Clarinda Kaleidoscope celebrates First Blogiversary – Hoorah!

Hello and thanks for reading!

Today my blog celebrates being one year old proving that it wasn’t just  a seven day wonder and no-one is more surprised than me.  It has been a wonderful year of learning new skills, making friends and (incredibly) creating an on-line presence!

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An early make worn last week for a picnic at Parham House (the car is not mine by the way)

Blogging

My first post was about my Lilou from Love at First Stitch – you can read that post here.

Photo from my first blog post

Photo from my first blog post

I have 90 followers – thank you so much if you are one of the 90! I have written 62 posts and usually post at the weekend.  I still feel a bit underskilled in relation to blogging, for example, I can’t work out how to add an About Me page (although I thought I had written one during the original set up) and when I try to add a button to say I am joining in with something (e.g. OWOP) it is very hit and miss if it works. I am looking at giving my blog a bit of a facelift and to that end am considering having a customised blog heading designed – I just can’t decide what the image should be though. Any ideas?

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My instagram was set up five weeks later and has 200 followers – I enjoy using instagram and only follow fellow sewistas. I am currently doing the daily sewphotoblog set up by House of Pinheiro which is a great way to find out what others are up to.

Sewing

I had been sewing for about four months before I started my blog.  I have learned so far that there is much I have still to learn!   I mostly enjoy the learning part but sometimes I’m quite impatient and get frustrated when things don’t go right first time.  I have had some triumphs:

1960's coat made at Sew Over It

1960’s coat made at Sew Over It

and some disasters:

How could I not have noticed this until I put the finished garment on

How could I not have noticed this until I put the finished garment on

but most of all I have had fun!

Originally made for my niece's wedding, this dress was equally at home at the races

Originally made for my niece’s wedding, this dress was equally at home at the races

It has been great meeting people on line and in the next couple of weeks I am actually going to meet some of my on-line friends at Fabric Godmother.

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The most exciting aspect of blogging for me this year was being voted as a finalist and then a winner during The Monthly Stitch Independent Pattern month – it was really wonderful to know that other sewistas had actually voted for my dress – a By Hand London Kim featuring Frida Kahlo.

My winning dress

My winning dress

In the coming year I hope to continue making clothes in fabulous prints, engage more with the on-line sewing community to gain inspiration from others and finally, get over my fear of the overlocker.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

Just so you know - It's not all about me (but mainly it is)!

Just so you know – It’s not all about me (but mainly it is)!

 

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A little displacement activity – man sewing

Hi to all, hope you are having a FAB time enjoying the sunshine, especially if you are back to work tomorrow or saying goodbye to your littlies as they return to school.   image I have had a lovely break – really relaxing.  I didn’t get quite as much sewing as I expected as I have been distracted by other activities and fussing over the family – which I love to do. I am currently supposed to be doing coursework marking which I should have done earlier in the holidays but I have hopped onto the laptap to write this blog post – naughty naughty.

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Worn here with an un-ironed, non-matching shirt just because I was impatient to get a photo

Yesterday it was my niece’s wedding – she is the first of my thirteen nieces and nephews to get married and I had made a Flamingo Kim for the occasion. However, during the holidays when my sewing plans seemed to revolve endlessly around dresses I decided to do a little man sew as a displacement activity – I was  inspired to do this by Lazy Daisy Jones who has pledged to do a man sew a month. With the wedding fast approaching, I decided to make a tie using the leftovers from my Mortmain. imageA tie does take a surprising amount of fabric.  Mr CK kept looking at it doubtfully asking “exactly how big is it going to be”?  I have made a tie once before, at a ClothKits workshop.  I used the same pattern as I was pleased at how that one turned out. I used a little bit of lilac polka dot which I have got in my stash which I think is wanting to be made up into a Gabriola – which would certainly go well with my shoes.  I have read a couple of blogs this week where people have been reviewing the goals they set themselves for 2015 – mine are not going terribly well. Making the Gabriola was one of my pledges so I think I should crack on with that now that the summer is on its way.  However, I have just cut out another Mortmain and have bought the fabric to make my Davie – so much sewing and so little time. imageAnyway, there is not too much more  to say about the tie.  I enjoyed the construction and particularly like the hand sewing elements. It was a pleasant afternoon’s distraction from my selfish sewing.  I was really pleased that Mr CK was quite happy to wear it to the wedding and told everyone that I had made it. So to close today, here are a few pics of the wedding to show you the Kim and tie actually in use for an “occasion” – a glorious London affair which saw us traipsing around on London Transport in all our finery. Toodle pip, Clarinda x

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With my beautiful niece Sarah

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With some of the family menfolk; Summer Rose pretending she is the bride.

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There did seem to be a bit of a lemon theme going on (which I like) but the lilac looks nice too

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Outside our local waiting for the bus to take us to Clapham Junction – classy!

PS – If you did scroll down this far … I’ve got another couple of weddings to go to this summer.  What do you think about the idea of my Mortmain and the matching tie? Utterly dreadful or fun cheese?

Knitting and Stitching Show and a grumpy CK

Hello all, hope your weekend is going well?

I am going to be completely upfront and say I have had a really horrid week at work because, well basically because, I work with incompetent, spiteful morons. Ooh, you’d think it would feel better getting that off my chest but no … I’m still cross!

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The only reason why I’ve said that is because it might have affected my view of The Knitting and Stitching Show. I was SO looking forward to it but left feeling distinctly underwhelmed. It’s the first show of its kind I’ve been to since I’ve become passionate about sewing. I had imagined it would be like the Ideal Home Show exhibitions in their 1970s heyday. I anticipated returning laden down with freebies, giveaways, samples, literature, offers etc. but no: Love Sewing Magazine and a metre of jersey stripe (suggestions of what to make anyone?) was my total haul.

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I did see one of the BHL girls – the patterns looked beautiful all stacked together on the shelves. I was going to say thanks for the excellent Kim sewalong which I am currently sewingalong with but she was busy with a paying customer so I didn’t interrupt. I did get to say Hi to the ladies at the Badger and Earl stand. I am doing a workshop with them next Sunday to make the Mortmain dress. It was good to see one made up. The ironic thing is that one of the features of the dress is it’s dramatic exposed back zip which … I’m not sure I like – I think I might end up putting in an invisible one!

Bodice completed just the skirt to go

Bodice completed just the skirt to go

So, perhaps it was my mood that made me think everything looked a bit tired – a sad man wandering around pushing a 1970s domestic carpet cleaner didn’t help. If you are going, I hope you have fun.

It was nice to have two of my makes featured on Lauren’s Guthrie and Ghani blog round up this week and this weekend I hope to do a bit more on my Flamingo Kim but mainly it’s preparation for an interview I have on Monday – fingers crossed.

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Finally, something good to end the weeks – clogs!

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Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

 

Claudia the Calf? Where’s Gogglebox when you need it? Welcome back Great British Sewing Bee!

 

 

There was a real sense of excitement and anticipation at home last night – for me at least.  My menfolk were quietly resigned but they watched The Great British Sewing Bee and the endless comments proved that they were clearly engaged.  As our roast chicken supper was cooking, I snatched an hour or so to make another couple of Trixie Lixie knickers in some lovely Liberty Lawn I had ordered from Guthrie and Ghani.  I was SO impatient AND determined to have a sewing filled extravaganza of an evening that I sewed them up without matching thread – Shocking behaviour.

