DIY: How to make a Tie Lampshade

I’m sure everybody’s Dad / Granddads’ have a ton of ties, some never used?

This Lampshade is very easy to create, and is perfect for a handmade gift or even for yourself!


What you need:


– An old lampshade

– A few ties  (Oxfam Online Shop)

– Glue

– Scissors



1. Firstly, I started measuring the ties to the lampshade and cutting off the excess


2. Then, one by one I started to glue the ties to my lampshade, making sure the ‘V’ is just hanging over the edge of your shade. (I used strong Fabric Glue and tiny bits of Super Glue)


3. After this, Leave your  glue to dry (around 1hr)

4. Finally, depending on how you want your shade to look, you can add some other fabric like lace around the top to neaten up where the ties have been cut!


And there you have it, your handmade Tie Lampshade!



With the leftover bits of ties that had been chopped off I decided to put them to good use experiment and make another lampshade.


What You Need:

– Left Over Tie Cut Offs

– Glue

– A lampshade


1. I got all the ties together and measured them around the lampshade to make sure they fit snug. If they are a little big I cut them to size(remembering the lampshade is not all the same size and usually gets bigger towards the bottom..make sure you do measure before you start to glue)


2. I Then started to wrap the ties around the lampshade making sure the V is glued on top of the raw edge


3. Carry on repeating this process all way down to the bottom of the lampshade using the same glue as before.  And before you know it you have 2 Up-Cycled Unusual Handmade Lampshades!!


Share all your creations with us @OxfamFashion #foundinoxfam

Post written by Leah Topham, volunteer at Oxfam Batley where she helps upcycle the clothes. She’s written this series called ‘Rags to Riches’ where she lets us in on her DIY secrets. You can also check out her last one ‘How to make some Lace Bottom Tailored Trousers’Shop With Oxfam Online

DIY Doily Tips: Upcycle Ripped T-Shirts

Article written by Rumaanah Bilal, volunteer at  Oxfam Online Batley 

To begin these DIY doily shirts, collect everything you may need. I created two different shirts but there are limitless designs that you could create! Start off by ironing the shirts to get rid of any creases. I have picked these navy and white tops to work onto. The white one has a hole so I created a design to cover this up. This is a great way to bring new life to a shirt you’d otherwise end up recycling.

What you’ll need:

  • Plain T-shirt (Use ones you already have or check your local Oxfam or Oxfam’s Online Shop)
  • Dollies (Again if you don’t have any you want to chop up it’s worth checking your local Oxfam or Online)
  • Scissors
  • Needle and Threads (mixed colours)
  • Pins

Start cutting into the areas of the doilies you like the best. I picked out doilies with floral designs as this is something I really love, but you could easily use the lacy parts as well – customise to your heart’s content to make this piece a unique beauty!

After getting your desired pieces start to place them on the shirts in different ways to see which layout looks the best. I came up with a lot of ideas and they all seemed to be really interesting and wonderful. Here are some of the designs I tried out:


As soon as you have arranged your designs, pin the pieces down and carefully start to hand stitch the separate parts to the shirt. I noticed the edges of the blue doily was quite frayed so I had to fix that by stitching it down tightly, but still making sure I maintained the shape. I cut out around some hexagons from a different doily and I placed them in a row down the sleeves, this way it covered up the hole and also made it quite stylish. In contrast to the white shirt having quite a bit going on, I kept the navy shirt really minimal by only putting a white trim around the neckline.
This technique would also look great along the hem or armholes of your chosen garment, and would be a good way to cover up any wear and tear!

Here are my final designs for both tops. I like how they turned out and would love to do more like this. I like the contrast between both tops. Both are very simple and can be easily styled with a pair of jeans. I love that you can save a lot and create something stylish, whilst saving clothing that would otherwise end up in recycling, instead of paying £20+ for a high street piece.

If you try out my embroidered t-shirt DIY please share the pictures: @OxfamFashion #foundinoxfam I can’t wait to see what everyone makes!

Shop With Oxfam Online

8 Fun No Sew DIY Crafts to Do With Your Kids In The Holidays

As Oxfam’s shops are currently focusing on all things child friendly I decided to have a hunt of Oxfam’s archives to see what DIY ideas my fellow bloggers have created that can help you entertain your children this holiday.

Shop Quality Kids Clothing With the Oxfam Online Shop

Pom-Pom Critters

DIY Pom pom animals

Image Credit: Pom-pom tutorial Kelly O’Conor, pom-pom creatures & animals from Pinterest


Help your little ones follow fashion blogger Kelly’s easy guide to make a bunch of different pom-poms. From there grab some glue and a collection of googly eyes, pipe cleaners, scraps of card and felt or anything else you can think of and let them get creative! I’ve created a Pinterest board full of ideas from these very on-trend emojis to little critters with feet and googly eyes from bugs to bunnies and monsters to
minions! There are endless possibilities.

