Skip to content
Upcycled floral top and children's dress

Zero Waste Sewing Project Inspiration: Transformation Challenge 2023

We all find ourselves daydreaming about the next sewing project we have in mind. But often the motivation wanes or another idea enters your head and before you know it you have something else that needs finishing.

Well, here is one way some local Gateshead sewists found the motivation to create something spectacular.

Yes, that's right, they created these amazing creations from damaged garments in our Zero Waste Transformation Challenge!

Zero Waste Sewing Project

Sewing Saves Garments From Landfill

Sometimes you can fix a garment just by a small repair, but what do you do when you get something that is beyond repair? You know, when the fabric is falling apart, or there's a fault with how the garment was made originally making it unwearable.

You can make it wearable by transforming the whole thing! While you can recycle totally worn out clothes for scraps, textile recycling doesn't always end up in the best place.

Instead of turning clothes into rags, these sewists took on our challenge and turned broken, stained and otherwise unusable clothing into totally new items.

The Transformation Challenge Brief

"Choose one damaged dress to take away and work your magic on. We’d like you to use as much of the dress as you can in your creation, aiming for zero waste. Use as little additional fabric and accessories (buttons, ribbons etc) as possible. Create whatever you want - from a cushion cover to a child’s dress, from a fabric toy to a festive top; all we ask is that the finished product is functional and fit for purpose."

History of the Transformation Challenge

Inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee, and with damaged clothes piling up at Green Heart, our founder Helen decided to set up the very first Green Heart in July 2022. It made use of damaged and unwearable clothes and gave local sewists a chance to flex their sewing muscles. 

Learn more about the challenge.

Sewing Project Inspo: Check Out These Entries!

Here are all the fabulous entries that our sewers created in just two weeks. There are so many different designs, all executed brilliantly.

Entries ranged from dresses to wraparound shorts to handbags, cushions and a toy bear. It was great to be inspired by all the incredible transformations – a huge congratulations to everyone who entered.

The reaction from some of our local supporters was superb. They loved the creativity shown by the sewers.

One local Facebook fan said: "Absolutely brilliant. This is recycling to inspire everyone. Just look on your purchase as a piece of fabric and let your imagination run on."

Another supporter said: "Love this idea! More people need to learn how to use a sewing machine (me included!) it’s becoming a lost art in our fast paced word."

Does this sound like you? Scroll through these super entries and let the inspiration flow over you.

Upcycled floral top and dress

 Black upcycled top and children's top


And here's what was left over...pretty good going!

Our Runner Up was Pauline Davies with her Summer Blues Dungarees – gender neutral for a 3 year old.

And The Winner Is

And here is what our judges voted to be the winning garment! 

Below you can see Mandy Price holding the original garment she picked from our damaged pile of clothes - a bridesmaid dress for a 6 year old with lots of stains.

And above you have the most fantastic transformation; Mandy has turned the bridesmaid dress into a retro satin cami PJ set with an embellished net negligee – and using the remnants for a collection of gift bags and vegetable bags.

Watch: Amazing Transformation Challenge Entries

Enjoyed this? Have a look at our previous Transformation Challenge entries.

More Photos From Our 2023 Transformation Challenge


Older Post
Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Blog posts

'£45,000' A Year: Your Unwanted Items Could Cost A Second Hand Shop A Fortune

May 2, 2024

'£45,000' A Year: Your Unwanted Items Could Cost A Second Hand Shop A Fortune

The good intentions are there, but dumping damaged or poor quality items on your local charity shop could be costing...
Is a Second Hand Clothing Business Profitable - And Does That Matter?

Mar 23, 2024

Is a Second Hand Clothing Business Profitable - And Does That Matter?

Second hand fashion is no longer a taboo and wearing "charity shop clothes" is no longer an insult, it's a positive f...
Back to top

Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty

Shop now