english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Fashion Revolution Jane Tee

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

To celebrate this year’s Fashion Revolution Week (which took place 22 – 28 April) I decided I wanted to make a garment which lived up to the ethics and ideals of the week. I didn’t have a lot of time to order fabric and sew a garment, so I thought I’d keep it simple with a slogan tee.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

The fabric for this tee was a Cream Marl Viscose Blend Jersey from Offset Warehouse. Offset Warehouse describe it as made from sustainable fibres (40% Cotton, 30% Viscose and 30% Polyester) and reclaimed from a high end manufacturer in the UK and stopped from heading to landfill.

The jersey is very fine and soft, with a subtle marl effect. It’s slightly transparent, so I am wearing a slip underneath in these photos.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

The pattern is the Seamwork Jane tee, which is a great loose fitting crew neck t-shirt pattern, and a perfect blank canvas for screenprinting (no darts). My measurements put me between an XS and S, but I cut a straight XS as there’s plenty of ease.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

For the text, I printed the ‘I made my clothes’ A4 poster from the Fashion Revolution website free resources section. To create a more stable stencil, I placed an A4 acetate sheet over the poster and cut out the lettering with a craft knife (I have a lifetime supply of acetate sheets as I took a box home from many work years ago, since they were gathering dust following overhead projectors being removed from classrooms). I screen-printed the text using black ink onto the pre-cut t-shirt front; I always use Permaset Supercover screen printing ink to print on fabric and find it really reliable, Fred Aldous stock it in the UK.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

These pictures were taken in Vietnam, predominantly in the Botanical Gardens and Zoo in Ho Chi Minh City. I hadn’t realised in advance that the gardens and zoo were one and the same – we were aiming for the gardens. The planting is frequently beautiful, but as a whole – as you can see in these photos – it’s somewhat run down and in need of investment. Great for some dramatic blog photo backdrops, but not great for the resident animals. I suspect it suffers the same fate as Vietnam’s museums, which also – on the whole – appear to be underfunded and, as a result, dusty and in varying states of neglect.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

P.S. my all time favourite zoo story, was that we were once in a zoo somewhere in Europe (I have forgotten which), and a huge crowd gathered to watch and photograph a sole red squirrel which was living (wild) in the zoo. That little squirrel managed to steal all the attention from the huge (caged) animals which were metres away.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

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Seamwork Neenah Dress

Seamwork Neenah Dress

This is the Seamwork Neenah Dress one of my #makenine projects, made with a stash fabric of forgotten origin (thanks to the Cora App I won’t be forgetting where I bought fabric in future). Although I can’t remember where I bought this fabric, I do know I bought it with the intention of making Neenah – and a year or so later, here she is!

Seamwork Neenah Dress

Based on my measurements I graded between an XS and S. I cut the sleeves in size XS and initially found them too tight, so unpicked and sewed again with a very narrow seam allowance. I cut two inches off the length of the sleeves, but left the dress length as per the pattern.

Seamwork Neenah Dress

I really like the fit of this dress. It skims the body nicely without being clingy. There’s a little bit of pooling at the back, but in a casual style like this I don’t think it’s worth worrying about. It’s worth noting that the turtleneck pattern piece is quite long (it’s folded double in these photos). I’m a big fan of a high neckline, but if you want a smaller turtleneck I’d recommend using a more lightweight fabric, or reducing the height of the pattern piece by up to half.

Seamwork Neenah Dress

I whipped this dress up on Friday evening (having previously send the pattern for A0 printing), ready to wear to a sewing meet-up in Birmingham yesterday in celebration of the lovely Bianca returning to us for the weekend. It was a really fun day, lots of nattering and fabric shopping with sewing friends, followed by a Cecille Grey gig in Nottingham. I was absolutely knackered when I fell into bed that night, but it was definitely worth it, and I love making new clothes for special days.

