english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England

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Alternative Holiday Gift Guide: Pledges & Donations for Makers

I love a sewing-themed Christmas gift guide, but I thought it might be equally interesting to share some places you can currently donate/pledge to support sewing-themed campaigns. Four ways to show your support, and receive a little something in return too!

♥ Stitch in Time

Royal Shakespeare Company Costume Department

The Royal Shakespeare Company is currently raising money to restore and redevelop their dedicated costume department in Stratford-upon-Avon. I was lucky enough to visit the Costume Department last year – you can read about my visit in an article I wrote for Seamwork magazine or on my blog.

The Stitch in Time campaign aims to allow the RSC to maintain and develop what is the largest in-house costume making department of any British theatre. Supporters (£30+) will receive invites to events about the project and costume making. Find out more or donate here.

William Whiteley & Sons EXO Scissors

EXO trio on black

I’m a great lover of a heritage British-made product (see my previous blog post about Ernest Wright & Son); William Whiteley & Sons, based in Sheffield, are the UK’s oldest manufacturers of scissors and shears, since 1760.

The company previously sold to trade only, but have recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to sell a new product (EXO tailors shears) direct to consumers. The Kickstarter campaign has already met its target, but there are still a few days left if you would like to get your hands on a pair of these scissors. Reportedly lighter and more ergonomic, the scissors have a nice modern (and unisex) look, and can be engraved for a small additional cost. Visit the Kickstarter page for more information.

Freesewing Patron


As someone who works in (or, at least on the periphery of) IT, I’m always really impressed by what Joost has created with Freesewing.org. In addition to sharing the open-source code for the site, and free sewing patterns, Freesewing also raises money for charity. You can now show some love to Joost and the other contributors, and donate to Freesewing’s chosen charity/charities, by becoming a Patron and making a small monthly donation.

For more info, read this blog post, and then visit the sign-up page.

In the Folds Printed Patterns


Emily of In the Folds has launched a Kickstarter campaign to produce printed versions of her – currently PDF only – patterns. The Kickstarter campaign is beautifully presented and I love Emily’s aesthetic. I recently made the free Jumpsuit pattern, and am looking forward to trying more In the Folds patterns (P.S. seven of the patterns are free!).

The Kickstarter campaign has already met its target, but there is still time to get your hands on a pattern or one of the other rewards. Visit the Kickstarter page for more information.



British Craft Awards Nomination & Elsewhere

I heard today that I have been nominated for Sewing Blog of the Year in the 2017 British Craft Awards, ‘Sewing’ category!

My blog has never been shortlisted for anything similar before, so it’s very nice to be included and there are some great blogs in the list.

Voting is now open at www.britishcraftawards.com (with a prize draw to win one of 5 x £100 Amazon vouchers), until 20th December 2016.


♥ I’ve booked a ticket for The Dressmakers Ball in Leicester next May – it sounds like it’s going to be a great night, and a great excuse to sew up an impractical frock.

♥ I love these natural dyeing themed postcards from Pompom Quarterly.

♥ I have a few knitting projects on the needles, but I’m looking forward to making a start on Ella Gordon’s Hap Cowl very soon.

♥ People Tree are crowdfunding to upskill partners to produce Tencel in a closed loop process, and ethically produce garments from the fabric. Interesting stuff.

♥  shiftWorks exhibition at the National Centre for Craft and Design (12 Nov-08 Jan), twelve textile artists celebrate the shift dress.

♥  ‘Luxury brands feed demand for return of UK’s cotton and knitwear mills‘ in the Guardian.


Sudley Blouse & Elsewhere

Megan Nielsen Sudley Blouse in Liberty Lawn

I recently had the opportunity to pattern test Megan Nielsen’s newest pattern, the Sudley Dress and Blouse. These photos are of the blouse I made using the test version of the pattern; Megan made a few changes to the final version of the pattern which it’s worth noting: reducing the size of the keyhole opening, and lowering the neckline.

Megan Nielsen Sudley Blouse in Liberty Lawn

The pattern is a loose fitting blouse or dress (with loads of variations), which is reversible. I’m wearing it here with the keyhole at the back (which is my personal preference in this version), but it can also be worn at the front. I’ve included the peter pan collar, but it can be left off for a sleeker silhouette.

Megan Nielsen Sudley Blouse in Liberty Lawn

I managed to squeeze this test version out of a small piece of fabric from my stash. I bought the fabric as a remnant from Birmingham Rag Market, but I’m pretty sure it’s Liberty tana lawn. I previously used the same fabric to make a Branson Top.

Because it needs to be loose fitting in order to be reversible, the Sudley pattern would actually suit a drapey fabric better than this cotton lawn – which results in a more boxy silhouette (Megan makes the same recommendation in her launch post). For my second version, I’m thinking a solid-coloured silk, or nice quality poly, with just the keyhole opening and ties.

Megan Nielsen Sudley Blouse in Liberty Lawn

For reference I made Version 1 in a size XS.

Megan Nielsen Sudley Blouse in Liberty Lawn


♥ In other news, I was really thrilled to be selected as a prize winner in Hannah Fettig’s recent #WeWearKnitbot Fashion Show. The competition was to style an outfit, which said something about you, around a garment made using one of Hannah’s patterns. As it happened, I had already made the Hancock cardigan as part of my One Year One Outfit ensemble. Hannah has created a gallery of all the entries, which is great for inspiring your next knitting project!

♥ Hannah is also hosting a knit-along on instagram during May, for her Point of View Vest. It’s a lovely summer pattern, designed to be knit in linen. I have Blacker Yarns Lyonesse left over from knitting Hancock, so I’m going to cast on using it – tempting as it is to buy new yarn!

Megan Nielsen Sudley Blouse in Liberty Lawn

♥ The free pattern for this year’s Shetland Wool Week, Crofthoose by this year’s patron Ella Gordon is totally adorable.

♥ If you live local to me (Birmingham, England), there are some cool local wooly events coming up: Yarnigham, a new yarn festival in July, TOFTFest to celebrate ten years of TOFT alpaca farm and yarn company in August, and Debbie Bliss will be at City Knits in Bourneville on Yarn shop Day (April 30).

Megan Nielsen Sudley Blouse in Liberty Lawn

♥ It’s Fashion Revolution Week, next week (18-24 April), and Emily from In The Folds is organising an online/instagram dialogue: Makers for Fashion Revolution.

♥ Safia Minney has released a new book, Slow Fashion: Aesthetics Meets Ethics. I’ve only just started reading, but it looks like a really interesting mix of profiles, interviews and essays. You can currently get a free copy if you spend over £70 at People Tree (with code SFBOOK1, until April 24).

♥ A new (online-only) fabric shop has opened local to me, Adam Ross Fabrics. They are offering 20% off first purchase with code, ENGLISHGIRLUK, no minimum spend.



Fabric Scraps Weaving & Elsewhere

Fabric Scraps Weaving

This is my first attempt at weaving, using a children’s loom kit and off-cuts from recent sewing projects, retrieved from my scraps bin. The children’s loom only allows for a small number of warp threads so I’ve made a larger loom and I’m planning a larger weaving with my naturally dyed yarns.

Fabric Scraps Weaving


♥ Are you joining in with Heather’s Sundress Sew-along (01st July – 31st August)? You can sew any sundress, who could resist!

♥ I’m also planning to take part in the Sewcialists Lingerie Sewing Month during July.

♥ And… the International Anna Party taking place on Instagram (17th – 18th July). (P.S. Elle now has a blog – yay).

♥ I love the crafty merit badges released for Fancy Tiger Crafts’ 9-year anniversary.

♥ Oh wow, Yoshimi made parasols!

♥ Shenmue 3 is going to be made! I didn’t think it would ever happen. Show their Kickstarter campaign some love.

♥ Fringe Association have a 3rd hatalong, with a lovely free pattern Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston

♥ I’m still rewatching this retro Game of Thrones video game that never actually existed, Gamey Throne, via Ashens. I’m also playing the Telltale Games Game of Thrones game and loving it.

♥ Woolful is hosting a Knitalong for Hannah Fettig’s new book, Home and Away. My copy just arrived and I can’t wait to get started. I think I’m going to start with Hancock.

♥ Andi Satterlund’s new collection Quiet Days is beautiful. I love the Conservatory Cardigan and I didn’t know I needed a vest until I saw the Nosegay Vest.

Wool People 9 is out. Gyre is just lovely.

♥ Do you follow Harry on instagram? I love his illustrations so was very excited when he illustrated me. I’m wearing my Clemence Skirt, with cacti illustration.

Illustration by Harry.jpn
Illustration by Harry.jpn

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Knitting all of the Time & Elsewhere

Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf in progress

When I started knitting over Christmas 2013, It was to have a more portable hobby to take away with me when travelling, and I did only knit on planes and trains. Lately, however, partly due to subscribing to multiple knitting podcasts, I’ve really become passionate about knitting and am now knitting every day. As a result, I’ve completed nearly as many knitting projects in the last couple as months (yet to be blogged), as I had in the previous year and a bit since I first learned to knit.

I get my knitting fix while commuting to and from work everyday (plus a little in the evening while watching tv). I catch four trains a day (two to work, two home), all of which are busy. I’ve found that the secret to successful knitting while commuting is circulars. They’re super portable, they’re nice and short so you’re less likely to elbow the person sat next to you, and they’re highly unlikely to be confiscated at customs when flying (in my experience straights don’t get confiscated either, but are more likely to trigger a bag check). I’m knitting everything on circulars lately – socks (DPNs were recommended by the pattern), a hat, gloves, and currently a scarf (all of these patterns recommended straights). Next up in my knitting queue is a cardigan, and I expect to be knitting that on circulars too.


♥ I adore Home and Away, the new pattern book from Knitbot, Hannah Fettig. I’ve added Hancock, Lesley & the Rosemont Cardigan to my Ravelry queue.

♥ Have you seen BritYarn? It’s a new online wool shop selling British wool, patterns and knitting accessories. I’m largely sticking to British wool currently, as a result of taking part in Nicki’s #1year1outfit project, so it’s ideal for me.

♥ Thanks to Marcy, Bloglovin’ now has a sewing category!

♥ As part of Shetland Wool Week, Donna Smith has designed an amazing Baa-ble Hat knitting pattern. It’s free to download on the Wool Week website.

♥ I can’t wait to try the new Lyonesse Linen Blend yarn from Blacker Yarns, perfect for summer knitting (assuming we ever get some warm weather).

The True Cost movie has now been released and is available for online download. The scenes of contaminated water pouring out of factories made the biggest impact on me.