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

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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

Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep

Back in January I went shopping to Ditto Fabrics for the first time and bought four fabrics for my stash (who am I kidding – I didn’t really have a stash and I wanted one) which I write about here.   About one of the fabrics I wrote “as for the bird fabric – who knows? It just looked so sweet I couldn’t resist it. Any suggestions for one metre?”  Well, there were no suggestions at all until April’s challenge was announced for the Monthly Stitch Collective and I knew my inspiration had come to use my rather lovely watercolour garden birds.

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As I only had one metre I went for my old faithful the Sorbetto but having had a look at some other Sorbettos on Pinterest I decided to follow others and do a variation.  I am not sure I would go so far as to say I braved “a hack”; I merely inverted the pleat.  Some stitchers had let the pleat flow directly from the neckline whereas others had sewn down a little way – I went for the second option.

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It’s super sweet.  It’s funny but I hadn’t really thought of the Sorbetto as being structured but it is rather stiff/formal when you compare it to the inverted pleat version which falls in a very feminine way. I really like it! Surely Collette’s Sorbetto must be the most frequently downloaded free pattern?

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There’s not much more to report. I generally add three inches to the bottom of a Sorbetto but I didn’t have enough fabric available. I’ve now used up three of the four fabrics I bought on that shopping day.  The one remaining is the doggie pattern.  I had ear-marked that for a shirt but over Easter we had a little family sewing day and I “supervised” the cutting out of a cute summer dress – which was immediately abandoned as interest was lost (not by me!). So it’s good to see that the next challenge for the collective is some children’s sewing so I will resurrect it at some point during May – probably the half term week.

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Hope you are all having a good weekend,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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The continuing saga of my coat; Class 3 of 4

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I hope you are having a good week? It’s the day before we break up for half term and as per every penultimate day of a half term I am super stressed.  There is a big sign on the wall at the Sew Over It studios which says SEWING SOOTHES THE SOUL … OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. It does but my coat making has caused a lot of stress too.  There are four classes and homework each week – the tasks for which are detailed and numbered on really helpful A4 sheets.  I have just finished class three of four.  The lesson has seven tasks and there are a further three for homework.  I have managed to do task one … of the classwork!

I think the stress-inducing issue for me has been the homework – which is not something quick but a chunky four to six hours worth of work.  This amount of time needs to be carefully scheduled in but with consecutive weeks it can cause a build up in other activities which you normally do at the weekend e.g. marking (I am choosing to forget that I spent a glorious afternoon on the beach – wasn’t Sunday gorgeous?)

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I had not finished the  classwork/homework for week two so decided to skip off early from work and get to the studio two hours before my class.  I sat companiably with one the of the Sew Over It girls, listening to classical music and as I caught up, I did find that, yes, my soul was indeed soothed. Next week is half term so goodness knows what time I’ll have to arrive in order to make up the deficit after this week!

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I did learn an interesting new technique this week – pressing.  When I attached the front facings, Julie (brilliantly patient tutor) told me that I had to “press and pat” to get the facings to lie completely flat.  This involved steaming and pressing and then, so that the fibres don’t spring back into place you have to “pat” them back until the steam has been pushed out and the fabric has gone cold – it then lies much flatter.  The patting was accomplished by whacking the fabric with the ham – you can see how the end has mounded itself to my hand with all the pressure.  Anyway, it gives a nice clean finish.  We also marked on the buttonholes and I am going to take them to a man in Soho who apparently has a buttonhole machine and makes keyhole buttonholes for professional tailors – and amateur seamstresses apparently. I am looking forward to sharing my button hole experience with you next week – are you excited?

imageFinally, it is very difficult not to buy anything when you are in a fabric shop/haberdashery for five hours.  This is what I bought this week.  Some lovely broderie anglaise – isn’t that a lovely thing to say – BRODERIE ANGLAISE and a blue/black chevron jersey.  I’m thinking Moneta for the knit – I have been impressed with recent versions from Sew South London and Navy Blue Threads. For the cotton, another Belcarra maybe? It would make a lovely shirt but I have button hole fear at the moment – to sit alongside my overlocker fear – what IS the matter with me?!

I hope you’ve got a nice glass of wine lined up for GBSB tonight – wonder what I’ll spot that I recognise this week?

