english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Pilatus Swimsuit on Holiday

Opian Pilatus Swimsuit in Liberty fabric

Pattern: Opian Pilatus

Time taken (excluding cutting out): 6 hours

Fabric: Liberty ‘Santa Monica Brighton Swim Regenerated Nylon’

Opian Pilatus Swimsuit in Liberty fabric

August and September have been a busy couple of months for me with a week’s weaving course, The Sewing Weekender, jeans making and ply split braiding workshops, and a holiday to Croatia. Today I’m finally having a quiet Saturday at home with time for video gaming (I bought myself Untitled Goose Game this morning), blogging, and – later on with any luck – some sewing. I might make a start on the Alice & Co Mary Quant-inspired Georgie Dress if I have a suitable fabric in my stash.

Opian Pilatus Swimsuit in Liberty fabric

After my weaving course and the Sewing Weekender, Phil suggested that perhaps we should go on holiday together for a change! I put in a request for somewhere sunny and near the sea as I fancied another go at sewing a swimsuit, specifically the Opian Pilatus sewing pattern.

Opian Pilatus Swimsuit in Liberty fabric

My Pilatus was inspired by the lovely versions by Katie and Linda in particular. I love the cut-outs, the high waist and that front tie. It is a really straightforward pattern to put together – the bodice is self-lined meaning that it’s not even necessary to attach elastic in the top, just at the edges of the bottoms. Following a couple of projects which seemed to take forever (but probably didn’t, just lots of short sewing sessions) I’ve started timing how long my sewing projects are taking for my own interest. Excluding cutting out, this project took me six hours, which I think is pretty reasonable for a swimsuit.

Opian Pilatus Swimsuit in Liberty fabric

This is the second swimsuit I have sewn, following a Bombshell Swimsuit in 2014. My sewing skills have increased enormously since 2014 (I only started garment sewing in earnest in 2013) – as have my blog pictures, check out those original Bombshell swimsuit pics in the garden. My Bombshell turned out perfectly wearable, and I still wear it, but I did struggle with getting a good fit. This time around I found swimsuit sewing straightforward. I cut a size 2/4, grading between sizes at the waist, with no changes to the pattern.

Opian Pilatus Swimsuit in Liberty fabric

The fabric is a Liberty swim-suiting fabric in print ‘Santa Monica’ and fabric type ‘Brighton Swim’. I bought it in a half-price sale (it’s still available if you’re quick) from the Liberty website. I’m really impressed by the quality of the fabric, it’s opaque, a good weight, and dries quickly once out of the water. The fabric I used for my Bombshell wasn’t really a swimsuiting fabric – I think it was probably intended for leotards or dance costumes. It works ok for a swimsuit but it takes ages to dry. This Liberty fabric feels so professional in comparison, which makes a huge difference to making my Pilatus feel well made.

Opian Pilatus Swimsuit in Liberty fabric

Excuse the number of pictures. I wore this swimsuit in Croatia to swim in the hotel pool, the ocean, and a salt lake on Lokrum Island. All of the locations were so beautiful that I couldn’t resist requesting a few more pictures (from Phil) each time.

Opian Pilatus Swimsuit in Liberty fabric
Opian Pilatus Swimsuit in Liberty fabric
Opian Pilatus Swimsuit in Liberty fabric
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The Sewing Weekender 2019

The Sewing Weekender 2019
The Sewing Weekender 2019

I dashed off on holiday on the Tuesday after the Sewing Weekender (and pestered Phil to take a lot of photos while away; blog posts to follow when I get a chance!), but now that I’m home I’ve had time to edit the photos and video from the Sewing Weekender, which are shared below and on my YouTube channel.

This was the fourth Sewing Weekender, jointly organised by Kate, Rachel and me. We’ve kept some things the same each year – including our location at Murray Edwards College in Cambridge – but there are also a few changes each year. The same applies to our attendees; this year 33% of attendees had attended before, with 67% of attendees new to the Weekender.

