Flamingo with a very long gestation

Hello all,

Unusual sightings of some Flamingos on the riverbank today

Unusual sightings of some Flamingos on the riverbank today

Hope you have had a FAB half term, if that is something which features in your life. I walked the last forty miles of the South Downs Way which was really enjoyable and when I came back I was determined to FINALLY finish this flamingo shirt which has had the longest gestation period ever!

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Way back in September I wrote this blog post about my first session at the Sew Over It Ultimate Shirt workshop. That was the first week of term, by the second week I was so stressed I only stayed an hour to look at how to do the cuffs. I never even made it to the third workshop.  Although I had taken photos of the cuff openings, I didn’t feel confident about tackling them by myself so I left my poor flamingos skulking in the corner.

The wonderful sewing teacher Julie who has steered me through many projects with endless patience

The wonderful sewing teacher Julie who has steered me through many projects with endless patience

I did not feel kindly towards the shirt from the start – although I loved the fabric I was annoyed the flamingos were the wrong way round i.e. to have cut on the grain the flamingos would have had their legs waving in the air – generally not a good look. Plus I was annoyed with myself that I had not been able to cope with work and an evening workshop.

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Anyway, after a couple of months I picked up the shirt again and tackled the cuffs – they went reasonably well – and then I finished the shirt. Regular readers may recall that I have never been able to get the buttonhole function to work on my Janome yet when I got the engineer round, they worked perfectly for him. So, I tried again and guess what? No worky for me – SO infuriating. I decided that the only way to finish the shirt was to use a different machine. Cloth Kits kindly let me hire one of theirs for half an hour and I whizzed through buttonholes.

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Excitedly, I came home, sewed on my buttons and guess what … I had forgotten to do buttonholes for the cuffs. I was nearly in tears. So, the Flamingos were back in the naughty corner where I thought they might remain for another couple of months.

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But, this morning at about 4.30am I was wide awake thinking about the bloody buttonholes and thought, sod it, I am just going to have to do them by hand. Neither Alison Smith’s The Sewing Book or Colette’s Sewing Handbook had any wisdom to share on how to tackle such an issue. Thank goodness for this very helpful tutorial from By Gum By Golly which I followed and included this great line: Be prepared that your first ones will suck.

My first attempt at a handmade button - they will get better!

My first attempt at a handmade button – they will get better!

Well it’s true they do, but it did enable me to finally finish the Flamingo shirt of doom … and I’m pleased. It fits well (bust 10, waist 12, shoulders 16/18) and I think it will be an interesting addition to my wardrobe. I especially love the sparkly buttons. It’s the first time I have made a collar with a stand and that came out ok.

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After all the quick fix tops I’m relieved to have a more complex make to show you!

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Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

A PW to share

Hello all, hope you are enjoying the bank holiday weekend.

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As a runner I got very used to talking about and striving for a PB (personal best) – by co-incidence I got my marathon PB eight years ago this weekend in Edinburgh. As well as the successes there were bad runs and I spent a lot of time discussing my PWs (personal worst). Well, today I have a sewing PW to share.

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Of late, I have been going for quick fix tops – I had decided to halt this trend and ordered some fabric from Fabric Godmother to make up a Pretty Woman style dress but that won’t arrive until next week. So, in order to fit in a bit of sewing before the family descended, I decided to sew up the Sew Over It cami. I bought the kit complete with silk fabric with foxes at the knitting and stitching show. However, in the morning I saw a blog post from Saturday Night Stitch who had just used her precious Nani Iro so I decided to use mine.

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Last year it seemed everyone was talking about this beautiful fabric so I bought an off cut from Guthrie and Ghani – just under a metre. This was the first of my bad decisions and bad sewing. I didn’t have quite enough so had to patch a sliver at the back – super sloppy. Then, as my overlocker is still sans needle, I decided to pink the facing – this fabric frays like crazy – I fully expect the top to disintegrate by the end of the summer.

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Finally, there must be some trick to sewing the curved hem – of which I am unaware – so it sits neatly. And on the fit front it stands proud,  i.e. away fron my chest!

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I’ve got no excuse. I was just rushing and being slovenly and frankly both Nani Iro and SOI deserve better. I did wear it out yesterday for a lovely walk with the family – think I will definitely be hand washing it rather than risk the machine.

