Happy New Year! 1st Repair Cafe of 2017


We have our work cut out but let’s make 2017 all about restoration and fixing. Our new years resolution is to mend more and buy less. What’s yours?

We will be holding our next repair café on Saturday 28th January from 12-3pm at our regular home FIELD Brighton, FIELD HOUSE, Preston Barracks, Lewes Road, BN2 4GL

Bring along anything that needs sewing, electrical goods, bikes and furniture and our lovely volunteers will try their best to help you fix them.

Our first Repair Cafe of the year: January 2016

Happy girls (who made us very happy) went back home with healed wounded teddies. Betty helped them while they watched attentively.

22 21 20

1Some glue on those favourite red shoes gave them a new life…


And of course, that awesome onesie! Ready to put on after Shirley got rid of a big hole.1813
Ernesto came along with a thread bare dressing gown, Shirley did wonders to sew up the large holes.
16 15

Sam helped Lucy with her cup and fixed the button on her hat too.
8 11 10 Ruth’s William Morris umbrella was fixed by Michael with garden wire and a makeshift splint.9

Repairs in November…

signAnna and Shirley created a patch for Anna’s favorite coat which had a torn lining under the arm.




Hannah fixed the belt hoop on her trousers by inserting a piece of fabric where a tear had developed.

trousersSam created a button hole on a skirt that originally fastened with a hook and eye.

2015-11-28-14.012015-11-28-14.032015-11-28-14.05She was shown by Shirley how to use the button hole feature on her sewing machine.


Ali started to make stands for the Bevy Christmas decorations out of sections of tree trunk

2015-11-28-14.402015-11-28-12.57and fixed an old kitchen chair.

IMG_2931A coffee machine, that was failing to let coffee through was checked out by Mattia. He diagnosed that nothing was blocking the group head so he suggested running some de-scaler through it. If this doesn’t work then Elena will bring it back and Mattia will take it apart for a more detailed examination.

2015-11-28-12.28IMG_2929IMG_2933Mattia repaired Sarah’s lamp by changing the fuse to a 3 amp.


2015-11-28-14.022015-11-28-14.02Danny a new volunteer, took a look at Betty’s portable CD system. Unfortunately it couldn’t be repaired as the lazer had stopped working – a very common problem.


Our Mendathon at the Brighton Mini Maker Faire


We were really chuffed to have Dave and Faraz from the Restart Project join us for the mendathon to help with electronic repairs – but they soon turned their hands to help with a range of other repairs too.


Dave got started by fixing a hedge trimmer.IMG_4308

The head of one of the screws was stripped so it was tricky to get into.


Once he got in a multi meter was used to check for any breaks in the circuit as the motor wasn’t working.


A loose wire connection was found and adjustedIMG_4330

which did the trick and brought it back to life! IMG_6231

As the day got busier we tallied the repairs on our chalk board.


One lady brought a well loved bag and Izzie showed her how to fix it.

First the seam was sewn up by hand…IMG_6535

and then the handle.IMG_6536

Before the shoulder strap was turned into a belt!IMG_6537

Mattia brought along a second-hand digital thermometer,IMG_4349

the LCD panel wasn’t displaying information properly.IMG_4337

Once it was opened up he found out the corner of the glass display was chipped. IMG_4312

This meant some of the contacts could not work properly as the circuit was broken.IMG_4328

Handily one of the other stalls at the Mini Maker Faire was selling liquid copper, conductive ink (a smart material)

This was painted on to the chipped corner to build it up so that the circuit could be complete again.IMG_4314

Once the ink had dried and the thermometer was re-assembled the display worked like new!IMG_4325

Ali got to work on the Edwardian cake stand his girlfriend’s Grandmother had given her.


