english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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By Hand London Victoria Blazer

I’ve just returned home from two weeks away in Seoul and Tokyo, and am having a lazy weekend before getting back into routine next week.

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Normally, before a holiday, I sew a number of new garments – partly because I’m excited about the holiday and like to sew new garments for events I’m excited about, and partly because a holiday is a great opportunity for blog photos.

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

I’ve been busy lately, so only had a couple of recent makes to pack (to be blogged shortly). I did, however, pack a few old favourite me-made garments. Normally I don’t take photos of garments which I’ve previously blogged, but it actually makes sense to show them styled differently, and to show that they are still going strong. Since this week is Fashion Revolution Week, it also ties in with Fashion Revolution’s focus on long-term relationships with our clothing, and wearing garments more than 30 times.

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer

So without further ado, in these photos I’m wearing one of my most worn me-mades. This is a By Hand London Victoria Blazer, which I made in a hotel room in Istanbul while travelling for work back in 2014.  It’s paired in some of the photos with a Christine Haynes Emery Dress I made in 2016, plus a couple of favourite RTW pieces – a scarf from Sancho’s Dress, a Megan Nielsen Maker Tee, and Community Clothing jeans, made in the UK.

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Christine Haynes Doraemon Emery Dress & By Hand London Victoria Blazer

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Christmas Party Alix Dress

By Hand London Alix Dress in stretch velvet

Happy Christmas everyone! Phil and I spent Christmas Eve with his family, and Christmas Day with my family. We’re having a lazy Boxing Day at home, and I’m intending to squeeze in lots of my favourite things – I read half of a new novel curled on the sofa with a tea this morning, and I’m planning to make a start on a couple of sewing projects, with a movie on in the background, later.

By Hand London Alix Dress in stretch velvet

Life has been (happily) crazy for the last couple of weeks. I’m one of those people who really relishes Christmas and likes to slowly build into a festive mood, but this year Christmas was here before I knew it. I finally managed to watch White Christmas and Home Alone while wrapping presents on Christmas Eve, and I have time off work over the next couple of weeks, so plenty of chance to knit in front of Gone with the Wind and It’s a Wonderful Life.

By Hand London Alix Dress in stretch velvet

Unlike the Christmas presents I was planning to make (total failure), I did manage to make myself a new Christmas party dress! I actually made this to wear at the unofficial/boozy Christmas party at work, and wore it again yesterday to visit family.

By Hand London Alix Dress in stretch velvet

This is the Alix Dress (version 2) by By Hand London. The pattern is designed for wovens but I made it up in a stretch velvet which I purchased from a market stall during my recent trip to Istanbul. Since the design is loose fitting it doesn’t really require a knit fabric, but it does make it very comfy. The only change I made to the pattern was to add an inch to the length, since Version 2 comes up quite short as drafted, and I wanted it to be suitable to wear into work on the day of our Christmas pub crawl.

By Hand London Alix Dress in stretch velvet

Since it’s Christmas, I also made a matching bow, which I sewed on to a headband. My team at work thought I should have gone bigger and more Madonna – so that’s the plan for next year!

By Hand London Alix Dress in stretch velvet

As I was in a suitably stupid mood on Christmas morning, here’s a suitably ridiculous picture of said bow. Happy Boxing Day – hope you are also doing fun things.

By Hand London Alix Dress in stretch velvet

By Hand London Alix Dress in stretch velvet

By Hand London Alix Dress in stretch velvet


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Slumberland Fabric Design

Slumberland Fabric Design

Yay, my submission for By Hand London’s second fabric design competition made the shortlist! The competition theme is Once Upon a Dream.

Slumberland Fabric Design

My design was inspired by the comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay. It has a central image of a sleeping kid, with various slumberland-inspired images surrounding him.

Slumberland Fabric Design

There are some really cool entries in the competition. I love Hannah’s abstract design and Tor’s fairies. Go check them out here; voting closes Friday 13th February.

Slumberland Fabric Design


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Hotel Room Victoria Blazer

Pink Victoria Blazer By Hand London
I made my first blazer – using By Hand London’s Victoria blazer pattern. I love blazers & jackets – especially the slouchy kind – so this pattern was perfect for me. I went for a wool-blend, but I could see this looking great in a stretchy knit, or even a heavy weight knit similar to the fabric Rachel used for her first Coco dress. The sun was shining today so me and Phil cycled to the park for an ice cream, which gave me  a chance to give my Victoria blazer a first airing.
Pink Victoria Blazer By Hand London
I’ve had to spend quite a bit of time away from home for work recently. I begrudge time away from my hobbies and as this trip was going to include the weekend I packed my mini sewing machine for some hotel room sewing. Along with my sewing machine I packed the Victoria blazer pattern & some fabric I’d previously picked out. The outer fabric is a pink wool-blend from Barry’s Fabrics and the lining is a bright pink floral cotton from Birmingham market.
Hotel room sewing in Istanbul
Hotel room sewing – Netflix, sewing machine, tea!

