The Big Mend

Not long after commencing My Make Do and Mend Year, I found out about a project called The Big Mend, run by the extremely talented Eirlys Penn, aka Scrapiana in Bath.

It is a free monthly mending meet up, part skill share, part social, part mending/sewing project helper. And it’s fab!

I have been going for the last few months, and have met some lovely like-minded people, got some help with mending I am stuck with, and it has provided me with a bit of a kick up the backside to actually get on and attack the mending pile!

This month, the Big Mend was celebrating it’s first birthday, so there was an extra special cake, baked by Eirlys herself



There were some regulars and some new faces, and it was really lovely to get some help and advice from other people, and benefit from their mending experiences


Eirlys always comes prepared with a big stash of vintage mending goodies:

I so want one of these!

I so want one of these!

and some great old books detailing pretty much every kind of mend you could ever need:


Eirlys is a wealth of knowledge on all things textiles and mending, and is incredibly patient with mending simpletons like myself.

More often than not, I get very little mending done, but it is so lovely to get out and have a natter, and realise I am not the only one who is patching jeans, and who has a yearning to learn how to darn…

I would heartily recommend it. And if you aren’t lucky enough to live within striking distance of Bath, then why not set up your very own Big Mend? Eirlys has a vision (which I have to say I share) of a nationwide network of Big Mends, in towns, villages and cities up and down the country.

How cool would that be?

16 thoughts on “The Big Mend

    • It’s really fab-you can learn from others, and also pass on any little tricks you have picked up along the way. And it makes you get on and actually mend some stuff too!

  1. I get together with a friend and we natter and attack our mending piles. Recently my daughters have been joining in. Maybe I should throw it open to the neighbourhood?

    • Yay-go for it! We just hosted our first mending/sewing/crafting/nattering/eating cake cafe in a room above one of the pubs in town and it was great fun!

  2. I often take knitting to work to do in my lunchbreak, or sew badges on Scout shirts or camp blankets. A couple of times I’ve taken (school uniform) mending and most mums there said they’d have binned it and bought a new one 😦

    Good job they haven’t seen me darning Tilly’s school tights! (I say darning- I sew up the hole! I’m getting better but a) need more practice and b) she has to wear nylon tights which last 5 minutes before they are more ladder than tights. I just repair what I can to keep them going as long as possible.)

    So I’m not sure how many like minded folk are around, but I may try to revive and expand our lapsed knitting group to include mending…
    However, re-enthused by you and Scrapiana, in the last week I have patched 3 pairs of jeans using your method which worked brilliantly 🙂

    • That’s fab news about the jeans! And the tights. And the school uniforms 🙂
      Give it a go with your knitting group-what have you got to lose?
      We have just hosted our first mending/crafting/sewing drop in cafe evening, and it was great fun! Tell your friends, post it on Facebook and see what happens 🙂

      • I spent last night darning socks. A Friday night. I did blame you entirely on twitter, but actually I think I have to blame Scrapiana and Tom of Holland too… 😉

        And I was ridiculously chuffed at how much my darning has improved. I’m not quite at Swiss darning yet (and I probably have to knit some socks before I can do that) but definitely passable 🙂

      • Yay! I so need to learn to darn! I saw Scrapiana’s swiss darning, and it is a thing of beauty. As you say-I need to find someone to knit me some socks first..!

    • That sounds fab! Are you involved in organising it? Are you just doing textiles, or techy stuff too? As soon as I find a few people with the relevant skills I want to start a techy one too 🙂

  3. That does sound amazing! I think to host one you might need a bit more knowledge on the subject than I, but I shall en-devour to gain said knowledge and then being a mini society,,,
    Thanks for the post. Really brightened my day to think of a community of like minded folk. 🙂

  4. Thanks for the write-up, Jen! If anyone would like to get in touch for help, support and advice in setting up their own local mending socials, I can be reached at eirlysATscrapianaDOTCOM

  5. You should have seen my mums darning-you could have framed it. Way back in the 1950’s she had a long tube journey to work and she would darn step-pas socks whilst travelling

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