Have you got items of clothing you’ve been hoping to alter or mend but just need some advice and inspiration to get started? Join us for a one-on-one 30 minute advice slot (done over a video call platform of your choice like Zoom or Google Hangouts) and we can offer advice on the right techniques and materials to use. Once you’ve purchased a ticket, we’ll get in contact with you to organise what programme you want to use to talk. £2.50 from the sale of each ticket will be donated to charity, the total raised will be split between 3 charities, The Trussell Trust, Fashion Revolution and Refuge, more information on the charities included below. Ticket price includes £1.30 booking fee.
All you’ll need to take part are the clothes you’re looking for advice on.
If you have a basic sewing kit at home, we can lead you through the techniques in the tutorial. Visit our blog on how to build your own sewing kit.
If you have a sewing machine at home, we can also offer advice using the sewing machine.
If you have no sewing kit, we can still help you with techniques you could use and give you tips on where to find some basic kit/what you could use from around your home. Visit our blog on what to use instead of a darning mushroom.
An idea of items of clothing we could help you get started on…
a jumper with holes in
a dress that needs the length altering
ripped inner seam of a pair of jeans
the waistband on a skirt that needs adjusting
Time goes quickly when you’re repairing! It’s unlikely you’ll be able to finish your repair/alteration in the 30-minute time slot but we can offer the advice and techniques you need to carry on at home on your own after. If you’re unsure what to work on, get in touch by email we can point you in the right direction.
We’ll be donating £2.50 from the sale of each ticket to charities supporting people around the U.K. and worldwide, the three charities we’ll be supporting are…
The Trussell Trust – their work supports a U.K. network of food banks, providing emergency food and support to people locked in poverty whilst campaigning for change to end the need for food banks in the U.K.
Fashion Revolution – their work campaigns to radically change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed to make the fashion industry truly sustainable and ethical. Many low-paid garment workers across the world have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 so their campaigning and support is as vital as ever.
Refuge – their work provides specialist support for women, children and some men experiencing domestic abuse across the U.K. through refuges, community outreach and a 24 hour helpline.
We’ve got a new ‘Darning’ video tutorial on our YouTube channel!
This video will take you through the basics of how to darn holes in knitwear. The technique can be used on an area that’s just worn down or where a hole has appeared to strengthen the item of clothing and create a new piece of fabric in the damaged area. This video shows a visible style of mending but the same technique can be used to repair invisibly if you use a matching thread.
If you’re looking for the basic kit you need to get started on your darning, head to our Shop to find our new darning kits!
Don’t have a darning mushroom at home? How about something from your kitchen? Read our blog on what to use around your home in place of a darning mushroom.
Back in the days when we were allowed to visit clothes shops and talk to people that we didn’t live with in real life, we were invited by Obj.12 to talk about our clothing repair workshops and sustainable fashion for their video on ‘Slow Fashion’. It was a great project to be a part of, sadly the workshop we were going to run with them was cancelled, but hopefully we can work with City University and Obj. 12 again in the future!
If you’ve come along to one of our workshops in the past, you’ll know we normally have some darning mushrooms on hand to help you get fixing your favourite pieces of moth-eaten knitwear. If you’re thinking about getting your own darning mushroom, there are lots of second-hand ones on Ebay and Gumtree that are worth checking out, but we understand that getting a hold of your own darning mushroom might not be an option for you right now.
So what can you use instead? The main thing you need from your darning aid is a flat, hard surface to work on – avoid using anything covered in fabric, as this could get caught on your needle as your darning. Look for something that is fairly light and easy to hold, you don’t want to feel uncomfortable as your mending. Finally, think about the size of the hole that you’re mending, you may find something that works well for a small hole but doesn’t offer enough support on a larger area. Just like when you are learning a new technique, play around with different options to find what’s right for you! Below is a round-up of a few options we found around the home to use…
Option 1 – Old Marmalade Jar
This works well when using the bottom of the jar as it’s a large flat surface, the rounded edges have a similar feel to a normal darning mushroom and the area around the lid is quite easy to hold. It is a bit wider to hold than a normal mushroom so may take a bit of practice to get a comfortable position.
