Street Style Wales

Knitting, stitching, thrifting, crocheting


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Made by Hand craft fair 2014: Part two

IMG_1900If you haven’t caught up with yesterday’s Made by Hand post, please click here.

As I mentioned yesterday, there were some great designers and products at the Made by Hand craft fair. So much so, in fact, that I’ve decided that the fair warrants two posts.

I’m often drawn to colours and quirky designs, so I was glad to see plenty of products that fitted the bill at the fair. This time I’ve featured my favourite jewellery, ceramics, prints and embroidery. Have a read about each artist and click onto their sites if you’d like to know more.

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Ellymental lives and works in Cardiff where she sells jewellery pieces inspired by animals and collage. Her work is stocked in shops and galleries across the UK and it’s easy to see why. Each piece is lovingly made and whimsical. You can buy her work on her website or her Folksy shop and you can follow her on Twitter here.

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Bryony Stanford is based in Shropshire and graduated from Birmingham’s School of Jewellery with a BA (Hons) degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing. Her work, such as the animal pins featured above, often features the relationship between construction and deconstruction and she uses different textures and finishes to make each piece unique. You can find her on Twitter or Facebook and she also sells on Not on the High Street.IMG_1865

What I particularly loved about Esther Connon’s work is that she creates children’s books from her beautiful drawings. Esther works from a studio on the north coast of Cornwall which actually happens to be her old grammar school. She has always had a passion for storytelling but uses minimal or no text, instead using her drawings to tell the story. You can find out more here.

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I’ve encountered Alice Shields’s work before, last year. The ceramicist’s products are inspired by the outside as well as the eccentricities of British style and she creates beautiful pieces for the house, the garden or for adorning clothes. Each piece is handmade and you can follow her adventures here or here.

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Becky Crow’s wonderful silver jewellery is definitely something to put on the Christmas wishlist. Becky uses sheet silver and copper to create her unique pieces and works from a studio in Brighton. Her work features images of nature and people and you can find out more about the pieces on her website.

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I just loved the colours of Megan Alice England’s hand printed textiles. Megan creates each piece from scratch, designing, printing and sewing from her studio in Cheltenham. You can buy her work on Etsy and Not on the High Street and follow her on Twitter here.

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Creator of Boop Design, Laura Pearcey, uses stories from her childhood to inspire her ceramics and jewellery. I particularly loved Laura’s bottles, like the ones shown in the above photo, for their individuality and sweet floral and button designs. You can find more of Laura’s work via her Facebook or Twitter.

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And finally, I somehow managed to miss By Kirsty on my first trip around, but I’m so glad I went back for a second look as I ended up buying one of the wooden alphabet brooches from here. Designer Kirsty Patrick specialises in wood and acrylic and also has a shop based in the Cardiff arcades (one of my favourite places) selling homeware by British designers. You can find out more here or here.


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Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair, Cardiff

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It’s been a while since I’ve been back to Cardiff (apart from trains passing through), but last weekend I went back to attend Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair.

Cardiff is a great place for vintage hunting and the city has certainly missed a regular vintage event since the Blind Lemon and Rose Tinted fairs ceased. The event was held in City Hall and there was an entrance fee to attend, but there was a good selection of clothing and accessories on offer, and the space was big enough to accommodate quite a few stalls.

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Tartan dresses made from reclaimed fabrics, on sale at the vintage fair

The fair seemed to have a number of on-trend vintage items: tartan dresses, leather bags and tweed jackets; and there were even little extras such as a pop-up parlour for anyone wanting a makeover. There was a mixture of old and new items, and even dresses made from reclaimed fabrics.

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Sadly, I didn’t buy anything as I didn’t really see anything I wanted, although there were some great dresses and skirts on offer. Some of the prices of the clothes did seem a little steep though. The dress above, which was handmade from a thin fabric, cost £75. In my opinion, this was far too expensive for what it was, although I really loved the print. Not all of the stalls had such high prices, but this particular stall seemed to be marking up their clothes a bit too much. Considering that you can buy vintage much easier than you used to be able to, these prices seemed wrong to me, especially for a dress that was made by hand and (I’m assuming) not to sell. I find that so sad.

