english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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#SewingTop5 from Barbie, Sewing Blogger

#sewingtop5 - The Top 5 of 2015!

Happy New Year all. I have lots of recent makes to share, but first I need some sunlight and a gap in the rain. In the meantime, I’m handing over to Barbie, who you may not know is also a sewing blogger – previous post here, for her #sewingtop5.

Enjoy! (Just to note all photos are taken from two books: Barbie Fashion by Sarah Sink Eames, and Barbie: What a Doll by Laura Jacobs).

Over to Barbie:

Hi all, I’ve really excited to share with you some favorite makes that I added to my adorable pink plastic wardrobe this year, as well as a few misses which I’ve generously donated to Skipper.

Sewing Hits

Obviously I became obsessed with sewing lingerie this year. I found perfecting the fit quite difficult as no pattern seemed to accommodate a 39″ bust with an 18″ waist – I blame standardised sizing. However, once I had perfected the fit via 27 toiles, I made a set in every colour.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Despite having 36 sewing projects on the go at any one time, of course I became obsessed with knitting, and knit my first cardigans.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Inspired by Lauren, I made an Archer and a pair of Ginger Jeans. Sigh, I’m disappointed that I didn’t get that plaid matching quite right on the shirt front, and hopefully I can neaten my jeans top-stitching next time (#ablogogising).

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

I copied Zo, and made a cute blue raincoat. I also made a cardboard belt to pair with it, but sadly it didn’t last past the first downpour.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

I got caught up in the 1970s trend, and made a 70s inspired outfit refashioned from some old curtains – I even found a use for the curtain tassles.

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

And finally, I made a number of garments as part of my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge. Looking at these photos again I’ve realised that I may have an addiction to bows…

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

Sewing Misses

I also had a few sewing misses in 2015. At one point I mistakenly became convinced that 1980s/Jem was a good look for me. These garments have now been safely disposed of, and my hair has almost recovered from the electric shock treatments which I was undergoing to achieve the look.

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

My winter coat didn’t turn out as expected – although I may be able to reuse it as a Yeti costume next Halloween. I do think I might be onto something with the gold bow-tie and turban combo, no?

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

And I may have gotten a bit carried away with the horsehair canvas on my red dress. I’m thinking the dress could possibly be salvaged – but never the hat.

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

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Barbie – Sewing Blogger

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

The library at the university where I work has some interesting books. My especially random find of last week was Barbie Fashion by Sarah Sink Eames, a pictorial catalogue of all Barbie outfit packs made between 1959-1967. Obviously, it was immediately checked out.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

A quick look at Barbie’s wardrobe from the 60s suggests she’d fit in pretty well in the sewing blogosphere.

She’s already made up a Rigel Bomber for Jacket January.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Inspired by Lauren, she’s made up Vogue 1419 in red wool.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

She’s joined in with the Ginger jeans making spree, finishing with some lovely top stitching.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

She sewed up an amazing ensemble for Oonapalooza.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

She’s even purchased a copy of the Secrets of Sewing Lingerie and may have gotten a bit carried away…

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Yep, Barbie would make a pretty impressive sewing blogger.

I’ve run out of comparisons, but do enjoy some more adorable outfits from the book!

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames


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Giveaway: Geek Chic Panda Sewing Kit

Geek Chic Panda Sewing Kits
I designed my first sewing pattern! It’s a simple pattern to make your own Geek Chic Panda – a soft toy I designed and sell in my Etsy store. As well as selling the pandas (handmade by me) I’m now selling make it yourself sewing kits. The kits contain the supplies you need to create your own Geek Chic Panda:

  • Instructions & sewing pattern;
  • All the required fabric (cotton), including a piece of fabric with a screen printed panda face;
  • Toy stuffing (100% polyester);
  • A woven English Girl at Home tag.

Geek Chic Panda Sewing Kits
I’ve been planning to make sewing kits for some time, having been asked by a few customers at craft fairs last year. The kits make it nice and easy for sewing beginners to make a toy due to their simple design and the inclusion of supplies, and they’re a super quick make for anyone with sewing experience.

The Geek Chic Panda kits come in two designs – with Glasses, or with a Bow Tie. Want to see what the finished pandas look like? Here they are:)
Hand Screen printed Plush Panda

Homemade Toy Panda Plush
So, how do you win one? I’m giving away one Geek Chic Panda sewing kit. To enter the giveaway leave a comment below.

The giveaway will be open until 22:00 (UK time) on Monday 14th April and is open internationally. I will pick a winner at random.

For more information about the kits, visit my Etsy shop.


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Christmas Craft Stall

Phew! I’ve had a busy few weeks. Amongst other things I’ve travelled abroad for work, prepared stock for the two Christmas craft fair stalls I have booked, and am currently on holiday in Spain. The day before me and Phil left for our holiday was the first of the Christmas craft fairs where I have a stall booked. Here’s my stall, looking busy!

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

I tried to broaden my repertoire a little for this fair, so amongst the items I regularly sell on Etsy (such as panda toys & door mats) were…

Fabric baubles with a lino printed robin design (printed by hand)

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

Handmade lino stamps featuring the same robin design

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

Handmade doorstops in a lovely pink tweed fabric. The doorstop on the left features a mouse design printed from a lino stamp I made.

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

Mini sewing kits including handmade pin-cushions and handmade clay buttons

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

And some cloud cushions.

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

P.S. If you’re ever in Seville make sure to visit Calle Francos (not far from the ‘Flying Waffle’) which has a number of fabric shops (both expensive & very reasonable). I picked up the fabric below on sale for 2 euros per metre from Almacenes Velasco.

Fabric - From Seville


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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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The Little Tramp

Hand Screen Printed Plush Chaplin as The Little Tramp

I love silent movies and the movies of Charlie Chaplin so decided to have a go at creating a plush Chaplin or two. Here is my first, a solid plush with an image of Chaplin – screen printed by hand – on the front. For the reverse I couldn’t decide on a suitable fabric from my stash so printed my own, carving lino cut stamps of a bowler hat and cane and using these to hand print some plain cotton.

Note the lovely flowers I treated myself to in the first shot below:)

Hand Screen Printed Plush Chaplin as The Little Tramp
Hand Screen Printed Plush Chaplin as The Little Tramp
Hand Screen Printed Plush Chaplin as The Little Tramp

These Chaplins are available to buy from my Etsy store.