Mending your clothes: exploring damage and repair with Celia Pym

Ref: S3D31957

About this course

Develop practical skills in mending and explore textile repair on knitted and woven garments. Learn how you do it and why you do it, and about artists working with repair.

Course Description

Mending is a three day workshop that explores textile repair on knitted and woven textiles, how you do it and why you do it. It considers the tenderness and care of mending. The aim of the workshop is to practise mending techniques on knitted and woven garments. You will learn about artists working with repair. You will learn and develop skills in woven and fake knitted darning and patching. There will also be an opportunity to work on repairing any of your own garments that have holes.

Day one will focus on repairing wool with darning and day two will focus on repairing woven cloth through patching. On day three you can explore and develop techniques you have learnt on the previous days. Please bring along any damaged wool, knitted items such as socks and sweaters as well as woven clothes like jeans and shirts, skirts that you would like to discuss repair options for. Darning materials will be provided. No previous darning, knitting, patching or needle based experience is necessary.

Your tutor has been exploring mending since 2007 with extensive experience of small everyday holes, at heels, elbows, in pockets as well as working on more dramatic damage, from water damage, animal nesting and moths issues. The tutor’s interests are around the evidence of damage – through repair you look closely at where garments and cloth have got worn down and thin. In clothing this wearing is often to do with use and how the body moves. The tutor says she likes that “darning is often small acts of care and paying attention to where things fray and wear out.”


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • You should bring a selection of your own garments that have holes in them and need repair and any yarns, patching cloths or simple sewing kits (needles, thimbles, sewing scissors) that you already have in your collection.
  • Enough materials will be provided so that you can come without bringing anything, but the course can be enjoyable if you bring something of your own in need of repair. (The tutor will supply some of the materials including a selection of darning yarns, cottons for patching, embroidery thread, darning needles and scissors for use during the course.)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Basic sewing equipment, needles, scissors and a small selection of fine and stranded cotton

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no open toes or sandals).


Celia Pym courses at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Celia Pym

Celia Pym is a teacher with 15 years experience. She works with knitted, stitched and woven textiles and has been exploring mending since 2007 with extensive experience of everyday holes. She is currently visiting lecturer in textiles at Royal College of Art.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.