What's In Your Mending Pile This Winter?

What's In Your Mending Pile This Winter?

Stephanie Steele Tuesday, 27 October 2020

According to research from WRAP (Valuing Our Clothes report), extending the life of your clothing by 9 months would reduce carbon, waste and water footprints by 20-30% for each item. This refers to the fact that you're using something for longer so you're not buying new, and also because you're not discarding the item too early (and whether that goes into landfill or incineration). Resale does technically extend the life of clothing too, so anything you can do to update the item so that it will be more likely to be sold - even if you don't want the item anymore - will keep those emissions down.

During the cold and dark winter evenings and with Covid-19 lockdown in place, we give you a list of businesses to check out for their video tutorials, online workshops and even in-person sessions to provide you with the skills, motivation and support in your mending and darning.

Main image from Celia Pym.


@fastfashiontherapy ~ mending and darning tutorials on their YouTube channel plus instructions on clothing repair and refresh.⁠ Image below on shaving pilling.

@clothes.doctor ~ creating their own and partnered online tutorials, learn how to refresh leather, restitch sequins, sew on a button and repair a bra. You can sign up to their newsletter (but it's slightly commercial in using it to sell products, obviously, rather than sharing tutorials). Image below on sewing on a button.

@raystitch ~ You'll find lots of embroidery and hand stitch workshops here, both in-store and online, including from favourite Celia Pym (you have to be very quick). But the tailoring techniques class would be one to upyour game when it comes to making, especially if you're considering a bespoke service for your brand as it will allow you the chance to gauge mindflness and a slower approach.

There's a fascinating interview between Grant Gibson and Celia Pym on the Material Matters podcast.


@fabricationshackney ~ an introduction to garment repairs and alteration via machine course is on the 1st November in-store, and hand sewing repairs on the 8th November for fabric and for woollens in the afternoon⁠. Barley's passion is upcycling and keeping clothes in use, even if that means creating a sentimental patchwork blanket, so there are always workshops on hand-sewing techniques and repurposing such as boro repair. Image below on Esther's repaired jeans.

You can also find a small selection of our Offset Warehouse eco textiles here!

@make.town ~ have Cult Craft on the last Thursday of every month where you can rock up with whatever you're working on including mending, and Mend It Mondays is on the 2nd November⁠ but every first Monday of the month thereafter. Brooke's energy is seductive, and her curation of crafty items to work with is accessible and inspiring. So in-store and online you can find sewing patterns, yarns and books. Image below of Brooke with her Mend It Mondays socks.


@sockoshop ~ lovely Emma has published How To Quit Fast Fashion with 100 easy-to-follow tips including how to make your clothes last longer. Ordinarily we'd be sharing her workshops full of historic tidbits, but for now, you can review Emma's work via her presentation for The Sustainable Fashion Collective "Beautiful Darning With Purpose". We also highly recommend the socks, made in the UK from reclaimed yarn, that come with a little needle and yarn for when they need mending (and ours are there now because they're worn so often).

Check out this cute little video on Socko.

There are so many book recommendations, but personally we like Mend & Patch by Kerstin Neumüller because of how nice it is to follow, and very well aesthetically set up. We're also a fan of Fashion Conscious: Change The World With A Change Of Clothes by Sarah Klymkiw as it is approachable for young people to learn straightforward skills, fascinating facts and information that they can persuade adults to take up more responsible behaviour.

We have a copy of Fashion Conscious to GIVEAWAY! Strangely, not many of you commented in order to win it, so we extended the deadline.

To enter the giveaway, please LIKE this post and then in the comments give us a quick story on something you'd either like to learn about, or have already acted on when it comes to fashion consciousness. TAG someone who should know about this book. We'll then choose a random winner who does all three things. DEADLINE Sunday November 1st 2020 23:59 GMT.


@the_seam_london ~ your platform for finding neighbourhood makers, The Seam provides you with easy access to the creatives around the city (only London for now based on founder Layla's location), so while it isn't a workshop you can go to yourself, it is a space to gain guidance from those experts around you. On the platform are tailors, seamstresses, pattern cutters, embroiderers... so whatever you feel like you need to do to your garment, or in repurposing old clothes, The Seam can help.

This Instagram post is genius, showcasing how much people want to share their mistakes to save others the time, and improve their enjoyment.

The Sustainable Fashion Collective

It wouldn't be right if we were to leave out our own lessons. On our platform are guest experts from across the industry. While mending your clothes is going to save resources, it is also necessary for you as makers or 'actual' designers to change how you approach clothing in order that they have a longer lifespan, are produced to limit waste, and better inform the customer or next user of what they are.

So, our recommendations on some lessons to boost your knowledge and widen your perspective:

  1. Design For X Methodologies takes you through Design For Disassembly, Planned Obsolescence and Zero Waste.
  2. An interview with founder of BLANC eco-friendly dry cleaning to understand what dry cleaning is, and why we should just call it 'garment care'.
  3. What actually is microfibre pollution, and how are the big companies researching in order to develop better clothing care solution. Find out with this lesson from Neil Lant of Proctor & Gamble.
  4. Another on microfibre pollution, but from the eyes of an environmental activist working to find a solution for us at home, and educate around the world on preventing ocean plastic in the first place. Meet Rachael Z. Miller and the Cora Ball.
  5. Alternative repair methods with Tom Of Holland, if you're really just in to your visible mending.
  6. And a downloadable toolkit on care methods to pass on to your customers.

Anyone local to you that we should share?

Of course, being based down here in the city means that we focus on our local environment and businesses, so if there is an online course or physical regional workshop you would recommend, do let us know! Email [email protected] or DM us on Instagram @offset_warehouse

What about if you just don't know where to start with your wardrobe?

You might find it beneficial to sort out your wardrobe into what you wear, what could do with an update, and what needs mending. The mending pile you can look at using the tips and businesses above, but what about the garments you're uncertain about? Adriana Lopez over on home renovation site Porch gives a run down of how to renovate your wardrobe instead of buying new.

It can also be beneficial to think of your wardrobe in the grander scheme of its effect on the planet - we have of course mentioned how discarding your item too early can cause emissions and energy use when you buy something to replace it, so before you even make a purchase, consider what your values are. This - slow fashion - is very beautifully highlighted by The Pearl Source in their article '21 things you can do today to move from fast fashion to slow fashion'.