There is a big change at the Create Place! After five years of running workshops on a Monday evening we are swapping to Saturday lunchtimes. We hope you can make the new scheduling.
Monthly Workshop Schedule
We run regular clothes mending workshops three times a month in London and online. We hope you can join us to repair your clothes.
Online Mend-a-Long – First Monday of the month The Remakery in Brixton, London – The Third Monday of the month The Create Place, Bethnal Green, London – Saturday lunch times. Please see the full schedule above as the date varies each month.
The Remakery sessions cost £4. The online and Create Place session are free. We no longer have funding for these sessions, if you are able to make a donation we really appreciate it. Either by booking a donation ticket on Eventbrite or we send out a donation link for the Create Place email bookings. The money goes towards our running costs such as sewing supplies, our Zoom account, insurance and first aid certificates. Thanks in advance.
As we approach our fifth birthday we would like to say a massive thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support. Our workshops have been busier than ever with hundreds of clothes repaired and lots of new friends made. Thank you to everyone who has come along to The Create Place, The Remakery and joined us via Zoom. Thanks to all the charities and businesses who have asked us to teach clothes mending in their place of work. Thanks too if your support has simply been to read our newsletters. It does all make a difference and encourages us to carry on.
Our community clothes mending workshops at The Create Place have been free from July 2022 to July 2023 Thanks to the Tower Hamlets Small Grants Fund. Thank you to the team at East End Community Foundation for their support.
How Fast Fashion Therapy started
Five years ago Sarah started a clothes repair workshop at The Create Place in Bethnal Green and Eleanor started a similar workshop at the same time. The team at St Margaret’s House suggested we collaborate to run one workshop. Eleanor had already come up with the catchy name and Fast Fashion Therapy was born! Over the past five years our clothes mending skills and friendship has grown. We enjoy working together, keeping each other motivated and bounce ideas of each other. Our workshops would be nothing without all the support from everyone who has joined a session, whether that is in person or online. Getting together as a group and seeing how many people really are engaged with sustainability is inspiring. It seems like we are all keen to find practical solutions to the problems surrounding us and these collective community experiences are more important than ever!
We are taking a break from workshops in August and will be back in September. There are lots of clothes mending and general sewing workshops taking place over the summer from other workshop providers. Eventbrite is a good place to search for them in your local area.
We have made a slight change to our workshops this Autumn and have reduced our sessions to one a month at The Create Place in Bethnal Green. Please find the new schedule below:
1st Monday of the month: Online mend-a-long via Zoom
3rd Monday of the month: In-person workshop at The Remakery, Brixton
4th Monday of the month: In-person workshop at The Create Place, Bethnal Green
The workshops are not available to book yet, we will let you know via our newsletter, Instagram and Facebook when we have listed them and they are ready to book.
We have lots of ‘how to’ videos over on our blog to help keep you going with your clothes mending during August.
Today is the start of The Great Big Green Week, but what is it? The Great Big Green Week is the UK’s biggest ever celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature.
Every year, people come together to unleash a wave of support for action to protect the planet. Tens of thousands of people in every corner of the country celebrate the heartfelt, brave, everyday actions being taken to stand up for nature and fight climate change.
We take part by sharing our clothes mending skills through community workshops and online How To videos and blogs. At Fast Fashion Therapy we encourage repair, up-cycling and remodelling of used clothes, looking to break our habit to always buy new. Fix holes in jeans, darn jumpers, shorten sleeves or create a new outfit from something already in the wardrobe.
Here are our 5 tips on how to get involved in this years The Great Big Green Week
1. Join a clothes mending workshop
We host a clothes repair workshop on Monday evenings in London. Our workshops are full until end July but there are lots of other clothes mending workshops taking place around the country. We’ve listed a few taking place in London but if you search ‘Clothes mending workshop’ + your town. Or ‘Repair Cafe’ + your town, then hopefully you will find one. If you are interested in setting up your own clothes repair workshop, get in touch and we can give you some tips.
If you can’t find a clothes mending workshop close to you then we run an online mend-a-long. We send out a Zoom link once a month and a group of us join in to collectively repair our clothes. We don’t teach at this session, instead it is an hour once a month to encourage us to get our clothes mended. There is lots of opportunity to ask questions and share clothes mending ideas with the group. We have regular attendees and new joiners too, everyone is welcome. Bring along something to repair or sew or knit and join in the chat. Our online mend-a-long is free to join thanks to a grant from Localgiving and Postcode Society Trust, a grant-giving charity funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
We also have a library of videos and blogs to help you with tips on clothes mending techniques.