Each year we are joined by a number of speakers from the sewing community and this year we heard talks from Juliet Uzor of Sew So Natural about the Sewing Bee and sewing with wax print fabric, Alexandra Bruce and Caroline Akselson of Selkie Patterns on sustainable sewing, Tara Viggo of Paper Theory on leaving the fashion industry to start her own business, and Nina Chang of Nina Lee Loves and Nina Lee Patterns on sewing wedding dresses (both her own and for others).

We were also joined by The New Craft House who ran a mini version of their popular knicker-making workshops for some of our attendees (sponsored by Spoonflower).

Each year there is a pattern or two which is ‘most worn’ during the weekend and this year it was (perhaps unsurprisingly) the Zadie Jumpsuit and Myosotis Dress. Sewing Weekender stalwarts Melissa, Susan and Elizabeth created their own Sewing Weekender bingo card (pictured below) with some of the patterns and fabric most likely to be sewn. They almost managed to complete the card, but never did spot anyone breaking a needle!

As ever, multiple attendees were much quicker to blog or vlog about the event, and/or what they made during the Weekender. You can view their posts at the links below:

Adelle at Button & Piphttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFF0dClZ1JA

Hayley at Sew Hayley Janehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXVyhYjN5Yo

Kealy at Voice of a Creativehttps://youtu.be/olpkWCydvSM

Laura at Material Girl Laurahttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSHlb2wILpY

Melissa at Fehr Tradehttp://blog.fehrtrade.com/gallery/6189/an-orange-zadie-jumpsuit-sewn-in-a-day/

Nina at Tales of the Sewing City: https://talesofthesewingcity.wordpress.com/2019/09/01/sewing-weekender-2019/

Susan at Susan Young Sewinghttps://susanyoungsewing.wordpress.com/2019/09/09/sidewinder-pants-by-the-sewing-revival/

Tamlyn at Sewn on the Tynehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0s_GcUmwvqQ

Thanks again to our attendees, overall sponsor Minerva, and sponsors:

Afternoon Patterns / Avid Seamstress / Beyond Measure / Bobbins & Bolts / Chalk & Notch / Closet Case Patterns / Clothkits / ClothSpot / CocoWawa / Crafty Sew & So / DP Studio / Escape & Create / Experimental Space / Fehr Trade / Guthrie & Ghani / Happy Fabric UK / I Am Patterns / Janome / Like Sew Amazing / Loubodu Fabrics / Maven Patterns / Monaluna / Named / Pavillion & Batsford / Pink Coat Club / Pound Fabrics / Prym / Sewbox / Sew Essential / Sew Hayley Jane / Sew House Seven / Sew Me Something / Sew Me Sunshine / Spoonflower / Victory Patterns / Village Haberdashery / Wearology

The Sewing Weekender 2019
The Sewing Weekender 2019
The Sewing Weekender 2019
The Sewing Weekender 2019
The Sewing Weekender 2019
The Sewing Weekender 2019
The Sewing Weekender 2019
The Sewing Weekender 2019
The Sewing Weekender 2019
The Sewing Weekender 2019
The Sewing Weekender 2019
The Sewing Weekender 2019
The Sewing Weekender 2019
The Sewing Weekender 2019
The Sewing Weekender 2019


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Sewing Weekender 2019 Goodie Bags

Sewing Weekender 2019 Goodie Bags

The Sewing Weekender 2019 takes place in Cambridge this weekend! I’ve been out this morning to collect the hire van which I’ll use to transport the contents of the goodie bags (plus irons, ironing boards, and decorations) to our venue.

Before I set off I wanted to share the contents of the goodie bags with our attendees (and anyone else who is interested in having a snoop!). I’ve filmed a vlog which you can watch below or on my YouTube Channel.

Thank you again to our sponsors. A full list of sponsors & contributions to the goodie bags is provided below:

