english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Fabric Shopping and Sightseeing in Seoul

Dorasan Station, Seoul

In April, Phil and I spent a week on holiday in Seoul.

My latest vlog contains a few clips from the holiday: sightseeing, plus fabric shopping in Dongdaemun and Gwangjang Markets. It also features a few me-made garments which I wore regularly during the trip; my Tilly & the Buttons Cleo dungarees, Named Inari Tee Dress, and By Hand London Victoria Blazer.

You can view the vlog here:

Dongdaemun Market is an enormous building housing a huge number of separate fabric and haberdashery stalls and shops over seven stories. I’d highly recommend Marie’s blog post, and the information Marie links to, if you plan to visit. The stalls in Dongdaemun appeared to have unusual and high quality fabrics, especially knits. However, the vast majority of stalls don’t have bolts of fabric ready to cut from; instead the stalls have samples on display, and fulfill your orders from their warehouses for collection at the market or delivery to your hotel.

I wimped out of buying fabric from Dongdaemun, but did treat myself to a linen fabric from Gwangjang Market. Gwangjang is a maze-like covered market, almost entirely dedicated to fabrics and haberdashery. Gwangjang is more home-sewer friendly than Dongdaemun, with stalls selling fabric from the bolt and pre-cut lengths, although I did find Gwangjang to have much less unusual fabrics than Dongdaemun. I spotted a few sewing-related services on offer in Gwangjang, such as scissor sharpening and seamstresses. Not too far away, in the area surrounding Euljiro 4(sa)-ga Station (exist 3 and 4), we wandered across an area specialising in sewing machine shops.

Finally, we tried Namdaemun Market because I’d read online that fabric was available, however, after a good look around and checking with the tourist information, we found that there was just one stall selling a very basic selection of cottons. Namdaemun is worth visiting for the food stalls, but no good if you’re in the mood to fabric shop.

A few photos of textile and haberdashery items in Seoul palace museums are below.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Ironing boards, sewing box and scissors:

Seoul

Seoul

Seoul


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Istanbul Fabric Shopping & Sightseeing Vlog

Istanbul

Back in November, Phil and I spent a week in Istanbul. I filmed some footage of our holiday, which you can see in my latest vlog:

As mentioned in the vlog, I used to travel regularly to Istanbul for work, but never had much success fabric shopping. I’d heard that the (mostly weekday) markets were the best place to shop for fabrics, but never managed to explore any due to work commitments.

On this trip, I found lots of fabric stalls at Çarşamba (Wednesday) market in Kirmasti, Fatih, which is featured in the vlog. I also visited Kadiköy market, but there wasn’t any fabric on sale on the day we visited (possibly due to season or time of day, as we arrived quite late).

A few photos of Çarşamba market, followed by some other photos from the trip, are below:

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul

Istanbul


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Knitting & Stitching Show, Harrogate

The Knitting & Stitching Show, Harrogate

Hurrah for Christmas holidays! I’ve finally caught up with video editing and have a few vlogs to share soon. First off, I have some footage from a day trip to The Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate, back in November. You can view the video here:

I bunked off work for the day with my friend and colleague Sheena and we had a very nice day trip to Harrogate and mooch around the show. Afterwards, I met up with another colleague and friend to head to a Cecille Grey (whose music is featured on the vlog) gig in Nottingham, so an extremely fun day all ’round.

The Knitting & Stitching Show, Harrogate

The Knitting & Stitching Show, Harrogate

The Knitting & Stitching Show, Harrogate

The Knitting & Stitching Show, Harrogate

The Knitting & Stitching Show, Harrogate

The Knitting & Stitching Show, Harrogate

The Knitting & Stitching Show, Harrogate


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Knitting & Stitching Show at Ally Pally

Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

On Thursday, I booked a day off work to visit The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace.

I made a little video of my favourite stands and what I bought, which you can view here:

I was there to help out on the stand of the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers in the afternoon. Before that I managed to have a look around and a shop, and during the day I also manged to run into lots of friends. All in all, a very nice day off work!

Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace


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New York

Graffiti, NYC

Back in March, Phil and I spent two weeks visiting New York and Boston (travelling there via Reykjavik).

It was our first time visiting both cities (and the US for that matter) so I’m far from an expert on what to see, but I still thought it would be fun to share what we did.

