english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Cats & Flowers Tamarack Jacket

Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket

Before these pictures no longer look seasonal, here is my Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket, photographed during the brief period of snowy weather we had here in Birmingham in December.

Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket

Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket

I’ve been planning to make a Tamarack Jacket for some time, but was waiting to find a pre-quilted fabric, which I haven’t seen on sale very often in the UK. I suspected I would have more luck in Japan, and, sure enough, during a trip to Tokyo last year I found that the large Tomato store in the Nippori Fabric District has a wide selection of pre-quilted fabric (and pretty much everything else too). I picked this dark floral print, which has hidden black cats (see below). I would note that the downside of bringing 4 metres of pre-quilted fabric back from a holiday is that it takes up a lot of case space! For reference, I have found Miss Matatabi the best place to order pre-quilted fabrics online, and their recent sale included a few pre-quilted fabrics.

Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket

Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket

Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket

I must have looked at the fabric requirements for a non-pre-quilted fabric, as when I came to cut out a Tamarack Jacket I realised I had (just) enough for two. As it happened, I was planning to make my Mom a Tamarack as a present for her birthday in November; I had purchased a different fabric for my Mom’s jacket, but decided instead to make us matching Tamaracks.

Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket

Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket

Having skipped the quilting stage, I assumed this would be quite a quick sew, but the volume of bias binding to be attached (not a favourite task of mine) and the welt pockets mean that these jackets took me quite a bit longer than anticipated (ahem, my Mom’s birthday present may have been delivered a few weeks late).

Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket

Here’s how me and my Mom looked in our matching Tamaracks on Christmas Day. I have some more pre-quilted fabric to sew, and am currently debating between another Tamarack or a quilted bomber jacket – TBC!

Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket

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A Linden in Trajan’s Market

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

This would have been my contribution for the Sewcialists TNT month, but I missed the month (November)!

This is my ninth blogged Linden. I was listening to the Love to Sew podcast episode about sewing patterns recently (episode 17), and discussion of the pluses/minuses for PDF and printed patterns. For me, my use of the Linden pattern demonstrates the benefits of PDF patterns; I have now made the pattern for eight different people (including three Linden Swap recipients), in three different sizes, and have made alterations to the pattern for a number of hacks (including dress length and fleecy sleeves). In that time, I’ve re-printed the pattern – in full or in part – as required, and as a relatively small pattern it prints and assembles quickly each time.

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

I’ve recently completed my project for this year’s Linden Swap and sent it off to the recipient. I’ve received my Linden Swap parcel, but am showing restraint and waiting until Christmas day to open it and see what my Sewing Secret Santa has made for me. I didn’t participate in many online challenges and swaps this year, so am glad I managed one more before the year is out.

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

The fabric for this Linden was selected from my stash and I now have no idea where I bought it. In my last blog post, I wrote about my work/life balance new year resolutions; I have another resolution, which is to keep a record of the fabric I buy so that I can remember how much I have, where I bought it from and what I had in mind to sew with it!

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

These photos were taken in Trajan’s Market in Rome. I highly recommend it as a blog photo location, we had the entire place to ourselves when we visited, with the exception (added bonus) of a few cats.

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt


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The Smiths Linden Sweatshirt

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

This is my latest Linden Sweatshirt (number seven blogged). It’s View A, Size 0 – although in this fabric I should probably have sized up to a 2 as it has limited stretch.

The original inspiration for this jumper were the excellent British wool band jumpers which Hades released earlier in the year. The Hades jumpers were limited edition and I missed the chance to buy a The Smiths jumper, so I thought I’d make my own. I’d love to knit something closer to the Hades original, but am a bit wary about tackling knitted lettering without a pattern, unless anyone can recommend something similar??

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

For this version, I cut a stencil of the lettering in acetate (more stable than paper and also reusable) and screen-printed the text using black ink onto the pre-cut Linden sweatshirt front. For reference, I always use Permaset Supercover screen printing ink to print on fabric and find it really reliable, Fred Aldous stock it in the UK.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

I found it difficult to gauge the best size and placement of lettering while the sweatshirt was in pieces. If I make another, I will increase the size of the lettering, and move it closer to the neckline.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

The fabric is a loop-back jersey purchased at Guthrie & Ghani during SewBrum. This pale pink is great for letting the text stand out, but does also get grubby easy.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

I also made my scarf. This is TOFT’s Block-Colour Filet Scarf crocheted in their (British) yarn, in a natural (stone) for the main colour, with yellow for the accents. I’m pretty sure this is the same pattern (knitted in a solid colour) available from TOFT’s free pattern section. I’m not great at crochet, but this is a nice easy pattern and a relatively quick project.

My jeans are not me-made, but were made in the UK by Community Clothing.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

These photos were taken in Hagia Irene, near Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, which was the first Byzantine cathedral built in Istanbul, and is now a museum. Like all Byzantine religious buildings in Istanbul, this has had a varied history, including earthquakes and acting as an armory. We had the building entirely to ourselves on our visit, and it makes for a pretty atmospheric backdrop.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

P.S. in a similar vein, I previously blogged a screen-printed Morrissey tee.

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt

The Smiths Screenprinted Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt


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Archer Shirt Meet December Rain

I finished my Archer Shirt this morning and wanted to get some pictures. That meant stepping outside with a brolly to get some natural light. Welcome to the UK in December Archer Shirt!

As mentioned in a previous post I made this shirt in one and a bit days (just the buttons and buttonholes completed on the second day, e.g. today). I followed the sew-along posts from the Grainline Studio blog throughout. There’s nothing better than a photo of what something should look like to help you spot when you’ve gone wrong! It still took me a little while to puzzle out some of the steps, but this is my very first shirt. I think I would have struggled if I’d had only the instructions included with the pattern, which expect a degree of prior knowledge,  as a guide but with the support of the sew-along this is a relatively straightforward make.
Grainline Studio Archer Shirt
I cut a straight size two and the fit isn’t bad, I think the slouchy style rather suits the plaid and makes for a proper lazy Saturday shirt. I might try a size zero for my next Archer, especially If I go for a more office appropriate fabric. The size two is a little long in the arms and a touch big on the shoulders for me. This fabric is a 100% cotton plaid and it feels so soft and cosy. Because I wanted to get this shirt completed in a day (to meet the Archer appreciation deadline) I went with just the one pocket and with version A of the shirt. Next time I’ll give view B a try.
Grainline Studio Archer Shirt
Somehow (perhaps I allowed too large a seam allowance) I did find that when I came to attach the collar to the shirt the collar band wasn’t quite long enough! That problem was easily solved by putting a small tuck in the yoke. The only other issue I had was nothing to do with the pattern – for some reason when I came to make my button holes my sewing machine absolutely refused to play ball. In the end I gave up trying and sewed the buttonholes by hand. They certainly aren’t perfect but as another first for me not terrible either.
Grainline Studio Archer Shirt
The small green buttons used on the shirt are also handmade. I made them using polymer clay and a button mould purchased from MoldMuse on Etsy.
Grainline Studio Archer Shirt
Happy New Year everyone. I’m going spent the day slouching in my new archer, watching Home Alone and playing computer games:)


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Last Minute Archer Appreciation

So on New Year’s Eve I haven’t been busy finishing off party wear, I’ve been sewing an Archer Shirt by Grainline Studio – just in time to make it during Archer Appreciation Month (and it really is just in time!). I purchased, washed and cut my fabric yesterday and did all the sewing in one day (not too shabby, especially as it’s my first shirt, I’m definitely getting quicker). As you can see the shirt isn’t quite finished – the buttons & buttonholes are still to do but I’m almost there now. The fabric is a 100% cotton plaid purchased from Barry’s Fabrics.
Grainline Studio Plaid Archer
Not a bad final project for the year. It’s been a busy year for me – each seems to be busier than the last. Craft wise – I started sewing clothes again (largely inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee), my Etsy shop sales increased, I did my first ever craft fairs, and I started knitting (I haven’t finished a project yet but will do soon). I also started a new job (in August) and began travelling abroad regularly for work for the first time. Hopefully next year I’ll squeeze in even more. Phil treated me to a mini sewing machine for Christmas so I can do some sewing when overseas so no doubt that means more sewing projects:)

Happy New Year everyone, and happy Archer Appreciation Month too!
Grainline Studio Plaid Archer