english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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SewBrum 2017 Sign-Up

SewBrum 2017 Logo by Maike Plenzke

Sign-up is now open for the SewBrum meet-up on Saturday 28th October: Sign Up Here!

♥ What? ♥

A (free-to-attend) meet-up of people who love to sew. Everyone is welcome, just sign-up using the form above/below to give us an idea of numbers.

♥ Itinerary ♥

The planned itinerary for Saturday 28th October 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 John Lewis Cafe & Haberdashery

We’ll be meeting in John Lewis Cafe (The Place to Eat), where we’ll be able to drink tea and/or eat brunch while everyone arrives. We’ll also be able to shop in the Haberdashery, which is located on the same floor as the cafe (4th floor).

P.S. If you’re arriving by train, John Lewis is located in the same building as New Street Station – and the other stations (Moor Street and Snow Hill) are only a 10-15 minute walk.

P.P.S John Lewis opens at 9am for anyone arriving early.

11:00 – 13:00Birmingham Rag Market & Fabric Shops

We’ll spend a couple of hours shopping for fabric at the Rag Market and nearby fabric shops, Barry’s Fabric, EU FabricsFancy Silk Store (who are also on Facebook).

13:00 – 13:30: 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.

13:30 – 17:00Guthrie & Ghani / Lunch

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, and hold a pattern & fabric swap.

Attendees can also grab lunch at one of the nearby pubs or cafes. The Village and The Dark Horse bar/restaurant are both a couple of minutes walk from Guthrie & Ghani, and there are lots of other options available within Moseley Village.

♥ Sign-Up Form ♥

If you’re planning to attend the 2017 meet-up let us know by filling in the Sign Up Form.

Everyone will be welcome. Hope you can make it x

Logo by illustrator and sewist Maike Plenzke.

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Seamwork Loretta

Seamwork Loretta in Japanese Cotton

Ahh, how satisfying to find time to write an actual blog post. A lot of bloggers will post after some time away to say that they haven’t found time to blog, but have been doing lots of sewing. Well, I haven’t been doing either!

Over the last few months, my evenings and weekends have been spent catching up with work, preparing for the Sewing Weekender (and I didn’t take on as much in the run up as Kate or Rachel did), or with friends. Work has been especially busy, as I took on a new role at the University where I work at the same time as supporting Clearing (where students find a place with a University post A-level results). Clearing is all consuming while it’s underway, so that it not only sucks up all of your time, but also makes you into a total bore for a few months, as it is basically all you want to talk about! Sorry to everyone I bored to death talking about phone lines and call volumes…

Seamwork Loretta in Japanese Cotton

I’ve missed the acts of sewing and blogging, and I also missed being able to add to my wardrobe on a whim when I fancied something new to wear (I did order three new dresses from People Tree one evening in a sulk). Anyway, I’ve found a little time for blogging now, with sewing to follow soon.

Seamwork Loretta in Japanese Cotton

Phil is somewhat holiday obsessed and was really keen to go away for his birthday in July, but we compromised on a post-Sewing Weekender and post-Clearing long weekend in Porto in late August. Before we traveled I managed to finish this Seamwork Loretta blouse which I had started before work got crazy.

Seamwork Loretta in Japanese Cotton

This is View 1, tunic length, in the smallest size. I’m actually going to go back and cut this to top length (View 2), as I think it will be more versatile and suit me better; being small, I feel a bit drowned in the volume of fabric at this length. This top can be worn on or off the shoulders, but until the length is reduced I prefer it off the shoulders, otherwise it looks a bit proportionally unbalanced on me. One thing to note, the armholes are quite large and, when the blouse is worn on the shoulders, potentially a bit revealing.

Seamwork Loretta in Japanese Cotton

I purchased this fabric while in Tokyo earlier this year from the large Tomato store in Nippori Fabric District. It’s a lightweight cotton with a traditional-style Japanese print. I restricted my shopping to three fabrics while in Nippori, and am looking forward to sewing with the other two soon.

Seamwork Loretta in Japanese Cotton

Right, I’m off to catch up with another hobby I have neglected – social media and the newsletter for the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, which I support as a volunteer.

Seamwork Loretta in Japanese Cotton


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The Sewing Weekender 2017 Attendee Blog Posts & Vlogs

The Sewing Weekender 2017

I finally blogged a few thoughts on, and photos from, the The Sewing Weekender yesterday, but lots of attendees were much quicker. I really enjoyed reading/watching these and wanted to share. Enjoy!

Blog Posts

♥ Ann at SewWatts.

