Farewell to all that …

Hello all,

I have been enjoying all of the end of year round ups and reflections. It prompted me to look at my own post from this time last year when I set myself five goals – see Here. Oh dear. Only one was accomplished but nevertheless I think it has been a successful year on the sewing front. There is no point beating myself up over what didn’t get done. One of the lovely things about getting older is that you care less about things which, on reflection, are not important. I had a complete meltdown at 40 but since turning 50 I would say I have entered one of the happiest phases of my life. I get so much pleasure from my family and friends and I think that that, and continued good health are worth celebrating.

My 54th birthday - somewhere in the bay of Biscay. Dress from ENVY Arundel

My 54th birthday – somewhere in the bay of Biscay. Dress from ENVY Arundel

So,  my year in review. I discovered the joys of cruising. Here I am on my 54th birthday feeling FAB – the only thing which would make this better would be if I had made the dress myself … but I didn’t so there you go – no point fretting about that either! Something to aspire to … maybe.

I was super lucky this year to go to three weddings and for each of them I made my outfit. This was an achievement I am proud of and it added to the pleasure of a wonderful day. First up the first of my thirteen nieces and nephews got married. Here I am with Summer Rose, my son Sam and two of my nephews.

Flamingo border Kim for my niece Sarah's wedding

Flamingo border Kim for my niece Sarah’s wedding

Secondly, a friend of mine, Andy married his beautiful bride Onuma in a beautiful village in Hampshire.

A BHL maxi Anna covered in parrots (lovebirds actually)

A BHL maxi Anna covered in parrots (lovebirds actually)

Finally, a really close friend, Claire got married the first week of the Autumn term. I had been involved in wedding dress shopping and the hen night and was just elated for Claire all day. As a bit of a cheesy joke I made Mr CK a matching tie – people who knew us thought it was really funny but for anyone who didn’t, I guess they thought we were right weirdos!

Mortmain and matching tie!

Mortmain and matching tie!

The only thing I did complete of my stated goals was to make a coat. To date this remains my sophisticated make and I am really pleased with it – although I don’t know if I could do it again.

1960's coat made at Sew Over It

1960’s coat made at Sew Over It

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Social media became an increasingly important part of my life – as well as a time thief! I find myself getting stressed if I get behind on my blog reading/commenting.  The last third of the year I haven’t blogged as much but have continued to contribute to Instagram and now have over 400 followers there. Through the sewing community I have met a number of on-line friends – people I feel I could literally meet and we would be able to start chatting as if we had known each other for years.  This has happened with the people I have met up with, firstly at the Fabric Godmother Open Day and then at the South Coast SewBees meet up – a little nucleus of half a dozen bloggers which I hope will grow next year. And I have a penpal too! One sewing blogger (who shall remain nameless so as not to embarrass her!) and I have developed a friendship over long emails. Our life styles are different but through sewing we found a connection and that has been one of the really lovely things about my year.

SewBees at Ditto Fabrics

SewBees at Ditto Fabrics

Other highlights were that I was nominated for a bloggers award; my Frida Kahlo dress won a competition organised by The Monthly Stitch and I participated in various photo-hop challenges “meeting” new people and getting lots of inspiration along the way.

My winning dress

My winning dress

I’ve decided not to make any pledges for 2016. I have not one but two new jobs to start and I expect that will keep me very busy. I have a ridiculous amount of WIPs so feel I should try and finish at least some of those before I move onto other things. WIPs: Francine jacket; gabriola skirt to match my Francine Jacket; Cigarette pants; Ultimate blouse in a flamingo print; maxi Anna with sequin bodice and brocade skirt.

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So, thank you for following along with me this year. Your comments and support are very much appreciated – being part of a wider community has been a real blessing, particularly in the latter part of the year when I was overwhelmed with other matters. Onwards and upwards! Wishing you all a very happy new year – I don’t know where the quotation comes from to credit it  but … May your bobbin always be full.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

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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

Frieda Kahlo joins in with Me Made May – Week Two Round Up

 

Hello all, hope you are enjoying the sunshine?

I am well and truly into MMMay15 and managed to do two whole weeks without any repeats so I think my challenge for next year will be to go the whole 31 days.  Anyway, here’s how week two went:

Day 10

It was slightly overcast in the morning. Wore my Maria in Denmark top to play tennis. I don’t know if you can see it but the print is of Marilyn Monroe.

