english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


4 Comments

White Christmas Freya

Christmas Sweater Tilly & the Buttons Freya

Happy Christmas / holidays everyone. I hope you have some time off work over the next couple of weeks and get the chance to relax and enjoy yourselves.

This time of year, the run up to Christmas, is always so busy, but thanks to a little lull at work as a result of changing employers, I’m feeling unusually relaxed and organised this year.

Christmas Sweater Tilly & the Buttons Freya

I’ve taken part in two online swaps (Bombazine Mitt Swap and Sewing Secret Santa) and have managed to complete and post both parcels in good time to arrive before Christmas (definitely not the case last year). I even managed to get some photos in daylight before sending, which I’ll share soon.

Christmas Sweater Tilly & the Buttons Freya

I’m also making a couple of handmade presents for family, which will be finished and wrapped this weekend. No manic knitting in the car on Christmas Eve for me this year!

Christmas Sweater Tilly & the Buttons Freya

Since I was feeling ahead of the game, I decided to take part in the Sew a Xmas Sweater Contest organised by Tilly & the Buttons. I wanted to create a casual top which was loosely inspired by Vera-Ellen’s dress at the end of White Christmas.

tumblr_phr8rydQQU1r8177lo9_250.gif

My version is a Tilly & the Buttons Freya Top, sewn as per the pattern, but with the addition of feather trim from Birmingham Rag Market around the wrists. I used a red scuba fabric from Barry’s Fabrics to make the top and a matching cape, which is worn over the top and closes with a button and loop at the neck. To create the cape I used the By Hand London Circle Skirt Calculator, inputting my neck instead of my waist circumference to generate measurements for a full circle skirt. I reduced the length, and had to cut out the cape in three pieces due to available fabric. I trimmed the cape with a White Simplicity Faux Fur trim purchased from Minerva Crafts.

Christmas Sweater Tilly & the Buttons Freya

The project resulted in a very festive, but also easy to wear, outfit. After Christmas, I can wear the Freya Top without the cape, and the feathers on the cuffs are also easily detachable. I’d like to make this again in more luxurious fabrics – perhaps next year!

Christmas Sweater Tilly & the Buttons Freya

Christmas Sweater Tilly & the Buttons Freya

Christmas Sweater Tilly & the Buttons Freya

Advertisements


4 Comments

Red Quilted Linden

Linden Sweatshirt

It’s been a really busy week, so this is just a quick post with another Linden Sweatshirt.

This quilted Linden was started with the leftover fabric from this quilted jacket, however I didn’t have quite enough so ended up going back to Barry’s for an extra 1/2 metre! Not such successful stash busting… The ribbing WAS from my stash, and is from Minerva.

Linden Sweatshirt

I sized down to size 0 for this version, and did my usual trick of cutting the neckline band approximately one size larger.

Linden Sweatshirt

These photos were taken in my favourite local park, Cannon Hill. The red grasses growing by the water there happen to match my sweatshirt pretty well;)

Linden Sweatshirt

I’m wearing one of my favourite necklaces in these pics. This Snoopy necklace was my mom’s; when I was a kid, our house was burgled and my mom’s jewellery taken, but this Snoppy necklace wasn’t stolen as my mom had given it to me and it was around the neck of one of my soft toys:) This is Snoopy in his pilot gear, although for many years I thought he was wearing a nice headscarf. See what I mean?

Linden Sweatshirt

We took these photos a few weeks ago – it was bright but still pretty cold; here is how I was dressed as soon as we finished taking photos!

Cannon Hill Park


5 Comments

Linden in Brussels

Linden Sweatshirt, Grainline Studio in Brussels, Belgium

This is my first Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studio. Worn here with my beloved floral Dr. Marten’s, which were a birthday present from Phil.

Linden Sweatshirt, Grainline Studio in Brussels, Belgium

I actually ordered this fabric to test a different pattern and used my leftovers to make this Linden. I didn’t have much of the jersey left so I cut the sleeves and back in my ribbing fabric, and used the jersey for the front and cuffs. The ribbing actually works pretty well as a main fabric:)

I totally copied Amy in my fabric choices! This is a flecked wine-coloured stretch jersey from Minerva Crafts. They currently have it back in stock and it’s on offer. It’s ideal for sweatshirts as it’s a decent weight, with a bit of stretch. It does seems to pill though as I’ve already seem some pilling on this sweatshirt.

Due to living in Birmingham (and approx. 15 minutes drive from Barry’s Fabrics) I haven’t previously ordered much fabric online, but sweatshirt suitable jersey – especially in plain colours – isn’t something I’ve had much luck finding in the Birmingham fabric shops, so I’ve been placing a few online orders – in addition to my regular trips to Barry’s of course…

Linden Sweatshirt, Grainline Studio in Brussels, Belgium

I made this in size 2 (which is closest to my actual measurements in the pattern instructions). I’ve since also tried cutting the pattern in size 0 and both fit me fine. The 0 is good for a close fit, but the 2 is better for a comfy sweatshirt or with a stiffer fabric (I’ve just started making a needlecord Linden, not sure how it will turn out yet).

You can see the fabric is pulling a little at the neckline. I’ve increased the length of the neckband on the versions I’ve made since (going up a size or two on the neckband pattern piece) and that has worked fine to prevent this.

Linden Sweatshirt, Grainline Studio in Brussels, Belgium

I love this pattern. Once you have the pattern cut out it takes about 30 minutes to make a sweatshirt!

These photos were taken in Brussels Park during our holiday to Brussels and Paris back in November. Happily, the park was on the route from our apartment into the city centre so I collared Phil to get some photos on our walk into town one morning. The park has a rather gorgeous bandstand that I had to get a few photos in.

Linden Sweatshirt, Grainline Studio in Brussels, Belgium

Linden Sweatshirt, Grainline Studio in Brussels, Belgium

Linden Sweatshirt, Grainline Studio in Brussels, Belgium


11 Comments

Quilted Jacket from Basic Black

Quilted Zip-up Jacket, from Basic Black by Sato Watanabe

I did the insane blogger thing and took these photos outside while it was snowing (not very heavily) today. I spent the day faffing around and left it until the last 30 minutes of daylight to get these pictures – roll on spring and decent daylight hours! The photos were taken on the patio just outside our garden door, as Phil sensibly stood inside the house and took these photos through the doorway, while I stood in the snow! Smart man.

This is the Blocked Quilting Zip-up Jacket from Basic Black: 26 Edgy Essentials for the Modern Wardrobe by Sato Watanabe, made in size small.

Basic Black by Sato Watanabe

The pattern doesn’t include instructions for quilting the jacket, instructing you to use a quilted fabric, which is what I did. I bought my fabric from Barry’s. The fabric is actually slightly stretchy and is a bit lightweight for a jacket (you can see it stretching in some of the pictures below) but with a lining it’s just substantial enough. The fabric also pulls easily, I had to be careful pinning it during construction, so it may not last too long without getting caught on something…

Quilted Zip-up Jacket, from Basic Black by Sato Watanabe

The book includes fairly brief written instructions (6 steps for this jacket), but most steps are illustrated, often with multiple illustrations, so you’ll get on better with the book if you’re a visual learner.

The only changes I made to the pattern were reducing the width of the shoulders slightly, and reducing the height of the collar, as I initially found it too high and knew I’d never do it up.

Quilted Zip-up Jacket, from Basic Black by Sato Watanabe

The patterns included in the book are provided on two pattern sheets. Pattern sheets are double sided, and pieces are overlapped, so patterns need to be traced. The major pieces for each pattern are included, although seam allowances aren’t included and need to be added on; for simple shapes (i.e. squares and rectangles) the book instead provides measurements. For the lined clothing items, including this jacket, the book doesn’t include separate pattern pieces for the lining, but provides instructions on how to re-size the main pattern pieces. Measurements are included in centimeters and inches – which is helpful for someone like me who chops and changes between both systems!

Quilted Zip-up Jacket, from Basic Black by Sato Watanabe

I am a bit lazy when to comes to tracing patterns so initially skipped the lining in order to avoid creating the pattern pieces. However, my fabric was too lightweight to get away without a lining, thus forcing me to be good, so I created the pattern pieces and cut a lining in the end.

Quilted Zip-up Jacket, from Basic Black by Sato Watanabe

Quilted Zip-up Jacket, from Basic Black by Sato Watanabe

The theme of Basic Black is clothes made in black fabric (which I obviously ignored when I picked my own fabric!). With such a broad theme, the 26 patterns included in the book cover quite a wide range, from simple tops and skirts to jackets, shirts and coats.

Basic Black by Sato Watanabe

The biggest disadvantage of picking black clothes as a theme is that black is difficult to photograph. The book does suffer from this a little, as it’s difficult to make out the more intricate details on a number of outfits.

Basic Black by Sato Watanabe

Patterns are included in four sizes (S, M, L, XL), and only a finished size chart is included. It would be worth checking that one of the four sizes will be a decent match for your measurements before ordering the book, although a lot of the patterns have a looser silhouette which allows for a little leeway.

