Street Style Wales

Knitting, stitching, thrifting, crocheting


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By Hand London hack: Turning the Anna dress into a skirt

DSC_0797 editedYou all know by now how much I love the By Hand London sewing patterns. The Anna dress is a firm favourite, with its beautiful A line skirt. Having made quite a lot of dresses lately, I thought it was about time I mixed it up and made something different. I really love the shorter skirt from the Anna dress and it’s a great length for wearing to work, so I thought, why not make it into a skirt of its own?

I was lucky enough to be given some fabric remnants from the sewing editor at work and managed to cut out the skirt pattern using pretty much all of the fabric (I had to be quite crafty with my cutting skills). I altered the waistline and added in a shorter zip and here you have it, one Anna skirt.

I followed my normal size but somehow the skirt ended up being far too big, so I had to bring it in quite a bit. The length is great and I really love the print so overall it’s a really lovely skirt to wear, but next time I’ll definitely be a bit wiser when cutting the strips and measure my waistline correctly.


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Currently lusting after

Ahh, Pinterest! The bane of my life crafter’s best friend!

I thought it would be nice to include an occasional round-up of what I’d like to make, considering Pinterest plays a huge part in inspiring my sewing choices. So here’s the first one. There’s definitely a theme going on too by the way. This summer heatwave has got me dreaming of exposing as much skin in my makes as is morally possible.

All credit goes to the original websites. The images were found on Pinterest. Click the pics for the links!

Backless dresses

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I just love the colour of this dress and the sweet circle skirt. This one is hopefully in the planning already.

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This one is really nice too. I love the lilac colour and the bow is a little less obvious than in the first dress so is more wearable.

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A deep v-neck back will always make my heart a-flutter and I adore Republique du Chiffon‘s patterns already. This one’s definitely a winner!

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A special mention goes out to the above which isn’t a backless dress, but is very wearable during the summer. And I adore the picnic blanket feel of the dress overall.

Loose fitting garments

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I’ve grouped these together as I can imagine making an amalgamation of the three. I really like the buttons on the first one, the pockets of the second and the colour of the third, but they’re all great loose-fitting dresses.

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The floral print, the gathered skirt and the straps all make this a lovely dress. I also love the longer skirt and will be replicating this (in a floral cotton obvs) soon, complete with a midi skirt I think.

Open-back tops

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An open back blouse is the perfect casual wear in this hot weather and this one would be great made up in a lighter colour.

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I love this tiny pocket tank pattern hack, especially with its beautiful back detail. I think this would work really well in a floral print.

What do you think? Have any of these inspired you too?


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New pattern from By Hand London

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Independent sewing company By Hand London has released a new pattern. Inspired by their friend Zeena Shah, the BHL girls have created the Zeena dress, with its full skirt and pretty kimono sleeves.

Zeena comes in a short or long length and has a box pleated skirt and hidden side seam pockets. The great thing about the dress is that it’s a quick make and the girls say it is their easiest and fastest sewing pattern to date.

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So far there’s only a few examples online; one from Ooobop and another from Fiona, whose checked version is lovely. I’m excited to see more versions popping up over the next few weeks though. Especially as it can be downloaded straightaway.

The Zeena dress can be purchased and downloaded here.

Are you planning on making a Zeena dress? What do you think of it? I’d love to know!

 

All images are courtesy of By Hand London

 


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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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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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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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In honour of Anna

I’m currently sewing up my first Anna dress for White Tree Fabrics. It’s not a style I particularly wanted to make when it first came out to be honest (I always preferred the Elisalex), but the pattern has definitely grown on me and I’m excited to sew it up now. I have some lovely Tilda fabric* and I plan on making the shorter version. Perhaps I’ll even make the maxi version for the summer.

The Anna dress has recently moved up my to-do list, purely because I’ve seen a few really great versions online lately (most recently Roisin’s version). So, having taken to Pinterest, I’ve chosen a few, really inspiring, Anna’s. Maybe they’ll even inspire you too. Please click through for links to the original pins and blog posts. All images are courtesy of the bloggers, of course.

1. Anna from Paunnet‘s beautiful navy blue Anna dress

Anna's beautiful Anna dress

2. This lovely graphic print maxi version

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3. Jenny’s two-tone Anna dressdb0f2fd3fe28a4b8196ea7787a724b98

4. And finally, Roisin‘s floral number

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I’d love to see more of your Anna dresses, so send links this way please. In the meantime I’ll let you know how I get on with mine.

*Given to me by White Tree Fabrics as part of their blog team