Street Style Wales

Knitting, stitching, thrifting, crocheting


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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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Cloth House, Soho

photo 2Cloth House in central London has been on my radar for a while. I can’t even remember the first time I heard about it. Somehow I just knew it was there, amongst a load of other fabric shops. The best thing about now working in Soho is that I’m only a few streets away from these many fabric shops on Berwick Street and can visit them as much as I like during lunch or after work.

Cloth House is every bit as wonderful as you’d imagine. There are two shops on the same street; the first Cloth House sells a range of more unusual fabrics and a great selection of knits, while the second has a colourful selection of cotton prints and an impressive collection of notions.

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The second Cloth House, at no 47, is by far my favourite shop out of the two. I just love the floral and Liberty style fabric and there’s even a remnants bin where I got some lovely calico (more on that soon!). Every time I go into the shop, I leave with something in my hands which isn’t the best for my bank account but, come on, the fabric is just too beautiful not to buy. I found some lovely plain fabrics in there the last time I went in, which I know will make great Marthe tops. I’ve managed to resist buying them so far, but I will go back for a few metres at some point.
photo 4 photo 5If you’re ever in central London, I suggest a trip to Berwick Street (it’s walkable from Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road and even Piccadilly Circus tubes). You won’t regret it.

On a side note, did any of you watch the final of the Sewing Bee? My housemate and I literally whooped when Matt (and his eyebrows) won! Were you happy with the decision or did you want someone else to win?


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Simple A line skirt

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Before I came back to London for work, I whipped up a simple A line skirt out of some remnant fabric I got from a favourite fabric shop of mine in Wales. This is the result.

I always knew I wanted to make a skirt out of this fabric. It’s a lovely, quite thin, tweedish material, which wasn’t the greatest to work with to be honest. However, I persevered and it just so happened that I had some grey lining material in my stash and I, who literally HATES to line anything, actually lined this one.

As I didn’t follow a pattern it isn’t the greatest skirt in the world. There’s a bit of bunching in one corner and I want to redo the hem, but overall it’s ok and I’m not a perfectionist, so I’ll happily wear it until I fix those niggles. I also wish I put pockets in it. I did cut them out but plain forgot to put them in until I’d sewn the sides. Oh, the trouble with self-drafting.

Things may be a bit quiet here for a few more weeks but I’m hoping to schedule some posts soon. In the meantime, enjoy the lovely weather we’re having at the moment. I certainly will be.


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A for Anna

DSC_0469Although I’ve been a fan of By Hand London patterns for a few years now, I’ve never sewn up an Anna dress. That changed this past week, when I finally got round to sewing up the fabric and pattern that White Tree Fabrics sent to me before Christmas.

I find the Anna dress a really wearable pattern and it’s quick to sew up too (perfect for beginners), so I’m surprised I haven’t made it before. I love the A line skirt and I love the length so I know I’ll wear this one again and again.

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I’m not too keen on the sleeves and neckline, which is what I think put me off to begin with. It’s not that I don’t like them. I do, it’s just that I don’t really wear cap sleeves and this kind of dress isn’t my go-to dress of choice. But I have really enjoyed making it and I imagine this will be one I choose to wear when I’m looking to wear something different. It’ll also be good for work.

I used the Tilda Olivia fabric in red as I have a shortage of red dresses and wanted to go a little out of my comfort zone. I’ve used Tilda fabrics before and they’re so nice to work with.

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Much like the other patterns I’ve used lately, I really like the fit of this dress. By Hand London patterns generally make great dresses and the Anna, one of their earliest patterns, is equally as lovely as their other makes.

I will certainly be making another Anna. I just need to work out which fabric to use next.

Pattern and fabric kindly gifted to me from White Tree Fabrics


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Why Pinterest is a great resource for sewing

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 15.46.38Pinterest is great isn’t it? I use it for so many things: pinning interesting quotes, outfit inspiration and most of all, for sewing and DIY inspiration.