As a first-time visitor I made a couple of discoveries:

  1. No-one could understand what I was saying! Clearly my accent is stronger than I realise as I had to repeat myself a lot in restaurant & shops. One guy on the street asked if I was speaking ‘Deutschland’.
  2. Jay walking isn’t a big deal, as I had been led to believe by the movies (in fact everyone walks into traffic all the time).

We managed to visit a respectable number of museums: the Met, Natural History, Frick Collection, Guggenheim, Cloisters, African Burial Ground museum, FIT and National Museum of the American Indian. In Boston, we really enjoyed the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (which is housed in a stunning building), MIT museum (lots of kinetic art & holograms), and Fenway Park.

Met, NYC

Met, NYC
The Met

Make sure to check a list of museum free & pay-what-you-choose days (like this one). There are also great museums, including FIT and National Museum of the American Indian, which are free every day.

The High Line, NYC

The High Line, NYC
Views from the High Line

As first time visitors, we took in lots of the most famous sights, including Liberty and Ellis Islands (and would highly recommend the free ranger tours – there are signs on the islands where you wait for the next tour to begin), top-of-the-rock, the Highline and walked across Brooklyn and Queensborough Bridges.

Statue of Liberty, NYC

Statue of Liberty, NYC

We visited a few movie locations, including from Home Alone, and Ghostbusters. 55 Central Park West, where Dana lives in the film, is a luxury apartment block off central park (residents have included Ginger Rogers, Calvin Klein, and Donna Karan). The Ghostbusters headquarters was a working fire station, but is now sadly shut down and currently surrounded by scaffolding.

55 Central Park West, NYC

Ghostbusters Firehouse, NYC
55 Central Park West, where Dana lives in Ghostbusters, & the Firehouse

For shopping, we really enjoyed Brooklyn Flea, ABC Carpets (which reminded by of Liberty’s homeware sections), various green-markets, the second-hand shops on West 17th Street, and the Strand Bookshop, which has an excellent mixture of new and second-hand books.

MOMA, NYC

MOMA, NYC
MOMA

I had prepared a long list of doughnut & ice cream shops to try. We especially loved Donut Pub, which is a family business, open 24/7, and Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, which is open late. We also enjoyed doughnuts/cake at Sullivan Street Bakery, Dough (at Brooklyn Flea), Doughnut Plant (who have fabric doughnuts on the wall), and ice cream (sold from a converted firehouse) at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. We got a giant slice of pizza at Ben’s Pizzeria, near to the Comedy Cellar, which is featured on the opening credits of tv show Louie. And we ate giant portions of macaroni cheese at Kellogg’s Diner in Brooklyn (right by Barcade).

National Museum of the American Indian, NYC

Natural History Museum, NYC
National Museum of the American Indian & Natural History Museum

We loved the original Barcade (bar & arcade) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where all of the vintage arcade machines cost 25 cents. We visited Dave and Busters arcade in Times Square to play newer arcade machines, and happened to visit on Wednesday when the games are half-price. We would have also visited Coney Island arcade but it was closed for the winter. And on the subject of gaming, we couldn’t resist Nintendo World Store in Rockefeller Plaza.

Brooklyn Bridge, NYC

Coney Island, NYC
Brooklyn Bridge & Coney Island

And, last but not least, I also visited a number of sewing and knitting locations. I had (restrained) shopping trips to beautiful stores Purl Soho and Brooklyn General Store. I met up with AmyKarenSonja, and Emma Jayne to visit the Garment District (Mood and Elliott Berman). And, amazingly, we managed to bump into Peter en-route to Mood! I went to look at the ‘Little Singer Building’, which was once the Singer headquarters and has a beautiful wrought iron facade. And, I popped into Workroom Social in Brooklyn. I should note that I (dozily) had just assumed that Workroom Social had a storefront where I could just turn up. It doesn’t, but luckily Jennifer spotted a tweet of mine saying I was planning to visit, so let me into the studio, where a sweater knits class was in session with Olgalyn Jolly of O! Jolly! The studio is beautiful and when I get to visit New York  again I’d love to actually take a class there – rather than just crash one! (P.S. If you’re visiting Workroom Social, nearby Covenhoven (recommended to us by Jennifer) is a good spot for a grilled cheese and craft beer).

