english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England

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The Sewing Weekender Online 2020

The Sewing Weekender 2020 logo

The Sewing Weekender Online, 13th – 14th June 2020

After organising (in collaboration with The Fold Line) four in-person Sewing Weekender events, we were expecting that we would need to skip a year, during 2020.

Then, inspired by other online events (in particular, an online beer festival Phil attended) we decided to move online. Running the event online this year has the added bonus that we don’t need to cap attendee numbers at 90, as we do for the in-person event. It also means that this year’s event can be international, as you don’t need to travel to Cambridge, UK to take part.

We’ve decided to donate all profits to charity this year, and will be splitting them 50/50 between two charities, NHS Charities Together and Mind. To enable us to do this, all of our contributors have donated their time for free, which we hugely appreciate.

So, how does it work? As at our in-person events, this is an informal sewing event. Work on a sewing project of your choice in your own home over the weekend of the 13th – 14th June. Share your plans and progress with other attendees using the hashtag #sewingweekender.

We have created a schedule of inspiring video talks, messages and more from sewing bloggers and independent businesses, to keep you entertained while you sew, which you can access by purchasing a ticket. By purchasing a ticket you’ll also receive a digital goodie bag, and donate to two excellent charities.

If you’d like to read more, you can read about the 2019 Sewing Weekender on my blog, and The Fold Line have blogged more information about this year’s event.

We hope you’ll really enjoy the weekend of the 13th- 14th June. If you’re someone who regular attends sewing meet-ups, then hopefully this will go someway towards not being able to this year, and if you haven’t attended a meet-up before this should be a gentle introduction to it – from the comfort of your own home.


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Paris Sewcial / Paris Coud 2019 – Registration Open!

Paris Sewcial

Carmen and I are organising an international meet-up in Paris over the weekend of the 18th – 19th May 2019.

On Saturday 18th, we’ll be touring Paris’ fabric shops and ending the day with a group dinner / drinks. On Sunday 19th, we’ll be starting the day with brunch, visiting the exhibition Yves Saint Laurent: Dreams of the Orient” at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent, and heading out of town to visit the Bennytex fabric warehouse (check out Annie Coton’s blog post, it sounds amazing).

Sign-up is now open (to give us an idea of numbers to expect for planning purposes): Sign Up Here!

A quick note to say that everyone is very welcome, and you can attend as much or as little of the weekend as you like. I’m conscious that two reasons people sometimes don’t feel comfortable attending meet-ups are anxiety and mobility. If you would like to join us but have any concerns do get in touch with me and Carmen. I’m already thinking that we should have some group shopping trolleys ready as when I attended the previous Paris meet-up Carmen organised in 2014 I got carried away buying heavy wool fabrics and could barely carry them!

♥ What? ♥

A free-to-attend meet-up of people who love to sew, in Paris.

Following in the footsteps of the 2014 meet-up organised by Carmen, Paris Sewcial / Paris Coud will be a chance to get together with an international group of sewcialists and to explore Paris’ fabric shops.

Organised by Charlotte Powell (English Girl at Home) and Carmen Bouchard (CarmencitaB).

♥ Itinerary ♥

The planned itinerary for Saturday 18th – Sunday 19th May is below. Attendees can feel free to dip in and out, attending one or both days, or parts of the day.

Saturday 18th May

10:30 – 11:00: Meet in Montmartre

We’ll be meeting in Square Louise-Michel, located below the Sacré-Cœur and in the heart of the Montmartre fabric shopping district.

Multiple metro stops including Anvers, Abbesses, Pigalle, and Château Rouge are located within ten minutes’ walk from the square.

11:00 – 17:00: Explore Paris’ Fabric Shops

We’ll spend the day exploring Paris’ numerous fabric shops. A map will be provided to help attendees navigate the city, and we’ll visit the shops as a group, or number of smaller groups, dependent on the number of attendees.

17:00: Dinner / Drinks

We’ll carry on the conversations over a group dinner / drinks (location tbc dependent on number of attendees).

Sunday 19th May

11:00 – 12:30: Brunch in Montmartre

We’ll start the day by returning to Montmartre for brunch and chatter.

