english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Aime Comme Magellan

Aime Comme Magellan Blouse

It’s a lovely (rare) sunny day in the UK so I’m sat in the garden blogging. That makes it easier to share these photos from a recent weekend break in Amsterdam, without wishing myself back there!

Aime Comme Magellan Blouse

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam

These photos were taken in the gardens surrounding the Rijksmuseum, which are free to visit. The museum itself was one of my favourite places we visited; as well as a superb art collection, the museum’s wide ranging collections include a biplane, 17th century dollhouses, and a YSL Mondrian Dress.

Aime Comme Magellan Blouse

Aime Comme Magellan Blouse

This is the Aime Comme Magellan blouse from French pattern company Aime Comme Marie. I first saw this pattern when Kirsty made it, I loved Kirsty’s version but didn’t have an immediate urge to own the pattern. It must have been lurking in my subconscious though, as a couple of months later I suddenly urgently needed to make my own Magellan.

Aime Comme Magellan Blouse

Aime Comme Magellan Blouse

I purchased the fabric from Barry’s Fabric during a small meet-up with local sewists organised by Rachel. It’s a white georgette, with a pattern of raised golden dots. I had assumed that the pattern would be available as a PDF so went home from the meet-up intending to start making the blouse that very day. It’s actually only available in paper format, and I don’t believe there are any UK stockists, so I ordered a paper pattern from Paris. Given my impatience to get started on this project, you’ll understand my sorrow that, when the parcel arrived after a couple of weeks, I initially received the wrong pattern (Madawan)! Aime Comme Marie didn’t reply to my first email or comment on social media, but once they spotted my second email they sent me the Magellan pattern. So, after around five weeks, I was finally able to start sewing!

Aime Comme Magellan Blouse

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam

I’m unsure If I made a mistake during construction or if I need to size up/make alterations to the pattern (I cut a size S), but when I first attempted to try on the blouse (after constructing the body and attaching the sleeves) I couldn’t even get it on as the sleeves and armholes were far too small. To make this first version wearable, I cut new sleeves and reshaped the armholes using pattern pieces from the Paprika Patterns Onyx Shirt, a pattern which I know fits me. The armholes are still a little tight but it’s wearable, and the fabric is a good match for the pattern – although this georgette pulls very easily so I’m not sure how long it will last.

Aime Comme Magellan Blouse

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam

I’m definitely going to make another version as I love the bib section, but I’ll be careful to measure the pattern pieces before cutting out next time. I’m also keen to try this pattern in a knit fabric.

Aime Comme Magellan Blouse

Aime Comme Magellan Blouse

If you fancy your own ruffle bib blouse, République du Chiffon’s Suzon Shirt also has a similar aesthetic. Sadly, it’s also only available as a paper pattern, but you can select an English language option. The Aime Comme Marie patterns all have a single page of English translations at the back of the instruction booklet – they were sufficient for this pattern, but with a more complicated pattern might be somewhat basic.

Aime Comme Magellan Blouse

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam

No doubt it’s partly the blogs I follow, but I don’t see a lot of patterns from the French pattern companies on English-language blogs (Julie is my main source of French pattern inspiration). Personally, I forget to sew patterns by the french designers because I’m not seeing the patterns in stores, in many cases a PDF version isn’t available, and also because I don’t find the marketing of new pattern releases very clear. Having said that, I would really like to try the Gladys Dress, Mordue Shirt, and Dita wrap dress in the near future. I’m visiting Paris in September and am planning to use that as an opportunity to stock up on patterns!

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam

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Sudley – Two Ways

Megan Nielsen Sudley

I recently had the opportunity to pattern test the Sudley blouse/dress pattern for Megan Nielsen (test version blogged here). As soon as I finished my test version (in a cotton lawn), I decided I wanted to make the pattern again in a drapier fabric.

