Fitting a dysfunctional pear

Hello all, hope you are enjoying our little bit of sunshine today in a week in which most of us in the UK must have thought that Autumn had most certainly arrived (sounds a bit like Caroline Ahern’s musings at the beginning of Gogglebox)!

At the beginning of the school holidays I had a week on a narrow boat on the Leeds Liverpool canal and without wifi, had to make the most of our stops.  Whilst loitering in Caffe Nero, Skipton I noticed on my IG feed that Sew Over It were having a summer sale on their workshops.  I booked one immediately and on the return journey a couple of days later, I bought another! I do love being taught how to do things properly and really want to get better so  consider these courses a good investment.  Each time I fully intend to immediately make up a second garment to consolidate my skills but to date that hasn’t happened with any of my SOI workshops.  I have booked the Ultimate Shirt and the Cigarette pants – both with my work wardrobe in mind. It also puts me in the happy position of having something to look forward to every week on a Wednesday for the first half term.


The Clapham branch has recently been refurbished – there is now so much more fabric on offer.   There are six of us in the class; only one lady hasn’t done a workshop before. A very speedy seamstress who also did the coat workshop with me was there so it was nice to meet her again. And, if you have seen the hugely popular Francine Jacket (I have twice missed getting a place on a course) the daughter of “Francine” (whose original jacket was used to design the pattern) was there.

A few months ago I spotted some lovely Flamingo fabric on the SOI IG feed and immediately bought some. I was thinking about making an Anna dress maxi style but my plans were thwarted because the flamingos went across the fabric rather than down the length which I expected.


This caused me to return the fabric to my stash but I thought that it would be lovely for my shirt. At the workshop it became apparent (when Julie pointed it out to me) that the fabric wasn’t really suitable because in order to cut the shirt out on the grainline, all the flamingos would be laying on the backs waving their legs in the air.  Anyway, I decided to carry on regardless (this is why I frequently have disasters).  I had taken another fabric with me but this is for my grand winter outfit (maxi skirt suit) and Julie concurred that I might as well make my first one with the flamingos and make all the necessary improvements for the second.


I have been getting a bit more confident with my own sewing recently and turned a corner in that I am now trying to get things to fit.   Something that has emerged is that although I always have to grade between bust and hip sizes due to my pearfulness I am still finding the top half is tight on the arms etc. It has gradually dawned on me that I have big shoulders and need to account for them. When I was being fitted (using Lisa’s own shirt as a toile!) the measurements indicated that as per usual I would do 10 bust 12 hips but then I asked Julie about my shoulders.  She agreed they were promininet and remembered that when I made my coat, after all the faff of putting the shoulder pads in, we had to take them out again. Anyway, she measured me, the pattern and the the size 10 toile, worked out how much had to be added and copied it onto the pattern. Dear reader, guess what size my shoulders were? 20! I really don’t think they do look that disproportionate but their prominence became really clear when we were completely the vintage shirt dress class in June.  Before we put the sleeves in, the shoulder seams covered the shoulders of the other girls but mine were significantly visible.  I’m not sure if this ramble will make any sense without specific photos. Anyway, to abate my wailing/disbelief we finally cut between size 16 and 18 on the shoulders and will do final alterations after pining.

All I achieved in the class this week (there was a lot of chatting going on between me and the newbie workshop lady) was to cut out my fabric on the crossgrain.  This meant I had a lot of homework to do but I have been a little miss goody two shoes.  Not only have I done my homework but I have cut out another shirt so I shall be consolidating my skills as we go.


Finally, I popped into C and H Chichester yesterday to buy some buttons – got some glorious, glittery ones – and was rather surprised (disappointed) by their window display. That little card at the bottom says “Make it for Christmas”.


Really looking forward to next Wednesday’s class. Have a good week all.

Toodle pip.

Clarinda x

20 responses

  1. Pingback: The Sewcation begins … | clarinda kaleidoscope

  2. Hello Clarinda
    Loved reading your post! Sorry to have missed you at class last night and hope you are feeling better x Class Newbie x


  3. Looking forward to seeing what you make. (Also got excited when you mentioned Cafe Nero, Skipton, when I realised I’ve actually been there. After years of reading about the UK from Australia, its great now that I’ve actually been there and can visualise places)


  4. I’m maybe not so secretly enjoying that window!! 😳 haha. I’ve made both of the advent calendars in previous years and they were such fun to make :-)I (and yes I made them in September too…) I really love the second shirt fabric – what is it? Hope the courses are fun 🙂


  5. It’s all a learning curve, isn’t it? And you certainly don’t look out of proportion at all. Good luck with your course, like you I may have treated myself to a couple to alleviate the pain of going back to school 😉


  6. I too have been shocked/disappointed/horrified by the current display in C & H’s window!! I’m all for advance preparation but I don’t want to actually look at stuff like that when I’m still in summer mode!

    I have to say, having met you at The Fabric Godmother recently, your shoulders certainly didn’t strike me as unusually large!!


  7. This looks like another excellent course, I’m so envious of your proximity to these! Glad you went with the flamingoes, can’t wait to see the finished article!


  8. Make it for Christmas!!! Bloody hell. Well done keeping up with your homework, very impressive. Hope all the grading and playing with the pattern pays off and you have a fabulous shirt at the end of it.


  9. If you want sparkly red buttons all year round you can. I feel excited reading this post, it feels like it’s me on the course! Looking forward to your progress and great choice of fabrics as usual..
    By the way, I have a new blog. I struggled with the last one and have now done a lot of research so I feel I know what I’m doing now (a little bit).


  10. I know what you mean by having something ti look forward to, my sewing group starts tomorrow, i am going to try to make a coat (eek!). I think both your shirts will look fab! I cant wait to see them!


    • That is exciting! What pattern are you going to use? Have you heard of Textile Barn? They had a three day course over Oct half term where you just go and sew (whatever you want) and the teacher helps you. I was going to go to make my winter suit but the places went really quickly.


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