english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Yum Taffy (Blouse)

Handmade Colette Patterns Meringue Skirt and Taffy Blouse
This is my second make from the Colette Patterns Sewing Handbook, the Taffy Blouse. I made it up in a polyester mix purchased from Barry’s Fabric during the Birmingham meet-up back in June. It’s pictured here teamed up with my Meringue Skirt.
Birmingham Sewing Blogger meet-up June 2013
I had a look at other blogger’s taffy blouses after making this up and quite a few people weren’t fans of these sleeves but I really love them. I’m already planning my next taffy. I want to wear it to work so I’m planning to increase the length and have a less low-cut neck-line, but I’m keeping the sleeves. I also loved how quickly this came together – it’s a really quick make. It does require a lot of bias binding for the edges of the sleeves and neckline. Luckily for me the fabric I was using was really wide, which meant I could cut one strip of fabric for each sleeve – no sewing separate piece together required!
Handmade Colette Patterns Meringue Skirt and Taffy Blouse
Handmade Colette Patterns Meringue Skirt and Taffy Blouse


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New Blouse & Crafty Short Film Screening

Yippee I’ve finished another project, a blouse with collar from the Great British Sewing Bee book. It’s a simple design with no fastenings and a false-collar (e.g. it’s just attached at the front of the blouse).

Handmade Blouse from The Great British Sewing Bee book

Keeping on a Sewing Bee theme, I made the blouse using a lovely Sevenberry printed cotton fabric which I bought from Guthrie & Ghani, the shop run by Sewing Bee’s Lauren.

Sevenberry Fabric

I’m relatively happy with the blouse, although given that it isn’t fitted a more clingy fabric would have resulted in a closer fit.

There’s one other issue with it, I messed up the underarm area where the sleeves join the body. It’s probably due to my limited sewing skills, but I found the instructions for attaching the bottom of the sleeves to the body quite vague. By the time I’d finished attaching them with French seams I couldn’t face reattaching – especially since I wasn’t entirely sure where I went wrong – so I’m going to live with the errors. As long as I don’t hold my arms up in the air no one will know!

P.S. the unironed look isn’t entirely my fault as I did iron the blouse before putting it on, however the fabric creases pretty quick.

Handmade Blouse from The Great British Sewing Bee book

Handmade Blouse from The Great British Sewing Bee book

Handmade Blouse from The Great British Sewing Bee book

Talking about Guthrie and Ghani, me and Phil attended a Kino 10 short film screening at the shop last night. If you live in Birmingham make sure you check out Kino 10, who run short-film screenings across the city in galleries, pubs, shops, etc.

Kino 10 Screening Guthrie and Ghani

Last night’s screening was on the theme of crafting, sewing and knitting. The best film shown was To Die By Your Side by Spike Jonze. It’s a stop motion animation in fabric. It’s also a love story set in a Parisian book shop. Check it out.

Knitting fans (and everyone else) may also enjoy another video we watched last night. The doozer’s Knitting Song from Fraggle Rock.

My own favourite sewing/clothing related shorts are the old newsreel footage clips, like the one below…


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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