Life for many of our early ancestors was difficult, with many of them living in very rural primitive settings . Living was sparse both in material items as well as friendship of neighbors, as many times neighbors would be quite distances apart. Even a small town may be a day's travel (or more) away. It is probably within this setting the make-do was born. Some out of necessity and other from "waste not".
What is a make-do? It is any object that had been broken, or unusable in its former state, turned into a usable item again. Such as the broken trencher repaired by a metal strap to make it whole, being able to give service again. The market basket, with its broken handle repaired with wire, cloth or string . Other items might have been such as this make-do pincushion. The glass base was once a goblet but broken. Salvaged for the base, a handmade pincushion was added to make it into a usable object again.
I have seen other make-do sewing
pincushions made from lamp bases. Of course, each pincushion would be completely handmade, making all of these objects one of a kind. Bits and pieces of fabric would be fashioned, stuffed & sewn. Embellished with embroidery or other needlework. Limited only to the imagination.
I doubt the meaning of the word "make-do" was an invention by our forefathers, but a word created by the antique collective world to encompass all those broken and discarded objects, mended and made usable again. There are those collectors in the antique market that buy only make-do items, still for other collectors it is a cross over. Regardless, these items do take on their own charm, not only for the way they are mended, but the legacy they teach of generations past.