Sewn Sustainably Blog


Find out about the patterns we use, what we've been sewing, what's cool in sustainable fashion and our inspirations.

By Sewn Sustainably, Apr 13 2017 07:58PM

Positive change is coming to the world of fashion with more and more people asking who made their clothes and where? Were workers paid fairly? Did they have good, safe working conditions?

This year's Fashion Revolution takes place on 24-30 April. Its aim is to create global awareness about the serious damage caused by fast fashion. From environmental pollution caused by cotton farming, to textile workers being paid low wages and suffering in poor working conditions, the fast fashion industry is now considered one of the biggest pollutants in the world. And, we amongst many other people joining this movement, think it's time for us all to stand up and make a change.

The bleak reality of landfill.
The bleak reality of landfill.

How can you help?

There's lots of ways you can help minimise the negative effects of fast fashion and we think one of them is sewing your own clothes.

Learning to sew your own clothes means you're taking an active step in ensuring the clothes you wear have been made ethically and sustainably without causing harm to people or the planet. If you're new to sewing, don't worry, we've launched more dates for our popular sewing classes in Cambridge that are perfect for beginners. We'll walk you through every step of setting up and using a sewing machine as well as getting you started making your first stitches. What's more you'll leave with a handmade item to cherish! Those with sewing experience are invited to sign up for our intermediate sewing classes in Cambridge which teach classic, capsule garments like classic skirts and the classic white shirt. Based at several locations around Cambridge, you're bound to find a sewing class that is suitable for you. What's more, our sewing classes encourage sustainability in sewing as we'll either provide fabric for you that we can verify is organic, fair trade and sustainable, or offer you a discount to spend at leading ethical fabric supplier, Offset Warehouse!

Where do you hold your sewing classes?

Our beginner sewing classes include learning to sew a cushion cover with added applique details if you're feeling confident with your new skills or learning to sew the perfect skirt for summer (no zips!). These sewing classes are held at the gorgeous eco-friendly eatery, Cofifteen in Cherry Hinton or Parkside Community College in Cambridge.

For more advanced sewists, we're running our popular Classic Shirt sewing class taking place over two Saturdays (22 & 29 April) at The Kaetsu Centre in Cambridge. This sewing class includes free organic cotton poplin fabric and organic thread, plus a free printed copy of a Vogue sewing pattern. There are a couple of places still available so book soon to avoid disappointment.

You can check out our sewing classes at or email us at for more details or to enquire about private sewing lessons in Cambridge.

By Sewn Sustainably, Feb 12 2017 04:17PM

Refashioning. It can be as easy or tricky as you want it to be, but most importantly doing it means you're doing a whole lot of good for the environment.

Unwanted clothes cause problems because people are now too used to throwing them away. Minor holes, rips and ill-fitting mean we're quickly disgruntled with our garments, shoving them to the back of the wardrobe or throwing them on that crumpled heap destined to become someone else's problem. Sadly, the effort that it took to produce these clothes, be it the drain on environmental resources or the use of slave labour, is overlooked completely. And then, whether you dispose of your unwanted clothes in landfill or to charity shops you're creating unnecesary pressure somewhere else, not to mention advocating the overall damaging cycle of fast fashion.

As we've mentioned before in our blog post about keeping sewing sustainable, we're huge supporters of not only making your own clothes but refashioning and upcycling what you already have or hidden gems you can find in a charity/thrift store. With basic sewing skills, and we're not talking about haute couture here, you can resusicate old garments and give them new life. Turn something old into today's trends; fix a hole and keep wearing your old favourite jeans (I mean how hard is it to find great jeans?!); repair the lining in your faithful jacket; give a beautiful but too large dress a nip n' tuck and wear it like it's new; replace the elastic in something that's starting to sag...the list goes on of what you can update with just a sewing machine and some thread. But if you need some inspiration of what you can do, here's our recent round-up of some of our favourite refashion/upcycle projects. We're going to try and do this monthly, so keep coming back for cool ideas to motivate you to keep pushing the slow fashion movement forward.

Charity Shop Chic - Upholstery fabric to chic rucksack

Check out Sally's amazing rucksack that she used from a remnant of upholstery fabric she sourced in a charity shop plus an old belt. Sally made a unique and very stylish rucksack for her travels. Read her blog post here.

Charity Shop Chic Rucksack Refashion
Charity Shop Chic Rucksack Refashion

Saga I Farver - Refashioning a Refashion. Making an old dress fit again.

We love this post! Saga had already refashioned her dress some years ago, but now it needed work again as it was too small. So instead of discarding it, she created a huge godet on the back of the dress which helped to increase the bust ease making it wearable again - not to mention new and revitalised! Read her blog post here.

I Can Work With That - a winning stripey jumper and cigarette pant refashion

This is such a brilliant and fun refashion, showing how something oversized and unflattering can EASILY be reworked into a chic outfit that will get multiple wears. We totally want those cigarette pants in our lives! Read her blog post here.

Cotton and Curls - DIY Flutter Dress

Prepare to swoon your heart out at this most beautiful of refashions. Cotton and Curls has taken a huge oversized dress and turned it into a glorious wrap dress and you can watch it all in one captivating video. Doesn't it look simple? Watch the video here.

Confessions of a Refashionista - secretary blouse to WOW blouse

This is genius! Take your average 1980s secretary blouse in plain old cream, sigh at the stains which you know won't come out in the wash, but then have the brilliant idea of spray painting said blouse with fun fabric paints that cost as a little as a pound! Voila, super fun blouse with your own hand-made pattern. Watch the video tutorial here.

So, from using scraps of fabric to make bags to updating an old blouse using fabric paints - there are so many ways of breathing new life into old clothes and textiles. If you'd like to be featured in our next round-up please send us your refashion projects to

Have fun refashioning x

By Sewn Sustainably, Jan 2 2017 05:55PM

The textile industry is one of the largest polluters in the world. Estimates suggest that over 1 million tonnes of textiles are thrown away annually in the UK alone*. That's one million tonnes, of which 50% is recyclable, however reports state that only 25% is recycled in the UK, which means all that scrap textile waste is sitting in landfill causing the environment a myriad of problems.

By Sewn Sustainably, Sep 24 2016 07:11PM

Looking back over the course of time, the classic t-shirt still remains a simple yet iconic garment. Marlon Brando showed how a a white t-shirt can look effortlessly cool over 60 years ago when he set hearts on fire with his killer jeans and t-shirt combo in both Street Car Named Desire and The Wild One.