english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Favourite 2017 Pattern Releases

Favourite Sewing Patterns 2017

Happy New Year Everyone!

I’ve been sorting my pattern and fabric collections, and making sewing plans for 2018. While sorting patterns, I started thinking about my favourite sewing pattern releases of 2017, and I thought it might be fun to share my personal favourites list.

I’ve only sewn two of these so far, but I suspect I’ll get around to most of them eventually, it might just take me a few years.

I’ve shared the full list in my latest vlog:


In no particular order, my 2017 favourites are:

Favourite Sewing Patterns 2017

Orsola Dress & Skirt – By Hand London / Fringe Blouse and Dress – Chalk & Notch / Prudence – Colette / Kalle Shirt & Shirtdress – Closet Case Patterns

Favourite Sewing Patterns 2017

Lliria Dress – Pauline Alice / The Wallet Gift-Giving Set – Thread Theory / The Carlton Coat – Free Sewing / Jumpsuit – In the Folds

Favourite Sewing Patterns 2017

Sasha Trousers – Closet Case Patterns / 8504 – Simplicity Patterns / Asymmetric Gather Dress – The Maker’s Atelier

Favourite Sewing Patterns 2017

Kobe Dress & Top – Papercut Patterns / Flint Trousers – Megan Nielsen / Jackie Dress – Victory Patterns / 8509 – Simplicity Patterns

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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


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The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny Book Review

The Fox, the Bear & the Bunny Sewing book by Olive & Vince

The latest vlog is up with a review of a lovely new children’s clothing sewing book, The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny, from Olive & Vince.

The Fox, the Bear & the Bunny Sewing book by Olive & Vince

The patterns in the book make up a full wardrobe of children’s clothing (for ages 1-5), with a good number of gender-neutral patterns.

The Fox, the Bear & the Bunny Sewing book by Olive & Vince

Full details on the vlog. Watch it here:

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny in exchange for blogging about it, all opinions expressed are my own.


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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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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


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Floral and Lace Lou Lou Dress

Lou Lou Dress Sewing Pattern Version B (early version) by English Girl at Home

I’ve worked lots of extra hours this week (including two 13.5 hour days during the week, plus working Sunday) so haven’t had the energy to get as much done as normal in the hours when I have been at home. I did manage to do a little sewing yesterday, but mostly I’ve sat around reading and relaxing. I didn’t even manage any knitting on the train journey to and from work today – instead I fell asleep both ways (I always wake up when I reach my station – so far at least!).

Lou Lou Dress Sewing Pattern Version B (early version) by English Girl at Home

With that in mind, I thought it would be a good opportunity for a quick blog post sharing some photos of a version of my Lou Lou Dress pattern which I made and photographed last year. The final version of the pattern is slightly different from the test version shown here – in particular, in the final version, the shoulder straps are narrower and the armholes raised.

Lou Lou Dress Sewing Pattern Version B (early version) by English Girl at Home

This border-print fabric was purchased in Paris from Les Coupons de Saint-Pierre. I have no idea of the composition but it has a beautiful silky hand. I still have a small piece left, but haven’t decided what to make with it just yet.

Lou Lou Dress Sewing Pattern Version B (early version) by English Girl at Home

This dress is very similar to the version that was originally featured in The Monthly Stitch Project Indie competition. I whipped together the version for the Monthly Stitch deadline super fast and it was quite messy so I later went back and tidied it up, and the dress shown here is the result.

Lou Lou Dress Sewing Pattern Version B (early version) by English Girl at Home

I can’t believe it’s Monday tomorrow! Fingers crossed for a quieter week with lots of time for sewing.

Lou Lou Dress Sewing Pattern Version B (early version) by English Girl at Home

Lou Lou Dress Sewing Pattern Version B (early version) by English Girl at Home

Lou Lou Dress Sewing Pattern Version B (early version) by English Girl at Home

Lou Lou Dress Sewing Pattern Version B (early version) by English Girl at Home

Lou Lou Dress Sewing Pattern Version B (early version) by English Girl at Home


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Pattern Queue or Pattern Scrum

Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening

Sometimes stereotypes aren’t too wide of the mark. English people do take queuing very seriously.

If there is a line we’ll join the end, and we’ll proceed to the front in the order we joined. Anyone attempting to jump the rightful order of the queue will receive some very dirty looks. Unless they are over retirement age, then it’s ok.

With that in mind, I find it hard to describe my upcoming sewing projects as a queue. If it were a queue they would wait in line and each get sewn in the order they were added. What actually happens is that I have, in my head, a ‘huddle’ of patterns waiting to be sewn soon, not necessarily in any clear order. Even worse, newer patterns are liable to leap frog straight to the front, and some poor patterns wait for years before their turn comes.

A pattern scrum as it were, or, at least, not a very English type of pattern queue.