How to darn | How to Patch

Join one of our online workshops and learn how to mend your clothes. Try an introduction to both darning and patching or a specialist masterclass for each technique. Each workshop includes the price of a clothes mending kit worth £10.

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 (except the Slow Sunday event, which is 60mins). 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.

How to Refresh & Repair Knitwear

It is that time of the year when my jumpers and cardigans swap their under-the-bed storage home with my summer clothes. Moths like to eat dirty clothes so I washed my knitwear before I stored them away in an airtight bag. Bringing them back out into the Autumn light, I can see their are in need of refreshing and repair…

Refreshing & Washing

I prefer not to wash my knitwear too frequently. It can cause more pilling (bobbling) and shrinkage. Instead I gave them a refresh. The most effective way to refresh your clothes is to hang them outside in the fresh air. I live in a flat without a balcony so this is how I refresh my clothes:

Boil half a litre (1 pint) of water and let it cool to room temperature. Once cooled, add 10 drops of tea tree essential oil and 10 drops of lavender essential oil. 30ml of witch hazel is also useful if available. Tea Tree oil is thought to work as a natural insect repellent, including moths. Lavender is a well known remedy to prevent moths and I also prefer the smell to Tea Tree, so this blend works better for me.

I added the solution to a rinsed out spray bottle that I had previously been an eco-friendly cleaning product. Any spray bottle will do but it is best not to use one that previously contained bleach just in case there is any residue as it will damage your clothes. I place my jumper over the ironing board, give it a generous spray then hold over a steam iron. Ensure the iron is on the wool setting, too hot and it will shrink your knits. I only pressed the iron very gently on the knitwear, more of a hover and using the steam to refresh (see video below). The jumper is still damp at this point so I placed flat over a clothes rack so the water didn’t weigh down and stretch the jumper.

When washing knitwear it is important to take notice of the care instructions in the label. I prefer to handwash my knits or if using a machine then I set it to the lowest spin cycle. A special wool detergent is recommended such as the one from Ecover.

Knitwear shouldn’t be dried on a hanger or a washing line / rack. The water in the knit construction will be heavy, causing it to stretch. It prefer to lay the knitwear flat on a concertina clothes airer with a towel underneath to catch the water.

De-Pilling or de-bobbling

Small bobbles seem to appear on jumpers out of nowhere. I am constantly de-bobbling! It is technically known as pilling and is caused by the friction of two pieces of fabric rubbing together. Under the arm is a common place or if you carry a bag regularly you will notice pilling where the bag is in contact with the jumper (or any type of fabric). Some fibres bobble more than others, I seem to always choose the bobbling type! The video above includes two ways of getting rid of the bobbles and the final refresh as described in the paragraph above.

Loose or Pulled Threads

I bought this jumper in a charity shop, perfect condition except for a long piece of yarn hanging from the sleeve. It had probably got caught on a clothing tag whilst in the shop. Here is a quick video on how to pull through the yarn or thread to the underside of the jumper to prevent causing a hole.

Darning

We love darning at Fast Fashion Therapy. The mindfulness of the stitching and the sense of achievement when repairing a hole. One of my cardigans had a hole directly under the button. I removed the button first, repaired the hole by darning with a matching yarn. I chose a matching yarn rather than making a feature of this darn as it is only a small hole that will be covered by the button. I sewed the button back on and voila! My cardigan is ready to wear.

Most of my jumpers had small holes in so I spent a bit of time darning before refreshing them (my tights too!). A darning mushroom is a useful tool that can be bought from good haberdashery shops and picked up in vintage and charity shops. How about following our tips on what to use around the house instead of a darning mushroom?

Or try an even more decorative method of repairing holes in knitwear as shown in our video below.


Darning Kits

We have pulled together a selection of darning kits to help you mend your knitwear, available on our Etsy shop for £10 including postage within the UK.

Quick Fixes – Knitwear

In these videos, we’ll go through some different techniques you can use for fixing holes or damage in knitwear if you’re looking for something faster or simpler than darning, or just to create a different effect.

Part 1 goes through a smocking technique and an eyelet technique, whilst part 2 goes through a version of ‘Boro’ patching for knitwear. For more information on ‘Boro’ take a look at our ‘Boro’ video and how-to on our blog.

If you’re looking for the yarns or materials you need to get started on these techniques, we’ve got some mending kits available on our Etsy shop.

Fast Fashion Therapy at The Create Place

A regular and free sewing workshop: Eleanor and Sarah are on hand to help you repair and upcycle your clothes, practice techniques on examples or bring along your own clothes to repair and alter. Drop by or stay for the whole session. Sewing machines, iron and basic sewing equipment is provided. Please bring along a sewing kit if you have one. We are a friendly and inclusive group. Be prepared to share ideas with others on how we can mend and refashion clothes to reduce textile waste. Email us to book your space on hello@fastfashiontherapy.co.uk

‘Darning’ video tutorial

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.

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

Repair Workshop: Memory Refresher

If you’ve come along to one of our Boro and Darning repair workshops, it might have been a few days/weeks/months since you’ve had a chance to keep practising your newly found mending skills. This quick-fire ‘how to’ guide can act as a little refresher and help you to get started again. You can download the PDF using the link at the bottom of the post, happy mending!