The leg had snapped offIMG_4320

so after gluing and bracing itIMG_4324

he reinforced the join with a screwIMG_4343

and then clamped it and left the glue to set.IMG_4358

Faraz diagnosed the source of the problem with an old iBook G4 that wasn’t charging up. IMG_4282

It needed a new battery to be sourced from ebay and installed.IMG_6546

Tom demonstrated his wonderful darningIMG_4293

repairing a moth eaten jumper with contrasting thread to create a new pattern.

He also showcased his visible mending on a sample jumperIMG_6219

and darned the frayed cuff of a jumper.IMG_4291

Ali completed the mend on Victoria’s kitchen chair by fixing the arm back on and reinforcing it.


He then tested his handy work!IMG_6249

After trying to find out whether we could 3D print a new leg for a table with one missingIMG_6254

we decided to make it a design feature.IMG_6258

One young maker brought along his explorer kit with a broken strap,


Dave showed him what was wrongIMG_6244

and he and his Dad fixed it with a new fitting,IMG_6247

ready for more adventures!IMG_4374

Mattia, as busy as usual,  fixed some speakers by cleaning the connection points.IMG_4364

The Restarters took a look at Victoria’s printer power transformer that had stopped working although it was very new.IMG_6257

After cutting through the heat sealed plastic casing and prising it open the fuse was tested to see if it had blown. This was diagnosed to be the problem, unfortunately as with many electrical goods, the part that needed replacing was sealed in and not readily available to replace so it couldn’t be fixed.
IMG_6265However, over the course of the day our fantastic team managed to save twenty two items from landfill!

Next Saturday 11th October

We will be back at St George’s Church in Kemp Town for a repair café at our usual time of 11am-2pm.

Bring along your broken electrical goods, jewellery and bric-a-brac as well as any clothing or textiles that need mending. We will also have Tom our expert darner on hand to show you how to do some visible or invisible mending on knitwear with holes in.

The Seven Bees Café will be open for business (they do a mean breakfast).

We will post an update on what we got up to at the Brighton Mini Maker Faire soon but in the mean time here is a teaser…


July’s repair café

Our July repair café seems so long ago now as we had a break in August.

We are now looking forward to our next event as we are holding a MENDATHON in collaboration with The Restart Project (who fix electronic items – from iphones to laptops) this Saturday (6th September) at the Brighton Mini Maker Faire at the Corn Exchange from 10am-6pm.

We will have our tools & team of volunteers on hand to help you fix your clothing, textiles (including darning), jewellery, furniture & electrical goods. So pop along with your broken things and help us see how many items we can fix in one day.

This is what we got up to in July…

IMG_5946IMG_5953 IMG_5956

IMG_5996IMG_5967IMG_5968IMG_5982IMG_5937IMG_5949IMG_5936IMG_5939 IMG_5938IMG_5963IMG_5973IMG_5935IMG_5950IMG_5959IMG_5952IMG_5974IMG_5976IMG_5984IMG_5972IMG_5978IMG_5980IMG_5986IMG_5961IMG_5931IMG_5987IMG_5989IMG_5990IMG_5994

New volunteers join us at the June Repair Café…

IMG_5713Ali A.K.A ‘The Chair Doctor’ went to work on two loved but rickety old chairs.

IMG_5437IMG_5474He secured the top rail of a chair by reinforcing the outside spindles, gluing and pining it back in to place.IMG_5480Another chair which had somehow had its arm wrenched off,


needed the gnarly pins and screws embedded in the wood to be removed from both the stile

IMG_5483and the side seat rail.


The side seat rail which had been split, then needed to be reinforced so measurements were taken


and the wood was cut to size with a jigsaw power tool.


Then wood glue was used to hold the split seat rail together


before clamping and drilling the support into place and leaving to dry until the next session when the mend will be completed.

Meanwhile inside Nikolay our new electrical repair volunteer analysed why  Amanda Jackson‘s camera flash gun was not working.


Amanda Jackson is a brilliant photographer who has won a commission to create photographs for a 10 month One Planet Living exhibition which will be displayed at Emmaus in Portslade from October onwards.

