english girl at home

A Crafty Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Fashion at Berlin’s Museum of Decorative Arts

Berlin

A final post about my recent trip to Berlin, before it seems like a distant memory. One of the many museums we visited, and top of my list, was the Museum of Decorative Arts (Kunstgewerbemuseum). The museum has an extensive fashion collection, mostly housed in a dedicated Fashion Gallery, but with some pieces jotted around the rest of the museum.

The collection includes garments, accessories, shoes and lingerie. I photographed quite a few of these – photos below.

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Ball gown with stripes, England/France, 1865

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White summer outfit, France/England, 1866

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Walking Dress in silk taffeta with black velvet, England, 1855

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Two piece evening gown, Madame Gres, Paris, 1973

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Cocktail dress ‘Ribcage’, Pierre Cardin, Paris, 1969 (front) / Hotpants, Paco Rabanne, Paris, 1974 (back)

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Micro dress ‘Ready Made’, Paco Rabanne, Paris, 1970 (front) / Hotpants, Paco Rabanne, Paris, 1974 (back)

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Blue suit with blouse, Chanel, Paris, 1965 (right) / Dress suit Escale, Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior, Paris, 1958, owned by Olivia de Havilland (left)

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Cocktail dress in trapezoid line, Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior, Paris, 1958

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Evening gown of gold lame and beads, Jean Patou, Paris, 1937

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Pistachio green evening dress, bias cut, Captain Edward Molyneux, Paris, 1932

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Evening gown with horse motif, Madeleine Vionnet, France/USE, 1921-4

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Dance gown with ray motif, embroidered with tambour work, sequins made of bakelite, France, 1925

Shoes

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England, 1821

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England, 1840

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England, 1820-40

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Printed ladies slippers, England, 1795

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Shoes in Chinese style, England, 1785

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Shoes with paste brooch, France, 1770

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England, 1900

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Accessories

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Bust improver, 1910

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Other museums in Berlin with some textile element which I visited:

Berlin’s Film and TV Museum (Museum für Film und Fernsehen) has a permanent Marlene Dietrich exhibition, including a number of her clothes.

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The Bauhaus Archive is fascinating, and includes a number of Bauhaus weavings and textiles.

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The DDR Museum is good fun, and includes a fashion section, including examples of East Berlin sewing pattern magazines.

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And, not at all craft related, but I really enjoyed the Computer Games Museum (Computerspielemuseum Berlin).

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Boudoir Blushes PJs

Boudoir Blushes Camisole and French Knickers from the Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Book

Boudoir Blushes Camisole and French Knickers from the Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Book

Encouraged by Lingerie Sewing Month, I finally sewed a project from The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie by Katherine Sheers and Laura Stanford. This is the Boudoir Blushes camisole and french knickers set, made as pjs in a cotton blend fabric purchased in Berlin’s Turkish Market.

My review of the book and more about the making of this set is featured on the Sewcialists blog today.

Boudoir Blushes Camisole and French Knickers from the Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Book

Boudoir Blushes Camisole and French Knickers from the Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Book


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A Sunny Southport Dress

True Bias Southport Dress in Liberty fabric

I planned to sew the True Bias Southport Dress as soon as it was released, but it sat waiting until Heather’s Sundress Sew-a-long gave me a nudge to get sewing, before the summer is over.

True Bias Southport Dress in Liberty fabric

I fall between pattern sizes, but given the ease in the pattern (as a result of the gathered waist) I sized down to size 0. To compensate for sizing down, I used a smaller seam allowances than recommended, but it wasn’t necessary as the finished dress has plenty of ease.

True Bias Southport Dress in Liberty fabric

I’m fairly short (5’4″) and the dress turned out very long on me. I shortened the shoulder straps by around 1 cm as the front neckline was originally a bit risque. I also used a total hem allowance of 4″ (twice folding up a 2″ hem). The resulting length is just right with heels, but is too long to wear with flats. I might take the dress up further as I do tend to wear flats most of the time, but I do like the glamour of a really long skirt.

