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Upcyling tips & Tie-dye to die for

Seamstress extraordinaire Lisa Comfort fell in love with sewing aged 11 when she made her first skirt, and she’s never looked back. After studying at the London College of Fashion and working for British designers Bruce Oldfield and Phillipa Lepley, she set up Sew Over It in a response to the growing feeling that sewing was becoming a lost skill. She hopes her two published Sew Over It books will encourage people all over the UK to pick up a needle and thread.


  • Anyone can have a go at upcycling. Don’t be put off by technique, just have a go. Start with something you no longer wear – then it’s less scary if it goes wrong.
  • You don’t need a sewing machine – a needle and thread will get you quite far.
  • It’s much easier to upcycle clothes that aren’t too complicated – lots of seams and zips makes tricky work!
  • If you are working with a stretchy fabric like jersey, make sure you don’t stitch too much onto the neckline as you need this to be able to stretch.
  • Festival headbands are really easy to make. Take a length of beaded ribbon and wrap it around two thirds of your head. Cut it this length. Stitch some elastic to either end of the ribbon so it fits snugly on your head. Add a few fabric flowers, feathers and sequins. Voila – a festival hairband!


T-shirt or dress with stains? Don’t chuck it, dip-dye it!

  • Fabric dye (try Dylon)
  • Soda ash if required for dye
  • Bucket
  • Measuring jug
  • Cotton/polyester-cotton T-shirt
  • Rubber gloves
  • Hands

Step 1: If you haven’t given the T-shirt a wash in a while, now’s the time: dye sticks better to clean fabric.

Step 2: It’s time to get messy. Put on some old clothes and take this outside.

Step 3: Mix up your dye in a bucket or washing up bowl.

Step 4: For a hard-edged two-tone dip, dunk the T-shirt into the bucket and drape it over the side for as long as it says on the packet. Or, for a softer ombré effect, dip the very bottom of your t-shirt into the bucket and leave it resting there for 15 mins. Then lower the next section in for 15 mins. Lower the final section for 5 mins.

Step 5: Rinse out the dye with cold water until it runs clear. Make sure you only wash the dyed end so that it doesn’t spread across the undyed fabric.

Step 6: sit back, put your feet up and admire your fine work!