english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Fabric Shopping and Sightseeing in Seoul

Dorasan Station, Seoul

In April, Phil and I spent a week on holiday in Seoul.

My latest vlog contains a few clips from the holiday: sightseeing, plus fabric shopping in Dongdaemun and Gwangjang Markets. It also features a few me-made garments which I wore regularly during the trip; my Tilly & the Buttons Cleo dungarees, Named Inari Tee Dress, and By Hand London Victoria Blazer.

You can view the vlog here:

Dongdaemun Market is an enormous building housing a huge number of separate fabric and haberdashery stalls and shops over seven stories. I’d highly recommend Marie’s blog post, and the information Marie links to, if you plan to visit. The stalls in Dongdaemun appeared to have unusual and high quality fabrics, especially knits. However, the vast majority of stalls don’t have bolts of fabric ready to cut from; instead the stalls have samples on display, and fulfill your orders from their warehouses for collection at the market or delivery to your hotel.

I wimped out of buying fabric from Dongdaemun, but did treat myself to a linen fabric from Gwangjang Market. Gwangjang is a maze-like covered market, almost entirely dedicated to fabrics and haberdashery. Gwangjang is more home-sewer friendly than Dongdaemun, with stalls selling fabric from the bolt and pre-cut lengths, although I did find Gwangjang to have much less unusual fabrics than Dongdaemun. I spotted a few sewing-related services on offer in Gwangjang, such as scissor sharpening and seamstresses. Not too far away, in the area surrounding Euljiro 4(sa)-ga Station (exist 3 and 4), we wandered across an area specialising in sewing machine shops.

Finally, we tried Namdaemun Market because I’d read online that fabric was available, however, after a good look around and checking with the tourist information, we found that there was just one stall selling a very basic selection of cottons. Namdaemun is worth visiting for the food stalls, but no good if you’re in the mood to fabric shop.

A few photos of textile and haberdashery items in Seoul palace museums are below.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Ironing boards, sewing box and scissors:

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul


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Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

I’ve been knitting less frequently since I started catching the train to work, with colleagues, because I’m now too busy nattering. However, recently I finally picked up and finished this project which I abandoned last summer.

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

This is the Point of View Vest by Hannah Fettig from Knitbot Linen. I started this vest to use up leftover Blacker Yarns Lyonesse yarn from my Hancock cardigan (another Hannah Fettig pattern). I didn’t have quite enough Lyonesse to finish this vest, and by the time I realised, the colourway (Rose Quartz) had been discontinued. Luckily, the replacement colourway (Tourmaline) is close enough that the change in shade at the shoulders doesn’t look out of place.

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

The Point of View pattern is designed for linen yarn; because I used a wool/linen blend, the edges of the vest inevitably curl up. I like how this looks at the front, but felt the bottom edge of the vest looked sloppy, so hand sewed ribbon along the edges to weigh them down and keep them flat.

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

This is a fairly impractical garment since it doesn’t add much warmth or cover, but it does look quite cute paired here with a Megan Nielsen Maker Tee and favourite People Tree skirt, and with an Inari Tee Dress. These photos were taken on holiday at Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, and the Museum of The Little Prince in Hakone.

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest


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Mustard Denim Cleo in Seoul

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

I must admit, when Tilly’s Cleo pattern was originally released I didn’t pay much attention. I already owned dungaree dress patterns and didn’t think I particularly needed another. However, as the highly contagious Cleo fever struck and spread across the sewing community, I inevitably became infected and immediately had to have my own Cleo!

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

In the grip of the fever, I dashed off to Guthrie & Ghani and bought all of the supplies for this Cleo (pattern, mustard denim and hardware). Apparently all of the other customers who had bought this mustard denim from G&G were also planning Cleos, so I’m sure I have a lot of Cleo twins! The buttons are the kind which don’t require pliers; they push together easily by hand and are secure once attached. Make sure to position them correctly, because they aren’t going anywhere.

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

As you already know, Cleo is quick to sew. I made this mini length Cleo in the evening before the CHSI Stitches trade show, and wore it to meet up with fellow sewists at the show. Based on my measurements, I cut a size 2 (bust), graded to a 3 (waist and hips), but ended up with quite a bit of gaping at the waist. For a quick fix, I took these in a few inches at either side, but would size down next time. I also think the bib would fit me better if it were slightly narrower.

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

All of these pictures were taken on my recent holiday to Seoul. My Cleo emerged from the case already quite creased and became more so as the holiday progressed, but I think a slightly crumpled look suits denim.

