Street Style Wales

Knitting, stitching, thrifting, crocheting

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Craft in the bay

Craft in the Bay is a local exhibition space in Cardiff, which highlights local designers and their work. Incorporating the work of many artists and creators across a medium of textiles, they also sell many beautiful things in their shop. I’ve only been once, but it was a place which stood out to me at the time and one that I’m longing to go back to. Currently showing the Cwtch exhibition, this is one that offers “warm colours, cosy textiles, finely crafted designs – made to the highest quality”, according to their website. Yes, you may think that this is more arty crafts than wearable crafts, but they do indeed offer a selection of jewellery and workshops for children on how to tie-dye a t-shirt.

So,what are you waiting for?  Get crafting!


Christmas wishlist

So, Christmas is coming and I, for one, am definitely feeling rested, after having a blissful few days off, catching up with friends and finally doing some christmas shopping.

So what better than a round-up of beautiful delights for the eager style spotter, to add to your wishlist?  A bit late, maybe, but I’m sure there are some of us who shop frantically on Christmas eve.

Cameras are a vital piece of equipment for any would be style spotter and they also make a lovely looking accessory.

Last year, I treated myself to a Diana camera and, throughout the year, I’ve been practising with it, trying to teach myself how to use a film camera.

The Diana camera is a great camera if you like to experiment with your photography.

Here’s where I got mine.  But, if you’re not so confident in using film, which I wasn’t until I bought mine, then I’d suggest getting this one instead, as it is easier to use.  It also uses 35mm film, which is both cheaper and easier to develop, as lots of places develop it.  Here is the Diana page over on Urban Outfitters, which offers a far greater selection of Diana cameras.

Other cameras are also on my wishlist.  I was lucky enough to use one of these over the summer and I’ve wanted my own ever since.  I think it’s the instant element of it that I like, which reminds me of my Polaroid.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw an advert for the Nikon 1.  The advert completely sold it to me.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the funds to buy this beauty, but it’s definitely one for my wishlist.

Even if you think it’s too late to buy these, then Amazon do gift vouchers and there’s always the sales.

And finally, I’ve also created a Facebook page for my blog.  Here it is if you want to like it.

Happy Christmas!

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People who inspire: Rhiannon

Rhiannon is my oldest friend. She and I have known each other since she was nine and I was eight. As a result, over the years, we’ve naturally copied each other’s styles, merging our individual looks together, so that we don’t know whose is whose.

I spent last weekend with Rhiannon, mucking about like we always do, taking photos and generally having fun.

Rhiannon’s style is eclectic. She likes abstract designs and neutral colours, with a touch of turquoise or mustard to bring out the colour in her hair.

Be sure to check out Rhiannon’s blog. She is one talented lady.

If you’d like to check out the other People who inspire post, it’s here.


Get crafting in the recession

Has the recession seen an increase in people taking up crafting?

The weather is cold outside, but a warm welcome awaits inside the Oxfam boutique in Cardiff, where a selection of knitting needles are lined up, on a glass table, awaiting eager knitters to pick them up.

The Oxfam Boutique, Cardiff, home of 'Stitch 'n Bitch'

This is the ‘Stitch ‘n Bitch’ knitting event, held at the shop every Thursday night. It represents the growing number of people in the UK who make their own clothes.

With a sharp increase in crafting in the current economic climate, people are more likely than ever to pick up a new skill. The Oxfam Boutique is one of the many places to have opened in the last few years, offering crafting opportunities for people in the recession.

Becky Mann, manager of the shop, says that attendance at the event fluctuates quite a lot. She says that ‘Stitch ‘n Bitch’, which has been running for the past two years, has had as many as 20 people turn up.

‘Stitch ‘n Bitch’ was originally set up by Debbie Stoller in New York, but the phrase has been used for knitting groups since World War Two. The craze grew so popular that the rest of the world soon joined in.

Knitting needles and wool lined up for the eager crafters at 'Stitch 'n Bitch'

The events teach people the basics of knitting, sewing and crocheting, all good skills to have in the recession. The Oxfam Boutique ‘Stitch ‘n Bitch’ is currently knitting mug cosies in the run-up to Christmas and they aim to teach people crafting in the hope that participants can feel they have accomplished something new.

Brooches, created at the 'Stitch 'n Bitch' event, are then sold to raise money for Oxfam

Becky says, “The participants take their newly-learnt skills home with them and we sell the items for the shop.”

On the other side of Cardiff is the Calon Yarns Craft Studios. Lynne Seymour, owner of the Canton-based studio, says they run a variety of courses, such as their dressmaking course, aimed at people who want to know the basics of sewing. It has proven to be so popular that Calon Yarns have had to add a second course.

The interior of Calon Yarns Craft Studios, in Canton, Cardiff

Lynne Seymour, owner of the Calon Yarns Craft Studios, in Canton, Cardiff

The age ranges vary from students to older people who have come back to the craft and even people who remember their parents having sewed.

Lynne agrees that the recession is the reason for people taking up crafting, but says that it isn’t necessarily cheaper to make your own clothes, as fabric can be expensive. Instead, she thinks, it’s more to do with reasons of sustainability.

She says, “I think people are interested in where their clothes come from and being more economically sensible.”

Calling this the ‘Make do and Mend’ thought process, this relates back to the beliefs of the Second World War, when money was scarce and people were fixing things, rather than buying new. Lynne believes that people today have just the same values and those who attend the course are equally as interested in learning how to make things.
Lynne adds that people, in the recession, are also going to evening classes rather than going to the pub, spending money on crafting as they believe it is money better spent.

