Sutton Japanese Boro Workshop

Fast Fashion Therapy Japanese Boro Workshop

Get ahead of the curve, and support the circular economy!

Help address the Climate Emergency and fast fashion by learning how to repair those items you no longer wear!

Set in the unique Tudor setting of Whitehall Historic House, this workshop will help you mend and up-cycle old or damaged clothes. The workshop will take you through the basics of these ‘visible mending’ techniques to leave you feeling inspired to keep fixing at home! Both of the techniques only use hand sewing so can be easily carried on at home or elsewhere.

All materials and kit will be provided in the workshop.

All ages are welcome although children will need to be accompanied by an adult as we will be using scissors and sharp needles.

What facilities are there at Whitehall Historic House?

Toilets will be available to visitors, with disabled access and baby changing.

A tea room is available on site, run independently by Freedom Caffe.

For general enquiries please email: whitehallmuseum@sutton.gov.uk

About Whitehall Historic House

With a timber structure originally built around 1500, Whitehall Historic House is a Grade II* listed building set in the village of Cheam.

Following the recently completed National Lottery Heritage Fund refurbishment, and building on its 500 year history, we are delighted to once again invite visitors back to Whitehall to rediscover this incredible site for FREE. This Grade II* listed property is an impressive feature at the heart of the picturesque village of Cheam. From the permanent displays about the history of Whitehall, Cheam and the surrounding area, and of course the 500 year old building itself inside, to the distinct white weatherboarding, projecting upper story, and sloping porch outside, Whitehall Historic House stands out as something special.

‘Fix your Knitwear’ workshop at Woodfield Pavilion

Have you taken out your knitwear this winter and noticed they’re in need of some TLC? Don’t throw them out! Join us for the solution!

Join us for this workshop to pick up some new sewing techniques that will help you to repair and refresh your tired knitwear. Save a jumper Save the planet!

We’ll cover a range of visible and invisible mending skills that can be used to repair holes in jumpers, tidy up ragged cuffs, or cover stains including basic darning, Swiss darning, and some ‘quick fix’ techniques. Materials and hand-sewing equipment will be provided for you to practice with at the workshop but feel free to bring along any old knitwear you would like to work on as well.

Tickets are £15 per person and includes a small kit of 4 x needles, a selection of yarns (3 woollen yarns and 2 cotton yarns) and a ‘How to Darn’ instructional card.

How to mend Jeans: Part 1

Hand sewing, Boro style patching

We designed this graphic last year before the start of the Covid Pandemic. We had been running two workshops a week and people brought along their clothes to repair. We did an audit to find out the most popular items of clothing to repair and the main issues they had. Jeans were one of the most popular items to repair. Many of them had worn away between the thighs and needed repairing. Usually the rest of the denim is perfectly fine. Mending the jeans brings them back to life, ready to wear again!

With the hole being in between the thighs, I prefer to use a denim patch along with matching thread rather than making a feature of the mend. Not quite invisible mending but not as obvious as visible mending as the example in the how to video. The above photo is of my favourite jeans which have been patched several times. Rather than take off the original patching, I add layers to it and patch over the new holes. I’ve been asked if it makes the jeans uncomfortable to wear but I don’t notice the difference.

First step is to measure the hole in the jeans. If the hole is on both sides of the centre seam then use one patch to fit over the whole area. Cut a piece of denim that is a similar weight, feel and texture to the jeans you are mending. Sew an overstitch around all four edges to prevent the edges from fraying.

Keep the jeans the right side out and open the fastenings as far as they will go. Place the patch over the the holes. Usually the holes are on the back side of the jeans, keep the patch on that side of the centre seam so it covers the holes on both sides of the centre seam. Pin in place with safety pins or dressmaker pins. An embroidery hoop placed over the area you will be stitching is useful to hold the fabric taught. But it isn’t essential.

Step-by-step ‘how to video’ on Boro Patching

In the video above, Eleanor demonstrates how to patch using the Japanese Boro style technique. This technique can be used for all woven fabrics, not just denim. The below video is my husband (Craig) mending his jeans after I taught him this technique. He can sew on a button but usually leaves the clothes mending to me. This is the first time he has tried Boro style patching, I wanted to share the video to show you don’t have to be a sewing whiz to mend your own jeans. Hand sewing is great for mindfulness too!

Boro patching in practice

Sewing Equipment

  • Sharp scissors
  • Sewing needle (sharp ended to get through the denim)
  • Dressmaker pins to hold the patch in place or safety pins also work well
  • Tape measure or ruler to measure the patch
  • Thread – I use a blue to match the denim (not white shown in the photo)
  • Denim patching kits available on our Etsy shop
Denim patching kits available on our Etsy shop – COMING SOON

We are running monthly virtual workshops teaching patching and darning. Join us to learn Boro style patching with the opportunity to practice and ask questions. Book via Eventbrite on the button below. The class takes place via Zoom, instructions and a patching kit (worth £10) is sent in advance of the workshop. Hope to see you there.