english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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A Naturally Dyed Wardrobe: Favourite Online Resources

Natural Dye Seeds

My dye plant seeds are sprouting!

As part of my #naturallydyedwardrobe project, I wanted to share some favourite online resources about natural dyeing:

Folk Fibers – I love both the beautiful naturally dyed products, and the blog posts about natural dyeing (use the search bar and keywords ‘natural dye’ to locate them). In particular, see the blog posts about dyeing with pomegranates, osage orange, red onion, yellow onion, and mushrooms.

The Botanical Colors website contains lots of information on natural dyes and how to use them, via the instructions section and blog. The shop (US-based) contains a wide range of natural dyeing supplies and workshops.

A Verb for Keeping Warm – The blog contains a huge amount of information on natural dyeing, including the work-along for the Modern Natural Dyer book.

Jenny Dean has written a number of excellent books on natural dyeing, and her blog also contains lots of detailed information about natural dyeing.

Various Woolful podcasts (and associated blog posts) focus on natural dyers.

A number of One Year One Outfit participants have been doing some really interesting natural dyeing with a focus on local plants, including: Nicki, Sue, Carolyn, and Mari.

Kelly Ruth creates a beautiful naturally dyed clothing line, available from her Etsy store.

The Wild Colours (UK-based) online shop is a good source of natural dye materials, and also contains lots of information about dyeing. A sister site, dedicated to Woad, also contains lots of background information.

I love the Seasonal Color Wheel, which depicts the dye colours produced from seasonal foods. I might attempt a sewing project inspired by it…

I’ll be back with my favorite books about natural dyeing soon.

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Upside Down Blouse Collar…

Oh dear, yesterday evening I thought I’d make a start on a blouse with peter pan collar from The Great British Sewing Bee book. I’d cut the fabric pieces at the weekend so the first step was to put together the collar. It’s a false collar, just two front pieces which will be attached to the neckline and shoulders of the blouse front. Nice and easy. I’d sewn together the collar pieces (rather slowly while watching Spring Watch), trimmed and clipped the seam and pressed the collar flat. Then, when I stopped and took a proper look at the collar pieces, it was obvious that I’d sewn the wrong edge on both pieces. This meant the edge I’d neatly sewn together would be hidden inside the hem, and the side I’d left open would be visible on the blouse. Grrr…
Blouse Collar - work in progress

I did consider unpicking the pieces and reusing them but decided for such small pieces it was probably better to start entirely from scratch, since I’d taken quite a bit of excess fabric off the seam. Here are the correct collar pieces, ready to be attached to the blouse front. Much better.
Blouse Collar - work in progress

I have no idea how I managed to make such a dozy mistake. The pattern instructions even have an image showing the edge that should be sewn together. However, that’s exactly the kind of mistake I do make when sewing and, I guess, the reason we have stitch unpickers! Mine certainly sees a fair bit of use and will no doubt continue to do so.

On a different topic, there are some beautiful aquilegia growing in my garden; all of which were donations from my Mom, planted last year.
In my garden, May 2013
In my garden, May 2013
In my garden, May 2013


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Handmade Leaf Brooches

Handmade Plastic Leaf Brooch

I’ve been developing a number of designs for shrink-plastic badges recently.

Pictured are a number of leaf badges I created this weekend. The designs were printed on inkjet-friendly shrink plastic and then embossed to achieve a glossy effect and ensure the badges were waterproof.

The leaves these are based on were collected during a cycle around a local park.

Handmade Plastic Leaf Brooch
Handmade Plastic Leaf Brooches
Handmade Plastic Leaf Brooch


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A Quick Trip to Biddulph Grange

This weekend we decided, at the last minute, to take a trip to Biddulph Grange, a  garden in Stoke-on-Trent owned by the National Trust. The National Trust have recreated the Victorian-era gardens of James Bateman, who developed the gardens at Biddulph Grange in order to display his collections of plants – many of which were brought to England from around the world by the famous plant hunters. The varied contents of the garden are displayed in dedicated sections, which include ‘Egypt’ and ‘China’ gardens. At this time of year the Dahlia Walk was in full bloom and the Stumpery and Pinetum  were particularly lovely.

Biddulph Grange, Stoke on Trent
Biddulph Grange, Stoke on Trent
Biddulph Grange, Stoke on Trent
Biddulph Grange, Stoke on Trent
Biddulph Grange, Stoke on Trent