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Reminder: Repair Cafe Tomorrow

Just a reminder that our friends at the Repair Café Toronto are hosting their first event tomorrow. Their goal is much more ambitious than the Repairathon’s; while we are focused on clothing so far, they are hoping to repair anything. It will also be more hands-on, with volunteers helping you to repair your own items. So if you’ve got anything needing repair, or you have some repair abilities, head on over. Saturday May 25, 10am-2pm, at 791 St. Clair Avenue West.

I’m sadly unable to attend myself, but I know that at least one Repairathon volunteer (Monica) will probably be there. You can see her in some of the photos from our previous event. I hope it goes well and that there will be many more events in the future.

Speaking of future events, we’re still working on planning our events for the rest of this summer. As always, let us know if you have any ideas. And of course, we’re always looking for new volunteers, with or without sewing experience. Join us, it’ll be fun 🙂

Second Repairathon a Success

Thanks to this past Saturday’s Clothing Repairathon, I can now say that we run events (plural) without that being an exaggeration. We had a lot of fun, fixed a lot of clothes, and learned a lot of things that we’ll use to tweak how we run our next event.

This time our volunteers were Michael (me), Barbara, Bianca, and Monica, as well as a few attendees who decided to help out. The great team at the Withrow Park Farmers’ Market not only provided us with a tent and chairs, but also drew us an excellent chalk sandwich board.

We sort of lost count, but I think we repaired around thirty articles of clothing. That’s a lot, and a full 50% more than during our first event. A number of people brought whole bags of clothes, so in future we’ll limit to something like two or three articles per person, to make sure we have a chance to get to everyone.

The most interesting thing this time was zippers. Our first event had no zipper issues, but this time we had around a half-dozen, many of which we were able to fix. If this keeps up, we’ll have to gain some zipper expertise.

Many people wanted to thank us, so this time we let our “customers” know that they could get us something to eat from the market. Everyone was so generous, we ended up with coffee, cheeses, samosas, and other great things. Our volunteers were a little over-dedicated; I had to force a few people to take a food break, and hand-feed another who wouldn’t stop sewing :-).

Monica, a "customer", Charlotte (materials donor), Bianca, and Michael

Left to right: Monica, a “customer”, Charlotte (materials donor), Bianca, and Michael

Monica, hard at work on some jeans

Monica, hard at work on some jeans

Sandwich board art by Withrow Park Farmers' Market

Sandwich board art by Withrow Park Farmers’ Market

a selection of our pinks, purples, and blue threads

a selection of our pinks, purples, and blue threads

Barbara, assessing the placement of an elbow patch

Barbara, assessing the placement of an elbow patch

satisfied customer

satisfied customer, with the skirt’s hem repaired

customer-turned-volunteer, and a benefactor of excellent cheeses

customer-turned-volunteer, and a benefactor of excellent cheeses

Our cutest customer doesn't like bibs, so her mom had us sew waterproof bib fabric onto her dress

Our cutest customer doesn’t like bibs, so her mom had us sew waterproof bib fabric onto her dress

Barbara sewing a purse, despite my trying to pack us up

Barbara sewing a purse, despite my trying to pack us up

Everyone else had packed up, but our dedicated volunteers couldn't stop

Everyone else had packed up, but our dedicated volunteers couldn’t stop

Thanks everyone for coming out, thanks to those who bought us some food, thanks to the Withrow Park Farmers’ Market, and thanks especially to our fantastic volunteers. We couldn’t have done it without you.

We’ll let you know when and where our next event will be as soon as we get that figured out.

Second event is today

As I write this, it’s after 1am, so I guess that makes it Saturday, which means… the second Clothing Repairathon is today. Details at that link, but to summarize, it’s 9am-1pm, at Withrow Park, in Riverdale.

I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by all the press, attention, compliments, and thanks we’ve been receiving. I’ve heard that we were mentioned on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning show Friday, although I haven’t had a chance to listen yet. We were also mentioned on BlogTO’s “this week in fashion,” and our friends at Transition Toronto helped spread the word too.

I hope to see many of you at the event today. If not, stay tuned for our third event, sometime in June or July. Oh, and if you or anyone you know is interested in helping us as a volunteer (as a sewer or otherwise), please let us know.

Repairathon May 18th at Withrow Park

I’m very happy to announce that we’ve settled on plans for our second Clothing Repairathon.

The Withrow Park Farmers’ Market opens for the season on Saturday May 18th, and we’ll be there. Market and Repairathon times are 9am-1pm. So come on down, bring any clothes you have needing repair, and we’ll do our best to fix them up. For free, of course.