True Bias Southport Dress in Liberty fabric

I haven’t worn a floor-length dress in a long time. I avoided them in RTW as I always thought I was too short, but the joy of sewing is that it inspires you to try different silhouettes. I definitely fancy some more maxi length dresses now.

True Bias Southport Dress in Liberty fabric

The fabric is Liberty, purchased in Shaukat on a trip to London last August. After a year in my stash, I’m glad to have stopped being precious about the fabric and put it to use. The fabric is perfect for a summer dress, since it features lots of suns – as well as quite a few clouds, just like an English summer!

True Bias Southport Dress in Liberty fabric

I had slightly less than 2 metres of this fabric, which is less than is recommended for the maxi version (2.5 metres in my size). I was determined to use this fabric and to make the maxi version, so I had to cut one of the front skirt pieces in two panels. Given the busyness of the print the seam isn’t obvious unless it’s pointed out. It’s definitely one of those things that only someone who sews would possibly notice!

True Bias Southport Dress in Liberty fabric

In the pictures above, the waist is gathered with some cotton yarn, which was all I had in my stash. I’ve since bought some cord from Guthrie & Ghani, which I think finishes the dress nicely.

True Bias Southport Dress in Liberty fabric

The buttons I used were some I made a couple of years ago in polymer clay and painted with stripes using acrylic paint.

True Bias Southport Dress in Liberty fabric

I’m hoping for good weather for a couple of months yet so I can get some more wear out of this dress, and sew a few more summer projects.

True Bias Southport Dress in Liberty fabric


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Swatching & Shopping in Berlin

Berlin

While on holiday in Berlin recently I got the opportunity to spend time doing lovely things like swatching in the sun in the English Garden Teahouse within Tiergarten (obvious choice for an English girl in Berlin!).

I’m swatching here with beautiful Brittany needles, supplied by Little Lamb Wool, a family-run yarn shop who are a stockist of Brittany needles in the UK.

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If you don’t know Brittany needles, they are a US manufacturer of wooden knitting needles and crochet hooks. Both the needles and the packaging is simple and beautiful. Brittany aim to make a sustainable product, using sustainably harvested birch and recycled packaging. Chris Barnes from Brittany needles was interviewed on episode 11 of the Woolful podcast, if you’re interested in learning more about the company.

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The needles are satisfying to knit with. The feel soft but are actually very sturdy (Brittany will replace breakages within 5 years of purchase). The yarn is Blacker Yarns Lyonesse wool and linen blend.

After swatching and tea, me and Phil had a good stroll around Tiergarten.

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I was fairly restrained in terms of fabric and fibre shopping while in Berlin. I had identified two knitting shops I wanted to visit in advance, KnitKnit and Handmade Berlin.

KnitKnit is a cool tiny yarn shop who produce some cute branded products, including needles and knitting first aid kits (containing knitting essentials).

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Handmade Berlin is a large yarn and coffee shop located in a great spot overlooking a park. They stock a large selection of high quality yarns.

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I didn’t visit any fabric shops, but I did visit a number of markets looking for fabric.

I knew I’d find fabric at the Turkish Market, as I’ve seen all the garments Tea has made recently with Turkish market fabric. I bought myself a couple of metres of fabric and a selection of lace. If you’re in Berlin, i’d definitely recommend a trip to the market for fabric and notions, and as a good spot to buy food or stop for a Turkish tea.

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I didn’t have luck finding fabric at other markets I visited (including Gendarmenmarkt, and Antikmarkt Ostbahnhof), although I’ve seen other people reporting finding fabric online. I did really enjoy Flohmarkt im Mauerpark (despite the last of fabric!) for general mooching and food / drink stalls.

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I also loved the street food event which is held every Thursday night in Markthalle Neun.

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Disclaimer: I was provided with a pair of Brittany Needles by Little Lamb Wool; all opinions expressed are my own.


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SewBrum Meet-Up Update

Sew Brum Meet-Up Logo

Eek, I love the new SewBrum logo. It was designed by amazingly talented illustrator and sewing blogger Maike of Sew & Illustrate.

I have lots of exciting SewBrum news to share – an itinerary for the day, sign-up is open, and I’m planning a pre-meet-up swap.