Anyway, hope you are all having a lovely BH weekend,

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Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

GBSB, MMMay16 and I ❤️ Liberty event

Hello all,

Hope you’ve had a good week? I certainly have on sewing related things.

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Me May Made has seen the rise of the boob selfie!  I have an IPAD but not a smart phone so taking selfies is tricky because I can’t easily hold the IPAD steady and press the button. Anyway, the desire to get a quick, no-nonsense pic each day without the embarrassment of having to ask someone to take it has resulted in my new technique whereby I can take a photo easily by balancing the IPAD on my desk – the only slight problem with this is that it only offers a close-up of my chest!

The boob selfie from a gal who clearly likes prints and buttons

The boob selfie from a gal who clearly likes prints and buttons

Me Made May has crystalised what I knew already: I have a plethora of tops (being the Queen of the Quick Fix) and far fewer separates to wear them with. During the week this is fine because all the tops brighten up my work suits but I definitely need to do more separates sewing – bottom half. I always enjoy these challenges because I find other people so inspiring and enjoy finding new blogs/IGers to follow.

Well, what did we all think of the GBSB?  I was delighted to discover that one of the contestants is a young lady from Sussex who also shops at the wonderful Ditto fabrics. I met up with one of my sewing buddies, Jane, yesterday to do a post mortem over lunch. I had previously spotted an Instagram pic of Jane wearing a dress in an unusual fabric covered in mini Brighton Pavillions.  I told her how much I loved it and she generously said I could have the offcut.  I thought I was going to use it for some sleeves or a border trim but when Jane gave it to me, it was a substantial piece and I knew I could get a Grainline Scout Tee out of it.

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I was really chuffed – sewing friends are the best. When I posted a pic of my WIP on IG, one lady sympathised with how tricky it would be to pattern match! I’ll leave you to ponder with how that went! Anyway, because I can really whizz through a Scout tee these days, I was able to wear it today on a walk around and above Chichester and Goodwood.

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Goodwood in the background – I am at the trig point on the Trundle

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Before we went for our lunch, we met in Cloth Kits – I love Cloth Kits.  Two years ago this Easter I attended a workshop there, Make Your Mother Proud – in fact, my banner photo comes from that day, and I was immediately hooked. I left that workshop and went straight to John Lewis and bought my machine. Anyway, yesterday they were having an I Love Liberty Event – there were all sorts of bargains to be had and even a pop up Liberty shop out the back which sold an array of goodies. The yard behind Cloth Kits – the aptly named Drapers Yard, has opened up an area with pop up shops  (prettily painted garden sheds) which you can rent for the day from £10 apparently.

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What a good idea – perhaps some of you who sell your crafts could go there?

Obviously I couldn’t resist buying some fabric. There was a good deal – spend X and you get 20% off (sorry can’t say what X is – you never know, one of my family might actually read my blog for once) and dithered for ages over what to get. In the end I bought some lovely, fleecy backed sweatshirt fabric.  I did buy it with the thought of another Grainline Linden (ignoring the fact that my overlocker still has broken needles from my last foray into trying to tame it) but I wondered…. those of you who have made Cocos – would it work in a heavy sweatshirt fabric do you think? My other purchase was some lovely Lantana Wool. I have never heard of this before but it is SO soft. I think it is destined to become my first Laurel. It’s funny isn’t it now that summer is on its way, I have been buying winter fabrics.

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Well, that’s it I think. I just want to leave you with a photo taken today by lovely Mr CK – we have been together 30 years and I am so blessed to have someone in my life who can make me laugh this much.  I am currently preparing for various stages of the Mountain Leader training and you have to have an emergency shelter as part of your personal kit.  This is us trying it out on a very sunny day at the top of the Trundle – a passer by asked me if the airport had been notified!

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Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

A little lull between two Susies

Hello dear sewing chums,

Well, it’s been a while …  When I started my blog I did say I would write about other things but as it is only fellow sewists who read I won’t force other stuff on you! But, just in case you’re interested, I have started my mountain leader training which means doing lots of long walks at the weekend and less time for sewing. I was actually thinking about starting up a blog linked to my walking. Anyway, just before I started walking, I made a lovely Susie blouse by Sew Over It.

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My word – what an absolutely gorgeous pattern – I am surprised I have not seen more Susies on the blogosphere. It just goes over the head – very handy for someone who can’t use her buttonholer! The collar makes it really quite smart enough to wear with a suit for work but its lose tunic style also goes well with jeans.

