english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Detachable Tilly Collar

Homemade Detachable Collar
Here’s a super quick make.
I made up a detachable collar using the free pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. It goes pretty well with this (RTW) dress:) It was made with a Sevenberry fabric purchased from Guthrie and Ghani.
Homemade Detachable Collar

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Handmade Christmas Stockings

Handmade Christmas Stocking
I’ve been meaning to make Christmas stockings for a few years but for some reason – given that they are a pretty quick make – have never gotten around to it. This year I finally made a pair for myself and Phil.

I made the pattern for the stockings myself (e.g. I drew a large sock shape and cut the fabric around that to ensure the sizing was consistent).
Handmade Christmas Stocking
I purchased the rather amazing fabric and the ribbon from Guthrie and Ghani. The fabric is Hip Holidays by Josephine Kimberling. I love that it isn’t immediately obvious that it is a Christmas print – it takes a second glance to realise. I actually purchased it at the Guthrie & Ghani Christmas Party. The shop had been decked out for Christmas and looked great, and Lauren wore a very cute elf outfit!

The stockings are backed with a thicker fabric to keep their shape and the top of the stockings is covered with some bias binding I made from the front fabric. Each stocking has a nice big bell in the top corner next to a ribbon bow.
Handmade Christmas Stocking
To personalise the stockings I printed our names on the front of the stockings using a stamp pad that can be used on paper or fabric.
Handmade Christmas Stocking

Handmade Christmas Stocking
This week I also finally got around to making some Christmas cards for family. These were made by cutting shapes out of leftover felt.
Handmade Felt Christmas Cards


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Craft Fair Makes

I had my last craft fair of the year last Sunday at the MAC. I lucked out as I got a nice pitch which came with its own bench (good for wrapping items on as well as sitting) & was in the perfect position for watching what was happening in the centre.

Craft Fair Stall at MAC Christmas 2013
I made a few new items especially for the stall. I had a few items left over and finally managed to time it right to get enough natural light to take some photos today. The worst thing about winter is definitely the limited opportunities for getting enough natural light to take photos!

Small Mouse Lavender Bag:
The little mouse design on this lavender bag was printed using a small stamp I carved in lino. I stuffed it with a combination of lavender & polyester stuffing to get a nice shape.
Lino Printed Mouse Lavender Bag
Lino Printed Mouse Lavender Bag

Tweed Door Stop:
I used the same little mouse design to decorate door stops I made up in a lovely pink tweed fabric.
Door Stop with Lino Printed Mouse
Door Stop with Lino Printed Mouse

And as it was a Christmas craft fair I had to make some Christmas items!

Robin Stamp:
These little stamps are carved out of lino & then attached to a plastic base.
Handmade Robin Lino Stamp
Handmade Robin Lino Stamp

Heart Bauble with Robin Design:
I used one of the robin stamps myself to decorate these heart-shaped baubles, made in cotton & decorated with a Christmas ribbon.
Lino Printed Robin Heart Bauble
Lino Printed Robin Heart Bauble


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Christmas Craft Stall

Phew! I’ve had a busy few weeks. Amongst other things I’ve travelled abroad for work, prepared stock for the two Christmas craft fair stalls I have booked, and am currently on holiday in Spain. The day before me and Phil left for our holiday was the first of the Christmas craft fairs where I have a stall booked. Here’s my stall, looking busy!

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

I tried to broaden my repertoire a little for this fair, so amongst the items I regularly sell on Etsy (such as panda toys & door mats) were…

Fabric baubles with a lino printed robin design (printed by hand)

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

Handmade lino stamps featuring the same robin design

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

Handmade doorstops in a lovely pink tweed fabric. The doorstop on the left features a mouse design printed from a lino stamp I made.

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

Mini sewing kits including handmade pin-cushions and handmade clay buttons

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

And some cloud cushions.

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

P.S. If you’re ever in Seville make sure to visit Calle Francos (not far from the ‘Flying Waffle’) which has a number of fabric shops (both expensive & very reasonable). I picked up the fabric below on sale for 2 euros per metre from Almacenes Velasco.