Friendship Bracelets

Make Yarn and Thread Bracelets

Whether your kids make these as gifts or keep them for themselves they will love filling their arm with all these coloured strands. We have two tutorials on the blog, Boatemaa’s plaited one with beading or Emma’s tutorial for knotted or wrapped braids.

Personalised Top

DIY Customised Personalised Top

This can be a great way to get kids loving the clothes they wear – let them design them themselves! First of all they need to create a design so let them get to work cutting and sticking, drawing, painting, whatever they like to do best. Then just photograph or scan their design to get a digital version which you can crop and edit to get it looking its best. From there Cassiefairy’s tutorial will give you all the instructions you need to transform their design into a top. Just make sure you
takeover for the ironing stage!

Summer Wreath

Make a Summer or Winter Wreath

Ok I know, I know wreaths are supposed to be Christmassy! But I think this simple design by Cassiefairy can be adapted to any season. Choose bright sunshiney colours to create the perfect decoration to add so cute colour to a barbeque party. You could even knock up some matching bunting to pull the décor together. Cut triangles of fabric with pinking shears and fold bias binding along the top edge, sewing or sticking it down, and voila you’re done!

Make a Stock of Homemade Gift Tags and Cards

Card Making Ideas

Not only can card making be a fun way to fill your little ones time but it will come in handy once your back in term time and need to send that last minute birthday or thank you card without out loosing that personal touch. You can busy pre-folded blank cards from craft shops or just DIY your own by halving sheets of card. Then let the kids get to work! Our bloggers have come up with all sorts of ideas to get their creative juices flowing from Liz’s cut and stick collage technique to SJP’s cross-stitch idea or Emily’s cut out designs  they’re sure to find something. You can even recycle old cards into gift tags too as Liz shows you here.

Finger Knitting

Finger Knitting How To

If your little ones are more on the patient side then Liz’s guide to finger knitting might be a great way for them to get a new skill and a new scarf without need to buy any new equipment! If your kids love loom-bands then this is one they could really enjoy, with the added bonus that you won’t be using lots of non-biodegradable plastics to make this.

Clip In Hair Braid

DIY Feathered Hair Braid

As a 90s child these were all the rage in my primary school days! These clip in hair braids are a fab way to add a pop of removable colour to your kids hair letting them explore the wild side of their style! Made using reclaimed fabric and thread they’re really easy to make and are perfect if you’re heading to any family festivals this summer. Alternatively you can use one of the friendship bracelet ideas to make a thread one instead.

Junk Toy Challenge

Make Recycled Toys

Photos by: John Ferguson, Eleanor Farmer & Annie Bungeroth.

The children that Oxfam works with often don’t have the luxury of having toys to play with so they reclaim materials from around them to make their own. This summer Oxfam is challenging kids to do just that and share the end result on Twitter with the #junktoychallenge. Find materials that would otherwise be thrown away, empty milk cartoons or cardboard boxes and let them make their own toy to play with. If you share their finished creation before midday on Friday 28th July then they could be in with a chance to win some chocolate and see their toy featured in Oxfam’s new
newspaper. Find out more information here.

Shop Quality Kids Clothing With the Oxfam Online Shop


Upcycle An Old Pair Of Jeans Into Your Own Beautiful, Hand-Embroidered Notebook Cover

Ok, let’s admit it. We all probably have at least one old pair of jeans stashed away in the bottom of out wardrobe, just in case we manage to fit into them again! But why not put them to use right away and give them a brand new lease of life once and for all? This reusable, slip-on notebook cover is perfect for keeping your notes looking good and for protecting your diary! And it is completely re-usable – just buy a new notebook and transfer it over!

Ethical, fun and creative, what more could you want?

Project Timings:

Cutting Time and Pattern Making Time – 20 minutes

Embroidery Time – This depends on whether you are a fast or slow stitcher, and on how detailed you want to go, but my example below took around 15 hours

Piecing Time – 2 hours

 DIY embroidered notebook cover

Fabric Measurements (For an A5 Notebook):

Front – 20 x 26cm

Back – 22.1 x 26cm



  • Embroidery threads

  • An embroidery hoop

  • Pins

  • A needle

  • A beading needle (optional)

  • Beads, embellishments, strips of jewellery chain or buttons that you might want to include in your design (Keep an eye out for these in your local Oxfam or Online!)