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I made this up in a straight 12 in gorgeous Liberty tana lawn which I bought in Cloth Kits – beautiful flowers are arranged whimsically in an old fashioned milk bottle. However, to be honest, it’s quite big on me.

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There are three sleeve lengths – I went for short.  I have worn it for work a few times – it is light and airy and looks good with both trousers and skirts.

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I immediately cut out another and then the lull ensued. This was at Easter and I haven’t sewn anything since. However, with all the excitement surrounding the Great British Sewing Bee I have found my inspiration to get sewing again AND I managed to complete my blouse today.

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I decide to make up a size 10 but grade out to 12 around the middle for my mumtum. I also kept the neck opening as a size 12 as I didn’t want to be having to wriggle in and out of it and I think I’ve got it right. I cut out the three quarter sleeve length but then used the length to make little cuffs; I thought that with such a nice collar a straight forward hemmed sleeved looked a little unbalanced.

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I am really chuffed with the fabric.  It is called Vinyl Vacation by Alexander Henry and I bought it at the Knitting and Stitching Show in March.  I also bought another AH fabric whilst I was there which is completely bonkers.  I am now thinking that perhaps I should make that up into another Susie – what do you think?

Don't even ask me what I am going to do with this - I also bought some fine black wool to "tone it down" a bit

It felt really good to be sewing again – I was rushing to try and get it finished so that I could wear it out this afternoon for a walk – a rather fun 5 mile charity event for the Snowdrop Trust. The sun came out and at the end we had tea and cake – of course we did. The ice cream was before we started – just to give sustenance you understand.

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Well, I am so looking forward to the 4th series of GBSB – hope you are too!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

New sunnies - I thought a bit Marilyn Munroe but Mr CK thinks more Miss Marple

New sunnies – I thought a bit Marilyn Munroe but Mr CK thinks more Miss Marple

The knitting and Stitching Show

Hi everyone,

I hope you can bear with me whilst I share details of my FAB day and post loads of pics of my (ludicrous) fabric purchases.

We needed fortification before we tackled the remaining stands

We needed fortification before we tackled the remaining stands

A couple of weeks ago I posted an open invite on my Instagram to see if anyone fancied meeting up at The Knitting and Stitching Show – three fellow bloggers took me up on my offer and I have just spent the loveliest time with friends: Jane, Su and Becca. I really enjoy meeting up with other seamstresses. Jane and Su I have met before, a couple of times, so it was great to catch up with them again  and I really enjoyed meeting Becca who graciously allowed me to copy one of her frocks about a year ago!

Lovely Lauren who was at Tilly's stand - I was actually really chuffed that she recognised my sweatshirt - I bought the fabric at Guthrie and Ghani

Lovely Lauren who was at Tilly’s stand – I was actually really chuffed that she recognised my sweatshirt – I bought the fabric at Guthrie and Ghani

Su organised a route around the show so that we visited every stand and then returned to the best. As part of our tour we encountered sewing royalty: Lauren from Guthrie and Ghani; Lisa from Sew Over It and Tilly from Tilly and the Buttons. Becca was wearing an Orla top and had issues with the hem facing so Tilly had a quick peep and gave some advice!

Where elsecould you go where it is perfectly normal to look at the insides of people's clothes?

Where else could you go where it is perfectly normal to look at the insides of people’s clothes?

We all made purchases at Sew Over It – in fact three of us bought exactly the same silk cami kit with little foxes on – I actually thought they were lobsters: I’m getting old – my sight is going!

The silk cami kit and some other fabric I bought at the bargain price of £6 per metre

The silk cami kit and some other fabric I bought at the bargain price of £6 per metre

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To be honest, it was overwhelming having so much luscious fabric on offer – I bought loads but the thing I am probably most excited about it this gorgeous pattern from Sew La Di Da. It is a culottes deck suit with a halter neck – although you could do crossover straps at the back.  My sister is threatening to get married this summer and if she does, this is what I plan to wear. I want to look like Anna Chancellor as she was in Mapp and Lucia.

The parasol fabric I plan to use - only £8 per metre

The parasol fabric I plan to use – only £8 per metre

The only thing I definitely had on my list was some replacement needles for my overlocker – I asked three separate people if you needed different ones for an overlocker before I got my answer – No. However, when I described what had happened to the helpful man on the Janome stand he said it sounded like the timing had gone (?) – I hope that is not the case.

Needles and the only knit fabric I bought - just in case the overlocker and I don't become friends anytime soon

Needles and the only knit fabric I bought – just in case the overlocker and I don’t become friends anytime soon

Want to see the rest of my purchases?

Liberty loveliness - bluey one to make ties and the red one to make a scouttee

Liberty loveliness – bluey one to make ties and the red one to make a scouttee

 

Very thick fabric that I plan to make a tote bag with for future fabric shopping ventures

very thick fabric that I plan to make a tote bag with for future fabric shopping ventures

 

Isn't this gorgeous? A By Hand London Kim I think

Isn’t this gorgeous? A By Hand London Kim I think

 

Don't even ask me what I am going to do with this - I also bought some fine black wool to "tone it down" a bit

Don’t even ask me what I am going to do with this – I also bought some fine black wool to “tone it down” a bit

So that’s it – I sort of think I should feel guilty at having spent so much (I haven’t added it up and don’t intend to) but I can promise you that each and every piece was an absolute bargain!

Tonight I am off to a 50th birthday bash and I have made my friend a Liberty tie for his gift and tomorrow I’ll be in full Matriarch mode for Mothers Day so all in all, a cracking weekend!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

The whole shebang

The whole shebang

 

 

Super proud to finally present ….. my Francine jacket (now I’ve just got to make the skirt)

Hi everyone,

I have had such a lovely half term pottering: reading (latest William Boyd); cooking (including homemade soups); eating out; visiting the cinema (Dad’s Army); marking (Years 9, 10, 11); knitting (scarf – still on-going); running (10K coming up next month) and sewing (ties x 2, sweatshirts x 2) BUT what I really want to share you today is my finally finished Sew Over It Francine Jacket of which I am super proud. Beware – this is a picture heavy post: we are talking about a jacket six months in the making!

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Way back in August I met up with some lovely ladies at the Fabric Godmother Open Day and bought this amazing wool suiting fabric for, I think, £15 a metre. I had it in mind to make a maxi skirt suit so that I could waft around at work looking like a suffragette.

Skirt in check; jacket in plain

Skirt in check; jacket in plain

I only bought 1.5 metres of the plain because I always find that I use less that the pattern indicates. Then I promptly started sewing other things – as you do. However, as soon as I saw the Francine Jacket I knew that was the one for me and enrolled on a course in September. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I have done a number of courses at Sew Over It.  For nearly all of them I have had as my tutor Julie, who is wonderfully patient, highly skilled and determined that her tutees should learn true tailoring techniques. On the first night all I did was sort out the sizing, cut out my pattern and make some adjustments – most of which I subsequently altered back. My homework was to cut out at home  – this happened:

Oops

Oops

I decided I would have to cut a few pieces out of the skirt material – what a good idea this turned out to be as the contrast really works and it will certainly look much more like a suit rather than coordinated separates.

Francine jacket pieces cut from my Gabriola skirt fabric

Francine jacket pieces cut from my Gabriola skirt fabric

Progress continued at class during week two. We had made a number of alterations for my big shoulders and curved back but once I tried the jacket on it wasn’t right and I had to undo most of what I had done.

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Week three – our final class and it became clear early on I wasn’t going to get finished. In fact I hadn’t even got my lining in by the end of the evening. What I had done though is learn a really valuable technique whereby you fill the sleeve head with wadding before you insert the shoulder pad and it gives it a more smooth line.

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I was full of good intentions of finishing the jacket the following week but became ensconced in all manner of other things throughout November/December. During January I picked it up again. The impetus was that I was going to the Liberty exhibition and planned to call in on the button man in Soho for him to do my button holes for me. I am not going to lie – I really struggled to finish the jacket by myself. Whilst the instructions were good, I struggled to make out the tiny detail, particularly on the black and white photos. If the button man thought it odd to be presented with an unfinished garment to add the finishing touches to, he never gave any indication – just sent me off to Liberty and told me not to rush back!

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This is how the jacket looked when the buttonholes were being done

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I finally finished the jacket in February – to be honest, looking at the pics I think I should have taken more care over pressing it; the jacket has gotten so squashed on its various train journeys.

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So there you have it – now I just have to get on with the skirt but I suspect other projects will rush to the fore and it’ll be another six months. Would you like some detail shots? Of course you would if you have stuck around this far ..

Buttons courtesy of Cloth Kits, Chichester

Buttons courtesy of Cloth Kits, Chichester

very pleased with the neckline which actually sits flat

very pleased with the neckline which actually sits flat

The back - we added in, took out, re-drew the curve - I blame my posture

The back – we added in, took out, re-drew the curve – I blame my posture

lovely lining which came from Guthrie and Ghani

lovely lining which came from Guthrie and Ghani

The story of Francine is concluded – I hope you enjoyed it!

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Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

 

Hello Heather

Hello everyone,

It’s been a while hasn’t it? My new job is keeping me busy – how lovely to be able to write that!

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As soon as Sew Over It announced a new class to make their Heather dress, I was on to it. Having repeatedly struggled to get a place on the Francine Jacket course I knew I had to be quick. So it had been booked for a couple of months and I had been really looking forward to it but the day before I had a bit of a wobble and almost didn’t go. How glad I am that I did. I had a fantastic day; met some lovely ladies (who all finished their frocks) ; ate cake; made a dress that fits me and is versatile and, thoroughly enjoyed being in the sewing zone again.

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The Heather dress is a knit dress with deep pockets that are sewn in the side seams and somehow fall from the Princess seams – I have probably described that incorrectly. Anyway, I have noticed how fellow seamstresses rave about pockets: me, not so much but I have to say that on this dress I do really like them.

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I had hoped the class would give me a bit of confidence in using my overlocker (I shamefacedly admit it has been in its bag for over a year – shocking behaviour). I envy those people who are constantly posting items that they have knocked up in an evening/afternoon – I think this could be such a dress. On the odd occasion I have sewn with knit fabric, I have used a walking foot and zigzag stitch on my normal Janome. I assumed we would make the whole dress on the overlocker but we didn’t. The tutor (lovely, calm Sue) told us to make it up on the sewing machines using stitch length 3 and we just finished the seams on the overlocker. I have to say it all went extremely smoothly.

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I cut a 12, made it up then took in the side seams about an inch each side from the top down to my waist.  I noticed in the photos there is a bit of pooling in the back so I will take a little bit off the back seam too next time. And there will be a next time! I didn’t alter the length which surprised me as I had to add a whopping 10cm to my vintage shirtdress and I am on 5ft 4.

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I was a bit confused at the pocket construction – I didn’t think this would ever end up looking like the sample.

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Some of the other students made a colour block dress and I have to say, I think that is the best plan for this pattern to show off the wonderful lines and emphasise the pockets. Although I am really pleased with mine, I do think that the detail is lost. The fabric? It is a lovely jersey which stretches in all ways (I know this because Sue tested it  to see as she said I need the stretchy way going around my body). I bought it in September from Sew Over It when I was there doing my Ultimate Shirt Class (still a wip I am ashamed to say). I thought it was amazing value at £12 as I had seen it a week previously in C & H fabrics for £21. I have loads left over so I think I will have a try at making either a Lark Tee or an Agnes top as everyone raves about them.

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It was a complete rarity for me to finish in a class but I did.  During the morning I chatted away to a lovely girl who was working opposite me but after lunch I was so focused on finishing, I just shut up and got on with it – much to her relief I suspect! I was first to finish and as I wanted to see everyone elses, I filled in the time hemming a fat quarter I had bought to make my son a handkerchief – he has become obsessed with them!

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Obviously I bought more fabric for myself – even though I’m trying not to. Both purchases were inspired by choices I had seen on my Instagram:  the wool check – Ozzyblackbeard; the bees – sorry I can’t remember on whose feed I saw this. Just like Lynne the wool is going to be a Tulip Skirt (I need to buy the pattern first though). The bees? I am currently thinking that a Scout tee would go nicely with white jeans.

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I love workshops. If you are debating about doing one, I would really encourage you. It is utterly uplifting to spend time with other people who love to sew and have someone there to help you with the tricky bits.

