english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


9 Comments

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


7 Comments

Opal Cardigans

Paprika Patterns Opal Cardigan

Have you seen the newest pattern from Paprika Patterns, the Opal Cardigan? I really love the fabrics Lisa used for the samples pictured in the introductory blog post announcing the pattern.

Paprika Patterns Opal Cardigan

I was a pattern tester for the Opal Cardigan, and the two versions pictured here were made with the test version of the pattern. Lisa made a few changes to the final version of the pattern which it’s worth noting: slightly reducing ease, adjusting the angle of the front neckline, the height of the back neckline and raising the pockets.

Paprika Patterns Opal Cardigan

The pattern includes three length options. This first version pictured, in a blue ‘warm jersey’ from White Tree Fabrics, is View A, the shortest length. You can see that it is longer on me than on Lisa in the product photos, because I’m quite a bit shorter. I really like this slouchy length, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you want a hip-length cardigan and are also a shorty like me (I forget how tall I actually am, I think about 5’4).

Paprika Patterns Opal Cardigan

One of my favourite things about the pattern is that each view has a different shaped pocket. I especially like the View A angled pockets.

Paprika Patterns Opal Cardigan

Before I made the knit version above, I made this black and white woven version with fabric from Barry’s. Obviously making a woven version of a knit pattern was not very useful for pattern testing purposes, but I couldn’t resist! This is View B, the mid-length option.

Paprika Patterns Opal Cardigan

I only made minor tweaks to the pattern to make it suitable for woven fabric – just extending the length of the cuffs and neck binding.

Paprika Patterns Opal Cardigan

The Opal Cardigan has no fastening so it’s a really quick project. I find it goes with anything and have been throwing mine on in the morning before leaving for the office. It’s perfect for slipping on and off as the heat fluctuates in our office!

If you fancy trying the pattern, there is currently 15% off until this Sunday, 14th February.

Paprika Patterns Opal Cardigan

Paprika Patterns Opal Cardigan

Paprika Patterns Opal Cardigan

Paprika Patterns Opal Cardigan


11 Comments

Onyx Shirt in Sanssouci Park

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Yesterday, me and Phil arrived home from a week’s holiday in Berlin (plus a quick stop-over in London to attend a sewing meet-up organised by Helen). We had a great week, but it’s also lovely to be home – particularly as I have a few more days off work, so time to do some sewing, knitting and blogging.

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

I only managed to make one new garment for the holiday, a second Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns. I started it a few days before we left, but inevitably ended up hand sewing the hem at midnight the day before we left. Sewing blogger problems…

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

I made a straight size two. The only alteration I made from the instructions was to fold under twice at the neckline and hand stitch, rather than using bias binding. I also hand stitched the hem.

The fabric is Atelier Brunette cotton. It’s their ‘twist’ design in dark blue, and was purchased from Guthrie & Ghani. Buttons were from my stash, and I think were freebies with a magazine.

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

These photos were taken in Sanssouci Park in Potsdam. The Berlin travel ticket (if you buy all zones) includes Potsdam, so we decided to catch the train there one day during our trip. This is the area of the park in front of Sanssouci Palace, which was built as the summer palace of Frederick the Great.

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Onyx Shirt by Paprika Patterns in Sanssouci Park Potsdam

Sanssouci Park Potsdam


7 Comments

Paprika (Patterns) Dyed Onyx Shirt

I couldn’t resist – I made Paprika Patterns’ new Onyx Shirt Pattern, and I dyed my shirt with Paprika.

Paprika Patterns Onyx Shirt, Double Gauze Dyed with Paprika

Lisa of Paprika Patterns put out a call for pattern reviewers and I was lucky enough to be selected. This is my first attempt at the pattern, in a cotton double gauze purchased online from Etsy shop Fabric Treasury. I’ve already purchased this Atelier Brunette cotton for version two. I used two vintage pearl buttons from a charity shop to secure my epaulets, and patterned bias binding from Guthrie & Ghani around the neckline.

Paprika Patterns Onyx Shirt, Double Gauze Dyed with Paprika

This is actually the second Paprika Patterns’ pattern I’ve tried. I previously purchased the Jade Skirt, but haven’t yet gotten around to blogging it. I find their patterns very professionally presented and produced. The website allows you to create an account so you can always access the latest version of each pattern (and versions are numbered / changes noted so it’s easy to identify what has changed; which appeals to me massively as a project manager!). The website also has a tutorial section, separate to the blog, which includes a couple of nice little photo tutorials to support making the Onyx Shirt. The printed pattern instructions refer to these tutorials so you can’t miss them. The pattern instructions themselves are very cleanly presented, with clear and easy to follow diagrams.

Paprika Patterns Onyx Shirt, Double Gauze Dyed with Paprika

Happily the pattern prints out in only 12-15 pages (depending on size selected), and a copy-shop version is also provided. Paprika Patterns split their pattern sheets into two files depending on your size, because they draft with two separate blocks for smaller and larger sizes. A one-page instruction sheet on choosing a size if you fall mid-range is included.

Paprika Patterns Onyx Shirt, Double Gauze Dyed with Paprika

I cut a straight size 2 based on my bust measurement. I actually fall between sizes, but was able to get away with the smaller size due to the boxy fit / ease in the pattern. I really like the fit and the shape of the pattern – especially the rolled cuffs and epaulets. The shoulders are supposed to be slightly dropped, but mine appear to be much more so than the product photos. I may make a modification to raise the sleeves next time, although I actually don’t mind the dropped look.

All in all, this is a sweet simple shirt that is quick to whip up, but with enough detail to keep things interesting. It’s totally my style and I’ll be making more.

Paprika Patterns Onyx Shirt, Double Gauze Dyed with Paprika

Although the finished colour of the fabric is quite subtle, you can see the difference compared with the undyed colour of the fabric below. This double gauze is lovely and soft, but creases like linen and frays a lot. Prior to dyeing it, I cut out all of the pattern pieces and tacked around all edges to prevent excessive fraying and keep the layers of the double gauze together, which worked a treat.

Natural Dyeing with Paprika

To dye my fabric, I dissolved a full jar of ground paprika from the supermarket (approx 46g) in a large stainless steel pot with enough water to cover the double gauze and some yarn I also wanted to dye. I heated them on a low heat for around an hour, and then left the fabric and yarn in the pan to cool for an additional couple of hours. One of the 100% wool yarns did felt slightly so I probably let the temperature get a little too hot, or agitated it a bit too much.

Natural Dyeing with Paprika

The yarns I dyed (previously shown in their undyed state) were (from left to right below):

♥ 100% wool DK (TOFT Alpaca, in Oatmeal)
♥ 100% merino wool chunky (Rowan Big Wool)
♥ 75% merino / 20% silk / 5% cashmere DK (Sublime)
♥ 100% cotton (Rowan handknit cotton)

You can see that the cotton yarn hardly took on any colour, but the three wools took the colour of the paprika to greater and lesser extents.

Natural Dyeing with Paprika

I dyed without mordanting, as I purchased the fabric prepared for dyeing. I’m aware that paprika is reported to fade easily, so will see if the colour does fade and if so will re-dye.

Natural Dyeing with Paprika

Natural Dyeing with Paprika