english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Nina Lee Portobello Trousers

Nina Lee Portobello Trousers

I do so love having unblogged garments to pack for a holiday! I made these Nina Lee Portobello Trousers a few weeks before heading off for a long weekend in Porto, but altered them the day we left. I spent the morning sewing and generally enjoying myself, so ended up getting dressed in all of ten minutes before flying out of the door, with make-up applied en route, and hair left to fend for itself (i.e. stick out in multiple directions).

Nina Lee Portobello Trousers

These trousers are an example of something I’m trying to get better at – going back and altering ‘completed’ garments if there’s something that is preventing me from wearing them. I made these trousers without alteration initially and wore them to work a few times, but found the crotch very low on me, resulting in lots of excess fabric at the back. I also hadn’t reduced the length of the trousers enough, meaning I had to wear them with heels (I normally wear flats) to prevent them touching the floor. Phil tactfully called them Hammer Pants and requested a rendition of the U Can’t Touch This dance; I of course obliged (not pretty).

Nina Lee Portobello Trousers

On my next version I’ll have a proper look at how the crotch curve fits me, but as an easy fix I removed the waistband and removed a couple of inches at the waist. This worked to raise the crotch and also shorten the length. They are currently back on my alterations pile as the waistband is now too loose, meaning they don’t sit on my natural waist as intended, but I’m looking forward to tweaking and then getting lots of wear out of them. I really love this style of high waisted and wide legged trousers, and the fabric is a lovely drapey wool from Barry’s Fabrics.

Nina Lee Portobello Trousers

My current approach to those garments which do need minor alterations is to have a visible pile in my sewing room. Previously I’ve left garments in the wardrobe until I’m ready to alter them and the result is that they are out of sight and out of mind. For example, I’ve been meaning to make a couple of small alterations (reducing the length and replacing the buttons) to a Southport Dress since I made it in 2015 and finally got around to it once it was sat looking at me everyday. Sadly not in time for summer!

Nina Lee Portobello Trousers

I’ve done so little sewing lately that I’m desperate to catch up with lots of exciting recent pattern releases, and Nina’s most recent pattern the beautiful Kew Dress is right at the top of that list. Like these trousers, I think Kew Version 1 will be perfect for the office.

Nina Lee Portobello Trousers

Nina Lee Portobello Trousers

Nina Lee Portobello Trousers

 

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Jackie Dress

Victory Patterns Jackie Dress

It’s taken a while for this dress to make it to the blog, since I made it to wear to The Dressmakers Ball, organised by the team at Crafty Sew & So, back in May.

Victory Patterns Jackie Dress

In time honoured fashion, I bought tickets to the ball as soon as they went on sale but left making my outfit until the last minute. I have a lousy memory, so details from May are lost to the mists of time, but I’m pretty sure I whipped this up the night before the ball.

As luck would have it, this dress is perfect for dancing in, the multi-paneled skirt adding lots of volume for twirling. Plus, due to being sewn in a knit fabric, it’s comfier than your average party dress.

Victory Patterns Jackie Dress

I think this fabric was a Guthrie & Ghani purchase, and was definitely bought with a Colette Wren in mind, but instead it became a Victory Patterns Jackie dress. It has a really nice weight and a subtle sparkle.

Despite the multiple panels, this dress is actually a fairly quick sew, and would make an excellent Christmas party dress.

Victory Patterns Jackie Dress

These pictures were taken in the grounds of a local Jacobean house museum, Aston Hall, during a food festival event Phil and I attended. The event was sold out and the grounds full of people, so I’m impressed at just how peaceful we’ve made it seem in these photos.

Victory Patterns Jackie Dress

Victory Patterns Jackie Dress

Victory Patterns Jackie Dress

Victory Patterns Jackie Dress


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Seamwork Loretta

Seamwork Loretta in Japanese Cotton

Ahh, how satisfying to find time to write an actual blog post. A lot of bloggers will post after some time away to say that they haven’t found time to blog, but have been doing lots of sewing. Well, I haven’t been doing either!