Afternoon Patterns – Patterns & pin badges

Avid Seamstress – 10% discount code & ‘I’m an Avid Seamstress’ pencil

Beyond Measure – 10% discount code

Bobbins & Bolts

Chalk & Notch

Closet Case Patterns – 20% discount code

Clothkits

ClothSpot

CocoWawa – 20% discount code

Crafty Sew & So – 15% discount code & badge

Sewing Weekender 2019 Goodie Bags

DP Studio – 10% discount code, patterns & pattern catalogues

Escape & Create – 15% discount code

Experimental Space – Coasters

Fehr Trade – 20% discount code & woven zipper pull

Guthrie & Ghani – 10% discount code off fabric ordered online

Happy Fabric UK

I Am Patterns – Buy-one-get-one-free code

Janome – Pen, tape measure, coaster & flyers

Like Sew Amazing – 15% discount code

Loubodu Fabrics

Sewing Weekender 2019 Goodie Bags

Maven Patterns – 10% discount code & buttons

Minerva

Monaluna

Named – 20% discount code

Pavillion & Batsford – ‘Mend & Patch’ booklet & catalogue of craft titles

Pink Coat Club – Stickers & discount code

Pound Fabrics – Flyer

Prym

Sewbox

Sew Essential – 15% discount code

Sew Hayley Jane – 10% discount code & magazine

Sew House Seven

Sew Me Something – PDF bag pattern download code

Sew Me Sunshine – Woven label & 10% discount code

Spoonflower – Fabric bases sample book, London shopping guide & stickers

Victory Patterns

Village Haberdashery – £5 gift voucher

Wearology

Sewing Weekender 2019 Goodie Bags


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August Sewing Zine Vlog

August Sewing Zine

I’ve uploaded a new vlog about what I’ve been up to this month, including the tweed and tartan weaving course I attended a few weeks ago.

View it below or via my YouTube channel:

Mentioned in the vlog:

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers summer school

My weaving tutor, Jan Beadle Textiles

Closet Case Patterns, Ginger Jeans

#ogdenidaswap2019

True Bias, Ogden Cami

Opian, Pilatus Swimsuit

Guthrie & Ghani shop opening in April 2013


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My First Weavers, Spinners, & Dyers Summer School & First Woven Scarf

Handwoven tartan scarf

In the last few years, I’ve become fairly involved with the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers. I sit on the General Purpose Committee (since 2016), produce the Association’s monthly newsletter and manage the social media accounts (including the Instagram account). The Association has a very traditional structure where membership is to a local guild (I’m a member of Birmingham Guild), with local guilds affiliated to the Association (not the easiest when you are newsletter editor but only have one contact per guild). Within Birmingham Guild, I’ve recently jointly taken on the role of programme secretary with a fellow guild member, and am helping (in a very small way) with preparations for the region hosting a biennial conference in 2020.

Handwoven tartan scarf

Given that I am so involved with the Association, it dawned on me the other day when someone asked me, that I can’t really remember why or how I joined! I think I must have found out about Birmingham Guild online when looking for craft groups meeting locally & decided to give it a try. I know that I kept going because I felt welcomed and part of the group right from the start. The women (predominantly, there are only a couple of men) at my guild are a really fun and inspiring bunch, who I wouldn’t have gotten to know otherwise. I do think one of the best parts of getting older is becoming a member of an increasing number of groups or communities.

Handwoven tartan scarf

I’m sure most members of the Association would think of themselves as either a weaver, spinner or dyer (or a combination of the three). I like to try all three crafts during workshops, but I’ve never really taken up any as a hobby. I’ve never felt that I needed to, I’m happy to be involved and to just be a dabbler, but it was exciting to attend a week long weaving course last week and to find it completely accessible and enjoyable – and a potential new hobby. Obviously, I am always open to a new hobby!

Handwoven tartan scarf

The Association coordinates a summer school, organised entirely by volunteer guild members, every other year. As a member of the GPC I receive lots of updates during the planning stages, and this time around it proved too tempting to resist applying when booking opened. I was one of 194 students, with 40% of us attending for the first time (in contrast, Sally, a fellow student on my course, had been a student at nine summer schools!). The course I picked was Weaving Tweeds and Tartan with tutor Jan Beadle which was taught over five full days, with talks, exhibitions and other evening events making up the remainder of the seven day summer school.

Handwoven tartan scarf
Handwoven tartan scarf

I’ll blog separately about the course, but one of the pieces I came away with was this finished woven tartan scarf. We started by selecting the colours for our tartans early in the week, from the selection of wool yarns Jan supplied, made a decision on the pattern repeat, prepared the warp threads, wove the fabric, and finally finished by creating plaited tassels. The width of my scarf on the loom was 12.25″ but once off the loom, relaxed and washed , it is around 10.5″, and over two metres in length. The weaving of the scarf was completed within a day, with approximately half a day before to prepare the loom, and a few hours the following day finishing off (trimming and plaiting the tassels).

