Customise a regular beach dress into a wedding dress

Customise a regular beach dress into a wedding dress

How I customised a regular high street beach dress into a unique wedding for less than £300

The thought of a 4 digit price tag for a dress freaked me out and hunting for the prefect wedding dress takes too long. Having a wedding dress made from scratch was very pricey but buying a dress that fits me and changing the top part was the killing idea.

For my wedding I wanted a dress that makes me feel unique and represents my values. I am not the kind of person who would spend hundreds or thousands of pounds on an outfit! It’s so not me…I’ve never done that…why would I do so for my wedding knowing that I would never wear this dress again?

I started to look at second hand dresses. The hunt for it can be difficult and very time consuming. So I quickly switched to the idea of making my own wedding dress, or shall I say I found a dress maker that could make it for me, I am totally hopeless when it comes to using a sewing machine!

1. Find a dress maker

Quick search online for ‘Dress maker near me’ and I called the first 2 that were listed. Turns out making a dress from scratch will be quite expensive too but one of them suggested that I bought any white beach dress that fitted me and to only worry about how the bottom part looked.

Here’s the secret: what takes the longest to make (and the priciest) is the overall fabric, the shape and the fitting. The top part can be adjusted or replaced.

2. Find a cheap beach dress

I wanted an A-line style dress. So, I was looking for long, tulle, maxi dresses in my size. Try to ignore the horrible top part, the extra sleeve you don’t want or the weird keyhole opening at the front. The dress maker will be able to make a new front, exactly like you want. Just focus on the length, the colour and the fabric.

When you try it on and it’s a little bit transparent, don’t worry, your dress maker will be able to add a liner fabric underneath.

I found bought mine online, during sale for £49!

3. Buy some nice lace

I wanted my wedding dress to have lace on the front and at the back. I went to a specialist shop and bought 1m of very fine and good quality lace. This was the most expensive part, £100. (I still have some left).

I also bought silk ribbon to make fake buttons for the back.

4. From a regular beach dress to my unique wedding dress

Et voila the result! She made a Cache Coeur style front, with a layer of lace on top, made some shoulder sleeves with the lace running throughout the back and she’d hidden the back zip with a range of silk buttons.

I paid £150 for her work and along with my pre-loved beach dress, I managed to wear my dream wedding dress for less than £300, unique and made for me.

Are you planning for your big day? Become the sustainable bride by finding your perfect dress with Oxfam along with bridal accessories and shoes.

Written by Stephanie Shaw 

6 Simple Ways To Remove Stubborn Stains

6 Simple Ways To Remove Stubborn Stains

Keep your clothes in your wardrobe and out of landfill with these nifty stain-shifting home remedies, shared by our friends at Love Your Clothes

Stains. They’re one of the biggest reasons great clothes get binned. But no longer will that chocolate smudge force you to say farewell to your beloved t-shirt. Never again will a splosh of coffee come between you and your suit. And, if you’ve just dropped a forkful of jalfrezi down your favourite jumper, don’t fret – it’ll be sorted in no time. All thanks to these simple guides, courtesy of Love Your Clothes.

1. Remove grass stains with… hand sanitiser

6 Simple Ways To Remove Stubborn Stains - oxfam second hand september
Yes, even unsightly green marks can be tackled if you know how. Apparently, all you need to do is to squirt some hand sanitiser directly onto the grass stain, rub in and leave for a few minutes, before washing on a normal wash – about 30 degrees – with ordinary washing detergent.

Watch the film


2. Remove chocolate goop with… milk

6 Simple Ways To Remove Stubborn Stains - oxfam second hand september
Who’d have thought full-fat could be so useful? Using a bowl, simply pour the milk onto the chocolate splodge and leave soaking for 2-3 hours. The chocolate should then lift off the fabric. Wash on a normal wash and, if there’s still a slight mark, put it straight back in the washer for another cycle.

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3. Remove coffee sploshes with… egg

6 Simple Ways To Remove Stubborn Stains - oxfam second hand september
Yes, egg. Crack into a bowl and beat with a fork, then apply to the stain using kitchen towel, rubbing in well. Then just wash on a 30 degree cycle. See you later latte. Farewell flat white. Adios espresso etc.

Watch the film


4.Remove sun cream with… white vinegar and washing up liquid

Top ruined by yellowy sun cream stains? Apply some neat washing up liquid and rub in. Rinse in cold water, gently squeeze out the excess, then soak in a solution of half cold water, half white vinegar, for about an hour. Wash according to the care label and, if there’s still a bit of staining, repeat the process.

