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

 

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35 responses

  1. That has got to be the most beautiful shirt EVER! I bought a flamingo shirt from a store a few years ago but it’s not nearly as nice as yours. For one, it was always too small, but I save it anyway. Your flamingos are standing up nicely and are probably thankful to be out of the naughty pile.

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  2. I’m really glad you didn’t give up on this shirt cause its fab…really suits you and i love those buttons too – unusual yet the perfect choice. It’s another big well done from me!

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  3. Well done for powering through and finishing it, it looks fabulous! I’m so impressed with hand sewing the buttonholes too, I think I’d have been trying to find matching pink snaps somewhere! So lazy! Hope you enjoy wearing it x

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  4. Your top and post is fantastic!! Flamingos remind me of Florida, Alice in Wonderland with the croquet games and wildlife sanctuaries. Congrats on doing the buttonholes by hand!! You did a marvelous job.

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  5. I think it’s brilliant, and the fit is spot on. Buttonholes really can be a pain in the bum. When mine go a bit wonky, I stitch over the gaps with a really narrow zig zag stitch, using a very short stitch length, and then I decide that no-one will notice because the buttons hide most of them!!

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    • I do not believe you ever do a wonky buttonhole – with all your shirtdresses you must bid able to do them with your eyes closed! I did actually completely bugger up the very top one because I turned it round the other way so just did another one adjacent to it – I am not expecting anyone to get that close to my neck to see!

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  6. Well done on finishing, looks great! I’d try master the buttonholes on some scraps when you don’t actually need them, so no pressure, my machine (Janome) has quite a few steps to remember and if you forget one, it doesn’t work! Having said that, I’m impressed with your handmade buttonhole!

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  7. Well done on finishing this shirt despite its initial negative associations. And that hand done button holes are very clever – I would never have thought of that. Your shirt looks great. The flamingoes are so cute!

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