Fabric - From Seville


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Linen Mathilde

Linen Check Handmade Mathilde Blouse

I feel like I’ve been waiting to make the Mathilde Blouse, by Tilly and the Buttons, for ages! I knew I’d love it as it’s totally my style – big sleeves, buttons down the back, high neckline. I bought the pattern weeks ago, cut the fabric out and then it sat around for a while, but last weekend I finally sat down and got sewing. It’s a pretty simple make especially with the online instructions available from Tilly’s site. It does take a good few hours though, or at least it did for me. I started machine sewing in earnest last Saturday evening and next thing I knew it was 1am and there was still lots to do! That’s what happens when you’re busy sewing – time passes faster!

Linen Check Handmade Mathilde Blouse

Being too lazy to make a muslin, I did at least go with a reasonably priced linen-blend (about £5 per metre) instead of the Liberty fabric I picked initially. Now that I know it fits me (I cut size 2 with no alterations) I’m planning to pop back for some of that Liberty fabric for version two. Although this was a first attempt I didn’t skimp on my finishes. I used French seams absolutely everywhere and bound the edges of the facing and sleeves. Look how neat the inside looks:)

Linen Check Handmade Mathilde Blouse

You’ll notice the blouse looks a little creased, but I had just cycled to a local park. For a linen it doesn’t crease too badly. The buttons I used down the back are handmade oak buttons by Against the Grain. I bought these from Sue, the artist who makes them, at a craft fair where we both had a stall back in August. I think they’re a great match for the checked fabric.

Linen Check Handmade Mathilde Blouse

Linen Check Handmade Mathilde Blouse

Linen Check Handmade Mathilde Blouse


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Time For Tea (Dress)

Handmade Tea Dress
This week the new Library of Birmingham and the refurbished Rep theatre opened. I had a family trip to the theatre with my family to see the new Alan Bennett play People so got to have a little look around. It was really busy (there was a queue to get in, which can’t happen very often in a library!) so I’m planning to pop back for a better look around soon.

Speaking of libraries, I borrowed The Great British Sewing Bee book from Coventry City Council’s Main Library (having previously borrowed it from my Mom to make a blouse with peter pan collar!). This time I decided to make the tea dress pattern from the book. This was a pretty simple make. In fact the most difficult thing was deciding which size to cut. According to the size guide in the book I fell between a size 12 and 14. I was a little suspicious of that sizing. I know that RTW sizing is inaccurate and minimised but a size 12-14 sounded quite large, particularly as the patterns in the book only go up to a size 16. I was also suspicious because I made the blouse pattern from the book in a size 8 (as I didn’t check the size guide that time & just assumed an 8 based on what I typically fit in RTW, oops!). However, the tea dress was a slightly more fitted make than the blouse so I was concerned about cutting too small. Obviously what I should have done was cut a muslin, but being lazy I decided to cut the dress out in a size 12 and then size down as required. The fabric was a relatively cheap floral cotton from Barry’s Fabric (purchased during the Birmingham blogger meet-up) so I didn’t feel too bad basically making a wearable muslin. I pinned the dress pieces on and found that the size 12 was way too big, no surprise! I wonder if the size guide in the book is actually misprinted as it’s miles off. I trimmed the pieces down to the size 10. The dress is still quite loose so I think the size 8 was probably a better fit but by cutting the larger size I avoiding adding a zip. Yippee!
Handmade Tea Dress
It’s quite a sweet simple dress and I like the capped sleeves so I might make it up again in a smaller size, perhaps altering the neckline slightly as personally I prefer a slightly higher neckline in front and back.
Handmade Tea Dress
I’m off to Istanbul tomorrow for a business trip – my very first outside the UK! I’m planning to pack some hand sewing for when I’m sat in the hotel. I’d like to do some fabric shopping too but I’ll have to see if there’s time.

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I Made Buttons!

Handmade Clay Buttons

Tomorrow I have a stall at a craft fair for the first time. It’s at the contemporary craft fair at Midland Art Centre, which is based in the lovely Cannon Hill Park. I’ve made up a number of the items I sell through my Etsy shop, but I thought I better expand my range to ensure I have enough variety on the stall. One of the things I made for the first time was buttons. These were made in white polymer clay, and then painted with a number of different designs. I made quite a few with Breton stripes, some with green sprouts, and some more abstract designs. I think I’m going to make some buttons up for my next sewing projects.

Handmade Clay Buttons
Handmade Clay Buttons
Handmade Clay Buttons