Upcycling – Better the Devil you Sew

I love upcycling or refashioning, whatever you want to call it! I think it is the best way to give old clothes a new lease of life and the perfect opportunity to get creative, make something a bit different to wear and of course, it is so much better for the environment than buying something new. I used to make clothes from scratch but by upcycling, you can often make something amazing in next to no time. If you are still not convinced of the merits of upcycling, perhaps that fact that it is a major trend at the moment might sway you, you can just check out the DIY section on Pinterest for evidence (and inspiration!)

Better the Devil You Sew is a new Collection at Oxfam Brighton made completely by volunteers from damaged clothes that are donated to Oxfam. Check out the video above for ideas and inspiration. It just shows what you can achieve with a few old clothes.

Do you like upcycling? please share your latest project.

BTW- you can check out my latest post for Oxfam Fashion – Our Top Picks for Autumn Winter.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x


An Upcycled Lace and Floral Dress

upcycling project

This months DIY/ upcycling challenge at Ethical Fashion Bloggers had the theme of lace. With no time to go charity shopping, I had to use something that I already had in my wardrobe. This lace top and floral dress were the the perfect candidates. I don’t really wear the lace top much as it is too see through to wear on its own and the dress being strapless had a number of issues for me including the potential for it to end up around my waist but I love the colourful floral print. I definitely feel much more elegant and safer when I wear a high neck.

upcycling project

So I decided to combine the dress and the top to make a high necked dress with the added bonus of a fantastic lace/ floral pattern clash slightly inspired by these dresses for AW12 at McQ Alexander McQueen.

upcycled dress project

All if did was try on the dress over the top (which I wore backwards to get the high neck) and pin it in place. The most difficult part was trying to take the dress over without injuring myself on the pins. Then I sewed along the along the existing stitching line with my sewing machine to attach the two together. I then trimmed off some of the excess material on the top underneath.

floral lace dress

This project was super simple which is great as I very quickly lose interest if something takes too long. It was the perfect rainy Sunday afternoon project and still left me time to cook up some comfort food; a great big pot of vegetable soup of lunch in the week, rhubarb crumble for after dinner and scones for my girls who just dont seem to stop eating lately.

I am also entering this post in Ta-dah Tuesday at Faith Hope and Charity Shopping.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend despite the wet and cold weather.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

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Lovely Links!

I have been seeing so many fantastic blog posts over the last few weeks, I have decided to start sharing them with a new feature called Lovely Links. Here is what I love this week.

Summer Rayne Oakes – this model is on a (sustainable) mission – another fantastic interview in the eco fashion series at Urban Times.

When costume becomes street cred – how amazing are these doiley leggings featured on the six items challenge blog?

A New Lease of Life for Tights – who hasn’t got loads of tights stuffed in a draw somewhere. I love this fantastic idea for upcycling them by Ms Castro on a Bike (Fashion Stylist, Lupe Castro).

Interview with Vintage Vixen if you haven’t already done so, you should check out this interview that I did for Oxfam Fashion.

Remade in Leeds – this article on the Ethical Fashion Forum Source Magazine tells you a little more about their shop of the month.

Red Carpet Recycler – it is great to hear that more celebrities are joining Olivia Firth in her Green Carpet Challenge as discussed in this Vogue article.

Tomorrow is the next update on  my progress with the six items challenge. It has been a tough week now looking forward to the weekend. Hope you have a lovely time.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Image credit – www.vogue.co.uk

The Wardrobe Clear Out

You might have seen the video I posted in the post Can Ethical Fashion Be Stylish? about a week ago by Ms Wandas featuring Veronica Crespi of Rewardrobe, London’s first Slow Style Consultancy. I really loved Veronica’s advice, particularly where she says

I tell my clients, If they can make their wardrobe look like a boutique and where everything actually fits them, they wouldn’t feel like going out and buying more

As my wardrobe is well overdue a clear out (as you can see from the image below) and I am on a shopping ban, I thought I would give it a go.


Life has got really busy lately and everything has just got in a big old mess.


