Community Learning – Introduction to Sewing, Make Do & Mend, Up-cycling

Course overview

In the autumn term you will learn sewing techniques, basic embroidery & ‘Sashiko’ the Japanese art of beautiful visible mending. You will use these skills to produce a lined bag with zip that is decorated with embroidery /Sashiko.

The spring term offers sessions in Make Do & Mend & Up-Cycling. Learn how to mend & alter your clothes, and up-cycle unwanted clothing into something new & beautiful!

Our Community Learning programme offers a series of free, government-funded courses to develop skills, knowledge, confidence and improve mental wellbeing for adults aged 19 and over (at the start of the course).

Participation can help those managing mental health conditions that have a mild-moderate impact on their day-to-day lives. Please see our terms and conditions: Community Learning Programme – Activate Learning – Adult

You are welcome to join all or any of the following Friday mornings from 10am-12pm.

2022: Oct 7,14, 21, Nov 4,11,18, 25, Dec 2, 9, 16

2023: Jan 20, 27 Feb 3,10, 24, Mar 3,10,17, 24, 31

  • Autumn term:
    Gain an understanding of sustainable fashion and textiles
    Set up and thread a machine to achieve a variety of seams and finishes on a range of fabrics
    Select the correct needle for the fabric and stitch pattern
    Troubleshoot tension issues
    Use a variety of combinations of stitch length and width to produce desired results
    Sew a seam on woven or stretch fabric
    Use a variety of different stitch patterns to expand the potential of what your machine can do
    Insert a Zip
    Basic Embroidery
    The Art of Sashiko & the beauty of invisible mending
  • Spring term:
    Learn different hem stitches & how to take up/down hems of clothing
    Replace & insert a new zip
    Shorten or lengthen sleeves/trousers
    Up-cycle your old clothing into something new & wearable
    The social history of ‘Make Do and Mend’


The course will be taught in a group format in the workshop, involving demonstrations and presentations from our friendly and experienced tutor Lu Firth.

To ensure that you make the best possible progress on your course, you will have regular feedback from Lu, in a constructive and supportive environment, with 1:1 support and personal guidance for everyone.

Please bring along a notebook/sketchbook and pencil. All other basic materials will be provided.

Please explore our wide range of courses for something to follow on to.

Tutor profile:
Lu Firth has been an experienced teacher of textiles for over twenty years. She trained at Camberwell School of Art in London in textile design, and Croydon Art College in theatre design. She has designed textiles and fashion for exhibitions and commissions, and costumes for many theatre productions. Lu has taught at many arts and well-being centres and with Morley College community learning in London. She is passionate about textiles, and teaching in the community, believing that creating with textiles can support and improve our well-being.

Course Has Started Enquire Below
  • Flexible start - 31 July 2023
  • 10:00 - 12:00
  • Friday
  • 20 Weeks
    • 16-18: Free

      Funded places are available on this course. Read the course description for details.

    • Adult: Free

      Funded places are available on this course. Read the course description for details.

Enquire about this course

Alternatively enrol by phone quoting OXAEL13D0 or ask a question

Meet the tutors

We want our learners to feel welcome, safe and at ease when attending our classes, especially if this is your first time attending an adult education class or if you're coming back to education after a break.
If you're interested in one of courses, meet our tutors first! You'll see they have similar passions and interests and, most importantly, the right qualifications to help you make the most of your time and money.