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.
£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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Are cotton tote bags worse for the environment than plastic bags? It is a debate we have been reading this year, first published by Quartz Magazine after the results of Denmark’s Ministry of Environment and Food 2018 life cycle assessment were published. Taking into account the amount of earth’s resources it takes to produce cotton they argue that a plastic bag could be less impactful than a cotton one. Click here to read the full article.
One view we think is missing from the conversation is a bag made from scrap fabric. If a single use plastic bag creates litter and a cotton bag uses up valuable resources, how about making a bag from textiles that would otherwise be thrown away?
Below are the instructions to make a small tote bag, perfect to use as a gift bag and save on sparkly paper that can’t be recycled. Or keep for your own use, they work brilliantly to carry a packed lunch, water bottle and reusable coffee cup.
How to Make a Small Gift or Tote Bag
Two pieces of fabric , both the size of an A3 piece of paper (apx 30 x 42cm)
Or sew smaller scraps of fabric together to create a bigger piece
Polyester all sew thread
Iron and ironing board
Sewing machine (or come to our free class at The Create Place to use the machines there)
Lay a piece of A3 paper one one piece of the fabric (or measure with a tape measure and mark with a pen or tailoring chalk)
Pin around all 4 edges then cut around the paper with fabric scissors
Remove the pins and the paper
Repeat steps 1 to 3 for the second piece of fabric
Match up the two pieces of fabric, placing right sides together
Pin together along one of the short edges (placing pins vertical to the edge)
Sew along this edge using a 1.5cm seam allowance
Zig zag or overlock the raw edge of this seam
Keeping the pieces together, fold over the bottom sewn edge by 4cm.
Press in place and pin
Pin along the two longer sides, place pins vertical to the edge (making it easier to remove as you sew)
Sew along the two long sides using a 1.5cm seam allowance, incorporating the folded edges
Remove pins then zig zag or overlock the raw edges
Hem the top of the bag: fold over the top edge of the fabric by 1cm, right side to wrong side, press with a hot iron
Fold again by 3cm and press, then pin in place
Stitch around the hem approximately 0.5cm from the hemmed edge
Measure the length of straps you want (we’ve used fairly short straps). Add 3cm to this measurement
Cut two pieces of fabric measuring 8cm wide x the length of the straps required
Take one of the strap pieces, fold over each short edge by 1cm, right side to wrong side and press with a hot iron
Fold over one of the long edges by 1cm, right side to wrong side, press with a hot iron
Repeat on the other long side
Fold the strap in half, wrong sides together. Press and pin in place
Sew the two short edges and then the long edge together, sewing as close to the hemmed edges as possible. This can be done in one long stitch if you pivot at each corner. Click here for a YouTube video on how to pivot on a sewing machine.
Repeat steps 15 to 19 for the other strap
Lay the bag flat and find the centre point at the top of the opening by folding the bag in half width wise and marking the point with a pin. Lay the bag flat again.
Take one short strap end and place 3cm to the right of the centre front, pin in place
Take the other end of the same strap and place it 3cm from the left of the centre front point. Pin in place
Turn over the bag and repeat steps 21 to 23 with the other strap
At this step, decide if you want the strap ends to show on the front of the bag or place them on the inside of the bag. Either way, line up the short edge of the strap just below the line of stitching on the hem and re-pin in place
Sew the straps in place by sewing in a square on the strap. Start at the point where the top edge of the bag lines up with the strap. Sew a horizontal line then pivot and sew down to the same level as the row of stitching at the hem.
Pivot again and sew along the hem line. Pivot for a forth time until you reach the starting point.
An optional extra: sew a criss-cross line from each corner
Press the bag and it is ready to use!
Cotton and linen woven fabrics are the most versatile and will withstand washing. More delicate and stretch fabrics will look pretty as a gift bag and handy to store items at home.
Where to find scrap fabrics
Old bed sheets, quilt covers and pillow cases
Old tea towels or bath towels
Scrap fabrics left over from dress making (the blue and yellow bag is a combination of fabrics left over from 3 different dressmaking projects)
Piece squares of fabric together to give a quilting effect and help use up smaller pieces
Old clothing beyond repair
Pieces of fabrics left over from alterations such as taking up the hem on jeans
Use ribbon for the straps or lengths of hem cut from clothes with their stitching intact
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!