A tale of two Wandas

Hello sewing chums, I hope you are having a good weekend? I am LOVING being part of The Monthly Stitch during Indie Pattern Month for a number of reasons: so many talented sewistas are joining the community and sharing their makes; every time I check my blog feed I see more gorgeous things which I want to make; it’s FAB that everyone is getting so involved with the challenges and last but not least ….. I was a winner in the first week Dresses category! More of that later …. It all kicked off for me by reading about the inaugural secret santa style pattern swap. It’s the first time I had participated in something like this and it was really good fun. I know that the person I bought a pattern for liked it because she has made it up and written a blog post about it – I thought she looked gorgeous so have been congratulating myself on my excellent choice (it’s actually really hard not to comment on the post and say “It was me” but then I’d be just as bad as my Y9 form who do Secret Santa each year and everyone knows who has got who!). I was chuffed when my pattern arrived – my partner had organised for it to be sent directly me to and the company addressed it to her so I do actually know who my partner was! Anyway, you know who you are and you made an excellent choice for me so many thanks. image I decide to make the dress up in some lovely floral cotton I had bought at Badger and Earl when I was doing a workshop there. I measured myself and went for 12 on the bust grading out to 14 at the waist. The paper is really study, i.e. not tissue and the instructions are OK.  The pattern is described as beginner  but to be honest, if I hadn’t already got a couple of frocks under my belt I might have struggled a bit with some of the instructions e.g. pleats.  Anyway I made the dress up and … was hugely disappointed. imageimage The dress was too big – I didn’t need to have graded out at the waist after all. Unlike Wanda the yoke did not come immediately beneath my boobiloobies (although in fairness the line drawing does show it as being more on the waist but that version doesn’t include the bust pleats/gathers) and my floral fabric looked positively frumpy.  All in all I thought it looked like a 1950s utilitarian type frock you might have worn to do the housework! image I really was hugely disappointed.  However, I decided to try and put  a positive spin on it and congratulated myself on having made my first wearable muslin.  I felt I owed it to my swopsie partner to have another go – I did not want to just blog about a failure so I immediately set about making another. I bought some cornflower blue linen at Sew Over It whilst doing my first Vintage Shirtdress workshop and decided to use this for the dress part and use the last of the scraps from my Liberty Queue for the Zoo left over from my Belcarra.  I spent a stressful Friday night trying to eek it out … and failed. imageIn the end I had to give up.  It was only the interfacing I couldn’t squeeze out so I had an idea!  I decided to use the linen as a full lining.  Having made a couple of  BHL KIMs recently I was familiar with this method. The is a real departure for me  – I normally stick to the pattern because I haven’t got the knowledge/confidence to deviate but this time I really went off piste! I did a full lining in the linen and it worked!  To be honest I am not sure if the delicate tana lawn would have held up the linen base anyway. imageI even made alterations so that the dress would fit me and was more like the Wanda of the pattern illustration.  I chopped off an inch and a half from the bodice and took the sizing down too.  It looks so much better with the yoke ending just under the bust rather than at the waist – don’t you think? imageimageSorry the photos are not great.  The sun wasn’t out and Mr CK was not in the mood for taking photos – how I need a blog manager! There is still some pooling at the back which I will attend to next time. image I wore the dress to work this week and lots of people commented on it; it really is a work dress I feel. Anyway, I decided what I needed to finish it off was a little cropped jacket – made in the blue cornflower linen. Which brings me neatly onto my exciting news.  I was one of the winners for IPM2015 dresses contest. My prize was a Tia Dress Craftsy Class and a Named pattern of my choice so I have chosen the Lourdes Cropped Jacket to join Wanda.  I am not sure when I will get round to making this up as my sewing TO Do List has just gone off the scale this month. image So, here it is then …. my entry to the New to Me contest.  Thanks to my swopsie partner for choosing the pattern for me in the first place and I also want to say a special thanks to Elle from Laura Loves Pugs whose clever ideas for using precious fabrics inspired me for the second Wanda. Toodle pip, Clarinda x

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Vintage Workshop week two and a bit of a Glitch!

Hello everyone,

Hope you are enjoying the sunshine?  I did wonder if everyone’s sewing output would decrease during the summer but it seems the opposite  – I can hardly keep up with my blog feed with all of the new makes which is BRILLIANT – daily inspiration!

Last week I wrote quite chirpily about my first session at the Vintage Shirtdress workshop at Sew Over it – blogged here. I commented, with exclamation, that I certainly wasn’t a size 8 which the toile indicated.  Well dear reader, it is true… I am not a size 8 and that’s why I felt so dis-spirited at my class on Tuesday. Having completed my homework diligently, the bodice barely met across my (flat) chest so I knew that it would not cope with the seam allowances for button bands/facings etc.

My dress pinned on after the alterations - I've chopped my head off because I was not looking happy!

My dress pinned on after the alterations – I’ve chopped my head off because I was not looking happy!

When I arrived at the class others were in the same position.  Full marks to our teacher Julie who remained calm and professional throughout  – instead of joining in with the “how could this have happened?” wailing, she focused entirely on what needed to be done to put things right.  For me, this involved unpicking and then re-sewing the seam allowances on bodice and skirt etc.  I was really gutted because my fabric is Liberty and as you know, it’s not cheap.  Anyway, a salvage was achieved and we all went on to enjoy the chatter, tea and cake as per usual.

The lovely shell buttons I bought this week to go with my frock

The lovely shell buttons I bought this week to go with my frock

Post the workshop, we all received a lovely email from Lisa who explained what had happened.  It was clear that the issue had been investigated thoroughly and we have all been offered a replacement pattern and some fabric (the toiles had stretched so please don’t worry if you have bought a pattern).  I think this is the mark of a great business – how it deals with complaints.  Actually, everyone in sewing is so lovely that I don’t think anyone actually complained – we just looked a bit sad!

I only really managed to add the collar on Tuesday  – I can’t quite see how it is all going to fit with the facing because it looks inside out to me but the redoubtable Julie assures me it is correct!

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Anyway, just before I go, I wanted to show you how I cheered myself up.  I made myself a little something with the leftovers … can you guess what it is?!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

Yet another Sorbetto!

Yet another Sorbetto!

Vintage Shirtdress Workshop – week one

Hello all, I hope you’re having a good week?

Yesterday I went to the first of three workshops at Sew Over It to make their Vintage Shirtdress. It’s my fourth workshop there and I really can’t recommend them enough. My favourite make EVER is the 1960s coat I made – blogged here.  The studio is gorgeous – tea and (homemade) cake permanently available and best of all, a brilliant teacher to take you through the pattern and help with all the fiddly bits.

Took both fabrics to the workshop but eventually decided on the charcoal one - a Liberty Tana Lawn called Winter Dreams of Spring

Took both fabrics to the workshop but eventually decided on the charcoal one – a Liberty Tana Lawn called Winter Dreams of Spring

I was really pleased that the teacher was Julie who is super patient and highly experienced.  There were six of us.  A lovely generational divide: three young women in their twenties and another three who I would estimate were at least twenty years older (I hope I haven’t offended anyone by writing that!).  That is one of the lovely things about sewing – it unites people who might otherwise not appear to have much in common.  There was a little bit of chatter but everyone was really busy measuring and cutting out – we didn’t actually get to do any sewing at all.

Only roughly laid out here to check I had enough fabric.

Only roughly laid out here to check I had enough fabric.

It does seem that most patterns over-estimate fabric requirements.  I had bought three metres and was worried that I would have to eek it out but I had a considerable chunk left over.  I wonder if you can guess what I plan to make with that?! Sew Over It have toiles made up in all sizes so that you can check your fit first.  The last few things I have made at home have been too big – I do always measure myself but perhaps I just don’t hold the tape measure tightly enough?  Anyway, I decided to try on the 10 toile instead of my usual 12 and that was to big so I ended up with the 8 …. which I am surprised about because I am definitely not an 8!

It is going to be an expensive couple of weeks – I am incapable of going into a fabric shop without buying something and last night was no different.

Cornflower blue linen and my very own ham!

Cornflower blue linen and my very own ham!

I was really excited to see that Sew Over It have expanded their fabric range and put more shelves in to accommodate the additional choice.  This weekend just gone I made a dress (yet to be blogged) which I was really disappointed with. However, I resolved to call it a wearable muslin and have another go.  I have a little bit of blue Queue for the Zoo Liberty leftover from  my Belcarra (blogged here) so I thought I would use that for the yoke and make the dress with this contrasting linen. What do you think old hands – will a bodice of tana lawn (one thickness – it has interfacing rather than being fully lined) hold up a dress of linen?

I bought my goodies before the class but then at the end Julie gave us our homework and to be honest, I am not sure I will get anything else done.  I jotted down what I thought were the couple of tasks on the top of my instruction sheet but the list just kept on growing!

My homework

My homework

I said to Julie, “I’ll be bringing in a complete dress next week at this rate” and she replied that it was just basic sewing and then we could concentrate on the fiddly bits such as fitting and doing the collar: good point, well made!

I’ll let you know how the homework goes – as a teacher myself I am very diligent about such things!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

When Frida met Kim …

Hi all, welcome to my June post for The Monthly Stitch which is also a contest entry for the dress competition. The focus for this month is Indie Patterns but as I have only ever sewn Indie patterns I am on familiar territory!

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During the first week of Me Made May when I was managing to keep up with all the IG posts, I spotted one garment made with a fabric I found so fabulous I immediately set about tracking it down – thank you Fondant Fabrics.

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Isn’t is fabulous?  Just in case you too want to buy it, here are the details:

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I wish I had made a note of whose IG I saw the fabric on so that I could say a huge thanks.  My plan was to make a BHL Kim with it to wear on the last day of MMMay15 as a sort of grand finale – also coinciding with my husband’s birthday.  I made it by the skin of my teeth – sewing the bodice lining in whilst sat in bed having my early morning cup of tea on the 31st.

Regular readers of my blog Clarinda Kaleidoscope will know I have a bit of a love affair with Colette Patterns Sorbetto and usually manage to squeeze one out of my scraps.  I did things a little bit back to front this time.  After I cut out my Kim, I eeked out my Sorbetto – no pleat and made that up first.  It very quickly became a favourite.

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Anyway, back to Kim.  I spent ages cutting out.  I wanted a centralised Frida on the bodice – tick.

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I also wanted to do the same on the back – sadly I made a right ole booboo.  Can you spot the obvious mistake?

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Retrospectively, I think it may have been too much having two centralised Fridas.

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This is my third Kim; my first was for a wedding (a Flamingo Border) and the second was a fun, nautical version.  I am not known for my muslins (naughty girl) but I have made adjustments.  I chopped off about an inch from the shoulders to save them slipping down and I sewed a wider, sweeping arc for the seam allowance at the Princess seams because my boobiloobies don’t fill the bodice.   I think this is the most I have altered a garment in terms of fit.

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Anyway, if I say so myself I think it is an absolute glory.  I am SO chuffed with it. The Kim is a great pattern – the instructions are really clear and if you need extra help with fiddly bits, the details on the Kim Sewalong give all the detailed advice you need.

It is such a glorious day we decided to visit Parham  – an enormous country house with massive parklands, formal gardens and today, a craft fair. I thought it was a fitting location for my new, favourite dress and was delighted when one of the “crafty” ladies told me that she thought my dress was the best one she’d seen this year!

Anyway, let’s hope the sun continues to shine on us.  I think I might even have a mid week post this week, as on Tuesday I am starting a three week workshop at Sew Over it to learn how to make their new Vintage Shirtdress – can’t wait. Will close with a couple more pics from Parham but please feel free to skip if you have Frida/Kim/Clarinda fatigue!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda

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Portugal, Tennis and the final days of MMM15

Dear all,

It has finished and I have been avidly reading everyone’s round-ups and admiring how they present their photos etc.  I must be honest and say that I found it a little hard to keep up with everything.  I usually like to comment on the blogs I read  – I genuinely think of some bloggers as my friends and it seems rude not to drop by and say “hi” etc but everything was coming through so fast and for six days I was in Portugal on a school tennis camp and the internet access was restricted to a little café which we walked past twice a day so  I had to use that slot to do what little I could in about thirty seconds and post my daily IG pic.

Day 24

early morning walk on the beach

early morning walk on the beach

My photos are all completely unrepresentative of my time on Portugal because I was constantly in the company of thirty lovely girls but obviously I am unable to show any photos of them so each day I had to quickly get one of my colleagues or one of the girls to take a pic after I had shooed everyone else away. This is my Sewaholic Belcarra in Liberty Lawn – you’ll see a close up of the fabric in a later photo because I wore it on the way home.

not bad for a scrap

not bad for a scrap

The girls had two hours tennis coaching each morning and then again in the afternoon.  In the mornings we watched them and in the afternoons we played doubles ourselves.  This is a favourite of mine – usually used for running.  It is a Sorbetto minus the pleat.  It worked well with my tennis skort.

Day 25

Another pre breakfast stroll  – this time along the cliff path and I am wearing a much worn …..Liberty Sorbetto. This was the first one I ever made and before I made my standard alteration of  adding three inches to the length.

cliff walk

cliff walk

Day 26

I appear to be alternating – back to a Sewaholic Belcarra – this time in Queue for the Zoo – at least the Liberty remains a constant.

back to the beach

back to the beach

Day 27

Our last full day and no less than three separate me made items!

Morning beach walk in Liberty Sorbetto

Morning beach walk in Liberty Sorbetto

Playing in the tournament in my "tennis" Sorbetto

Playing in the tournament in my “tennis” Sorbetto

a close up of the fabric and tennis ball buttons

a close up of the fabric and tennis ball buttons

For the final evening we took the girls to Villamoura for a Pizza.  I wore my Kim with anchors on.

seaside themed fabric - suitable for a marina!

seaside themed fabric – suitable for a marina!

The girls had a great trip (so did I) but I was still pleased to get home.

Day 28

Forgot to take a photo with all the fretting/travelling but I wore my Belcarra in Isle of Wight fabric from earlier in the week.

my favourite 1950s button

my favourite 1950s button

Day 29

I met up with one of my Yorkshire cousins who I hadn’t seen for 21 years!  Already we have arranged to meet up again for a couple of days before I start a boating holiday in July.  It’s famine or feast!  I wore a Sorbetto from earlier in the week.

Almost hidden under a cardi

Almost hidden under a cardi

Day 30

I went for a double whammy.  Absolutely loved how these two garments went together.  My “Birds” Sorbetto paired with my Sew Over It Ulitmate Trousers.

Very 50's

Very 50’s

Day 31

This was supposed to be my triumphant finale to a really enjoyable month.  I literally finished hand stitching the lining whilst having my early morning cup of tea in bed!  Sadly in was a cold, rainy day and my new creation spent most of the day hidden under a cardi.  I am only giving the sneakiest of peaks here because it’s not blogged yet but this is my Frida Kahlo Kim.

to be blogged ... soon

to be blogged … soon

So I did really enjoy the challenge.  I think next year I will try for no repeats.  It wasn’t as tricky as I thought – what I really loved was how the girls got behind it.  Everyday they would say “Did you make that miss? It’s amazing!”  Good fabric is certainly worth it.  I don’t think I am especially skilled – the patterns I make are very straight-forward but people do seem to be astonished that you can make your own clothes.    I need more plain basics – that is clear.  Everything I make is highly patterned …… but that is what I love! Best of all was seeing my blogger friends rise to meet the challenge – I certainly have added lots to my To Sew list.

Enjoy the rest of the week – I am looking forward to sharing details of my dress with you!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

Liberty - Alice in Wonderland collection

Liberty – Alice in Wonderland collection