13:00 – 15:00: Visit to Musée Yves Saint Laurent

At 13:00 we’ll visit Yves Saint Laurent: Dreams of the Orient at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent. It isn’t possible to book a tour on Sundays, so we’ll be joining the queue outside the museum. A visit to the exhibition takes approximately 90 minutes. It’s also the perfect opportunity for a stroll past the Eiffel Tower, which is located 15 minutes walk from the museum.

15:00 – 18:00: Visit to Bennytex

Those willing to join us in a trip outside of the city centre on the hunt for fabric will catch the bus to Bennytex fabric warehouse. The journey is approximately one hour each way by public transport. For more info about shopping at Bennytex see Annie Coton’s blog post.

We’ll start the journey back from Bennytex at approximately 17:00, with attendees back in the city centre for 18:00.

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Paris Sewcial / Paris Coud 2019 – Hold the Date

Paris Sewcial

I was lucky enough to attend the Paris meet-up organised by Carmen back in 2014. Inspired by that event, Carmen and I have decided that it’s time for another Paris meet-up, so we’re organising one over the weekend of the 18-19 May 2019.

We’ll be touring Paris’ fabric shops on Saturday 18th, with a to-be-confirmed activity on Sunday 19th for those who can stay for the full weekend. Further details to follow, once we’ve finalised our plans.

At this point we wanted to share the date, so that those of you who can make it can start planning.

We hope you can join us.

#ParisSewcial #ParisCoud


The Sewing Weekender 2017 Wrap-Up

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The second Sewing Weekender, sewing holiday, took place at the start of August. As is always the way with organising events, when we started planning it seemed ages away, but it was here before we knew it and over in a flash.

The Sewing Weekender 2017

Kate, Rachel & I arrived at our venue, Murray Edwards College in Cambridge, on Friday afternoon and were kept busy until the evening setting up sewing machines, overlockers, and irons, stuffing goodie bags, and inflating balloons!

The Sewing Weekender 2017

We were joined on Saturday morning by fifty-one attendees and six prefects/speakers, for the sewing (tea drinking, fabric stroking, nattering, fabric swapping) to commence.

Over the course of the Weekender we had:

♥ Two embroidery workshops (hand-embroidery with Elisalex de Castro Peake, and machine embroidery with Elle Harris).

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥  More time for sewing, more machines, overlockers and irons than at last year’s event.

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ Even more sponsors & overflowing goodie bags.

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ Embroidered badges for every attendee (thanks to Elle Harris‘ machine embroidery workshop).

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ A mini sewing bee! Elizabeth and Susan both finished a garment during the weekend, so were set a timed challenge by Melissa and Fiona, using supplies from the swap – and completed that too!

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ Inspirational talks from our amazing prefects/speakers.

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ Two lovely golden ticket competition winners, Barbara and Vicky thanks to Sew Now Magazine and Minerva Crafts.

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ Two sewists wearing the same fabric (Rachel and Emily)!

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ A litter of of cat owners – mostly sporting cat prints (Rachel, Sarah, Bianca, Amy, Harriet, Elena, & Melissa).

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ Speedy sewists who managed to complete garments during the weekend, including Elizabeth and Emma.

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ A stroll through Cambridge in the sun (as well as one particular lunch break in torrential rain…).

The Sewing Weekender 2017

♥ And lots of lovely sewists!

The Sewing Weekender 2017

There’s a great atmosphere at the Weekender, and it’s the same atmosphere at sewing meet-ups small and large (as well as online): welcoming, inspiring and full of fun. Assuming people do keep wanting to come, there’s never going to be enough tickets for everyone to attend the Sewing Weekender (this year tickets sold out in less than twenty minutes), but I’d highly recommend getting to a meet-up in person as often as you can.


SewBrum Raffle Prizes!

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes

As in previous years, we’ll be holding a raffle at the SewBrum meet-up this Saturday! Raffle tickets are only on sale to attendees on the day of the meet-up and the raffle will be drawn in the afternoon at Guthrie & Ghani.

All money raised by the raffle, along with donations in exchange for tea and cake at Guthrie & Ghani, will be donated to the Eve Appeal.

Lots of lovely companies have generously donated raffle prizes. I’m demoing a lot of the prizes in this video, or see the full list and photos below. (P.S. I mispronounced a couple of things in the video, but only had a limited window of sunlight yesterday evening after getting home from work, so no retakes!).

The full list of prizes:

♥ Sew Essential have donated an Adjustoform Supafit Standard Dress Form. The dress form comes in four sizes so the winner will be able to select their preferred size.

