english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


5 Comments

Sangria Dress in Bamboo & Cotton Jersey

Capital Chic Patterns Sangria Dress

It’s taken me ages to get around to sharing this dress, which is a Capital Chic Patterns Sangria. As someone who rarely sews a pattern multiple times, you know I love this pattern when I tell you I have made three (version 1 here), and will definitely make more. (I still need to blog my second Sangria, which was sewn in a metallic, pink, snakeskin-print jersey and consequently doesn’t get worn much, but was still totally worth it!).

Capital Chic Patterns Sangria Dress

The pattern recommends using scuba jersey, but I especially like it in softer jerseys; it’s comfy, and has the added benefit that you can skip the centre back zip, making it a very quick sew. This version is sewn in a Combstooth Bamboo Organic Cotton Jersey from Offset Warehouse, purchased in-person at the Sewing Bee Live. It’s a lovely soft french terry, smooth on the right-side, with a soft texture on the reverse. It has enough body and recovery to work for a bodycon dress, whilst also being very comfortable.

Capital Chic Patterns Sangria Dress

The only danger of sewing such a fitted dress in a very stretchy fabric is that I’ve twice popped the hem stitches being over zealous. The dress is currently waiting for me to resew the hem (must do it, and not delay a five minute task for six months!).

Capital Chic Patterns Sangria Dress

I think this is a great all-year dress, it works with tights and a cardigan in the winter, and with ballet pumps in the summer. I want to return to my other favourite from the same Capital Chic Patterns collection, the Cuba Libre shirt, again this year.

Capital Chic Patterns Sangria Dress

These photos were taken during a recent-ish holiday to Majorca. I suspect it was whilst exploring the castle ramparts that I forgot how fitted my dress was and popped the hem stitches for the second time.

Capital Chic Patterns Sangria Dress

I’ve had a sewing-focused day today, which has included catching up on sewing blogs, vlogs and podcasts, sewing a top (Simplicity 8593), and writing this blog post. I’m going to see if I can squeeze in cutting out my next sewing project before heading to bed feeling very smug.

Capital Chic Patterns Sangria Dress

Capital Chic Patterns Sangria Dress

Capital Chic Patterns Sangria Dress

Advertisements


4 Comments

Fashion Revolution Jane Tee

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

To celebrate this year’s Fashion Revolution Week (which took place 22 – 28 April) I decided I wanted to make a garment which lived up to the ethics and ideals of the week. I didn’t have a lot of time to order fabric and sew a garment, so I thought I’d keep it simple with a slogan tee.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

The fabric for this tee was a Cream Marl Viscose Blend Jersey from Offset Warehouse. Offset Warehouse describe it as made from sustainable fibres (40% Cotton, 30% Viscose and 30% Polyester) and reclaimed from a high end manufacturer in the UK and stopped from heading to landfill.

The jersey is very fine and soft, with a subtle marl effect. It’s slightly transparent, so I am wearing a slip underneath in these photos.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

The pattern is the Seamwork Jane tee, which is a great loose fitting crew neck t-shirt pattern, and a perfect blank canvas for screenprinting (no darts). My measurements put me between an XS and S, but I cut a straight XS as there’s plenty of ease.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

For the text, I printed the ‘I made my clothes’ A4 poster from the Fashion Revolution website free resources section. To create a more stable stencil, I placed an A4 acetate sheet over the poster and cut out the lettering with a craft knife (I have a lifetime supply of acetate sheets as I took a box home from work many years ago, since they were gathering dust following overhead projectors being removed from classrooms). I screen-printed the text using black ink onto the pre-cut t-shirt front; I always use Permaset Supercover screen printing ink to print on fabric and find it really reliable, Fred Aldous stock it in the UK. If you fancy trying screen-printing you’ll need a screen, a squeegee (sized for the screen) & ink (if you want to print on fabric make sure the ink is suitable).