Watch the film


5. Remove curry spills with… washing up liquid and lemon

6 Simple Ways To Remove Stubborn Stains - oxfam second hand september
Madras mishap? First, remove as much curry as possible using a blunt knife or napkin. Rinse in cold water, pat dry, then apply some neat washing up liquid and rub in. Rinse in clean cold water and pat dry again. Finally, take half a lemon and squeeze liberally onto the stain, leave for half an hour then wash according to the care label. If there’s still a mark, simply repeat the steps again.

Watch the film


6. Shift engine oil with… lip balm and cola

6 Simple Ways To Remove Stubborn Stains - oxfam second hand september
Yes, random one this, but apparently it works! Place the stain face down on a paper towel, take a moisturising lip balm and simply rub it on – this should start lifting the oil onto the paper. Repeat a few times, then wash at about 30 degrees but, instead of detergent, pour a bottle of cola in the drum!

Watch the film

Help keep more clothes out of landfill – discover how to shift other unsightly stains at


Photo credits:

New season fashion: how to wear… autumn brights

New season fashion: how to wear… autumn brights

Like the idea of livening up your wardrobe in time for autumn? Discover how to get this vibrant on-trend look with designer pieces – without buying new.

As we edge our way towards autumn, everything can start to look a little greyer. But that doesn’t mean our outfits need to. Thankfully, this particular new season trend is set to add a splash of colour to our wardrobes, with top-to-toe brights and in-your-face neons all over the 2019 autumn-winter catwalks. For second hand inspiration and the chance to shop the looks, savvy fashion students Sophie Connell and Amina Patel have pulled together outfits using designer pieces and more #FoundInOxfam.

Mustard-coloured outfit

Missing the sunshine? Check out this bright Whistles skirt and vintage jacket combo, great with a contrasting faux fur handbag to finish the look. Vintage jacket £39.99, skirt £19.99, bag £7.99.

Red outfit on a light background

Scarlet is big news this season. This bright, wool and cashmere blend coat is perfect teamed with these striking Joseph trousers and matching berry-red boots. Lakeland coat £55, trousers £65, boots £12.99.

blue outfit on a light background

Don’t fancy top-to-toe neon? Wear key pieces in softer hues of blue with something more out-there – like this super-fluffy jacket and sparkly-heeled shoes. Jacket £19.99, DKNY trousers £24.99, shoes £9.99.

Sports luxe outfit on a light background

Sports luxe continues to be big this season, both for women and men. Team neon tops and trainers with neutral tones for a more pared down look. Ralph Lauren polo shirt £24.99, Nike trainers £35.

Blue sports outfit on a light background

Work the sporty look in every shade of blue going, with this bold and snug ski jacket, teamed with North Face trousers and a super-soft jumper. Ski jacket £15.99.

Graphic prints outfit on light background

Graphic prints are a great way to offset in-your-face shades and this Nike jacket’s a winner. Contrast with a vintage shirt for added impact. Nike jacket £50, vintage shirt £17.99, shoes £25.99.

Camouflage fashion outfit on light background

While this vintage camouflage jacket may help you blend in, the orange ski pants and bright YSL shirt will make sure you don’t. Vintage camouflage jacket £65, YSL shirt £55, ski pants £29.99, Marc Jacobs boots £90.

Dapper outfit on a light background

After something a little more dapper? Ditch the sportswear and opt for a classic tailored look updated with a shirt and accessories in the latest shades. YSL shirt £34.99, Christian Dior tie £14.99, Cos ankle boots £32.99.

Vintage windbreaker outfit on light background

You’ve got to love a vintage windbreaker. This one looks great paired with check trousers – another key autumn trend – finished off with super-bright Adidas trainers. Jacket £34.99, Adidas trainers £21.99.

Whether you want to go sporty or keep it tailored and smart – every single item raises money to help people beat poverty around the world. Find more autumn brights and so much more on our online shop.

Top tips for finding second hand gems

Top tips for finding second hand gems

With so many clothes ready and waiting to be loved again, Bel and Alice give their advice on how to find great second hand items.

Sustainable fashion stylists Bel Jacobs and Alice Wilby both have a love and talent for spotting the very best second hand clothes and accessories. They know their styles and aren’t afraid of trying new ones. Join them on the sofa as they share their expertise on thrifting, because not only are there endless amounts of gems waiting to be rediscovered, but it’s a wardrobe choice that helps the planet too.

