english girl at home

A Crafty Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Casper & Wendy Full Circle Bag from Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics

I’m a big fan of staring at Japanese pattern books – the colours and layouts are just so satisfying. This bag is from a new English-language release from Tuttle Publishing, Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi.

Casper & Wendy Bag from Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

This is the Full Circle Bag project from the book. This bag is reversible although there is no way I’m ever going to reverse it and hide that Casper & Wendy print! Peter recently asked on his blog whether sewists ever reverse their reversible makes – I know I don’t, I pick a favourite side from the start!

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

The bag is a large circle which is pulled in via 16 loops which the strap is threaded through.

Casper & Wendy Bag from Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

One of the distinguishing features of the book is that each project includes some element of hand sewing (and it is intended that the bags can be sewn wholly by hand if so chosen). For the project I made, the book suggested hand stitching a circular design on the bottom of the bag. I placed a circle of interfacing between the two layers of the bag and then machine stitched a circle design to help create a more sturdy base.

Casper & Wendy Bag from Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

I know this looks like a slightly overdue Halloween project but I actually bought this fabric from Abakhan in Manchester ages ago with no project in mind. When I was shopping my stash for a suitable fabric for the bag I decided to go with Casper and Wendy. I have loads of this fabric left so it will be making another appearance at some point.

Casper & Wendy Bag from Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

Casper & Wendy Bag from Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

There’s a real mixture of bag projects in the book. There are 25 projects with customisations for 60 bags. The smallest are actually purses, the largest are totes.

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

I’m intrigued by the Checkout Basket Bag. I’m not sure how useful it would really be but it’s certainly different and I love the styling used in the book.

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

The Eco Bag is a nice simple design for a reusable bag and they would be quick to whip up as extra Xmas gifts.

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

As a lover of a large handbag (I tend to carry around a lot of stuff…) a Large Tote or a Picnic Tote has been added to my list of future makes.

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

At the back of the book there’s a nice ‘before you start’ section which includes advice on which type of interfacing and which bag accessories to use for each of the projects.

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

The projects all appear relatively simple and each project has clear instructions with lots of diagrams. A pull out pattern sheet is provided at the back of the book although the larger pattern pieces are only provided in part (e.g. for the project I made, 1/4 of the pattern piece was provided, meaning it needed to be traced 4 times to create a full pattern piece). Seam allowances also need to be added to some of the pattern pieces (although it is clearly stated where these are required).

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

Do you ever sew bags? Planning to make any for gifts this Christmas?

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics in exchange for a review; all opinions expressed are my own.


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#CCBloggers Derby Meet-Up

Last Saturday I attended a Creative and Crafty Bloggers meet in Derby. This was the first meet-up I’ve attended since SewBrum and it was very nice to just turn up & enjoy the day, with no organising to do! #ccbloggers is a Midlands-based group for creative bloggers, organised by Sam and Kat. Attendees at the Derby meet-up had pretty diverse interests and blogs, including quilting, jewellery, paper craft, party and event styling, textile product design, and – of course – sewing!

Creative and Crafty Bloggers meet, Derby, November 2014

Sam and Kat had arranged some really interesting activities for the meet-up. After copious amounts of tea and toast at the very nice Bean Cafe, we were joined over lunch by social media guru Kaye who answered our many questions.

Creative and Crafty Bloggers meet, Derby, November 2014

After lunch, we enjoyed a decopatch session and got in the Christmas spirit (I’m totally there) making tree decorations. We then visited the (brand new) studio of photographer Holly Booth. Holly was lovely & can do product photography via post as well as in person – most tempting…

Creative and Crafty Bloggers meet, Derby, November 2014

At the end of the day we squeezed in a little shopping in some of Derby’s independent shops. I was really impressed by the gorgeous little indie shops we visited. I live in Birmingham and love Birmingham city centre, but Birmingham isn’t a great city for independent shops (although it does have amazing independent fabric shops luckily).

We all left with a very nice goodie bag of freebies!

Creative and Crafty Bloggers meet, Derby, November 2014

I’m looking forward to the next #CCBloggers meet-up and catching up with the bloggers below again soon.

Samantha Schofield – Crafternoon Tea Hostess

Kat Reekie – A Krafty Kat

Emma Peake – Lily Allsorts

Sally Williams – Sally Bee Makes

Caroline Gautrey – Putting Your Life In Order

Laura Beardmore –  Erimini Designs

Daire Paddy – Open Way Designs


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Fashion and Textile Museum

London Fashion and Textile Museum, Made in Mexico

On two recent trips to London I’ve visited the Fashion and Textile Museum.

