the creative said.
"I started experimenting with visible mending techniques to revitalise jeans and add some much needed colour and fun. I re-knitted jumper cuffs, and darned holes. This lead to an expansion of requests to restore childhood toys, linens and all things fabric."
Ms Love-Huppatz learnt to sew from watching her mother whip up wonderful dresses for her five daughters for church, school uniforms and every day attire. It was a time when "fixing things and making your own things was normal".
"In fourth class I restuffed my own teddy-bear with fabric off cuts and old stockings and secretly used the sewing machine for the first time, and unsupervised," she said.
"The next time mother went to use the machine the latch hadn't been secured correctly after my use and she dropped it, breaking her foot.
"She guessed it was me, my teddy had the new vest made of hippy fabric."
Ms Love-Huppatz also said it isn't difficult to learn how to repair items for rewear, and hopes to be able to teach people the forgotten art through workshops when restrictions allow.
"Ultimately my vision is to assist people to learn to fix their own stuff so they just don't chuck it out," she said.
"Especially jeans, as it takes something like 10,000 litres of water just to make one pair of jeans."
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