After taking these photos, I layered up even more and we went out for a Valentines brunch. The dress has so many lovely colours it is really versatile. I teamed it with teal and green. After eating we had a walk around town and I picked up a Benetton 100% wool cardi in a charity shop which actually goes really nicely with the dress and brings out the yellow – not a colour I often wear to be honest. Mr CK is trying to grow a beard – he feels it makes him look like George Clooney. That dear sewing friends is my closing comment today … there are no words!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

Brunch at The Parsons Table, Arundel with George Clooney and, keeping it real with my charity shop bargain

Brunch at The Parsons Table, Arundel with George Clooney and, keeping it real with my charity shop bargain

I love RTW: Shock, Horror!

Hi everyone,

I gather that many in the UK have snow today? Not here yet but the local radio weather report seems to indicate that it’s just down the road ….. Which is a million miles away (metaphorically speaking) from where I have spent the last week.

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If you follow my Instagram you will have seen my many photos from beautiful La Gomera – one of the smaller Canary Islands and, by complete coincidence, today’s Sunday Telegraph supplement is all about … La Gomera.

There was no sewing last week (couldn’t manage my Janome AND my walking poles) but I did knit a beanie (which I plan to show you once I have sewn it up) and spent a lot of thinking about clothes – not those that I plan to make but those that I was wearing.

North Face convertible trousers and Rohan shirt

North Face convertible trousers and Rohan shirt

So here it is, my fulsome praise for those clothes which I don’t make but buy because, quite frankly, they are bloody brilliant. Over many years of being a walker, having been involved with Duke of Edinburgh and even having been a school leader on a month long expedition to Madagascar, I have come to appreciate the value of having appropriate, technical clothing. As I walked up yet another steep hill behind someone who was absolutely drenched, their clothes showing uncomfortable wet patches, I smugly congratulated myself on being suitably attired.

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Each day I alternated between one of two pairs of long trousers from North Face (seven years old and still like new) which you can zip off to make shorts or roll up and secure with a strap to make capris and shirts from Rohan. The detail is amazing: fabric which dries almost immediately, secure pockets (and lots of them) and tabs on the inside so that you can hang it up on your washing line for a quick overnight dry. Each evening I washed through what I was wearing and popped it on the balcony to dry (get yourself a travel washing line – I use mine everywhere) and then I was good to go again.

Travel washing line, secure pockets and straps to roll up sleeves to make them shorted and the tabs to clip over a washing line.

Travel washing line, secure pockets and straps to roll up sleeves to make them shorted and the tabs to clip over a washing line.

I had  a made a couple of tops to wear in the evenings/afternoons after walking but although as a solo traveller in the group lots of people offered to take pics of me whilst out walking, I felt too self-conscious to ask any of the group in the evenings to take a blog shot for me. I did however get to wear my new Liberty Grainline Scout Tee on our day off and here it is at a beach bar with a couple of lovely people from my group. I don’t expect it will ever be worn again in such a glorious location!

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Well, I have had a FAB time – do consider la Gomera if you enjoy walking; it is a beautiful island and if you do know of any where that stocks this kind of fabric, do let me know. It seems rather odd for someone who loves colours and print and natural fibres to be so in awe of clothes which are so patently functional but for me, that is where the beauty lies!

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Have a great week ahead; only one more week to go for me then I start my new job which hopefully should mean a couple of WIPs get finished – but don’t hold me to it!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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Liberty Lovliness

Hi everyone, hope you week is going well?

I had such a lovely day yesterday. My friend Ali and I went to the Liberty in Fashion Exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum and finished the day off with a little trip to Liberty itself – incredible to admit this but it was my first every visit to the store.

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The first room gave a timeline on one wall and an eclectic display on the other: the overall effect was very calming.

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I particularly liked the smocking on this wedding dress – it looked so dated I couldn’t believe it was 1985 but the Dianasque sleeves gave it away.

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Here are some more pics of exhibits I particularly liked:

Flower power! I wish I knew a man who would wear this suit and some super funky Jimmy Choos

Flower power! I wish I knew a man who would wear this suit and some super funky Jimmy Choos

Adorable details

Adorable details

At first I thought it was feathers but it is actually the material

At first I thought it was feathers but it is actually the material

My absolute favourite was a Vivienne Westwood dress in a gorgeous delicate floral fabric. I took a quick pic of the details so that I could include them in my post and it was only when I looked later I realised the fabric was designed by a former colleague of mine, Rachel Pedder-Smith so that was a lovely surprise.

