Behind schedule … again

Hello sewing chums, hope you are having a good week.

My plans for today have been thwarted.  As last night was the final session in my Francine Jacket workshops at Sew Over It,  I had planned to visit my old friend, the button man of Soho (read this post if you want to know more). However, this is the state of my jacket at the time of writing (and don’t even ask me about the lining).


I am disappointed.  I had to fight off feelings of despondency which threatened to overwhelm me all evening.  I think I   must be a right pain to be with on a workshop. Having completed my homework (which took hours), the subsequent fitting saw my sleeves having to be ripped off and reductions made to the centre back, side back and sleeves.  It seems that all of the bits I had added in to accommodate my shoulders have had to be removed. The sleeves which I had taken up to a 16 are now down to an 8 – weird. Anyway, twenty minutes before the end of the class I was back to the point I had been when I arrived!

I have learnt a lot this time about tailoring techniques. A new thing for me was something called …. I thought Julie called it ICE WOOL but I just looked that up to double check and I obviously have got it wrong. So , if you know, please tell us all via the comments. Anyway, it is a small piece of material, incredibly soft and fluffy which you sew into the sleeve head, ahead of the shoulder pads, just to smooth out the line of the sewing, prevent the seam allowance from showing and just make it all look a little more polished.


I’m not the only one behind – none of us finished so there are no photos to show you of us all proudly wearing our jackets. The tutor Julie is amazing; so patient.  She was still there at 10pm when I left helping the last student to make sure she knew how to finish. I just hope I can remember what I need to do!  Hopefully this time next week I’ll be able to post a photo of my finished Francine. As soon as I finish I plan to make another (you’ve heard that before haven’t you!).  I ADORE Brora and have been admiring this jacket for a couple of months but really can’t afford the £325 price tag so I am going to make up a Francine version – I think I have been able to track down a similar Harris Tweed so we’ll see.

photo courtesy of BRORA

photo courtesy of BRORA

Earlier in the week I had the fourth of six lessons in my pattern drafting course at Cloth Kits. This week we were making our skirt block which was definitely more straightforward than the bodice and sleeves. The highlight of this week was a sneaky peak in the tutor’s studio.  Maria Pulley, as well as teaching, has her own couture dressmaking business and her studio is above Cloth Kits.

Examples of work in Maria's studio

Examples of work in Maria’s studio

She is currently working on wedding outfits for a mature lady (see the floral jacket above) and her 91 year old mother. This nonagenarian  lady has chosen a dress in blue silk and to go over it, this most gorgeous peacock feather coat. Isn’t that FAB? Imagine being 91 and having your own couture outfit – SO much for us to still look forward to.


Whilst I was there this week, I noticed some new Liberty fabrics which had come in and were just being stored upstairs – I think they are “old” rather than new and Liberty have sold them off to their distributors.  Anyway, this rather quirky design caught my eye. It is called Transport Threads. I bought 1.75 m – originally to make a shirt.  It is incredibly thin – see-though I would say – so I am now thinking that maybe I might use it as a funky lining for a subsequent Francine.


So another week has gone by without anything finished to share with you!  It’s funny but looking back over my blog, I was churning out a frock a week (I know, I know, some of you can do that in an evening) but now that I have a little more time on my hands, I am working at a slower, more thoughtful pace. In addition, I have been more involved in social sewing, or to be more precise eating.  I have met two fellow sewers for lunch (hello Jane, hello Debbie!) – it is so great to meet people and to talk about sewing and life. Inspired by the SEWBRUM bunch, a few of us who live on the South Coast are having a meet up for the first time this Saturday in Brighton and I am really looking forward to that – If you can get to Brighton and would like to join us for coffee and a mooch around Ditto fabrics, do let me know and I’ll give you the details – all are welcome. I do love this little community of ours.  Ooh dear, I had better sign off before I get too maudlin!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

samples from Linton tweeds - potential Francines

samples from Linton tweeds – potential Francines




18 responses

  1. Hi, I’m thinking of doing the pattern cutting course at Clothkits. I’m in Portsmouth and although fairly competent about following a pattern, being on the mature side, with rounded shoulders, sway back, etc tend to have fitting issues with bodices. Old you recommend the course? Thanks Charlotte


  2. Hello, just found your blog! It is fantastic and I love this jacket pattern. I am going to a sewing class soon – I wondered how I could purchase this pattern? I think to get help with the fit would be a great outcome for my short course!
    Thanks in advance


    • Hi, the pattern is by Sew Over It. At the moment you have to take one of their classes to get it. They usually release them for sale after about a year so keep an eye out. It is a lovely jacket – I hope to finish mine this week!


  3. Love the fabric you chose for the jacket, you can tell already it’s gonna be a beauty when it’s finished. Tailoring is such a complex process, don’t beat yourself up too much, a good fitting jacket in 4 weeks is an ambitious task and I’m sure after this any other pattern will look like a breeze!
    I plan on visiting the button man next week. Does he sell buttons too??


  4. I struggled at my class and was only doing a shift dress, so don’t feel like you’re the only one. Did You Make That just wrote a blog about failing, must be the week for it.

    And let’s just take another moment for the peacock jacket. It is a thing of beauty. Very Liberty Hera


  5. loving this process…and as always I love your choice of fabrics!
    Oh one day I would like to slow down, do a bit of this and that and some slow sewing on just one thing, not six!
    You are doing sew well and dont forget you learn the most from failing (not that you have failed in anyway or form, hope you know what I mean?) That Brora jacket is scrumptious. One day Iwould love to meet up with you south coast sewists even if I am from the south west? xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. How frustrating to have to dismantle all that hard work on your jacket! I seem to be doing a lot of unpicking recently so I do sympathise! That peacock jacket is gorgeous. I’ve always said that if I ever get around to getting married again I want Maria to make my outfit! See you at the weekend!


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