I’m such a fan of Pinterest that I had to delete the app off my phone as I was always on it. Believe me, you can get too Pinterest-obsessed! Initially I started this DIY and crafts board as a place to store home DIYs and things, but it soon grew to accommodate my obsession with sewing and dressmaking patterns and it’s a great source for all sewing needs.

Below is just a small selection of how useful Pinterest can be for sewing inspiration, documenting and more. I really recommend it as a source for any sewing enthusiasts out there. Oh, and if you want to follow my DIYs and crafts board or follow me on Pinterest generally, please feel free to.

Here is why Pinterest is a useful resource for sewing:

To keep track of sewing patterns you already own:

This one might be an obscure one, but I really recommend keeping track of your sewing patterns in one place. Although I have a shelf space for all my paper patterns and another for the traced versions I’ve already used, it is so easy to check Pinterest when you’re in need of a sewing project and want to know which projects you’re yet to complete. For example, I have a copy of Burdastyle magazine from last year sometime, which I bought for the peplum top on the cover. The magazine isn’t where I can see it constantly and I still haven’t made the top, but by checking my own ‘DIYs and crafts’ board, I’m able to remind myself that I’m yet to make that top.

To document different versions of a pattern:

This one relates to the above point somewhat. Once I find a pattern I love, I like to keep track of the different ways I can sew it up. Pinterest is great for this, again because the patterns are in the same place (and as a visual person it really pleases me to track the patterns by image). Alternatively, if I’m obsessing over a certain pattern and haven’t made it yet, I’ll often look on Pinterest to see how other sewers are making it, particularly if there are different versions.

For sewing patterns I’m yet to buy or make:

This is the obvious one I guess, but it’s still useful to have a place where you keep sewing patterns you want to buy, but haven’t yet. Case in point: This peplum top.

To pin styles of clothing I want to make or for clothing ideas I’d love to copy:

I often go through phases of pinning specific things (peplum tops, co-ords etc). Pinterest is great for this. Additionally, it’s great for pinning clothes from a website that I want to make someday.

To locate online DIYs:

I only occasionally use websites for tutorials, and although I have a bookmark folder on my laptop for DIYs, I find it easier to check Pinterest when I need an easy top or dress tutorial. Seriously, that search bar is great and the site really comes into its own here. FYI, this pattern here is my favourite ever online tutorial!

For help with specific sewing techniques:

Sewing techniques can be a b*tch sometimes can’t they? As much as I love working from patterns, I have found some to be pretty sparse on giving details for some techniques and once I’ve googled how to actually sew a box pleat or whatever, I can then keep a record of it and check Pinterest when I need to revisit the technique.

To document fabric choices etc:

I’m often wowed by a particular fabric pattern and I can sometimes lose the exact location of that fabric (quite easy for a scatter-brain like me) and so at least if I pin the fabric I’ll always be able to find it again. I do try to keep another Pinterest board specifically for pretty patterns but sometimes I’ll pin them here too, especially if they’re relevant to my sewing plans.

For gift ideas:

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Pinterest is a great source for present ideas for your loved ones!

For home DIY inspiration:

Another obvious one, but what is Pinterest good for if not for pinning useful DIYs to brighten up your house?

What do you use Pinterest for? If you have any good sewing-related pins, please send them my way.


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The Sewing Bee returns to BBC Two

Photo credit: BBC

Photo credit: BBC

The Great British Sewing Bee is back! The show will return for its third series tonight at 8pm with a fresh lot of contestants and challenges for them to get stuck into. I, for one, will be glued to the screen for the next few weeks.

Excitingly, there are TWO sewing bloggers appearing on the series this year. Sew Deputy, aka Amanda, who spoke about her excitement here and Deborah, or DFabricate. I’m really excited to see what Deborah will come up with as she has great style. She spoke of her experience with the programme here.

Will you be watching too? I wonder if there’ll be a clear favourite from the start? Personally, I will be rooting for anyone who is that passionate about sewing (that’s all of them then!).

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