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Upcycled uniform makes branded bunting

Upcycled uniform makes branded bunting

A new charity, Sew Positive, set up by alumna Melissa Santiago-Val (at school 1976-1986), is making a celebratory set of St Mary’s bunting by upcycling old school uniforms that are beyond repair, to highlight the issue of textile waste, promote wellbeing through sewing and encourage people to think of alternatives to textile waste.

The charity already raised £40k for NHS charities together, and has progressed from making face coverings to delivering workshops to vulnerable groups across Cambridge facing isolation and mental health issues, including a course for women at the Cambridge Women’s Resource Centre, aprons for the Phoenix Trust in Milton and uniforms for Turtle Dove social enterprise.

One of its’ volunteers, Joanna (pictured) has been cutting up the donated skirts ready to match to a blue background. Sparkling gold thread will be used to match the St Mary’s emblem, which will run in zig-zag stitch across the top of the bunting’s blue webbing.

The team will be re-using carefully selected details from uniforms, including buttons, plackets, emblems and logos as embroidery on the flags to really celebrate the colours and fabrics of them school, including a dress representing the junior school. It is hoped the bunting will act as a point of interest for special occasions at the school, highlight textile waste, and encourage support for the charity.

Our volunteers will be cutting, pressing and sewing around 90 triangles to form around 15 metres of bunting.

Alumna and CEO, Melissa said:

“I’m delighted to be doing this for St Mary’s and hope it will act as a talking point for discussion on textile waste, creativity and how creative activities such as sewing help support positive mental health.”

We look forward to developing involvement with the St Mary’s Community to promote positive mental health through sewing and volunteering.

You can support the charity with donations or fundraising via or search for Sew Positive on social media channels.