english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Onyx Shirt in Sanssouci Park

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Yesterday, me and Phil arrived home from a week’s holiday in Berlin (plus a quick stop-over in London to attend a sewing meet-up organised by Helen). We had a great week, but it’s also lovely to be home – particularly as I have a few more days off work, so time to do some sewing, knitting and blogging.

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

I only managed to make one new garment for the holiday, a second Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns. I started it a few days before we left, but inevitably ended up hand sewing the hem at midnight the day before we left. Sewing blogger problems…

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

I made a straight size two. The only alteration I made from the instructions was to fold under twice at the neckline and hand stitch, rather than using bias binding. I also hand stitched the hem.

The fabric is Atelier Brunette cotton. It’s their ‘twist’ design in dark blue, and was purchased from Guthrie & Ghani. Buttons were from my stash, and I think were freebies with a magazine.

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

These photos were taken in Sanssouci Park in Potsdam. The Berlin travel ticket (if you buy all zones) includes Potsdam, so we decided to catch the train there one day during our trip. This is the area of the park in front of Sanssouci Palace, which was built as the summer palace of Frederick the Great.

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Sanssouci Park Potsdam


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A Naturally Dyed Wardrobe: Turmeric

Turmeric Dyed Yarns

I recently dyed a range of yarns, some cotton, and my recently completed knitted socks, with turmeric.

In preparation, I tied the loops of yarns in a number of places, and then soaked the yarn, fabric and socks in cold water so that they would take the dye better.

I made a paste with a full jar of ground turmeric from the supermarket (approx 45g), and placed this and my yarn and cotton in a large stainless steel pot with enough water to cover everything.

Turmeric dyeing in progress

I heated the pan on the hob on a low temperature for one hour. As I was more cautious about my socks I added these for the last 30 minutes only.

I did stir the pan occasionally to try and ensure the colour would be even, but didn’t stir excessively as I was wary about the wool items felting.

After an hour I turned off the heat, but left the items in the pan for another couple of hours, after which I rinsed the items with a mild wool wash, and left them to dry.

Turmeric Dyed Yarns

The yarns I started with were all white or off-white. The yarns used (shown from left to right below) were:

♥ 40% Polyester, 33% Acrylic, 27% Cotton, containing glitter and sequins (Sirdar Soukie DK, in Gold Dust)

♥ 100% cotton (Rowan handknit cotton)

♥ 75% merino / 20% silk / 5% cashmere DK (Sublime)

♥ 100% wool DK (TOFT Alpaca, in Oatmeal)

♥ 100% merino wool chunky (Rowan Big Wool)

Yarn prepared for dyeing

You can see the range of yellows I achieved below. The cotton fabric and yarn (on the left) are the lightest, the synthetic yarn (top) and merino/silk/cashmere blend (centre) are a medium shade, and the 100% wool yarns and socks achieved the darkest shades.

Turmeric Dyed Yarns

Turmeric is a substantive dye, so I dyed these without mordanting my yarn / fabric. However, turmeric is reported to fade easily, so if you’re dyeing something that you plan to wash, it would be best to mordant. I wasn’t concerned because I’m planning to use the yarn in a weaving, and if the colour of the socks fades I’ll redye them.

Turmeric Dyed Yarns

Turmeric Dyes Wool Socks

Turmeric Dyed Yarns

Turmeric Dyed Yarns


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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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Last Minute Archer Appreciation

So on New Year’s Eve I haven’t been busy finishing off party wear, I’ve been sewing an Archer Shirt by Grainline Studio – just in time to make it during Archer Appreciation Month (and it really is just in time!). I purchased, washed and cut my fabric yesterday and did all the sewing in one day (not too shabby, especially as it’s my first shirt, I’m definitely getting quicker). As you can see the shirt isn’t quite finished – the buttons & buttonholes are still to do but I’m almost there now. The fabric is a 100% cotton plaid purchased from Barry’s Fabrics.
Grainline Studio Plaid Archer
Not a bad final project for the year. It’s been a busy year for me – each seems to be busier than the last. Craft wise – I started sewing clothes again (largely inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee), my Etsy shop sales increased, I did my first ever craft fairs, and I started knitting (I haven’t finished a project yet but will do soon). I also started a new job (in August) and began travelling abroad regularly for work for the first time. Hopefully next year I’ll squeeze in even more. Phil treated me to a mini sewing machine for Christmas so I can do some sewing when overseas so no doubt that means more sewing projects:)

Happy New Year everyone, and happy Archer Appreciation Month too!
Grainline Studio Plaid Archer