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

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Half term busyness

Hello dear reader, hope you are having fun and starting to get excited about spring?

In all the excitement of finishing my 1960s coat, I’m only just getting round to blogging about my other recent activities. I had a great half term which left me feeling relaxed and ready for the next surge. I had a bit of a supper party one night for some friends/neighbours and one of them actually asked me what exactly it is I am doing when I prance about on the riverbank in season inappropriate clothing!

imageI don’t have a posh camera (or a tripod, remote control etc.) so I have to take photos outside to get the best light and I only use my mini IPAD anyway.  I might need to re-think this strategy as sewing/blogging is becoming a bigger part of my life (it’s not so big for others who I have to cajole into taking pictures for me). However, for the time being I will continue to prance around at the end of my garden.

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This is my second Sewaholic Belcarra blouse – it is such a lovely top – I made it up in Liberty Lawn Queue for the Zoo which I bought last year.  Similar to my first Belcarra (see here) – I think this has the potential to be worn to work with more formal attire as well as with denim as seen here.

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This is a better view of the fabric (and my goose bumps) but I also wanted to show you the little button detail I added.  This is another one from my mum’s 1950s button box and I love it that I am now able to put to use some of the buttons that I have sorted through periodically for decades.

imageIt is a wonder I managed to squeeze this top in at all as the little people were around with it being half term.  They are so inquisitive about sewing but to date we have only made a tote bag together.  The majority of the time in which I could sew was spent on finishing my coat (see here)  but now that is done I can move onto another couple of projects which I have lined up.

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The first is a Kim dress – which I am doing as part of the sewalong.  I am doing a direct copycat of Dolly Clackett’s dress which used a fabric called Flamingo Border.  Unfortuantely I made a huge boo boo.  I have noticed that frequently when I buy the amount of fabric stated on the pattern I end up with so much left over  – I have squeezed a number of Sorbettos out of such generosity. So, on this occasion, I only bought two metres – doh. The skirt is made from a rectangle of the full three metres and consequently not only will my full skirt not be nearly so full but I didn’t have enough for the lining of the bodice. I was already entrenched in my cutting out so  – what to do?  Well, I did something rather extravagant.  A couple of weeks ago I bought some lovely broderie anglaise from Sew Over it (with no particular project in mind) and I used a little bit of that for my bodice lining.

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It will be my first project which looks lovely from the inside!  I also ran up a couple of pairs of Trixie Lixie knickers with my leftover Liberty lawn (what a wonderful way to use up leftovers!).

imageMy other half term achievement was to set up a Twitter account linked to my sewing activities.  I have two followers so that is exciting!  I am struggling to de-couple an existing twitter account which I used when I walked the Camino de Santiago six years ago (pre hashtag days) so I can’t add a button yet to the blog but if you are interested it’s ClarindaKaleidoscope @Clarinda_K  I only really decided to set one up so that I could follow along with all of the tweeting which  accompanies #GBSB which I am enjoying hugely.

Hope the week is going well – Good Luck to Amanda and Deborah tonight!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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The continuing saga of my coat; Class 3 of 4

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I hope you are having a good week? It’s the day before we break up for half term and as per every penultimate day of a half term I am super stressed.  There is a big sign on the wall at the Sew Over It studios which says SEWING SOOTHES THE SOUL … OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. It does but my coat making has caused a lot of stress too.  There are four classes and homework each week – the tasks for which are detailed and numbered on really helpful A4 sheets.  I have just finished class three of four.  The lesson has seven tasks and there are a further three for homework.  I have managed to do task one … of the classwork!

I think the stress-inducing issue for me has been the homework – which is not something quick but a chunky four to six hours worth of work.  This amount of time needs to be carefully scheduled in but with consecutive weeks it can cause a build up in other activities which you normally do at the weekend e.g. marking (I am choosing to forget that I spent a glorious afternoon on the beach – wasn’t Sunday gorgeous?)

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I had not finished the  classwork/homework for week two so decided to skip off early from work and get to the studio two hours before my class.  I sat companiably with one the of the Sew Over It girls, listening to classical music and as I caught up, I did find that, yes, my soul was indeed soothed. Next week is half term so goodness knows what time I’ll have to arrive in order to make up the deficit after this week!

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I did learn an interesting new technique this week – pressing.  When I attached the front facings, Julie (brilliantly patient tutor) told me that I had to “press and pat” to get the facings to lie completely flat.  This involved steaming and pressing and then, so that the fibres don’t spring back into place you have to “pat” them back until the steam has been pushed out and the fabric has gone cold – it then lies much flatter.  The patting was accomplished by whacking the fabric with the ham – you can see how the end has mounded itself to my hand with all the pressure.  Anyway, it gives a nice clean finish.  We also marked on the buttonholes and I am going to take them to a man in Soho who apparently has a buttonhole machine and makes keyhole buttonholes for professional tailors – and amateur seamstresses apparently. I am looking forward to sharing my button hole experience with you next week – are you excited?

imageFinally, it is very difficult not to buy anything when you are in a fabric shop/haberdashery for five hours.  This is what I bought this week.  Some lovely broderie anglaise – isn’t that a lovely thing to say – BRODERIE ANGLAISE and a blue/black chevron jersey.  I’m thinking Moneta for the knit – I have been impressed with recent versions from Sew South London and Navy Blue Threads. For the cotton, another Belcarra maybe? It would make a lovely shirt but I have button hole fear at the moment – to sit alongside my overlocker fear – what IS the matter with me?!

I hope you’ve got a nice glass of wine lined up for GBSB tonight – wonder what I’ll spot that I recognise this week?

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

 

 

 

A little tale of inspiration involving Margate, Isle of Wight and GBSB

 

The Great British Sewing Bee is dear to my heart and I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode of series three.  I felt so inspired to sew at the end of the second series I booked a workshop which offered to teach basic skills to enthusiastic beginners.  The Easter workshop, at Cloth Kits, Chichester was called Make your Mother proud; I think it more likely she would have been bemused.

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The workshop confirmed my new passion and I went straight to John Lewis and bought a Janome sewing machine. I then discovered sewing blogs and a whole new world of inspiration opened up to me: Scruffy Badger; Handmade Jane; House of Pinheiro; Lladybird, Dolly Clackett and Did You Make That.  With only basic skills I became a little like Catherine Tate’s character who always said “I could do that“-  only with me it was “I could make that”.  So, the beginnings of an addiction was born; following sewing blog royalty, I emulated choices and bought patterns and fabrics.  One particular post which inspired such purchases was this one from Did You Make That. I ADORED the fabric – it reminded me of my holidays as a child.  It was a tana lawn from Liberty and the design was called Isle of Wight.

imageI didn’t go to The Isle of Wight as a child; we always went to Margate. I have happy memories of going to Dreamland night after night after having spent my days making sandcastles and paddling; some of the illustrations in the print reminded me of those gloriously carefree holidays of my childhood.  My parents never went abroad (few did to be honest from the little corner of South West London where I grew up) but many years later I took my parents on a day trip to the Isle of Wight.  It was a really special day – my mum was so excited because she thought it meant she had finally gone abroad!  The last family holiday I had with my own children, before they decided they were too cool to go on holiday with their parents, was to the Isle of Wight so it is a wonderfully nostalgic place for me.  Having bought the fabric and pattern I put them in my wicker stash basket where they have languishfor the past six months.

By the summer I decided I too wanted to blog to share my sewing adventures and in early August 2014 Clarinda Kaleidoscope was born.  Retrospectively I realise I made a faux pas with the name because A. it is not easy to remember and B. it does not convey any sense that it is about sewing but, what can you do? In any case, I like it!

So I sewed, and blogged and got more and more involved in my new hobby – even making a running top for my other passion. Since I’ve been sewing I have not run nearly enough – both are absolute time thieves.

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So I’ve had my machine for about nine months now and when the GBSB aired this week I was astonished at how much I knew compared to last time; I recognised bodices, techniques – I can even put in an invisible zip which appeared to cause some consternation!  However, the thing I was most chuffed at was that one of the contestents, Amanada, whose blog I follow made her summer frock challenge in …. Isle of Wight Liberty Tana Lawn.  So, I abandoned my weekend sewing plans and decided to use my Isle of Wight to make Sewaholic’s Belcarra blouse.

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I was really pleased with how it came together and as I was feeling so nostalgic by this point, thinking of childhood and holidays of the past, and of course, my lovely mum, I decided to have a look through her button box to see if I could find anything which would go with my new blouse.

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The Belcarra doesn’t have any fastenings – it just pulls over the head so the buttons I put on are purely decorative. They are incredibly subtle, barely noticeable in the photos but the pleasure for me is knowing that they are there – a little reminder of the precious past.

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Overall, I think the Belcarra is super versatile.  It looks a bit boxy here – I usually go for a size 12 equivalent but went with the measurements on the packet and cut a 10 – I almost think I could go a size smaller.  I think this will look great with denim shorts in the summer and equally good with a work suit – adding just a little bit of fun.

So, there you go, a few memories, places and people who have inspired me, brought together in one sweet little top.

Have a lovely Sunday,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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