If you don’t know it, it’s a small museum linked to Newham College, which is located close to London Bridge and Borough Market (so you can combine a trip with lunch at the market).They host some really interesting exhibitions, although given the size of the gallery I find the exhibitions a little overpriced (compared to, say, an exhibition at the V&A). Most exciting are the workshops & lectures they hold, as they get some amazing teachers/speakers. London is a bit far for me to attend a workshop but if I lived closer I’d always be there!

The recent exhibitions I caught were Made in Mexico: the Rebozo in Art, Culture & Fashion, and Knitwear: Chanel to Westwood. The Knitwear exhibition runs until January so you can still catch it.

The Made in Mexico exhibition focused on the rebozo, a kind of shawl or scarf. The name rebozo is derived from the Spanish verb rebozar, meaning to ‘muffle up’. Rebozo were historically made on back strap looms – and still are today. The exhibition included both traditional examples and modern interpretations (such as the one below).

London Fashion and Textile Museum, Made in Mexico

London Fashion and Textile Museum, Made in Mexico

London Fashion and Textile Museum, Made in Mexico

London Fashion and Textile Museum, Made in Mexico

Photos weren’t permitted in the Knitwear: Chanel to Westwood exhibition. The pieces included in the exhibition are mainly taken from a private collection and the selection seemed a bit eclectic. It is organised by date; my favourite pieces were the vintage ones – particularly the selection of knitted bathing suits & preppy 1950s styles.

I do have pictures of a couple of pieces displayed in a separate gallery. These are by Yang Du and have the amazing names Mr Superman Sweater (the lion sweater dress) and Mr Elephant hat and Mr Elephant gloves. I’m quite tempted by a massive sweater dress – with or without giant lion face…

London Fashion and Textile Museum, Knitwear: Chanel to Westwood

London Fashion and Textile Museum, Knitwear: Chanel to Westwood


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Blue Wool Fairy Tale Cape

Blue Wool Fairy Tale Cape

Dear blog, sorry for ignoring you, things have been a bit crazy around here lately…

Phew, so life has been even busier than normal lately – although mostly due to positive things. I’ve spent the last two weekends away, first in London for my friend Emma’s birthday plus some shopping, & then in Manchester to see Video Games Live at the Apollo (which is amazing by the way). I’ve also been offered an new job (woo hoo!) which I start at the end of November, & I’m currently in Istanbul for work (and typing this in my hotel room). I’ve had a really lousy cold for the last week which has slowed me down, & is still clinging on. Oh and I’ve had a few sales via my Etsy shop, including my first sale in Saudi Arabia.

But before all of that happened I did manage to do some sewing! This is the Fairy Tale Cape by Audrey & Me Patterns / This Blog is Not For You. Worn here with my Maya Dress.

Blue Wool Fairy Tale Cape

This was one of those sewing projects where I had a sudden urgent craving to make a cape, despite never knowing I needed one before! The Fairy Tale Cape is a ‘pay as you wish’ pattern so you can check out the pattern & instructions first and then make a donation if you decide to go ahead and make it.

If you fancy some seasonal sewing, this is a really quick satisfying make. There are only a couple of pattern pieces & it would be easy to customise.

The only alterations I made to the pattern were cutting my cape slightly shorter, as my fabric wasn’t quite wide enough to fit the pattern piece (oops), and trimming some depth off the back of the hood as it was looking a bit jedi for my liking. I also went with a smaller number of buttons & made functional buttons, as opposed to simply sewing the cape closed and attaching decorative buttons as suggested in the pattern.

Blue Wool Fairy Tale Cape

The fabric is a deep blue wool I purchased from Barry’s Fabric during the SewBrum meet-up. Charlie from This Blog is Not For You attended the meet-up so I was able to ask her to ok my fabric in person:)

The buttons were purchased in Birmingham Rag Market. I love clover shaped buttons & jewellry so couldn’t resist. One of my favourite possessions is a vintage clover shaped brooch I received for my birthday a few years ago, which I picked from a shop in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Officially it was a gift from my brother, but I think my Nan and Grandad actually bought it:)

Blue Wool Fairy Tale Cape

I was lazy and didn’t line my cape although lining in the hood would look cute so I may go back and add some. The fabric doesn’t fray so I didn’t hem the bottom of the cape. I did fold a small hem along the edge of the hood although It wasn’t really necessary.

IMG_6516

Right, now I need to go for some autumnal walks in the park (followed by hot chocolate in the park cafe) to put my cape to good use.

