english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

I’ve been knitting less frequently since I started catching the train to work, with colleagues, because I’m now too busy nattering. However, recently I finally picked up and finished this project which I abandoned last summer.

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

This is the Point of View Vest by Hannah Fettig from Knitbot Linen. I started this vest to use up leftover Blacker Yarns Lyonesse yarn from my Hancock cardigan (another Hannah Fettig pattern). I didn’t have quite enough Lyonesse to finish this vest, and by the time I realised, the colourway (Rose Quartz) had been discontinued. Luckily, the replacement colourway (Tourmaline) is close enough that the change in shade at the shoulders doesn’t look out of place.

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

The Point of View pattern is designed for linen yarn; because I used a wool/linen blend, the edges of the vest inevitably curl up. I like how this looks at the front, but felt the bottom edge of the vest looked sloppy, so hand sewed ribbon along the edges to weigh them down and keep them flat.

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

This is a fairly impractical garment since it doesn’t add much warmth or cover, but it does look quite cute paired here with a Megan Nielsen Maker Tee and favourite People Tree skirt, and with an Inari Tee Dress. These photos were taken on holiday at Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, and the Museum of The Little Prince in Hakone.

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

Knitbot Linen Point of View Vest

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The Smiths Linden Sweatshirt

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

This is my latest Linden Sweatshirt (number seven blogged). It’s View A, Size 0 – although in this fabric I should probably have sized up to a 2 as it has limited stretch.

The original inspiration for this jumper were the excellent British wool band jumpers which Hades released earlier in the year. The Hades jumpers were limited edition and I missed the chance to buy a The Smiths jumper, so I thought I’d make my own. I’d love to knit something closer to the Hades original, but am a bit wary about tackling knitted lettering without a pattern, unless anyone can recommend something similar??

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

For this version, I cut a stencil of the lettering in acetate (more stable than paper and also reusable) and screen-printed the text using black ink onto the pre-cut Linden sweatshirt front. For reference, I always use Permaset Supercover screen printing ink to print on fabric and find it really reliable, Fred Aldous stock it in the UK.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

I found it difficult to gauge the best size and placement of lettering while the sweatshirt was in pieces. If I make another, I will increase the size of the lettering, and move it closer to the neckline.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

The fabric is a loop-back jersey purchased at Guthrie & Ghani during SewBrum. This pale pink is great for letting the text stand out, but does also get grubby easy.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

I also made my scarf. This is TOFT’s Block-Colour Filet Scarf crocheted in their (British) yarn, in a natural (stone) for the main colour, with yellow for the accents. I’m pretty sure this is the same pattern (knitted in a solid colour) available from TOFT’s free pattern section. I’m not great at crochet, but this is a nice easy pattern and a relatively quick project.

My jeans are not me-made, but were made in the UK by Community Clothing.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

These photos were taken in Hagia Irene, near Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, which was the first Byzantine cathedral built in Istanbul, and is now a museum. Like all Byzantine religious buildings in Istanbul, this has had a varied history, including earthquakes and acting as an armory. We had the building entirely to ourselves on our visit, and it makes for a pretty atmospheric backdrop.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

P.S. in a similar vein, I previously blogged a screen-printed Morrissey tee.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt


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Pink Wool Clare Coat

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

Three weeks or so before me and Phil left for a holiday in Reykjavik, New York and Boston, I decided to make myself a warm coat to wear.

I loved the Closet Case Files Clare Coat when it was released and had already bought the pattern, so this was the perfect chance to make it. By the time my fabrics arrived, I was actually down to two weeks before our holiday – with plans to be out of the house for both weekends – so made the coat in short evening sessions over those two weeks. Luckily, the Clare Coat comes together really quickly, but I was still finishing the edge stitching the night before we left. I also attached the press-studs that same night, but obviously wasn’t operating at full capacity since I sewed them all on the wrong way around (meaning they wouldn’t close…) and had to remove and reattach them once in Reykjavik!

Clare Coat

My outer and lining fabrics were both purchased from Herts Specialist Fabrics, who specialise in reproduction fabrics for historical re-enactors. Both fabrics are described as being made in the UK, although I wasn’t able to obtain specifics.