Handwoven tartan scarf
Handwoven tartan scarf

Once home, I washed the scarf by hand, air dryed it, and gave it a good firm press with a hot iron and lots of steam. The wool used isn’t super soft, but it’s soft enough (for me) to wear against the skin. Obviously it’s not quite the same when you haven’t got a teacher in the room to ask for help, but the whole process of weaving, and preparing to weave (definitely the more complicated part), this scarf felt completely accessible and repeatable. I’m currently considering buying a loom similar to the one I used on the course, but in the meantime I have two woven samples, also created during the course, which I am planning to cut and sew with. I have over two metres in total (narrow width) so plenty of fabric to play with if I can decide on a pattern or two.


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Woven Kielo

Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Cotton Sateen from Minerva Crafts

I’ve had more time to sew recently as a result of both having a more relaxed job, and Phil starting an online undergraduate degree (in computer science) which is keeping him busy most evenings. Once Phil is settled down to study I’m turning to my sewing projects in the evenings much more often than I have previously, as opposed to watching Father Ted/Red Dwarf/Blackadder on repeat, which is what usually happens when we both have a free evening.

Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Cotton Sateen from Minerva Crafts

With my additional sewing time, I’ve made some of those new release patterns which take the sewing community by storm and have to be started immediately, and I’ve also made some of those patterns which have been on my to-sew list for years, including the Kielo wrap dress which has been on my list since it was first released back in 2014.

Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Cotton Sateen from Minerva Crafts

The particular motivation to get on with finally trying out the Kielo pattern was the offer of this cream and black Stretch Cotton Sateen Fabric from Minerva Crafts as part of their Maker Team. I remember the launch of their Blogger Network well so it was fun to contribute my first post, which is now live here. I actually managed to write about the construction of the dress, rather than my normal blog waffling (as evidenced here), so check out the MC blog for actual construction details.

Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Cotton Sateen from Minerva Crafts

The fabric is a medium weight woven which emphasises the silhouette of the Kielo in a way I really like, although it needs a short jacket in cooler weather as paired with a longer one the silhouette looks a bit frumpy. After waiting 5 years to try the Kielo (and given that it took all of two evenings to sew) I think that another version at least is called for, and I’m keen to try the pattern in a lightweight knit for a different silhouette. I cut a straight size 10, reduced the length (by 9 inches) and consequently increased the height of the vent.

Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Cotton Sateen from Minerva Crafts

These photos were taken during a recent trip to London after Phil won two free tickets to see The Who at Wembly Stadium! I’m well aware of the many ways I am lucky, but lately I’ve been lucky in the competition-winning sense. Long may it continue!

Named Kielo Wrap Dress in Cotton Sateen from Minerva Crafts


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Paper Bag Waist Trousers

Simplicity 8605 Trousers

Just a quick blog post today to share a pair of trousers which I made (and photographed) almost exactly one year ago, but never did share on the blog.

Simplicity 8605 Trousers

These are Simplicity 8605, which were part of Simplicity’s 2018 Spring collection, made in a super soft chambray fabric from Guthrie & Ghani. They’re paired here with a Paprika Patterns Onyx woven tee.

Simplicity 8605 Trousers

I do love a paper bag waist and I also love a quick and easy sewing pattern so I clearly need to make more of these trousers. I wore these non-stop last summer, and now that the weather has warmed up here in the UK I’ve been wearing them lots again. I might have a browse through the stash and see what fabric I have that is suitable for a second pair.

Simplicity 8605 Trousers

The pattern is as simple as it looks; five pattern pieces for the trousers, and four for the skirt also included in the pattern. The paper bag waist is created by attaching a casing, containing two rows of elastic, to the waist of the trousers. They are extra easy to fit. The legs are loose, and you can control the width of the waist by the length of the elastic you add. I appear to have made these in size Small, which according to the pattern envelope is smaller than my measurements, and they fit great.

Simplicity 8605 Trousers