Blue Wool Fairy Tale Cape


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Waxprint Maya Dress

Waxprint Maya Dress

I love this time of year, but Autumn/Winter is very inconvenient for bloggers. It’s dark when I leave and when I return home in the week so I had a few completed items I needed to photograph this weekend while I had the chance.

This is the Maya Dress, the first pattern release by Marilla Walker. This pattern includes lots of different options (top, tunic, dress, button-up front) so you get plenty of pattern for the purchase price. Prior to the SewBrum meet-up I had decided that I wasn’t going to try and make anything new to wear for the meet-up as I was really busy & didn’t need the stress of trying to rush a new outfit. Then the night before I changed my mind and decided to make a Maya dress! Given that my time was limited I went with the simple, plain front , dress variation despite being a massive fan of Marilla’s button-front versions. I cut a size 8, the smallest size.

Waxprint Maya Dress

Due to the limited time I had to make this dress, and (more so) wanting to finish it sat on the sofa in front of the tv, I skipped the facings and instead slip-stitched the neckline, sleeves and hem by hand. The pattern includes a sash belt but I instead paired it with this skinny belt which was my Nan’s, which she gifted to me. The Maya is designed for a loose fit but I might take a little out of the side seams next time to slightly reduce the excess fabric.

Waxprint Maya Dress

This fabric is a President Holland brand waxprint purchased from the Goldhawk Road. I bought this fabric as a pre-cut length and have already made an Anna dress out of it. I still have quite a bit left so It might be showing up for a third time!

This dress has already been getting quite a bit of wear. So much so that it was still drying on the airer on Saturday morning when I was about to take these photos – so I wore it slightly damp for the photos, urgh! I needed to get the pictures in the morning as me and Phil were then heading out to see the new TMNT movie – as a massive fan age 7-8, who used to wear a plastic shell & bandanna it had to be done.

So, I would totally recommend the Maya pattern as a lovely quick make, with loads of opportunity for customisation.  I would not recommend the new TMNT movie…

Waxprint Maya Dress

Waxprint Maya Dress


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#SewBrum Meet-Up Wrap-Up

SewBrum Meet-Up

So, the SewBrum meet-up took place yesterday. Massive thanks to everyone who came along – I hope you all had a good time & managed to meet some new-to-you sewists.

We had people joining at different points during the day & I was rubbish at keeping count (whoops) but I think there were 56 of us in total by the time we reached Moseley in the afternoon. A list of attendees is provided below so you can keep in touch.

We started the day in Birmingham city centre with a trip to Barry’s Fabrics, followed by Fancy Silk Store and the Rag Market for those who didn’t spend too long / all their money in Barry’s! It was a bit of a wet start walking to Barry’s but luckily the weather improved so we didn’t get drenched while heading to catch the bus into Moseley (which took longer than it could have as I haven’t caught that bus in about 15 years and the stop had moved slightly – sorry!). When I was still at school / sixth form I used to catch the 50 bus every Saturday to go shopping in Birmingham with my friends – including my friend Michelle who came to the meet-up – but it’s been a long time! For anyone who couldn’t make the meet-up but would like to visit Guthrie & Ghani it’s a really quick bus trip from Birmingham city centre – you just need to catch the 50 bus which leaves from a stop by Moor Street Station / the Bullring Shopping Centre, & it takes 15 minutes to reach Moseley Village.

SewBrum Meet-Up

We arrived at Guthrie & Ghani in the afternoon. Lauren Guthrie had set-up the Studio space above the shop especially for the meet-up, with an adorable tea/coffee bar (manned by Lauren’s mom) & goodie bags.

SewBrum Meet-Up

Me, my mom, lovely friends Michelle & Helen & Rachel had baked a selection of cakes to feed attendees and raise some money for Parkinson’s UK.

SewBrum Meet-Up

We also held a raffle of sewing goodies to raise money for Parkinson’s UK & we raised £320 in total for the charity. Emma was the winner of our grand prize – a Singer sewing machine.

SewBrum Meet-Up

We finished the afternoon with a pattern/fabric swap which was obscenely large! Two tables worth.

SewBrum Meet-Up

It was lovely to meet / chat with everyone who came along. I will be keeping in touch!

I’d love to see everyone’s pictures / blog posts about the day – do post a link in the comments section below.