So when my mother in law offered to look after the children on Saturday, I jumped at the chance to get my wardrobe organised. I got rid of anything that didn’t fit or there was no chance of me wearing, which only amounted to a few things. Then moved all of the out of season clothes and shoes into the wardrobe in my office. I put my more occasional handbags into cotton shopping bags to protect from dust and stored all my handbags in a plastic crate, neatly stacked the shoe boxes full of my less worn shoes at the back and lined up everyday shoes on the shoe rack so that I could actually find both of them when I want to wear them rather than just the one! I also made a to do list of clothes that need repairs or alternations and those that I don’t wear but could upcycle in some way.

Then I did something I thought I would never do, something I had previously considered was only for those suffering from OCD. I sorted my clothes in to colour order, starting from whites and creams, then progressing into beiges, browns, khaki, yellows and blues  then moving into the pinks, reds, bold and bright prints, dark colours and black. I also made sure that everything was hung up with just one item per hanger.

My verdict – it really does work!

Seeing my clothes and shoes laid out like this, makes it really easy to find something to wear each day. Having a clear out and arranging nicely also reminded me of what I have and gave me some inspiration for new outfits. I now really like looking in my wardrobe each morning and picking out something to wear, it does feel a bit like going shopping for something new. I particularly can’t stop looking at the clothes in the bold and bright patterns section.

So far I have managed to keep it super organised all week and have stuck to the colour order. All I need to do is get Mr Style Eyes to put a hook on the side wall of the wardrobe for me to hang my scarf hanger. This will give my clothes a little more space and make picking out  a scarf much easier.

I would definitely recommend giving this a try, especially if you struggle with finding clothes to wear in the morning or are a shopaholic. What do you think, is your wardrobe overdue a clearout?

Have a lovely bank holiday and Jubilee weekend.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

An Upcycled Shirt

Over the weekend, I had a really good clear out of my wardrobe, but more about that in another post. I tried to clear out or upcycle anything I didn’t wear and this shirt was a prime candidate for upcycling. I bought it in a charity shop because I loved the print so much but it was never quite right for me and I couldn’t find a way to wear it that I liked.

upcycled shirt

Shirt – Charity shop/ upcycled
Skirt – Second hand / upcycled

It suddenly dawned on me that it was the sleeves that were so wrong for  me. This has to be the simplest upcycling project I have ever done. I just loped the sleeves off which took all of about 2 minutes. Not a difficult descision to make when the weather is so lovely and warm and  sometimes I think the simplest things are the best! I have already found a few different ways to wear my new shirt one being the outfit pictured above.

For anyone who loes charity shopping or would like to give it a go. You might be interested to read my latest blog post for Oxfam Fashion in which I interview the fantastic El of A Thrifty Mrs.

I hoping you are having a good week and enjoying this gorgeous sunshine. Fingers crossed it sticks around at least a bit longer.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Stonehenge Inspired DIY Printed Dress

This months DIY challenge at Ethical Fashion Bloggers was to create or upcycle a piece of clothing using your local area as inspiration. There is plenty of amazing stuff quite near to where I live but I finally decided to use Stonehenge.

Image credit

Incase you didn’t already know, Stone Henge is a world heritage site with some ancient stone creations. Whilst nobody really knows the meaning behind them, they are pretty awe inspiring. I decided to use them as inspiration for a printed design on a denim dress which I bought from the Oxfam Boutique in Bath.

I picked up some fabric paints from the bargain bucket in an art shop in Bath (orange and yellow being the only colours left). I borrowed some lego pieces from my daughter to use for the printing.

I marked out with French chalk where I wanted the prints to go.

I then used the end of the lego to print the Stonehenge shapes and outlined in black fabric paint with a paint brush. The orange paint was far easier to put on than the yellow which just seemed to sink into the fabric.

In hindsight I should have put something between the front and back layers of the dress as a little did sink through but luckily not enough to be too noticable!

So there we have it, my Stone Henge inspired dress! If you fancy joining in with some DIY or Ethical Outfit Challenges then why not join us at Ethical Fashion Bloggers.

Sorry if things have been a little quiet over here on the blogging front lately. It was my birthday this week so I have been far too busy relaxing and indulging myself (more on that soon!)

I hope that you are having a good week!

