english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Sallie Jumpsuit

Closet Case Patterns Sallie Jumpsuit

This garment is a good example of how my pattern queue often works. I purchased the Closet Case Patterns Sallie Jumpsuit pattern on release, and picked up this medium-weight knit fabric from the Goldhawk Road (which is more green in real life) not long after. Despite having pattern and fabric paired ready to sew, they waited for over a year and half before making it to the front of the queue and the sewing machine.

Closet Case Patterns Sallie Jumpsuit

When I did finally decide to give Sallie my attention it was with typically spur of the moment urgency. I had leaving do drinks to attend at work and decided I urgently needed to wear this exact outfit. It’s actually a quick sew – I made this up in two or three evenings after work.

Closet Case Patterns Sallie Jumpsuit

Because I was sewing at speed in the evenings with minimal light, I initially attached the bodice ‘inside out’; the bodice main and lining pieces are almost identical, but the lining side is slightly smaller so that the seam allowance rolls to the inside. In my case it was initially rolling to the outside, so I went back and fixed the issue – post work night out.

Closet Case Patterns Sallie Jumpsuit

This fabric has a tendency to show lumps, bumps and panty lines. Next time I’d reduce this by using a fabric which is thicker, patterned or drapeier, and I would probably also raise the front neckline. I fancy trying Sallie with a modified rounded neckline.

Closet Case Patterns Sallie Jumpsuit

These photos were taken the day after my brother’s wedding, on the roof of the venue. I think Sallie is a perfect lounging around outfit, since the knit fabric means it is super comfortable. Phil however thinks it looks like I’m en route to a 70s disco.

Closet Case Patterns Sallie Jumpsuit

Closet Case Patterns Sallie Jumpsuit

Closet Case Patterns Sallie Jumpsuit

Closet Case Patterns Sallie Jumpsuit

Closet Case Patterns Sallie Jumpsuit

Closet Case Patterns Sallie Jumpsuit

Closet Case Patterns Sallie Jumpsuit


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Polo Shirt Dress

It’s my birthday today, and while Phil cooks me dinner I have just enough time for a quick post about this self-drafted polo shirt dress I made this summer.

Self Drafted Polo Shirt Dress

I’ve always loved polo shirts and polo shirt dresses, and have had one or two in my wardrobe since I was a teenager. However, my wardrobe has been without one for the last couple of years as I have pretty much stopped buying RTW and have never seen the right fabric (cotton pique) on sale before. So, when I spotted this fabric for sale on Goldhawk Road earlier this year I knew I needed to make myself a polo shirt dress.

Self Drafted Polo Shirt Dress

The dress is self drafted and is based on a RTW polo shirt dress, which I may have taken a few measurements from in the shop… As with all of the RTW polo shirt dresses I’ve owned it doesn’t feature any darts or shaping. I rushed the construction a little bit, so would like to get some more fabric and make a neater version at some point. I’d also like to create a short polo shirt (as opposed to dress) version.

Self Drafted Polo Shirt Dress

As you can see the construction is pretty simple, it’s a single piece at the front and back, with short set-in sleeves. I folded a strip of the fabric to create the cuffs. The RTW polo shirt examples I looked at had the collar as one piece, cut on a single layer of fabric. I kept a one piece collar but stitched two layers of fabric together to give it a bit more body. When I make another I’ll add a layer of interfacing too as it’s still a little floppy.

Self Drafted Polo Shirt Dress

I added a partial button placket. It was a pretty easy feature to figure out, but See Kate Sew has since posted a tutorial for one.

Self Drafted Polo Shirt Dress

These photos were taken in Paris during our holiday there in September, and were taken in the Saint-Pierre area very close to the fabric shops.

Self Drafted Polo Shirt Dress


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Archer Shirt Meet December Rain

I finished my Archer Shirt this morning and wanted to get some pictures. That meant stepping outside with a brolly to get some natural light. Welcome to the UK in December Archer Shirt!

As mentioned in a previous post I made this shirt in one and a bit days (just the buttons and buttonholes completed on the second day, e.g. today). I followed the sew-along posts from the Grainline Studio blog throughout. There’s nothing better than a photo of what something should look like to help you spot when you’ve gone wrong! It still took me a little while to puzzle out some of the steps, but this is my very first shirt. I think I would have struggled if I’d had only the instructions included with the pattern, which expect a degree of prior knowledge,  as a guide but with the support of the sew-along this is a relatively straightforward make.
Grainline Studio Archer Shirt
I cut a straight size two and the fit isn’t bad, I think the slouchy style rather suits the plaid and makes for a proper lazy Saturday shirt. I might try a size zero for my next Archer, especially If I go for a more office appropriate fabric. The size two is a little long in the arms and a touch big on the shoulders for me. This fabric is a 100% cotton plaid and it feels so soft and cosy. Because I wanted to get this shirt completed in a day (to meet the Archer appreciation deadline) I went with just the one pocket and with version A of the shirt. Next time I’ll give view B a try.
Grainline Studio Archer Shirt
Somehow (perhaps I allowed too large a seam allowance) I did find that when I came to attach the collar to the shirt the collar band wasn’t quite long enough! That problem was easily solved by putting a small tuck in the yoke. The only other issue I had was nothing to do with the pattern – for some reason when I came to make my button holes my sewing machine absolutely refused to play ball. In the end I gave up trying and sewed the buttonholes by hand. They certainly aren’t perfect but as another first for me not terrible either.
Grainline Studio Archer Shirt
The small green buttons used on the shirt are also handmade. I made them using polymer clay and a button mould purchased from MoldMuse on Etsy.
Grainline Studio Archer Shirt
Happy New Year everyone. I’m going spent the day slouching in my new archer, watching Home Alone and playing computer games:)


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Anyone for Tennis?

The day after the Birmingham sewing blogger meet-up I bought yet more fabric! I had no excuse but when I spotted this tennis-themed retro fabric I couldn’t resist. I found it in the Sue Ryder charity shop in Kings Heath. Anyone living locally may want to check it out as they had a selection of old patterns, as well as some cool vintage tea towels and other interesting bits and bobs.

Retro Tennis Yellow & Green Fabric

I have around one metre of the fabric. I really ought to make something tennis themed – does anyone have any ideas? I’m thinking perhaps a short skirt or a tank / polo shirt.


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Handmade Leaf Brooches

Handmade Plastic Leaf Brooch

I’ve been developing a number of designs for shrink-plastic badges recently.

Pictured are a number of leaf badges I created this weekend. The designs were printed on inkjet-friendly shrink plastic and then embossed to achieve a glossy effect and ensure the badges were waterproof.

The leaves these are based on were collected during a cycle around a local park.

Handmade Plastic Leaf Brooch
Handmade Plastic Leaf Brooches
Handmade Plastic Leaf Brooch