A Sewing Bee Challenge

I am a huge fan of the reality show, The Great British Sewing Bee. This week’s episode was Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and I couldn’t resist writing a blog post about it! The creativity is marvellous and seeing everyone’s personality coming through each week, especially in the show stopper transformation challenge. This is where they take an old garment destined for the bin and recreate it into something new. I love this idea of using existing materials giving them a new lease of life. For example, this week was they transformed second hand ladies’ garments into a men’s bomber jacket.

I was really challenged when judge and fashion designer Patrick Grant was asked why he was so into sustainability. He said:

We have enough clothing on the planet right now to clothes the next six generations of the human race, so we have to find ways of using what we have got

It does make you think about what we have and the choices that we make and how many clothes are out there already.

In Great British Sewing Bee style, I was inspired to embark on my own transformation challenge… I pulled out an old top from my wardrobe.

I love the summer print on it, it’s a good quality quality cotton. However, it has never been a good fitting top on me and for that reason I don’t wear it very often. I wonder how many more items we have in our wardrobes that we hold onto but are never going to wear again? They are essentially wasted resources. I had this idea that I could maybe make it into something else, give it a new purpose so I measured it up against my daughter (age 7) and decided on a summer pinafore dress for her.

I tapered in the neckline making in into a V-neck by taking off the existing buttons. I opened up the top straps to make some button holes so she can get it on more easily. This is important to think about for children’s clothes. The red buttons were from our spare button box and make a fun contrast. I included some darts in the side seams to bring in the fit. Finally, I sewed on the striped pockets from some scrap fabric I had spare from a previous project . I did plan to do some clever internal pockets in the seams but my daughter wanted them on the front; there is more chance of her wearing it now!

I’m really quite pleased with the result and I think the re-purposing of the top has been a good one. It does remind me a bit of the Von Trapp family singers from the Sound of Music where Fraulein Maria makes the children play clothes from old curtains.

I like this sentiment and I really don’t mind if all my daughter wants to do is play in it! It’s a lovely gift for her to wear especially something handmade. I want to encourage this creativity in her and like me, she is often found sewing and stitching, usually for her Barbies or dolls.

What can you transform into something else? In doing so, reusing and recycling old things, using existing materials? I’d love to see your transformation challenges posts or ideas of other things that can be repurposed!

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