english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Festive Stitch Project Suggestions

I have finally made it back to my blog and vlog to share some suggestions of festive stitch projects (knitting, crochet, punch needle, bargello) you might enjoy in the run up to Christmas.

I’ve made a start on the bauble advent calendar mentioned. I’m really enjoying having a daily challenge and the variety of the different designs. Two baubles complete so far, and 22 left to go!

Access the vlog below or on my YouTube channel:

Things mentioned:

Arne & Carlos, Christmas Balls Advent Calendar

Whole Punching, Bauble Punch Needle Kit

Tina Francis, Bargello Banner – Festive Fun

Andi Satterlund, Julgran Sweater

Loop, Mistletoe Garland


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Bibi Pinafore

Tilly & the Buttons Bibi Pinafore Dress

Before Tilly’s new book Stretch was released I decided that I wasn’t going to buy it, because:

  1. I have an addiction to buying sewing books, and I’m trying to reduce my purchasing frequency, since I rarely sew from them;
  2. I’m trying to mainly sew from stash since listing my existing fabric on the Cora app and realising that I do in fact normally have a suitable fabric for my next project. However, that stash is only 17% knit fabrics (thanks Cora app stats!).

Tilly & the Buttons Bibi Pinafore Dress

Tilly & the Buttons Bibi Pinafore Dress

Inevitably, however, once I saw the patterns from Stretch being shared online by Tilly (namely the Bibi Pinafore & Freya Dress with ruffle) I quickly put in an order. I’m glad I did as it’s an excellent book and the projects are so satisfyingly quick to sew. This is absolutely the book I would recommend to an total  beginner, as there’s very little barrier to entry and the success rate of projects sewn from it is likely to be high.

Tilly & the Buttons Bibi Pinafore Dress

Tilly & the Buttons Bibi Pinafore Dress

This is my first project from the book, the Bibi Pinafore in a stash fabric, a cable knit jersey from Higgs & Higgs. This jersey has a bit of body which is great for Bibi, although it has just enough stretch, i.e. it’s a slight squeeze to get on and off.

Tilly & the Buttons Bibi Pinafore Dress

Tilly & the Buttons Bibi Pinafore Dress

There photos were taken yesterday in Digbeth, Birmingham. At the same time that a racist march was taking place elsewhere in the city (kudos to those who protested against it), the Independent Birmingham festival – a celebration of Birmingham’s independent and creative scene – was taking place in Digbeth.

Phil and I ate two main courses each from the street food vendors participating, and took fancy doughnuts home for afters.

Tilly & the Buttons Bibi Pinafore Dress

Tilly & the Buttons Bibi Pinafore Dress

I love the diversity and – increasing – vibrancy of this city, and it was good to be at an event which celebrated that, and which was generally a fun place to be, at a time when a few idiots who feel threatened by it were promoting hate.

Tilly & the Buttons Bibi Pinafore Dress

Tilly & the Buttons Bibi Pinafore Dress


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International Craft & Hobby Fair, Birmingham

This week at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC) there was a four day craft and hobby fair. It covered a wide range of crafts, with a particular focus on paper crafts (particularly card making) and textiles (lots of knitting, embroidery, patchwork). There were a range of artists & collectives exhibiting their work, ranging from the well known like Mr X Stitch to competition entrants. Pictures of some of the pieces on show are below. It was a huge exhibition & very well attended. I attend a lot of UK comic cons & they don’t compare in terms of size or attendees. Craft is a much bigger business!

There was also tons of stuff to buy. I was relatively restrained, I bought some lovely Khadi handmade paper in a couple of sizes, some ribbon and a basic screen printing kit – to make some t-shirts for Phil.

Mr X Stitch Exhibition:

Mr X Stitch at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Mr X Stitch at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Madeira Embroidery Competition 2012:

Exhibit at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Exhibit at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Exhibit at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Quilters Guild Exhibition:

Exhibit at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch


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Retro 8 bit Mario embroidery

I thought I’d create a gaming inspired embroidery for my manager’s Christmas gift. I decided that trying to embroider an image from a recent game might be too much of a challenge so I decided to go retro and created this 8 bit Mario for him instead. I might give Princess Peach a go next.
Retro 8 bit Mario embroidery
Retro 8 bit Mario embroidery
Retro 8 bit Mario embroidery


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Clematis embroidery

Clematis embroidery by EnglishGirlAbroad
Clematis embroidery, a photo by EnglishGirlAbroad on Flickr.

This Christmas I decided to try and make gifts for family members (in addition to buying them presents of course!). My Mom is a keen gardener and flower arranger so I created her this custom clematis embroidery – embroidery currently being my craft of choice:) The design was based on an illustration from a lovely old Reader’s Digest Library of the Garden set of books which I often refer to for inspiration when I want a nice floral image.