GBSB, MMMay16 and I ❤️ Liberty event

Hello all,

Hope you’ve had a good week? I certainly have on sewing related things.

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Me May Made has seen the rise of the boob selfie!  I have an IPAD but not a smart phone so taking selfies is tricky because I can’t easily hold the IPAD steady and press the button. Anyway, the desire to get a quick, no-nonsense pic each day without the embarrassment of having to ask someone to take it has resulted in my new technique whereby I can take a photo easily by balancing the IPAD on my desk – the only slight problem with this is that it only offers a close-up of my chest!

The boob selfie from a gal who clearly likes prints and buttons

The boob selfie from a gal who clearly likes prints and buttons

Me Made May has crystalised what I knew already: I have a plethora of tops (being the Queen of the Quick Fix) and far fewer separates to wear them with. During the week this is fine because all the tops brighten up my work suits but I definitely need to do more separates sewing – bottom half. I always enjoy these challenges because I find other people so inspiring and enjoy finding new blogs/IGers to follow.

Well, what did we all think of the GBSB?  I was delighted to discover that one of the contestants is a young lady from Sussex who also shops at the wonderful Ditto fabrics. I met up with one of my sewing buddies, Jane, yesterday to do a post mortem over lunch. I had previously spotted an Instagram pic of Jane wearing a dress in an unusual fabric covered in mini Brighton Pavillions.  I told her how much I loved it and she generously said I could have the offcut.  I thought I was going to use it for some sleeves or a border trim but when Jane gave it to me, it was a substantial piece and I knew I could get a Grainline Scout Tee out of it.

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I was really chuffed – sewing friends are the best. When I posted a pic of my WIP on IG, one lady sympathised with how tricky it would be to pattern match! I’ll leave you to ponder with how that went! Anyway, because I can really whizz through a Scout tee these days, I was able to wear it today on a walk around and above Chichester and Goodwood.

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Goodwood in the background – I am at the trig point on the Trundle

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Before we went for our lunch, we met in Cloth Kits – I love Cloth Kits.  Two years ago this Easter I attended a workshop there, Make Your Mother Proud – in fact, my banner photo comes from that day, and I was immediately hooked. I left that workshop and went straight to John Lewis and bought my machine. Anyway, yesterday they were having an I Love Liberty Event – there were all sorts of bargains to be had and even a pop up Liberty shop out the back which sold an array of goodies. The yard behind Cloth Kits – the aptly named Drapers Yard, has opened up an area with pop up shops  (prettily painted garden sheds) which you can rent for the day from £10 apparently.

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What a good idea – perhaps some of you who sell your crafts could go there?

Obviously I couldn’t resist buying some fabric. There was a good deal – spend X and you get 20% off (sorry can’t say what X is – you never know, one of my family might actually read my blog for once) and dithered for ages over what to get. In the end I bought some lovely, fleecy backed sweatshirt fabric.  I did buy it with the thought of another Grainline Linden (ignoring the fact that my overlocker still has broken needles from my last foray into trying to tame it) but I wondered…. those of you who have made Cocos – would it work in a heavy sweatshirt fabric do you think? My other purchase was some lovely Lantana Wool. I have never heard of this before but it is SO soft. I think it is destined to become my first Laurel. It’s funny isn’t it now that summer is on its way, I have been buying winter fabrics.

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Well, that’s it I think. I just want to leave you with a photo taken today by lovely Mr CK – we have been together 30 years and I am so blessed to have someone in my life who can make me laugh this much.  I am currently preparing for various stages of the Mountain Leader training and you have to have an emergency shelter as part of your personal kit.  This is us trying it out on a very sunny day at the top of the Trundle – a passer by asked me if the airport had been notified!

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Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

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Purchases, plans and pals

Hello to all,

As you may guess from the title of my post I have been busy with sewing related activities but there has been little on the actual sewing front – I have a busy week ahead so anticipate the same but next week …..

This morning I have the last of my six sessions on the introductory pattern drafting workshop at Cloth Kits. It has been a really interesting course, taken at a leisurely pace with an amazing tutor, Maria Pulley. The final outcome should be that we will have made blocks for bodice, sleeve and skirt and have a toile made up for a dress of our own design. Here is my princess seamed bodice which I constructed over the weekend and hopfully today I will decide what I want to do with the skirt – currently thinking seven gored.

Very pleased with the fit across the shoulders and underarm which can be problematical for me

Very pleased with the fit across the shoulders and underarm which can be problematical for me

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In terms of fabric I am going for this which was bought last week during the inaugural SEWBESS meet-up at Ditto Fabrics. The plan is to make the dress in the MOD green wool with sleeve cuffs and belt in the check. I also rather extravagantly bough the floral viscose to use as a lining (more on that later).  The rest of the check is to make a “consolidation” Francine jacket – once I finish the one which is currently still sans lining. The idea is to make a new dress/jacket suit for my new job in January.