Over the last few months, my evenings and weekends have been spent catching up with work, preparing for the Sewing Weekender (and I didn’t take on as much in the run up as Kate or Rachel did), or with friends. Work has been especially busy, as I took on a new role at the University where I work at the same time as supporting Clearing (where students find a place with a University post A-level results). Clearing is all consuming while it’s underway, so that it not only sucks up all of your time, but also makes you into a total bore for a few months, as it is basically all you want to talk about! Sorry to everyone I bored to death talking about phone lines and call volumes…

Seamwork Loretta in Japanese Cotton

I’ve missed the acts of sewing and blogging, and I also missed being able to add to my wardrobe on a whim when I fancied something new to wear (I did order three new dresses from People Tree one evening in a sulk). Anyway, I’ve found a little time for blogging now, with sewing to follow soon.

Seamwork Loretta in Japanese Cotton

Phil is somewhat holiday obsessed and was really keen to go away for his birthday in July, but we compromised on a post-Sewing Weekender and post-Clearing long weekend in Porto in late August. Before we traveled I managed to finish this Seamwork Loretta blouse which I had started before work got crazy.

Seamwork Loretta in Japanese Cotton

This is View 1, tunic length, in the smallest size. I’m actually going to go back and cut this to top length (View 2), as I think it will be more versatile and suit me better; being small, I feel a bit drowned in the volume of fabric at this length. This top can be worn on or off the shoulders, but until the length is reduced I prefer it off the shoulders, otherwise it looks a bit proportionally unbalanced on me. One thing to note, the armholes are quite large and, when the blouse is worn on the shoulders, potentially a bit revealing.

Seamwork Loretta in Japanese Cotton

I purchased this fabric while in Tokyo earlier this year from the large Tomato store in Nippori Fabric District. It’s a lightweight cotton with a traditional-style Japanese print. I restricted my shopping to three fabrics while in Nippori, and am looking forward to sewing with the other two soon.

Seamwork Loretta in Japanese Cotton

Right, I’m off to catch up with another hobby I have neglected – social media and the newsletter for the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, which I support as a volunteer.

Seamwork Loretta in Japanese Cotton


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Lakeside Pajamas

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

Despite making most of my clothes, these are only the third pair of pyjamas I have sewn! Maybe one day I’ll reach the point where my wardrobe feels relatively complete and I’m happy to spend my sewing time making nightwear and underwear, but I’m definitely not there yet; however, I was in need of some new summer pjs and rather than buy RTW I thought it was time to temporarily put down the dress patterns and revisit pyjama patterns instead.

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

These are Grainline Studio’s Lakeside Pajamas in a lovely soft textured cotton which I purchased from John Lewis haberdashery during the #fmbham sewing meet-up in Birmingham, organised by Samantha and Bianca. I hadn’t decided which pattern I was going to make until the meet-up, when Ben suggested the Lakeside Pajamas. I’m really glad he did, as I love the design of these. I love that the top keeps you covered up at the front, but is interesting/mildly revealing at the back.

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

I’m typically one or two pattern sizes smaller at the bust than at the waist/hips. A set like this is perfect as it allows me to cut two separate sizes, rather than needing to grade between them. I cut a 0 in the top and 4 in the shorts, and the fit is spot on.

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

I thought matching binding would look best with this fabric so suffered through making metres of it, but would definitely prefer to buy pre-made. A little secret, I didn’t actually have enough fabric left to cut bias strips (or, at best, I would have had to join loads of short strips together) so just cut strips of fabric along the grainline. As a result, my straps/edges potentially have a little less drape, but I don’t think it’s noticeable. Making/attaching the binding is definitely the most time consuming part of making this garment, but even so they sew up pretty quickly.

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

Work – and everything else – is really busy, so I’ve had less time to be creative lately. Attending Yarningham festival, and a brioche stitch workshop with Renée Callahan, last weekend, reminded me how much I enjoy knitting, leading me to start a new scarf project which is well underway; blogging these pyjamas has reminded me how much I want to get behind my sewing machine again very soon too.

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas

Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas


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Resurrected Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

This is the Simple Sew Patterns Grace Dress, which was a freebie with a previous issue of Love Sewing Magazine.

Simple Sew Grace Dress

I’m currently very fond of this dress for a few reasons. Firstly, I made it using a yellow and white cotton/polyester brocade which I won in a little giveaway on Madalynne’s blog. The piece I won was leftover from an adorable two piece set Madalynne made, and which she recently revised in a blog post.