Herts fabrics are very reasonably priced. The pink blanket pure wool cost £19.00 for two metres, and the gold satin I used for the lining cost £15.90 for two metres. Both are 60″ width, and I have enough of each left over for one more project.

As the store focuses on reenactment fabrics you don’t get the same service (in my opinion) as I would expect from a shop specialising in garment sewing. For example, the satin arrived in two cut lengths (without this being made clear in advance), and the wool arrived with some deep creases which I wasn’t able to remove. You can see some of the creases in the wool in my finished coat below – but some were no doubt added by me later! Given their prices and range of UK fabrics I’ll definitely be ordering from them again, but it’s worth knowing in advance.

Clare Coat

Based on a recommendation by Heather Lou in the Clare Coat sewalong, I decided to add a layer of thinsulate as an interlining to ensure my coat kept me suitably warm in Iceland.

I ordered my thinsulate from Point North Profabrics. Two metres plus postage cost just under £30 which I was loath to spend on something that looked like quilt batting, but I still have a reasonable amount left over and it certainly made a difference to the finished coat. We were out and about in some pretty cold weather in Iceland and I never felt cold.

The addition of the thinsulate – along with the thick blanket wool – wasn’t popular with my sewing machine. I think I broke seven needles trying to stitch around the edges of the coat (through all layers). It didn’t help that I was doing this on the night before our holiday and didn’t have time to go slowly.

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

To me, the cutting-out part of coat and jacket making always feels like it takes longer than the sewing. I also had a lot of pattern pages to stick together, since I couldn’t find a reasonably priced copyshop print option in Birmingham or Coventry (If anyone knows a cheap local option for printing individual patterns do let me know). I was spending a weekend in Cornwall just after my fabrics arrived, and thought it would be the perfect time to get all of my pieces cut out so that I could start sewing once I was back home.

We were travelling to Cornwall on the train and I couldn’t find a bag large enough to fit all of the fabric in, so popped it in a bin bag. It seemed very logical to me, but Phil was NOT impressed at the thought of having to lug an overflowing bin bag of fabric all the way to Cornwall on the train. Obviously the fabric did come with us, and was cut out between strolls on the beach.

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

Based on the recommended size for my measurements, I graded between a size 2 at the bust, and 6 at the waist and hips. I noticed that other blogged Clare Coats looked quite fitted in the upper body, and was a bit worried about not being able to fit a suitably woolly jumper underneath. As a result (see if you spot the stupid error here), I decided to use a narrower seam allowance to add extra ease; when I got to the point of attaching the collar it didn’t fit, as I’d increased the length of the neckline… Sooo, I unpicked all of the neckline seams and sewed with the recommended seam allowance.

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

I’m really happy with the fit, and fancy making the pattern again in a less bulky fabric for a smarter look. But given that we’re finally getting some sunny weather, a second Clare will probably need to wait until the Autumn.

These photos were taken in Reykjavik, where my coat was put to good use.

In these photos I’m also wearing a Karusellen hat and Cecelia Cowl.

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland

Clare Coat, Karusellen Hat, & Cecelia Cowl in Reykjavic, Iceland


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Doraemon Emery Dress

Doraemon Emery Dress

When Rebecca invited me to take part in the World Book Day Blog Tour, after saying YES!, the first decision was what children’s book would inspire my project.

As a child I was a voracious reader and, in particular, was seriously obsessed with Enid Blyton. Obsessed to the extent that I not only read every book of hers I could get my hands on (and as you may already know, there are an obscene amount of them), but also read her autobiography and had a picture of her in my room. Yeah, that obsessed! My mom always said I had a habit of becoming utterly obsessed with anything I became interested in – I’m making no comment here on whether that is now true of sewing and knitting…

Doraemon Emery Dress

Anyway, none of the books I loved as a kid immediately suggested a project to me. Instead I though of my favourite children’s book as an adult, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince. I think I was a teenager when I first read The Little Prince, while on holiday with my family in France. Me and my brother both immediately loved it and I still read it regularly – my favourite section is the first couple of pages where the author describes his drawing of a boa constrictor eating an elephant, which every adult mistakes for a drawing of a hat.

