A makeover for make do and mend

By Teena Lyons

Times are hard, and all self-respecting fashionistas are watching their pennies. But that doesn't mean giving up shopping altogether. There are lots of sneaky style short-cuts you can use to stay ahead in fashion, without spending a fortune.
Sewing buttonSewing button

Step one: Sew. Just when it was feared the art of sewing was dying out, DIY is the latest buzzword as fashion lovers try to bring some individuality to their wardrobes. The online forum at www.thesewingforum.co.uk is great for advice and ideas and has useful information on sewing circles in your area. Get free patterns from www.burdastyle.com, www.allcrafts.net/sewing.htm and www.allfreecrafts.com, and look out for fabric bargains at textile shops and on market stalls. Save buttons, zips and fastening from old clothing, they can be recycled again and again.

Just when it was feared the art of sewing was dying out, DIY is the latest buzzword as fashion lovers try to bring some individuality to their wardrobes. The online forum at is great for advice and ideas and has useful information on sewing circles in your area. Get free patterns from , and , and look out for fabric bargains at textile shops and on market stalls. Save buttons, zips and fastening from old clothing, they can be recycled again and again.

Step two: Makeover. If you don't feel up to sewing a whole outfit, how about giving your wardrobe a makeover? Use dye to revive or change the colour of old clothes and get a completely new look. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully. Alternatively, pick up some ribbons, trims or sequins from a fabric store and get creative. Give old clothes an edge, by sewing a ribbon or fabric boarder to the edge, or add a fringe on the bottom of a skirt for a sassy, bolero effect. If you are pressed for time, or are not concerned with making a lasting fashion statement, use fabric glue to fix sequins and beads.

Step three: Swap. What better way to revive a dull wardrobe than swapping cast-offs for something else? It is a great way to get some benefit out of unwanted or badly fitting clothing gifts too. Swapsies are everywhere right now, take a look at www.swapstyle.com and www.whatsmineisyours.com. Alternatively, you could organise a private swap parties with friends. Swapsie etiquette dictates that all items should be clean and in good repair.

Step four: Buy smart. If you do need to buy clothes, always buy the best you can afford because it will last longer. Cheaper clothing can often lose its shape and colour in only a short amount of time. One timeless, well-cut, top-quality coat will last upwards of ten years and a classic little black dress could last decades. Don't buy clothes that are dry clean only if you can avoid it. Cleaning a £50 dress can cost upwards of £8 a time – quickly turning it into a very expensive purchase indeed.

Step five: Accessorise. Investing in a range of key accessories is a great way of creating a new look to a wardrobe without spending a fortune. A statement piece of jewellery, such as a necklace, can make a massive difference and draw an instant wow factor.

Step six: Be kind. Look after your clothes – even good quality fashion needs a little help. Hang, store and wash clothes carefully and they will last and look good for much longer.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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