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

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

London’s Sustainable Christmas Market | Buyagift

Sunday, 1 December 19, 10am to 5pm

Core Clapton, 161 Northwold Road, London, E5 8RL

Learn to create conscious and creative gifts at FREE minimal-waste workshops, and explore the marketplace for sustainable presents that won’t cost the earth.

We are hosting a free workshop at the event:
Learn how to transform your old clothing or charity shop finds into unique and bespoke pieces with a few simple tricks! Starting with either a men’s jumper or shirt, this workshop will take you through how to use simple cutting and hand-stitching techniques to add decoration and change them into entirely new pieces of clothing. The workshop will leave you with the right skills and greater confidence to carry on upcycling other items in your wardrobe at home. All materials will be provided including the original jumper or shirt, yarns and sewing kit.

Workshops are free and include:

– Wreath making with The Flower Factory London
Creative jumper upcycling with Fast Fashion Therapy
– Soap-making with Bottega Zero Waste
– Terrarium-making with Little Drop of Green
– Yoga and meditation from the experts at cult gym Frame
– Plus advice and inspiration from some of the UK’s biggest thought – leaders and sustainability influencers

Head to the marketplace anytime from 10am to 5pm for a unique opportunity to shop from leading brands who are trailblazing new ways to live and give sustainably, offering everything from sustainable scents and skincare, to conscious fashion and upcycled jewellery.

Visitors will be able to wrap newly bought gifts using eco-friendly materials at Buyagift’s free ‘Sustainable Gift-Wrap Station’, get biodegradable glittered up, and make the most of free manicures and massages designed to soothe and slow down visitors at this busy time of year. Bring tupperware to buy waste-free produce from refillable store Patoka.

There will also be the opportunity to sample vegan and sustainable food and drink that will planet-proof your Christmas menu; including festive mulled cider from the food waste pioneers at Rejuce.

Streatham Festival 2019: Creative Clothing Repair Workshop

We’re leaving our regular home in East London and heading down south for a creative clothing repair workshop as part of Streatham Festival, a community-organised festival that includes music, dance, art and food events around the Streatham area from 11th-20th October. The workshop will be held at the Streatham Tate Library on Tuesday 15th October between 4 pm-6 pm. For more information and to buy your ticket check out the Eventbrite page – 

Fair Fashion Fair: Sun 28 April

By Bety’s Closet Swap Shop

At Refettorio, London SW5. Click here for more details on Facebook

As part of Fashion Revolution Week 2019 we are joining Betsy’s Swap Shop Fair Fashion Fair. A fun day to swap clothes and learn beginner’s darning skills and patching techniques to help you mend and up-cycle old and damaged clothes. Click here to pre-book tickets for the swishing event, which costs £10 and includes food and refreshments.

Boro style patching workshop

The workshop will take you through the basics of these ‘visible mending’ and classic repair techniques, starting by fixing holes in knitwear, and then learning both ‘boro’-style patching and invisible patching. We’ll leave you with the skills and information to keep you fixing at home! All materials and kit will be provided. £5 contribution to take part – paid on the day at workshop – The workshop is sold out but come along to take part in the swishing event. Stop by our workshop in case we have had any last minute cancellations and can fit you in.

This workshop is part of Fair Fashion Fair for Fashion Revolution Week 2019

Pebblefest: Sat 27 April, London

Join us for some #everydayactivism at Pebble Magazine’s first ethical festival, Pebblefest. We are taking our Fast Fashion Therapy on the road and demonstrating
how to repair clothes through darning and patching.

Tickets are £12 (free for under 12’s), find us at Flat Iron Square, 68 Union Street, London SE1 1TD. Our demonstration take place at 13:30 and 17:30. The festival is on all day with a wide range of talks, workshops, ethical shopping, live music and cocktails. Click here to buy tickets and to discover the full list of participants.

Fast Fashion Therapy

A sewing workshop encouraging 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. Bring along an item of clothing to repair or re-work into something new. Or practice basic techniques on the examples provided. Help will be given with ideas and basic sewing knowledge. Suitable for beginner sewers who need some help or more experienced sewers looking for a dedicated space and time to sew. We are a friendly and collaborative group, be prepared to share ideas and help others.

A free, regular workshop takes place on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month, 6:30 to 8:30pm. Click here for a calendar of dates. Find us at The Create Place, 29 Old Ford Road, London E2 9PJ. All equipment provided including a small amount of fabric and trims. The workshop is facilitated by Eleanor & Sarah. Email us at to book your space and find out more or sign up for our regular newsletter.

We also run workshops at events around London. Click on ‘Events’ in the menu bar above to find out more. Please email us on if you would like us to deliver a workshop at your event.

We hope to see you at a workshop soon, Eleanor & Sarah