So, I planned to embroider a garment with an image from The Little Prince (and may still get to that at some point), when I spotted a favourite series of manga in my bedroom – Doraemon – and remembered this fabric. This project is a prime example of how an online challenge can spur on sewing activity. I bought this fabric at the London meet-up organised by Rachel in 2014, immediately decided to make an Emery Dress with it and ordered the pattern. Both fabric and pattern have sat in my stash waiting to be made for the last two years.

Doraemon Emery Dress

Doraemon has been a staple of children’s TV and literature in Japan since the 70s. He’s well known around the world, but has never really taken off in the UK (or, I suspect, the US, since manga and anime available in the UK are usually produced in the US). As far as I know, the Doraemon manga has never been published in English – however, in both Japan and China, ten bilingual volumes of the manga are published as tools for learning English. When I visited China a few years ago I bought the full set.

Doraemon Emery Dress

The basic premise of the manga is that a lazy kid (Nobita) is visited by a robot cat from the future (Doraemon), who is sent back in time by Nobita’s descendants to improve his future by preventing him being lazy. What makes the manga so appealing are Nobita and Doraemon’s characters and the relationship between them. Despite the fact that Doraemon is a robot on a mission, he really just wants a quiet life and is easily pestered into assisting Nobita to be lazy/cheat/one-up school bullies, all of which eventually back fire, of course.

Doraemon Emery Dress

The dress is an Emery, graded between a 2 at the bust and 6 at the waist/hips. I’m really pleased with the fit and will be making more – it definitely needs a petticoat for full effect though. The only change I made was using a standard zip as opposed to concealed, which was because I asked Phil to buy it – he remembered that it needed to be pink and 22″, but forgot concealed. Close enough I reckon!

Doraemon Emery Dress

As a side note, my favourite random Doraemon facts are that he holds a position (anime ambassador) in Japan’s Foreign Ministry, and that the first versions of Doraemon published in Hong Kong were pirated and he was renamed Ding-Dong!

Doraemon Emery Dress

Rebecca has organised four giveaways as part of the blog tour, the full list of prizes and rafflecopter entry links can be found here.

The full list of bloggers participating in the tour is as follows:

Monday 29th February||  Dobbin’s Bobbins  |   While she was sleeping
Tuesday 1st March ||  Fairies, Bubbles & Co.  |  As It Seams
Wednesday 2nd March ||  Sewing With Kate  |  Call Ajaire
Thursday 3rd March ||  Sew Shelly Sew   |  Bel’Etoile
Friday 4th March  ||  Sewn In The Attic   |  Just Add Fabric
Saturday 5th March ||  English Girl At Home |  Made by Sara  |  Paisley Roots
Sunday 6th March ||  MinnieMie | Sew Country Chick  |  Dobbin’s Bobbins


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Hancock in Lyonesse

Hancock by Hannah Fettig, Knitbot

Inspired by Gillian’s Better Pictures Project, and Katie’s guest post in particular, I photographed this recent knitting project indoors. However, I was paranoid the photos would be too dark (it was a grey day) so there is a mixture of indoor and outdoor photos below!

Hancock by Hannah Fettig, Knitbot

Hancock by Hannah Fettig, Knitbot

This is the Hancock pattern from Home & Away by Hannah Fettig, also known as Knitbot. I ordered the book straight after it was published (self published by Hannah) and love it. It contains eight cardigan/jumper patterns (plus one hat), which can be knitted flat or in the round. The book also contains some great general knitting tutorials, such as gauge, blocking, and weaving in ends. Plus it’s a beautiful book.

Hancock by Hannah Fettig, Knitbot

Hancock by Hannah Fettig, Knitbot

I knitted Hancock in the round, using the smallest pattern size. The yarn I used is Blacker Yarns Lyonesse 4-ply in colour Rose Quartz. Lyonesse is a blend of linen and Falkland Island Corriedale/Merino wool. Blacker Yarns refer to Lyonesse as their ‘summer range’, and the inclusion of linen in the yarn means it is lightweight and relatively summery. However I’m still wearing it this winter over long sleeve dresses / tops.