Now you can take Bel and Alice’s top tips and try them out for yourself. We’ve got 1,000s of items on our online shop or you can find your local Oxfam shop here. Wherever you shop, you could update your wardrobe with something one-of-a-kind and raise money to help people beat poverty around the world.

DIY Skeleton Halloween Costume

DIY Skeleton Halloween Costume

Look no further for a Halloween costume, Cassie Fairy shares her step by step guide to create a DIY look out of old clothes you can find in your wardrobe.

It’s Halloween and as usual I don’t have any budget for a costume for all these parties I’ll be going to. But I’m not worried about that because I personally think that Halloween is about making-do and creating some crazy costume yourself that no one else will be wearing – the tattier the better in some instances! I have therefore made my own skeleton costume using an old (and I mean ooolllddd) stretchy top and I’ll show you how to make one for yourself below.

You will need:
An old black top
A white top to wear underneath
A pair of scissors
A white pen or chalk

Step by step

Step one: Fold your top in half along the centre point.
Step two: Use the chalk or white pen to mark out where you will be cutting out the ribs
Step three: Cut out the ribs, making sure you’re cutting all the way through both layers of fabric. This will give you a symmetrical set of ribs on each side when you have finished cutting.

Step four: Cut out small triangles along the centre to create the spine bones
Step five: I even cut some bone shapes from the arms, which aren’t clear in the photo, but when I’m wearing it, you can really see them.
Step six: Wear over the top of a white t-shirt to show off the shape of the bones!

I hope you’ll have a go at making this simple Halloween costume and enjoy your spooky celebrations, whatever you get up to!

Need some of the items above or would like to see our range of costumes? Head over to Oxfam Online Shop.

By Cassie of


9 Reasons To Love Preloved – In Your Own Words

9 Reasons To Love Preloved – In Your Own Words

You took part in #SecondHandSeptember in your thousands. Many of you – celebs included – also got online to share your reasons why. Here are just some of our favourite quotes and posts.

1. ‘Inspiring change happens with action’ @akwearsthings

Five words that couldn’t ring truer. As history always proves, it’s when we get up and do something about the issues we care about that things start to change. More than 60,000 of you said no to new with @OxfamGB, showing the fast fashion industry the time for change is NOW.


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A new month means a new sustainable style challenge, amiright?! In comes #secondhandseptember, which encourages us to say no to new clothes for the whole month⚡️ . While shopping sustainably has become commonplace in many of our lives, I think it’s fun to spread awareness of sustainable style through monthly challenges like this one by @oxfamgb 🌞 . Inspiring change happens with action. By being open, transparent and outspoken about sustainable style, we can more easily convert people to shop sustainably. We can show them how easy it is by shopping our closets, borrowing from friends, hitting up the thrift store or even organizing a swap meet. And that’s the kind of action that’s going to save our planet 🖤 . Top: Vintage / size M / thrifted from @salvationarmyclt Shorts: @americaneagle / size 8 / thrifted from @goodwillsp Boots: B.O.C. / size 7 / thrifted from @salvationarmyclt Purse: Vintage / thrifted from @salvationarmyclt . #chooseused #goodfinds #cltblogger #secondhandstyle #charlotteblogger #ethicalfashionblogger #fashrev #sustainablestyle #consciousfashion #discoverunder5k #akwearsthings #thriftersunite #cltstyle #individualitymatters #thriftedootd #consciouschic #choosereused #responsiblestyle #charlottethrifters #saynotofastfashion #thriftblogger #whenthriftersthrift #secondhandaintsecondbest #secondhandseptember

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2. ‘Our throwaway culture is having a huge impact on our planet’ @jessicamurae

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. According to our #SecondHandSeptember survey, issues like waste and climate change were massive motivators for taking part. You can read more about the shocking impact of fast fashion here

3. ‘There’s nothing better than when you can combine a need for a new (to you) handbag with giving to charity’ @simplifyyourcloset

Posting on the International Day of Charity, Kaiza bigged up the benefits of buying second hand – for you AND for the causes you care about. Here’s just one way that shopping and donating with @OxfamGB can help fight poverty around the world.