Apart from pressing and some final tidying up which I did when I got home, I made the jacket entirely in my hotel room. My mini sewing machine does a pretty good job, but I did miss my ‘real’ sewing machine as the mini version is awfully slow. And noisy – I felt sorry for whoever was in the room next to me, god knows what they thought was happening next door.
Hotel room sewing in Istanbul
The only think I forgot to pack was tracing paper and I hate having to cut up sewing patterns. However a quick trip to a local supermarket later I had located some Turkish baking paper and was able to trace my pattern pieces after all! It was a good job as I did have to make one adjustment. I initially cut a straight size 8, but found that the sleeves once made up were going to be really tight (I’m claiming it’s due to muscle;)). I didn’t fancy a blazer with straitjacket sleeves so I re cut the sleeves and cuffs in a size 12 and they fit fine.
Pink Victoria Blazer By Hand London
I find the By Hand London patterns beautifully simple and the paper instructions and online sew-alongs are easy to follow. This is definitely an ideal first blazer pattern.
Pink Victoria Blazer By Hand London
I went for all-over pink with this jacket. I picked the wool-blend outer fabric first, in a purple-pink colour. I thought I ought to use some stash fabric for the lining so picked out this ultra-pink floral cotton which was originally going to be a dress but instead got forgotten under my bed.
Pink Victoria Blazer By Hand London
Just to prove I didn’t spend all of last weekend sat in my hotel room here’s a photo of the book market in Istanbul from one of my trips out. I did also manage to buy some fabric, an overpriced cotton from Grand Bazaar which I need to decide on a project for (I’m sure there are good, cheap fabric shops in Istanbul but I’m yet to find them).
Istanbul Book Market
And, while we’re on the subject of By Hand London have you invested in their Kickstarter campaign yet? I backed them yesterday and cannot wait for them to start printing fabric on demand. I’ve already started thinking about some designs I want to get printed. So exciting!
Pink Victoria Blazer By Hand London


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Globetrotting Crazy Horses Anna

By Hand London Anna Dress in Horse Print
I recently made a second (By Hand London) Anna dress. Given how well the dress fit straight out of the packet & how quick it is to make it was inevitable that I’d make a second version. I finally braved the wind and rain to get a few photos outdoors in our garden. I’m calling this my Globetrotting Crazy Horses Anna. A closer look at the fabric will explain the Crazy Horses. The fabric is pretty crazy in general! It features horses, acorns, & horseshoes, plus half of the horses are upside down. I’m thinking with all of those horseshoes this must be a pretty lucky dress:)
Fabric - From Seville
Globetrotting refers to the fact that three countries were involved in the making of this dress. I purchased the fabric while on holiday in Seville, I started making the dress in Istanbul while travelling for work, and I finished it back at home in Birmingham, England.

We just need some warmer weather now, so that I can wear these Annas without having to cover them up with cardigans and coats.
By Hand London Anna Dress in Horse Print
By Hand London Anna Dress in Horse Print
By Hand London Anna Dress in Horse Print


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Christmas Day Anna

I made an Anna dress, by By Hand London, to wear on Christmas day. I had a very pleasant Christmas Eve making it, while watching lots of old movies. It was going to be a birthday Anna as I’ve had the pattern and fabric for some time, but I missed by birthday (back in November) and it took me until the Christmas break to find the time.
Handmade Anna Dress
Now I know why everyone loves this dress so much. It was a really quick make and it fits perfectly! I love the front pleats, they give a lovely finish & are a nice unusual detail. I graded between two sizes to get a smaller fit on the top, grading to a larger size at the bottom of the bodice and on the skirt. As you can see I cut the fabric along the selvedge for the skirt and against the selvedge for the bodice. I was too lazy to attempt pattern matching!
Handmade Anna Dress
The fabric is a President Holland fabric, an African-style wax block print. It has a lovely waxy feel to it. I bought it from a shop on the Goldhawk Road when I was last in London. I was actually there for a friend’s birthday so didn’t get to the Goldhawk Road until Sunday when most shops are closed:( Luckily there were a couple of shops open so I did manage to treat myself. I bought quite a few metres so have lots left – I’m thinking this fabric would make great cushions.
Handmade Anna Dress
And, as it was made for Christmas, here is the dress in front of our Christmas tree.
Handmade Anna Dress