english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Onyx Dress Hack

Paprika Patterns Onyx Dress Hack

This post is a prime example of sewing blogger problems. The dress was a quick and easy sewing project, getting photos for a blog post, ridiculous difficult!

Paprika Patterns Onyx Dress Hack

I originally took the camera out when me and Phil visited Resorts World shopping centre in Birmingham. We got some photos by the lake there, but every picture Phil took – with the exception of a couple included in this post – was blurry!

Phil and I rarely argue – the only things we ever argue about are whose turn it is to do a chore in the house (obviously, we each think we do more than the other), and blog photos! He hates taking them, and I think it requires very little effort given the amount of effort it takes me to sew a garment.

Paprika Patterns Onyx Dress Hack

We tried taking further photos in the garden, but again almost every photo was blurry. I’m sure fellow bloggers will know the horror of realising that a photo which looks perfect – great photo of the garment, and no strange faces being pulled – is just out of focus. I can’t face a third attempt, so you’ll have to take my work that this dress is cuter in real life than in these photos!

Paprika Patterns Onyx Dress Hack

Having made Paprika Patterns Onyx Shirt twice before (previous versions 1 and 2), I thought it would be a good candidate for a dress hack. I also used the full length sleeve from the sleeve add-on pack.

To create a dress variation, I just extended the front and back pieces from the bottom of the pattern pieces down to the edge of my fabric, making sure to allow enough ease at the hips.

Paprika Patterns Onyx Dress Hack

The fabric I used is lacy and not very strong, so to reinforce it (and for the purposes of decency) I also cut the front and back pieces in lining fabric. I constructed the lining separately and then attached it to the main fabric at the neckline. I left the sleeves unlined to make the lace effect more visible. As the lace fabric doesn’t fray, I left the sleeve and hem edges unfinished.

Paprika Patterns Onyx Dress Hack

Suitably, I purchased this fabric (and the matching lining) as a coupon in Paris while shopping with Lisa of Paprika Patterns, Sabine, Carmen and Olivier. Olivier spotted it originally, but kindly let me buy it, and found me the matching lining in the same coupon bin!

Paprika Patterns Onyx Dress Hack

Making this has tempted me to make a couple more summery Onyx Shirts – perhaps in a crepe this time.

Paprika Patterns Onyx Dress Hack

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British Cluny Lace & Silk Savannah Camisole

British Cluny Lace & Silk Savannah Camisole

My second article for Seamwork magazine was published in their December issue.

The article is a profile of Cluny Lace, the only remaining company in the UK making leaver’s lace using traditional leavers and jacquard machinery, which was also designed and built in Nottingham.

Cluny Lace is a family-run business, and has been in the family for 9 generations. Cluny are based in Ilkeston, near Nottingham where lace-making was historically the dominant industry, employing a third of the city’s working population.

Lace produced by Cluny Lace is frequently used by couture and pret-a-porter design houses, and the company regularly post examples to their Facebook page.

You can read my full Seamwork article here, or download the magazine from the Seamwork website.

I was very lucky to be provided with some pieces of lace by Cluny following my visit.

British Made Lace by Cluny Lace, Ilkeston

British Made Lace by Cluny Lace, Ilkeston

I finally bit the bullet and cut into the lace, plus some organic British silk from Majestic Textiles, to make the Savannah Camisole from Seamwork.

Madder Dyeing

Prior to constructing the camisole I dyed both the (cotton) lace and silk using madder. Before dyeing, both textiles had been pre-mordanted using the methods previously described in this post, although mordanting isn’t strictly necessary with madder. I used a madder extract purchased from Wild Colours, and also followed their instructions for using the extract (one of a number of natural dye recipes on their website). Madder extract is very easy to use; following the Wild Colours guide I simply made a paste with 10g of powdered madder and added this to a pan of water on the hob. After adding my pre-wetted textiles I raised the temperature to 60° C and kept it there for 60 minutes. I left the textiles in the pan overnight, before rinsing and then washing them in the washing machine on a low heat.

Madder Dyeing

I decided to make the Savannah camisole mainly based on Sarai’s gorgeous version and because the pattern features lace.

British Cluny Lace & Silk Savannah Camisole

I made up a test version in cotton before cutting into my silk and got a good fit by grading between a 0 at the bust and 2 at the waist and hips. However, I think I stretched out the neckline through handling this silk version as it ended up too wide; I addressed the issue by gathering the neckline to achieve the required width.