♥ Beth at The Purple Stitcher.

♥ Elena at Randomly Happy blogged about using mindfulness to blog with more joy, following her talk on the subject at the Weekender.

♥ Elle at Sew Positivity.

♥ Emily at Self Assembly Required.

♥ Emma at Crafty Clyde.

♥ Jen at Ginger Thread Girl.

♥ Kathy at Sew Dainty.

♥ Melissa at Fehr Trade. Melissa also blogged a top made with Stoff and Stil fabric from the Weekender goodie bag.

♥ Sarah at Like Sew Amazing.

♥ Victoria at Sew My Own.

Vlogs

♥  Harriet at Hobbling Handmade:

♥ Jen at Ginger Thread Girl:

♥  Sarah at Like Sew Amazing:


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The Sewing Weekender 2017 Wrap-Up

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The second Sewing Weekender, sewing holiday, took place at the start of August. As is always the way with organising events, when we started planning it seemed ages away, but it was here before we knew it and over in a flash.

The Sewing Weekender 2017

Kate, Rachel & I arrived at our venue, Murray Edwards College in Cambridge, on Friday afternoon and were kept busy until the evening setting up sewing machines, overlockers, and irons, stuffing goodie bags, and inflating balloons!

The Sewing Weekender 2017

We were joined on Saturday morning by fifty-one attendees and six prefects/speakers, for the sewing (tea drinking, fabric stroking, nattering, fabric swapping) to commence.

Over the course of the Weekender we had:

♥ Two embroidery workshops (hand-embroidery with Elisalex de Castro Peake, and machine embroidery with Elle Harris).

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥  More time for sewing, more machines, overlockers and irons than at last year’s event.

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ Even more sponsors & overflowing goodie bags.

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ Embroidered badges for every attendee (thanks to Elle Harris‘ machine embroidery workshop).

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ A mini sewing bee! Elizabeth and Susan both finished a garment during the weekend, so were set a timed challenge by Melissa and Fiona, using supplies from the swap – and completed that too!

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ Inspirational talks from our amazing prefects/speakers.

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ Two lovely golden ticket competition winners, Barbara and Vicky thanks to Sew Now Magazine and Minerva Crafts.

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ Two sewists wearing the same fabric (Rachel and Emily)!

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ A litter of of cat owners – mostly sporting cat prints (Rachel, Sarah, Bianca, Amy, Harriet, Elena, & Melissa).

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ Speedy sewists who managed to complete garments during the weekend, including Elizabeth and Emma.

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ A stroll through Cambridge in the sun (as well as one particular lunch break in torrential rain…).

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ And lots of lovely sewists!

The Sewing Weekender 2017

There’s a great atmosphere at the Weekender, and it’s the same atmosphere at sewing meet-ups small and large (as well as online): welcoming, inspiring and full of fun. Assuming people do keep wanting to come, there’s never going to be enough tickets for everyone to attend the Sewing Weekender (this year tickets sold out in less than twenty minutes), but I’d highly recommend getting to a meet-up in person as often as you can.


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The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

The Sewing Weekender took place in Cambridge this weekend!

After lots of planning and waiting it was, of course, over in a flash. I’m now home again, with a cup of tea in hand, and I thought I’d share a little reveal of the goodie bags.

On Saturday morning, attendees arrived to find a The Fold Line goodie bag, stuffed to bursting with the following:

Our principle sponsor, Adam Ross Fabrics, supplied a selection of fabrics for each attendee, including the cat fabric below (plus dodos and penguins).

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Janome, who provided the sewing machines for the Weekender, provided a goodie bag for each attendee containing a tape measure, swatch card and stationary.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Any attendees who hadn’t decided what to sew over the weekend (or who were liable to change their mind) may have been swung by their Marshmallow Dress paper pattern from CocoWawa Crafts. These patters were extra special as the lovely Ana has only just released the Marshmallow as a paper pattern – and these were hot from the printer.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Or attendees might have been tempted to make a start on their Tilly and the Buttons paper pattern! Attendees would have found a Arielle, Fifi, Orla, Martha, Marigold, or Rosa in their goodie bag.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Attendees can go home and label up their stash (and perhaps some new additions from the swap…), with fabric tags from Sew Hayley Jane, who was herself an attendee.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Plush Addict provided sewing supplies for the Weekender and beyond, in the form of Gutterman threads and elastic in a variety of shades.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

The Draper’s Daughter sent each attendee a fat quarter in one of their beautiful handwoven cotton ikats.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Sew Now Magazine provided a copy of the magazine.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Cotton Reel Studio supplied attendees with a set of pins.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Simply Sewing Magazine provided a copy for every attendee.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Sew Crafty provided a Dressmaking Journal, ideal for attendees to document all of the additional garments they wanted to make by the end of the weekend! (P.S. Sew Crafty also sell craft, and knitting/crochet journals, so all of your crafts are covered).