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

I’ll leave you with my Cleo Dress in a number of picturesque locations around Seoul .

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim


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The Sewing Weekender 2017

Sewing Weekender banner

The Sewing Weekender will be returning for a second year!

What: A sewing weekend break in Cambridge, sponsored by (Birmingham-based) Adam Ross Fabrics.

When: Saturday 05th – Sunday 06th August 2017

Our venue, Murray Edwards College in Cambridge, will be transformed into a sewing room for the weekend; bring along a sewing project, or two, and sew while chatting to friends and drinking plenty of tea.

Over the weekend, we’ll have a series of informal talks and hands-on workshops from fellow sewing bloggers and independent business owners.

Tickets will go on sale on the morning of Thursday 25th May. Tickets to the event will cost £65; optional accommodation will cost an additional £95 (single room) or £145 (twin room).

Full details here.

Read my thoughts on last year’s Sewing Weekender here, and those of attendees here.


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Wardrobe & Identity

Me

I always enjoy blog posts which reveal a little about the writer, and have been meaning to write something a bit more reflective for a while now. I’m interested in the role clothing can play in expressing identity, and thought I’d share a few examples from personal experience:

Clothing has always been important to me.

I had two obsessions while at junior school; I desperately wanted a dog, and I desperately wanted to wake up one day as a boy.

I don’t analyse the second of those obsessions, where it came from and why it left me as I approached finishing junior school; I think there is a danger of devaluing and explaining away the emotions in the process of analysing them. I suspect, in part at least, I had subconsciously assimilated a limiting view of what is was to be a woman, and was attempting to circumvent it. I read a lot of Enid Blyton (actually obsessively – I had hundreds of her books and a picture of her in my room) and books of that era, where the only girls who did anything of interest wanted to be boys.

Joe, Char & Steven

While awaiting my overnight transformation, I nagged my mom to have my hair cut short, and only buy me boy’s clothes. She consented to both, with the exception of underwear; boxer shorts were a step too far. It was important to me that the garments weren’t simply not explicitly feminine, but that they were purchased from the boy’s section of the clothes store. I had a zealous commitment to my dress code, which speaks of my desire to prove my seriousness to others, and to myself.

Joe, Char & Steven

In my experience, while young children are extremely accepting of difference, teenagers are pack animals; during secondary school, clothing was important as a means of fitting in. I remember a few occasions where friends and I bought the same t-shirt, which involved making a solemn pact never to wear them at the same time. Even in school, where we wore a uniform, it was important to be aware of the current tweaks to that uniform required to fit in; for example, this week, you might need to wear your tie backwards and extra short.

Me

As a teenager, clothing was also about declaring our musical affiliations. I was an indie-kid, and Damon Albarn was my style icon (as well as my main celebrity crush). A treasured possession was a grey Kappa jacket, the closest I could find (pre internet shopping) to a blue jacket which Damon was photographed in. I wore a silver identity bracelet because Damon did, and would have killed for the jacket he wore in the Parklife video.

Family Photo
A rare photo of the Kappa jacket

Towards the end of secondary school, and through sixth form, my friends and I expressed our lack of interest in fitting in, by adopting wardrobes of the least flattering and most ill fitting clothing possible. Thankfully, our fleeces and jeans era was short lived, and minimal photographic evidence of that period survives.


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Old Favourites

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

I’ve just returned home from two weeks away in Seoul and Tokyo, and am having a lazy weekend before getting back into routine next week.

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Normally, before a holiday, I sew a number of new garments – partly because I’m excited about the holiday and like to sew new garments for events I’m excited about, and partly because a holiday is a great opportunity for blog photos.

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

I’ve been busy lately, so only had a couple of recent makes to pack (to be blogged shortly). I did, however, pack a few old favourite me-made garments. Normally I don’t take photos of garments which I’ve previously blogged, but it actually makes sense to show them styled differently, and to show that they are still going strong. Since this week is Fashion Revolution Week, it also ties in with Fashion Revolution’s focus on long-term relationships with our clothing, and wearing garments more than 30 times.

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer

So without further ado, in these photos I’m wearing one of my most worn me-mades. This is a By Hand London Victoria Blazer, which I made in a hotel room in Istanbul while travelling for work back in 2014.  It’s paired in some of the photos with a Christine Haynes Emery Dress I made in 2016, plus a couple of favourite RTW pieces – a scarf from Sancho’s Dress, a Megan Nielsen Maker Tee, and Community Clothing jeans, made in the UK.

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer