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.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-sewing-weekender-online-2020-tickets-107200650030


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Me Made May 2020 (& Animal Crossing)

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Before May began, I had gotten into the habit of wearing a few pairs of sweatpants on rotation, paired with a t-shirt or jumper depending on the weather. I was, however, spending time dressing my Animal Crossing character in a variety of outfits, hats and backpacks (if you’ve missed it, the new Animal Crossing Switch game was released near the end of March). I was probably spending more time getting dressed on Animal Crossing than in real life, and I was certainly having more fun with it.

I decided, spur of the moment on 01st May, that my Me Made May pledge this year would be to coordinate outfits with my Animal Crossing character each day, as a way to put more fun and more thought into getting dressed than I had been of late.

It took all of one day for me to realise that my wardrobe and my Animal Crossing character’s wardrobe (which includes a lot of fruit themed hats) don’t actually overlap very much. Luckily, Animal Crossing includes a ‘designer’ function where you can create custom clothing designs. I hadn’t tried this feature before Me Made May began, but I’m now an avid user.

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The designer has fairly simple functionality – a single size of pixel art, and only a handful of (dress and top) clothing shapes – but I find the limitations really satisfying to work within. The limitations also mean that I can’t spend too long recreating each day’s outfit. I suspect it’s taking me a maximum of thirty minutes to create an outfit and then take that day’s Instagram pic on my tiny virtual model. Phil takes my photo each day, I take hers.

I highly doubt I would have found the time to participate in Me Made May in this way had I not been based at home currently. I’m working from home (and did regularly prior to Covid-19), but the time saved commuting to work, and the greater ease of slipping back into hobbies during breaks or at the end of the day, have allowed me to think about Me Made May and my wardrobe consistently every day. I haven’t gotten to any of the larger craft projects I wrote on a to-do list when social distancing first began, but I have spent a little bit of time each day exploring my wardrobe, and deciding how to recreate a favourite garment in miniature digital format.

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Without further ado, here are some of the coordinated outfits for the first two weeks of May.

Grey rib:

Featuring a Seamwork Neenah & in-game AC clothing

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Linden Dresses:

Mine previously blogged here; AC dress by me

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Animal Crossing Me Made May 2020

Knitbot Trail Jackets:

Mine previously blogged here; AC jumper by me

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Animal Crossing Me Made May 2020

French Dart Shifts:

Maven Patterns French Dart Shift (not yet blogged); AC version by me

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Me Made May 2020

Cuba Libre Shirts:

Mine previously blogged here; AC shirt by me

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Bibi & Pinnacle:

Mine previously blogged here; AC outfit by me

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Sirocco Jumpsuits:

Mine is previously blogged here; AC version by me

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Mustard & Stripes:

Hacked Linden (previously blogged here) & RTW skirt; AC outfit by me

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Anna Dress & Victoria Blazer:

Mine previously blogged here and here; AC outfit by me

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The Smiths Tees:

My outfit previously blogged here and here; AC t-shirt by me

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Sewing Projects are Never Really Finished

Simple Sew Grace Dress

As mentioned in my last blog post, I recently repaired this little Simple Sew Grace Dress, and then realised that it no longer fitted me. I decided the dress was worth an attempt to make it bigger, and if that didn’t work I’d admit defeat and it would move into my fabric scraps basket.

Simple Sew Grace Dress

I couldn’t gain any ease from the existing seam allowances as I had trimmed and overlocked them very close to the seam line. This is how I’ve always overlocked my projects, and it does give a lovely neat finish, but in future I’m planning to leave larger seam allowances on areas I might want to let out in future. P.S. Gillian has some great tips on sewing for gaining weight on the Sewcialists blog this week.

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Luckily, the remnant of fabric left over from making the dress was large enough for me to re-cut the waistband and the back bodice pieces (but not the front bodice). Since the skirt is gathered, it was easy to gain some length there, and I was even able to reuse my existing gathering stitches!

When I made the dress back in 2017, I cut a size 8 at the bust, grading to a 10 at the waist. Referring back to the pattern I found that my measurements now put me into a size 12. I had cut (as opposed to traced) the pattern when I first made the dress, so I worked out approximately how much width to add to the pattern pieces to cut a size 12 back bodice and waistband. Adding all of the additional ease to the back of the bodice meant that the armholes hung slightly low, so I added two short darts at the front armholes to mitigate this.

Simple Sew Grace Dress

I wasn’t sure my fix would work, but I now have a dress which fits me well, if differently than previously. The pattern was designed to have a close fitting bodice and waist, whereas I have some ease (and could probably pop a t-shirt underneath), but if anything it has made it more wearable – especially at the moment, to wear at home or on a walk locally, as in these pictures which we took on our new regular walking route yesterday evening.

Simple Sew Grace Dress

All in all, I’ve now spent quite a bit of time on this simple dress, but it has been fun to successfully rescue a project from my repairs basket, and to problem solve a solution. It’s proof that a sewing project is never really finished.

Simple Sew Grace Dress

There’s still A LOT to work through in my repairs and UFOs baskets. I’m thinking I might tackle my too-small jeans next, but maybe next week!

Simple Sew Grace Dress


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A Dress with Nine Lives

Simple Sew Grace Dress

We’ve been working our way through the house since social distancing began, cleaning and sorting through the contents of all of the drawers and cupboards. Inevitably, I finally reached the baskets containing my UFOs and repairs.

I’m aiming to work my way through the baskets over the next few weeks. I’ve set myself the same goal before, with largely the same contents of the baskets, but with more time at home perhaps I’ll be more successful this attempt? There’s always going to need to be a UFOs basket, but it would be good to empty it and start fresh.

Simple Sew Grace Dress

This dress was the first project I pulled out of the basket. It’s a Simple Sew Grace Dress, which I originally blogged in 2017. I made this dress in a hurry to wear to an event, the fabric frays easily and I was planning to revisit it to stabilise the seams before washing or wearing it again. Unfortunately it accidentally got thrown in the washing machine and emerged with holes along the centre seam.

I carried out a panicky repair job, overlocking everything in sight. In my rush to repair it I did a terrible job of gathering the skirt (which is a bit heavy to gather well), and the waistband was still quite damaged. I wore it a few times (including in those previous blog photos), but then it went it to the repairs basket.

Simple Sew Grace Dress

Yesterday I found out a remnant of the fabric I used to sew the dress (which was a gift from Madalynne through a giveaway on her blog), and recut a new waistband. I also regathered and attached the skirt.

It looks so much better now. The only downside is that the dress is now too tight to be comfortable. Partly as a result of me gaining weight since I originally made it, and partly because I was careful to stabilise the waistband this time around, via a combination of underlining and lining.

So, I’ll be revisiting this dress again later today, to see if I can eek out enough ease by reducing the seam allowance at the zip to add this back into my wardrobe this summer.

Simple Sew Grace Dress


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Fibre Mood Dora Dress

Fibre Mood Dora Dress

The latest issue of Fibre Mood magazine (issue 9) is released today. This month I got the opportunity to view the patterns early and to pick one to sew for launch day. I picked the Dora Dress, which has flutter sleeves, a high neckline, and a loose fit cinched in at the waist with a fabric belt.

Fibre Mood Dora Dress

I made size 38 and used a John Kaldor fabric from Sew Essential which I think I bought during an in-person blogger visit in April 2016. So almost four years to the day this fabric was purchased it finally became a garment and made the move from my stash into my wardrobe.

Fibre Mood Dora Dress

You can view the full Fibre Mood magazine online for free, so it’s easy to review the patterns and decide if you want to purchase the magazine, or one or two of the pattern PDFs individually. It’s also possible to see the patterns in motion, as the Fibre Mood YouTube channel features short video clips of the patterns being worn by models during the photo shoots. If you fancy trying out one of their patterns for free, the Fibre Mood team are currently running a Social Sew Along every Friday, where you can download a free pattern and sew-along with the team on Instagram Live. This week’s project is a dress from the new issue (which happens to be called Charlotte).

Fibre Mood Dora Dress

These photos were taken in the park at the end of our road during yesterday’s daily walk. Phil and I have been making a point of taking a walk each day to ensure that we do get some time out of the house and some exercise. The walks vary in length considerably, normally depending on how late in the day we leave it before getting out and how energetic (or not) we are feeling. Yesterday’s walk was particularly short, just around the park, as the shoes I wore for these photos are not as comfy as the trainers I normally wear!

Fibre Mood Dora Dress

Wearing this dress for a walk also made it very clear that the length is currently a bit restrictive. As someone who is normally dashing to and fro (Phil regularly complains about how quickly I walk) I’m going to go back and add a vent, or probably just shorten the length, to avoid future frustration.

Fibre Mood Dora Dress


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March Sewing Zine Vlog

No new vlogs for two months and then two in one week!

I’ve just uploaded a new vlog about what I’ve been up to lately, including my plans for the Sewcialists Sew Your Birth Year mini-challenge, and attending a soft basketry workshop.

View it below or via my YouTube channel:

Things mentioned:

The Sewcialists Sew Your Birth Year Mini Challenge

Sugardale, Len Coveralls

SewOver50, #so50visible challenge

My The Maker’s Atelier Asymmetric Gather Dress

Paper Theory Patterns, Olya Shirt/Shirt Dress

Soft basketry workshop with Averil Otiv

The SewBrum Meet-up (Saturday 24th October 2020)

Little Black Duck, Spools of Thread Mini Quilt


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Online Sewing Events Right Now

With in-person meet-ups impossible for most of us at the moment, I’ve compiled a list of some online sewing events. These are a chance to chat to others in the sewing community or to join in with a live sew-along.

I’m talking about these in my latest vlog, and I’ve also shared the list in the latest post on The Sewcialists blog.


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SewBrum 2020 – 24th October

I wanted to pop on the blog to send best wishes to everyone who is being affected by Coronavirus, whether through sickness or risk of sickness, impact on your income or business, or stress at the ongoing uncertainty.

It might sound a bit frivolous, but I also wanted to share a save the date for SewBrum 2020.

This year’s meet-up (which will be the seventh!) will take place on Saturday 24th October 2020. It will be an opportunity to get together in person later this year, and to support independent shops in Birmingham. It’s also a free event so can be a cheap day out (dependent on your travel arrangements). Plus, as a free event, if your plans change nearer the date you can cancel your registration at any time (spaces aren’t limited).

You can sign-up on Eventbrite, and find more information on my blog, including accessibility of the venues we visit.

If you haven’t attended before, SewBrum is a free-to-attend meet-up of people who love to sew in Birmingham, UK. Everyone is welcome. We will start the day in Birmingham city centre and then travel to Guthrie & Ghani in Moseley Village, by bus.

Logo by illustrator and sewist Maike Plenzke.


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Constellation Double Gauze Myosotis

Deer & Doe Myosotis Dress in Kokka Double Gauze

I’m finally blogging my Deer and Doe Myosotis Dress which I made back in April, ready to wear for the Paris Sewcial / Paris Coud meet-up.

Deer & Doe Myosotis Dress in Kokka Double Gauze

I loved the Myosotis pattern when it was released, but it was when I saw the fabric that the idea of this dress got lodged in my brain and wouldn’t leave me in peace until it was realised. The fabric is a double gauze by the Japanese brand Kokka, and is embroidered with astrological designs. I originally saw the fabric on Guthrie & Ghani’s instagram feed in an alternative colourway, but by the time I had bitten the bullet and made the decision to order it they were out of stock. It was relatively difficult to track down, but I found this white colourway available from Miss Matatabi and put in an order quick before they ran out too. With the dress already fully formed in my mind, I picked out matching pearlescent buttons during Male Pattern Boldness Day in New York in March.

Deer & Doe Myosotis Dress in Kokka Double Gauze

I made View A, with all possible ruffles, in size 34/36 (grading between sizes at the waist). As per my last blog post, I was clearly inspired by / copied the product image for version A, which is also made in a white cotton fabric. During construction I should have taken more care to stabilise my fabric on the long curved front bodice pieces, because when I initially got to the point of sewing the bodice together I found that the delicate double gauze fabric had stretched and the bodice wouldn’t lie flat. Luckily I had enough fabric left to recut the bodice, and second time around I underlined the bodice pieces in a plain white cotton, making the bodice much more stable, easier to sew and opaque.