Amanda’s theme is “Sustainable Materials” and she has been documenting our activities at the Brighton Repair Café during the last couple of sessions as we encourage reuse.

Unfortunately, when she arrived at the June Repair Café her flash gun stopped working.IMG_5700

Fortunately we had the right man on-hand to help her!


After a lot of concentration he worked out the problemIMG_0614

and showed Amanda how to fix it.

Rachel brought in the faux fur coat she had borrowed from her sister. 


She had leant against railings at the station without realising they were newly painted and had been left with a stained sleeve.


After some discussions about how to tackle the stain,IMG_5709

Rachel tried brushing it out.


This got rid of the clumps of paint but the stain was still there.


Then guest volunteer Terry stepped in with some Cif,


which he worked into the material with kitchen roll and his fingers.


After a rince the stain was gone and just needed time to dry before giving the arm another brush.

Rachel was relieved to know she could give it back to her sister without her even noticing the difference!


As usual Tom of Holland came along equipped with materials for every darning emergency.


He helped this lady work out what needed to be done to her People Tree jumper


(which comes with the thread to repair it),


before showing her how to go about the mend.


Anna (who had knitted the dress she wore that day) finished some beautiful visible mending darning on her sock


and in any spare moments Tom worked on his own wonderful darning.


A broken pair of sunglasses was given a temporary fix


until a replacement screw could be acquired,IMG_5431

with the help of Sam, some long nosed pliers and wire.


Izzie over-saw some fiddly rethreading of beaded necklaces.


Whilst Fiona & Chrissie offered advice on how to repair a bracelet.

IMG_5445Dan was as busy as ever with bike repairs and helped someone fix their child’s bike.IMG_5766Hannah fixed both her top and a china tray,IMG_0641

 the handle of which had broken off and needed gluing back on.


Alongside all of that Ali even had time to fix one of his tools…


a hammer which the handle had broken off.IMG_5466IMG_5469 IMG_5473


Thanks to all the volunteers old and new for making it such a lively and diverse repairing event
thanks to Magoo for taking some of the photos we’ve used.

Next Saturday…

We won’t have Mattia on hand to help with electrical repairs but we may have someone step in to take up the mantle so watch this space for up-dates.


We will however be doing furniture repair for the first time thanks to Ali offering to come along and help out after attending the May repair café. So bring along items that can be carried and we’ll see if we can help fix them.

We will also have bike, clothing and textiles and jewellery repair, with sewing machines available to use and Tom of Holland offering his expertise in darning.

See you there!

Merry May Mending


Sam (who co-organises Brighton Repair Café) turned her making skills to use, showing Sarah how to replace the disintegrated rubber seal on a coffee maker with a new one.


Fiona of The Lost Mitten Project talked Stacey through how to repair the ladders in a favourite top, suggesting that after darning the holes that she could crochet a motifs to cover them.IMG_5036Stacey decided on a raindrop shape and Fiona showed her how to create them.

Juan Carlos and Miriam who we met at Brighton’s Green Drinks brought along a lamp that had stopped working.IMG_5031In a jiffy Mattia had diagnosed that it was a blown fuse and showed the couple how to replace it as they had never been taught how before.IMG_5032

Dan brought back some speakers that he fixed at a previous event and had further problems with. After a chat with Mattia they worked out what needed to be done and Dan used the soldering iron to make the repair.IMG_5053

Ali and his Dad sanded down toy catapults that had a sharp edges which were causing the cord to frayIMG_5040

 whilst Hannah and Irenka sewed up tears in their tops.


Sarah also brought an ipod speaker which needed some repairs to the circuit board.IMG_5041John came along to learn how to do electrical repairs from Mattia and volunteered to be his apprentice at future events.
IMG_5054Kelly replaced the clasp on her bag.

IMG_5045And all the while the talented D White tickled the ivories and Rafa Zabuski strummed along playing a range of classical, covers and original music.