We love a clothes swap! The opportunity to swap what you don’t want for things that you do! There are lots popping up around the country. We recommend The Fat Positive Clothes Swap in South London that is for UK size 16+ clothes. Next swap is 1st July, book on Eventbrite.
Microplastic fibres shred from our clothes into the ocean, causing damaging effects. The main textile fibre to create micro plastics is Polyester. It might be known by other names in your clothes label. These are brand names from textile companies who have adapted the basic fibre. The general term is Polyester, which is a man-made synthetic Polymer. Polyester is in 60% of our clothes in the UK and makes up 51% of all the fibres produced globally. It doesn’t require as much water to produce as Cotton but overall it has a more negative effect on our planet.
How to reduce Microplastic fibre waste
Buy less new products, swapping to second hand clothes. Microplastic fibre waste will still be excreted from our clothes when we wash them but virgin materials are not required to create new clothes. Producing new clothes from Polyester causes negative environmental factors such as heat, chemicals and the use of non-replaceable fossil fuels.
When washing fabrics that contain Polyester or other forms of plastic fibres use a Guppy Friend Bag. Or a similar brand. It helps prevent microplastics from reaching our oceans.
Reduce the number of times clothes are washed. It isn’t necessary to wash clothes after every wear. Air the clothes by an open window or outside. Spot clean any stains.
Repair damaged clothes rather than buying new. Need help? We host weekly workshops in London or join us for an online mend-a-long once a month. We have lots of ‘how to videos’ to help you too.
Free Clothes Mending Workshop for Chelmsford Residents, 20 May 2023
Fast Fashion Therapy was on tour and visited Chelmsford in Essex on Saturday. We hosted two workshops. Residents were asked to book in and bring along a selection of clothes to be mended. A few soft toys and a sofa cushion cover also made an appearance.
Hand sewing clothes repair workshop
The workshop focused on hand-sewing repair skills, including darning and patching techniques. These techniques work well on holes in knitted and jersey jumpers and t-shirts, as well as tears and holes in jeans, trousers, skirts, and shirts. We’ll also helped participants with simple fixes like sewing on buttons, taking up hems, and fixing small rips in seams.
Thanks to everyone who came along and made both workshops inclusive and welcoming. We enjoyed listening to all the sustainable ideas being swapped for the local area. Huge thanks to Emilia from Chelmsford Council for inviting us along and all the brilliant organisation.
We are super impressed with the Love Your Chelmsford website. There is a mass of information on there about sustainable fashion with easy to follow advice. There is even a full checklist and tips to help you organise your own clothes swap. Plus an upcycling competition for teenagers.
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 with a focus on anxiety. We named our clothes mending workshops Fast Fashion Therapy nearly 5 years ago. It soon became apparent that the workshops are a therapeutic space for the participants (and us) along with the clothes being repaired . Despite the sessions being busy, clothes repairing is a mindful and therapeutic process.
Our favourite way to mend clothes is sewing by hand rather on the machine. Don’t get us wrong, we love using the sewing machine for a quick and secure finish. Sewing and mending clothes by hand has a meditative effect. Using a needle and thread (or yarn) to darn a hole and patch a hole, take up a hem and many other ways to repair clothes.
This week there was a focus on hand sewing at our workshops. Ellen wanted to add a button to her wrap top. She decided to make a feature of it and stitched a welted button hole instead of using the zig zag on the machine. It is still work in progress and she is going to finish the final rows of stitching at home. That is the other great thing about repairing clothes by hand, you can take it anywhere! We’ve been known to darn and patch on the bus and train or our favourite, at home with a podcast on the go.
Lisa wanted to darn a hole in her favourite cardigan and practiced on a sample piece of knit before working on the garment. Kate repaired a hole in her jeans. She started on the sewing machine but switched to hand sewing so she could have more control over what she was doing and finish at home.
During lockdown we explored this further for Pebble Magazine where we shared our top 5 tips for mindful clothes mending:
We host a free online workshop on the first Monday evening of every month. We welcome regular and new attendees. Sign up for our newsletter or register on Eventbrite and we will send you the Zoom link to join. Bring along some clothes to mend and join in the chat. Next session is 5 June, 7:30pm.
Remembering the Rana Plaza tragedy 10 years on, this year Fashion Revolution are asking us to sign their 10 point manifesto for a fairer fashion industry. To treat textile workers with respect and for them to be paid a living wage. Additionally, treating our clothes with respect. Understanding the work and resources that goes into our clothes before they end up in our wardrobes.