Deer & Doe Myosotis Dress in Kokka Double Gauze

A white cotton Myosotis might seem destined for spring and summer, but I think it looks suitably autumnal in these pictures, paired with some wintery tights, boots and a hat. As it happens, these photos were actually taken during the summer, in June, while on a family holiday to the Peak District. I packed a suitcase full of new summery me-made garments having not checked the weather forecast, and spent the whole week pairing them with boots and a coat.

Deer & Doe Myosotis Dress in Kokka Double Gauze

With the three sewing events I’ve been involved in organising this year (Paris Sewcial, The Sewing Weekender, and SewBrum) over for another year (at least) I’m hoping to catch-up with posting a few other sewing and knitting projects from this year which are yet to make it to the blog. I’ve also set myself the goal of knitting a Halloween-themed jumper before the end of the month (wish me luck, I knit multiple gauge swatches, none of which were right, and in the end just went with the recommended needle size). After that it will be time to think about Christmas present making – and finishing the coat for Phil which I started last winter and abandoned in March!

Deer & Doe Myosotis Dress in Kokka Double Gauze

Deer & Doe Myosotis Dress in Kokka Double Gauze

Deer & Doe Myosotis Dress in Kokka Double Gauze


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CocoWawa Crafts Raspberry Jumpsuit

CocoWawa Raspberry Jumpsuit

I love Ana of CocoWawa Crafts‘ patterns – especially the Honeycomb – and I own quite a few of them, but I hadn’t gotten around to sewing any of them until this summer. When Ana released the Raspberry Jumpsuit I decided it was time to put that right, and to have a go at sewing my first shirred bodice at the same time.

CocoWawa Raspberry Jumpsuit

I made the Jumpsuit version, in View 3, with has a metal hoop detail on the straps. I didn’t have any hoops to hand at the recommended size so used some small hoops intended for lingerie-making. I actually like the smaller hoop for a more subtle strap detail.

CocoWawa Raspberry Jumpsuit

I made a few minor tweaks to the pattern. I crossed the straps at the back for visual interest, and I added a belt and thread loops at the waist as I’m not keen on visible waist seams. Size wise I graded between a 10 and 12, but could have gotten away with a straight size 10 given the loose style of the design and the leeway provided by the shirred bodice.

CocoWawa Raspberry Jumpsuit

I hadn’t realised until now, but the colour of my fabric is very similar to Ana’s sample image for this version of the pattern. No doubt I was subconsciously drawn to this fabric in my stash for that reason. My fabric was purchased from Birmingham Rag Market a year ago, and cost £1.50 per metre. This project was another lesson in no longer sewing with cheap fabric, as the trousers started to pill where my handbag rubbed against them after a few wears. After I constructed the jumpsuit I realised that the trousers were too translucent to be decent (but not the bodice due to the shirring), so I cut a second pair, shortened to knee-length shorts, and attached them inside the trousers at the waist seam.

CocoWawa Raspberry Jumpsuit

The shirred bodice is easy to sew and comfortable to wear. The pattern recommends purchasing 6 spools of shirring elastic, but I think I only used one (perhaps two at a push) and I don’t think my bodice is particularly loose, although perhaps it could have been a bit tighter just above the waist seam as you can see some movement of the fabric in these pictures.

CocoWawa Raspberry Jumpsuit

Expect a few more summer sewing projects from me as I catch up with the backlog of photos I pestered Phil to take while we were on holiday during August, and earlier this year. A week or two of rain and colder weather has however had an impact on my sewing plans, as coat and jacket patterns are suddenly looking much more exciting. I’m thinking of starting a jacket for myself with a pattern from the August issue of Burda, and of finally finishing the coat for Phil which I abandoned in March. You can guess which of the two is the most enticing, but hopefully I’ll get to both before too long.

CocoWawa Raspberry Jumpsuit
CocoWawa Raspberry Jumpsuit