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Stoff and Stil sent attendees one metre of their woven navy bird-print viscose, plus haberdashery supplies.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Simplicity sent plush toy sewing patterns.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Lucy from Sew Essential joined us at the weekend, and provided each attendee with a handy guide to different fabric types, plus a selection of threads.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Abakhan sent pocket sewing kits, plus shopping bags.

 

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Plus attendees took away a range of discount codes, including from Beyond Measure for post Weekender shopping.


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Lakeside Pajamas

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

Despite making most of my clothes, these are only the third pair of pyjamas I have sewn! Maybe one day I’ll reach the point where my wardrobe feels relatively complete and I’m happy to spend my sewing time making nightwear and underwear, but I’m definitely not there yet; however, I was in need of some new summer pjs and rather than buy RTW I thought it was time to temporarily put down the dress patterns and revisit pyjama patterns instead.

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

These are Grainline Studio’s Lakeside Pajamas in a lovely soft textured cotton which I purchased from John Lewis haberdashery during the #fmbham sewing meet-up in Birmingham, organised by Samantha and Bianca. I hadn’t decided which pattern I was going to make until the meet-up, when Ben suggested the Lakeside Pajamas. I’m really glad he did, as I love the design of these. I love that the top keeps you covered up at the front, but is interesting/mildly revealing at the back.

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

I’m typically one or two pattern sizes smaller at the bust than at the waist/hips. A set like this is perfect as it allows me to cut two separate sizes, rather than needing to grade between them. I cut a 0 in the top and 4 in the shorts, and the fit is spot on.

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

I thought matching binding would look best with this fabric so suffered through making metres of it, but would definitely prefer to buy pre-made. A little secret, I didn’t actually have enough fabric left to cut bias strips (or, at best, I would have had to join loads of short strips together) so just cut strips of fabric along the grainline. As a result, my straps/edges potentially have a little less drape, but I don’t think it’s noticeable. Making/attaching the binding is definitely the most time consuming part of making this garment, but even so they sew up pretty quickly.

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

Work – and everything else – is really busy, so I’ve had less time to be creative lately. Attending Yarningham festival, and a brioche stitch workshop with Renée Callahan, last weekend, reminded me how much I enjoy knitting, leading me to start a new scarf project which is well underway; blogging these pyjamas has reminded me how much I want to get behind my sewing machine again very soon too.

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas


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Resurrected Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

This is the Simple Sew Patterns Grace Dress, which was a freebie with a previous issue of Love Sewing Magazine.

Simple Sew Grace Dress

I’m currently very fond of this dress for a few reasons. Firstly, I made it using a yellow and white cotton/polyester brocade which I won in a little giveaway on Madalynne’s blog. The piece I won was leftover from an adorable two piece set Madalynne made, and which she recently revised in a blog post.

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Secondly, I made it especially for a fun little overnight trip to London some months back, and wore it out to party. In typical fashion, I decided to make it for the trip at the last minute, and – from memory – sewed it mostly in one evening. Which leads me on to…

Cannon Hill Park

Thirdly, this dress was brought back from the brink, and given a second chance to live a fulfilling garmenty life. I didn’t realise until I had almost finished making this dress, that the fabric is quite delicate and frays significantly. My overlocker happened to be playing up at the time, and I was attempting to finish it quick to wear out, so I make the decision to wear it out and that afterwards I would hand wash it and overlock the seams.

That plan would have been fine, however I didn’t let Phil in on it, and he threw the dress in the washing machine. My poor dress emerged from the machine ripped in a number of places along both sides of the waistband.

Simple Sew Grace Dress

I allowed sufficient time to sulk, then went back, unpicked the zip and bodice lining, and overlocked the bodice and skirt to the waistband. During the surgery I was attempting to lose as little fabric as possible, which has left the waistband somewhat wonky, and messed up the skirt gathers, but it’s meant this dress has made it past it’s first wear!

Simple Sew Grace Dress

I get a bit of gaping at the front of the armholes which I’ll need to address if making it again, but this is a cute simple party dress, and works really well in a stiffer fabric like this brocade.

It’s pictured in a couple of these photos with a new favourite lace cardigan from People Tree, in 100% cotton, hand knitted in Nepal.

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress