english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Blue Velvet Moneta Dress for #MonetaParty

Colette Patterns #monetaparty Moneta in Blue Velvet

Long time no see, guys! I’ve been finding slightly less time to sew and knit lately, but even less to blog. I’m off on holiday to Seoul and Tokyo next week, and have a few recent projects to photograph, so no doubt I’ll have a few garments (and probably some holiday fabric shopping…) to blog in the next few weeks.

Before that, as I’m sure you’re well aware, back in February ElleRachel and Abigail hosted an online Moneta Party. I had sewn Moneta once before, but wanted to make a new version for the party.

Colette Patterns #monetaparty Moneta in Blue Velvet

I whipped this version of Moneta up quickly the weekend of the party, in a blue stretch velvet from Barry’s Fabrics. I added the Tie Collar from the free Moneta extras pack, and made a belt to wear over the dress, using a trim purchased from Birmingham Rag Market. To make the belt I just added a stiff backing fabric to the trim, and hook and eyes to fasten it.

Colette Patterns #monetaparty Moneta in Blue Velvet

The dress looks ok in these photos, but I’m afraid there were actually a few issues with my fabric choice which mean it hasn’t survived! The stretch velvet I chose clung unflatteringly in the bodice, and having constructed the dress I noticed a flaw in the fabric right under the bust… After taking these photos the dress was cast aside for a few days, after which I removed the bodice and fitted a waistband to make a simple gathered skirt.

Colette Patterns #monetaparty Moneta in Blue Velvet

These photos were taken quickly in our front room, to make the Moneta Party photo deadline. Phil was making fun of my modelling skills, which resulted in the following…

Colette Patterns #monetaparty Moneta in Blue Velvet

Colette Patterns #monetaparty Moneta in Blue Velvet

Colette Patterns #monetaparty Moneta in Blue Velvet

Colette Patterns #monetaparty Moneta in Blue Velvet

Colette Patterns #monetaparty Moneta in Blue Velvet

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Floral Moneta

Colette Patterns Moneta in John Kaldor Floral Jersey

It’s been a super busy week! Admittedly, that’s how I like them – if there’s a gap in my week I’ll soon find a way to fill it. I’m off to London tomorrow morning for a friend’s birthday, followed by a trip to Yarnporium on Sunday.

Colette Patterns Moneta in John Kaldor Floral Jersey

A copy of Johnny Marr’s autobiography arrived yesterday so I’ll be making a start on it, on the train journey to London. Receiving it has sent me on a The Smiths/Morrissey binge (even more than normal, that is) – I’ve been watching endless YouTube videos. On that topic, this little clip is my all time favourite footage of The Smiths. They change periodically, but – currently at least – my favourite songs are Back to the Old House, Stretch Out and Wait, and Break Up the Family. The intro music on my vlog is an 8-bit-style version of Back to the Old House, which I created using some free software.

Colette Patterns Moneta in John Kaldor Floral Jersey

Ahem, on to sewing! This is Colette Patterns’ Moneta Dress in John Kaldor Portia Fabric; both pattern and fabric were kindly supplied by Sew Essential. I think this specific fabric is out-of-stock, as I’ve taken a while sewing this up, but Sew Essential have a selection of patterned jerseys.

Lucy from Sew Essential has recently blogged her own Moneta in one of their range of coloured wool jerseys, which looks great. The wool jerseys would also be perfect for an Emery or Sudley.

Colette Patterns Moneta in John Kaldor Floral Jersey

I cut out size XS at the bust, graded to S at the waist and hips. The collar is the Tie Collar from the free Moneta extras pack. I was tempted into adding this collar by Devon’s gorgeous Moneta, which is one of those blogged projects that has stayed with me ever since I read the blog post. These trousers by Jennifer Lauren are another example – absolutely perfect, and I’ve been meaning to copy them since the post was published, which apparently was three and a half years ago! It really is true that time seems to pass quicker the older you get. I can remember feeling days drag by as a teenager – almost certainly because I spent an awful lot of time doing absolutely nothing. I remember spending an awful lot of time napping…

Colette Patterns Moneta in John Kaldor Floral Jersey

These photos were taken in the lovely Cannon Hill Park; I’m also wearing my hand-knit Hancock Cardigan and a beret which I’ve had for so long I’ve forgot its provenance.

Colette Patterns Moneta in John Kaldor Floral Jersey

Enjoy the weekend – I hope you also have fun plans. And, for the sake of my bank balance, please cross your fingers for me to show some restraint at Yarnporium. I don’t have a huge amount of faith in myself…

Colette Patterns Moneta in John Kaldor Floral Jersey

Colette Patterns Moneta in John Kaldor Floral Jersey

Colette Patterns Moneta in John Kaldor Floral Jersey

Colette Patterns Moneta in John Kaldor Floral Jersey

Colette Patterns Moneta in John Kaldor Floral Jersey

Disclaimer: I was provided with the Moneta pattern and fabric by Sew Essential, all opinions expressed are my own.


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Oslo Cardigan Strike 2

I’m a bit slow posting this Oslo Cardigan, which was a Christmas present for my mom. Now that I’m back at work, Christmas feels ages ago. My first week back at work went very, very slowly, but no doubt I’ll be back to my normal routine soon.

Black & White Wool Oslo Cardigan

This is my second Oslo (which was one of the patterns included in the first issue of Seamwork). My first version, which I made for myself, was a test run, prior to making this for my mom. Both versions were made size small, in woven fabrics. The fabric used here is a lovely thick wool, from Barry’s Fabric. I bought all of the fabric left on the bolt, around 2.5 metres I think, so I’m hoping to squeeze a skirt out of what I have left.

Black & White Wool Oslo Cardigan

I think the Olso pattern – although designed for knits – works really well with a thick woven. The result resembles a casual jacket more than a cardigan.

As with my first version, the only tweaks I made were leaving off the cuffs, and making a matching fabric belt.

Black & White Wool Oslo Cardigan

I’ve had a bit of a wool-buying binge lately. I’ve pre-treated all of the wool fabrics, including this one, by shrinking them in the tumble-dryer. I placed the wool in the dryer on a high heat with two old towels that had been dampened with boiling water. I’ve used this method on both wool-blends and pure wools, such as this, and it’s worked perfectly every time.

Black & White Wool Oslo Cardigan

I took these photos on Christmas Eve, before wrapping the Oslo and giving it to my mom on Christmas day. Is it wrong that I’ve started to think about Christmas 2015 gifts? I seriously LOVE Christmas.

Maybe I’ll actually try making the Oslo in a knit next! And I really want to try the Manila leggings pattern from Seamwork issue 2.

Black & White Wool Oslo Cardigan

Black & White Wool Oslo Cardigan

Black & White Wool Oslo Cardigan

Black & White Wool Oslo Cardigan


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Wool-Blend Oslo Cardigan & Happy Christmas

Blue Wool Blend Oslo Cardigan

Happy Christmas! I hope everyone has been having a great Christmas Eve. I was going to make a new dress for Christmas day but hadn’t gotten around to it due to making gifts. I considered spending today flat-out dressmaking to get it done but decided it would be more fun to do a bit of everything. So instead, I finished making a few gifts, I baked muffins, played an episode of the Walking Dead game – festive zombies! – with Phil, watched Muppet Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life, and I’m just about to start knitting a new jumper. I’d say that was a pretty perfect Christmas Eve:)

Blue Wool Blend Oslo Cardigan

We will be driving to my mom and dad’s house to open our presents tomorrow morning. Although me and my brother have both moved out, we get together in the morning, with our parents and grandmothers, to open our gifts. I’m going to take the muffins I baked today so we can eat cake and chocolate for second breakfast whilst gift opening! My family will then all head to my aunt’s house for Christmas dinner this year.

Blue Wool Blend Oslo Cardigan

I managed to make this Oslo Cardigan for myself this week, around gift sewing. This was actually a test version prior to a second Oslo I made as a Christmas gift. The Oslo cardigan is one of the patterns included in the first issue of Seamwork. The pattern is designed for knits but I ignored that and made it up in a wool-blend. Due to using a thick woven fabric, I went up a size (to a small) but there appears to be a fair bit of ease in the pattern so it has ended up fairly boxy. I’m fond of it though – despite the fact it is rather reminiscent of a dressing gown…

Blue Wool Blend Oslo Cardigan

The only tweak I made to the Oslo pattern was to leave off the cuffs. I did make them but since they are designed to be made in a knit fabric with a bit of stretch they were too tight in a thick woven. I also decided to make a fabric belt to pull the cardigan in rather than adding buttons. The fabric frayed A LOT so I overlocked all of the seams.

Blue Wool Blend Oslo Cardigan

I purchased this wool-blend fabric during the sewing meet-up in Paris. I bought it with the intention of using it for a Goldstream Peacoat for Phil but he rejected it! So I got to use it for me instead:) Before we left Paris, I made Phil choose an alternative fabric for his coat to avoid ending up with any more rejected fabric! I’ll be getting started on the Goldstream Peacoat after Christmas. I set myself the loose goal of sewing three new-to-me items of clothing this year – trousers, a swimsuit, and a coat. I managed the first two and I’m planning to make the coat before I return to work on the 05th January so I’d call that a success!

Blue Wool Blend Oslo Cardigan

I’m going to try to squeeze in another film and some knitting this evening. I hope you all have a fantastic day tomorrow & get some nice crafty gifts.

Blue Wool Blend Oslo Cardigan

Blue Wool Blend Oslo Cardigan

Blue Wool Blend Oslo Cardigan


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Istanbul Sorbetto

Colette Sorbetto Top with Turkish Cotton
I’m currently in Istanbul for work so I thought it was the perfect location to get some photos of this Sorbetto – made with fabric I purchased in Istanbul on a previous work trip.
Colette Sorbetto Top with Turkish Cotton
I haven’t had that much luck so far fabric shopping in Istanbul. On a previous visit I decided I NEEDED to do some fabric shopping so tried the Grand Bazaar and came away with this thick cotton. The quality & colour is lovely, but the fabric clearly wasn’t intended for dressmaking as the width was ridiculously narrow. I decided to make a Soretto as I needed a project with minimal fabric requirements – even so the fabric was so narrow that I couldn’t cut the front & back on the fold as the pattern suggests, but instead had to cut four separate pieces (adding a narrow seam allowance when cutting out) & then sew 2 front and 2 back pieces together. I also had to sacrifice the front box pleat. My Sorbetto is looking a bit creased in these photos having traveled in my suitcase and then been worn all day in around 35c heat.
Colette Sorbetto Top with Turkish Cotton
Colette Sorbetto Top with Turkish Cotton
These photos were taken in Yildiz Park. Like lots of public parks Yildiz was previously private property. It was actually once part of the Sultan’s hunting grounds and palace gardens. I was actually visiting Yildiz on my way to somewhere else – Ortakoy.
Colette Sorbetto Top with Turkish Cotton
Ortakoy is one of my favourite spots in the city – It’s located on the Bosphorus & is crammed full of places to eat & drink. It’s also the best place to eat Kumpir – jacket potatoes stuffed with a ton of fillings. Seriously they are huge & so good!
Ortakoy, Istanbul
Ortaköy Mosque and the Bosphorus Bridge


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Spotty Zinnia

Handmade Colette Patterns Zinnia Skirt
I was inspired to make a Zinnia skirt by the sew-along being run The Stitchery in Glasgow. I knew right away that I wanted to make version 3 – the lined version that can be made in a lighter, see-through fabric. I love a good patterned polyester me:)

Having perused  Barry’s Fabrics I settled on this John Kaldor polyester. It’s navy blue with an irregular pink spot pattern. As you can see the fabric is quite see through so I lined it using a dark blue lining fabric.
Handmade Colette Patterns Zinnia Skirt
Once I’d cut out the fabric for my Zinnia I used what was left over to make an Afternoon Blouse (which I was determined to make from stash fabric). So I could actually dress head to toe in this fabric, but that would look wrong…
Handmade Colette Patterns Zinnia Skirt
I have to admit to a couple of errors during the making of this skirt. I had attached my skirt pieces together and sewn the pleats in place when I luckily decided to test the fit of the skirt and found that it was definitely going to be too small. It only just fit around me with no seam allowance left over and I still had the zipper to attach. So…I unpicked two pleats from the back of the skirt, one from each side. That put me back on track but when I came to attach the waistband I found that was also too small. I’d used up all my fabric (between the Zinnia and my Afternoon Blouse) but just managed to cut a new waistband from the largest scrap in my fabric bin! I’m not entirely sure If I cut this out one size too small or if my pleats were too large or what. I know other bloggers have had issues with the waistband being too small, but not sure anyone else has found the whole skirt too small!
Handmade Colette Patterns Zinnia Skirt
Other than sizing issues this came together well and I’ve been wearing it tons since finishing so it’s definitely a successful addition to my wardrobe.
Handmade Colette Patterns Zinnia Skirt


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Taffy #2

Handmade Colette Patterns Taffy Blouse
OK, so this is my second Colette Pattern’s Taffy Blouse. Straight after finishing my first, I made a start on the second. I wanted this one to be slightly longer in length and have a higher neckline. Rather than adjusting the Taffy pattern pieces I used the front and back body pieces from the blouse with collar in the Great British Sewing Bee book as I knew it had the fit I wanted, and combined those with the sleeve pieces from the Taffy. I also restrained from cutting this fabric on the bias as it has a directional print, and I knew the blouse would be large enough to pull on and off without being bias cut.
Handmade Colette Patterns Taffy Blouse
Handmade Colette Patterns Taffy Blouse
The fabric used was some I picked up for £1 from a car boot sale whilst holidaying in Brighton. It is totally synthetic and creases easily, but it drapes fairly well and I got about 3 metres for £1 so can’t really complain. I made my own bias binding for the neck and sleeve edges, however I couldn’t face making it up from same fabric as the blouse as it was really narrow. I measured it and found that I’d need to cut and sew together three strips of binding for each of the three edges (neck and two sleeves). No thanks! Instead I used some of the fabric left over from my previous Taffy blouse, which was lovely and wide so only needed one strip per edge.  Much preferable:)
Handmade Colette Patterns Taffy Blouse
I liked the print of this fabric when I started cutting out, but part way through sewing the blouse together I began to think that it might look like a rather cheap and nasty uniform. Now that it’s finished I’m pretty confident that it doesn’t have that look – I think the style of the blouse and sleeves save it from looking too uniform-like. Phew!