english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Mustard Crepe Joan Dress, Plus Giveaway

Sew Over It Joan Dress in Mustard Crepe

I was really thrilled to be asked by Sew Over It to help pattern test their new pattern the Joan Dress. The version shown here was made using the test version of the pattern. I graded between an 8 at the bust, and 10 at the waist and hips.

Sew Over It Joan Dress in Mustard Crepe

The design is a vintage-inspired wiggle dress, named after Mad Men bad ass, Joan. I don’t regularly sew vintage or vintage inspired patterns, but I love them! The very first garment I made, outside of school, was a vintage dress. I do however sew lots of indie patterns, so a vintage-inspired indie pattern is perfect for me:)

I have a bad habit to rush through sewing projects, so I really enjoyed that this dress encourages slow sewing. Not only because it is lined, but also because it includes lots of lovely details, including that adorable collar and six darts. There is also some hand sewing involved, which I know not everyone enjoys, but I do as it allows me to sew while sat on the sofa with Phil of an evening. Much more social than sewing alone at my machine.

Sew Over It Joan Dress in Mustard Crepe

This was my very first time sewing a kick pleat, and I actually made a dumb mistake when I first ‘finished’ making the dress – I sewed the kick pleat on the outside. Alex at Sew Over It pointed me to their kick pleat tutorial which I found really helpful and would recommend as a general guide to sewing a kick pleat for any pattern. It looks much neater sewn on the inside;p

The lovely big kick pleat means that this dress is actually pretty practical despite being fitted, although I do need help with the top of the zip as I can’t quite reach up with the dress on.

Sew Over It Joan Dress in Mustard Crepe

I made the dress in a Mustard Crepe supplied by Sew Over It. The fabric has a beautiful colour, weight and drape.The colour is most accurately represented in the photo below. I couldn’t bear waiting until the weekend to get some photos and blog about the dress, but sadly it’s already dull by the time I get home from work now, so the other photos are slightly washed out. The dress is lined with a nude rayon, which worked really well as it doesn’t show through at all (a darker lining would). I fancy trying the dress is a wool next. I love that the Sew Over It website allows you to search suitable fabric for each of their patterns, and they have some lovely wool fabrics suggested for the Joan Dress.

Sew Over It Joan Dress in Mustard Crepe

Lovely as this crepe is, it was a trickier sew than making the dress in a wool as it shows every crease, and easing the sleeves in was fiddly. I redid the sleeve heads and I still have some puckers!

Sew Over It Joan Dress in Mustard Crepe

Now for the giveaway!

Giveaway now closed

Sew Over It have provided an extra copy of the paper pattern to give away! All you need to do to enter is to leave a comment on this post. Let me know your all time favourite TV show for beautiful clothing – is it Mad Men, or do you have another favourite? Twin Peaks is a favourite of mine, Audrey always looks superb. The giveaway is open internationally and please make sure to include your email address in your comment if it is not easily available in your profile. The giveaway is open until midnight on Monday 05th October, after which I’ll randomly pick a winner and announce it on the blog.

Giveaway now closed

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Vintage Knitting Spam

Vintage Knitting Pattern & Sewing Notions

A lazy post this evening, while watching some Orange is the New Black (and possibly Revenge of the Nerds). I picked up these vintage knitting patterns at a recent meeting of my Weavers, Spinners and Dyers guild. The sewing notions included in a couple of photos are courtesy of Maddie; I won them in a giveaway on her blog.

It’s dubious whether I’ll ever knit these patterns – I have a substantial Ravelry queue and am continually distracted by the newest indie release – but they are sooo nice to look at.