Dress by Vivienne Westwood: Fabric designed by Rachel Pedder-Smith

Dress by Vivienne Westwood: Fabric designed by Rachel Pedder-Smith

For a more erudite round up of the exhibition, do head over to Fabrikated: Kate’s post has better quality photos and more of the history. The exhibition is on until the end of February so if you can get to London, I would highly recommend it.

Look at the scarf and not my face please!

Look at the scarf and not my face please!

Onwards to Liberty! I felt I was quite restrained in the circumstances (i.e. of being in Liberty). I bought a little headband so that I could try and emulate the sassy style of Suzi of Alternative Ageing and a silk scarf. I had been umming and ahhing about the scarf but then the most magnificent sales assistant wearing a gold jacket and black brocade maxi (see first photo) sallied forth and started tying the scarf on me in various ways – of course I bought it!

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Finally up to the 4th floor and the fabrics! I bought a wonderful liberty tana lawn with a tiger design.  I am going on a walking holiday tomorrow, hand luggage only, and I thought this would go perfectly with my blue/grey only palette. So, I threw myself into it when I came home and Tah Dah!

Grainline Scouttee in Liberty Tana Lawn

Grainline Scouttee in Liberty Tana Lawn

I will by using Instagram whilst I am away In La Gomera so please feel free to have a peek and see how I am getting on – my first ever holiday as a solo traveller (but joining a group of 14).

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

How distracting would it be to sew on this?!

How distracting would it be to sew on this?!

Gifts: Given and Received

Hello all,

Commiserations to you if today is the first day back to work; bigger commiserations if you have already been back for days/was never really off. As I’m in the post Christmas tidying everything away phase I thought I would share with you some of the lovely gifts I received and show you what I made.

First up – some ties.

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I have made ties before using a pattern I got at a Cloth Kits tie making workshop a year ago.  The pattern is for a structured tie that has a separate piece of fabric in the middle – I thought it was called chad but I might be wrong. Anyway, although I really like that pattern I noticed that in Love Sewing magazine they had a pattern to make a Liberty tie which was actually much slimmer and used interfacing rather than a separate piece of fabric. This style seemed a bit younger/more trendy. I bought some lovely Liberty fabric (from Cloth Kits); .70m is enough to make two ties. The paisley I made for my husband and brother-in-law and the speckled one for my son and a friend. I really like using a fun fabric for a surprise lining – Queue for the Zoo anyone?

My sister-in-law came to spend the day with us on the 27th. She is the one who made my Shetland Tam which I am so happy with. We had a lovely time together which included a walk around the Wetlands. She had knitted for me some beautiful mittens with the flip back top to reveal fingerless gloves – very useful when you need to get things out of your purse. It was her husband who I had made the tie for. He was really chuffed and put it on immediately and wore it for the rest of the day. Surprisingly it goes well with his checked shirt!

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For my sister-in-law I made a little tote bag out of the wool fabric I used to make my daisy coat; I lined it with bird fabric. It was my intention that it be used as an on-the-go knitting bag so I included four lovely balls of Rowan Merino Alpaca so that she can do a little bit of selfish knitting for herself.

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By coincidence I also received a bag as a present from my friend and neighbour who is also a talented seamstress. It is made from a lovely thick tapestry style fabric and it is the perfect size for my (almost daily) trips to the Co-op.

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Sorry this picture is a little dark – we haven’t had decent light for what seems like days

Another neighbour doesn’t sew but she cooks! We share a side entrance and I found a whole pile of food goodies which she had pushed through the cat flap! Over a period of a few days I received cranberry sauce – gorgeous with sausages; mincemeat; rough puff pastry; a Christmas pud.  Can you see the little rabbit decoration on my mince pies? I bought crackers from Joules last year and this pasty cutter was one of the gifts – incredibly I didn’t lose it and was able to use it this year. I love food gifts – did you receive any?

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Finally to show you is a gold sequinned Grainline Scouttee I made for my daughter – she has promised me a photo WHEN she wears it so you might be waiting quite a while for an addendum to this post! I do really love the ease of this pattern. A couple of days ago I used it to make one for myself for my walking holiday – I go on Friday and am getting rather excited about it.

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I also received a new camera – a wifi camera no less. I haven’t yet used it to take any photos (as you have probably guessed from the rather dreadful quality of today’s pictures – sorry about that) or worked out how to use the wifi but it is on my list of Things to Do… soon.

Well that’s it for now my lovelies,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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