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I had planned to write about my meet up with these lovely ladies who are all fellow bloggers and met originally at one of the two Open Days at Fabric Godmother. However Jane has written such a good post on the event I would only be repeating it so if you are interested, please read here. I would just like to add that although we are all based on the South Coast we live in three counties between us so please feel free to join in too.

SewBees at Ditto Fabrics

SewBees at Ditto Fabrics

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At the Brighton Sewing Centre I managed to get the perfect buttons for my yet to be made check Francine jacket and some sparkly zips caught my eye although initially I had no idea what I was going to do with them, I do now!

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Perfect buttons for my jacket – small ones for the cuffs on the contrasting dress

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I only bought one thing in the Black Friday sales and that was the Orla pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. I have decided to make it up in black jacquard (I hope I have enough left over after making my maxi Anna) and use one of the sparkly zips.

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Finally back to that viscose. I had been thinking and thinking about this fabric.  Whilst I think it is wonderful to have a funky lining, I kept thinking it was just too pretty to be hidden away. I then noticed the party dress pattern with the December issue of SEW Style and Home and thought that it might be perfect to make up my Christmas Day dress.

View A - three quarter sleeves destined to become my Christmas Day Dress

View A – three quarter sleeves destined to become my Christmas Day Dress

So that is the plan.  Although as you can see, I have a lot of plans and quite a few WIPs. Presumably others have that problem – so busy buying fabric and making plans and seeing friends that your rate of output is insufficient to keep up?

Well it’s time for me to scurry off and get ready for my final workshop – lunch afterwards with my fellow student Debbie who I have struck up a lovely friendship with – us sewing peeps are such a lovely bunch! I will leave you with a final photo of the fabric because it really is beautiful and the colours are more like they are in real life. Have a FAB, Festive week.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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Magic Mortmain – Mark 2

Hello all on this lovely sunny Sunday,

Guess what? I’ve been having another one of my little ponders and have realised that the garments I make multiple versions of are the ones where I have had success e.g. Sorbetto and Kim.  However, the trickier ones where I have been to a workshop and KNOW that I should make another as soon as possible after to consolidate just doesn’t happen despite my good intentions.  And so is true of Gatherkits Glorious Mortmain which fitted so well I previously thought it must be magic.

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I made my first Mortmain at a workshop run by Handmade Jane at Badger and Earl.  I was delighted with the result (notwithstanding that in my haste to finish I managed to insert the armhole facings back to front/upsidedown). You can read about that workshop here.  As I said, full of good intentions I bought a further large exposed zip from Badger and Earl whilst I was there. I had a rootle through my little stash and came across the fabric I had bought when I first got my sewing machine so at that point it was a year old and I guess my first ever “stash”.  I bought it from Clothkits. It is covered in large daisies but the centre is actually a rose.  I’ve included a close up here so that you can see the fabric as it is not really so clear on the photos.

You will see I took no chances this time with the pesky armhole facings

You will see I took no chances this time with the pesky armhole facings

I cut the dress out straight away and there it has sat – since March – on the corner of my sewing table.  I think I shied away from it for so long because I was worried about the exposed zip – and the box pleats for that matter without Jane to hold my hand. I kept putting other projects on top. A week ago I cut out an Anna (another previous success) in a lovely Liberty poplin …

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… and just as I was about to start working on it, I heard a little voice in the corner say “What about me? You were excited about making me once. What went wrong?”  Well … I thought it was a good point, well made so I put my Anna (and an Edith I got out of the scraps) in the corner spot instead, picked up poor, abandoned Mortmain and just got on with it. By the way, does anyone else think of Brideshead Revisited every time they read Mortmain because they link it with Marchmain? Remember Laurence Olivier as Lord Marchmain swanning around Castle Howard (Brideshead).

For me, one of the most amazing British dramas on television

For me, one of the most amazing British dramas on television

I am so pleased that I did.  It really is a lovely pattern.  Everything is so carefully explained with diagrams and then close-ups of the diagrams.

image It turned out to be a straight forward sew – armhole facings in correctly; exposed zip – almost perfect.

imageYou can see here the box pleats and the close fitting bodice. I do still need to get a decent camera instead of my ipad so that I can improve my blog photos. I haven’t actually got a specific event to wear this frock for – I always like to have something special for a first public outing. Feel free to invite me to anything Mortmain Appropriate!

Which reminds me. Thank you for all your kind comments on my blogiversary which I celebrated in my last post.  I really do appreciate the lift that our supportive sewing community gives. My lovely friend and neighbour Ali popped round unexpectedly with a little gift: a metre or so of a navy blue wool with a pin stripe in a brighter blue and a vintage pattern of a skirt which I had admired on her, for me to trace. This will probably be my first make of the Autumn sewing phase but I am not there yet – too many summer plans still to get through!

What will be my first vintage pattern make

What will be my first vintage pattern make

I was hoping to give my blog heading a facelift but so far have only managed to get my sewing machine serviced. You may remember some moans about that fact that my machine has never been able to do button holes? Well, now it does and it won’t surprise you to read that, apparently, it has always been able to do button holes if only I had set the dials appropriately!

Lots to look forward to next week: Open Day at Fabric Godmother; working on my project for The Monthly Stitch Two is the Magic Number Challenge and … A level results.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

Just one last peep at the exposed zip - I am in love with it

Just one last peep at the exposed zip – I am in love with it

 

 

 

 

The Vintage Shirtdress … at last

Hello sewing chums,

I normally try to post each weekend with an occasional mid-week post but the combination of end of term madness and Wimbledon has meant that I have fallen behind with my self-imposed schedule … now I get why the more sophisticated bloggers schedule posts.  Still, I have been active on Instagram and am very pleased with just how frequently I am wearing my own makes these days. Anyway, the only reason I am bothering to give you this little explanation is just in case you were following my progress at the Sew Over It studio to make my Vintage Shirt Dress; I blogged Week One, then Week Two – were you having restless nights worrying about what happened on Week Three? Well fret no more – it’s finished!

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I have to admit the final workshop was not a happy experience for me.  Following the problems of the previous week I had done a lot of work at home to get back on track and arrived at the class with only the neckline facing, buttonholes and hemming to go. The first task we all had to do was choose fabric for our next shirtdress. Lisa had kindly arranged for each of us to have a new pattern and fabric so that we could make another shirtdress (if you read about week two you’ll understand this).  I picked a floral in deep, rich colours which I thought would make a great layering shirtdress in the cooler months (what is the matter with me thinking about autumn at the start of the summer holidays?) but yesterday when I was wearing my Gabriola and thinking about how much I enjoy wearing a maxi, I suddenly realised what a great maxi it would make.

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Anyway, back to class. The neck facing went on swiftly and I began to get excited thinking I might actually be able to wear it to see  The Importance of Being Earnest later that week (a theatre trip with colleagues to see farewell to a lovely lady who had been at our school for 29 years). Well, that was SO the wrong thing to do.  Once I had had that thought, nothing went right.  I spent about two hours faffing about with the buttonholes and didn’t get a single one finished.  It turned out my machine was at fault but by the time that was established I was in a complete strop and left the workshop in tears. Apologies to Julie if you read this.  I must repeat here what a wonderfully patient sewing teacher Julie is.

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Our school library is actually much better appointed than this photo would indicate!

Another frustrating feature about this is that my own machine had a fault with the button hole function and as I haven’t got it fixed, I couldn’t finish my frock at home.  Hoorah for working in a school – I went to the textiles room after work and finished my button holes.

My not very good buttonholes - I need to work on this

My not very good buttonholes – I need to work on this

I struggled to get decent photos – tried to get a few in the garden but it was overcast and the others were taken at school on my first day of wearing the dress.  It was Prize Giving day (linked to Y13 leavers) so it was actually worn under my academic gown  (no photos of that piece of ridiculousness).  Thanks to my colleague Liz for taking photos in the library for me.

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A silly picture of me twirling - it seems to be the rage in blogs at the moment

A silly picture of me twirling – it seems to be the rage in blogs at the moment

I will definitely make the dress again – I actually really like it and it fits well after all the alterations but next time I will make it in the right size.

imageI really must comment on the gorgeous fabric.  It’s Liberty Tana Lawn bought in Cloth Kits, Chichester.  They always have a good selection of Liberty including some on sale (which this was).  The design is Winter Dreams of Spring and if you study it closely all sorts of lovely things come into focus but from a bit of a distance it looks rather subtle.  I bought three metres as the pattern suggested I needed and managed to also get out of it a Sorbetto (of course I did) and made a tie for my colleague to celebrate him passing his NQT year.

Sorbetto worn at work with chinos

Sorbetto worn at work with chinos

I think it works really well as a tie

I think it works really well as a tie

I haven’t seen the tie on yet as I only gave it to my colleague on Friday – the last day of term – but he seemed pleased with it.

Well, it’s been a picture heavy post and not too many details about the actual shirtdress.  I think that’s because the making process was fraught and not a happy experience for me so I didn’t want to dwell on the detail but I am certainly pleased with the outcome.

And so begins, seven happy weeks of holidays with much reading, sewing, running, tennis, cooking and hopefully blogging planned.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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