  • Sewing thread

  • A sewing machine (optional, this could all be done by hand if you wish)

  • Scissors

  • Paper and   a pencil  and a ruler to make your pattern pieces

 The finished notebook


  • Make sure your denim has been washed so that it doesn’t shrink if you need to wash your cover

  • Iron out your fabric so you aren’t left with creases, which could distort your final piece

So, let’s get started

1) Create yourself a paper pattern piece for both the front and back of your notebook. This will make it far easier to cut out your fabric later!

2) Cut your jeans to create flat panels of fabric, ensuring to maximise the amount of denim available by cutting as close to the seams as possible.

Handy Hint – If you don’t have enough denim to get your whole pattern piece out of one panel of fabric, why not make your notebook cover up out of smaller panels. Just don’t forget to add in extra seam allowance!

3) Pin your pattern pieces to the denim.

4) Cut out your front and back piece.

5) Place your front piece of material in an embroidery frame or hoop, and embroider your design onto it. If you do not have a hoop or frame, you will be able to manage without, but be sure to keep your tension even to avoid puckering.

Some Embroidery Ideas!

Detail of the embroidery

6) Stitch your front and back panel together with a 1.5cm seam, right sides facing together.

Handy Hint – when sewing denim, it is a good idea to use a fairly long stitch length as most denims now have an element of stretch to them. A denim needle is a good idea if you are using a sewing machine! If you are going over multiple layers it may be easier to turn the needle manually and if your denim is very stretchy, you may prefer to stitch by hand!

7) Fold back each side of your open seam by 0.5cm and top stitch in place to neaten the edge of your seam.

8) Fold the far left and far right edges in by 0.5cm and top stitch. This will give you a neat edge and will prevent your cover from fraying around the edges!Pin top stitch hem how to

9) Fold the top and bottom edge of the notebook by 0.5cm and top stitch.

Inside the case

10) Fold the far left and right sides in by 3.5cm and press in place.

The cover hem

11) Fold the top and bottom edge down by 1cm and stitch in place using a 0.5cm seam allowance.  Make sure your stitching is neat and straight, as this line will be visible from the front! I decided to do this by hand to ensure that the fabric didn’t warp and stretch, but if you have a denim needle or a fairly firm fabric, machine stitching will be fine.

12) Give all of the seams and fabric a good press, ironing the wrong side of the fabric so you don’t damage your embroidery.

13) Slip your notebook into your new cover and you are away!

 Sew your own personalised notebook case

Why not add a few personal, unique touches to your notebook cover?

  • Incorporate seams from your original jeans.

  • Use jeans pockets as a style feature – handy for storing your pens and pencils!

  • Use more panels for a patchwork-y feel.

  • Embroider motifs or your name onto the front cover to make your piece truly individual!

You might also like: 

International Women's Day T-shirt DIYDIY Ruffled Shirt Dress

DIY Slogan T-shirt                                                     DIY Ruffled Shirt Dress

Go to the Oxfam Online Shop

DIY Ostrich Feather Crop Top

Ever since I spotted Oscar De La Renta’s striped sequin and ostrich feather top on my favourite blogger Blair of Atlantic Pacific, I knew I had to have it. But at about £2,000 for the beautiful piece, how would that be possible?

Oscar De La Renta's striped sequin and ostrich feather top that inspired this DIY

I took a mini hiatus from any DIY projects but returned in full force with this cheeky number. I had an old navy and white striped cropped tee from H&M that I was planning on throwing out (crop tops are not cute on a 27 year old woman) but loved the shape and quality so much that I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Queue the lightbulb moment! After buying 2 meters worth of crisp white ostrich feather trimmings, I decided to sew this to the hem of the top to elongate it (making it more wearable at my age) and also channel my inner Oscar De La Renta. Not only was
this one of my easiest upcycling projects but one of my favourites also.

Step 1

Since ostrich feather trims are quite sparse in feathers, it is likely you’ll have to double up the trimming in order to gain the same look as the Oscar De La Renta top. Work out what length of feathers you will need.

Pinning On the Feathers

Step 2

Double up! Fold the trim on itself to double the volume of feathers, align and pin in place.

Turned to the Right Side of the Fabric

Step 3

Pin to the inside of the top. The hem of the top should hide the ribbon trim of the feathers making it look neater and more professional.

The Hem

Step 4

I would highly recommend machine sewing; the industrial needle will penetrate the double trim and hem of the top with ease. Align and sew leaving a slight gap between the start and finish. Do not leave a big enough gap so that it’s visible (the feathers should mask the gap) but big enough for a little stretch. Because this trim does not stretch, you may find this difficult to put on without a stretch gap. Failing that, you can insert a zip. 

My Completed Crop Top

Once complete, style with dainty and delicate jewellery or a vintage brooch. The top I had was upcycled from an old H&M top and the feathers were bought for £7.48 which seemed like a much more reasonable option compared to spending £2,000. Check out Oxfam’s shop for some easy stripes to upcycle (here).

While I do love a good brand or label, I think it’s important not to add to the environmental impact the fashion industry already has. As an aspiring minimalist and zero waster, I am aware of just how much waste is involved in the industry and knowing that I’m minimising my impact makes me feel that little bit better. 

You might also like: 

DIY Ribbon Tie TopDIY Lace Insert Split Top

DIY Ribbon Tie Top                                                       DIY Lace Insert Split Top

DIY Mend With Me: Sew Up Ripped Seams

As a volunteer in Oxfam Broad Street, one of my favourite tasks is to give some TLC to items that are damaged or worn to give them a new lease of life and get them out on the shop floor. If you’re a super sewer then your local Oxfam is sure to welcome your help even if you can’t volunteer really regularly. Just pop by your local shop and have a chat with the manager about what time you can give. However, if you need a bit more help with your clothing repairs then you’ve come to the right place as in this article I’m
going to show you some easy tips and tricks to do a simple seam repair to a dress from the Broad Street Shop.

The Finished Dress

The first dress is this striking cut-out black dress, perfect for the party season. Unfortunately the back seam had come unpicked leaving a hole which I wanted to get sewn up as quickly as possible so this can go to a loving new home. The first step I took was to secure the loose thread so that the remaining stitches wouldn’t unravel any further. To do this I carefully unpicked a little way further up the seam, making sure not the break the thread, so I had a longer piece to work with on each side. I double knotted the thread tightly and tucked the loose ends inside the dress so
they don’t stick out.

The ripped seam

I then turned the dress inside out to look at the finishing. As the edges of the fabric have been secured with an interlocking stitch, rather than having been folded into a hem, I didn’t need to do anything to stop the material fraying. This meant I could just sew the gap up without worrying about hemming it. 

Turning the dress inside out

I chose to use a sewing machine to sew over the gap to make sure the stitching is really tight and won’t come undone. I threaded up in black and sewed back and forth to lock in the thread to the fabric, sewed over the gap and cast off. However, if you don’t have a sewing machine you can just use a very small running stitch over the gap. To keep it extra secure once you’ve closed the gap you can then double back over where you sewed, using the same needle holes but looping the thread to the opposite side from before.

Using a sewing machine to fix the rip

Once you’ve cast off your seem is back in tip top shape again and ready to be worn.  

You might also like: 

Reshaping a Vintage DressAlternative Oxfam Shop Volunteer Roles

Tips to make a Vintage Dress Fit                                 Alternative Shop Volunteering Roles

Go to the Oxfam Online Shop

DIY: Christmas Gift Tags

Go to the Oxfam Online Shop

If like me you like buying lots of little presents for people instead of one big one, you will probably find that whilst wrapping your Christmas presents you are constantly running out of gift tags.  I will show you my cost free answer to this ‘too many presents not enough tags’ dilemma.

You will need:

  • Old Christmas cards
  • ‘crazy’ or ‘silly’ scissors
  • A hole puncher
  • Ribbon or string

Step by Step

Step One

Choose an old Christmas card which compliments your wrapping paper. Make sure the motif on the card isn’t too big, huge tags on smaller presents are never a good thing.

Step Two

Tear your chosen Christmas card down the middle, so you are left with just the front of the Christmas card.

Step Three

Using silly scissors cut around the motif on the card, making sure you make it big enough for you to write a message on the back of it. You may wonder why I am using silly scissors? Firstly, with silly scissors you can need to worry about cutting in a straight line and secondly I think it makes your tags look at bit more professional.

Step Four

Using one side of the hole puncher, punch a hole in the top corner of your tag, to put your string or ribbon.

The wrapping paper I used in this picture is from Oxfam and costs £2.99

Enjoy wrapping and tagging your gifts!

You might also like:

Eco Wrap Your Christmas Presents

DIY Cross-Stitch Christmas Cards                               How to Eco-Wrap Your Gifts

Go to the Oxfam Online Shop

DIY: Festive Snood Sewing Project

By Cassie of

That retro-knitwear staple, the snood, is very fashionable again this year, with all kinds of patterns and colours available in high street shops. But you don’t need to splash out on a new accessory to keep you warm this winter. You can simply upcycle an old festive jumper or cardigan that’s past its best and turn it into a trendy snood. Keep an eye out for vintage patterns and festive coloured knitwear in charity shops, and you can even choose jumpers with holes or rips that would otherwise go into landfill, because you’ll be cutting pieces out of the jumper and can work
around any flaws. If you’re thinking of chucking out a jumper anyway, give this easy tutorial for a winter snood a go – it would work equally well with a chunky cardigan or a cable-knit jumper – be creative!


You will need: 

  • Old jumper with festive pattern,
  • Scissors, needle,
  • Matching thread,
  • Sewing machine (optional)


Step by step

Step One: Cut the jumper into squares or rectangles of equal width

Step Two: With right sides facing, pin and stitch the shorter edges (across width) together, matching the pattern if possible to make one long length of fabric.

Step Three: Fold the fabric in half along the length with right sides facing and stitch along the whole length.

Step Four: Turn right-side out and hand-stitch the raw ends together to create a loop.

Step Five: Wrap the snood around your neck once for a loose scarf, or twice for a snuggly neck-warmer.

Shop With Oxfam Online

DIY: How To Cross Stitch Your Own Christmas Cards

Go to the Oxfam Online Shop

As lovely as shop-bought cards can be, they can never quite match the quaintness of a handmade, personalised card. I like to make a selection of Christmas cards every year and thought I would share with you how to make your own cross stitched Christmas cards.

These Christmassy patterns could also be stitched onto handkerchiefs, tea towels or shirt collars, making them the perfect Christmas gift.

You will need:

  • A needle
  • Selection of embroidery threads
  • ¼ meter of aida cloth
  • Blank cards with a minimum aperture of 4cm x 4cm (the cards in this tutorial have an aperture of 6cm x 6cm)
  • Graph paper
  • Selection of coloured pencils
  • Washi tape

Step by step

Step One: Designing your own Christmassy patterns is easy – simply take your graph paper and start shading in each square to build up a design. The design I’ve made here is a snowman and you can see the squares have been built up to make circles for his head and body.

Step Two: Cut your aida to fit the aperture of your card, leaving an additional ½ cm border  – this isn’t for stitching but will help when later securing the finished stitch to your card.

Step Three: Take your skein of embroidery thread, cut off a 30cm piece and divide it into three sections. The skein is made up of six individual threads so you should now have three 30cm pieces, made up of two threads each. Now you need to thread your needle and start stitching! Remember to leave a ½ border around the edges.

Step Four: Once finished, secure the stitch to the back of the card using washi tape. I’ve used festive red and white stripes here but you could use any pattern you like.

Optional – use silver or gold pens to write a Christmas greeting on the outside of the card.

Et volia! Each motif should take around 30 minutes to stitch and can easily be done in front of the TV of an evening, or even on your lunch break. In a couple of days you’ll have enough designs for whole set of Christmas cards!

DIY: Create Your Own Christmas Jumper

Go to the Oxfam Online Shop

Christmas jumpers are really hot right now, which means vintage/second-hand festive sweaters are tricky to get hold of at a good price. Remember Mark Darcy’s reindeer jumper? The woolly rollneck was enough to put off Bridget Jones at the family Christmas party. Fast-track forward a decade and Mr Darcy would be the coolest man in the room. 

I needed a fun Christmas jumper for a Christmas-jumper party but I didn’t want to buy one from the high street. Vintage options online were quite expensive and a wander around the charity shops deemed unsuccessful, so I decided to make my own – not knitting, but customising. It required very little sewing skill and was finished in an evening. Here’s how I did it.

Step by step

Step One: Pick up a plain sweater from your local Oxfam shop. The colour depends on the design you have in mind, I went for snowy white but you could go for festive red or green. A cotton-knit sweatshirt fabric is easier to work with than a chunky knit.

Step Two: Get some embroidery thread or double up some sewing thread and embroider stars/snowflakes wherever you please. Think of it as just drawing with thread, practice on a scrap of material first.

Step Three: Choose some ribbon, mine was from John Lewis, and sew it around the hem by machine or hand. I did mine by hand. 

Step Four: Decide on a motif. I chose a simple present but it could be a Christmas tree, cracker, Santa, bells etc. Cut your design out from a piece of felt and add in the detail with sequins, embroidery, pens or ribbons. Once you are happy with it, glue or sew the applique patch onto your sweater.

Voila! A simple and very cheap Christmas jumper, entirely unique so you won’t turn up to the party in the same outfit as someone else. Add a tinsel boa and you are all set to dazzle. 

Why not choose a jumper from the Oxfam Online Shop and get crafty!

Go to the Oxfam Online Shop

You might also like:

 DIY Snowman Jumper                                                  An Oxfam Christmas