Megan Nielsen Sudley

Megan Nielsen Sudley

I picked up this gold knit fabric at Birmingham Rag Market on a recent trip with a few local sewists (organised by Rachel), and thought it might be a good candidate for a Sudley Dress. The fabric was £2 per metre and is a relatively heavy knit with a lot of drape, and a slightly metallic texture and shine. I actually used the reverse of the fabric, as I thought it had a more unusual colour and pattern than the right side.

Megan Nielsen Sudley

Megan Nielsen Sudley

The Sudley pattern is designed for wovens, but it’s a good candidate for substituting for knits due to the loose fit and absence of darts or fastenings. I made Version 3 in size XS, with the sleeves from Version 1. I only made one change to the pattern/construction as a result of using a knit fabric; the pattern instructs you prepare skirts pieces in both main and lining fabrics and attach these to the main and lining bodices respectively. Due to the weight of my fabric, I felt that the weight of the skirt piece was likely to stretch out the bodice, so I only cut a skirt in the main fabric (not the lining) and attached this to both main and lining bodices for extra support. As suggested by the pattern, I cinched in the waist of the dress by attaching elastic around the waistband.

I think the resulting dress actually has a similar silhouette to Colette’s Moneta pattern. I forgot to get any photos of the dress worn in reverse (it is reversible, so the keyhole can be worn at the front).

Megan Nielsen Sudley

Megan Nielsen Sudley

Having completed this dress version, I couldn’t resist also making the blouse Version 1 (minus the collar) so that I could enter the Monthly Stitch’s current Indie Pattern Month, One Pattern, Two Ways contest! I really love the contrast between these two versions.

Megan Nielsen Sudley

Megan Nielsen Sudley

This version is made in stash fabric, purchased as a coupon in Paris a few years ago. The fabric is a border print and I only had scraps left so couldn’t continue the pattern across both sides, but I like the contrast of the finished result. The fabric is beautifully soft and I’ve been hording these last scraps for ages – I only have tiny pieces left but haven’t been able to bring myself to throw them away yet, maybe I’ll be able to use them as a pocket lining!

Megan Nielsen Sudley

Megan Nielsen Sudley

I hand-stitched the blouse and sleeve hems by hand. I thought I’d ignore the instructions for finishing the neckline and keyhole opening and instead turn twice and hand stitch. The finished result looked puckered so I had to rip-out that hand stitching and instead created a facing – which was much more successful. I reduced the depth of the keyhole opening slightly on this version as I find it slightly low for the office on the dress version (although I wore it that way ’round regardless today!).

Megan Nielsen Sudley

I’m looking forward to wearing both of these to work this week – I can never resist wearing new garments the instant that they are finished!


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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

Elsewhere

♥ 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.

 


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Sew Over It Spotty Anderson Blouse

Sew Over It Anderson Blouse in Spotty Crepe

I bought the Anderson Blouse pattern as soon as I received the email from Sew Over It announcing it’s release. I haven’t sewn as much as normal the last few weeks so this has been sewn in small chunks of time but was finally finished yesterday, Sunday, and worn to lunch at my Mom and Dad’s house. I took these photos in my Mom and Dad’s garden; I should have gotten a wider shot so you could see how much neater their garden is than mine, where I normally photograph my makes;)

Sew Over It Anderson Blouse in Spotty Crepe

The fabric used is a gorgeous medium-weight polyester Black and Cream spotted crepe from Minerva Crafts. The fabric has a lot of body and weight, and would work really well for a fitted dress or full skirt. The fabric did fray so I finished all seams on my overlocker. I love the scale of the spots. This fabric was very easy to work with and has a lovely sheen on the right side, which you can kind of see in the photos.

There’s a lot of fabric in this pattern which is emphasised by the heavy fabric. I’m really happy with it, but if you wanted a less substantial looking blouse you’d need to use a lightweight fabric. Minerva allow you to search only lightweight crepes which should be perfect, or of course it would look great in a silk.

Sew Over It Anderson Blouse in Spotty Crepe

I made a straight size 8 and found the fit good for me without changes except at the front cross over. I tried the blouse on with the front pieces pinned in place where they are supposed to overlap and the result was indecent;) I increased the overlap by having the front edges meet the side seams. The result is probably a bit more modest than intended but now means I don’t need to wear a vest underneath / be paranoid about flashing.

Sew Over It Anderson Blouse in Spotty Crepe

I made a couple of other changes to the blouse. I gathered across the full length of the shoulders seams (up to the seam allowance) as opposed to between the notches. I also slightly altered the method for attaching the back neckline band – attaching it using a standard bias binding method.

Sew Over It Anderson Blouse in Spotty Crepe

I used two vintage buttons, purchased in a charity shop, on the cuffs.

Sew Over It Anderson Blouse in Spotty Crepe

Here’s what the blouse looks like untucked. Not too bad, but I prefer it tucked in.

Sew Over It Anderson Blouse in Spotty Crepe

Sew Over It Anderson Blouse in Spotty Crepe

In addition to photographing my blouse, Phil managed to get a few pictures of Rupert (my brother and his partner’s miniature dachshund).

Rupert the Dachshund

Rupert the Dachshund

Disclaimer: I was provided with 2 metres of spotty crepe fabric by Minerva Craft; all opinions expressed are my own.


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Pompom Blouse from She Wears the Pants

Pompom Blouse from She Wears the Pants

It’s the weekend and it’s actually sunny here, so I finally got chance to wear something summery and spent the afternoon eating ice cream in Henley-in-Arden, a historic market town local to me.

This is the Pompom Blouse from She Wears the Pants by Yuko Takada (originally published in Japan with the amazing title She has a Mannish Style). The book has been popping up quite a bit on sewing blogs, but I haven’t spotted anyone posting this blouse yet.

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

The Pompom Blouse is a loose fitting tee designed to be made in a knit fabric (the book refers to this as T-cloth on the pattern page, although there is more information in the techniques section). The interesting features of the top are the inclusion of a strip of pompoms at the neckline, and the method used to bind the neckline and sleeve cuffs. In the book, the bias used at the neckline is in a contrast colour, but I made some matching bias binding as I thought my fabric was already pretty busy. I lengthened my blouse by a couple of inches as the blouse shown in the book looks quite cropped, and I added a separate hem band (approx 1 1/2″ long), rather than turning back the hem and securing with a row of double stitching as suggested in the book.

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

This fabric is a jersey I purchased from Stitch at the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC back in March. The pompoms were from my stash; I bought them years ago to make a pompom-edged cushion, but never got around it! This was a quick and easy make – I recently went on a family holiday with Phil’s family and made this using my ‘travel’ sewing machine (one of the John Lewis minis) while away.

Pompom Blouse from She Wears the Pants

Like other Japanese sewing books, the book includes double-sided paper pattern sheets. Pattern pieces need to be traced and seam allowances added. The instructions for each pattern include a diagram showing where to add seam allowances.

Typically, written instructions are minimal, but diagrams are included for each step. This top was very straightforward, but some of the more complicated patterns in the book (jackets, coat) would be more suited to intermediate sewists who are comfortable with less detailed instructions.

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

I love the ‘mannish’ style of the She Wears the Pants designs, and the grungy styling of the book. The only issue I have with the book is that the lighting in the photos is dark, and quite a few of the items are made in black fabric – making it difficult to see the details of the clothing. Detailed line drawings are included for each pattern so that you can confirm the details before choosing what to sew.

Pompom Blouse from She Wears the Pants

Pompom Blouse from She Wears the Pants

The patterns included in the book cover a wide range of garments for woven and knit fabrics, including trousers, dresses, tops, jackets, a skirt, and culottes. There’s even one knitting pattern included, for a rather unusual belt sole.

Pompom Blouse from She Wears the Pants

One thing to note is that the size range of the patterns in the book is quite limited. I made a size small and found the sizing accurate, although this top is quite loose fitting due to the boxy style. Other patterns in the book include less positive ease and match the sizing chart more closely. The book doesn’t provide any information on the finished size of garments so you’ll need to measure the pattern pieces if you want to check the ease allowed prior to cutting out your fabric.