SewBrum Meet-Up

Attendees:

(If I’ve missed anyone, or you would like your blog/twitter info added contact me)

Alex / instagram: @little_blackheart
Alison / http://anotherlittlecraftycreation.wordpress.com / @Crafty_Alibobs
Amanda Stinton / instagram: @amandastinton
Amanda Wyatt / http://wearawyatt.blogspot.co.uk / @inspired2sew
Amy T / http://almondrock.co.uk / @almondrock_sews
Angie Nicholson
Ann Hebden / http://allmyownworkbyann.com / @amowby
Anne Bird
Anne Wagenhauser / http://bellemegan.wordpress.com / @mercuryhandmade
Becky Millard
Camilla / http://pootleandmake.wordpress.com/
Catharine Moreton
Catherine Howard
Char / http://dinoprincesschar.blogspot.co.uk / @dinoprincesschr
Charlie / http://thisblogisnotforyou.com / @tbinfy
Charlotte Forcer / @tracesofrock
Claire / http://www.iwanttobeaturtle.com / @iwanttobeturtle
Claire / http://www.sew-incidentally.com / @ClaireSews
Daniela / http://ela-sews.blogspot.co.uk / @ElaSews
Eliza-sew-little
Emma Thompson / http://www.emmasenchantedworld.wordpress.com
Helen Murray
Helen Siddonhttp://justsewtherapeutic.wordpress.com
Helena / http://www.libraknitsandsews.blogspot.com
Jade Sukhdeo
Janet Pheasant
Jill Hubbard
Jo Griffiths
Jo Norcup / @jonorcup
Joanna Gemmell
Judy Blurton
Julie Powell
Katie / http://www.whatkatiesews.net / @whatkatiedoes
Kelly Smith / http://makesewdo.wordpress.com / @makesewdo
Linda McGrath
Liz Hughes
Louise / http://notsewsimple.wordpress.com / @notsewsimple
Louise / http://thereshesews.wordpress.com / @LouiseBibbings
Lynn Clemson
Maria Clemson
Meg / http://mookaht.blogspot.co.uk / @MegMookaht
Michelle Lowe
Montana Howe / https://montanadesigns.wordpress.com / @myssmarsh
Nicole Needleshttp://nicoleneedles.blogspot.co.uk
Rachel Shaw / http://www.astudyinstitching.blogspot.com
Rachel Wain / http://rachagainstthesewingmachine.blogspot.co.uk / @rachel_wain
Sarah Ford / http://www.amilliondresses.com / @amilliondresses
Sue Lill
Susan Ward / http://wevebroughtthewrongbox.wordpress.com
Thea / http://www.theainsewingland.wordpress.com / @TheaSewingland
Vicky Warnes
Victoria
Victoria Maus / http://www.littlesquish.co.uk/blog / @LittleSquishUK
Victoria Peat / http://www.littleblackduck.co.uk / @LBDuck


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#SewBrum Meet-Up Tomorrow – Final Reminder

Street Art Birmingham UK
Just a final reminder that the SewBrum meet-up is taking place tomorrow, Saturday 04th October. Everyone who has registered should have received an email from me with the details – if not let me know.

The final itinerary for the day is:

10:00: Meet at Birmingham New Street Station opposite Starbucks (exit the platform area through the ticket barrier & look for the large group!)

10:30-13:00: Birmingham fabric store/s of your choice (Barry’s Fabric; Fancy Silk Store; Bull Ring Markets). Barry’s and Fancy Silk are expecting us & should be able to offer discounts on most fabrics – but check in store.

13:00: Reconvene opposite Fancy Silk Store, to travel to Moseley Village (Guthrie & Ghani) by bus. We’ll be catching the 50 Bus which leaves from a bus stop just around the corner from Fancy Silk Store every 5 minutes & takes 10-15 minutes to arrive in Moseley Village. The bus fare is £2.10 & they don’t give change so make sure you have some cash at the ready.

13:30 – 16:00: Guthrie & Ghani.

In addition to spending time in the shop we will be able to use the upstairs Studio space from 14:30. We’ll be holding a pattern & fabric swap (so bring anything you’d like to swap) and, in aid of Parkinson’s UK, a raffle & tea/coffee and cake sale.

I popped in to Guthrie & Ghani today to drop off supplies & it is looking amazing!

Looking forward to seeing everyone x
Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening

P.S. There were a couple of prizes added to the raffle after my previous post which you might have missed. These are:

Audrey-Dress-723x1024

Charlie from This Blog is Not For You has recently launched her pattern company Audrey & Me Patterns, and has donated a set of her first PDF patterns under the label, the Hepburn Dress and Skirt.

Chambray Fabric & Maya Sewing Pattern

Marilla Walker has donated a copy of her brand spanking new Maya dress and top pattern. In fact this pattern is so new it’s not yet released:) Marilla has printed a copy of the PDF pattern for the winner & also provided some Merchant & Mills chambray to make a Maya with.

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