How to darn | How to Patch

Virtual | Online Workshops

£5 discount if you book a darning and patching workshop together. They don’t have to be the same date.

Booking ends 5 days before the workshop date so that we can get your kit to you in time. Kit is worth £10, as seen on our Etsy shop. The workshop will take place via Zoom, joining details will be sent a few days in advance of the class.

Each workshop lasts 90 minutes. It includes live demonstrations, time to practice and ask questions. Please get in touch with any queries.

How to Darn Virtual Workshop

Join us on 28th November, 11:30 to 12:30 via Zoom

Join us for a virtual workshop on taking you through all you need to know to learn ‘How to Darn’. We’ll go through the basics of the technique, how to choose the best yarns to work with and different styles of visible and invisible darning.

Ticket costs £20 and includes one of our darning kits, including darning needles, 5 different colours of Merino wool or Cotton yarns and a ‘how to’ card to look back on after the workshop. The workshop will be held over Zoom.

Make sure you get your ticket early so we can send your kit to you in time, tickets can be purchased through our Eventbrite here.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a darning mushroom. Follow our tips on what to use instead of a mushroom. Or buy a lovely vintage darning mushroom from our Etsy shop.

Clothes Mending Workshops at Home

Our workshops at The Create Place are on pause whilst we are in Tier 4 (we are based in London). We are hoping to get back to our workshops in a socially distanced way very soon.

In the meantime we are continuing with our social mending sessions on Zoom, the first Tuesday of the month. Bring along some clothes mending whilst we chat. We will be on hand to answer any clothes mending questions you have. Not joined one of our sessions before? Everyone is welcome. It isn’t a teaching workshop, more of a social clothes mending session. An hour to encourage us all to mend our clothes. Bring along one or two items of clothing to mend with a basic sewing kit. We chat whilst we mend and feel free to ask clothes mending questions to us and the group. Sign up for our newsletter to receive Zoom joining details.

Our Repair cafe offers 1:1 advice via video call. Book for a 30 minute session and we can get you started with your mend. Tickets are £9 including booking fee. £2.50 will be donated to charity (Refuge, Fashion Revolution and Trussell Trust). Email us to arrange a time and book your appointment.

Tips to help you start mending

Stitch It Up – The Dress Change x Fast Fashion Therapy

We’re teaming up with @thedresschange next week to bring you an extra online mending session!

As part of their #keepbuyingless series, they’ll be focusing on Upcycling and Mending next week. If you’re new to sewing or just want a refresh of some basic skills, you can join us for Stitch It Up on Wednesday 22nd July at 6.30pm.

We’ll be going through some simple hand sewing techniques so all you’ll need is some fabric to work on (this could be a scrap, an old pillowcase or item of clothing), needle and thread, scissors and some pins if you have them.

You can get your tickets here.

Podcast with Boro Magazine

Katy got in touch at the start of lockdown to invite us to take part in her podcast. A journalist student at the London College of Fashion, Katy has created Boro Magazine as part of her final major project. She tells us ‘I am producing a magazine which explores contemporary make do and mending, focusing on the importance of extending the life of old clothing and innovative textile craftsmanship.’

The magazine sounds right up our street and we were happy to take part in her podcast. Katy asked us how we encourage people to repair their clothes and also the focus we place on therapeutic mending. Her questions were well researched and we had a lively conversation about our workshops. Click the button below to listen to the podcast (30 mins long)

Thanks Katy for asking us to be involved, we really enjoyed chatting with you. Good luck for your final project!

Sustainable(ish) Virtual Festival

We really enjoyed chatting to Jen Gale from Sustainable(ish) as part of her week long festival. We had some great questions about how to repair jeans, socks and underwear! Which has given us an idea to create some new ‘how to’ videos soon. Eleanor created a beautiful darn during the chat and Sarah pulled out various pieces of haberdashery to demonstrate how to mend various pieces of clothing. you can watch a recording of our mend-a-long along with any of the other sessions you may have missed.

Come and join us for a collective mend-a-long session on Thursday evening as part of the sustainable(ish) festival.

Where to join?

The whole event is hosted on Crowdcast so you can join from the comfort of your own home. Sign up for an account using Facebook or Google. Click on the link below to book your place for our session. Or the button below that for the whole event listing.

What is it?

A week long festival helping us make small changes to become more sustainable and do our bit for the planet. It has been more challenging to be ethical during Covid-19, this festival is designed to get us back on track or maybe get started. Lots of tips and ideas on how to make eco changes without leaving home.

What to bring

Any clothes that need mending. This could be socks to darn, jeans to patch, leggings to repair, t-shirts to fix. Ideally items that can be repaired by hand. But feel free to sew-a-long with a sewing machine whilst you listen to our chat. You will need a basic sewing kit. Read our tips on how to build a sewing repair kit.

I don’t know where to start?

It is OK! We encourage everyone to mend their clothes even if you haven’t picked up a needle and thread before. Getting started is the most difficult part and we can help you. Have a read through some of our blog posts such as how to sew on a button or how to sew without a sewing machine to get an idea.

Hope you can join us on Thursday evening! Sarah & Eleanor x

Repair and Refashion Online

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.

Swish & Style: Thanks for coming!

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.

London’s Wardrobe: Exclusive visit to the fashion archives & clothes mending workshop at the Museum of London

‘Make-Do And Mend’ is a well known saying but where does it come from? We visited the fashion archives at the Museum of London to find out more…

Beneath the hum of the traffic on London Wall, the fashion archives of the Museum of London sprawl in identical stacked rows. There are over twenty four thousand items all neatly packed in acid free boxes; Hundreds of pairs of gloves carefully placed in draws, umbrellas and parasols. The belt of Princess Margaret’s Dior dress as featured in the recent Dior exhibition at the V&A and a cravat worn by Charles Dickens.

Museum of London Fashion Archives

Turn a corner and we are amongst rows and racks of clothing each covered in a white protective jacket. They look like a line of soldiers with a paper label in place of a medal.

Museum of London Fashion Archives

So where did the phrase ‘Make-Do And Mend’ come from? It was part of a campaign launched by the British Government in 1942, during World War II when clothes were rationed and in short supply. The successful campaign encouraged British residents to preserve their clothes providing leaflets and lessons such as how to darn socks and jumpers or patching jacket elbows. This spawned a wave of ingenuity and instead of giving up on fashion, people came up with new ideas in which to show off their individuality.

However, the mending of clothes pre-dates World War II by many centuries. Hidden amongst the twenty four thousand items are evidence that ‘mending wasn’t only for times of austerity or for the non-elite, everyone did it’ says Dr Lucie Whitmore, Fashion Curator at the Museum of London. Eleanor is given a magnifying glass to inspect the mending on a riding jacket. Dated from the late 18th century, the item is rare as it is a woman’s jacket. Usually sportswear items from this era are menswear. Intricate tiny stitches cover a worn section of the silk cuff and add to the elegance of the jacket.

Women’s riding jacket from 1750-1800, Museum of London

At Fast Fashion Therapy, we encourage the mending of clothes preventing them from being thrown away. But in 2020, we have very different reasons for prolonging the life of clothes. Rather than being scarce, there are more clothes being produced than ever before. In fact, by 2030 global clothing consumption is expected to rise to 102 million tonnes according to Lauren Bravo’s book How to Break Up with Fast Fashion. Mark Sumner, Lecturer of Sustainability at Leeds University estimates ’30 to 40 billion pounds worth of clothing are wasted in the UK’ (Speaking at last year’s Fashion Revolution Question Time at the V&A).

We are working with the Museum of London to host a mending workshop. During the morning, attendees are given exclusive access to the museum’s fashion archives. Dr Lucie Whitmore has hand picked items from the archive to demonstrate mending across three centuries. During the afternoon, we will take inspiration from the items shown and teach you how to mend your own clothes using similar techniques. Learn how to darn a favourite jumper, t-shirt or shirt. Patch your best jeans, a dress or trousers. Bring along an item of clothing you would like to repair (using hand sewing techniques) or we will have samples for you to practice on.

“If the most sustainable item of clothing is the one we already own, then appreciating and wearing those clothes is one of the most powerful differences we can make.”

Lauren Bravo, How to Break Up with Fast Fashion

It is clear from visiting the Museum of London’s Fashion archives that our ancestors cared for their clothes, treating them with the respect they deserved. We hope you will join us at our clothes mending workshop to mend and appreciate your own clothes.

WORKSHOP DETAILS: London’s wardrobe: repair and refashion with Fast Fashion Therapy

Dress from 1948, mended with patches

Join the Curator of Fashion at The Museum of London along with Fast Fashion Therapy for a day of repairing and refashioning some of your key wardrobe pieces. We will start the day with an exclusive behind the scenes visit to the museum’s Dress and Textile Store. Here, our curators will select key pieces from our collection to show you three centuries of mended clothing, and tell you some of the fascinating stories behind the objects. After, we will teach some basic techniques to help you start repairing and keep your clothes lasting longer. This hands on workshop will take you through simple darning techniques for fixing holes in knitwear and visible mending such as patching inspired by the Japanese art of ‘Boro’. All materials and kit will be provided for you to learn the techniques of darning and Boro patching. Feel free to bring one damaged item of clothing to repair in the workshop, but this is not essential.

15th February 2020, 11am to 4pm. Cost £65

Click here to book via the Museum of London’s website

Upcycle Your Christmas Jumper

11 December 11:30 to 1pm

This workshop will take you through some simple techniques to help you update a pre-loved jumper into a festive piece for you to keep or share as a gift. We will take you through some quick fixes for adding embellishments, textures and Christmas sparkles.

Bring along your own jumper to decorate, all additional materials and kit will be provided.

One in four Christmas jumpers are worn once and then thrown away in the new year, creating something unique and personal can help you to take care of yours.

Fast Fashion Therapy was born out of a desire to help others to get the skills needed to repair and rework their clothing, giving everyone the opportunity to experiment with fashion in a more sustainable way. The practical workshop can hopefully act as a therapy for our collective addiction to fast fashion! We run workshops twice a month at The Create Place in Bethnal Green, in which you are invited to bring along your old or damaged clothing to get the advice and spaced needed to fix them up.

Be quick! We have only 15 spaces available!

*Open only to Staff and Students of Birkbeck, SOAS, and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine