Gifts: Given and Received

Hello all,

Commiserations to you if today is the first day back to work; bigger commiserations if you have already been back for days/was never really off. As I’m in the post Christmas tidying everything away phase I thought I would share with you some of the lovely gifts I received and show you what I made.

First up – some ties.

image

I have made ties before using a pattern I got at a Cloth Kits tie making workshop a year ago.  The pattern is for a structured tie that has a separate piece of fabric in the middle – I thought it was called chad but I might be wrong. Anyway, although I really like that pattern I noticed that in Love Sewing magazine they had a pattern to make a Liberty tie which was actually much slimmer and used interfacing rather than a separate piece of fabric. This style seemed a bit younger/more trendy. I bought some lovely Liberty fabric (from Cloth Kits); .70m is enough to make two ties. The paisley I made for my husband and brother-in-law and the speckled one for my son and a friend. I really like using a fun fabric for a surprise lining – Queue for the Zoo anyone?

My sister-in-law came to spend the day with us on the 27th. She is the one who made my Shetland Tam which I am so happy with. We had a lovely time together which included a walk around the Wetlands. She had knitted for me some beautiful mittens with the flip back top to reveal fingerless gloves – very useful when you need to get things out of your purse. It was her husband who I had made the tie for. He was really chuffed and put it on immediately and wore it for the rest of the day. Surprisingly it goes well with his checked shirt!

image

For my sister-in-law I made a little tote bag out of the wool fabric I used to make my daisy coat; I lined it with bird fabric. It was my intention that it be used as an on-the-go knitting bag so I included four lovely balls of Rowan Merino Alpaca so that she can do a little bit of selfish knitting for herself.

image

By coincidence I also received a bag as a present from my friend and neighbour who is also a talented seamstress. It is made from a lovely thick tapestry style fabric and it is the perfect size for my (almost daily) trips to the Co-op.

image

Sorry this picture is a little dark – we haven’t had decent light for what seems like days

Another neighbour doesn’t sew but she cooks! We share a side entrance and I found a whole pile of food goodies which she had pushed through the cat flap! Over a period of a few days I received cranberry sauce – gorgeous with sausages; mincemeat; rough puff pastry; a Christmas pud.  Can you see the little rabbit decoration on my mince pies? I bought crackers from Joules last year and this pasty cutter was one of the gifts – incredibly I didn’t lose it and was able to use it this year. I love food gifts – did you receive any?

image

Finally to show you is a gold sequinned Grainline Scouttee I made for my daughter – she has promised me a photo WHEN she wears it so you might be waiting quite a while for an addendum to this post! I do really love the ease of this pattern. A couple of days ago I used it to make one for myself for my walking holiday – I go on Friday and am getting rather excited about it.

image

image

I also received a new camera – a wifi camera no less. I haven’t yet used it to take any photos (as you have probably guessed from the rather dreadful quality of today’s pictures – sorry about that) or worked out how to use the wifi but it is on my list of Things to Do… soon.

Well that’s it for now my lovelies,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

image

Advertisements

Behind schedule … again

Hello sewing chums, hope you are having a good week.

My plans for today have been thwarted.  As last night was the final session in my Francine Jacket workshops at Sew Over It,  I had planned to visit my old friend, the button man of Soho (read this post if you want to know more). However, this is the state of my jacket at the time of writing (and don’t even ask me about the lining).

image

I am disappointed.  I had to fight off feelings of despondency which threatened to overwhelm me all evening.  I think I   must be a right pain to be with on a workshop. Having completed my homework (which took hours), the subsequent fitting saw my sleeves having to be ripped off and reductions made to the centre back, side back and sleeves.  It seems that all of the bits I had added in to accommodate my shoulders have had to be removed. The sleeves which I had taken up to a 16 are now down to an 8 – weird. Anyway, twenty minutes before the end of the class I was back to the point I had been when I arrived!

I have learnt a lot this time about tailoring techniques. A new thing for me was something called …. I thought Julie called it ICE WOOL but I just looked that up to double check and I obviously have got it wrong. So , if you know, please tell us all via the comments. Anyway, it is a small piece of material, incredibly soft and fluffy which you sew into the sleeve head, ahead of the shoulder pads, just to smooth out the line of the sewing, prevent the seam allowance from showing and just make it all look a little more polished.

image

I’m not the only one behind – none of us finished so there are no photos to show you of us all proudly wearing our jackets. The tutor Julie is amazing; so patient.  She was still there at 10pm when I left helping the last student to make sure she knew how to finish. I just hope I can remember what I need to do!  Hopefully this time next week I’ll be able to post a photo of my finished Francine. As soon as I finish I plan to make another (you’ve heard that before haven’t you!).  I ADORE Brora and have been admiring this jacket for a couple of months but really can’t afford the £325 price tag so I am going to make up a Francine version – I think I have been able to track down a similar Harris Tweed so we’ll see.

photo courtesy of BRORA

photo courtesy of BRORA

Earlier in the week I had the fourth of six lessons in my pattern drafting course at Cloth Kits. This week we were making our skirt block which was definitely more straightforward than the bodice and sleeves. The highlight of this week was a sneaky peak in the tutor’s studio.  Maria Pulley, as well as teaching, has her own couture dressmaking business and her studio is above Cloth Kits.

Examples of work in Maria's studio

Examples of work in Maria’s studio

She is currently working on wedding outfits for a mature lady (see the floral jacket above) and her 91 year old mother. This nonagenarian  lady has chosen a dress in blue silk and to go over it, this most gorgeous peacock feather coat. Isn’t that FAB? Imagine being 91 and having your own couture outfit – SO much for us to still look forward to.

image

Whilst I was there this week, I noticed some new Liberty fabrics which had come in and were just being stored upstairs – I think they are “old” rather than new and Liberty have sold them off to their distributors.  Anyway, this rather quirky design caught my eye. It is called Transport Threads. I bought 1.75 m – originally to make a shirt.  It is incredibly thin – see-though I would say – so I am now thinking that maybe I might use it as a funky lining for a subsequent Francine.

image

So another week has gone by without anything finished to share with you!  It’s funny but looking back over my blog, I was churning out a frock a week (I know, I know, some of you can do that in an evening) but now that I have a little more time on my hands, I am working at a slower, more thoughtful pace. In addition, I have been more involved in social sewing, or to be more precise eating.  I have met two fellow sewers for lunch (hello Jane, hello Debbie!) – it is so great to meet people and to talk about sewing and life. Inspired by the SEWBRUM bunch, a few of us who live on the South Coast are having a meet up for the first time this Saturday in Brighton and I am really looking forward to that – If you can get to Brighton and would like to join us for coffee and a mooch around Ditto fabrics, do let me know and I’ll give you the details – all are welcome. I do love this little community of ours.  Ooh dear, I had better sign off before I get too maudlin!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

samples from Linton tweeds - potential Francines

samples from Linton tweeds – potential Francines

 

 

 

Workshops galore – the Sewcation continues

Hi all, hope you are well and happy?

Well this is the third week of my Sewcation and I’m learning lots but still haven’t actually completed anything to show you! So here is a round up of this week’s activities.

Pattern Cutting Workshop at ClothKits

Dear Lord, there are only two of us on this course – such a privilege – and we are behind!  It was the third session on Monday and we were supposed to be drafting our sleeves – which we did do BUT there were so many niggles with our bodices – we both had to do further alterations on our second toiles.

image

Just look at this odd adjustment on my bodice – a bizarre pleat going horizontally over the top of my right boob.  The tutor said it was because I was “hollow” – I think this is more to do with my massively padded bra rather than my inherent body shape. Having seen all of the miniscule alterations needed to get something to fit, I am surprised that we ever mange to get anything to fit rtw  – what with my size 20 shoulders and hollow chest it’s a wonder I don’t live in saris – actually I love saris – so elegant. You can read here a very early post of mine about this beautiful sari.

Thought I'd brighten up my post with a pop of colour

Thought I’d brighten up my post with a pop of colour

Anyway, I digress. The sleeve drafting had less mathematical calculations than the bodice but I still made a couple of errors. Next week we are going to put our patterns onto card – the Block. Then it’s onto the skirt drafting and finally to designing our own dress – exciting!

image

After the class I met up with Jane from Jane Makes  and we had lunch in Carluccios and chatted about sewing and life.  It’s really lovely to meet up with people who I have met through the on-line community. Next week I am having lunch with Debbie, my fellow student on the course – so  I have become, temporarily,  a lady wot lunches with other ladies wot sew!

Francine Jacket Workshop at Sew Over It, Clapham

Last Wednesday I started the Francine Jacket workshop – it has been so incredibly popular it has taken me  months to get a place. The workshop runs over three consecutive Wednesdays.  Having done a number of workshops now I know that there is a lot you have to do at home.  With just three weeks for this jacket there was a huge amount of homework to do.  I left the class only having cut out my pattern – I am SUCH a slowcoach.  To be honest, if I hadn’t been on sewcation I would never have been able to get the work done – I must have spent about ten hours on it.  A lot of this was because I couldn’t squeeze the pattern out of the 1.5m I had earmarked for the project and spent ages faffing about with my jigsaw.

image

I resolved this by using some of the check fabric I am going to make a Gabriola out of – I plan to make a maxi skirt suit. There are six of us in the class. I love Julie’s super calm manner. It must be really stressful trying to fit six different people  – each of us needed a number of alterations – but you would never guess it from her demeanor.

image

To account for my super shoulders we went up to a size 16 on the arms (the rest of the pattern was a 12) and added some extra in at the centre back seam but look – now that I’ve made it up, I think it’s too much.  The photo doesn’t really show it properly but the back is so rounded I could squeeze a small hunchback in there – to balance out my hollow chest obviously.

imageimage

The second class is tonight – I was supposed to have finished the under collar but I can’t work out where it finishes.  It will be really interesting to see how the others have got on.  One of the other girls bought her fabric from Linton Tweeds and it is beautiful – I’ll try and get a photo tonight.

Guthrie and Ghani – Sewing a Sequin Party Top

Finally, a friend and I have booked a little jaunt together to go up to Guthrie and Ghani for a one day workshop to make a top in sequins.  I am really looking forward to visiting the haberdashery – it always looks SO beautiful and welcoming in the photos and Lauren has an amazing fabric selection.

And just before I close, I have some news.  I went for a job interview last week and was offered the position.  It is only a mat leave cover but a huge relief for me. The school seems lovely and although I am still applying for permanent roles from September 2016, at least I can relax a little bit for now.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

image

 

 

 

 

A morning of manipulating my darts

Hi everyone,

Hope your week is going well?  Mine is super busy (for someone who is technically not working). Went to the second session of my six week course: pattern drafting at Clothkits: less maths this week for me to fret about.

image

This week was mainly spent cutting and sticking – it reminded me of the best primary school lesson ever!

image

We cut out six  – I don’t know what they are called – bodice fronts?  – and manipulated the darts into one of six different positions so that we could see how it would work in practice. I actually really enjoy the theory side of things.

The one I found most baffling was where the darts are right across the middle of your chest.  I really couldn’t work out why you would ever do this but the tutor explained – with the aid of a piece of lined paper – the effect which would be created if your fabric had horizontal stripes.  I have to say  – there was a light bulb moment when it finally twigged.

image

You’ll have to excuse my shoddy photos – there just wasn’t enough light and I was rushing because I needed to concentrate on what the tutor was saying rather than faff around with my IPAD.

We have to start collecting ideas of what we would like our own dress to be like.  I hadn’t realised but the ultimate objective of the course is, as well as making the blocks, to have made a toile of our own design.  After having spent the morning manipulating darts, I think I am going to go for a bodice with wing darts – similar to princess seams but the darts go under the arm rather than up to the shoulder. I am thoroughly enjoying the course and am very excited to be making up my own design – at this stage I am thinking a Christmas Day dress, perhaps in a floral needlecord.

image

We then spent some time fitting the toiles we had made up for homework. My darts had to be lowered by a centimetre and there was also an adjustment to remove some fabric from the back shoulders and to reduce the overall length.  It was really interesting to see how you swivelled the darts around to move the fabric from one area to the other. Please excuse my mum tum on display – I am amused by the intense concentration on my face! We now have to make up a second toile incorporating all of our adjustments – precision is key apparently.

At the end of the morning the tutor, Maria Pulley, took us into her studio (which is based above Clothkits) to show us some of the beautiful couture garments she is working on.  One of her original designs for the formal robes of the High Sherriff of (?) had had its inaugural wear the previous day at a Remembrance Day service and Maria showed us her initial sketches.  It is a real privilege to be taught be someone who is clearly incredibly gifted.

Will close now with some good news – I went for a job interview yesterday and was successful.  I was really chuffed with all the lovely messages I received on my Instagram so thank you lovely sewing community – you lift my spirits.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

image

The Sewcation begins …

Hello all, I hope you have had a good Monday?

