Street Style Wales

Knitting, stitching, thrifting, crocheting


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The hunt for the perfect peplum top

Two peplum tops DIY

I’m sure you know by now how much I love Pinterest. I use it for general crafting inspiration or for looking up a pattern that I’m thinking of making before I take the plunge.

Lately I’ve been searching for the perfect peplum top pattern: one that isn’t too tight or structured but is a looser, more relaxed fit. Although I really wanted to like Republique du Chiffon’s Marthe top, the fit just wasn’t great at all on me and it was far, far looser than I thought it would be. So I went back to the drawing board and consulted Pinterest.

I’ve found some amazing peplum tops on Pinterest, the best of which I’ve included below. More can be found on my Pinterest board here.

Image via Pinterest. Click for link

Image via Pinterest. Click for link

Image via Pinterest. Click for link

Image via Pinterest. Click for link

Image via Pinterest. Click for link

Image via Pinterest. Click for link

Image via Pinterest. Click for link

Image via Pinterest. Click for link

Pinterest is also how I found out about Cotton and Curls. There are loads of great DIYs on the website, including this one, which I loosely followedThe instructions say to copy a loose, boxy top you already have, so I kind of made it my own with a shop-bought peplum top I love and a bit of self-drafting thrown in.

Blue peplum top

I have self-drafted before and it is tricky to get something right (it’s far easier to follow a pattern). But there’s also a great sense of achievement when something you draft goes according to plan. This first attempt worked out well, although I did way underestimate the measurements of my top and had to add in extra fabric at the sides. This is covered by the busy print though so it doesn’t really matter. The only real problem I had with this attempt is that it is quite short, but I blame that on not having enough fabric to make a longer peplum. It’s still wearable with a high waisted skirt or jeans though and I even made a cute patch pocket to compensate.

Green peplum top

The brilliant thing about making a top is that you can use leftover fabric scraps to make it. I had plenty of this Ebay find left to make a top and could afford to make a longer peplum this time. For this one I wanted to make the sleeves shorter, lengthen the bodice and make it a little smaller. I quite like how it came out and the material is a lot lighter than the previous peplum top, although in hindsight I think perhaps I should have lined it. The fabric is the same as I used in my green gables dress, but I’ve realised that I don’t very much like the feel of it, so it may not be worn as much as I’d planned anyway.

I have plans to adapt this pattern to make a few different peplum tops next, including a long-sleeved peplum top from fabric I bought in London, a more fitted top and a sleeveless version. Any peplum tops in your sewing plans?


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Wednesday wishlist: Summer prints from Seasalt

It’s been a while since I did one of these, hasn’t it? Not to worry though. This week I’ve been on a hunt for summer clothes and I found myself on the Seasalt website, thanks to longtime fave dressmaker Isabel Knowles. Seasalt is a brand local to Cornwall and was started in Penzance, where there’s still a shop, in 1981. Many of the Seasalt garments are certified organic by the Soil Association and there is even a range of locally made products too. I love discovering brands that really care about the ethos of their company and I’m sure that I’ll be buying a lot from Seasalt in the future.

Trenython jumper, £55, Seasalt

Trenython jumper, £55, Seasalt

Starting with the Trenython jumper, at £55 this one is a little pricey for any old top but has the cutest little boat print on it. Who doesn’t love boats on their clothes? Not me, that’s for sure. This one is perfect for covering up after a day at the beach or for those chillier evening walks. Channelling the Cornish coast, this top will be making its way to my basket shortly.

Rosina dress, £65, Seasalt

Rosina dress, £65, Seasalt

Stripes ahoy for my next pick, the Rosina dress. I’m reminded a little of Cath Kidston, in both colour and style, with this dress and I love the strong print too. Plus, stripes are my staple pattern of choice at the moment. I can imagine wearing this dress to all those summer parties I’ll be invited to (yeah right!).

Lookout crops, £55, Seasalt

Lookout crops, £55, Seasalt

Lastly, these Lookout crops come in two colours, but this vibrant floral print is the best by far. Team with a white tee for the ultimate outfit to relax by the beach in. Add in a pair of white converse, and the trousers will give a pop of colour to any outfit.

Have you ever bought anything from Seasalt before? Are you a fan of their ethos? I’ll definitely be buying from the brand soon.


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An Emery for a wedding

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Anyone who is anyone in the sewing world has attempted an Emery, haven’t they? Yep, it’s one of those classic dresses that everyone goes mad for and I, of course, lag way behind (like I do with 90s TV shows too by the way – so at least there’s a pattern).

Anyway, the story behind this dress is that my good friend Phoebe got married last month and I decided to set myself the challenge of making myself a dress with only about a week to spare (great planning there!). I didn’t want to use any of my tried and tested dress patterns and I knew I wanted to use a Liberty fabric, so enter months of debating over which pattern to use and telling everyone I knew about my plan to make a dress, and I had finally decided on the Emery.

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In the end I think I had about four days to cut and trace the pattern, make the muslin and sew the final version. But I managed it and the dress is a firm favourite now. I think the Emery, although suitable for a wedding, is also wearable in a casual way. I’ve been adding a cardigan and flats and wearing it that way ever since.

The fabric is Liberty’s Tatum, which I pored over during my last visit to London but ended up buying online in the end. It is quite thin and creases a bit, but is a really good quality tana lawn. I love the colourway as it is summery, floral and perfect for a wedding, but I’m definitely tempted by this colourway too.

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I now know why everyone raves about the Emery. It’s such a lovely pattern to work with and so versatile too. I’m longing to try out the longer sleeved version ready for the autumn and I already have plans for more Emeries.

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I bought my Emery pattern at The Village Haberdashery and my Liberty fabric at Shaukat.


