Street Style Wales

Knitting, stitching, thrifting, crocheting


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Strawberry Thief Liberty Emery dress

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I haven’t done any sewing for a few weeks now, what with being in London for work and all, but I did make this beautiful (if I do say so myself) dress before I went. I don’t really know what to say about this dress, except that it’s another Emery pattern, in a Liberty Strawberry Thief print. I really love my Liberty print!

Despite making quite a few of these dresses now, this Emery still turned out differently, even though I followed the same instructions. I’m not sure whether I was a little bit tighter with the seam allowances but this one was bigger in the waist and bodice than any of my previous attempts. Hmmmm.

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I’m also a massive fan of the length of the Emery dress, but the last one was just a little bit too long. So I shortened this one quite a bit and now the length is perfect for me.

I loved working with the Strawberry Thief fabric and I loved that it had quite a straight print as it made me really take notice of how I cut it and of making each part match up. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

The only thing that’s slightly annoying me is that I made a facing for the neckline. Although I love facings generally, this one seems a bit bulky in the front and needs pressing down. My initial plan for this dress was to make matching bias binding for the neckline and arms, but I cut out the facing before remembering my plan and didn’t really want the beautiful fabric to go to waste. I think, in the future, I may take it out and try the bias binding option.

Like the other Liberty fabric, this one too is very thin but I’m sure I’ll get a lot of wear out of this dress. Plus, it’s Strawberry Thief! Who doesn’t like birds picking fruit from a tree on their clothes?

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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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How to find sewing tutorials online

IMG_1733You all know how much I love to sew, right? I think, at my speediest, I’ve been able to draft and sew most of a dress in a day. But it wasn’t always that easy for me and I still feel that there are plenty of better skilled people out there.

When I first started out (and when I want to make something now but am out of ideas), I often looked online for ideas and easy tutorials. This is a great place to start if you’re new at sewing and websites are great places for picking up tips on how to make a circle skirt, or starting a dress. These patterns are often quite easy and, therefore, manageable for the novice and more experienced crafters amongst you and so I’ve compiled a list below of the best (in my opinion) places on the internet to find tutorials. You can thank me later!

Craftster:

I’m going to start with the one website I turned to when I was first getting into sewing and wanted to try everything, which was Craftster. Creations are sorted into categories, ranging from clothing and sewing in general to crafty business advice. Although you have to be a member to post or comment on other people’s work, it’s handy to sign up to the site and I’d highly recommend it, if only for the tips and tricks posted there.

Burdastyle:

Although you have to pay for some of the patterns on Burdastyle, the website does once again enable its members to post their own projects and versions of the paid-for patterns. Burdastyle is probably a better website than Craftster if you’re looking for professional patterns, but both are equally good if you don’t mind searching through the archives for a handmade gem or unusual project. Burdastyle is also perfect for those of you who are ethically minded, with the option to print at home onto PDF.

Blogs:

This suggestion is a lot more generalised than the above, as I couldn’t possibly choose between different sewing blogs, as there are so many and I just wouldn’t know where to start. Sewing and craft blogs are always great places to find easy tutorials and patterns and with such a vast selection, there’s always something for everyone. Some personal favourites of mine are Tilly and the Buttons, Casey Brown Designs and So, Zo…, but you can often find a tutorial or pattern just by googling ‘How to make an A line skirt’ (or whatever you like!). And remember, all these sewing bloggers started off as beginners too.

Youtube:

Finally, there’s Youtube. The video sharing site is perfect for anyone looking for the basics of sewing, the more intricate techniques and for tutorials, such as this one that I’ve been wanting to make for years. Videos are also better at showing exactly how things should be done, so if you’re ever in doubt, head to Youtube.

I hope that’s helped any of you wanting some inspiration at the moment. I know I often need it. If you feel I haven’t mentioned some other places where you can find tutorials, then please share in the comments. Thanks!


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Review of The Knitting Book

IMG_1307I received this book for Christmas and it has literally changed my life. I would describe it as a knitting bible for both beginners and experienced knitters as it teaches things from different stitches to embellishing your knitting. It even has a section dedicated purely to patterns, some of which are quite easy to do.

I don’t usually post reviews of craft books, as I tend to make up my own rules about crafting (I’m more of a visual learner rather than someone who learns from a book and thus I don’t follow patterns very easily), but even I can follow this book. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s up there with the only other craft book I own, Eithne Farry’s Yeah, I made it myself (aka the book that got me really interested in sewing in 2007).

The Knitting Book includes visual examples of knitting techniques

The Knitting Book includes visual examples of knitting techniques

The book, edited by Vikki Haffenden and Frederica Patmore, is divided into sections which range from ‘tools and materials’ to ‘techniques’. The crafter in me loved the visual gallery of different stitches, as this allowed me to decide on a stitch without having to knit it first to see what it looked like.

The book also includes patterns to follow once you have mastered knitting, such as this one above

The book also includes patterns to follow once you have mastered knitting, such as this one above

It includes many pictures to compare with your own knitting and explains the basic and more advanced techniques of knitting in an easy to understand way. I’ve already been recommending it to all my crafty friends and can’t wait to learn some new stitches.

The Knitting Book is available here for £16.00.


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Easy DIYs: Making friendship bracelets

This is what I’ve been making lately.

Isn’t it odd how making friendship bracelets can really remind you of being young? Many hours of my teenage years were spent making piles of bracelets to wear under my shirt at school, or as presents for best friends.

Rather than giving you a DIY today, I’m simply going to direct you over to Honestly…WTF’s blog where you can be reminded of how to make friendship bracelets once again.

And, if you’re feeling extra crafty, here’s a second tutorial on how to embellish friendship bracelets.


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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