We’re always looking for volunteers, so if you’re interested in helping out at this event or others, please let us know.

Also at the market on May 18th, aside from all the great food, will be a cookbook swap and free compost from the city. For those unfamiliar with Withrow Park, it is located at 725 Logan Avenue in Riverdale, just south of the Danforth. Easy access by TTC from Pape station.

See you all there!

Also… you can find this event on Facebook too.

When and where should we have a Repairathon?

We’re staring to plan out our events for this summer, and I’m hoping we’ll manage at least one Repairathon each month. So… where and when should we host our upcoming Repairathons?

We want to hear from you! Let us know in the comments, on Twitter, or by e-mail if you have an idea for a time and/or place that you think would make for a good Repairathon. We already have a whole bunch of ideas, but we’re looking for your feedback first. Tell us why your idea would make for a good event.

As always, if you’re interested in volunteering with us (as a repairer or otherwise), we’d love to have your help.

First Repairathon Recap

This past Saturday was the first Clothing Repairathon, and I am happy to say that it was a great success.

Our volunteers were Michael (that’s me), Barbara, Mardy, Kim, and Bianca, armed with thread, buttons, and other great supplies from our generous donors. We were scheduled to begin at 10am, but by 9:45 people were bringing their clothes and we got started early.

We attracted a lot of attention. Not just by people needing repair work and dropping off donations of sewing supplies, but pretty much everyone that passed by wanted to see what we were doing. The most common question by far was “will you be back again every week?” So many people told us what a great idea it was, and were also surprised to realize that all repairs were free :-).

Most clothes came during the first half of the event, but we were still pretty busy from beginning to end. We’d planned to have two people sewing at a time, but actually had as many as four, and so we ended up taking over the next table at the market when that vendor left for the day.

Michael, Kim, Bianca, Mardy (mostly hidden), and Barbara on her sewing machine

Michael, Kim, Bianca, Mardy (mostly hidden), and Barbara on her sewing machine

Michael (adding someone to our newsletter), Kim, and Mardy

Michael (adding someone to our newsletter), Kim, and Mardy. Photo from Twitter

Mardy and Barbara, hard at work

Mardy and Barbara, hard at work

before Bianca's handiwork

before Bianca’s handiwork

after Bianca's handiwork

after Bianca’s handiwork

A sweater arrives...

A sweater arrives…

... and leaves with its owner happier

… and leaves with its owner happier

another happy "customer"

another happy “customer”

First event tomorrow – and overwhelmed by donations

We’re very excited for our first event tomorrow, and we have no idea what sort of crowd to expect. This first Repairathon will be a learning experience for us… to see how many people show up, and what kind of repairs are needed. I’m sure some things won’t go as planned, but as long as we get some repairs done, and have fun doing it, we’ll have succeeded.

Last week I was worried that we wouldn’t have enough thread in enough colours to do a whole lot of repairs. Today, I am absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of donations to the Repairathon. It seems like every donation we’ve collected in the last few days has been twice as much stuff as the previous. We have so much that I now feel a tremendous responsibility to make sure we use it, and use it well.

The donated materials will enable us to expand much more quickly than I had thought we would be able to, perhaps faster than we’re even ready for yet. We’ll keep you updated on this blog, of course. Oh, and we’re actually suspending donations of thread, standard sewing needles, standard pins, and tape measures for now, other than what is brought to tomorrow’s event.

Repair Cafe in May

Our friends at the Repair Café Toronto are getting ready for their first event on May 25th. It will be similar to the Repairathon, and also modeled after other Repair Cafés worldwide, but it’s more hands-on; helping you do the repairs rather than doing them for you. It will also be much broader: they are hoping to repair all manner of housewares, from chairs to toasters to jewelry and anything else.

Our First Repairathon: April 20 at Wychwood

It’s confirmed! The first Toronto Clothing Repairathon will be on April 20th at the Artscape Wychwood Barns, alongside The Stop’s Farmers’ Market and the Environment Day. We’ll be there from 10am to 2pm.

Come bring clothing for repair, bring donations of sewing supplies, and bring your friends. Also get some good food at the market and compost at the Environment Day.

We’ll have one table, probably with one person for machine sewing and one for hand sewing. We’re still looking for more volunteers and especially donations of sewing supplies (especially thread), so please contact us to arrange either.

If you are interested in being the location for the second Repairathon, please get in touch 🙂

See also the first Clothing Repairathon on Facebook.