At the tennis club

At the tennis club

In the afternoon we did a 5K charity walk for the Snowdrop Trust. It was a really sunny afternoon and although there was the promise of tea, cakes and ice-creams at the end, the little people were quite weary for the last part of the walk.  Didn’t really get a good picture of it but wore another one of my “Scrap Sorbettos” with leftovers from my Lemons Lilou which was my first ever blog post; now I’ve done fifty!

Snowdrop Trust Charity Walk

Snowdrop Trust Charity Walk

Day 11

Back to work in a Tilly and the Buttons Delphine.  Almost forgot to get a picture today so this was taken in some lovely early evening sunshine.

Strawberry and Ants Delphine

Strawberry and Ants Delphine

Day 12

Another work day and this time I wore one of my Belcarra’s – this one made in Liberty Lawn Queue for the Zoo.  I do love this pattern but think I need to go down a size.

Looking very serious

Looking very serious

Day 13

A gloriously sunny day – this photo was taken at school at about 7.45am  Decided to be brave and wear my BHL Kim with a little cardigan.  Wanted to look a little dressy as I was going out for supper with a friend I haven’t seen for a couple of years as he has been in Australia.

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Kim – the design has little anchors on (it is really a beach dress)

Day 14

Another day I almost forgot to get a picture.  This is me slumped in a chair at the end of a long day. I do love my Sureau – one of my students asked me if it was “White Stuff” so that made me smile.  It is funny quite how interested they are in your clothes!

Super comfy Sureau

Super comfy Sureau

Day 15

Thank goodness the week is over – here I am at home before going out for a curry,  I wore another Sorbetto, also made in Liberty Lawn.  I don’t know the name of the design but the lovely orangey hues really lift my work suit.

With Charlie, next door's cat

With Charlie, next door’s cat

Day 16

Big excitement – this gorgeous fabric arrived in the post.  I had seen it on IG on #MMMay15 but annoyingly cannot remember whose it was.  Anyway, I tracked it down and bought two meters.  I did a little poll on IG to see what I should make with it and had a number of helpful suggestions.  I have now cut out a KIM and guess what?  I had enough left over to make a “Scraps Sorbetto” which I am wearing today but you’ll have to wait until next week’s round up to see it – on check out my IG.

Behind here I am wearing my Maria in Denmark/Marilyn Munroe top again for tennis

Behind here I am wearing my Maria in Denmark/Marilyn Munroe top again for tennis

Day 17

A day of pottering: local market and then sewing.  I only finished the bias binding on this little top the previous day.  It is made in this season’s Liberty Tana Lawn Alice in Wonderland fabric.

Inverted pleat Scraps Sorbetto

Inverted pleat Scraps Sorbetto

What I have learned this week: I am OBSESSED with Sorbettos – I manage to squeeze one out of practically everything I make. In the case of Frieda Kahlo, I have actually made up the Sorbetto ahead of the dress which I had bought the fabric for. This week I wore three and made two!

Will aim for more variety next week but as I am sat here in my new Frieda Kahlo Scarps Sorbetto don’t hold your breath!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

Nautical Kim with a Twist

 

Hello all. hope you are having a FAB weekend!

I want to share my second Kim with you – these photos were taken at the beach last weekend which is probably why I am sat here now with a cold. It was such a gloriously sunny day albeit windy and I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to take photos of my nautical Kim in an appropriate setting.

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We had so much fun taking the photos but I have to tell you – this dress did not make me smile the first time I put it on.  I bought the fabric at Fabric Land in Worthing over the Easter holidays, originally for a Sureau but decided to go with a Kim because the fabric was so summery.

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Although I had bought lining fabric I managed to eek the dress out of two metres.  It did necessitate a lot of twiddling around and I had to cut right up to the selvedge which fortunately was patterned rather than being a white strip.  Anyway, I thought I had marked each piece so that the selvedge pieces were on the inside of the bodice but I was sewing whilst watching, I think it was, Morse.  There are so many adverts in these two hour programmes that in order to alleviate the guilt from lazing on the sofa – I hop up every time the ads are on and do a bit of sewing which proabably accounts for why this happened (and I did not notice until I tried the finished garment on)!