The meet-up also has an event page on Facebook.

♥ Itinerary ♥

The planned itinerary for Saturday October 31st is below. Attendees can feel free to dip in and out, or only attend for part of the day.

10:00 – 11:00: Meet at the Edwardian Tearooms

We’ll be meeting in the lovely setting of the Edwardian Tearooms at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, where we’ll be able to drink tea and/or eat brunch while everyone arrives.

11:00 – 12:30: Birmingham Bull Ring Rag Market

We never made it to the market last year, so this year we’ll be heading there. (Two of Birmingham’s fabric stores are located close by (Barry’s Fabric & Fancy Silk Store) for anyone who would prefer to shop there instead / as well).

12:30 – 13:00: Reconvene and travel to Moseley Village (Guthrie & Ghani) by bus

The journey between the city centre and Moseley only takes 15 minutes by bus, and buses are every 5-10 minutes.

13:00 – 14:00: Moseley Farmer’s Market & Art Market

We’ll be buying lunch at Moseley’s Farmer’s Market, which has around 60 stalls (including some great cake!). The Art Market will also be taking place.

14:00 – 17:30: Guthrie & Ghani

At Guthrie & Ghani we’ll have time in the shop which sells a wide range of sewing and knitting supplies, and we’ll have use of the studio above the shop where we will be able to natter, compare purchases, hold a pattern & fabric swap, and a raffle. We’ll also have a demo of the Lutterloh pattern making system.

♥ Merit Badge Swap ♥

In advance of the meet-up, I’m hosting a merit badge swap, partly inspired by the crafty merit badges recently released by Fancy Tiger Crafts.

You can sign up to take part in the swap using the sign-up form below. I’ll randomly pair everyone who signs up, and you’ll make a merit badge for your swap partner. There are no design or size restrictions for the badges – the idea is to make a badge that suits your swap partner; perhaps focusing on something they are particularly good at, or a particular interest of theirs, crafty or otherwise.

Anyone can join this swap, you don’t need to be attending the meet-up in October or have a blog to join in (and meet-up attendees don’t have to take part in the swap, you can let me know when you sign-up if you want to join in or not).

Sign-up for the swap is open from now until 30th September. I’ll be sending out details of swap partners periodically until sign-up closes.

I’ve set up a Pinterest board with a few badge inspiration pictures.

♥ Sign-Up Form ♥

If you’re planning to attend the meet-up (and/or want to take part in the merit badge swap) let us know by filling in the sign-up form below.


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Onyx Shirt in Sanssouci Park

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Yesterday, me and Phil arrived home from a week’s holiday in Berlin (plus a quick stop-over in London to attend a sewing meet-up organised by Helen). We had a great week, but it’s also lovely to be home – particularly as I have a few more days off work, so time to do some sewing, knitting and blogging.

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

I only managed to make one new garment for the holiday, a second Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns. I started it a few days before we left, but inevitably ended up hand sewing the hem at midnight the day before we left. Sewing blogger problems…

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

I made a straight size two. The only alteration I made from the instructions was to fold under twice at the neckline and hand stitch, rather than using bias binding. I also hand stitched the hem.

The fabric is Atelier Brunette cotton. It’s their ‘twist’ design in dark blue, and was purchased from Guthrie & Ghani. Buttons were from my stash, and I think were freebies with a magazine.

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

These photos were taken in Sanssouci Park in Potsdam. The Berlin travel ticket (if you buy all zones) includes Potsdam, so we decided to catch the train there one day during our trip. This is the area of the park in front of Sanssouci Palace, which was built as the summer palace of Frederick the Great.

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Sanssouci Park Potsdam


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British Fibres and Fabrics – a #1year1outfit Update

Brigantia Mittens by Victoria Magnus in Wendy Ramsdale

My productive knitting stretch continues. I’ve recently cast on the Brigantia mittens by Victoria Magnus, which feature colour work and cables. I’m new to colour work and these mittens are a fairly simple project to start learning, but I’ve still managed to make a few errors. I suspect mitten number two, may be a lot more polished than mitten number one!

