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