Today my euphemistically named Sewcation began and it got off to a wonderful start – silver linings and all that.

Having unexpectedly found myself with time on my hands, I researched local sewing workshops – of course I did – and found that ClothKits had a Pattern Cutting course starting today.  When I rang at the beginning of last week, only one other person had booked so it wasn’t running.  I asked if I could leave my number in case there was a flurry of last minute bookings and imagine my delight when I received a call on Friday to say the course would run.

image

In fact, there were only two of us – such a privilege. The tutor took us through taking our body measurements and then we drafted the bodice pattern.  This took from 9.30 – 1pm and I didn’t sit down once.  It was SO mathematical AND I finally got to see how a Pattern Master works.  I bought one months ago when I was on a workshop at Sew Over It. That saying All the Gear and No Idea certainly applies to me but I do now know how to use the curved edge to draft a neckline.  It is really interesting looking at your measurements in such detail.  You may recall I have previously bewailed my big shoulders (here)  The evidence was there in black and white today! The other lady and I both looked normal to me. Interestingly our measurements were juxtaposed: I have no boobs and definite shoulders whilst she has a bosom and narrow shoulders.  It’s perfectly clear to me now how all of you experienced seamstresses make wonderful garments that fit – I think my approach has been tentative tweaking and hoping for the best.

image

We eventually finished our draft pattern and cut it out in calico – goodness knows how many toiles we are going to make to get this right but we were each advised to buy three metres. Our homework for this week is to sew up the bodice top and “Draw design ideas for top” – Lordy Lordy. That might be a step too far for me – I just want to be able to adapt the patterns I do have to fit me.

By the end of the morning my tummy was rumbling in an embarrassing way.  I really fancied pasta so on the way to the station I popped into Carluccios – so now I have became one of the Ladies who Lunch. I only mention this because it was delicious and you might want to try it.  I had the homemade ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta in a buttery and sage sauce.  When it arrived there were only NINE pieces of ravioli but it turned out to be the perfect portion size as you can see!

Thank you Mr Carluccio

Thank you Mr Carluccio

Just before I close, I want to give a little mention to Lynne who blogs at Ozzy Blackbeard because it was her posts on pattern drafting which first made me wonder if it was something for me – well, thank you Lynne – it is!

image

Tomorrow I am going to tackle the flamingo shirt which has been laying, sadly forlorn, in a bag since I shoved it there six weeks ago. As you see, my homework is considerably overdue!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

The Birthday Tie

Hello all on this rainy Sunday,

I made a tie for my husband’s birthday which is …..today! I completed this as part of the May’s Menswear and Childrenswear Challenge for The Monthly Stitch Collective. So whilst it was made in good time, I held on until today in order to try and get a photo of him wearing it but before that ….. Childrenswear.

I have not had a lot of success with this.  Sometime last year in my early sewing enthusiasm I made the little people matching dresses in fabric which I thought was gorgeously nostalgic (for me) called Making Paper Planes.  I really messed up the yokes and ended up having to get the textiles teacher at school to give me a hand.

My brief foray into kids wear enabled me to use this wonderfully nostalgic fabric called Making Paper Planes

My brief foray into kids wear enabled me to use this wonderfully nostalgic fabric called Making Paper Planes

Making Paper Planes

Making Paper Planes

Would you like to guess how many times these dresses have been worn? Twice and one of those times was to take the photos. So I was dubious about attempting another childrenswear pattern but I do like to attempt the challenge so I bought what I thought was a funky Oliver and S pattern for the Seashore Sundress and decide to make it a joint enterprise.

My enthusiastic assistant

My enthusiastic assistant

Annoying I decided not to cut out the pieces for the pockets but when I went to sew it up realised that without the pockets there would be a big gap in the ruffle skirt- Grrrr. At that point we both lost enthusiasm and sadly this is the current state of the dress.

image

I will come back to it but not sure when!

Anyway, the menswear part of the challenge was more successful. I had already made a tie at a Clothkits workshop in December so had a pattern. I really like tie making.  I used some glorious Liberty Tana Lawn from this season’s Alice in Wonderland collection.

Liberty Alice in Wonderland collection

Liberty Alice in Wonderland collection

I decided to use some little offcuts from another design in the collection and am very pleased with my placement.

image

I think ties make lovely gifts and I find them very calming to make. There is a fair bit of hand-sewing with a tie and I even did some on my morning commute!

