english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Handmade Christmas Stockings

Handmade Christmas Stocking
I’ve been meaning to make Christmas stockings for a few years but for some reason – given that they are a pretty quick make – have never gotten around to it. This year I finally made a pair for myself and Phil.

I made the pattern for the stockings myself (e.g. I drew a large sock shape and cut the fabric around that to ensure the sizing was consistent).
Handmade Christmas Stocking
I purchased the rather amazing fabric and the ribbon from Guthrie and Ghani. The fabric is Hip Holidays by Josephine Kimberling. I love that it isn’t immediately obvious that it is a Christmas print – it takes a second glance to realise. I actually purchased it at the Guthrie & Ghani Christmas Party. The shop had been decked out for Christmas and looked great, and Lauren wore a very cute elf outfit!

The stockings are backed with a thicker fabric to keep their shape and the top of the stockings is covered with some bias binding I made from the front fabric. Each stocking has a nice big bell in the top corner next to a ribbon bow.
Handmade Christmas Stocking
To personalise the stockings I printed our names on the front of the stockings using a stamp pad that can be used on paper or fabric.
Handmade Christmas Stocking

Handmade Christmas Stocking
This week I also finally got around to making some Christmas cards for family. These were made by cutting shapes out of leftover felt.
Handmade Felt Christmas Cards

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Handmade Cards for Phil

Yesterday morning I had to pop to the doctor’s before work for a regular blood-pressure check. I was wearing the brooch I made at the Made in the Middle Craft Taster day and the doctor asked me about it. Well, that quickly led to a discussion about craft and sewing. The doctor was getting into craft (she’d just bought her first issue of Making magazine and a sewing machine) and I attempted to provide some tips on taking up her curtains and easy starter sewing patterns. I’m not sure if it’s a sign of how popular craft has become or just a sign that I’m so obsessed I manage to bring every conversation (even a medical consultation!) around to sewing… anyway it wasn’t a bad start to the day.

I spotted a couple of interesting links out and about on the web today:

  • I spotted an interesting post on Craftsy about independent sewing pattern designers.
  • Colette patterns have posted the short listed entries to the Laurel contest. Luckily they are asking readers to vote for 5 entries, there’s no way I could pick just one!

Now for the real subject of this post, the handmade birthday cards I made for Phil over the last few years. I only just rediscovered these in a box under our bed recently so haven’t posted pictures of any of these before. A couple are looking a little worse for wear for being squashed under the bed…

Shamefully I made all of these before me and Phil moved in together. Since we bought our house I’ve not made him a decent card. The excuse for this is that it’s difficult to secretly make him a card when we’re both in the house. Truthfully though I could sneak up stairs for an hour or so. I’ll try to ensure I make the effort this year.

Home Made Card

Home Made Card
Two Doraemon cards – one in felt and one in paper

Home Made Card
Superman card

Home Made Card
KISS Paul Stanley card

Home Made Card
This is the piece de résistance, a recreation of a famous anti-drugs Green Lantern/Green Arrow cover. I continued the comic theme on the inside with speech bubble text boxes.

Home Made Card


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My Little Urban Pony Exhibition Entry

Urban Pony Exhibition Entry - Plush Pony

I found out about the Urban Pony Exhibition taking place at Art Space Dudley just in time to get a submission made and submitted. Each of the artists participating was invited to create or customise a retro My Little Pony based on their own artistic practise. There is a sneak peek of some of the other ponies being exhibited on the Facebook page and it looks like the entries include glass, wax and pottery.

Since printing and sewing are the techniques I use most frequently I decided to screen print a pony image onto fabric and then create a plush pony by sewing the fabric together and adding some wool hair. I originally intended to make a pink pony and went into Birmingham to buy pink fabric especially. However, I picked the fabric for it’s colour and didn’t think enough about the fabric type (which seemed to be a linen-like synthetic fabric), and found when I started printing onto it that the fabric didn’t hold ink very well leading to some ‘bleed’.

Urban Pony Exhibition Prep

Urban Pony Exhibition Prep

By this point I couldn’t face the thought of having to go back into Birmingham for more fabric so decided to raid my stash. I had a few vaguely suitable fabrics but when I spotted the blue felt it was the obvious choice, being suitably pastel-coloured, & child friendly. My pony will be on show as part of the exhibition from Friday 24th May in Art Space Dudley.

Urban Pony Exhibition Entry - Plush Pony

Urban Pony Exhibition Entry - Plush Pony

Urban Pony Exhibition Entry - Plush Pony


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White Rabbit Fancy Dress in Minutes

Quick White Rabbit Fancy Dress

Me and Phil attended a friend’s birthday party this evening. The party was fancy dress and I decided to pull together a quick White Rabbit costume. I cut a pocket watch and some hearts out of felt and stuck them to a jacket using glue-dots. The ears were also cut out of felt & given a pink centre using a sharpie. I shaped the ears by folding a white pipe cleaner in half and sewing it to the back of the ears. These were then sewn on to a head band.

I made a large white pompom, which I pinned to the back of my jacket, and painted my face white – with a black nose & whiskers. Simple:)

Quick White Rabbit Fancy Dress


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Purple Felt Hair

I made the little doll below with the intention of selling her at the craft fair me and colleagues held a couple of weeks ago. However, she went unsold so she’s come home with me. She’s pictured below sat in our living room. She doesn’t have a mouth as I ran out of time to add one before the craft fair -however, I’ve decided to leave her like that as I think she looks quite cute without one. As you can see, she has purple felt hair and her dress is made with a lovely fabric I picked up cheaply at a market in the French town of Le Bugue, which I visited with my family this summer.

Handmade fabric doll
Handmade fabric doll
Handmade fabric doll


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Works in progress for a charity craft fair

I’ve been neglecting the blog a bit lately, but I haven’t neglected crafting. I’ve been busy making items for the charity craft, cake and plant fair that me and my colleagues are organising to raise funds for two cancer charities. I’ve also set up a second (temporary) blog for the craft fair to showcase the lovely donations we receive or make. You can find it here: uobcraftfair.wordpress.com

As well as ourselves and our colleagues making items to sell we’ll also be holding a raffle, and have been lucky enough to have some lovely items donated already and hopefully will have more to come. Some fabulous companies and independents including Lou Rota, From the Wilde, Famille Summerbelle, Teapigs, Emma Bridgewater, Fred Aldous and Cox & Cox have already been fabulous enough to donate.

I haven’t actually completed an item for the sale yet (oops) but I have started quite a few, including the two textile works in progress pictured below. Unfortunately these are currently on hold until I purchase the required craft supplies to complete them – so that’s a job for this weekend!

Felt Elephant Brooches - in progress!

Felt elephant brooches (work in progress)

Fabric Doll - in progress!

Fabric doll (work in progress)


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Handmade Christmas baubles

Before Christmas is well and truly over I thought I’d post images of some homemade baubles I made for our tree this year. Me and my partner Phil bought and moved into our house this year so it was our first Christmas together and we had to start from scratch with the decorations. I was originally planning to make all the tree decorations myself but in the end I didn’t get enough time and had to add in some bought baubles to fill out the tree. However I did manage to make a decent selection – images below!

I painted two ceramic baubles at All Fired Arts in Kings Heath.
Handmade Christmas tree ornament
Handmade Christmas tree ornament

I also made a selection of sewn felt baubles. The idea for these came from Mollie Makes magazine, although I customised them slightly. I’m a big fan of Mollie Makes, Phil got me a subscription for Christmas which made me very happy:) It also meant I got one of my presents early as the first issue of my subscription arrived mid-December!

Handmade Christmas tree ornament
Handmade Christmas tree ornament
Handmade Christmas tree ornament
Handmade Christmas tree ornament

And finally, I attached ribbon to the back of a number of small felt toys I’d previously made, including this green elephant.

Handmade Christmas tree ornament