Option 2 – Old GU Pudding Jar/Glass Ramekin
This is a great excuse for buying a GU pudding as a treat as well! This one works well as the jar is not too deep so you can hold the fabric underneath as you would around the mushroom handle. The base of the jar is large and flat so can fit lots of different sized holes on.
Option 3 – Reuseable Coffee Cup
This one is useful for smaller darns as the bottom is narrower than the top. This is a bamboo cup so the fabric could slip around a bit as you’re working on it, securing it in place with a tie around the bottom could help.
Option 4 – Granite Pestle
This one is really nice to hold and has a similar feel to holding a Darning Mushroom. The pestle used here is quite narrow so would only work with smaller holes, but different sized pestles could be more adaptable!
Let us know if you find any alternatives around your home that we haven’t mentioned here. We’ll be posting a ‘Darning’ how-to video in the next week to give you more support with your mending at home.
Are you new to clothes mending but don’t have any sewing equipment? It is easy and inexpensive to pull together a few pieces ready to repair your clothes.
Basic clothes repair kit (from left to right)
Sharp pair of scissors – only use for cutting fabric and thread. They will become blunt if used for cutting paper. Regular stationery scissors are OK as long as they are new or have recently been sharpened
Threads – Black and white are essential, a neutral colour such as beige and grey are useful as is navy. Poly/cotton thread is the most versatile for all garments.
Seam ripper or unpicker – a sharp tool which helps to unpick hems for alteration or to remove broken zips
Darning mushroom or egg – Makes it easier to darn holes in jumpers, t-shirts and socks
Set of needles – a variety of sizes is useful. Some with bigger ‘eyes’ or holes to for knitting yarn to feed through. Plus thinner smaller needles for finer fabrics
Tape measure – for measuring the hemline of trousers and jeans for alteration
Safety pins and dressmaking pins – for patching and alterations
Darning yarn – to repair jumpers and socks
Tailors chalk or a fabric marker – for alterations
Where to buy equipment
Many pieces in our repair kits have been donated by friends of Fast Fashion Therapy. We prefer pre-used equipment as much as possible. Ask around, you might know someone who has more sewing equipment than they need. Charity shops are usually an excellent place to find sewing odds and ends but sadly not at the moment with all the shops closed. Ebay and Etsy are a good online alternative, especially for darning mushrooms. Or try your local haberdashery store and see if they have an online shop whilst we are practising social distancing.
Sometimes it is the small things that stop us from wearing our favourite clothes. In our series, Clothes Maintenance 101, we demonstrate common fixes helping to make our clothes wearable again.
Sewing on a button is a simple task. It doesn’t take very long if you know how and have a basic sewing repair kit. In this video Sarah runs through the variety of buttons available and how to fix them back onto a garment.
Where to buy spare buttons
Start collecting your own spare buttons in a disused jar. Some garments come with a small packet of spare buttons that can be added to the jar. Charity shops often have packs of random buttons for sale, but we appreciate they are accessible whilst we are social distancing. We have pulled together some of our collection for sale on our Etsy shop. A random mix of buttons apx 30 buttons with some designs having 6 of the same button included (e.g white shirt buttons).
From December to March we have joined Swish & Style hosting mending workshops at their popular clothes swishing events. Organised by OLGA and supported by Wise up to Waste the weekly swishing events went from strength to strength. We helped people repair their favourite clothes preventing them from being sent to landfill. From patching a leather jacket, darning a favourite cardigan to enhancing jeans with patches and embroidery.
Thanks to everyone who came along to our workshops. We enjoyed chatting to you all from saving clothes to our favourite museum exhibitions. We are sad the events were cut short due to Covid-19 but we hope they will be back later in the year when the social distancing is all over. Keep your eye on Wise up to Waste’s website or sign up for our newsletter and we will let you know when we have more news.