Beats reading The Metro

Beats reading The Metro

So here is the finished tie …

image

…. and here is the Birthday Boy wearing it – not happy that it’s raining or that he has had to put on a shirt on a Sunday for me to take a photo!image

 

Next month’s challenge is Indie Patterns – the Big Four would be more of a challenge for me because so far I have only sewn Indie.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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.

image

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

image

With my beautiful niece Sarah

image

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

image

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

image

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?

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

image

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.

image

image

imageimage

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

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas from Francoise and Clarinda

I made it – literally and metaphorically!

image

 

I rushed to buy Francoise by Tilly and the Buttons as soon as it came out and initially planned to take part in the competition. However, the end of term is so mad that I just never finished in time.  However, I loved looking at everyone else’s dresses and it gave me lots of ideas. I decide to add contrast cuffs to match my collar – now this might not seem very adventurous to you but this was my first time off piste so to speak and I have to say how chuffed I am with how it turned out.

image

I bought the fabric from Clothkits – it is some sort of wool blend, gorgeously soft to the touch.  It is a delicate herringbone pattern and I still can’t quite decide if the contrast if black or dark brown.  Bits of fluff were coming off all over the place and I am sure I will regret not having made friends with my overlocker yet.  I bought one a couple of months ago and am still waiting for a chuck of time to devote to us getting better acquainted. So edges which would really benefit from being overlocked are just pinked – however, I do sort of like pinking – it somehow seems very 1960s.

image

Having missed the deadline for the competition I decided I would have Francoise as my Christmas Day dress – even this looked in doubt but after a final push yesterday and some last minute hand sewing this morning I finally finished it on Christmas Eve.  Although, you could well be forgiven for not realising it was 24th December from these photos – it is gloriously sunny here in Arundel – the tide is very high (the river always looks prettier) and I thought that the cathedral would make a festive backdrop to my photos in the absence of snow –  although I am sure the neighbours thought I was bonkers traipsing up the garden in a pair of high heeled patent shoes.  On reflection I think the dress will look better with my suede boots.

image

In terms of fitting, I cut a size three on the top and graduated out to a four at the hips – I probably didn’t need to do this as there seems to be lots of spare fabric at the back. I’d be really happy to hear from anyone else who has made a Francoise as to how their collar went.  I THINK I have messed mine up – it doesn’t go the whole way round the back – I wasn’t sure if it was a design feature but  suspect not. You can just see where it ends in my back view shot.

image

I am super pleased with my dress – it’s my most adventurous make to date (by myself – no workshop hand-holding) and so I feel fairly confident about tackling more challenging projects in 2015: it has been a great first year of sewing. So, from sunny Arundel, very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

Workshop junkie and my first attempt at manly sewing

Oh I do love a workshop – I love having an expert on hand to help and give guidance; I love the seemingly endless supply of drink, cake/biscuits and I love meeting other people who sew. Rather last minute I decided to book myself onto Saturday morning’s workshop at Clothkits, Chichester to make a tie.

image

There were four others on the course. The first task was to choose the Liberty Lawn fabric which we were to use.  I had already brought my fabric with me; a gorgeous wool mix I brought from Ghani and Guthrie and for the lining I wanted to use some Liberty Tana Lawn, Queue for the Zoo , which I had bought ages ago to make a blouse and remains untouched. The tutor, Maria Pulley thought that my fabric may be a little too thick but I had my recipient in mind and knew that the grey/blue floral combo was perfect and was not to be swayed!

A tie has lots of funny little fiddly bits associated with attaching the lining and getting a good point.  I was really pleased to have someone there to show me precisely how to do it but apart from that, I found it relatively straight forward.  The most interesting thing for me was the ….silence!  Once you have the fiddly bits out of the way, the tie has to be hand sewn.  There was a period of about forty five minutes where you literally could hear a pin drop, no-one said a single word whilst we concentrated intently on trying to sew invisible stitches.  So, not quite as social as other classes.

Here is my sewing concentration face.

image

Here are the finished ties – quite impressive for a morning don’t you think.  I do love the Liberty prints so will be making more I am sure.

image

In the afternoon I cut out my fabric for Tilly and the Buttons Francoise – there is a contest and photos have to be uploaded by midnight tonight.  I don’t think I’ll manage that as today is ear-marked as Christmas card writing day etc but I will give it a go.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x