Sarah McKenna

Sarah shares with us her tips on how to start your own upcycling project.

How did you get into making and upcycling your own clothes?Sarah McKenna

I started sewing when I was younger as my mum used to make her own clothes so there was always a sewing machine in the house. As I am quite petite, it was useful to be able to alter clothes to fit me too. About 8 years ago, I started sewing again after joining a band and wanting very specific 1950’s style dresses that I couldn’t find in the shops, so I made my own. After that, I found and fell in love with the Instagram sewing community and blogging and haven’t looked back!

What is the best piece of clothing or accessory you have found in a charity shop?

I found a gorgeous green cocktail dress from the 80’s that was completely over the top and flamboyant but I took off the bodice and made it into a skirt.

Why are you supporting The Big Stitch campaign?

I think it is important that we stop and think about the origin of our garments and how sustainable the process of getting them to us is. I know the hours of labour that go into creating a new garment and get really frustrated that the pricing of fast fashion stores does not reflect the true cost. Buying second hand and upcycling clothes definitely helps us to be more sustainable and it also means that you won’t be wearing what everyone else is wearing and can show off your own unique style!

What advice would you offer on upcycling clothing to a beginner?

Try to go in with an open mind and think of garments as a blank canvas. You can buy much larger garments than your actual size to give you more fabric to work with. Broken zips and missing buttons are easily fixed so don’t discount items based on that.

What is your favourite tool in your sewing box?

Probably my seam ripper or my seam gauge for accurate marking.