Minerva Crafts have donated a big fabric bundle worth £100.

The Sewing Directory have donated two beautiful FQ packs: Lewis & Irene Under the Sea and Heather Ross Mendocino.

Prym have donated sewing boxes filled with a range of sewing supplies.

Pavilion are donating five of their recent sewing books: Merchant & Mills WorkbookFreehand Fashion by Chinelo Bally, Cutting & Draping Party and Eveningwear by Dawn Cloake, Ultimate Sewing Bible by Marie Clayton, and The Gentle Art of Quilt-Making by Jane Brocket.

Crafty Sew & So have donated a £25 voucher for their online or bricks & mortar shop, based in Leicester.

♥ The Crafty Mastermind have donated a kit to make Tilly & the Button’s Coco, with plenty of fabric for a dress or top version.

♥ Sew Crafty have donated a selection of goodies including pin badges, crafty pencils, and crafty notebook.

Create Escape have donated a four fat quarter bundle of Lotta Jansdotter’s latest fabric collection.

Remnant Kings have donated a tote bag containing a selection of haberdashery goodies.

♥ Fabric Godmother have donated a beautiful £100 fabric bundle, with a mix of knits and wovens.

♥ Plush Addict have donated an 11 reels selection of Gutermann sew-all thread, and a 9 FQ pack from the Tilda Spring Diaries Collection.

♥ The Draper’s Daughter have donated a lovely Tote Bag kit.

♥ FabricHQ have donated a £20 gift voucher.

♥ Abakhan have donated two Liberty fabric bundles.

♥ Fabrics Galore have donated a £20 gift voucher.

♥  Dragonfly Fabrics have donated a Katha Tunic sewing kit, with all required supplies to sew a tunic in a lovely Japanese cotton.

♥ Bloomsbury Square have donated a fabric bundle, containing 2 metres of crepe, and 1.5 metres of cotton.

♥ FabricPunk have donated a FQ bundle of six Dashwood Studio fabrics.

♥ Village Haberdashery have donated a voucher for their online and bricks-and-mortar store.

♥ Girl Charlee have donated a fabric bundle worth £100 in one of their tote bags. Two metres of each of the following fabrics ar included: Quatrefoil Oxford Blue Cotton Jersey Blend Knit FabricCoral Blue & Red Diamond Floral Geo Jersey Rayon Spandex KnitPlum Grey Rose Floral on Taupe Cotton Jersey Knit FabricHeather Burnt Orange Solid Baby Cotton Jersey Knit FabricFawn Silhouette on Rose Cotton Jersey Blend Knit Fabric.

♥ Adam Ross Fabrics have donated a £35 voucher for their (Birmingham-based) online store.

Plus, Simplicity have donated pattern which I’ll be giving away in the morning at the Edwardian Tea Rooms (first come first served), and Crafty Sew & So have given me some flyers for a very exciting event they are planning…

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
Abakhan Liberty Fabric bundles

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
Crafty Mastermind Coco Kit

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
Simplicity Patterns

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
Dragonfly Fabrics Tunic Kit

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
Fabric Godmother fabric bundle

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
The Sewing Directory FQ packs (Lewis & Irene Under the Sea and Heather Ross Mendocino)

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
Girl Charlee fabric bundle

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
Fabric Punk Dashwood Studio FQ selection

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
Bloomsbury Square fabric bundle

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
Create Escape Lotta Jansdotter FQ pack

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
Sew Crafty goodies

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
Minerva Crafts fabric bundle

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
Remnant Kings Goodie Bag

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
The Draper’s Daughter Tote Bag Kit

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
Books from Pavilion

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
Quilting Book and FQ packs from EQS

#SewBrum Raffle Prizes
FabricHQ voucher


The Sewing Weekender Launch

sewing weekender banner

I’m very excited to finally announce what Rachel and Kate from The Fold Line, and I, have been up to for the last few weeks. We are hosting a UK sewing holiday, a weekend break which will take place in Cambridge during August 2016.

Full information about the event, including ticket sales, and the schedule is available on the Event Page hosted on The Fold Line. Tickets are on sale now!

Here on my own blog I wanted to say a little about how the event came about.