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

These pictures were taken in Vietnam, predominantly in the Botanical Gardens and Zoo in Ho Chi Minh City. I hadn’t realised in advance that the gardens and zoo were one and the same – we were aiming for the gardens. The planting is frequently beautiful, but as a whole – as you can see in these photos – it’s somewhat run down and in need of investment. Great for some dramatic blog photo backdrops, but not great for the resident animals. I suspect it suffers the same fate as Vietnam’s museums, which also – on the whole – appear to be underfunded and, as a result, dusty and in varying states of neglect.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

P.S. my all time favourite zoo story, was that we were once in a zoo somewhere in Europe (I have forgotten which), and a huge crowd gathered to watch and photograph a sole red squirrel which was living (wild) in the zoo. That little squirrel managed to steal all the attention from the huge (caged) animals which were metres away.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt


4 Comments

Knit Billie Dress

Tribe Patterns Billie Dress

Hi all, I’ve been quiet online lately, but haven’t been totally absent from this sewing community of ours! Last Saturday, I attended a meet-up organised by Crafty Sew & So in Leicester (blogged by Crafty Sew & So and by Sew Positivity), I’m planning my next moneta for the Moneta Party, and I’m popping to my parents’ house today to check the fit of a toile dog jacket on my brother’s dog, Rupert, before cutting into a tweed to make Rupert a jacket for my brother’s wedding.

Tribe Patterns Billie Dress

This is one of the dress variations from the Billie Collection, the first pattern from Tribe Patterns, and a collaboration between The Fold Line and Rachel Pinheiro. The pattern contains dress (with and without contrast at the shoulders), top and skirt variations. The Dress includes some lovely features, including open ended fish-eye darts to create the skirt pleats, and squared shoulders and neckline.

Tribe Patterns Billie Dress

The Bille Dress is closely fitted across the bust (via bust darts, plus fish-eye darts at the front and back) so this is a pattern where getting the fit right really impacts the finished garment. The pattern is designed for a cup size C; as someone with a B cup, I should have attempted a small bust adjustment, but decided to (be lazy and) try the dress in a knit fabric for a slightly more relaxed fit. The fit is still off at the bust, and next time I ought to be good and adjust the pattern.

Tribe Patterns Billie Dress

Although the pattern is designed for wovens, I’d definitely recommend trying it in a stable knit fabric for a comfy casual dress. Thanks to the wide neckline, I’m able to pull this dress on and off over my head, so skipped the back zip; bonus! I purchased this medium-weight knit fabric from a market stall during my recent trip to Istanbul, at Çarşamba (Wednesday) market in Kirmasti, Fatih. I used the wrong side of the fabric for the contrast shoulder panels.

Tribe Patterns Billie Dress

If you’re wary about fitting the Billie Collection dress, the skirt variation would be a nice easy project, and the top would be easier to perfect fitting adjustments on before moving on to the dress.

Right, I’m off to fit in some sewing before it’s time for a puppy fitting session!

Tribe Patterns Billie Dress


6 Comments

Mustard Crepe Lou Lou Dress

Mustard Crepe Lou Lou Dress

I haven’t had much time to sew or to blog lately. What I have been doing is plenty of knitting and podcast-listening, since I can do those on my daily commute. I’ve also had a lovely movie-watching evening today, and have managed to squeeze in four films – I’m considering film number five, but should probably go to bed instead…

Mustard Crepe Lou Lou Dress

This is my Lou Lou Dress pattern (View B) made in a mustard luxury crepe from Sew Over It, it’s actually the left-over fabric from when I pattern tested the Joan Dress. The contrast hem is in Atelier Brunette’s ‘twist’ print cotton – another left-over, this time from a Paprika Pattern Onyx Shirt.

Mustard Crepe Lou Lou Dress

These photos were taken last Saturday. It was Phil’s birthday and we spent the day mooching around Birmingham city centre, eventually ending up in Digbeth to try a new tap room / bottle shop which has opened in the Custard Factory (Clink Beer).