What about you? Do you think vintage is overrated these days? Is it too expensive? Let me know in the comments.


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Buffalo boutique

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Yesterday, I ventured out to Cardiff’s own Buffalo boutique, a vintage fair held on the last monday of every month, in Buffalo, on Windsor Place.

The fair did not disappoint and, as always, I loved every minute. The organisers did a great job, combining handmade items with the preloved and there were many different stalls selling things ranging from clothes to jewellery and even cards.

The fair was held upstairs in Buffalo, and the bar atmosphere certainly made it seem like a great place to spend some time. And with an exclusive catwalk show, what better way to spend some money than by giving money to some independent designers and clothes sellers?

And with the demise of the Rose Tinted Vintage fairs last year, I was happy to hear that Cardiff once again had an affordable monthly vintage fair, which I am sure will be just as popular as its predecessor.

The next fair will be held on the 25th March and more information can be found on the event’s Facebook page here.

Anyway, onto the purchases. There were plenty of things I could have bought, including a blouse that I also fell in love with, lovingly handmade by the seller’s grandmother, but as I was on a budget, I set myself a limit and, as a result, I only bought one thing, this skirt.

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Bargains can often be found at vintage fairs

The skirt is quite a small fit, but I am already imagining myself styling it up in the summer with some brogues and a simple white tee. And, like with all the clothes I buy, I am so excited to wear it.


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New market for Cardiff

A new vintage market selling clothes and crafts will open in Cardiff this weekend.

The market will launch outside the indoor market, on St Mary’s Street, tomorrow and will sell vintage clothing, arts and crafts, homeware and even garden items.

It has been set up with support from the RCMA and there will be performances to celebrate its launch this weekend.

The weekly market will run from 11am until 5pm on a Saturday.

A link to the original article, via Wales Online, can be found here.


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Jumble sale at Milgi’s

Every month, Milgi’s host a £1 jumble sale in the warehouse behind their restaurant. Last Sunday, I went along for a browse.

Milgi’s is a wonderful place and I felt completely at home as soon as I got there. I’m ashamed to say that, in ten months of living in Cardiff, I had never been, so of course I was eager to go. I wasn’t disappointed either. My friend told me that their milkshakes were to die for and my banana one certainly lived up to expectations.

But anyway, back to the clothes. A jumble sale is a perfect way to grab some bargains and at Milgi’s, everything was a pound. As you can imagine, a sale where everything is that cheap certainly brought in the punters and the small space soon packed out.

For anyone planning on going to the next one, I’d advise you get there early, for the above reason and to grab yourself the best items.

I came away with a Topshop cardigan (in very good condition), a top (which was only slightly too big) and two bags of fabric offcuts, for only £1.50.

All for the very reasonable sum of £3.50.

Information on the next event can be found on their website.


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Ty Hafan clothes swap

If you’re in or around Cardiff on the 6th June and looking for a welcome distraction from exam stress (or is that just me?), then you might want to head down to Le Monde (61 St Mary Street) for a clothes swap.

The only deal is that you bring along three items of clothing, shoes or accessories and you can then swap them with another three items. Entry tickets cost £5 and all money raised will go to the three Welsh peaks challenge, who are raising money for Ty Hafan. The challenge hopes to raise £2,400 so clear out your wardrobe and get swapping.

More information can be found here.


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Rose Tinted Vintage

If you’re in or around Cardiff today, then head to the Woodville pub. The last Rose Tinted vintage fair is happening from 3 until 6pm. The girls who run it are passionate about raising money and cheap vintage clothing and they’re promising that, this time, their fair will be bigger and better than previous fairs.
I hope to see you there!


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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!


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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.


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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: