Street Style Wales

Knitting, stitching, thrifting, crocheting


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Easy DIYs: Decorating jars

Ever wondered what to do with all those jam jars you seem to gather? Well, wonder no more, as I have a simple DIY for you.

Jam jars make perfect jewellery and accessory holders, as they are easy to get hold of and versatile. They’re also very easy to decorate and what better way to help the environment by giving an old jam jar a new life?

Disclaimer: I would strongly urge you NOT to use the jars as tea light holders, as open flames and fabric/paper do not mix!

What you’ll need:

-A recycled jam jar

-Some fabric or paper of your choice (this can either be cut into small strips to arrange vertically onto the jar or one long strip to attach diagonally)

-Sellotape

-A pair of scissors

What you’ll need

One of the easiest ways to decorate a jar is to glue paper or fabric to it and this is what I did. I chose to sellotape mine, but you can glue the paper or fabric if you want, using a strongish glue.

How to make:

Stick double sided tape to your jar, making sure that tape is attached all the way around the jar

Create your own double sided sellotape by sticking the ends of the tape together

Cut a long piece of fabric or paper that reaches around your jar and attach this to the tape, making sure it sticks neatly and is straight

Wrap the paper or fabric around the jar onto the double sided tape

Then adorn your jars with whatever accessories you like (I suggest putting buttons or spare change in them) and place them decoratively around your home

Pretty jars make decorative additions to your home

If you’d like to catch up with all my other DIYs, you can find them here.

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Drafting a pattern

Here’s a sneak preview of a dress pattern that I’m currently working on. I don’t usually follow patterns, as ever since I’ve been sewing, I’ve had a better idea of what I wanted to make in my head. This has caused some sewing disasters in the past though, so I quickly learnt to draft my own patterns using newspaper, which helps me to work out whether the pattern is too big or small. I much prefer working from my own patterns as I can make an item of clothing exactly to my preferences then.

I drew around the top half of a favourite dress to get the shape for my pattern

I’m not going to give you a tutorial on drafting your own patterns because, believe me, I’m nowhere near perfect when it comes to pattern drafting and I’m sure there are many tutorials out there which are far better at explaining it than I am.

But, the dress is coming along nicely and I’ll post about it when it’s ready.

 


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Easy DIYs: How to customise a pair of shorts

Have you ever bought something that isn’t quite to your taste but you haven’t wanted to waste it? So have I. A few months ago I bought a pair of shorts from a jumble sale, but when I brought them home, they weren’t exactly flattering.

This is how they used to look

Although they only cost me £1 and I could have used the fabric, as it was Laura Ashley, I really didn’t want to waste them. The shorts were so easy to customise that you could potentially do it while you’re asleep, so instead of giving you a tutorial, I’m just going to tell you what I did. I folded the shorts up, pinned them in place at the sides and sewed. That’s it! The only thing I’d advise you though, if you do this, is to try on the shorts when you fold or roll them up and pin them while you’re wearing them (but watch out for your legs), as it’ll help you to judge whether the sides are equal in length and how short you want to make them. I folded mine three times, but they are a long pair of shorts and I wanted them short, so it really depends on what your taste is.

An unflattering pair of shorts can be made into something wearable with a little craftiness

And here is the finished product

So, you see, it is as easy as pie and the shorts can be customised in a matter of minutes. I actually made mine this morning and wore them straightaway, spending the day relaxing in the sun and drinking copious amounts of ice cream soda.


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Easy DIYs: iPhone/iPod cover

Making a cover for your iPhone or iPod couldn’t be easier and can be done with any leftover remnants of fabric. The only thing you’ll need to make sure of is that it fits around your iPhone/iPod with enough room to allow for seams (it’s better to work with too much fabric rather than too little- if you’ve left too much fabric at the end you can always trim it). And, the great thing is that you can make as many of these as you like, so you can customise your iPhone/iPod to however you’re feeling.

What you’ll need:

-A fair amount of your chosen fabric (enough to cover and wrap around your iPhone/iPod, with at least an extra 2cm for seam allowance)

For the best results, measure the fabric against your iPhone or iPod. My fabric was 18.5cm by 14cm

-Sewing machine and thread (or thread and a needle if you want to make it by hand)

-Fabric scissors

-Ordinary scissors

-Pins

How to make:

1. Cut fabric to desired amount (I’d suggest you follow the above guidelines and measure against your iPhone/iPod. It’s also a good idea to keep measuring so that you know where you’re going with it)

It is easier to cut the fabric in half in order to sew

2. With the right sides of the fabric together, pin it in place and hem the tops of the fabric. Hemming can be done either by hand or by machine

Pinning fabric in place will help you keep the cover’s shape, but don’t pin too close to the top of the cover as it will need to be folded over and hemmed

3. Sew the sides and bottom of the cover in a straight stitch

Once you’ve sewn the rest of the cover, cut off any extra fabric and turn the right way around

4. Turn cover the right way around and voila, it’s made!

Voila, your iPhone/iPod cover is complete

When it’s finished you can decorate it how you like, perhaps by adding a strip of contrasting fabric

Additionally, you can add an envelope style opening to it if you want, by adding an extra two inches of fabric to the back of the cover at step one, folding it in and sewing. To fasten it you could sew a button to the front of your cover, create a buttonhole on the opening (I’d always recommend you do this by hand), or loop a piece of fabric to attach around the button. If that’s not your style, you could attach a clasp. There are many different kinds available at craft shops. Personally, I like mine the way it is, sans envelope style opening, as it makes it easier to reach in a hurry.


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Crafting ideas: Where to buy fabric

Any newbie crafters out there might be surprised when they find out that the price of fabric from department stores can often be quite pricey. I know I once was. But there are cheaper ways to source your fabric, so for anyone looking for a bargain, here’s my pick of the best places to buy fabric.

1. Number one: Jumble sales/vintage fairs

I’ve often found a great bargain at one of these fairs and, if you look hard enough, so will you. The key is not to go to a fair specifically to buy fabric, but when going along anyway, have a look and you might just be surprised. They may not be a great length, but these kinds of fabrics (offcuts, usually) will do for making homemade bunting and to jazz up existing clothes. Once I even managed to pick up enough fabric offcuts to make a skirt.

The offcuts of a fabric I once found at a vintage fair

2. Number two: Charity shops

Fabric from charity shops isn’t usually dressed up as fabric, so here’s where you can get creative. Any charity shop will do, as most of them sell some ok-ish stuff in the forms of old curtains, bedsheets and pillowcases. Don’t look at them like curtains, sheets or pillowcases, but as potential fabric. For example, an old curtain will make an ideal winter skirt or dress (the extra weight will keep you warm in winter), a sheet gives you enough fabric to make a summer dress and a pillowcase can easily make an A-line skirt.

Incidentally, charity shops are also an ideal place to pick up extras, such as buttons, either on their own (just ask if you don’t see any), or on old, affordable granny cardigans and the like. Seriously, £1.49 for a cardi with some amazing buttons is a bargain!

3. Number three: Ebay

This was where I first ventured when looking for cheaper fabrics and I still manage to find some great bargains now. When I first discovered Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley fabrics, for example, I scoured Ebay for them and found some older stuff for a lot less than in the shops. Ebay shops offer the best selection and one of my absolute favourites (and one I’ve been using for years) is this one. One thing to remember is that if you’re planning on using a lot of fabric, then it might be worthwhile buying a roll. Although it can be expensive, in the long run it actually works out a lot cheaper per metre and you can get some great quality fabric if you look in the right places. For example, I once bought a roll of old Liberty fabric for a steal!

A roll of Liberty fabric I once bought on Ebay


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Crafting tunes

With all this spare time on my hands lately, I’ve been listening to lots of music and dreaming up loads of crafty ideas for all that fabric I bought during my time in Cardiff. Personally, I prefer music that’s a little gentler for sewing and crafting and I’ve been listening to a lot of She & Him lately. Here’s one to inspire you, as found via Ashleyyy85’s Youtube:


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Easy DIYs: A simple book bag

A book bag I made quite a while ago

Book bags are handy, versatile and easy to carry. They can be used in any circumstance and even stuffed into the bottom of another bag for any spontaneous shopping activities.

They are very easy to make as well. In fact, I don’t think making one requires any real skill or technical aptitude, so they’re the perfect DIY for any new crafters.

What you’ll need:

-Enough fabric to cover and wrap around a large magazine in a pattern of your choice, plus extra to make straps (It really doesn’t matter how large you want the bag. It can be tailored exactly to your preferences. Mine was 30cm in width and 36cm in length, so I started with a piece of fabric 64cm wide and 40cm long. Straps can also be as long or as short as you want, but I’d suggest they are at least 4cm wide)

-Sewing machine and thread (or thread and a needle if you want to make it by hand)

-Fabric scissors

-Ordinary scissors

-Pins

How to make:

1. Cut fabric to desired amount (you may want to measure against a magazine for the perfect length and width)

2. With the right sides of the fabric together, pin the bag in place around the edges, but leave the top of the bag open. When that is done, fold over the tops of the two sides of fabric and pin in place, ready to hem

3. Hem the top of the bag. This can be done either by hand or by machine

4. Sew the sides and bottom of the bag in a straight stitch

5. Take the fabric you’ve set aside for the straps. Fold in and pin each side by about a cm so that they will not fray. Sew to hold in place

6. Sew straps onto bag a couple of inches away from the edges of the bag. The straps need to be quite sturdy, so sew diagonally and make a cross pattern

7. Turn bag the right way around and admire your handiwork

Book bags are easy to make and can be made with a variety of fabrics