A week of firsts and a trio of Dahlias

My pink sewing journal has recorded a lot of firsts during the early days of January and I am feeling rather pleased!

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I went fabric shopping in Brighton for the first time and thanks to Ditto Fabrics I have increased my stash which was paltry compared to others I have seen.  I loved having a jolly good rummage and I can see how addictive it could become.  Anyway, having said in my last post that I thought sewing with denim was a bit of a challenge for me, I DID actually go ahead and buy some which has led to further firsts: sewing with a denim needle and using topstitch thread.  I know this probably seems rather dull to some of the more experienced sewistas but if you are fairly new to the sewing, you will appreciate my trepidation and excitement – hopefully I will be able to blog my denim outfit in due course but here is a taster of my fabric and facing combination – look familiar?!

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The doggie fabric is for a shirt which I will wear with black twill Ultimate trousers – once I have made them that is. The polka dot is for a skirt and as for the bird fabric – who knows? It just looked so sweet I couldn’t resist it. Any suggestions for one metre? Whilst in Brighton I also saw this amazing display in All Saints – 200 antique sewing machines: I counted them!

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The overlocker has finally been used on a garment – shock, horror.  When did I get it? October maybe? Anyway, I am tinkering about with Tilly’s Megan (sounds rude doesn’t it?) which has been a WIP abandoned from about August. I’m still making slow progress.

I never sleep well the night before the return to school so when I was wide awake at 2am I decided to read some blogs, as you do, and saw this absolutely cracking dress from Dolly Clackett.  I have to admit I shamelessly immediately bought the fabric and pattern – Paypal makes everything too easy – and intend to make one for myself for my niece’s wedding in April.  What do you think?  Stunning.

And lastly, we had another sewing bee at work.  Six of us were supposed to take part but Christmas is a busy time and not every one finished.  Here are three of the Dahlias – without exception we all had problems with excessive fabric at the neckline and had to make significant adjustments.  I do love Liz’s version  – the plaid.

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So, lots of things on the go at the moment but nothing quite finished as yet!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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Reflections and Goals – the last of the Top Fives

It has been a fabulous year all round and for that I am truly thankful. In terms of sewing, 2014 was the year I bought a machine, discovered that there is such a thing as an online sewing community and even wrote my first blog post.  I attended workshops, participated in a sewing bee and became aware of lots of Indie designers. In terms of reflection, I guess the most incredible thing is that my year ends with my head full of exciting plans linked to an interest/passion I hadn’t even discovered at the start of the year. I even wore my Francoise on Christmas Day! So, not really five reflections there but a general ponder on my sewing year. image In terms of goals, here they are: 1. Make a coat – whilst this is an incredible challenge at least I am confident I will accomplish it because my Christmas present from my other half was a place on Sew Over It’s coat making workshop which means I will have lots of help and guidance from the wonderful Julie. I have already chosen my fabric too. I am going for the black and white – although probably the reverse of the view shown on this swatch. image 2. Complete my Craftsy course on Beginner Serging – I did lessons 1&2 yesterday. This course was the only thing I bought on Black Friday – a rather odd purchase I guess but if it gets me more comfortable with my overlocker (which I am sort of scared of) then it will have been worth every penny. 3. An important goal for me this year is to be a little more organised. I was given a pretty pink diary as a present so I am going to use this as a sewing journal. Having been reading other people’s round ups I’ve realised that some fellow sewing bloggers are very organised and have produced pie charts by garment, fabric etc – Yes, I am looking at you Elizabeth. so my objective is to jot down my ideas, note what fabric I have in my little stash and record what fabric I need for various patterns I intend to make so that I am prepared should a fabric buying opportunity present itself. image 4. The Monthly Stitch Collective is something I would like to join – I am going to sign up and try and commit to at least six of the challenges. The January one is for denim which I don’t feel very confident about tackling so maybe a February start for me. 5. OWOP14 was the first challenge I participated in.  During that week I won three patterns as part of a giveaway and at that time I pledged to make my three patterns; to date that hasn’t happened so I am adding those on my goals for 2015: By Hand London Anna, Colette Hawthorn and Sewaholic Gabriola I am coming to get you. image Whilst mentioning OWOP14, for which I used Sorbetto, I just want to sneak in a quick pic of my last make of the year – surprise surprise it’s a …Sorbetto.  I do realise now that comfort sewing exists and this is it for me.  I used the leftover fabric from my Dahlia and added some buttons from the Button jar my running/sewing friend Ali gave me for my birthday. top 5 Thanks again to Crafting a Rainbow for the hosting the Top Five and as my Nana used to say, I will close now but send you my very best wishes for a Happy New Year! Toodle pip, Clarinda

Round up of the year – Top five misses

It’s a real shame when something doesn’t work out because the start of every project begins with gleeful anticipation as you decide upon pattern and amass fabric and notions.  To be honest, I think that, with the exception of my Sorbettos, almost all of my makes have included an element of disappointment. No doubt this is due to the combination of being a relatively new sewista and a sort of perfectionist. I say sort of because, rather annoyingly, I get despondent, then cross and don’t really have the patience to sort matters out so abandon projects to my ever-growing WIP pile. I salute those of you who regularly unpick, re-draft, make four toiles etc. so, here they are – my top five misses:

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What possessed me? I don’t know why I thought I would look ok wearing a dress covered in black cats playing with red balls of wool. I made this for the fun Crazy Cat Lady Challenge and I did enjoy participating but, on reflection, perhaps a pair of PJs would have been better.  I nonchantly wore my creation to work and hardly anyone made a comment – which I took as a bad sign. The one person who did refer to my frock asked if I was wearing my Halloween outfit which sort of says it all.

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My Dahlia neckline was a Disaster Dahling – it would have fitted my hips with room to spare. I have now put a four inch inverted pleat into the back but the updated version has yet to be worn. Really disappointing because I love the fabric and the design – as it looks on other people.

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I feel a bit mean including my lace dress as a Miss because I really enjoyed the workshops where I made it but I just don’t like it on me. It is too big and just a bit too conservative – a sort of frumpy mother of the bride type garment.

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And finally, this beanie – photo taken just now on yet another gorgeously sunny December day in the UK. An incredibly frustrating Miss because I do love a hat (you may have noticed) and the shape and feel of this are very me. I like the effect created by using two different wool weights/needle size to create the bands but dearie me, why did I pick an apricot coloured mix? Is there anyone who could wear this colourway or have anything that vaguely would go with it? If only I had gone for a bluey plummy palette this would never be off my head.

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So, there you have it – my misses of 2014 and it turns out, I could only muster four so … Happy Days! Wishing you all a Missless new year and thanks again to Crafting a Rainbow for hosting the Sewing Top 5.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

 

 

 

 

Dahlia in disgrace and the joys of being part of sewing communities

I have been feeling a little down.  I proudly boasted in my last post how I was going to make a Dahlia whilst on half term and had visions of elegant poses of me in the Peaks looking suitably smug showing off  my autumnal sewing success.  I did not finish the dress in the week; I have not finished it since; it is currently looking at me from where I have tossed it on the sofa – this particular Dahlia is in deep disgrace.  Its misfortune would have remained private but I have been encouraged to move on and blog, regardless of having anything to share/show, by Sew South London who has blogged today of her own frustrations and an unfinished Dahlia.

Just look at that renegade seam - it is supposed to be on the inside. How did that happen?

Just look at that renegade seam – it is supposed to be on the inside. How did that happen?

So, once my patience has been replenished (the store is currently closed) I will complete the last bit of hand sewing and post photos of my finished dress.  The sewalong started today so I might well have another attempt – I did have some nice navy and red plaid lined up but my confidence is currently depleted.

However, what I did want to share was some of the fun things that are going on at the moment linked to various sewing communities.

1. Tomorrow I am starting a course at Sew Over It  for four consecutive Wednesdays to make a lace dress – hopefully it will look like this:

photo courtesy of Sew Over It

photo courtesy of Sew Over It

The tutor is the brilliant Julie who guided me through my first (only) pair of trousers.  It will be tiring going to a workshop after work but I am excited about having expert help with my sewing and learning some new techniques.  I am also looking forward to meeting some fellow sewistas.

2. By complete chance I read about Bimble and Pimble’s Sewvember on the day it started

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I have been diligently uploading my photos to Instagram (quite a new experience for me) but the really fun thing is all the sticky beaking you can do.  I have been truly over-awed with the sheer size of some people’s stash and the sewing space pictures on Day One are really making me think about how I can pretty up my own space.  I guess that’s what Instagram is about for us – caring, sharing, inspiring and I have been inspired!

Finally, 3. the wonderful Katya Essery of Sew Pretty is starting a Sewing Club at her gorgeous studio in Wimbledon on a twice monthly basis where you can drop in and get help with your projects – no doubt I will be turning up with my Dahlia!

Photo courtesy of Sew Pretty

Photo courtesy of Sew Pretty

Katya has also introduced some new workshops including a winter coat, a tie and Christmas stockings.  If you can get to Wimbledon, do consider taking a class at Sew Pretty – I have done a couple now and love Katya’s relaxed approach which combines really skilful instruction with wine and friendly banter.

Hopefully, I will be able to share a garment, of some description, soon – you can guarantee I will not be saying “this came together really easily”.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda

Half term sewcation

It’s rather odd to be packing the car up for a week in the Peaks: mountain bike – tick; walking boots – tick; sewing machine  – TICK!  It’s been a good week on the sewing front. I celebrated my birthday and a lovely sewing friend gave me a jar of buttons, a pair of stork scissors and a vintage apron.

Button jar with two of my favourite cards

Button jar with two of my favourite cards

A hurried photo and inappropriate undergarments have not done justice to this gorgeous vintage apron

A hurried photo and inappropriate undergarments have not done justice to this gorgeous vintage apron

I have spent the week tinkering about with Lauren’s yoke top – not for me the garment in a day type blogger – a week seems almost the minimum time in which I could actually make something.  I also discovered a new haberdashery in Worthing where I bought all the various notions I need for forthcoming projects – get me – NOTIONS – six months ago I wouldn’t even have known what that meant.

This week ‘s episodes of The Great British Sewing Bee have been a delight – how fabulous that sewing is so mainstream we now have celebrity specials for charity. But ….. my oh my there were some frock shocks!  I sympathised hugely with some of the efforts and the time pressures. For me, sewing is leisurely pleasure – if I had to do something to time it would kill the enjoyment of it for me.

So, here I am now in Hartington, in a gorgeous little cottage I have stayed in, apparently, seven times before according to the Visitors Book. Being a walker and an anxious cyclist, it is the perfect place. There are brilliant walks and lots of disused railway lines which have been converted into off-road cycle paths.

Manifold Cottage, Hartington - a cosy home from home

Manifold Cottage, Hartington – a cosy home from home

So, when I am not walking, cycling, marking, I plan to finally finish my silk yoke top and, big claim dear readers, start and finish my new Dahlia! What a gorgeous pattern – I bought it as soon as it was released. I have decided to use some fabric I had bought to make another Sureau. I did have some sumptuous wool plaid (navy and red) but I think I am going to save that and do it with the Sew-a-long as I will definitely need some help matching those checks.

Have a FAB half term everyone – happy sewing,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

My yoke top WIP - if Rachel can take her sewing machine to Brazil I can certainly manage to take mine to the Peaks

My yoke top WIP – if Rachel can take her sewing machine to Brazil I can certainly manage to take mine to the Peaks