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I credit GBSB 100% for getting me into sewing and how funny a year on to see how much more I know about it all.  Was it a BHL Kim bodice I saw (two possibly?) in the summer frock category? The trousers for the first challenge – surely Sew Over It’s Ultimate Trouser with a tweak at the waist to swap facing for bias. Both currently in my stash!

imageThe Kim pattern is because I am taking part in the Kim sewalong – not that I am up to date with that of course.  The Ultimate trousers I made at a workshop a couple of months ago and immediately rushed out to buy some Black twill (?) to make super boring work trousers.  It is because of the super boring bit that the fabric has sat in my stash but I think I will make them up this weekend.  If the Sewing Bees managed it in three hours then I’m going to try and match that.  Regular readers will know that we have had a Sewing Bee at my work.  One of the Bees asked on Wednesday if we were going to follow along with the series – we all looked at her as if she were bonkers. But here I am, actually considering doing one of the challenges for this week.

imageWas one of the dresses made of this fabric?  I thought so but we didn’t get a close up.  It is a gorgeous Liberty lawn with lots of little seaside related illustrations on it. It’s waiting to be made up into a blouse/summer top of some description – hopefully with enough left over to make another pair of pants – they are VERY addcitive!

Finally, onto the contestants and the challenges. Why oh Why is Gogglebox not on tonight?  I LOVE Gogglebox – a glorious celebration of family and what it is to be British in our wonderful,l multi-cultural society.  I would love to know what Steve and Chris, Steph and Dom and Sandy and Sandra think of the garments, characters, challenges.  It is sad when someone has to leave – especially when you have barely been introduced but what a travesty to lose Annie so soon. Did you catch that glorious retort to Claudia when she told she had to leave: Don’t worry – I’ll still name a calf after you!

Have a great weekend sewing,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

Sureau Sunday Special

Hello, I hope your return to work has been good? Mine has been busy and the kids are exhausted (having had two weeks of not getting up until midday, the shock of having to get up at 7am has clearly taken its toll – them not me, I am an early riser).

I had said in a previous post that I thought denim was a little beyond my capabilities at this stage but look … I surprised myself!

imageI made my second Sureau and I absolutely love it – it is very much me.  I bought the fabric just before the return to school in Ditto fabrics along with top stitch thread and denim needles – all a first for me.  I had made a SBA first time around but looking at these photos, I think I needed to actually make a smaller size and then do a SBA on top.  I have no idea which size I cut before because I traced the pattern and then did not mark on it the size but I am sure I would have graduated out at the hips because, well, I am that sort of girl.

imageThe gathers on the skirt were OK but I have been reading on other blogs there are myriad ways of doing them so perhaps I will experiment more next time – I do have a big gathering project coming up with the BHL Kim dress I bought this week for my niece’s wedding – get me – this fledgling seamstress who would immediately have run out to buy a whole new outfit upon receipt of a wedding invitation now goes on line to buy a pattern and fabric instead.

imageI was actually very inventive for me – I have rarely gone “off piste” before. I chose a contrast facing (I had so much fabric left over from my dreaded Dahlia, I have already made a Sorbetto, used it for this and still have some left) and used it for the bias binding on the sleeves.  Also, because I made the sleeveless version I thought that the shoulders looked too wide  – well they were because it was literally the dress without putting the sleeves in – so I hacked an inch and half off from the shoulder graduating to nothing underneath the arm.

imageI love, love, LOVE topstitching – I think it is my favourite technique.  I was quite fascinated to see how the thicker thread worked with the ordinary thread and was anticipating (in my usual panic panic way) that it would all go horribly wrong; it turned out fine.  I think having the right tools for the job really helped.

imageI guess this photo is technically an out-take – it’s me trying to flatten out the gathers over my boobs – just look at that bamboo in the garden – it is taking over.

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Well that’s my first make of 2015 done and I am really pleased – I don’t often say that.  I know that there are SO many things which could be better but I do feel more confident.  I have also been busying on the planning front having bought four new patterns this week: BHL Kim; Sewaholic Oakbridge Blouse and the Granville Shirt and, inexplicably, the Katie and Laney Tap Shorts – this is what comes from being an avid follower of Elizabeth who lives in far sunnier climes.

Other things that have occupied me this week in my little kaleidoscope world are job-hunting and Broadchurch.  I have re-watched the whole of series one this weekend as, annoyingly, at the start of series two on Monday, I couldn’t remember the intricacies of all the various character relationships.  It lost nothing by being a second viewing and the fact that I knew who did it.

Broadchurch 3Have a good week,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x