english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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In The Folds Jumpsuit

In The Folds Peppermint Magazine Jumpsuit

It’s been a weekend of staring at computer screens, but I wanted to squeeze in a quick blog post before the weekend is out.

I was in the office Saturday and Sunday this weekend for a software upgrade – not as bad as it sounds as the team are lovely, we had a suitable supply of chocolate and cake (kinder eggs included), and ordered in lunch. I have however been robbed of my weekly lie-ins, so we’ll see how I’m feeling by next Friday when I’ve done twelve consecutive 6am starts.

In The Folds Peppermint Magazine Jumpsuit

I recently started studying an undergraduate degree in IT one day per week, in the hope of being less bamboozled by my colleagues in future. For some reason, I decided it would be a good idea to try to fix an EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING log-in page issue, which has been bugging me for a week, on my return home from work this evening. I’m still at that stage where I understand so little that I quickly feel overwhelmed and slightly panicky, but I guess I’ll get to the stage where it all becomes a little clearer, and where I waste less time going around in circles, eventually.

In The Folds Peppermint Magazine Jumpsuit

I thought it best to end the week with something much more familiar; blogging about sewing. This is the (free) Jumpsuit pattern by In the Folds, in collaboration with Peppermint Magazine, in size B.

Like everyone else I was inspired by the pattern sample, and picked a similar fabric, a green chambray from Guthrie & Ghani, which my Mom treated me to during last year’s SewBrum meet-up. The fabric is very soft and has a lovely sheen. It is a little prone to creasing, which is exacerbated in these photos by the fact they were taken when I was hot and sweaty in Vietnam.

In The Folds Peppermint Magazine Jumpsuit

This jumpsuit is a suitably loose and comfy garment for travelling in. I like the contrast of the relatively-fitted bodice with the loose trousers, and the deep v of the back neckline. I decided part-way through the holiday that I much prefer the belt tied at the back.

In The Folds Peppermint Magazine Jumpsuit

I’m going to close the laptop and treat myself to an early night. See below for how quickly my blog photos degenerate when I have a boat practically to myself and baggy trousers to hop around in.

In The Folds Peppermint Magazine Jumpsuit

In The Folds Peppermint Magazine Jumpsuit

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New Blouse & Crafty Short Film Screening

Yippee I’ve finished another project, a blouse with collar from the Great British Sewing Bee book. It’s a simple design with no fastenings and a false-collar (e.g. it’s just attached at the front of the blouse).

Handmade Blouse from The Great British Sewing Bee book

Keeping on a Sewing Bee theme, I made the blouse using a lovely Sevenberry printed cotton fabric which I bought from Guthrie & Ghani, the shop run by Sewing Bee’s Lauren.

Sevenberry Fabric

I’m relatively happy with the blouse, although given that it isn’t fitted a more clingy fabric would have resulted in a closer fit.

There’s one other issue with it, I messed up the underarm area where the sleeves join the body. It’s probably due to my limited sewing skills, but I found the instructions for attaching the bottom of the sleeves to the body quite vague. By the time I’d finished attaching them with French seams I couldn’t face reattaching – especially since I wasn’t entirely sure where I went wrong – so I’m going to live with the errors. As long as I don’t hold my arms up in the air no one will know!

P.S. the unironed look isn’t entirely my fault as I did iron the blouse before putting it on, however the fabric creases pretty quick.

Handmade Blouse from The Great British Sewing Bee book

Handmade Blouse from The Great British Sewing Bee book

Handmade Blouse from The Great British Sewing Bee book

Talking about Guthrie and Ghani, me and Phil attended a Kino 10 short film screening at the shop last night. If you live in Birmingham make sure you check out Kino 10, who run short-film screenings across the city in galleries, pubs, shops, etc.

Kino 10 Screening Guthrie and Ghani

Last night’s screening was on the theme of crafting, sewing and knitting. The best film shown was To Die By Your Side by Spike Jonze. It’s a stop motion animation in fabric. It’s also a love story set in a Parisian book shop. Check it out.