Mustard Crepe Lou Lou Dress

Digbeth has some great graffiti – I was hoping to feature some of my favourites, but taking blog photos is just about Phil’s least favourite thing so I was nice and didn’t pester him to take more photos than these on his birthday!

Mustard Crepe Lou Lou Dress

My shoes are Nina Z, purchased from Brooklyn Flea while I was visiting New York. I haven’t worn them in enough yet, as after several hours walking around town I had multiple blisters by the time I got home.

Mustard Crepe Lou Lou Dress

Elsewhere

♥ Great podcast interview with Nick Wright about running Ernest Wright & Son, and his relationship with his father; really sensitively done, and also very funny. Plus, their Kickstarter campaign is now over 300% funded – hooray!

♥ A really sweet free wrap knitting pattern from a Verb for Keeping Warm, and free tray and basket pattern from Noodlehead.

♥ Women’s Hour has featured some great interviews with favourites from the knitting and fashion worlds: Kate DaviesFelix Ford, Lara Clements, Livia Firth, & fashion historian Amber Butchart.

♥ While on the subject of audio, I’m OBSESSED with Malcolm Gladwell’s brilliant podcast Revisionist History. I feel like I’m getting an education every episode.

Mustard Crepe Lou Lou Dress

Mustard Crepe Lou Lou Dress

Mustard Crepe Lou Lou Dress

Mustard Crepe Lou Lou Dress

Mustard Crepe Lou Lou Dress

 


3 Comments

Supporting Independent Businesses / Ernest Wright & Son Kickstarter Campaign

Ernest Wright & Son, Sheffield

Given the referendum results, I think those of us in Britain currently feel awkward posting anything which sounds like it celebrates Britain. In the wake of an isolationist result, we don’t want to look insular or nationalistic.

However, regardless of UK and international politics, it’s important that we celebrate and support our independent businesses, our manufacturing industry (and the jobs it creates), & our artisans and craftspeople.

In fact, the referendum results make it even more vital that we support independent businesses, who are themselves facing a lot of uncertainty and new risks.

I keep in mind how much pressure independent businesses are under, and that it is often a real struggle for small businesses to keep operating, let alone profitably. If we don’t support the independent businesses we care about (with our time & support as well as our money) then they won’t be here.

That’s part of the reason why I’m supporting Ernest Wright & Son’s Kickstarter campaign. The other part is because I fell head over heels for the company when I visited them on behalf of Love Sewing magazine. I’m totally biased, not because I’m sponsored by them in any form, but because I think they’re a lovely bunch who made beautiful products.

P.S. If you’re outside of the UK, maybe take advantage of the current drop in the pound to support their campaign, or purchase a pair of scissors direct.

P.P.S. Have you seen the glorious gold plated scissors Ernest Wright & Son make on behalf of the New Craftsmen.


6 Comments

Sudley – Two Ways

Megan Nielsen Sudley

I recently had the opportunity to pattern test the Sudley blouse/dress pattern for Megan Nielsen (test version blogged here). As soon as I finished my test version (in a cotton lawn), I decided I wanted to make the pattern again in a drapier fabric.

Megan Nielsen Sudley

Megan Nielsen Sudley

I picked up this gold knit fabric at Birmingham Rag Market on a recent trip with a few local sewists (organised by Rachel), and thought it might be a good candidate for a Sudley Dress. The fabric was £2 per metre and is a relatively heavy knit with a lot of drape, and a slightly metallic texture and shine. I actually used the reverse of the fabric, as I thought it had a more unusual colour and pattern than the right side.

Megan Nielsen Sudley

Megan Nielsen Sudley

The Sudley pattern is designed for wovens, but it’s a good candidate for substituting for knits due to the loose fit and absence of darts or fastenings. I made Version 3 in size XS, with the sleeves from Version 1. I only made one change to the pattern/construction as a result of using a knit fabric; the pattern instructs you prepare skirts pieces in both main and lining fabrics and attach these to the main and lining bodices respectively. Due to the weight of my fabric, I felt that the weight of the skirt piece was likely to stretch out the bodice, so I only cut a skirt in the main fabric (not the lining) and attached this to both main and lining bodices for extra support. As suggested by the pattern, I cinched in the waist of the dress by attaching elastic around the waistband.