Balls of wool on show at the Calon Yarns Craft Studios, ready for the crafting workshops.

Lynne Seymour, owner of the Calon Yarns Craft Studios in Canton, Cardiff, talks about the dressmaking course they run:

Lynne talks about the people who attend the courses:

Eager sewer Rhyannan Hall, from Cardiff, agrees with Lynne’s view that making your own clothes isn’t the cheaper option, but she argues that it is better for the environment.

Rhyannan found that all the clothes she used to buy from the high street were badly or cheaply made. That made her want to make her own and her strong ethical values about where her clothes come from made her want to boycott the high street.

She says, “I don’t think clothes should be regarded as disposable commodities.”

Hanna Leimio, one of the crafters at the 'Stitch 'n Bitch' event, often makes her own clothes

Crafter Hanna Leimio, from Cardiff, also holds this belief. A weekly attendee at ‘Stitch ‘n Bitch’, she is a sewing enthusiast and often makes and customises her own clothes. She does this, she says, because she doesn’t always want to buy new things, due to the throwaway culture of this and the contribution it causes to the wasteland.

She says, “Quite often I buy old clothes from flea markets and add something.”

What is clear though, at ‘Stitch ‘n Bitch’, is the effort that crafters put into what they make. Hanna’s creations are well-made and sewing certainly gives both her and Rhyannan great satisfaction in a period when times are hard. This seems to reflect the thoughts of the country as a whole and it goes to show that crafting is more important than ever.

However, whatever the reasons for people coming back to sewing and crafting, they are picking up skills that are transferable and longstanding.

As a new batch of crafters are embarking on a crafting journey at ‘Stitch ‘n Bitch’, Hanna excitedly shows off her creations, adorning her wonderfully knitted mug cosy with ribbons and a button, in order to sell it for the shop, whilst helping the other crafters to cast off.

The locations of Oxfam Boutique and Calon Yarns Craft Studios:

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Crafty books: A good place to start

Having been to Stitch and Bitch for the past two weeks now, I am continuing to learn the new skill of knitting.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much a beginner, but over Christmas, I hope that I am able to build my skills so that I am capable of making more than this:

Knitting has, however, reignited my love of crafting in general and one important part of street style fashion (i.e. creating your own style) is the concept of crafting as a whole.  Giving crafters the chance to create something so unique and the opportunity to then wear it and have it complimented upon is a wonderful way to boost someone’s confidence. There are so many crafty people out there, on lookbook and in fashion blogs, that the average person can’t help but feel left out. However, all crafters started somewhere and there are ways to give you that much needed starting point.

When I first became interested in machine sewing, this book helped me out a lot. I think I found it via an article in a newspaper and it sits at home lovingly on my shelf. I remember where I was when I bought it, that’s how big a part of my sewing it once was. Though it pains me to say (and it is still a good book), it’s probably just that slight bit dated now.

However, not to worry, because Eithne Farry has another book out. I checked it out (in Boots no less!) and it seems to contain plenty of new sewing inspiration. In fact, I’ll be going back to buy it in the next few days.

When I was on an adventure to Bath in September, I discovered this beauty. This is a book for a niche group of people. But it looks like a very interesting book, one I’d like to read.

For fabric fiends like me, Liberty has got to be one of my favourite shops for selling fabric. It’s just too bad that I can’t afford it. This book, however, is just a guilty pleasure!

And finally, once you develop a crafting addiction, then Mollie Makes magazine is going to be one you’ll love. Trust me! Three issues in and I already want a subscription for Christmas.

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Some inspiration for your weekend

Photo courtesy of Sewing Daisies on Flickr

The thing about street style is that it can be so varied. In my previous blog, I could spend hours trawling through various websites for fashion inspiration, but now that I’m usually working on this instead, I find that the time to look for inspiration is far less frequent than it used to be.

However, fashion blogs have always been a great source of inspiration to me and today I have gone back to my ways of old, searching the realms of the blogging world to bring you, my readers, fashion inspiration.

So, here are a few of the inspirational people I have found lately, all who are also amazing crafters, quite unlike my disastrous knitting attempt last week, more of which I’ll show you in the next post!

A long-time favourite blogger of mine is Wayward Daughter. Cait’s talent is a constant source of inspiration and her clothes make me drool with envy. Her photography is quite perfect too. Marking out a career as a designer, her clothes can be found here.

Gem Fatale was introduced to me via a friend. Every week, she creates her Tuesday tips, which are usually little things, such as painting stripes on your nails or sewing accessories without the use of needles. The great thing about Gem is that she takes the easy option to make things, which is perfect for the less ambitious of us. Here’s one of my personal favourites.

And finally there’s Rosie. Rosie makes delicate ornaments to wear on your fingers or around your neck. These rings and necklaces are exquisite and are everything the more girly of us could want. Her shop can be found here.

Each of these girls are very different, but no matter what your style is, you can be sure to want at least one of these items for Christmas. I know I do.

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Oxfam Boutique, Cardiff

The Oxfam sign, created out of records

Last night, I went to the Oxfam Boutique on St Mary’s Street, where I attended their weekly Stitch and Bitch event.  Although not many people turned up, I had a great time and even got to learn a new craft.  Last night’s event concentrated on knitting for beginners, which some people argue is an important skill at this time.

The purpose of going along to the event will be unveiled in my soon to be posted feature, but it’s a great way to contribute to society, whilst creating something that you can be proud of.  So, if you’re ever at a loose end on a Thursday night, head down to the Oxfam Boutique and pick up a new skill.