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It’s a TRIPLE-WIN kinda situation🌍🤑✌🏽 • September is the month when we’re all A BIT CONFUSED with what to wear. Shorts or winter coat? So let’s completely ignore clothes today and talk ACCESSORIES instead, shall we?! I’ll tell you WHY + HOW buying these things will create a WIN – WIN – WIN situation✨✨✨ • How do you feel about BROWSING charity shops for accessories? Love it or hate it? What about the online charity shops? EH WHAT- ONLINE?!?! • Yup, ladies you can DO GOOD, buy stuff in YOUR PJ’S all while sipping on a glass of PINOT GRIGIO. At least that how I like my shopping sessions to look like😉 • One of my favourite places to hang is at @fashion_4_change ONLINE BOUTIQUE. It’s so aesthetically pleasing + they have some pretty cool CELEBRITY DONATIONS! Who doesn’t want to walk around in GILLIAN ANDERSON’S OLD DRESSING GOWN?! It’s an online fashion-recycling boutique dedicated to fundraising, where you can donate and BUY LUXURY CLOTHES FOR CHARITY. I mean Hello, who doesn’t want to do that! • As you know I’m only buying second hand this September as part of @oxfamgb #secondhandseptember @Oxfamonlineshop have some absolutely crazy luxury designer handbags like Marc Jacobs, Celine, Bottega Veneta for a fraction of the price. Next time you want to invest in accessories look here first, it almost an order. • Accessories is hands down the easiest way to change an outfit + you don’t need a lot of it, just a few WELL SELECTED things that can be combined endlessly💋 • Today is International Day of Charity. To me there’s nothing better than when you can combine a need for a new (to you) handbag with giving to charity – as well as playing a better role slowing down the fast fashion industry. WIN-WIN-WIN 🙌 . . . #dontbuynew #dayofcharity #buyoncebuywell #shopused #stressfreeshopping #charityshopstyle #classicpieces #ecostylist #stylecoach #stylefinder #styleinspostylist #styleista #myfeelgoodfashion #buypreloved #buysecondhandfirst #charityshopbargain #shopsecondhandfirst #previouslyowned #prelovedpremium #prelovedshopping #preloveddesigner #curatedvintage #seasonless #makingstatements #ethicalisthenewblack #fashionrevolution2019

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4. ‘Shocked when I cottoned on that the textiles industry produces MORE pollution than aviation AND shipping combined!’ @sarajcox

The lovely Sara Cox was among some seriously savvy celebs who got tweeting to spread the word about #SecondHandSeptember and the shocking fashion facts that inspired them to take part. Thank you!


5. ‘It doesn’t have to be new to suit you’ @PrestonCP

Big thanks to Cats Protection Preston for supporting the cause too – and sharing yet another reason to love preloved. Pop into any charity shop and you’re guaranteed to find something special, basically! Check out our top tips on finding something you love – in a hurry.


6 ‘Oxfam offers a way to help reduce the harmful effect of ‘fast fashion’ on our planet and its people.’ @mssophiedahl

Covering everything from the impact of new clothes on precious water sources , to the poverty-busting power of buying and donating with Oxfam, we LOVED Sophie Dahl’s post. Inspired to put your unwanted clothes to good use? Find your local @OxfamGB store here


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I’m supporting #SecondHandSeptember and @oxfamgb GB this month by digging out my favourite vintage and thrift dresses and wearing them with joy. @baygarnett was my thrift companion and guru back in the day, and she’s working with Oxfam on this incredible initiative, which is encouraging people to recycle clothes, and, if they are tempted to buy in September, to buy vintage, rather than new. The textile industry accounts for 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions… more than international aviation and shipping combined. To keep prices low, garment workers are often not paid a living wage… These are people from some of the poorest communities around the world, and this unfair treatment makes it impossible for them to work their way out of poverty. When clothes are made they often use a LOT of water and/or pollute water (e.g. chemicals in pesticides and dyes). A lack of water (or polluted water) again, affects the poorest people most… Oxfam offers a way to help reduce the harmful effect of ‘fast fashion’ on our planet and its people. By buying and donating your clothes through Oxfam shops you can give clothes a second chance – prolonging their lifespan, while protecting the planet, and raising money to help the poorest people around the world. On the 19th of September @vestiaireco will have an auction selling pieces from all sorts of wonderful women, all of the proceeds of which will go to @oxfamgb There’s some fantastic bits, I waved goodbye to a cream Alberta Ferretti coat which is waiting for a new owner to love it. This is my favourite vintage dress, which I unearthed today, a little column thing from the nineties, photo by my nice husband. Just needs some gazelles, a cigarette and a bit of a cad, and we’re back in ‘97…..

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7. ‘I’ve been making a conscious effort to shop less and when I do, to shop second hand, to hunt out vintage gems and (most importantly!) to treasure the pieces I already have’ @fleurdeforce

When a vlogging queen like @fleurdeforce starts talking about the environmental impact of fast fashion, you know things are a-happening. Huge thanks for sharing your thoughts Fleur – and spreading the word!


