The Big Stitch

This July the British Heart Foundation have been running a competition called The Big Stitch to encourage people to upcycle a garment purchased in store and give it a new lease of life, along with supporting the work the charity do.


So many of the clothes we buy end up in landfill so I am always happy to upcycle something where possible, although I don’t do it enough. Charity shops tend to have a bad reputation for racks of terrible, hideous clothes but in recent years, with the rise in awareness of the impact of fast fashion, it has become a lot more acceptable to shop in them and the garments stocked are much more wearable (a lot less 80s prom dresses!). For us sewists it is a great source of fabrics for very little money – where else can you buy a XXL mens suit which would have enough fabric to make a well fitting ladies suit for less than a tenner?! For anybody who wants to have a go at upcycling, Portia Lawrie has just announced this years theme for the Refashioners

I went to my local BHF shop with no plan on what I hoped to find. Our store is quite small, and as expected there were a few hideous pieces that I knew I would not be able to rescue, but I found a viscose maxi dress that originally came from New Look for just £4.99. I loved the paisley style print and the colours work well with other items in my wardrobe so I knew I could definitely make a useful piece.


I met up with Rudy from Roodles Runique and a few of her work colleagues who also sew to work on our projects together (check out Rudy’s make here). I decided that I didn’t want to make anything too complicated or that had too many pieces to cut as I only had about a metre of fabric to work with so I settled on another Ogden cami from True Bias – you know how much I love this pattern! I was just able to squeeze the pieces on, although I wasn’t able to properly pattern match as the dress wasn’t to begin with, although I tried a bit! I had hardly any scraps left over by the end of the evening, so this was a low waste make.

I made the whole thing in 3 hours, including a pizza break! I hadn’t properly sat and worked solidly on a project for ages so it was really nice to leave with something wearable! I do need to take it in a little bit at the side seams as it seems a bit too roomy and floaty but it is still wearable in it’s current state.


I’ve seen a few other Big Stitch upcycles on instagram already but the competition closes at midnight tomorrow (31st July 2017) so if you want to take part make it snappy!




  1. […] Although it doesn’t feel like it, July was actually quite a productive month. I made a lightweight hoodie and I love it – keep your eyes peeled for a blog post soon! I finished some pattern testing and I just need buttons for the other make.  I also met up with fellow blogger Rudy and we worked on our Big Stitch projects together, which you can read about here. […]


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