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 mend Jeans: Part 2

Sewing machine mending

Jeans are one of the most popular items to repair at our workshops. Many people bring along jeans that have worn away between the thighs and ask if they can be repaired – yes is the answer and there are two ways of repairing. By hand and a Boro style stitch as shown in part one of this jeans mending series. In part two we show how to mend jeans with a sewing machine.

Sewing thread

Usually people prefer to mend their jeans in this particular spot as inconspicuously as possible. Jeans come in so many different colours and shades try and match the sewing thread as close as possible. Mid-blue and pale grey work well on worn denim jeans. As part of our denim patching kit we offer 3 different colour blue threads on one reel. All are from larger reels of deadstock wound onto used plastic reels (thanks to a Facebook sewing group).

Sewing Kit

  • 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
  • *TOP TIP* save pieces of denim cut from taking jeans up or save old jeans to use for patches.

Denim patches

As in part 1 of this blog the 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. Set your machine to a zig zag setting. Nearly all domestic sewing machines have a zig zag setting. Have a practice on a scrap piece of fabric and change the stitch width and length settings to get the shape of zig zag that you prefer. Zig zag stitch just inside the outer edge of the patch. Sew around all 4 edges to prevent 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. Use dressmakers pins to pin in place.

  • Working on the right side of the jeans, feed the jeans under the presser foot of the machine. Take your time and wiggle the jeans to get them in place
  • Before you start sewing, trace the patch with your finger to make sure it is still in place and hasn’t folded over
  • Starting at the point where the two centre seams cross, sew a zig zag line following the line of one of the centre seams
  • Stop at the edge of the patch taking care not to go over the pins otherwise you will break a needle
  • Put the needle into the denim, lift up the presser foot and pivot the jeans 90 degrees
  • You want to come back and sew in the opposite direction that you have just sewn. But don’t sew over the same line, move the fabric of the jeans over so you end up creating rows of zig zag stitching. They don’t have to be exact
  • Once you have gone one way, turn the jeans so that you follow the line of the other centre seam. Crossing over the zig zag lines you have just sewn.
  • Demonstrated in the video below *top tip* if your sewing machine is missing stitches and not sewing the zig zag properly, trying switching to a denim needle. It isn’t always necessary to buy one specially but it does help this error.

Sewing machine stitching vs. hand stitching


I’ve used both techniques on this one pair of jeans to demonstrate the difference. Both work well and are both secure. Personally I like the meditative effect of hand sewing but machine sewing gets the job done quicker. Both methods won’t last forever. If another hole appears or the patching has worn away, place another patch on top and repeat the instructions. Don’t remove the original patching, the new patch will make it stronger. Want to find out more? Come along to one of our clothes mending workshops

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



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

‘Boro’ Patching Tutorial

Learn the basics of how to mend your clothes with ‘Boro’ patching

This video shows you the basics of how to patch your damaged clothes and textiles using a technique inspired by the Japanese craft of ‘Boro’. If you’re looking for the sewing kit you need to get started, we’ve got patching kits available on our Etsy page

Or sign up for one of our patching workshops, £20 including a kit worth £10

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!