What do you do with your clothes when you no longer have use for them? They might no longer fit, be damaged or perhaps was bought on a whim and never suited. We all have these moments. Is there something you can do to make your clothes last for longer?
From the 10 point manifesto we have chosen to focus on point 7, which encourages the longer life of the clothes that are already in our wardrobe. Reducing the need to buy new, using up the Earth’s valuable resources and preventing clothes from reaching landfill.
At Fast Fashion Therapy we teach and encourage people to repair their clothes at our regular workshops. We also have a free online library of ‘how to’ videos and blogs to help with small repairs that prevent us from wearing our clothes. Click on the below photos to be directed to the relevant blog post.
“Fashion Revolution Week 2023 marks 10 years since the Rana Plaza tragedy. Using the 10 points of our manifesto as building blocks, our Global Network of Fashion Revolutionaries in 75 countries are bringing people together to build a vision for radical change. Find out more about the campaign and how to get involved here.”
Join one of our in person or online workshops to repair your clothes. Find more details on our online calendar or search ‘Fast Fashion Therapy’ on Eventbrite.
As the year comes to a close, we’re looking back at our year in mending, repair & upcycling.
We’ve loved welcoming so many people to our workshops throughout 2022 – whether at our regular workshops in Bethnal Green and Brixton, at one-off events and workshops around the UK or meeting people from across the world in our online workshops.
We hope our workshops have inspired the people attended to mend, stitch or upcycle their clothes or textiles more – we’ve learned so many new techniques from you as well. We’re so happy you’ve created this community with us 🪡 🧵🥰
This year, you helped to save 192 items of clothing from going to landfill in our workshops.
Trousers, shorts and jeans come out top – so many of you have patched up holes or altered waistbands to keep your favourite clothing going.
Keeping a track of this info helps us to know what techniques are most useful for the people attending our workshops to learn. Now more than ever repair and sewing skills are so valuable in saving ourselves money, reducing waste and creating a more sustainable fashion industry.
We couldn’t have done it without you – thank you so much to all of our community that keeps Fast Fashion Therapy alive!
Thanks to St. Margaret’s House and The Remakery for all your support and for creating incredible community spaces for us to run our workshops in.
Thanks to East End Community Foundation and #THSmallGrantsFund for funding our workshops at The Create Place in Bethnal Green.
Thanks to Localgiving and the People’s Postcode Lottery for giving us one of their Magic Little Grants for funding our online workshops.
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported our community clothes mending workshops this year. All of the mending techniques and tips that we share mean nothing without the people who come to our workshops or connect with us online. Getting together as a group and seeing how many people really are engaged with sustainability is inspiring. It seems like we are all keen to find practical solutions to the problems surrounding us and these collective community experiences are more important than ever!
Thank you to St Margaret’s house, The Create Place and The Remakery for the use of your warm and welcoming venues and for sharing the news to a wider group of people. Our workshops at The Create Place are free to attend thanks to Tower Hamlets Small Grants Fund.
Our online mend-a-long is free to join thanks to a grant from Localgiving and Postcode Society Trust, a grant-giving charity funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Want to join us next year? We are taking bookings for our 2023 workshops on Eventbrite or send us an email. More details on the calendar section of our website.
Wishing you all a happy holidays and a healthy 2023. Sarah & Eleanor x
Christmas jumper day is on 8 December 2022, wear a festive jumper and donate money to Save the Children. If you are taking part, please wear your Christmas jumper more than once. It was estimated that 12 million Christmas jumpers were bought in 2019 despite 65 million lurking in the back of the wardrobe according to charity Hubbub. Speaking in The Daily Telegraph, the Charity’s project co-ordinator Sarah Divall suggests customers:
‘Swap, buy second-hand or re-wear and remember a jumper is for life not, just for Christmas.’
Sarah Divall, Hubub
Previously, we have written about the ‘30 wear rule‘ when buying a new item of clothing. Why should a Christmas jumper be any different? Here are our top tips on how to get the most out of your Christmas jumper and prevent it from becoming textile waste.
1. Start wearing your jumper early
I visited my family in Scotland in October, where they have more reason to wear jumpers for longer. It was Halloween but my niece Libby was wearing the above red sweatshirt adorned with snowflakes and an image of a cute black cat and the words ‘Meowy Christmas’. Do you know what, it looked fantastic! The black cat ticked the Halloween box and it was genuinely a warm and item of clothing that she loves and will wear throughout the winter.