Seamwork Neenah Dress

I’m pleased to say that I’ve been sticking to my New Year’s Resolution to keep my evenings for my hobbies, instead of allowing work to stretch out into them, and to attend more meet-ups. I’ve been attending the monthly Brummie Yarn Social organised by Sue and Ben in Moseley, and it’s been lovely to see the Birmingham sewists more regularly, as well as to catch-up with a bigger group yesterday.

Seamwork Neenah Dress


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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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SewBrum 2017 Wrap-Up

SewBrum 2017

Before 2017 is out, a quick post about this year’s SewBrum meet-up!

I’ve posted a short video of the day (and what I bought), which you can view here:


SewBrum 2017

The 2017 meet-up took place on Saturday 28th October. We started the day by taking over the John Lewis Cafe and visiting the haberdashery. From there, we visited the Rag Market, and nearby Barry’s Fabrics and Fancy Silk Store. A new stall in the Indoor Market which specialises in Liberty fabrics, including Liberty jersey, cord and fleece, was particularly popular.

SewBrum 2017

Over 120 of us traveled into Moseley Village in the afternoon to visit Guthrie & Ghani for shopping, chatting, a pattern and fabric swap, and charity raffle. The raffle raised £431.50 for the The Eve Appeal gynaecological cancer charity, and donations for tea and cake raised £80 to twin the toilet at Guthrie & Ghani with a toilet in an African village. Thanks so much for your generous donations!

SewBrum 2017

A huge thank you also to the companies who donated to the raffle – a full list of prizes and a few photos are below.

♥ Adjustoform – Dressform
♥ Adam Ross Fabrics – £30 voucher
♥ Beyond Measure – £20 voucher
♥ Chez Machine – 2 kits
♥ Chinelo Bally Freehand Fashion: Learn to Sew the Perfect Wardrobe x 2
♥ ClothSpot – Prize bundle
♥ Cocowawa – Marshmallow Dress pattern x 2
♥ Colette Patterns – $25 voucher
♥ Cotton Reel Studio – £30 voucher
♥ The Crafty Mastermind – Fabric, pattern and pin bundle
♥ Dashing Tweeds – Fabric bundle
♥ The Draper’s Daughter – 3 metres of fabric
♥ Fabrics Galore – £50 voucher
♥ Girl Charlee – Big fabric bundle
♥ Guthrie & Ghani – Prym mini hamper
♥ The Maker’s Atelier – The Pleat Detail Dress & Top pattern
♥ Minerva Crafts – Quilt making kit
♥ Mollie Makes How to Quilt and Patchwork
♥ Monaluna – Fat quarter bundle
♥ Plush Addict – £50 voucher
♥ Remnant Kings – Coco dress pattern and fabric bundle
♥ Sewbox – £30 gift voucher and Gutermann thread set
♥ Sew Crafty – Bundle of goodies
♥ Sewisfaction – £25 gift voucher
♥ Sew Over It – Choice of online class
♥ Simply Sewing Magazine – 7 patterns
♥ Stuart Hillard Use Scraps, Sew Blocks, Make 100 Quilts: 100 Stash-Busting Scrap Quilts
♥ Stoff and Stil – Raincoat project kit
♥ Suzy Magazine – 2 issues
♥ Tilly and the Buttons – Online workshop and PDF pattern
♥ Ryland Peters and Small Cico Books – 3 books
♥ The Village Haberdashery – Tote bag and voucher

SewBrum 2017

SewBrum 2017

SewBrum 2017

SewBrum 2017

SewBrum 2017

SewBrum 2017

SewBrum 2017

SewBrum 2017


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Sewing Room Tour Vlog

My Sewing Room

Happy Christmas Eve!

I’ve published a vlog with a little tour of my sewing room and fabric stash. You can see it here if you fancy a snoop around the house:

I filmed it a few weeks ago while the house was (briefly) tidy and before any Christmas decorations were up.