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

I’ve sewn another couple of garments from the book which I’ll post soon. In the meantime enjoy some of that mean and moody photography!

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of She Wears the Pants in exchange for a review; all opinions expressed are my own. Post contains an affiliate link


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Branson Top & Homemade Espadrilles

Branson Top by Lily Sage & Co

I loved the early versions that Debbie posted on her blog, so I was very excited to be able to pattern test the Branson Top. I made my version using the test version of the pattern, but I don’t believe any substantial changes were made to the final pattern pieces. I cut a size 10, although I suspect I could go down one size next time for a closer fit.

Branson Top by Lily Sage & Co

If you know the pattern you’ll be aware that I made one alteration – as the pattern has two variations, long sleeve or sleeveless. I tested the long sleeve version for Debbie, but cut the sleeves down to a short length, post testing. The sleeves have a very distinctive style and look great on Debbie, but with my shrimpy statue I felt a bit engulfed. I think the short sleeve looks nice and summery.

Branson Top by Lily Sage & Co

The fabric is a lightweight cotton from Birmingham Rag Market, which features a paint splatter type design. In a light fabric like this the waist ties would perhaps benefit from interfacing to give them a bit more body.

Branson Top by Lily Sage & Co

The Branson Top is a really quick make; I made mine in one evening. I’d recommend it as a project that looks like it requires more effort than it actually does!

Debbie has such a distinctive style. I love her blog and am really excited that she has begun designing patterns as they’re sure to be unique.

Branson Top by Lily Sage & Co

You can’t see in the photos above, but I’m wearing my Branson Top with a pair of handmade espadrilles. Calling these handmade shoes sounds a bit grand as they are super easy! I made them using Prym Espadrille Soles purchased from Guthrie & Ghani.

Homemade Espadrilles

The soles come with a paper pattern (which needs to be traced as it’s double sided) for the toe and heel sections. There aren’t any written instructions included, but there’s a video on the Prym site to follow instead. I used some mid-weight cotton stash fabric purchased from Barry’s, and previously used for this skirt. Once you’ve prepared the toe and heel sections, they are sewn onto the soles by hand The soles are soft, apart from the very bottom where there’s a plastic layer, so easy to sew through. These are really comfy, and I’m now wearing them around the house. If I make another pair I’d buy some matching (thick) thread to sew the fabric to the soles, as I used what I had in my sewing box this time, but a matching thread would have looked much neater.

Homemade Espadrilles

In other news, I’m getting more obsessed with knitting by the day, and am currently making good progress on Unicorn Parallelograms.

Unicorn Parallelograms Scarf in progress


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Mimi Blouse from Love at First Stitch

Handmade Tilly & the Buttons Mimi Blouse
My first make from Love at First Stitch is a Mimi Blouse. I made this in a soft cotton I purchased from one of the ‘coupon’ shops in Paris. The cotton is really soft and delicate – I wish I’d bought more! The buttons are some handmade polymer clay buttons I made a few months back.
Handmade Tilly & the Buttons Mimi Blouse
I actually had my copy of Love at First Stitch early as I found it on sale in Waterstones before the official release date. That meant I was able to finish my Mimi in time to wear it to meet Tilly and get my copy signed at Guthrie and Ghani.
Handmade Tilly & the Buttons Mimi Blouse
I have to admit to making some stupid errors in my Mimi. For a start the collar is a little wonky! I recently read a guest post on By Gum, By Golly by Sara of Lilies & Remains on her theory about f***ed but fabulous vintage clothing. I feel a bit similar about handmade clothing – I don’t worry too much about the odd error or wonkiness, or loose sleep over perfect pattern matching. Given all the effort that goes into a make, I embrace the imperfection and wear it anyway!
Handmade Tilly & the Buttons Mimi Blouse
Having said that though there is one error that is annoying me that I’m going to go back and fix. When cutting or sewing together I’ve gone off the straight grain on the right-side of the blouse. It means that the right front hangs wrong. So I will be good and put that right – when I can tear myself away from the other makes that are in progress!
Handmade Tilly & the Buttons Mimi Blouse