english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Floral McCall’s M7154 in a Field

McCall's M7154 in Floral Velvet

McCall’s M7154 1930s reproduction dress pattern is one of the most involved sewing projects I’ve completed.

McCall's M7154 in Floral Velvet

I sewed the dress back in 2017 to wear to my brother’s wedding. You can read the original blog post here.

McCall's M7154 in Floral Velvet

I hadn’t worn the dress since the wedding as the long train at the back makes it impractical for events involving dancing, and I don’t attend any evening events with no dancing!

McCall's M7154 in Floral Velvet

When I visited the Confetti Fields a few weeks ago I decided to take McCall’s M7154 along for an opportunity to wear it again to get some updated photos.

McCall's M7154 in Floral Velvet

Funnily enough there aren’t many places to get changed in private in a field. I slipped into this dress behind some foliage and got changed back in an (empty) tent provided for baby changing. You can see my bra straps in some of the shots because losing my bra behind the foliage as well as my dress was definitely a step to far.

McCall's M7154 in Floral Velvet

I had to make a lot of tweaks to this dress during construction to make it fit, and that, combined with the impractically of the train, means I’m unlikely to sew the pattern again, but I’m glad I did make it, and I thoroughly enjoyed swanning around in it outdoors on a sunny afternoon.

McCall's M7154 in Floral Velvet
McCall's M7154 in Floral Velvet
McCall's M7154 in Floral Velvet
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B5030 Wrap Dress

Butterick B5030 Wrap Dress

I haven’t found as much time to blog recently as I would have liked. I don’t get hung up about it – despite (or perhaps because of) working as a project manager, I prefer to be fairly unorganised in my own time and don’t like to plan ahead very far. However, I do really enjoy blogging and miss it, as with sewing or knitting, when I’m not finding the time. I’ve always enjoyed writing; when I was younger I wrote stories, plays, diaries. Currently I only write this blog, and while writing dressmaking blog posts is pretty far from working on a story or play, I think for me, it satisfies the same urge.

Butterick B5030 Wrap Dress

I did think about starting to keep a diary again, but decided that if Phil kept a diary (not going to happen, but still) I would be seriously, seriously tempted to read it, despite that basically being beyond the pale. I couldn’t keep a diary if I thought there was any chance of anyone else reading it, as I have to feel totally free to express myself in a way that otherwise only takes place inside my own head (I have previously destroyed diaries after finishing with them, as I don’t even want to read them back myself). I decided that if I would be tempted to read Phil’s (imaginary) diary, maybe he would be tempted to read mine – so have decided to abstain. This is despite the fact that I suspect Phil wouldn’t actually have the slightest bit of curiosity, as shown by the fact that he never, ever reads this blog – even though he is mentioned in it.

Butterick B5030 Wrap Dress

Anyhow, that was a very long winded route to informing you that I am only just blogging these photos taken during our holiday to Amsterdam back in July. Sticking with the theme of delayed blog posts, I sewed this wrap dress as part of the Wrap Dress Sewalong McCall’s hosted in February 2015, I actually finished the dress during the sewalong time frame but it’s taken me a year and a half to blog it.

This is Butterick B5030, Version E with collar, long sleeves and cuffs. The size of the collar and cuffs gives this a vintage (70s) vibe.

Butterick B5030 Wrap Dress

I remember practically nothing about the construction of this dress, but can report back on wearability. It’s quite low cut on me, so I typically pin it closed (I have been planning to add a hidden button, but it’s unlikely to ever actually happen). The wrap skirt gives pretty good coverage, although it does need an underskirt on a breezy day – which could also be resolved by a hidden button, if I didn’t find those kind of useful sewing tasks boring. The fit is pretty good on me straight out of the packet and it’s extremely comfy to wear.

Butterick B5030 Wrap Dress

This fabric is a jersey I purchased from Stitch at the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC. I used the leftover fabric to make a blouse.

Butterick B5030 Wrap Dress

And now to bed, as I’m off to London early tomorrow morning.

Butterick B5030 Wrap Dress

Butterick B5030 Wrap Dress

Butterick B5030 Wrap Dress

Butterick B5030 Wrap Dress

Butterick B5030 Wrap Dress

Butterick B5030 Wrap Dress

Butterick B5030 Wrap Dress


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The Big Vintage Sew-along

Fabric Swatches

I was delighted to be asked to participate as a blogger in the Big Vintage Sew-along, hosted by the McCall Pattern Company.

As part of a year-long event, 20 patterns have been selected from the Vintage Vogue, Retro Butterick and McCalls Archive pattern lines. Proceeds from the sales of those 20 patterns will go to the Eve Appeal, a charity which funds research into gynaecological cancers. The official website for the sew-along is here, and the Fold Line have posted a round up of the event and bloggers taking part.

I’m not revealing which pattern I’ve selected until I blog my project on 19th August, but I thought I’d show you the fabric I’ve picked.