Have a great Christmas and New Year x

My Sewing Room

My Sewing Room

My Sewing Room


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A Linden in Trajan’s Market

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

This would have been my contribution for the Sewcialists TNT month, but I missed the month (November)!

This is my ninth blogged Linden. I was listening to the Love to Sew podcast episode about sewing patterns recently (episode 17), and discussion of the pluses/minuses for PDF and printed patterns. For me, my use of the Linden pattern demonstrates the benefits of PDF patterns; I have now made the pattern for eight different people (including three Linden Swap recipients), in three different sizes, and have made alterations to the pattern for a number of hacks (including dress length and fleecy sleeves). In that time, I’ve re-printed the pattern – in full or in part – as required, and as a relatively small pattern it prints and assembles quickly each time.

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

I’ve recently completed my project for this year’s Linden Swap and sent it off to the recipient. I’ve received my Linden Swap parcel, but am showing restraint and waiting until Christmas day to open it and see what my Sewing Secret Santa has made for me. I didn’t participate in many online challenges and swaps this year, so am glad I managed one more before the year is out.

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

The fabric for this Linden was selected from my stash and I now have no idea where I bought it. In my last blog post, I wrote about my work/life balance new year resolutions; I have another resolution, which is to keep a record of the fabric I buy so that I can remember how much I have, where I bought it from and what I had in mind to sew with it!

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

These photos were taken in Trajan’s Market in Rome. I highly recommend it as a blog photo location, we had the entire place to ourselves when we visited, with the exception (added bonus) of a few cats.

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt


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Alternative Holiday Gift Guide: Pledges & Donations for Makers

I love a sewing-themed Christmas gift guide, but I thought it might be equally interesting to share some places you can currently donate/pledge to support sewing-themed campaigns. Four ways to show your support, and receive a little something in return too!

♥ Stitch in Time

Royal Shakespeare Company Costume Department

The Royal Shakespeare Company is currently raising money to restore and redevelop their dedicated costume department in Stratford-upon-Avon. I was lucky enough to visit the Costume Department last year – you can read about my visit in an article I wrote for Seamwork magazine or on my blog.

The Stitch in Time campaign aims to allow the RSC to maintain and develop what is the largest in-house costume making department of any British theatre. Supporters (£30+) will receive invites to events about the project and costume making. Find out more or donate here.

William Whiteley & Sons EXO Scissors

EXO trio on black

I’m a great lover of a heritage British-made product (see my previous blog post about Ernest Wright & Son); William Whiteley & Sons, based in Sheffield, are the UK’s oldest manufacturers of scissors and shears, since 1760.

The company previously sold to trade only, but have recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to sell a new product (EXO tailors shears) direct to consumers. The Kickstarter campaign has already met its target, but there are still a few days left if you would like to get your hands on a pair of these scissors. Reportedly lighter and more ergonomic, the scissors have a nice modern (and unisex) look, and can be engraved for a small additional cost. Visit the Kickstarter page for more information.

Freesewing Patron

patrons-ig

As someone who works in (or, at least on the periphery of) IT, I’m always really impressed by what Joost has created with Freesewing.org. In addition to sharing the open-source code for the site, and free sewing patterns, Freesewing also raises money for charity. You can now show some love to Joost and the other contributors, and donate to Freesewing’s chosen charity/charities, by becoming a Patron and making a small monthly donation.

For more info, read this blog post, and then visit the sign-up page.

In the Folds Printed Patterns

75edb07c2acb01785143f27173fa25d0_original

Emily of In the Folds has launched a Kickstarter campaign to produce printed versions of her – currently PDF only – patterns. The Kickstarter campaign is beautifully presented and I love Emily’s aesthetic. I recently made the free Jumpsuit pattern, and am looking forward to trying more In the Folds patterns (P.S. seven of the patterns are free!).

The Kickstarter campaign has already met its target, but there is still time to get your hands on a pattern or one of the other rewards. Visit the Kickstarter page for more information.