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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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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A trip to London

I spent last weekend in London, welcoming my brother back from a 12 week trip to Tanzania.

One place I always, always go to when I visit London is Liberty’s. The thing about Liberty’s is that I feel at home there and it’s so timeless inside that I can always imagine it through the ages.

Liberty’s always makes me feel at home

Some pretty plates on show at Liberty’s

Getting some crafting inspiration

Obviously, being the crafter that I am, I went straight to the fabric department. Unfortunately, I always find that you need a mortgage to shop there and, in the past, I’ve only bought small things like fabric covered buttons. But this time I was lucky enough to find a lovely piece of fabric, in the offcuts section.

This fabric offcut will make a lovely scarf

The fabric is a nice, long length and I think it’ll make a nice scarf. Plus, it only cost me about £6, so it’s really not an expensive project. Expect a DIY in the days to come, as I make this beauty into a wearable scarf.


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Easy DIYs: iPhone/iPod cover

Making a cover for your iPhone or iPod couldn’t be easier and can be done with any leftover remnants of fabric. The only thing you’ll need to make sure of is that it fits around your iPhone/iPod with enough room to allow for seams (it’s better to work with too much fabric rather than too little- if you’ve left too much fabric at the end you can always trim it). And, the great thing is that you can make as many of these as you like, so you can customise your iPhone/iPod to however you’re feeling.

What you’ll need:

-A fair amount of your chosen fabric (enough to cover and wrap around your iPhone/iPod, with at least an extra 2cm for seam allowance)

For the best results, measure the fabric against your iPhone or iPod. My fabric was 18.5cm by 14cm

-Sewing machine and thread (or thread and a needle if you want to make it by hand)

-Fabric scissors

-Ordinary scissors

-Pins

How to make:

1. Cut fabric to desired amount (I’d suggest you follow the above guidelines and measure against your iPhone/iPod. It’s also a good idea to keep measuring so that you know where you’re going with it)

It is easier to cut the fabric in half in order to sew

2. With the right sides of the fabric together, pin it in place and hem the tops of the fabric. Hemming can be done either by hand or by machine

Pinning fabric in place will help you keep the cover’s shape, but don’t pin too close to the top of the cover as it will need to be folded over and hemmed

3. Sew the sides and bottom of the cover in a straight stitch

Once you’ve sewn the rest of the cover, cut off any extra fabric and turn the right way around

4. Turn cover the right way around and voila, it’s made!

Voila, your iPhone/iPod cover is complete

When it’s finished you can decorate it how you like, perhaps by adding a strip of contrasting fabric

Additionally, you can add an envelope style opening to it if you want, by adding an extra two inches of fabric to the back of the cover at step one, folding it in and sewing. To fasten it you could sew a button to the front of your cover, create a buttonhole on the opening (I’d always recommend you do this by hand), or loop a piece of fabric to attach around the button. If that’s not your style, you could attach a clasp. There are many different kinds available at craft shops. Personally, I like mine the way it is, sans envelope style opening, as it makes it easier to reach in a hurry.


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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


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New projects

Since moving home at the end of June, I’ve had a long list of things that I’m planning to make. This is what I do when I have no other plans. I form lists of things to make and store them in my head.

Right now I’m dreaming of summer dresses, elastic skirts, book bags and bunting. So I thought I’d change this blog’s direction a bit. Although I want it to keep its fashion and vintage elements, it’ll now focus on craft a bit more and making things yourself. Hopefully, I’ll be able to include some easy DIYs to get you, the readers, started on your crafty journeys.

Street Style Wales has always been a slightly crafty blog- remember this, this and this– though I didn’t intend it to be when I started it. But I suppose that’s what happens when a little part of you seeps into your blog and, to be honest, I like it this way. It feels more like me.

So, here’s to new beginnings and the first of many DIYs starting tomorrow- the easy to make book bag.


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Crafty books: A good place to start

Having been to Stitch and Bitch for the past two weeks now, I am continuing to learn the new skill of knitting.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much a beginner, but over Christmas, I hope that I am able to build my skills so that I am capable of making more than this:

Knitting has, however, reignited my love of crafting in general and one important part of street style fashion (i.e. creating your own style) is the concept of crafting as a whole.  Giving crafters the chance to create something so unique and the opportunity to then wear it and have it complimented upon is a wonderful way to boost someone’s confidence. There are so many crafty people out there, on lookbook and in fashion blogs, that the average person can’t help but feel left out. However, all crafters started somewhere and there are ways to give you that much needed starting point.

When I first became interested in machine sewing, this book helped me out a lot. I think I found it via an article in a newspaper and it sits at home lovingly on my shelf. I remember where I was when I bought it, that’s how big a part of my sewing it once was. Though it pains me to say (and it is still a good book), it’s probably just that slight bit dated now.

However, not to worry, because Eithne Farry has another book out. I checked it out (in Boots no less!) and it seems to contain plenty of new sewing inspiration. In fact, I’ll be going back to buy it in the next few days.

When I was on an adventure to Bath in September, I discovered this beauty. This is a book for a niche group of people. But it looks like a very interesting book, one I’d like to read.

For fabric fiends like me, Liberty has got to be one of my favourite shops for selling fabric. It’s just too bad that I can’t afford it. This book, however, is just a guilty pleasure!

And finally, once you develop a crafting addiction, then Mollie Makes magazine is going to be one you’ll love. Trust me! Three issues in and I already want a subscription for Christmas.