english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Fashion Revolution Jane Tee

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

To celebrate this year’s Fashion Revolution Week (which took place 22 – 28 April) I decided I wanted to make a garment which lived up to the ethics and ideals of the week. I didn’t have a lot of time to order fabric and sew a garment, so I thought I’d keep it simple with a slogan tee.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

The fabric for this tee was a Cream Marl Viscose Blend Jersey from Offset Warehouse. Offset Warehouse describe it as made from sustainable fibres (40% Cotton, 30% Viscose and 30% Polyester) and reclaimed from a high end manufacturer in the UK and stopped from heading to landfill.

The jersey is very fine and soft, with a subtle marl effect. It’s slightly transparent, so I am wearing a slip underneath in these photos.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

The pattern is the Seamwork Jane tee, which is a great loose fitting crew neck t-shirt pattern, and a perfect blank canvas for screenprinting (no darts). My measurements put me between an XS and S, but I cut a straight XS as there’s plenty of ease.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

For the text, I printed the ‘I made my clothes’ A4 poster from the Fashion Revolution website free resources section. To create a more stable stencil, I placed an A4 acetate sheet over the poster and cut out the lettering with a craft knife (I have a lifetime supply of acetate sheets as I took a box home from work many years ago, since they were gathering dust following overhead projectors being removed from classrooms). I screen-printed the text using black ink onto the pre-cut t-shirt front; I always use Permaset Supercover screen printing ink to print on fabric and find it really reliable, Fred Aldous stock it in the UK. If you fancy trying screen-printing you’ll need a screen, a squeegee (sized for the screen) & ink (if you want to print on fabric make sure the ink is suitable).

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

These pictures were taken in Vietnam, predominantly in the Botanical Gardens and Zoo in Ho Chi Minh City. I hadn’t realised in advance that the gardens and zoo were one and the same – we were aiming for the gardens. The planting is frequently beautiful, but as a whole – as you can see in these photos – it’s somewhat run down and in need of investment. Great for some dramatic blog photo backdrops, but not great for the resident animals. I suspect it suffers the same fate as Vietnam’s museums, which also – on the whole – appear to be underfunded and, as a result, dusty and in varying states of neglect.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

P.S. my all time favourite zoo story, was that we were once in a zoo somewhere in Europe (I have forgotten which), and a huge crowd gathered to watch and photograph a sole red squirrel which was living (wild) in the zoo. That little squirrel managed to steal all the attention from the huge (caged) animals which were metres away.

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

Fashion Revolution Inspired Seamwork Jane T-Shirt

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Liberty Inari Tee Dress

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

This is my first Named Clothing Inari Tee Dress, sewn using a metre of Liberty Tana Lawn, purchased as a pre-cut length in a Liberty sale.

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

This print reminds me of Japanese woodblock prints, so I made sure to pack it for my recent holiday to Seoul (where these photos were taken) and Tokyo. However, Karen notes on her vlog that the print was actually inspired by Mount Stuart in Scotland. A perfect excuse for a trip to Scotland next, methinks.

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

This dress was one of those projects which, I decided lateish in the evening, I absolutely needed to make to wear to work the next morning. Sometimes those projects turn out ok despite me, other times not.

In this instance, I selected a size based on the wrong size chart (i.e. I took the finished measurements chart to be the size chart) and cut the dress two sizes too small (a size 4 instead of 8). The dress ended up thrown aside in disgust for a couple of weeks before I revisited and realised that it did still fit, if a little lacking in ease.

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

As an aside, I made Phil walk towards that lovely purple wall, as a perfect photo background, until we got close and realised that it was a paper covering over the real wall…

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

I’ll definitely cut a larger size next time, as there’s quite a bit of pressure from my hips on the seam at the top of the side slits in this version! In fact, I’m planning to go back and reinforce them to protect this dress.

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

This is totally my style and I love how little fabric it requires, so there will definitely be more Inari Tee Dresses added to my wardrobe.

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn

Named Inari Tee Dress in Liberty Cotton Lawn


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Half Metre Tops

Stylish Party Dresses V Mini Dress Top Hack

I’m not normally someone who manages to squeeze projects out of small pieces of fabric. In fact, I normally always buy ‘safe’ amounts of both fabric and yarn, and end up with some left sat in my stash once the planned project is completed.

However, lately I’ve started a few knitting projects where I’ve run out of yarn part-way through (due to using stash yarns, or just not buying enough), and a few sewing projects which have required some creative cutting.

Stylish Party Dresses V Mini Dress Top Hack

During a recent trip to London I treated myself to a visit to Cloth House in Soho (very close to Liberty). I wasn’t supposed to be buying any fabric but couldn’t resist these two fabrics from their knits section (housed downstairs). To keep my shopping to a minimum I bought a half metre of each, assuming I’d have enough for a small top. As you can see from the photos, I did have enough fabric – but only just, particularly as I complicated things by choosing two stripey fabrics.

Stylish Party Dresses V Mini Dress Top Hack

This top is made using dress pattern V, Mini Dress with Raglan Sleeves from Stylish Party Dresses by Yoshiko Tsukiori. I’ve previously made and blogged the dress here. For this top version, I placed the pattern pieces on top and cut to edge of the fabric – which worked out just the right length for a top.

Stylish Party Dresses V Mini Dress Top Hack

I really like the finished top but squeezing raglan sleeves (particularly pattern matched ones) out of only half a metre of fabric was tight, and one of the sleeves had to be pieced. The fabric is a very lightweight knit which feels lovely, but is extremely prone to creasing.

Stylish Party Dresses V Mini Dress Top Hack

For the second fabric, I thought I’d try Grainline Studio‘s free one-size Hemlock Tee. The only change I had to make to the pattern due to fabric limitations was reducing the length of the sleeves. If working with an even small piece of fabric the sleeve pieces could be skipped altogether.

Hemlock Tee

The fabric is a lovely weighty double knit, with raised texture on the white stripes. (I’m pretty sure Zoe used the same fabric for this tunic). The body of the fabric means that it emphasises the boxy shape of Hemlock, and I’d like to try Hemlock in something slinkier for a closer fit.

Hemlock Tee

I currently work in an IT department with mostly male colleagues. They aren’t always the best at compliments (one day when wearing a red dress and lipstick, I was told by one colleague I looked very red, and I’m pretty sure that was supposed to be complimentary). The first time I wore this Hemlock to work a different colleague told me it looked like two tea-towels sewn together!

Hemlock Tee

The next tee I fancy trying is Fancy Tiger Crafts’ Adventure Tank which definitely looks doable in 1/2 metre of fabric from my stash.

Hemlock Tee

Hemlock Tee


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Pompom Blouse from She Wears the Pants

Pompom Blouse from She Wears the Pants

It’s the weekend and it’s actually sunny here, so I finally got chance to wear something summery and spent the afternoon eating ice cream in Henley-in-Arden, a historic market town local to me.

This is the Pompom Blouse from She Wears the Pants by Yuko Takada (originally published in Japan with the amazing title She has a Mannish Style). The book has been popping up quite a bit on sewing blogs, but I haven’t spotted anyone posting this blouse yet.

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

The Pompom Blouse is a loose fitting tee designed to be made in a knit fabric (the book refers to this as T-cloth on the pattern page, although there is more information in the techniques section). The interesting features of the top are the inclusion of a strip of pompoms at the neckline, and the method used to bind the neckline and sleeve cuffs. In the book, the bias used at the neckline is in a contrast colour, but I made some matching bias binding as I thought my fabric was already pretty busy. I lengthened my blouse by a couple of inches as the blouse shown in the book looks quite cropped, and I added a separate hem band (approx 1 1/2″ long), rather than turning back the hem and securing with a row of double stitching as suggested in the book.

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

This fabric is a jersey I purchased from Stitch at the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC back in March. The pompoms were from my stash; I bought them years ago to make a pompom-edged cushion, but never got around it! This was a quick and easy make – I recently went on a family holiday with Phil’s family and made this using my ‘travel’ sewing machine (one of the John Lewis minis) while away.

Pompom Blouse from She Wears the Pants

Like other Japanese sewing books, the book includes double-sided paper pattern sheets. Pattern pieces need to be traced and seam allowances added. The instructions for each pattern include a diagram showing where to add seam allowances.

Typically, written instructions are minimal, but diagrams are included for each step. This top was very straightforward, but some of the more complicated patterns in the book (jackets, coat) would be more suited to intermediate sewists who are comfortable with less detailed instructions.

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

I love the ‘mannish’ style of the She Wears the Pants designs, and the grungy styling of the book. The only issue I have with the book is that the lighting in the photos is dark, and quite a few of the items are made in black fabric – making it difficult to see the details of the clothing. Detailed line drawings are included for each pattern so that you can confirm the details before choosing what to sew.

Pompom Blouse from She Wears the Pants

Pompom Blouse from She Wears the Pants

The patterns included in the book cover a wide range of garments for woven and knit fabrics, including trousers, dresses, tops, jackets, a skirt, and culottes. There’s even one knitting pattern included, for a rather unusual belt sole.

Pompom Blouse from She Wears the Pants

One thing to note is that the size range of the patterns in the book is quite limited. I made a size small and found the sizing accurate, although this top is quite loose fitting due to the boxy style. Other patterns in the book include less positive ease and match the sizing chart more closely. The book doesn’t provide any information on the finished size of garments so you’ll need to measure the pattern pieces if you want to check the ease allowed prior to cutting out your fabric.

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

I’ve sewn another couple of garments from the book which I’ll post soon. In the meantime enjoy some of that mean and moody photography!

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

She Wears the Pants Japanese Sewing Pattern Book

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of She Wears the Pants in exchange for a review; all opinions expressed are my own. Post contains an affiliate link


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Screenprinted Morrissey Tonic Tee

Screenprinted Morrissey SBCC Tonic Tee

This evening, I’m going to a Morrissey gig in Birmingham, and I made a new tee to wear.

Years ago, I used to regularly customise RTW t-shirts, by appliqueing designs on the front. I made an appliqued Morrissey t-shirt using this exact design about ten years ago (also to wear to a gig). I still had my original sketch of Morrissey’s silhouette stashed away under my bed, which I used to make an acetate stencil. I then used the acetate stencil to screen print the design onto my cut out t-shirt front. Phil occassionally moans about all the old rubbish I keep hidden under our bed; this is proof that very occasionally it turns out to be useful!

Screenprinted Morrissey SBCC Tonic Tee

The pattern used is the Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick Tonic Tee, which is a free pattern. I cut a straight size small and it fits perfectly. The wrinkles you can see in these photos are due to the fabric I used being a VERY drapey and clingy grey t-shirt fabric, purchased from Abakhan in Liverpool. I used a black jersey from my stash to create the contrast neck binding, and the sleeve binding. The sleeve binding was the only alteration I made to the pattern (which suggests turning and top-stitching).

Screenprinted Morrissey SBCC Tonic Tee

I’m posing here with a 12″ single, What Difference does it Make? by The Smiths. The single was originally released featuring a picture of Terrence Stamp, he objected (although he later relented) and this alternative version, featuring a picture of Morrissey, was issued. I’ve wanted a copy of the Morrissey cover version for years and finally treated myself last year.

Screenprinted Morrissey SBCC Tonic Tee

I’m a born and bred Morrissey fan. Growing up, my Dad’s favourite band was the Smiths, and we always listened to them, especially The Queen is Dead as we had a cassette of the album that was kept in the car. The Smiths/Morrissey will always be my favourite band, but my favourite song does change from time to time; currently, I especially love Stretch Out and Wait (the Smiths), and Break Up the Family (Morrissey).

I’ll leave you with Moz, he says it best (at least, when he’s not talking absolute bollocks):

A sad fact widely known, the most impassionate song to a lonely soul is so easily outgrown. But don’t forget the songs that made you smile, and the songs that made you cry. – Rubber Ring

Screenprinted Morrissey SBCC Tonic Tee


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T-Shirt Re-Fashion

I have a stall at craft fairs in November and December so have had to put sewing clothes for myself on hold (boo) while I make items for the stalls. However, I remembered a mini-alteration I made earlier this year that didn’t previously get blogged.

Never one to throw things out, when a basic summer dress basically fell apart – I’m not sure exactly what happened but it had an elasticated waist which suddenly ripped through – I thought I’d better find a way to re-use it.
Dress Alteration

The dress had a large lace collar so as an easy re-use I removed the collar from the dress and combined it with a basic tee from H&M.

Customised Tee - Work in Progress

Customised Tee - Work in Progress

Add a couple of buttons on the sleeves for detail and ta-da a very easy make & something saved from the bin. I’m planning to cut off the skirt section of the dress to wear as a skirt, and to see if I can find a way to re-purpose the fabric from the bodice for a small project.

Customised Tee - Work in Progress

Perfect for hanging out in the park.

Hand Made Top

Hand Made Top


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DIY Breaking Bad Heisenberg Tee

I made Phil a couple of t-shirts for Christmas – just using fabric pens to customise plain H&M tees. This is one of them, a Breaking Bad t-shirt with a Heisenberg design. You can buy a similar tee, but I thought it would be easier to make my own:)

Homemade Heisenberg Breaking Bad Tee

Homemade Heisenberg Breaking Bad Tee