Wendy Ramsdale Wool Yarn in Malham and Hawes

I’m knitting them in the new Wendy Ramsdale yarn, supplied by Little Lamb Wool, a family-run yarn shop in North Yorkshire. Ramsdale is a DK weight yarn in ten colours, each named after a Yorkshire market town. I’m using the Malham and Hawes shades, which I think are a great match for the Brigantia pattern.

Brigantia Mittens by Victoria Magnus in Wendy Ramsdale

Ramsdale is a single ply yarn and has a really ‘wooly’ feel, with a slight fuzzy halo. I’m really enjoying knitting with it.

It is spun from 100% pure British wool, which is grown, spun and dyed in Yorkshire, local to Little Lamb Wool, where my skeins came from.

Brigantia Mittens by Victoria Magnus in Wendy Ramsdale

I’ve become a bit obsessed with knitting with British wool, as a result of taking part in Nicki’s One Year One Outfit project, and listening to the KnitBritish podcast. I’ve completed three #1year1outfit projects so far, socks (which I later dyed), gloves and a scarf (as yet unblogged). These mittens will be my fourth project. So far I’ve focused on accessories, but I have plans to knit a cardigan and a jumper, and to sew some clothing soon too.

As a result of #1year1outfit, I’ve spent some time researching British fibres and fabrics and thought it would be useful to share my findings. If you’re aware of any interesting resources I’ve missed please do share.

British Wool

Britain has a long history of woolen fabric production, so the majority of British fabric I have been able to locate is wool.

A brilliant source of information on British wool products (fabric, yarn, and just about everything else) is Woolsack, which was created by Sue Blacker. Woolsack can also be found on Ravelry. The Woolsack list of British wool fabric stockists is located here. The British Wool Marketing Board website also provides a list of British companies producing wool fabrics.

Fabric

A number of the British companies producing fabric don’t sell direct to consumers and/or online. Some that do are listed below:

London Cloth Company – London-based micro-mill specialising in weaving to order, but with cloth also available via the meterage

Dashing Tweeds – London-based (menswear) company/store with a range of British wool fabrics

Harris Tweed and Knitwear – Family company producing a range of Harris Tweed cloth and products

Harris Tweed Hebrides – Wide selection of tweeds

Hebridean Wool House – Tweeds made with wool from hebridean sheep (listed under ‘tweed products’)

Robert Noble – Established in 1666, and now producing cloth at a Scottish mill

Ardalanish – A range of tweeds woven using 100% pure new Hebridean, Manx and Shetland wool

Shawbost Weavers – Harris Tweed – Catherine weaves single width (75cm) Harris Tweed by traditional methods on a Hattersley loom. She sells via her Facebook page. It’s approximately £17.50 per metre; payment is via paypal.

The following online fabric shops are also good sources of British wool fabrics. You may need to request further information about a specific product to confirm that it is 100% British (e.g. British wool and woven/dyed in the UK).

MacCullock & Wallis – A number of fabrics in the Wool Fabrics section are listed as made in the UK. You’ll need to select individual items to find out, although you’ll definitely be ok with the Harris Tweeds:)

Croft Mill – Croft Mill allow you to view products under a ‘British Fabric‘ heading – yay

Merchant & Mills – A number of fabrics in the Wool & Tweed section are listed as made in the UK. You’ll need to select individual items to find out.

Wendy Ramsdale Wool Yarn in Malham and Hawes

Yarn

There are a wide range of UK companies producing British wool yarns. The online store BritYarn is a  great place to shop for them, since it only sells wool which is 100% British grown. I’d also particularly recommend Blacker YarnsJamieson & SmithJohn Arbon, and local-to-me TOFT. For an extensive list see Woolsack.

I’ve also learned loads about British wool from the KnitBritish blog and podcast.

British Silk

Other than wool, the only UK produced fabric I’ve come across is the peace silk produced by Organic Silks in London. I was tipped off to this by Steely Seamstress, who has already dyed and made a top with some of their silk. To order, you need to email them to confirm a price, and can then pay by card over the phone.

Disclaimer: I was provided with two free skeins of yarn by Little Lamb Wool; all opinions expressed are my own.

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