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

DIY Hairband From Old T Shirts

We all have a few old t shirts in the wardrobe which have stretched out of shape or faded and no longer look great to wear but can still be used to make something useful. Inspired by a T shirt jewellery tutorial that I saw on one of my favourite blogs, Aqui, I decided to have a go myself. Actually my creation seemed to look better as a hairband than a necklace, so that is what I turned it in to.

First I gathered together some old tshirts and my fabric shears. I obviously went for the brightest and boldest colours and patterns that I had but you could choose more subtle combinations or even go for one colour.

Then I cut the t shirts on the bias (diagionally) into strips of about 3-4cm. Again you don’t have to make them this width, try thinner or wider and see how it turns out. You can then knot or plait your strips. I plaited 4 strips, my daughter also had a go a tying knots which worked quite well and she made it into a really cute bracelet. It helps to attach or loop it around something at one end.

I then weaved another strip through the plait and used to tie secure at both ends before tying the whole thing in a loop. if I am honest I didn’t really follow an exact process, it was more a case of just messing about with it until it looked right.

Here is how it turned out! and the verdict from Mr Style Eyes ‘yes it looks OK, better than some of the stuff I have seen you make and go out in’, I’ll take that as a compliment then!

With warmest wishes

Ceri x


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Oxfam Fashion Blogger’s Meet Up

Yesterday was the Oxfam Fashion blogger’s meet, a fantastic opportunity for me to the other the others who blog for Oxfam Fashion, find out some more about Oxfam Fashion and talking ethical fashion, blogging and social media.


We met at the showrooms of Foundation PR which was crammed with rails of amazing ethical fashion, definitely a feast for the eyes. My lovely fellow bloggers and the team at Oxfam included Kathryn of Kat Got the Cream, Jen of Little BirdEmma Waight, Sadie of Sadies Wardrobe, Rupy Kaur, Emily of Erose and Hattie of Inside the Mind of a Disco Ball Thea, Caroline and Belle. It was great to meet everyone and have a chat over lunch. I was truly inspired by how passionate everyone was about ethical fashion, recycling and Oxfam. We had some realy interesting conversations about why people buy do and don’t buy ethical and charity shop fashion, some food for thought and perhaps a few ideas for blog posts there. I would definitely recommend checking out their blogs and posts.

I wanted to share with you a little that I learnt about Oxfam Fashion as even though I work for them as a volunteer, I never even realised all of this!

 Oxfam will be at London Fashion Week

Image from Oxfam Fashion SS12 look book. Photographer: Chris Mosey

Well sort of! Oxfam Fashion will be at The Good Fashion Show on Saturday, the biggest off schedule event during LFW. They will be hosting a pop-up boutique selling a range of winter (the cold is not over yet) and spring clothing, including accessories and handbags. They will also be featuring 5 of the outfits from their recent lookbook in the catwalk show.

Oxfam have some great resources for Upcyclers

Oxfam actively promote reuse of clothing and one way that we can do that is by upcycling or customising a charity shop piece to make it individual and unique. Last June Oxfam launched their first DIY Boutique in Camden, which is a bespoke fashion destination which inspires individuality and clothing customisation . They also have a DIY collection, designed by stylist Mrs Jones and have some great DIY tutorials on their website as well as some cards which I believe will be in the shops. They have some great craft supplies including pieces which can be used to embellish clothing, buttons and craft kits which are availble online and from the shops. Check out the Oxfam Fashion DIY pages for more information.

Virtually Nothing Gets Wasted at Oxfam

 At Oxfam, even the clothing that doesn’t get sold at the shops does not go to landfill. Everything that is not sold goes to Wastesaver, Oxfam’s own clothing recycling plant which also maximises the revenue from clothing that has been donate. The clothes are sorted by specialist who pick out the different types of clothes which are then sent to different high street shops (sometimes more specialist or boutiques), sold through the online shop or Oxfam Festival Shop or go to designers who work with recycled garments. Anything that cannot be used in the UK will go abroad to markets in  Europe, Africa or Asia or Oxfam’s social enterprise projects. Finally the lowest grades will be used for industrial use like car sound proofing or matress stuffing.

A big thanks to the team at Oxfam Fashion for a lovely day! You can check out Oxfam Fashion blog and online shop here.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend.

With warmest wishes

Ceri X

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