Basic Black by Sato Watanabe

I was impressed at the number of more complex patterns included, including coats (2 patterns), jackets (3), and shirts (3). The book also includes a pattern for a coat dress and a simple Cheongsam, although this is unfortunately one of the patterns where it is difficult to make out the details in the photo.

Basic Black by Sato Watanabe

I also love the final pattern in the book, this gorgeous raglan coat.

Basic Black by Sato Watanabe

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of Basic Black in exchange for a review; all opinions expressed are my own. Post contains an affiliate link.


10 Comments

Ruching Covers a Multitude of Sins

Closet Case Files Bombshell Swimsuit

I’m very happy to finally be sharing a Bombshell Swimsuit on the blog! I’ve wanted to make a Bombshell since the pattern was released and I’ve even had the pattern pieces cut out for a couple of months – I was going to make it in time for Karen’s Sporty Summer Sewalong but missed the deadline, then I thought I’d make it for the Sewcialist’s Oonapalooza but  missed that deadline too… Anyway here it is at last, I finally got around to making it last week due to taking a few days off work.

Closet Case Files Bombshell Swimsuit

It took me a little while to find a fabric I liked as I knew I wanted something patterned. I found this in Barry’s Fabric. The fabric had a few large (perfectly cut) holes in it (they threw those bits in free) but there was just enough left on the roll for my purposes. I’ve actually used the wrong-side of the fabric for the body of my swimsuit as I loved the deep purple colour. I used the right-side of the fabric for the straps and the bodice tab.

Closet Case Files Bombshell Swimsuit

My bombshell came together really well and it was looking like I’d have it made up in one day before Phil got home from work – then I got to the point of finishing the bodice and came unstuck. I attached my elastic at the bodice but found that the suit was rippling. Assuming that it needed to be tighter I attached a shorter piece of elastic to bring the suit in but just got more extreme rippling. At that point I decided to cheat; I went back to the original elastic length and then just pinched the excess fabric at each side of the bodice and sewed it down when attaching the straps. That is the joy of a ruched swimsuit – it hides a multitude of sins:)

Closet Case Files Bombshell Swimsuit

The weather here in the UK has gotten pretty cool but I  braved a slightly cool garden to get these photos yesterday. Me and Phil were just back from a weekend in Cambridgeshire. We were there for a family (joint 30th) party and also managed to squeeze in a trip to Cambridge and to Burwash Manor, home of Backstitch. Backstitch has a great selection of patterns if you’re in the vicinity, and I did pretty well in the British Red Cross shop in Cambridge as they currently have loads of vintage notions. I came away with some lovely buttons, but they also had a great selection of belt buckles and needles.

Closet Case Files Bombshell Swimsuit

Now I just need to take my Bombshell for a dip to see how it fares. Unfortunately I don’t have any exotic holidays planned so I’m thinking a local pool will need to suffice for this year.

Closet Case Files Bombshell Swimsuit


14 Comments

My First Knitting Project

Hand Knitted Fox Draft Excluder
Inspired by all the gorgeous knitting projects that have been appearing on blogs lately I decided it was time to learn to knit. That was over the Christmas break so I’m rather late posting the results of my first attempt. I thought it would be a smart move to start with a non-clothing item so I didn’t have to worry about fit and could get away with some wonky stitches. Phil’s sister Lucy treated me to the Mollie Makes Woodland Friends book for Christmas and I picked the fox draft excluder as my first knitting project.
Hand Knitted Fox Draft Excluder
The wool is Patrons Fab Big, a  super chunky wool in red. He was a fairly straightforward knit, but being a newbie I did lose track and sew the wrong row part way down his body as you can see below. That’s what can happen when you’re watching tv and not paying enough attention… Phil says it looks like a roadkill tyre mark!
Hand Knitted Fox Draft Excluder
For my second knitting project I’m participating in the Owls sew along being led by Kat and Sabs. I’m being more careful with my stitches this time to ensure I make something wearable outside of the house.


Leave a comment

Handmade Leaf Brooches

Handmade Plastic Leaf Brooch

I’ve been developing a number of designs for shrink-plastic badges recently.

Pictured are a number of leaf badges I created this weekend. The designs were printed on inkjet-friendly shrink plastic and then embossed to achieve a glossy effect and ensure the badges were waterproof.

The leaves these are based on were collected during a cycle around a local park.

Handmade Plastic Leaf Brooch
Handmade Plastic Leaf Brooches
Handmade Plastic Leaf Brooch