english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England

2015 in One Blog Post

11 Comments

Stylish Party Dresses V Mini Dress in Liberty Silk at Musee Rodin
I’m lucky to be able to take two weeks off work over Christmas, but it always goes really quickly, so before I go back to work – and back to normal – tomorrow I thought it would be good to do a wrap-up of 2015.

During 2015 I managed to complete all of the sewing projects below, which are also listed on my My Makes page, plus a number of projects I am yet to blog.

Handmade Tie using Purl Soho free pattern      Freehand Fashion Pencil Skirt      Self Drafted Polo Shirt Dress      Linden Sweatshirt Dress in Liberty Fleece      Linden Sweatshirt in Bruges

Sew Over It Anderson Blouse in Spotty Crepe      Stylish Party Dresses V Mini Dress in Liberty Silk      Sew Over It Joan Dress in Mustard Crepe      Refashioners 2015 Shirt Dress      Paprika Patterns Onyx Shirt, Double Gauze Dyed with Biden Flowers

Lou Lou Dress Sewing Pattern Version B (early version) by English Girl at Home      True Bias Southport Dress in Liberty fabric      Boudoir Blushes Camisole and French Knickers from the Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Book      Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam      Lou Lou Dress Sewing Pattern Version A by English Girl at Home

Lou Lou Dress Sewing Pattern Version B by English Girl at Home      Lou Lou Dress Sewing Pattern Version C by English Girl at Home      Pompom Blouse from She Wears the Pants      Homemade Espadrilles      Branson Top by Lily Sage & Co

Paprika Patterns Onyx Shirt, Double Gauze Dyed with Paprika      Tilly and the Buttons Clémence Skirt, in Copenhagen, Denmark      Customised Denim Skirt with Sashiko Style Stitches      #SewSolidarity Ilsley Skirt      Screenprinted Morrissey SBCC Tonic Tee

Goldstream Peacoat - Thread Theory      Linden Sweatshirt      Marbled Pink Carolyn Pajamas      Balloon Skirt from Stylish Skirts, Sato Watanabe      Floral Linden Sweatshirt

Linden Sweatshirt, Grainline Studio in Brussels, Belgium      Quilted Zip-up Jacket, from Basic Black by Sato Watanabe      Black & White Wool Oslo Cardigan

I learned to knit over Christmas 2013, but this year knitting became something I do daily (on my commute to work) for the first time. Because of this I now knit as often as I sew and love it (probably) equally. I also started to feel like a ‘knitter’ (e.g. like I knew what I was doing) for the first time, rather than a total beginner.

Blacker Yarns Cornish Tin 4-Ply

A key interest for me in 2015 was my Naturally Dyed Wardrobe project, where I explored using natural dyes in my dressmaking. I loved experimenting with natural dyes and am planning to continue this year, both growing/foraging dye plants and using extracts. I only had limited successful growing dye plants in 2015 (my biden plants did brilliantly, but the woad was a total failure) so am planning to order seeds from Wild Colours and try again in 2016. All of my posts on the subject can be found here.

Naturally Dyed Yarn

My interest in natural dyeing led me to join the Birmingham branch of the Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers, become interested in weaving and spinning, and purchase my first fleece – all things I’m looking forward to exploring further this year.  I’ve really enjoyed attending Guild meetings and learning loads from the other members. Birmingham also has Knitting & Crochet, and Embroiders’ guilds which I fancy joining, but may struggle to squeeze in.

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The other key project I participated in this year was One Year One Outfit organised by Nicki. The aim for participants was to make an outfit from local sources, I chose to use British fibres, rather than limiting myself to a section of the country. It was fascinating to explore what is produced in the UK, and to generally learn more about production processes. All of my blogged #1year1outfit makes can be found here, and I’ll do a wrap up later this month as I have a couple more to share. I’m already signed up to participate in One Year One Outfit again in 2016 (sign-up is here), and, as a result of taking part, have generally become obsessed with British fibres in my sewing and knitting.