In Boston, Jenny took time out to meet us for tea, and to shop in Gather Here. Gather Here have a beautifully curated fabric selection, I could have bought lots but restricted myself to one length of fabric, which is in the process of becoming a Kenedy Dress.

Workroom Social, NYC

Workroom Social, NYC
Workroom Social

Further post to follow with photos from the textile exhibitions I visited while in New York and Boston.


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A Week in Paris

I spent a week in Paris back in September but it’s taken me until now to get around to going through the photos. I recently wrote a blog post for The Foldline about shopping in Paris so won’t talk too much about shops, but I did want to share a couple of favourite purchases and some photos of the trip.

On this holiday I visited Malhia Kent for the first time. It’s located on the Viaduc des Arts near embroidery specialist Bonheur des Dames. Malhia Kent weave fabric for pret-a-porter and couture, but also sell their unique fabrics direct. Cut from the bolt fabrics are approximately €30 per metre, but coupons are a much more reasonable €10 per metre and they have a lot of coupons in the shop (if I hadn’t been on my way to catch a train I would have been in the shop for ages).

Malhia Kent, Paris

Malhia Kent, Paris

I came away with the two larger coupons (I think about half a metre each) below, as well as two smaller pieces I am hoping to piece into garments.

Malhia Kent Fabric from Paris

Malhia Kent Fabric from Paris

I had good company for fabric shopping on the Saturday, when I met up with Lisa, Carmen, Sabine and Olivier. We shopped in the Saint-Pierre area, and had particular luck in Sacrés Coupons.

Sewing Meet-Up, Paris

By chance, I was in Paris for Journées du Patrimoine, an annual event where historical monuments (including some that are normally inaccessible)  are open to the public and museums organise special events. I wouldn’t even have realised it was taking place if Carmen and Sabine hadn’t given me the heads up. Based on their recommendations me and Phil took the opportunity to visit La Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent for free.

The foundation can be visited on a guided tour which takes in a reception room, meeting room, Pierre Bergé’s office and one studio room. The studio space was unsurprisingly my favourite since it contains a rail of toiles and some examples of YSL originals. We attended a tour in French, I started off ok when Yves Saint Laurent’s life and career were being described since I’m already familiar with the details, but then totally failed to understand some of the later sections of the tour. If your French is as poor as mine, they run the tour in English once per month.

La Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent

We also saw Wool War One by artist Delit Maille, which Sabine had participated in the knitting of. The exhibition contains 780 soldiers knitted by hand by over 500 participants internationally, to commemorate soldiers killed in northern France during WWI.

Wool War One, Paris

Wool War One, Paris

Wool War One, Paris

Wool War One, Paris

Wool War One, Paris

Wool War One, Paris

Me and Phil spent quite a bit of the week in various museums and galleries, many of which contained textiles for me to admire. A few photos of these are below.

Palais de la Porte Dorée, which contains Paris’ History of Immigration Museum and a beautiful old aquarium, was exhibiting amazing hats inspired by Paris landmarks (the red one at the front below is inspired by Notre-Dame) and inventors, with hats inspired by their inventions (see below traffic light, saxophone, football boot).

Palais de la Porte Dorée, Paris

Palais de la Porte Dorée, Paris

Palais de la Porte Dorée, Paris

We took a train to visit Château de Fontainebleau, which contains a selection of historical textiles linked to royalty and to Napoleon and his family.

Château de Fontainebleau

Château de Fontainebleau

Château de Fontainebleau

Château de Fontainebleau

Centre Pompidou had an exhibition of Palestinian embroidery on display. The pieces, which showcase traditional techniques, are created by Inaash, an NGO.

Centre Pompidou, Paris

Centre Pompidou, Paris

Centre Pompidou, Paris

Also on display at Pompidou, a Mona Hatoum piece woven with hair.

Centre Pompidou, Paris

The permanent collection of the Musée du Quai Branly, one of my favorite galleries in Paris, contains a huge range of textiles from around the world.

Musée du Quai Branly

Musée du Quai Branly

Musée du Quai Branly

And finally, Les Invalides has a huge permanent collection of uniforms and other textiles related to WWI and WWII. I have to admit to being a total sucker for an epaulet, they make me think of toy soldiers and those little plastic epaulets that came with every Lego soldier.

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris