Street Style Wales

Knitting, stitching, thrifting, crocheting


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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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Vintage hunting: You win some, you lose some

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The other day, I was up visiting my Grandmother and I took some time to look through her nearest charity shops. I find it very exciting to discover new charity shops, as they could, quite literally, sell anything. I hadn’t actually planned on spending any money, so I left the Topshop dress and top I wanted, in favour of spending far, far less money on yet another vintage pillowcase and some buttons. I spent just under £2 in the end, on some potential fabric which I just couldn’t leave behind.

Sadly, I didn’t follow my own advice this time and took the fabric back to my Grandmother’s house to find it was very faded in parts and, worst of all, it has some questionable stains. I’m hoping these are just sun damage, but I can’t make a skirt out of it, or add it to my fabric collection, so it’s going back to the charity shop asap.

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The fabric details are so pretty up close

I could use part of it for smaller craft projects, but I don’t want to because I feel bad. This is because the inside of the pillowcase has a name stitched into it and is something that freaks me out a little (I know- weird, right?). I know that anything bought in a charity shop will have been owned by someone else at one time, but seeing a name stitched inside it is just too weird. I can’t use it and I can’t just throw it either, so I’m hoping it’ll go to someone more deserving.

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Charity shops are usually a great place to look for buttons, like the ones I bought above

Do any of you feel the same way? What have you bought that you wished you hadn’t?


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Vintage hunting: Ebay

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Recently, I’ve been madly searching Ebay for new fabric. I do this quite often, I’ll admit, but there are times when finding the perfect vintage fabric is all I can think about.

A couple of days ago, I found this lovely fabric, which was originally a sheet from Liberty.

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Though this fabric was ideal, I wasn’t prepared to pay this price for it

I literally dreamt up an outfit I could make with this (a 50s style short-sleeved summer dress) and the amount of fabric was perfect for what I needed. However, being on a budget, I knew I had to let this one go, as I simply couldn’t afford to pay the £62 it ended up going for. Sometimes, auctions go your way and sometimes you end up losing out. But that’s life and, conveniently, it made me think of a new blog feature, where I’ll share my tips on vintage hunting. This time, I’m focusing on searching Ebay for fabric and what you should look out for.

1. Make sure the fabric is exactly what you want

Check the measurements of the fabric carefully, as you don’t want to buy two metres when you really need three. Believe me, there’s nothing worse than running out of fabric when you’re making a garment and, with vintage, you might not be able to buy more of the same. So, it’s always better to buy bigger quantities in the first place and then you can always use the scraps to make some bunting or to go towards a quilt.

2. Check for any marks

Obviously, this is hard when you’re looking at a computer screen, but sellers should always disclose marks or damages in the description. If you’re not happy with your purchases, and you don’t feel that a mark or stain has been disclosed properly, then you’re well within your rights to contact the seller for a full refund. Be careful though, as some sellers clearly state that they don’t accept refunds and by buying the item, you may have agreed to these terms.

3. Do your research

Is what you want to buy worth it? Don’t ever pay over the odds for something that you could have bought cheaper elsewhere. Obviously, if it’s a one-off, limited edition, then it’s different, as you will be paying a lot for the product but make sure you search Ebay (and other websites) before you part with any money. When I recently bought a Laura Ashley dress, I did my research and found that the prices of dresses on Ebay varied from £10 to £150. I got mine for £30 in the end, which was about average.

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The vintage Laura Ashley dress I bought on Ebay

5. Be prepared

That’s not to say that you can pick up something for next to nothing on Ebay. Sellers have to make their money too and some branded vintage fabric can go for about £30 for a metre or two. I’m not that surprised that the above Liberty fabric went for £62, but I just couldn’t afford to pay that much for it, which brings me to my next point.

6. Know your price (and your limits)

Ebay can be addictive and it can be hard to let go of something that you’ve set your heart on (same goes for real life auction houses by the way). But, it is important that you stick to your limits and are happy with what you’re buying for the price. Yes, you might not get the fabric that you really wanted, but you could also spend too much on something that you only wanted because of the name, then get it home and never use it because you wanted something a little brighter in colour. In the past, I’ve spent money on fabric or clothing that has just sat in my room, unused. Isn’t it better to make sure you really want the product before buying it?

7. Search the ‘buy it nows’

Relating to the above points, make sure you don’t get carried away with the initially cheaper bidding prices when the ‘buy it now’ section (although it can seem more expensive) actually offers a better deal. I’ve been guilty of this and was getting excited by the Liberty sheet when it was going for a mere £12. When you’ve researched how much you should be paying for a product, have a look at the ‘buy it now’ fabrics and see if there’s anything around the same price or cheaper there.

Of course, Ebay isn’t the only place to search for fabric and you can often pick up bargains elsewhere, in vintage fairs or jumble sales. The key is, though, to know what you’re looking for. I’m hoping to continue this ongoing feature, with some other vintage hunting tips. If there is anything in particular that you’d like to see, or something you feel I’ve forgotten to mention, then let me know in the comments.


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Charity shopping

IMG_1374My local charity shop usually has some great treasures and last week was no exception.

I came away with a lovely, hardly worn, oversized check jacket which will be perfect for styling up with a dress for dinner, or wearing down with a pair of jeans for a walk in the countryside.

I love finding things like this in charity shops, as you can grab yourself a real bargain and come away with an almost new piece of clothing for a fraction of its original price.

Now, it’s already been a week since I last went. I wonder what treasures will be there next time.


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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.


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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.