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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The dream Ruby dress

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This dress, the Simple Sew Ruby dress, was a dream to make. It only took a few hours to sew up and, like my previous experience of Simple Sew patterns, the instructions were really easy to follow.

This dress was actually a freebie with Love Sewing magazine but it’s such a great make that the magazine rereleased the pattern a few months ago. I got mine on its original run but stashed it away for a future make. Recently I found some fabric I didn’t have a use for and, on a break from another sewing project, I decided to make it.

I’m glad I did as I really love the shape of the dress and it has a great circle skirt. One major thing I’d change (and should have done differently this time but I didn’t have enough fabric) is lengthen the skirt considerably. I really don’t like the dress length at all and even in the drawings it appears to be short. I think that’s even why I didn’t use the dress pattern straightaway. Looking at these photos I think next time I’ll also lengthen the bodice. I wonder whether other people have felt the need to lengthen the pattern?

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I’m definitely planning to make more Rubies, especially as they’re perfect for the hot weather that we’ve been having lately! I guess next time I’ll order far more fabric to be able to make these changes.


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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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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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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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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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A pinch of mustard: a completed elastic skirt

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A little while ago I picked up some remnants of a silky type fabric from a local craft shop for £2.00. Immediately I fell in love with the fabric, which was a lovely mustard yellow colour and I had lots of ideas of what I could make out of it. I wanted to make a skirt, but I also dreamt of using the leftovers to make a large, drapey scarf. Unfortunately, there wasn’t that much of the fabric (and none left in the shop) and so I had to settle for making only one thing – the skirt.

I followed my own really easy tutorial and completed it pretty quickly. As I wanted quite a full skirt, the amount of fabric I had (I think it was about 1 1/2 – 2 metres) was perfect and the silky texture gave  it a nice drape. I would have liked to have made the scarf too, but if I ever get bored of the skirt, I’ll just unpick it and sew the scarf.

Have you ever grabbed any bargain fabric? I’d love to know what you bought. Let me know in the comments.

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The skirt goes really well with navy blues

 


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Easy DIYs: Ombré bunting necklace

IMG_4768A bunting necklace is a perfect last-minute gift for your Mum this Mother’s Day. The project is easy and doesn’t take too much time. As long as you have what you need, you could probably whip it up in an evening.

What you’ll need:

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Sample paint cards (in any colours you choose)

Thick black or white thread

Jump rings

Pliers

Scissors

Scrap paper

A pin

To make:

1. Cut out a triangle shaped template using your scrap paper. Use this to cut equal triangle shapes from each of the paint colours.

Paint cards make perfect ombré necklaces and are easy to find

Paint cards make perfect ombré necklaces and are easy to find

2. Lay your triangles out as you wish. Take the pin and make a small hole in the two top corners of each triangle (be very careful when you do this – I found it easier to lay the triangles flat on a piece of paper while doing this).

It's a good idea to work out where you want your triangles to sit before attaching the jump rings

It’s a good idea to work out where you want your triangles to sit before attaching the jump rings

3. Open the jump rings with your pliers and attach one through the left hole of the first triangle and the right hole of the last triangle.

4. Attach the jump rings to the other triangle corners, making sure that each ring goes in front to back and connects two of the triangles.

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5. Once they’ve all been connected, measure the thread against your neck. Cut out two equal pieces that will attach to the jump rings at the end and tie up behind your neck.

6. Tie each thread to the end jump rings and tie to your neck. Ideally, you’ll need to tie a tight enough knot that the necklace doesn’t fall off, but loose enough so that you’ll be able to undo it.

There are plenty of variations on this necklace. You could pick up a few different coloured paint cards and make a colourful necklace, or cut different squares and attach jump rings vertically, like below.

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If you’ve liked this post, please make sure to comment and follow. I also have a Facebook page here, if you want to keep up to date with me there.

More easy DIYs can be found here.

 


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Easy DIYs: Lengthening a dress

IMG_1780Remember this post? Well, I finally got around to lengthening the first dress and I thought that this would also make the perfect Easy DIY feature. It was pretty simple to do and didn’t require much effort, so if you have an abnormal amount of too short dresses, or just one that you’d like to lengthen, then here’s your chance. Let’s get started!

What you’ll need:

IMG_1777-The dress you’d like to lengthen

-Another dress or fabric to lengthen with

-A tape measure

-Fabric scissors

-Pins

-A stitch unpicker

-And, of course, either a sewing machine or a needle and thread

The method:

1. Unpick the hem of the dress you want to lengthen

2. Decide on the length you want your dress to be. It may be helpful to measure it against another dress which you wear often and you know is a good length. Note the extra length down

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3. Measure the width of the first dress (at the hem) while it is flat. Make sure there are no kinks in the fabric when you do this though, as it’ll affect the alterations. I found it easier to do the front and back separately, which gave me different measures

I used a teal dress instead of fabric as I found that the colour matched almost perfectly to my altered dress

I used a teal dress instead of fabric as I found that the colour matched almost perfectly to my altered dress

4. Cut out your fabric (or second dress, in my case) according to the measures you have taken. Look at the original seams of the dress and try to follow suit. For mine I cut out two back pieces and one long front piece. Remember to add an extra inch or so for seam allowances on the side and hemming on the bottom

If your fabric has a slight stretch to it it may help to cut out a template from a piece of newspaper first

If your fabric has a slight stretch to it it may help to cut out a template from a piece of newspaper first

5. Pin the pieces of fabric to the dress (right sides together), turn over and check that you’re happy with it

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6. Sew the fabric to the dress

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7. Once this is done, and you’re happy with how it looks, sew the sides together, creating a seam. Make sure you follow the line of the original seam and, if you find it easier, unpick a few stitches of the original seam to help you

8. All that’s left to do now is to hem the dress and try it on

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Et voila! A dress that was once almost indecent has been converted into a wearable garment once again.


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Easy DIYs: A simple photo holder

ImageI have a lot of Instax photos and I’m always looking for ways to store them. Usually I stick them to my wall, but there’s only so much wall space that you can attach photos to without it looking a bit weird. So, without further ado, here’s my solution: the simple photo holder.

It’s a really easy project and only took me a couple of minutes, so it’s perfect for that last minute gift you’ve forgotten to give your friend. You can use paper or fabric for the background and string or ribbon for the photos. I used some raffia because I had it lying around and I’m not one for waste, but I probably wouldn’t use it again, as string or a very thick cotton would have worked better. Ah well, I live and learn.

It’s not the best tutorial, but it is an easy one to do, so if you’re like me and are always losing photos because there’s nowhere for them to go, then why not give it a try.

All the details are in the video below: