Half term sewcation

It’s rather odd to be packing the car up for a week in the Peaks: mountain bike – tick; walking boots – tick; sewing machine  – TICK!  It’s been a good week on the sewing front. I celebrated my birthday and a lovely sewing friend gave me a jar of buttons, a pair of stork scissors and a vintage apron.

Button jar with two of my favourite cards

Button jar with two of my favourite cards

A hurried photo and inappropriate undergarments have not done justice to this gorgeous vintage apron

A hurried photo and inappropriate undergarments have not done justice to this gorgeous vintage apron

I have spent the week tinkering about with Lauren’s yoke top – not for me the garment in a day type blogger – a week seems almost the minimum time in which I could actually make something.  I also discovered a new haberdashery in Worthing where I bought all the various notions I need for forthcoming projects – get me – NOTIONS – six months ago I wouldn’t even have known what that meant.

This week ‘s episodes of The Great British Sewing Bee have been a delight – how fabulous that sewing is so mainstream we now have celebrity specials for charity. But ….. my oh my there were some frock shocks!  I sympathised hugely with some of the efforts and the time pressures. For me, sewing is leisurely pleasure – if I had to do something to time it would kill the enjoyment of it for me.

So, here I am now in Hartington, in a gorgeous little cottage I have stayed in, apparently, seven times before according to the Visitors Book. Being a walker and an anxious cyclist, it is the perfect place. There are brilliant walks and lots of disused railway lines which have been converted into off-road cycle paths.

Manifold Cottage, Hartington - a cosy home from home

Manifold Cottage, Hartington – a cosy home from home

So, when I am not walking, cycling, marking, I plan to finally finish my silk yoke top and, big claim dear readers, start and finish my new Dahlia! What a gorgeous pattern – I bought it as soon as it was released. I have decided to use some fabric I had bought to make another Sureau. I did have some sumptuous wool plaid (navy and red) but I think I am going to save that and do it with the Sew-a-long as I will definitely need some help matching those checks.

Have a FAB half term everyone – happy sewing,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

My yoke top WIP - if Rachel can take her sewing machine to Brazil I can certainly manage to take mine to the Peaks

My yoke top WIP – if Rachel can take her sewing machine to Brazil I can certainly manage to take mine to the Peaks

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Two birds, one stone and a bit of a bonkers dress

October has been a great month for me – I love having an Autumn birthday and this year I had not one but two sewing challenges.  Thanks to my blog devouring activities I had read about the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge  which I thought was a really fun idea.   At about the same time I volunteered myself as a pattern tester, to give a beginner’s perspective, for Lou Lou – a new pattern from English Girl at Home.  As both had October deadlines I decided to combine the two – this was possibly not such a wise decision.

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I immediately started to look for suitable fabric.  I was very excited to find this rather funky design called Cheeky Black Cat from Textiles Francais – whilst this fulfilled the brief for the Cat Lady Challenge it was far too structured for the Lou Lou which is meant to be floaty and drape beautifully.

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However, I thought the 60s style A-line shift would work well with the fabric and that I might look a little bit like Samantha from Bewitched.

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I have to confess that I haven’t done the dress justice at all.  It is fully lined with a funky little piece below the dress itself .  Colour matching the lining with the little balls of wool the cat is playing with still couldn’t create the feline grace I had hoped for.
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However, it was a fun make  – one of my colleagues asked if it was my Halloween outfit – which was not quite the reaction I was expecting!

And back to the Cat Lady element: this is my lovely cat Tambo – the latest in a long line of black cats: Leo, Flynn, Scout, Puffin, Jude and a highly aloof tortoiseshell Serafina Pekkelaimage

Many thanks to Miss Crayola Creepy for setting up a fun challenge and to Charlotte for giving me my first shot at pattern testing.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda

First trousers and a lovely day at Sew Over It

I had a really fun day yesterday at Sew Over It sewing cafe in Clapham where under the expert guidance of a lovely lady called Julie, I managed to make a pair of Ultimate Trousers which I have worn today, are comfortable and fit me!

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The studio is great and I would highly recommend taking a class there if you can get to Clapham. Tea was available throughout the day and elevenses included gorgeous handmade cupcakes. The studio was super girly, bright pink stairs, pin cushions in China cups and saucers etc. There was also a wonderful selection of fabric.

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I had bought my fabric the week before,  black cotton twill, but when I saw all the lovely fabrics  on display I changed my mind.  I made my trousers up in a moss green polka dot cotton (and bought more fabric for two future projects – I really am beginning to see how sewistas can easily build up a significant stash.

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I thought it was brilliant that they already had a number of toiles to try on to check your fit. We double checked the fit after we had cut out – I needed a slight alteration at the back. Rather annoyingly I didn’t mark it on my pattern at the time and now I can’t remember it.

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The best thing of all was that I finally got to use an overlocker. I loved it. I’ve looked at EBAY but there doesn’t seem to be many floating about. I do have a birthday later this month so perhaps I could go for the combined birthday/Christmas gift approach. What do you think – do the benefits justify the cost?

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So it’s been a really satisfying weekend on the sewing front – made and wore my trousers  (photos taken at Elmer beach – what an absolutely glorious day it’s been) and this afternoon I have been busy making a rather bonkers dress but that is for next time.

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Toodle pip,

Clarinda