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Well HELLO September! This month I’m going to be taking part in #SecondHandSeptember (thanks for the heads up @OxfamGB ) and am making a pledge not to buy ANY new clothes for the whole month. Lots of you might have noticed I’ve been uploading A LOT less haul videos recently? The environmental impact of fast fashion is something I’ve been made much more aware of this year and as a result I’ve been making a conscious effort to shop less and when I do, to shop second hand, to hunt out vintage gems and (most importantly!) to treasure the pieces I already have in my wardrobe. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a step back before you buy something and asking yourself ‘Do I really need this?’ and ‘Do I really LOVE this?’ – Excited to take on this challenge – anyone fancy joining me?! 😘

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8. ‘Each year, over 300,000 tonnes of clothing goes to landfill in the UK’ @zeroinonwaste

Shared by @zeroinonwaste this was one of the campaign’s headline stats and got loads of you talking. Thankfully, we could also share the fact that @OxfamGB saves more than 12,000 tonnes of clothing from landfill every year. Find out more about Wastesaver, our brilliant recycling and sorting centre, here.


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Each year, over 300,000 tonnes of clothing goes to landfill in the UK (source: Ethical Consumer Markets Report 2018), but attitudes to fashion are changing. 🙂⠀ ⠀ From Oxfam’s #secondhandseptember campaign to today’s extinction rebellion protests at #londonfashionweek, its great to see growing awareness of the damaging impact of fast fashion. 🙌⠀ ⠀ Have you changed your fashion shopping habits to reduce waste? 🤔 what are your best tips? 💚⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #zeroniononwaste #zerowasteuk #zerowastelondon #zerowaste #zerowastejourney #zerowastetips #plasticfreejuly #breakfreefromplastic #ecolifestyle #goingzerowaste #beatplasticpollution #lowimpact #ecowarrior #lovetheearth #plasticfreeliving #plasticfreejuly #noplanetb #nomoreplastic #waronwaste #zerowastelife #circulareconomy #ecolife #ecoconscious #lessplastic #wastefree #reducewaste #ecofriendlyliving

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9 ‘@OxfamGB & the world are trying to get people to think more about sustainable fashion. The most sustainable is wearing clothes which already exist’ @weemissbea

The brilliant Aisling Bea knows how to tell it like it is – and all about the many, change-making ways you can shop more sustainably. Like charity shops AND vintage AND renting AND borrowing AND swapping AND… choosing second hand and ethical brands for the costumes on your new telly show.


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I know we are half way through but it is #SecondHandSeptember! Huh? What? Yes. PLEASE read on. I looooove 2nd hand & charity shops are as cheap & budget friendly as high street shops which often use pretty much slave labour or dodgy as hell work practices to make their clothes with ridiculous profits for themselves which don’t trickle down to the women & men who make them. @Oxfamgb & the world are trying to get people to think more about Sustainable Fashion. The most sustainable is wearing clothes which already exist. 2nd hand, charity shops, goodwill, vintage, renting, borrowing, swapping! Here’s some pics of a few second marriage outfits I’ve worn of all price ranges. So for even a month why not pledge not to buy new clothes; disrupting the fast fashion cycle, growing awareness of the effect of fast fashion and the 11 million items of clothing that end up in landfill each week. I LOVE charity & 2nd hand shops, see recs below plus NONE of the clothes donated to Oxfam end up in landfill. Plus, by spreading the message that by buying and donating your clothes in our shops, you can slow down the fast fashion cycle, protect our planet, and help the poorest people around the world escape poverty. Oxfam is the only major charity with its own textile sorting facility in Leeds which ensures that 0% of the clothes donated to Oxfam end up in landfill. The plant sorts textiles and recycles them and the recycled clothes go including mattresses, carpet underlay and our sister project in Senegal which sells the clothes in local African markets. Oxfam has launched the 1st online high street charity shop @oxfamonlineshop where hundreds of thousands of vintage, designer, second hand and unique items are listed on our marketplace. Oxfam programmes help women fight for their labour rights and working conditions, which helps get to the root of the fast fashion problem. Also my show #ThisWayUp & @thecostumedirectory designed the whole show using second hand first for the costumes or else small ethical brands! It CAN be done! @salvagedproject @maryportasofficial @vestiaireco @beyondretro @suerydercharity @sheltercharity @one_scoop_store

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