Hancock by Hannah Fettig, Knitbot

Hancock by Hannah Fettig, Knitbot

You can see Hancock is relatively short (this is accurately shown in the pattern photos) and I considered lengthening it, but ultimately followed the pattern without any changes. I’ve found it the perfect length to pair with a dress or high waisted skirt or trousers, but it’s worth bearing in mind if/when knitting it.

Hancock by Hannah Fettig, Knitbot

Hancock by Hannah Fettig, Knitbot

The pattern is an open cardigan without any fastenings. I’ve been intending to buy a shawl pin (as every knitter surely ends up knitting shawls, despite previously never knowing that you needed one!) and think that Hancock would also look good pinned closed when I want a bit of extra warmth.

Hancock is a straightforward knit, if relatively time consuming (at least for a slow knitter like me) due to the use of 4-ply yarn.

Hancock by Hannah Fettig, Knitbot

Hancock by Hannah Fettig, Knitbot

I’m classing this as one of my #1year1outfit projects since it is made with a yarn produced by British mill Blacker Yarns, using Falkland wool (it’s unclear from the Blacker Yarns website where the linen was sourced). Given that my 2015 One Year One Outfit pledge already allowed me to use fibre from the entirely of the UK, I might be pushing it by also including Falkland wool. However, BritYarn’s definition of British includes overseas territories, and that’s good enough for me!

Hancock by Hannah Fettig, Knitbot

Hancock by Hannah Fettig, Knitbot

I’m just in the process of blocking another completed project from Home & Away which I’ll be blogging soon.

P.S. If you’re on Ravelry you can find me here.


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Saturday Night and Sunday Morning Francoise Dress

Francoise Dress, Tilly & the Buttons in Purple Wool

Having decided that I wasn’t going to make Tilly and the Buttons’ Francoise in time for the #SewingFrancoise contest, I cracked at the last minute and whipped this up over Saturday night and Sunday morning; just in time to wear to my brother’s engagement party on Sunday afternoon. I snuck out of the party for a few minutes to take these photos in my mom and dad’s garden.

Francoise Dress, Tilly & the Buttons in Purple Wool

The dress is made in a purple-pink wool I bought while in Paris.The gold leather I used for the collar and tab was also from Paris – a pressie from Ma Petite Mercerie that was provided in our goodie bags. I thought the gold would be suitably festive:) The buttons are vintage, from a charity shop. The only downside of this wool is how much it creases – the dress was nicely pressed before I left home, but you can see it was creased by the time I reached my parent’s house!

Francoise Dress, Tilly & the Buttons in Purple Wool

I cut a straight size two and took it in slightly at the upper back. I actually fall between sizes, but I find Tilly’s patterns tend to have a bit of ease so I went with the smaller size and it’s a good fit. I cut the leather sections on a single layer as I didn’t think they would turn and press well if I doubled them up.

Francoise Dress, Tilly & the Buttons in Purple Wool

It was nice to enjoy a spot of selfish sewing this weekend; now to get back to making Christmas presents before I run out of time.


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Sew Over It (not) Silk Cami

Sew Over It Silk Cami

You know that misconception that people who don’t sew have that sewing your own clothes is really cheap? Well this is one of those examples where it is true! Sew Over It’s Silk Cami only uses a tiny amount of fabric so I managed to scrape this project out of the scraps left over from my recent Kimono project. I also received the pattern free with a recent issue of Mollie Makes magazine (issue 44), the magazine is still on sale if you get in quick or you can purchase the PDF pattern from Sew Over It. The fabric is a John Kaldor polyester so not a silk (as suggested by the pattern name) but it has the required drape to work with this pattern.

Sew Over It Silk Cami

I love quick and easy sewing projects. Due to not having enough fabric left to cut out facings I actually simplified this pattern even further, scrapping the facings in favour of rolling the edges of the neckline and armholes and hand-stitching in place. I’ve actually developed a bit of an addiction for hand-stitched hems lately, everything I make is getting a hand-stitched hem at the moment regardless of how necessary it is. I’m going to claim this is due to hand sewing being relaxing, but it may also be due to the fact that I can do my hand-sewing while sitting on the sofa in front of the TV as opposed to having to walk all the way upstairs to my sewing machine…

Sew Over It Silk Cami