I don’t normally have much trouble choosing fabric! But for this project, I ordered lots of swatches and took ages making up my mind. I finally decided on this Black and White Graffiti Sateen from The Splendid Stitch. It’s washed and ready to cut, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the pattern looks in it – fingers crossed that I do right by pattern and fabric!

Fabric Swatches

From the Splendid Stitch, I also considered this Black Damask, and Matchsticks Poly Stretch Crepe which I love but thought would be a bit lightweight for the pattern. (P.S. you can get 20% off your first order at the Splendid Stitch with code 1W1N-JL5H-J963 until 17th July).

Fabric Swatches

I had originally planned to order this lovely textured Tottorri Cross fabric from Merchant & Mills for my Big Vintage Sew-along project, but it sold out before I ordered! If anyone sees it back in stock let me know as I’d love to try sewing with it.

Fabric Swatches

From Merchant & Mills, I also considered (and love) the Scarlet and Blackwatch linens. The Blackwatch is 100% Irish linen.

Fabric Swatches

Fabric Swatches

From the Draper’s Daughter, I love the Robert Kaufman Chambray Union Woven Spot. I decided it wasn’t quite right for my Big Vintage Sew-along project, but I definitely fancy ordering some for a different pattern (I’m thinking, perhaps, a dungaree dress).

Fabric Swatches

And finally, from Offset Warehouse I considered the Navy Blue Handwoven Ikat and Tyulipa Organic Hand Block Print. For this project, I was wary about the directional pattern in the ikat, and the weight of the tulip print – but again I love both fabrics for other projects.

Fabric Swatches

The full list of bloggers taking part is below (with thanks to Jane, who had already pulled this together). I’ve loved seeing the projects posted so far and hope you have too.

Blog Tour
11/03/16   Katie at What Katie Sews
25/03/16   Portia at Makery
08/04/16   Kate at The Fold Line
15/04/16   Amy at Almond Rock
29/04/16   Elisalex at By Hand London
13/05/16   Jane at Handmade Jane
27/05/16   Jennifer at The Gingerthread Girl
10/06/16   Lisa at Sew Over It 
24/06/16   Janene at ooobop
08/07/16   Marie at A Stitching Odyssey
15/07/16   Kerry at Kestrel Makes
22/07/16   Fiona at Diary of a Chainstitcher
29/07/16   Karen at Did You Make That?
05/08/16   Laura at Sew for Victory
12/08/16   Nina at ThumbleNina
19/08/16   Charlotte at English Girl at Home
26/08/16   Gabby at Living on a Shoestring
02/09/16   Rachel at House of Pinheiro
09/09/16   Elena at Randomly Happy
16/09/16   Wendy at Butterick
23/09/16   Winnie at Scruffy Badger Time
30/09/16   Rachel at The Fold Line


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Retro Apron of Many Colours (McCall’s M4793)

Yippee! It’s a bank holiday weekend AND we actually have some sun here in the UK. However, having some sun does mean I’ve had to put the sewing/crafting to the side for a few hours to do a number of outdoor jobs (gardening/painting/cleaning the drive) before the sun goes away again. I’m so close to having a pair of pyjama bottoms & a bean bag finished, so I’m sure to be posting about those soon.

In the meantime, I finally got around to photographing an apron I made back when we first moved into our house 1 1/2 year ago.

Apron McCall's M4793

Retro Apron McCall's M4793

Retro Apron McCall's M4793

The pattern is McCall’s M4793, option A. It’s a very sweet little apron, with three roomy pockets. I really like the ric rac detail on this pattern option. As you can see, I went for a green wobbly ric rac.

Sewing Pattern

Sewing Pattern

The fabric I used for the apron was from Ikea. Although it looks like different fabrics have been used it’s actually all made from a single fabric – which had a patchwork effect. The fabric is dated 2008 and was deigned by Lotta Kuhlhorn who has designed a number of great fabrics for Ikea.

Retro Apron McCall's M4793

Retro Apron McCall's M4793

I actually bought this fabric while on holiday in Hong Kong. I had been meaning to visit Ikea to buy fabric for this apron before we went on holiday  but hadn’t gotten around to it, then while we were in Hong Kong we happened to stumble across an Ikea in a mall dedicated to home ware stores. Since it was right there it made sense to pick up some fabric and stop off in the cafe for Daim cake. If I remember correctly the Ikea we visited was located close to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, which is what we were actually in the area to visit.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, Hong Kong

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, Hong Kong

P.S. elsewhere on the web I spotted the following interesting bits and bobs over the last few days:

  • The Patchwork Harmony blog featured a lovely tutorial to cover a silk lantern (from Craftsy magazine). If you don’t already read their 91 magazine make sure to check that out too, as it’s awesome

 

  • I just discovered the Thread Cult podcast, which features interviews with the sewing/textile world’s best & brightest. The most recent episode featured Sarai Mitnick from Colette patterns

 

  • A local-ish gallery to me, Bilston Craft Gallery, has a great wooden automaton of a mermaid in a pub by Wanda Sowry on display at the moment. I must go see!