2. Worn it before? So What?
My husband went out this evening for his annual Christmas curry club wearing a Christmas Jumper he has owned for 7 years and it is still going. Do you think anyone really remembers if you have worn it before? And if they do, then explain it is your favourite and you are saving another piece of clothing from reaching landfill.
3. Upcycle your Christmas jumper
If tip 2 isn’t quite for you and you want to update your Christmas jumper each year, then add a few embellishments. We love this tip from our friends at the Ealing Repair Cafe. Maria added a Christmas hat to her daughter’s non-Christmas jumper. Add some pompoms, ribbon, sequins. Any small change will make your jumper feel like it is all new again. Of course you can create a Christmas jumper from a plain jumper. As we did at our workshop with The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine back in 2019.
4. Take the Christmas out of your jumper
I’ve seen some really over the top Christmas jumpers, which might be difficult to update to an all-season jumper. In this case, I refer you to points 1 and 2. If your jumper is a bit more subtle, then hide the Christmas references. Eleanor updated this semi-plain sweatshirt by cutting strips of a lightweight fabric. Thread a needle with a double a length of sewing thread approximately 45cm. Knot the end. Fold over the fabric at approximately 5cm folds. Sew through the centre of all the layers. Continue with more lengths of fabric, changing the colours if you wish. Pull together and secure with a couple of back stitches and a knot. Repeat until you have enough ruching to cover the message on your jumper. Alternatively, use the Boro and Sashiko technique to patch over the festivity on your jumper.
5. Swap with a friend
OK, you’ve worn your jumper for 7 years and fancy a change. Find a friend the same clothes size as you and swap your jumpers. Host a Christmas jumper swap with a group of friends or colleagues. Best to do it soon whilst everyone remembers where their jumper is and can wear it over the holidays.
Maybe you haven’t bought a Christmas jumper yet and still thinking about getting into the popular tradition. I spotted the jumpers at the top of this post in the window of my local charity shop and they had lots more inside. Buy from a charity shop-wear-donate-repeat. Use it like a form of rental and the money all goes to charity.
We never give up on an item of clothing but some repairs are more difficult than others. This jacket has a cigarette burn on the sleeve, which seems simple enough to repair. However, it is a waterproof jacket so we wanted to ensure the mend was also waterproof. It also belongs to someone who would like the mend to be as invisible as possible. Where do we find a fabric that matches close enough to make an invisible mend?
Where to find a suitable fabric for patching
Jackets, coats and shirts already have spare pieces of fabric for us to use as patches. Look on the inside of these garments and many pieces have been doubled. For example, a classic style shirt will have a yoke. The top part at the back underneath the collar. This is usually a double layer of fabric. Cuffs and collars on shirts, jackets and coats also have a double layer. This jacket has large welts for the pocket openings, which we were able to utilise.
Start with a tape measure or ruler
Draw a square or rectangle that is approximately 1cm larger around the area that needs patching. Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut into one layer of the pocket flap (or which ever area of the garment you are using to make a patch). The photo shows that we have only cut through one layer so there is no hole on the right side of the pocket or garment.
Repair the hole created by the patch
The hole that has been created inside the garment also needs repairing. It could be secured with an overstitch around the edge so that the fabric doesn’t fray. For this jacket we have created another patch so rain doesn’t get into the pocket. We used a scrap of polyester ripstop fabric that has been coated with plastic to make it shower proof. A piece of old shower curtain would do the trick. Keep a box of scrap fabrics left over from alternations and old clothing to use for patching other garments.
We used the patch we have cut to cut another patch from the ripstop fabric. We secured it with an overstitch. This fabric doesn’t fray, same as the original jacket fabric. This is because they are plastic coated. If you are patching a garment where the fabric frays you might want to press over the edges of the patch first. Press with a hot iron to create a fray free edged.
We then turned our attention to the original hole on the front of the jacket. We used invisible nylon thread to secure the patch. Nylon thread has waterproof properties, it is strong and glossy, which helps it glide through these thicker plastic coated fabrics. Jacket is now repaired, ready for another Winter.
During one of our online mend-a-longs, we talked about repairing waterproof jackets. One of our American friends on the call recommended a product called Spinnaker tape. A Googled search describes it as ripstop tape and sail repair tape. eBay had many options, I’ve included the search link here but if it doesn’t work search for ‘sail repair tape’. There were some second hand options.