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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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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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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A dress that Pinterest inspired



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If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember I posted about a quirky rabbit print fabric a while ago that I didn’t know what to do with.

The pin that started it all

The pin that started it all

After scouring my DIYs and Crafts Pinterest board, I remembered a tutorial I’d pinned ages ago for a V neck dress. The tutorial was for a maxi dress, but I don’t wear maxi dresses that often, so I shortened it quite easily. The whole tutorial was pretty self-explanatory and called for four rectangular pieces of fabric according to your measurements. Sounds easy, right?

I did have to make some adjustments, mainly to the arms and top, as otherwise the dress would have swamped me (it still needs a belt to give it some shape otherwise it kind of looks like a tent). I brought the arms in a bit, so the dress would have less of a cap sleeve look and brought the top in quite a bit too, but all in all, I really love this dress. It’s so versatile and has a nice drape thanks to the viscose fabric. I also love the V neck shape. And best of all, I can slip it over my head so no need for a pesky zip. Yay!

Anyone else use Pinterest tutorials for ideas? I’d love some more inspiration!

Also, sidenote: the belt was given to me by my Dad who wore it as a 13 year old!!

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Roses are… purple

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This Emery kind of reminds me of a 50s dress. I know that’s the look the Emery is going for anyway, but the fabric is very 50s inspired and seems to suit the pattern well. I initially picked it up as I loved the purple roses on a white background and thought it would make a great summery dress. There are also touches of green around the roses too, which I love.

The great thing about this fabric is that it is great for hiding a few errors. I need to redo the neckline at some point and hem it (I hate hemming!), but I may keep this version longer than the other Emeries I’ve made. What do you think?

I didn’t really love working with this fabric but I think that is because I used Liberty tana lawn for the previous Emery I made and that’s a dream to work with.

This one will probably stay in my ‘to finish’ pile for a little while while I work my way through the other sewing projects I have to do and I’ll hem it on a rainy afternoon sometime.
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A blue floral Emery dress

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I feel like my sewing style is very samey at the moment, but to be perfectly honest, I’m enjoying making fit and flare dresses and tops, as that is what I wear most of the time anyway. Therefore it makes sense to me to add them to my wardrobe. There are definitely more Emeries to come soon too. However, that’s not to say that there isn’t anything different in the making either. I’m currently planning a Francoise and another pair of trousers soon. And that’s after the next few dresses I have to post about.

This Emery is the wearable toile I made in preparation for my friend’s wedding and the first Emery I ever made (I’ve made three more since then). I used the same fabric as one of my peplum tops: a really lovely fabric from Ebay with a slight stretch.

I’ve mentioned my love for the Emery before, but I just find this style so easy to wear and it’s really classic. I have actually passed this version on to my Mum as she loved the fabric more than I did and loves wearing bright colours. So yep, more Emeries to come. Please stick with me for a while.


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An Emery for a wedding

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Anyone who is anyone in the sewing world has attempted an Emery, haven’t they? Yep, it’s one of those classic dresses that everyone goes mad for and I, of course, lag way behind (like I do with 90s TV shows too by the way – so at least there’s a pattern).

Anyway, the story behind this dress is that my good friend Phoebe got married last month and I decided to set myself the challenge of making myself a dress with only about a week to spare (great planning there!). I didn’t want to use any of my tried and tested dress patterns and I knew I wanted to use a Liberty fabric, so enter months of debating over which pattern to use and telling everyone I knew about my plan to make a dress, and I had finally decided on the Emery.

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In the end I think I had about four days to cut and trace the pattern, make the muslin and sew the final version. But I managed it and the dress is a firm favourite now. I think the Emery, although suitable for a wedding, is also wearable in a casual way. I’ve been adding a cardigan and flats and wearing it that way ever since.

The fabric is Liberty’s Tatum, which I pored over during my last visit to London but ended up buying online in the end. It is quite thin and creases a bit, but is a really good quality tana lawn. I love the colourway as it is summery, floral and perfect for a wedding, but I’m definitely tempted by this colourway too.

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I now know why everyone raves about the Emery. It’s such a lovely pattern to work with and so versatile too. I’m longing to try out the longer sleeved version ready for the autumn and I already have plans for more Emeries.

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I bought my Emery pattern at The Village Haberdashery and my Liberty fabric at Shaukat.


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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!