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Wonderwool Wales 2015: A review

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Wonderwool Wales, an annual wool and crafts festival held in the picturesque mid Wales countryside, is somewhere I’ve never been before, despite (shamefully) only living just over an hour away from it.

The festival is now in its tenth year. I finally got a chance to visit it last month and I wasn’t disappointed by the stalls and demos that I saw. Although there were plenty of wool stalls, different types of yarns and even some actual sheep and alpaca, it wasn’t all about the wool. There were also spinning demonstrations, fabric stalls, clothing, buttons and accessories, a ‘sheepwalk’ catwalk and lots of atmosphere, spread across three halls of the Royal Welsh showground.

A cardigan for Cardigan, knitted in celebration of the Welsh town's 900th birthday

A cardigan for Cardigan, knitted in celebration of the Welsh town’s 900th birthday

Members of the town came together to knit the five metre wide cardigan

Members of the town came together to knit the five metre wide cardigan

There was also ‘A cardigan for Cardigan’, a giant knitted cardigan made for Cardigan in west Wales by people from the town and organised by community artist Lisa Hellier, as well as Alison Murray‘s gingerbread house, a life-size knitted house complete with interior, exterior and even a garden.

Alison Murray's giant knitted gingerbread house

Alison Murray’s giant knitted gingerbread house

There were plenty of yarn related names that I recognised too, including BaaRamEwe, Toft and Coop Knits and some that I didn’t, including Jenny Barnett‘s needlefelted sculptures and The Lost Sheep Company, who had two live spinning demonstrations outside their stall. I love discovering new crafters and there was definitely enough at Wonderwool Wales to keep all ages entertained.

The festival itself was started in 2006 to promote the Welsh wool market and covers everything from the start of the creative process to the end. For more information and news on future events, visit their website.

I really enjoyed myself at Wonderwool Wales and I’d very much like to go again next year. There really was something for every kind of crafter there, not just the knitters!

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Do you know who made your clothes?

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Today is Fashion Revolution Day, a momentous day in the sustainable fashion world. It marks two years since the Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh, where 1133 people died and a further 2500 people were injured while working for well-known fashion brands, brands that we buy into here in the UK.

The day was set up in response to the Rana Plaza catastrophe in 2013 by co-founders Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro, in an effort to raise awareness of the incident that happened in 2013 and to call for a systematic reform of the fashion chain.

The initiative is gathering huge momentous on social media where organisers are encouraging people to post photos of themselves wearing their clothes inside out with the hashtag #fashrev and asking the question, ‘Who made your clothes?’. The main aim of Fashion Revolution Day, however, is to stop the UK buyers forgetting about the incident and organisers hope instead to create change in the fashion industry.

The organisers say, “In short we believe that 1133 is too many people to lose from the planet in one factory, on one terrible day, without standing for something.”

They continue, “We need it [the day] to show the world that change is possible.”

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So, do you know who made your clothes? I’m guilty of buying from high street shops without a care for how the clothes were made or who made them, but isn’t it time we took a stand and started caring about the conditions of the workers who make our clothes?

At the very least, that is what I love about making my own clothes. I know exactly where my clothes have been made and who made them, although I know less about the fabrics used to make them. There are so many positives to making your own clothes, not least for the above.

But, for today, I will be asking ‘Who made my clothes?’. If you’d like to get involved too, the Fashion Revolution website is here, or show your support via the organisation’s Instagram or Twitter.

 

Photos courtesy of www.fashionrevolution.org


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An (unhemmed) Marthe top


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I’ve had this Republique du Chiffon Marthe top made up for a while now, but it has stayed unhemmed and unfinished (and unironed too – sorry about that. I have a broken iron at the moment and don’t want to risk using my straighteners on it).

I obsessed about this pattern when I first saw it (on Stitch and Cappuccino) and literally salivated over the different versions I found on Pinterest, here, here, here and here. I love, love, love this pattern and couldn’t wait to try it myself so I bought some floral fabric from Ebay and set to it. However, in the making up of this garment, many things went wrong. I made my usual size but it was far too large (I know that the top is supposed to be a relaxed fit and that’s what I loved about it, but this is so relaxed that it slips off my shoulders), the fabric doesn’t have the right drape for the pattern (I feel a sturdier fabric would work better), the neckline just doesn’t sit right and the arms are far, far too wide (again, a fit issue).

I want to try again with this pattern as I think that when it works, it works well. But, in this instance, it hasn’t worked. I thought it might be fixable and it isn’t the worst fit by any means, so I put it on this morning, determined to like it. But, as we speak, it is again slipping off my shoulders and the baggy arms are annoying me. So, back to the drawing board with this one.

I don’t usually make alterations to patterns, except if I want to add extra length, so I’m wondering how I’ll go about it with this one. I think I may make up a smaller version or I did consider taking out the seam allowances (which aren’t actually on the printed pattern), but I’m not sure that would work.

Perhaps my sturdier mustard fabric from Cloth House will make a better top? If you have any suggestions on what to do, please send them my way.

Thanks!

 


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Some sad By Hand London news

img_4664I’ve just read some incredibly sad news from the By Hand London girls this morning. The brand will no longer run as it has been and the girls will be moving on to other projects while working on By Hand London as a sideline.

This is a huge blow for the sewing industry, but also understandable. I know firsthand the costs of living in London and being self-employed so I can see where they are coming from, but still, By Hand London is one of the leaders of the UK sewing industry and I will be sad to see it go.

There are a number of paper patterns still available to buy and all future patterns will be released as PDF patterns only. I really love the range of patterns from By Hand London – each one is so on-trend and I remember feeling really excited about the brand when I first discovered it. But, things change and I wish the girls well as they are all lovely. I really hope we’ll see more of By Hand London soon!

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