Street Style Wales

Knitting, stitching, thrifting, crocheting


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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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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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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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Wednesday wishlist: Summer prints from Seasalt

It’s been a while since I did one of these, hasn’t it? Not to worry though. This week I’ve been on a hunt for summer clothes and I found myself on the Seasalt website, thanks to longtime fave dressmaker Isabel Knowles. Seasalt is a brand local to Cornwall and was started in Penzance, where there’s still a shop, in 1981. Many of the Seasalt garments are certified organic by the Soil Association and there is even a range of locally made products too. I love discovering brands that really care about the ethos of their company and I’m sure that I’ll be buying a lot from Seasalt in the future.

Trenython jumper, £55, Seasalt

Trenython jumper, £55, Seasalt

Starting with the Trenython jumper, at £55 this one is a little pricey for any old top but has the cutest little boat print on it. Who doesn’t love boats on their clothes? Not me, that’s for sure. This one is perfect for covering up after a day at the beach or for those chillier evening walks. Channelling the Cornish coast, this top will be making its way to my basket shortly.

Rosina dress, £65, Seasalt

Rosina dress, £65, Seasalt

Stripes ahoy for my next pick, the Rosina dress. I’m reminded a little of Cath Kidston, in both colour and style, with this dress and I love the strong print too. Plus, stripes are my staple pattern of choice at the moment. I can imagine wearing this dress to all those summer parties I’ll be invited to (yeah right!).

Lookout crops, £55, Seasalt

Lookout crops, £55, Seasalt

Lastly, these Lookout crops come in two colours, but this vibrant floral print is the best by far. Team with a white tee for the ultimate outfit to relax by the beach in. Add in a pair of white converse, and the trousers will give a pop of colour to any outfit.

Have you ever bought anything from Seasalt before? Are you a fan of their ethos? I’ll definitely be buying from the brand soon.


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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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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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Thrifting

I’ve mentioned before about how useful charity shops are for sourcing fabric and cheap clothing. Today I went on a fashion binge in one of my local shops. I hadn’t been for ages, so it was a nice treat for my meagre budget and I ended up buying quite a lot for a small amount of money.

Firstly, I bought two vintage floral pillowcases, in different patterns. Together, these were only £1 and I’m planning to make elastic skirts out of them. Once I’ve made one, I’ll put the DIY on the blog.

The pillowcases that I picked up for £1

I also bought a very nice purple stripy top, originally from H&M, a yellow floral Dorothy Perkins skirt that I’ve been wanting for ages and a Peter Pan collared polka dot dress.

This stripy top was originally from H&M

The Dorothy Perkins skirt

The Peter Pan collared dress I bought from a charity shop

Unfortunately, as is often the case when buying things from charity shops, the skirt is too big. But you have to take the bad with the good and I’ll probably just sell it on eBay or use the fabric to make something small.