I’m always really tempted by sewing (and knitting) holidays, but haven’t, so far, been able to attend one. If they are not in the UK there’s inevitably travel costs and time off work required (If I were single I’d totally go for it, but it’s not so easy to justify to Phil when we could instead go on holiday together…!) Those sewing holidays which are in the UK often understandably cost a few hundred pounds due to the costs of tuition, meals and accommodation.

So, The Sewing Weekender is a slightly different sewing holiday. We’re keeping things laid back and informal and as a result are keeping the price as affordable as possible. We’re also very lucky to have sponsorship from some great indie companies (full list here) which has also allowed us to keep ticket prices down.

Happily, Kate, Rachel and I were all thinking about sewing holidays at the same time so were able to team up to organise the Sewing Weekender!

I hope you’ll be as excited about the event as us. We’ve got a lovely venue booked, and are going to have plenty of time for chatting, tea, and sewing, plus great talks from fellow bloggers, and amazing goodie bags!

Full details and tickets available here.


Midlands Sewcialists

Midlands Sewcialists

I realised recently that I’m attending the local Weavers, Spinners, & Dyers Guild, and the Embroiderers’ Guild monthly, but I don’t meet with other local sewists nearly that often.

In order to change that I’m suggesting having a regular catch-up in the diary once a month. Given that setting aside a whole day can be difficult, I’m thinking one evening a month (roughly 6pm-9pm) to chat and (optionally) eat/drink/craft/swap. Everyone is welcome.

To get the ball rolling, I’m proposing that the first two dates are Tuesday 26th January, and Friday 26th February. The January get together will take place in Birmingham City Centre (I’m suggesting The Stable if that sounds ok to everyone), but we can vary the location in future.

In order for everyone to have an idea of roughly who/how many people can make it I’ve created a basic poll. Add your name & tick the dates you’re planning to attend. If your plans change you can alter your selection. The poll can be found here: http://doodle.com/poll/eemuhrm2kkcuncbw

P.S. Rachel is organising meet-ups to Leicester Market on 06th Feb, and to the Birmingham Hobbycrafts show in March.


SewBrum 2015 Wrap-Up

SewBrum Meet-Up 2015

I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since the SewBrum meet-up. After many months of preparing (i.e. gathering raffle prizes) the day whizzed by.

The meet-up started in the Edwardian Tearooms at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. It’s one of my (many) favourite spots in Birmingham so I thought I’d drag everyone there:) There were 60+ of us drinking tea and chatting in the tearooms. It’s quite a large cafe but we took over a good section; we’d been allocated about a third of the seating, but I think we may have taken over around half by the time we were due to leave.

SewBrum Meet-Up 2015

From the tearooms we wandered across town to the Rag Market, and nearby Barry’s Fabrics and Fancy Silk Store. We had unseasonable good weather this year so didn’t get wet while walking around Birmingham. One of the market stall holders who sells Liberty-style printed cottons (near the food stalls at the front of the outdoor section of the market) did particularly good business!

SewBrum Meet-Up 2015

When they were ready, attendees caught a bus into Moseley Village to visit Guthrie & Ghani, via lunch at Moseley Farmers’ Market. We lost count of the exact number, but there were over 90 attendees at Guthrie & Ghani so it was pretty full in the upstairs studio space which the meet-up took over for the day. Goodie bags were waiting at the shop for the first sixty or so attendees but ran out before everyone arrived (partly because it is very difficult to predict exactly how many attendees will turn up on the day in order to prepare, and partly because such large numbers are difficult for sponsors).

SewBrum Goodie Bags

The raffle held in the afternoon at Guthrie & Ghani, plus donations given for tea and cake, raised £554 which has now been donated to the Made Up Initiative, and has helped to push the total amount raised by the Initiative over £3,000.  We also held a pattern and fabric swap, with leftovers donated to a nearby charity shop.

SewBrum Meet-Up 2015

I’ve heard a few people previously mentioning that they aren’t fond of larger meet-ups. I totally understand that once you’ve built up a group of friends who sew it’s nice to meet up with them, and that it’s much easier to chat with everyone as a small group. But I also think it’s good to have meet-up events that are open to everyone. It was through large meet-ups, advertised to everyone, such as Rachel’s London meet-up and the Birmingham meet-up organised by Marie, Claire and Kat, that I first met other sewists in person. One of the best things about the sewing community is how inclusive it is, and I think it’s important that there are inclusive meet-ups that anyone with an interest in sewing is welcome to join.

