english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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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.