english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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#SewingTop5 from Barbie, Sewing Blogger

#sewingtop5 - The Top 5 of 2015!

Happy New Year all. I have lots of recent makes to share, but first I need some sunlight and a gap in the rain. In the meantime, I’m handing over to Barbie, who you may not know is also a sewing blogger – previous post here, for her #sewingtop5.

Enjoy! (Just to note all photos are taken from two books: Barbie Fashion by Sarah Sink Eames, and Barbie: What a Doll by Laura Jacobs).

Over to Barbie:

Hi all, I’ve really excited to share with you some favorite makes that I added to my adorable pink plastic wardrobe this year, as well as a few misses which I’ve generously donated to Skipper.

Sewing Hits

Obviously I became obsessed with sewing lingerie this year. I found perfecting the fit quite difficult as no pattern seemed to accommodate a 39″ bust with an 18″ waist – I blame standardised sizing. However, once I had perfected the fit via 27 toiles, I made a set in every colour.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Despite having 36 sewing projects on the go at any one time, of course I became obsessed with knitting, and knit my first cardigans.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Inspired by Lauren, I made an Archer and a pair of Ginger Jeans. Sigh, I’m disappointed that I didn’t get that plaid matching quite right on the shirt front, and hopefully I can neaten my jeans top-stitching next time (#ablogogising).

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

I copied Zo, and made a cute blue raincoat. I also made a cardboard belt to pair with it, but sadly it didn’t last past the first downpour.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

I got caught up in the 1970s trend, and made a 70s inspired outfit refashioned from some old curtains – I even found a use for the curtain tassles.

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

And finally, I made a number of garments as part of my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge. Looking at these photos again I’ve realised that I may have an addiction to bows…

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

Sewing Misses

I also had a few sewing misses in 2015. At one point I mistakenly became convinced that 1980s/Jem was a good look for me. These garments have now been safely disposed of, and my hair has almost recovered from the electric shock treatments which I was undergoing to achieve the look.

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

My winter coat didn’t turn out as expected – although I may be able to reuse it as a Yeti costume next Halloween. I do think I might be onto something with the gold bow-tie and turban combo, no?

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

And I may have gotten a bit carried away with the horsehair canvas on my red dress. I’m thinking the dress could possibly be salvaged – but never the hat.

Images from Barbie: What a Doll

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Barbie – Sewing Blogger

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

The library at the university where I work has some interesting books. My especially random find of last week was Barbie Fashion by Sarah Sink Eames, a pictorial catalogue of all Barbie outfit packs made between 1959-1967. Obviously, it was immediately checked out.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

A quick look at Barbie’s wardrobe from the 60s suggests she’d fit in pretty well in the sewing blogosphere.

She’s already made up a Rigel Bomber for Jacket January.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Inspired by Lauren, she’s made up Vogue 1419 in red wool.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

She’s joined in with the Ginger jeans making spree, finishing with some lovely top stitching.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

She sewed up an amazing ensemble for Oonapalooza.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

She’s even purchased a copy of the Secrets of Sewing Lingerie and may have gotten a bit carried away…

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Yep, Barbie would make a pretty impressive sewing blogger.

I’ve run out of comparisons, but do enjoy some more adorable outfits from the book!

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames


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Small Stories Exhibition at the Museum of Childhood

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood

Before going back to work – and back to normal – this week, me and Phil spent a couple of days in London. We shopped the Christmas sale (Phil did very well in the Paul Smith sale shop), visited the Horst photography exhibition at the V&A, and visited the current exhibition at the Museum of Childhood (which is also part of the V&A): Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls’ House.

I had a dolls’ house as a kid and have always loved teeny-tiny furniture. Everything looks cuter in miniature.

The exhibition runs until 06th September 2015, and I would most definitely recommend it if you’ll have a chance to visit. The Museum generally is also worth a trip; they have a lot of 1980s toys that really appeal to me, as they provide a great opportunity to spot toys you forgot you used to own, or missed out on owning as a kid!

The Small Stories exhibition focuses on 12 dolls’ houses which cover a timespan of 300 years. I especially liked the modern houses, a large white villa from the 1930s (complete with swimming pool and tennis court), and an adorable high-rise from the 1960s.

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood

The most exciting part of the exhibition, for me, was the Dream House art installation. For Dream House, the Museum commissioned 20 contemporary designers from a variety of disciplines to decorate a small wooden box or room. The result is amazing! I got a few photos of some favourites, but do check them all out in person or on the Museum website.

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
Wilderness Dreams, by Orly Orbach

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
A Night in the Studio, by Ina Hyun K Shin

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
Home Is Bear the Heart Is, by Mister Peebles

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
Library (A Recent Plan), by Emma Mawston and Keighley Shepherdly, Liberty Art Fabric Interiors

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
Llama Dreams, by Donna Wilson

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
More Is More, by Jessica Hayman, Rosa and Clara Designs

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
Molly’s Favourite Things, by Molly Meg

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
Offline Hideaway, by Dominic Wilcox

To finish, I’ll leave you with a few photos from the Museum’s permanent collection. It includes a number of sewing and knitting related toys.

V&A Museum of Childhood

V&A Museum of Childhood

Lots of very cool toys (me and my brother used to play with my dad’s toy fort as kids, and it was one of our favourites):

V&A Museum of Childhood

The collection includes some really creepy toys too, that must have given children nightmares..:

V&A Museum of Childhood


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Purple Felt Hair

I made the little doll below with the intention of selling her at the craft fair me and colleagues held a couple of weeks ago. However, she went unsold so she’s come home with me. She’s pictured below sat in our living room. She doesn’t have a mouth as I ran out of time to add one before the craft fair -however, I’ve decided to leave her like that as I think she looks quite cute without one. As you can see, she has purple felt hair and her dress is made with a lovely fabric I picked up cheaply at a market in the French town of Le Bugue, which I visited with my family this summer.

Handmade fabric doll
Handmade fabric doll
Handmade fabric doll


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A weekend all sewn up

Phew, I finally finished some items to sell at the charity craft fair we’re organising. I need to make a lot more to help fill the stall but at least it’s a start.

I ran out of toy stuffing after filling my doll’s head, but luckily my Nan had a bag so I was able to get her finished. She ended up looking a bit bossy!

Handmade Fabric Doll

Handmade Fabric Doll

Handmade Fabric Doll

Peg-bag (in use!) based on a Cath Kidson pattern.

Handmade peg bag