SewBrum Meet-Up 2015

Massive thanks to everyone who came along – I hope you all had a good time & managed to meet some new-to-you sewists. I just wish I could have had more time to chat to everyone. A list of attendees is available here.

nominette Labels for SewBrum

Around 38 attendees also participated in a merit badge swap and there were some amazing badges swapped on the day (you’ll find some on instagram tagged with #sewbrum). I was paired with Victoria, my badges for her are below, and were inspired by her love for sci-fi.

SewBrum Meet-Up Merit Badge Swap

And hers for me, which features Paris, alpaca feet and a computer on/off logo – very fitting:)

SewBrum Meet-Up Merit Badge Swap

I have put together a small gift for one member of the merit badge swap, on an embroidery theme. It contains a cute embroidery book I picked up last time I was in Paris, and two Dandelyne miniature jewellery embroidery hoops. The winner, identified using random number generator, is Vicky.

SewBrum Giveaway


SewBrum Meet-Up Update

Sew Brum Meet-Up Logo

Eek, I love the new SewBrum logo. It was designed by amazingly talented illustrator and sewing blogger Maike of Sew & Illustrate.

I have lots of exciting SewBrum news to share – an itinerary for the day, sign-up is open, and I’m planning a pre-meet-up swap.

The meet-up also has an event page on Facebook.

♥ Itinerary ♥

The planned itinerary for Saturday October 31st is below. Attendees can feel free to dip in and out, or only attend for part of the day.

10:00 – 11:00: Meet at the Edwardian Tearooms

We’ll be meeting in the lovely setting of the Edwardian Tearooms at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, where we’ll be able to drink tea and/or eat brunch while everyone arrives.

11:00 – 12:30: Birmingham Bull Ring Rag Market

We never made it to the market last year, so this year we’ll be heading there. (Two of Birmingham’s fabric stores are located close by (Barry’s Fabric & Fancy Silk Store) for anyone who would prefer to shop there instead / as well).

12:30 – 13:00: Reconvene and travel to Moseley Village (Guthrie & Ghani) by bus

The journey between the city centre and Moseley only takes 15 minutes by bus, and buses are every 5-10 minutes.

13:00 – 14:00: Moseley Farmer’s Market & Art Market

We’ll be buying lunch at Moseley’s Farmer’s Market, which has around 60 stalls (including some great cake!). The Art Market will also be taking place.

14:00 – 17:30: Guthrie & Ghani

At Guthrie & Ghani we’ll have time in the shop which sells a wide range of sewing and knitting supplies, and we’ll have use of the studio above the shop where we will be able to natter, compare purchases, hold a pattern & fabric swap, and a raffle. We’ll also have a demo of the Lutterloh pattern making system.

♥ Merit Badge Swap ♥

In advance of the meet-up, I’m hosting a merit badge swap, partly inspired by the crafty merit badges recently released by Fancy Tiger Crafts.

You can sign up to take part in the swap using the sign-up form below. I’ll randomly pair everyone who signs up, and you’ll make a merit badge for your swap partner. There are no design or size restrictions for the badges – the idea is to make a badge that suits your swap partner; perhaps focusing on something they are particularly good at, or a particular interest of theirs, crafty or otherwise.

Anyone can join this swap, you don’t need to be attending the meet-up in October or have a blog to join in (and meet-up attendees don’t have to take part in the swap, you can let me know when you sign-up if you want to join in or not).

Sign-up for the swap is open from now until 30th September. I’ll be sending out details of swap partners periodically until sign-up closes.

I’ve set up a Pinterest board with a few badge inspiration pictures.

♥ Sign-Up Form ♥

If you’re planning to attend the meet-up (and/or want to take part in the merit badge swap) let us know by filling in the sign-up form below.

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SewBrum Meet-Up 2015 – Save the Date

#SewBrum 2015 save the date

Just a quick post to let you know that there will be a second #SewBrum meet-up on Saturday 31st October 2015 (my wrap-up of the 2014 meet-up is here).

Like last time, the meet-up will start in Birmingham City Centre, before moving to Moseley Village to visit Guthrie & Ghani.

I’ll post details nearer the date, but I’m planning a few tweaks for this year – generally I’m thinking more tea, more food, and more goodie bags!

Everyone will be welcome. Hope you can make it x