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Normally I become despairing when things go wrong but this just made me laugh and laugh.  I could not believe that I hadn’t noticed this: I will certainly be more attentive when I am lining in the same fabric in the future.  I have not been put off though – I have already bought some Liberty with all of the Alice in Wonderland characters on and am going to make another one. imageimageYou will see that I did correct it.  I had to unpick the shoulder, twist the pieces round the right way and then I simply butt the two shoulder pieces together and handstitched with really tiny stitches.  Obviously I can notice it but as my hair is shoulder  length, I don’t think anyone else will – unless of course I meet you on a beach somewhere and you want a quick peek to see how neatly I did it!

Here are a couple more pics – just because it was such a lovely day.

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In other sewing news I have finished the two ties I was sewing in the Liberty Lawn with daisies – I did the hand sewing on the train which seemed to intrigue people. I gave one to a friend last night at his leaving do and the other has been hidden away for Mr CK’s birthday next month.  I really do enjoy making ties.

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This weekend I am hoping to cut out my Gabriola (need to trace the pattern first) and I am currently making my tennis themed Sorbetto in preparation for the half term tennis camp.

Hope you have a lovely weekend and especially good luck to you if you are running a marathon!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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Kim, Flamingos and a (Copy) Cat

Hello all,

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I finished my Kim Sewalong a little bit behind schedule but still on time for my niece’s wedding on the 11th April.  She is having a very colourful wedding in Peckham and I thought this fabric would be perfect for a fun dress – here I must confess – the inspiration came from Dolly Clackett whose dress I have completely copied – please forgive me and thanks SO much for being such a huge source of inspiration to me during my first year of sewing.  There, I’ve got that out of the way right at the beginning of the post so now I can give you the deets.

I am writing this post as my contribution to the Monthly Stitch Collective and the theme for March is Inside Out.  Well, the insides of this frock will probably make you sigh with disbelief.  So far, every dress I have made has had shedloads of surplus fabric so instead of the three metres I should have got, I went for two.  Big mistake.  The skirt is supposed to have all three metres in it so mine is nowhere near as swishy as it should be.

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The bodice is lined and as I didn’t have the full amount of fabric (Grrrr), I couldn’t get the lining out of the same fabric. As I had already started cutting out and just wanted to get on to sewing I searched my stash – which is nowhere near as abundant as some I  have seen.  The only fabric I had which was not printed or not cotton was some gorgeous broderie anglaise I had bought from Sew Over it and cost half as much again as the dress fabric itself.

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It looks very pretty anyway.  If you are a regular reader you will know I have a fear of my overlocker, which came threaded with black.  I decided I would be bold and use it to finish my seams …. can you see where this is going?

imageI promise I won’t do this again.  I have now had a private lesson and been shown how to change my threads – although I haven’t yet done it by myself. If you look very carefully at the picture of the bodice you can see just see the darkness of the thread peeping through – Oh I am a wally. Luckily it’s on the inside so only I know.  The bodice top was a challenge for me – I have never done that thread the fabric through the shoulders thing before – I didn’t think it would ever go through and when it did, the fabric was so creased it looked like a rag.  Here is a picture mid procedure – looks rude doesn’t it?

imageI also learned a new technique for gathering and I have to say, it has produced the best results so far; you prepare the gathers by hand-sewing two rows of running stitch at the same time.

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Although I am please with the overall outcome, there are a few things I regret – of course, there are. The black overlocking and the fact that I didn’t handstitch the hem.  On the plus side my invisible zip insertion is improving and if I can get my waist seams to line up it would be moving towards perfect.

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So all in all a reasonable outcome. The fabric is called Flaming Boarder and I got it from Fancy Moon; the dress pattern (which I would highly recommend) is By Hand London’s Kim – but don’t skimp on the fabric.

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imageI thought you might like a little close up of my shoes.  I have become obsessed with Swedish clogs – I bought two pairs at the end of the summer in the sale which I hadn’t had chance to wear but now that I have and know exactly how comfortable they are, I have bought another …. sssshhhh, don’t tell Mr CK this ….. three pairs.

So, the clocks have gone back, Spring is officially here and it is the first day of my two week Easter break – Happy Days!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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