Vintage Knitting Pattern & Sewing Notions

Vintage Knitting Pattern

Vintage Knitting Pattern

Vintage Knitting Pattern

Vintage Knitting Pattern

Vintage Knitting Pattern

Vintage Knitting Pattern

Vintage Knitting Pattern

Vintage Knitting Pattern

And after all that glamour, here’s one pattern that’s not so glamorous…

Vintage Knitting Pattern


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Barbie – Sewing Blogger

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

The library at the university where I work has some interesting books. My especially random find of last week was Barbie Fashion by Sarah Sink Eames, a pictorial catalogue of all Barbie outfit packs made between 1959-1967. Obviously, it was immediately checked out.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

A quick look at Barbie’s wardrobe from the 60s suggests she’d fit in pretty well in the sewing blogosphere.

She’s already made up a Rigel Bomber for Jacket January.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Inspired by Lauren, she’s made up Vogue 1419 in red wool.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

She’s joined in with the Ginger jeans making spree, finishing with some lovely top stitching.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

She sewed up an amazing ensemble for Oonapalooza.

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

She’s even purchased a copy of the Secrets of Sewing Lingerie and may have gotten a bit carried away…

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Yep, Barbie would make a pretty impressive sewing blogger.

I’ve run out of comparisons, but do enjoy some more adorable outfits from the book!

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames

Images from Barbie Fashion, Sarah Eames


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The Glamorous 30s Exhibition, Brussels

Museum of Costume & Lace Brussels, Glamour 30’s Fashion expo

While visiting Brussels during November, me and Phil visited the Glamorous 30s exhibition at the Costume and Lace Museum. As suggested by the title, the exhibition focuses mainly on glamorous women’s clothing – evening gowns, day dresses, underwear, swimwear and accessories. A small selection of children’s clothing is also included. The museum has a permanent collection of lace – a small selection of which is also permanently on view.

I especially loved the lounge and bed wear as it’s so pretty. I really fancy a pink padded house jacket now! A lot more glamorous than what I normally wear around the house.

Museum of Costume & Lace Brussels, Glamour 30’s Fashion expo

Museum of Costume & Lace Brussels, Glamour 30’s Fashion expo

Museum of Costume & Lace Brussels, Glamour 30’s Fashion expo

Museum of Costume & Lace Brussels, Glamour 30’s Fashion expo

Museum of Costume & Lace Brussels, Glamour 30’s Fashion expo
Chanel dress

Museum of Costume & Lace Brussels, Glamour 30’s Fashion expo
Modern dress inspired by the 1930s

Museum of Costume & Lace Brussels, Glamour 30’s Fashion expo

Museum of Costume & Lace Brussels, Glamour 30’s Fashion expo

Museum of Costume & Lace Brussels, Glamour 30’s Fashion expo

Museum of Costume & Lace Brussels, Glamour 30’s Fashion expo

Museum of Costume & Lace Brussels, Glamour 30’s Fashion expo
Hand-painted dress

Museum of Costume & Lace Brussels, Glamour 30’s Fashion expo

Museum of Costume & Lace Brussels, Glamour 30’s Fashion expo

The museum has a small children’s dress-up section where I tried on all the hats!

Museum of Costume & Lace Brussels, Glamour 30’s Fashion expo

Another favourite museum from our trip to Brussels was the Belgian Comic Strip Centre, where I got to visit a Smurf house!

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels, Belgium

We also tracked down quite a few of the comic inspired graffiti pieces around the city.

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels, Belgium

Finally, I’ll leave you with this cutie.

Brussels, Belgium


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Vintage Postcard Christmas Cards

Handmade Christmas Cards using Vintage Postcards

While in Paris recently, I picked up a selection of vintage French holiday postcards for €1 each from Marché aux Puces, Saint-Ouen. I made them into Christmas cards for my family by cutting slits in the corners of blank cards (rather messily, with a pair of scissors I might add…) and slotting the postcards in. Super simple:)

Handmade Christmas Cards using Vintage Postcards

Handmade Christmas Cards using Vintage Postcards

Handmade Christmas Cards using Vintage Postcards

Handmade Christmas Cards using Vintage Postcards

Handmade Christmas Cards using Vintage Postcards


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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