British Cluny Lace & Silk Savannah Camisole

I sewed the sides of the cami on my machine using french-seams, but sewed everything else by hand. The only changes I made to the pattern were cutting the shoulder straps to the required length (as opposed to creating adjustable straps using bra rings and sliders) and slightly altering the application of the lace due to the width of the lace I used.
British Cluny Lace & Silk Savannah Camisole

British Cluny Lace & Silk Savannah Camisole

The cami is one of my #1year1outfit projects. It’s not strictly 100% British, but I’d say it is close enough;) The lace is made with Egyptian cotton and is finished (washed / dyed) in France, but is woven in the UK. I also used standard Gutterman thread to make it – I do have some Irish linen thread, but I didn’t have any in an appropriate colour. The silk is from Majestic Textiles, a silk farm in Hertfordshire. I ordered the silk direct but they mainly sell by the bolt so a shorter length incurs a cutting charge, as well as a standard UP postage charge of £11. With those costs added on the silk worked out at £17.50 per metre. Botanical Inks stock a couple of styles of silk produced by Majestic Textiles and allow online ordering.

The silk handles well during sewing and doesn’t mind being washed in the machine, but you can see it seriously holds a crease.

British Cluny Lace & Silk Savannah Camisole

British Cluny Lace & Silk Savannah Camisole

Cluny Lace mainly sell direct to design houses, but you can purchase small quantities of their lace via a number of UK stockists, who mainly stock lace trims. Magic Round About Vintage clearly state which of their lace trims and fabrics are produced by Cluny in the UK. Little Trimmings and The Ribbon Girl are also stockists, but their website are less clear which laces are made in the UK. You can also buy direct from Blue Riband in Kent or Kleins in London.

A few photos of the Cluny Lace factory which weren’t included in the Seamwork article are below.

P.S. let me know if you have some suggestions for great patterns for the rest of my Cluny Lace. I’m thinking the wider lace would look great on the Papercut Clover dress bust panel.

Cluny Lace, Ilkeston

Cluny Lace, Ilkeston

Cluny Lace, Ilkeston

Cluny Lace, Ilkeston

Cluny Lace, Ilkeston

Cluny Lace, Ilkeston

Cluny Lace, Ilkeston

Cluny Lace, Ilkeston


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Lacy Linden Swap

#lindenswap Linden Sweatshirt

I love a good online event, and I also love the Linden Sweatshirt, so I was really excited to take part in the #lindenswap organised by Carrie and Ingrid.

I was even more excited when I found out that I was paired-up for the swap with Katy of Katy and Laney, as I love Katy and Laney’s blog and have been looking forward to trying out their patterns (Tap Shorts this summer? I think so).

#lindenswap Linden Sweatshirt

This is the stunning Linden that I received from Katy in the swap. It arrived from New York last weekend along with some much appreciated chocolates:)

#lindenswap Linden Sweatshirt

Katy made the Linden in a lovely soft sweatshirt fleece in a pale grey, with a darker grey ribbing for the neckline, cuffs and hem. As you can see, the really cool feature of this Linen is the white floral lace which Katy attached along the front and back sleeve seam.

#lindenswap Linden Sweatshirt

Katy also modified the hem, attaching the front and back hem ribbing separately, which creates a cool v-shape between the two sides.

#lindenswap Linden Sweatshirt

You know what’s even more fun than telling people who admire your jumper that you made it yourself? Telling them that you received it in a handmade jumper swap & it was sent to you from New York! Now that’s a pretty cool ‘how I got my jumper’ story. Thanks Katy!

#lindenswap Linden Sweatshirt

#lindenswap Linden Sweatshirt

Necklace by Working Clasp. I traded this with the designer Rebecca for one of my pandas when we both had stalls at a local craft fair.


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Lost in Lace

This weekend me and Phil went to see the Lost in Lace exhibition currently on at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG). It included a really diverse collection of works inspired by lace, by both UK and international artists.

Enclosed below are images of three of my favourite pieces from the exhibition. These give a good idea of the variety with which the artists featured interpreted the ‘lace’ theme.

The exhibited pieces are almost entirely large-scale, with quite a bit of interaction (lace doorways, and samples of lots of the pieces to touch) which makes for an involving show. More information on the exhibition and featured artists is currently available from the gallery site.

After the Dream, Chiharu Shiota. A video of the installation process is available online from the Crafts Council.
Lost in Lace exhibition at BMAG

 

Lace the Final Frontier, Michael Brennand-Wood. This had a military theme, with lots of soldiers, skulls and planes.

Lost in Lace exhibition at BMAG

 

The Latticed Eye of Memory, Liz Nilsson

Lost in Lace exhibition at BMAG