Sewing Box for the Future: Resources

Help reduce fashion waste and extend the lifetime of your wardrobe using our handy pack of recipe cards
A wee plywood box with little drawers in it and thread and felt all around. The drawers have words on them like "darning needle" and "scissors".


Ever wondered what the symbols in washing labels mean? Ever thrown out a favourite jumper just because it had one tiny hole? Our Sewing Box for the Future exhibition responds to questions like these by inviting you to get stuck into a range of practical sewing activities.

Buying less and ensuring the clothes we already have last longer is one important way we can all help to reduce fashion waste.

The recipe cards below include some simple suggestions for how to do this. They are split into 3 themes: Care, Repair and Customise.

Hemming trousers or darning a sock might seem time-consuming or overwhelming at first, but with a needle and thread and a few guiding principles, it is possible to update and extend the life of your wardrobe in a sustainable, responsible way.

Download the cards, have a go at home and let us know how you get on. Share your projects with us using #FutureSewingBox✂️ Your submissions might even feature on the screen in our exhibition!

Instructional videos coming soon!

A care for your clothes symbol.


Too many clothes end up in landfill before they need to because of over-washing or washing disasters.

Become an expert at clothes care symbols or learn how to revitalise your wardrobe with the downloadable cards below.

Share your projects with us using #FutureSewingBox

A symbol for repairing your clothes.


Mending a hole can take only minutes but can extend the lifetime of your garment for many years. If you repair in a visible way you can add to the garment’s story and wear your darn as a badge of honour.

Download the cards below to learn how to darn or needle-felt a hole, how to sew on a button and replace a zip.

Share your projects with us using #FutureSewingBox

A symbol for customising your clothes.


From downloadable modular garment patterns to hemming your jeans or creating an embellishment, customising something you already have is a sustainable way to update your wardrobe.

Find out how by downloading the cards below.

Share your projects with us using #FutureSewingBox

Linen with orange floral shapes on it that can be embroidered onto.


In February and March 2020 we hosted Stitch-School in the museum. Visitors sat around a communal table and embroidered patterns onto two dresses using a simple set of instructions. Experience and skill may have varied, but good conversation and encouragement were consistent! A final dress will be sent out of the museum to be stitched in a community setting.

The dress pattern we've used is one of two created by Alice & Co Patterns for V&A South Kensington. The patterns are open-source so you can have a go at sewing your own. Download them from V&A South Kensington's website below.