WestKnits Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf by Stephen West

I released my first sewing pattern, the Lou Lou Dress, and a Sewcialist necklace with local artist Working Clasp.

Lou Lou Dress Logo

I organised the second SewBrum meet-up which took place in October (on Halloween in fact), was attended by around 100 attendees, and raised £554 for the Made Up Initiative. I also got the chance to attend a couple of London meet-ups, including The Foldline launch party and meeting Nicki and Ute during their visit to the UK, and attended the latest #CCBloggers meet-up in Derby.

#nickiandutevisitlondon Meet-Up August 2015

Me and Phil travelled to Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, Bruges, and Brussels, plus I briefly visited Amsterdam for work. We’ve booked to visit Reykjavik, New York and Boston in March 2016, which I’m really looking forward to. I’ve started planning the trip by reading Seamwork articles, blog posts and guidebooks, but if you have any recommendations or would be free to meet-up do let me know.

Tilly and the Buttons Clémence Skirt, in Copenhagen, Denmark

In 2015 I had two articles published in Seamwork Magazine, with two more already in the works for this year. In keeping with my interest in British fibres these were profiles of TOFT yarn company (article here) and Cluny Lace (article here). Photographing alpaca in the sun at TOFT was one of the most enjoyable days of the year.

TOFT Luxury British Knitting Company Alpaca Farm

In 2015 I also basically stopped buying RTW (although I still have plenty in my wardrobe as my clothes typically last me years, plus I received clothes off family as gifts). I never particularly made a conscious decision to do so, I’ve just reached the point where I feel capable of making most of the clothes I need. I still enjoy going clothes ‘shopping’ but now it’s more with an eye to future sewing projects, or for Phil as I’m never going to have time to sew his clothes too.

Huge thanks for reading, commenting & following. As much as I enjoy sewing/knitting/blogging for their own sakes I also do them because I love being part of this community. I follow over 400 blogs (I think – is it just me or it had to see the total number in Bloglovin’?) and even more instagram accounts & love seeing what everyone is making and doing. I’m not making any specific plans for 2016, as I prefer not to plan ahead too much when it comes to my hobbies (I do enough of that at work, as a project manager). But I’m hoping for an equally varied mix of projects – plus time for my other hobbies, which include gaming, comics, and old movies.

Charlotte x

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Author: Charlotte

Sewist, crafter & blogger, based in Birmingham, England. I'm spending the year growing and gathering to create natural dyes and enhance my sewing projects. Find me at www.englishgirlathome.com

11 thoughts on “2015 in One Blog Post

  1. Looks like a pretty good year to me. I hadn’t heard of one year one outfit before, but I’m thinking of signing up.
    Hope 2016 is good for you.

  2. I’m a bit of a lurker, but do live in the NYC area and can recommend many a yarn shop, and a few fabric places as well. If a NYC meet-up gets going, I’d love to participate–or if not, I’d love the chance to show you around!

  3. Loved hearing your year summed up, Charlotte. Sounds amazing. I love the way you found time to immerse yourself further by learning more about the processes.And your photography is awesome too btw! I’m so glad that I got to meet you last year. 🙂

    • Thanks! The photography comment is much appreciated given how amazing your pictures always look – I’m always very impressed with your lovely locations. I do ok with locations when on holiday but otherwise normally end up in the garden. Great to meet you & hopefully will get a chance to meet up again soon x

  4. Sounds like a good year 🙂 Excited to read some of your posts about British fibres and fabrics now!

  5. I recently discovered your blog when looking for information on natural dyeing and love it. I’m so impressed that you are RTW free. I’m slowly working towards that point. I’ve been a knitter for years but only an average seamstress so that’s where I’m focussing my efforts currently. Thanks for introducing me to some grand projects and resources, like Seamwork. All the best for 2016!

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