Knitting fans (and everyone else) may also enjoy another video we watched last night. The doozer’s Knitting Song from Fraggle Rock.

My own favourite sewing/clothing related shorts are the old newsreel footage clips, like the one below…


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My First Workshop at Guthrie & Ghani

Batik Workshop at Guthrie & Ghani

A couple of weeks ago I attended my first workshop at Guthrie and Ghani in Moseley. Having visited on their opening day and had a nose at their upstairs studio, I was keen to go back and try a class there. A friend at work was attending a Batik Taster Session so I decided to tag along.

The course was run by Layla Tutt who is a local batik artist and, as she told us herself, first and foremost a rock chick and musician. Layla introduced us to batik by showing a number of her own works as well as pieces created in previous teaching sessions she has run with children.

Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening
Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening

(Batik pieces by  Layla Tutt)

Batik Workshop at Guthrie & Ghani

Layla then introduced us to the tools of the trade. The key tool is the tjanting which is used to create outlines in hot wax. This wax serves as a resist, creating an area protected from the paint which is then applied.

Batik Workshop at Guthrie & Ghani

We were given the opportunity to dye either one large or four small pieces of batik. I went for the one larger piece but it did mean that my very first attempt was my only attempt, and by the time I had got to grips with the tjanting I had run out of fabric. On a single layer image (which was all that was really possible in a short session as we didn’t have enough time to allow the paint to dry) batik can be quite a quick technique. However, Layla stressed that a large, multi-layered image can take a long time to create; largely due to waiting for each layer to dry before starting the next. The tjanting appeared to be one of those tools that does take a bit of getting used (wax coming out too fast, not enough wax coming out, etc) so it was difficult to achieve much in a short session, but it was good fun to have a go. I really enjoyed it but think I’ll probably stick to lino/screen printing and direct fabric painting at home due to the additional barriers of getting to grips with batik (the need to purchase a wax pot and tjanting, and to learn a new technique).

Batik Workshop at Guthrie & Ghani

Anyway, here is my batik piece from the evening. As I said, I only had one piece of fabric so I made use of every inch to squash on a fair few patterns and colours. Layla mainly creates floral patterns and her pieces inspired us to do the same – I think every single member of the class painted flowers!

Handmade Batik Print
Handmade Batik Print

Having finished painting my piece of fabric quite early in the evening I took advantage of the opportunity to pop downstairs into the Guthrie & Ghani shop to do some shopping.  I treated myself to some lovely Sevenberry fabric which I’m in the process of making into a blouse with a peter pan collar. Assuming I don’t slack off and spend too much time watching TV / reading blogs you’ll be seeing it very soon.

Sevenberry Fabric
Sevenberry Fabric


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Grand Opening of Guthrie & Ghani

Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening

Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening

This morning, me and my Mom attended the grand opening of Guthrie & Ghani (a new haberdashery in Moseley, Birmingham) run by Lauren of Great British Sewing Bee fame.

We arrived in time for the ribbon cutting, along with lots of others. There was quite a crowd waiting for the doors to open & there was still a queue outside  when we left (which was quite some time later as we had a good mooch!). Lauren looked a little nervous when the moment to cut the ribbon arrived, but was supported by Stuart (fellow star of Sewing Bee) and her husband, Ayaz.

Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening

Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening

Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening

Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening

The Guthrie & Ghani team were very welcoming, making for a really lovely opening event. Lauren’s fellow stars of Sewing Bee, Tilly and Stuart (who will both be teaching classes in the shop’s upstairs workroom) attended and were happy to sign copies of the Sewing Bee book and talk sewing. It was great to meet them all, and they were just as nice in person as they seemed on TV. My Mom treated herself to the Sewing Bee book, which I will be borrowing shortly:)

Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening

Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening

Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening

Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening

I loved the special opening day cake!

Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening

Of course I also loved the products available:) The shop’s stock is beautifully displayed and very colourful. I restricted myself to a lovely purse clasp (with yellow bobbles) but will be returning shortly for a Colette pattern and am planning to attend a workshop. I just haven’t decided which I fancy most yet…

Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening
Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening
Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening
Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening