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, 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