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Secondly, I made it especially for a fun little overnight trip to London some months back, and wore it out to party. In typical fashion, I decided to make it for the trip at the last minute, and – from memory – sewed it mostly in one evening. Which leads me on to…

Cannon Hill Park

Thirdly, this dress was brought back from the brink, and given a second chance to live a fulfilling garmenty life. I didn’t realise until I had almost finished making this dress, that the fabric is quite delicate and frays significantly. My overlocker happened to be playing up at the time, and I was attempting to finish it quick to wear out, so I make the decision to wear it out and that afterwards I would hand wash it and overlock the seams.

That plan would have been fine, however I didn’t let Phil in on it, and he threw the dress in the washing machine. My poor dress emerged from the machine ripped in a number of places along both sides of the waistband.

Simple Sew Grace Dress

I allowed sufficient time to sulk, then went back, unpicked the zip and bodice lining, and overlocked the bodice and skirt to the waistband. During the surgery I was attempting to lose as little fabric as possible, which has left the waistband somewhat wonky, and messed up the skirt gathers, but it’s meant this dress has made it past it’s first wear!

Simple Sew Grace Dress

I get a bit of gaping at the front of the armholes which I’ll need to address if making it again, but this is a cute simple party dress, and works really well in a stiffer fabric like this brocade.

It’s pictured in a couple of these photos with a new favourite lace cardigan from People Tree, in 100% cotton, hand knitted in Nepal.

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Simple Sew Grace Dress


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Liberty Inari Tee Dress

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

This is my first Named Clothing Inari Tee Dress, sewn using a metre of Liberty Tana Lawn, purchased as a pre-cut length in a Liberty sale.

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

This print reminds me of Japanese woodblock prints, so I made sure to pack it for my recent holiday to Seoul (where these photos were taken) and Tokyo. However, Karen notes on her vlog that the print was actually inspired by Mount Stuart in Scotland. A perfect excuse for a trip to Scotland next, methinks.

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

This dress was one of those projects which, I decided lateish in the evening, I absolutely needed to make to wear to work the next morning. Sometimes those projects turn out ok despite me, other times not.

In this instance, I selected a size based on the wrong size chart (i.e. I took the finished measurements chart to be the size chart) and cut the dress two sizes too small (a size 4 instead of 8). The dress ended up thrown aside in disgust for a couple of weeks before I revisited and realised that it did still fit, if a little lacking in ease.

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

As an aside, I made Phil walk towards that lovely purple wall, as a perfect photo background, until we got close and realised that it was a paper covering over the real wall…

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

I’ll definitely cut a larger size next time, as there’s quite a bit of pressure from my hips on the seam at the top of the side slits in this version! In fact, I’m planning to go back and reinforce them to protect this dress.

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

This is totally my style and I love how little fabric it requires, so there will definitely be more Inari Tee Dresses added to my wardrobe.

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn


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Mustard Denim Cleo in Seoul

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

I must admit, when Tilly’s Cleo pattern was originally released I didn’t pay much attention. I already owned dungaree dress patterns and didn’t think I particularly needed another. However, as the highly contagious Cleo fever struck and spread across the sewing community, I inevitably became infected and immediately had to have my own Cleo!

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

In the grip of the fever, I dashed off to Guthrie & Ghani and bought all of the supplies for this Cleo (pattern, mustard denim and hardware). Apparently all of the other customers who had bought this mustard denim from G&G were also planning Cleos, so I’m sure I have a lot of Cleo twins! The buttons are the kind which don’t require pliers; they push together easily by hand and are secure once attached. Make sure to position them correctly, because they aren’t going anywhere.

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

As you already know, Cleo is quick to sew. I made this mini length Cleo in the evening before the CHSI Stitches trade show, and wore it to meet up with fellow sewists at the show. Based on my measurements, I cut a size 2 (bust), graded to a 3 (waist and hips), but ended up with quite a bit of gaping at the waist. For a quick fix, I took these in a few inches at either side, but would size down next time. I also think the bib would fit me better if it were slightly narrower.

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

All of these pictures were taken on my recent holiday to Seoul. My Cleo emerged from the case already quite creased and became more so as the holiday progressed, but I think a slightly crumpled look suits denim.

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

I’ll leave you with my Cleo Dress in a number of picturesque locations around Seoul .

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim

Tilly & the Buttons Cleo Dungarees in Gold Denim