I think the resulting dress actually has a similar silhouette to Colette’s Moneta pattern. I forgot to get any photos of the dress worn in reverse (it is reversible, so the keyhole can be worn at the front).

Megan Nielsen Sudley

Megan Nielsen Sudley

Having completed this dress version, I couldn’t resist also making the blouse Version 1 (minus the collar) so that I could enter the Monthly Stitch’s current Indie Pattern Month, One Pattern, Two Ways contest! I really love the contrast between these two versions.

Megan Nielsen Sudley

Megan Nielsen Sudley

This version is made in stash fabric, purchased as a coupon in Paris a few years ago. The fabric is a border print and I only had scraps left so couldn’t continue the pattern across both sides, but I like the contrast of the finished result. The fabric is beautifully soft and I’ve been hording these last scraps for ages – I only have tiny pieces left but haven’t been able to bring myself to throw them away yet, maybe I’ll be able to use them as a pocket lining!

Megan Nielsen Sudley

Megan Nielsen Sudley

I hand-stitched the blouse and sleeve hems by hand. I thought I’d ignore the instructions for finishing the neckline and keyhole opening and instead turn twice and hand stitch. The finished result looked puckered so I had to rip-out that hand stitching and instead created a facing – which was much more successful. I reduced the depth of the keyhole opening slightly on this version as I find it slightly low for the office on the dress version (although I wore it that way ’round regardless today!).

Megan Nielsen Sudley

I’m looking forward to wearing both of these to work this week – I can never resist wearing new garments the instant that they are finished!


9 Comments

Seamwork Kenedy & Manila

Seamwork Magazine Kenedy Dress & Manila Leggings

I’ve got a Seamwork pairing to show today. These are the Kenedy dress and Manila leggings, both patterns from Seamwork magazine.

Seamwork Magazine Kenedy Dress

Seamwork Magazine Kenedy Dress

The Manila leggings were included in the January 2015 issue and I’ve been meaning to make them since then – better late than never! I was much quicker with the Kenedy dress, which was featured in the March 2016 issue.

Seamwork Magazine Manila Leggings

These are the first pair of leggings I’ve made and I’m really pleased with them. I cut a size Small and the fit is good. With the petal shaped cuff added they are a tiny bit long for me (I’m about 5’3″); next time I’ll reduce the height of the cuff slightly as it’s actually quite deep on the inside leg side.

Seamwork Magazine Manila Leggings

The fabric is from Girl Charlee and is their Solid Cotton Spandex Knit Fabric. The colourway is Heather Grey which I can’t see in stock now, but the Charcoal looks similar. The fabric has 4-way stretch and is a good thickness for leggings – you can see a slight pant line in the photo above where I’m modeling them without the dress, but so long as you are wearing these as leggings not as trousers I think it’s just the right weight. I’ve been wearing them quite a bit and have found the recovery good.

Seamwork Magazine Manila Leggings

The sample version of Kenedy featured in Seamwork is made in a satin-type fabric, but I immediately imagined it in something comfy for pottering around the house. This fabric is one of the few I purchased while visiting the US a few months ago, it’s Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel in Red purchased from Gather Here in Boston  where I met up with Jenny. It was lovely to sew with and it’s really soft and comfy to wear, but it creases easily as you can see.

Seamwork Magazine Kenedy Dress

The main thing to bear in mind with this pattern is how short it is. It would be pretty indecent without leggings or trousers, so if you want to wear it alone make sure to measure the pattern pieces / add some length before cutting out. I graded between a Size 0 and 2.

Seamwork Magazine Kenedy Dress

Seamwork Magazine Kenedy Dress & Manila Leggings

Disclaimer: I was provided with spandex knit fabric from Girl Charlee for use in a project of my choice; all opinions expressed are my own.