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

 

 

 

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 – My five top hits of 2014

I really enjoy the community events, most recently Bimble and Pimble’s Sewvember which introduced me not only to Instgram but to some wonderful, inspirational ideas. Now it’s approaching the end of the year and I see that Crafting a a Rainbow is again promoting a Top 5 of the year. As I only bought my Janome at Easter, my round ups will be from the last eight months and here is my first one: The Top Five Hits of 2014

Moneta and Marilyn
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This was my first ever knit and I was particularly proud of myself when I had completed the bodice.  I followed instructions from The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits having bought myself a walking foot and a twin needle.   This post could have made it into the Misses of the year due to my failure with the twin needle and the clear elastic – both of which have still eluded me and will be goals for 2015.  However, the sheer fun to be had from the fabric  and the pleasure of completing my first knit puts in firmly in the Top Five Hits post.
Sorbetto and One Week One Pattern

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Having only been sewing since Easter I did not really have much of a choice for my One Week One Pattern – it had to be the Sorbetto – which I love.  The skill I most enjoyed learning from this make was bias binding.  It was through this that I discovered The Little Tailoress and her super helpful tutorials.  Here are three of my five Sorbettos from that week, including a running top I made from some of the leftover Marilyn knit – as you can see I take my race preparation very seriously.  My participation in this event was a HIT for another reason.  I entered a giveaway competition by Handmade Jane who organised this year’s OWOP and won my choice of three patterns. Having this announced on her blog gave me by biggest number of hits in one day – 99 – the likes of which have never been seen since so as a new blogger this was very exciting for me in addition to the delight of wining three patterns – which will feature in a future post.

Sureau

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How I love my Sureau.  I adore the button placket at the front and the easy comfortable styling.  I would say this is the make I wear the most.  It is super comfortable and always gets favourable comments.  I plan to make more, many more.  This could be the garment for OWOP15.

Lacy beanie

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I do enjoy knitting – I was a knitter long before I could sew but like many other hobbies of the past it was long forgotten but my interest has been reawakened and I now knit regularly on my commute.  This little beanie was my first time of using both circular and double ended needles.  I really enjoyed making it up and knitting is such a useful thing to have in your handbag  for a spare ten minutes – imminently more portable than a sewing machine.

Bees shirt

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This shirt is a favourite because I have worn it a lot and I love the funky fabric.  It teams well with a grey skirt for work and looks equally at home with denin for a more casual look.  I also have fond memories of making this shirt.  Six colleagues and I held our own sewing bee at work and afterwards we decided to take a workshop at Sew Pretty together to further improve our skills.  Only three of us actually made it to the workshop but we all made a version of this shirt and none of us finished it during the three weeks worth of classes because we were laughing and chatting so much. By the way, as we’re getting to know each other a little more through this series of posts, I’d like to point out that these two photos were taken at the end of my garden

So, four more posts to come.  I am looking forward to pondering about what to include and then writing them; I hope you are looking forward to reading about my Misses, Highlights, Reflections and Goals!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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Dahlia: done

I had so wanted to enjoy making Colette Pattern’s Dahlia and had visions of frolicking around the Peaks showing it off – it took much longer than I anticipated so I didn’t get it finished during my week away; I became incredibly disheartened with it.  Well, after a burst of hand sewing this morning (sleeve and neck bindings and hem)  it is finished and I was able to wear it for a little frolic around in the local park.  The weather today has been unbelievable – Remembrance Sunday and I was out in just a cotton dress and a cardi.

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My issues with the Dahlia are many and I hasten to add – are all my fault (just making it clear I am not blaming the pattern). I messed up the yoke so that both seams are not enclosed; I made my bias binding too thin; I clearly did not gather the neck sufficiently so that the dress can actually be worn off the shoulder.  I have just read Sew South London’s blog and she has inserted darts at the back of the neck.  If I were a patient person, I could attempt this remedy but I cannot, I’ll be honest, be arsed to remove the bias binding so I think it is doomed forever to be worn under a cardi.

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That said, I do think it is a great dress for layering.  I bought the fabric at Sew Over it with the intention of making another Sureau but then the Dahlia came out and I thought it would make a perfect Autumn dress.  To be honest, as it is only cotton it is too thin for Autumn.  I do have a lovely blue and red check wool and will probably make my next Dahlia with that.

You are probably wondering why I am already planning on making another Dahlia when I am clearly so disgruntled.  Well . . .  before I encountered my difficulties, I proposed it as a pattern for the next Sewing Bee at work (first one blogged here)and everyone has now agreed to do the Dahlia.  The plan is that we will wear it for the last day of school when we go to the Carol Concert – might be a bit chilly for the half a dozen of us sporting bare shoulders.

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I have read a few blogs lately where people make reference to the need for more intermediate patterns/ books.  I do think the Dahlia is intermediate.  All of the gathering, the enclosed yoke etc.  The only thing I am pleased with is the invisible zip – perhaps whilst people are looking for  the invisible zip they will not notice the gaping neckline.

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For my little photo shoot I used plum coloured accessories as I do love plum – only ever wear plum lipstick. However, there isn’t any plum in the multi coloured fabric at all and I think that a cardi in teal would be better.  So, guess what dear reader? I am making one!  Bought this wool yesterday in a little nearby haberdashery along with the patternbook Rowan Easy Winter Knits – the yarn is 100% merino and called “Big Wool”.  It is beautifully soft although I must say it feels/looks a bit synthetic to me.  The designer for all the knits is Martin Storey whose patchwork blanket I am currently making squares for on my daily commute – the intention being that it will be a Christmas present for my daughter 2015.

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So I have added to the number of WIP – also on the go is the lace dress I started on Wednesday (I have been given a mounting task to do for homework!) and Lauren’s yoke top which I thought might have seen the light of day by now but no.

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On a non-sewing related matter I saw Gone Girl at the cinema this afternoon.  I was wringing my hands so much that I actually wrung my ring off and had to go hunting for it at the end (and this is from someone who has read the book and knew what was coming).  It’s been out a few weeks now so my closing salutation is to encourage you to go.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

One Week One Pattern: I have joined the sewing community – Yay!

Since I first saw the details of OWOP I have been excited.  Having bought my sewing machine at Easter and having started to follow blogs soon after I have wanted to join in and be part of something friendly, exciting and it must be said ….. sassy.  Having seen all the amazing clothes which featured in Me-Made-May I was eagerly looking forward to next May and then, ta dah, along comes news about OWOP14.  I knew straight away it would have to be the Sorbetto so here is my round-up.

Day 1

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A sunny Saturday at home and I wore my first ever Sorbetto.  I made this with fabric left over from a dress.  In fact, most of my Sorbettos have come from left over fabric – that is one thing I have discovered, pattern instructions appear to be very generous in terms of fabric requirements.  This fabric is supposed to be retro funky – it looks OK as a top but as a dress, it just looked too frumpy.  The skill I learned making this top was how to make my own bias binding and how to attach it  – I have The Little Tailoress to thank for this.  Her instructions are so clear and her blog just oozes with gorgeous quintesentional English Rose beauty. I wore the top with jeans for a relaxed weekend feel.

Day 2

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A fantastic late summer day and a 10K race along the seafront for me.  I wore a sorbetto, minus the front pleat and with three inches additional length, as a running top. This was leftover fabric from my first Moneta (and my first jersey knit).  I think this could be my favourite Sorbetto – it certainly gets some glances.

Day 3

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At work today so I had to look a little more formal.  I made this Sorbetto to wear when I sang WW1 songs with a pop-up choir.  Whilst I love red to look at, it’s not a colour I regularly wear so I had to rootle around for something to match it with. To be honest, I am not really happy with this look – it isn’t quite my style.  I have started to realise the depths of pleasure experienced when someone says they like what you are wearing. It happened today when I was in the bank.  To be honest, I’m not really keen on this one so was doubly surprised. Photo credit to one of my Y9 students who took the picture for me  – very bemused.

Day 4

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Used ready made bias binding for this Sorbetto made with leftover fabric from a Lilou dress. As previously I added three inches to the bottom and a couple of lemon buttons.

I really like  this top – it feels summery and has had a lot of wear.

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This Sorbetto is made with lovely Liberty Lawn. The clever design means that it works equally well with the browns/creams and with the blues.  Looking rather formal today as we had a meet the parents evening – this was taken just beforehand in Pizza Express.  I am really enjoying looking at everyone’s makes during OWOP and have also explored Instagram and Pinterest.

Day 6

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My first repeat during OWOP14.  I am SO pleased I added an extra three inched to my later Sorbettos! Meet Tambo – 15 months old and incredibly handsome.

Day 7

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Today my Sorbetto is looking a bit more informal teamed with a pair or lightweight trousers.  Here I am at Cowes, Isle of Wight for three days sailing with the new Y7  – the sun has shone on us all day and I am pleased to have participated in OWOP. The Sorbetto didn’t stay for long as I had to put on a wetsuit.

And finally . . . . .

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The one that got away!  Just look at this gorgeous silk I bought in China this summer –  I had every intention of making one further Sorbetto for OWOP 14 but once the term started time just ran away.  Maybe for next year . . .

How was your week? Find any patterns you are going to try as a result of being inspired by others?

Toodle pip,

Clarinda

Desperately Seeking … Susan? Marilyn? Moneta?

This post combines a number of icons but is principally about the Moneta dress by Colette Patterns which has already become an iconic dress. I was swept along on the enthusiasm of so many bloggers, bought my pattern AND the book! The next decision was the fabric. Whilst trawling through the internet for Jersey knit just look what I found:

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It it comes from L&S Prints who offer customised printing on a wide range of fabrics.  The instructions for making the Moneta were really clear and I was impressed with how the bodice came together. I was pleased to be learning new skills such as inserting a lining. I’ll be honest, I struggled a bit with the elasticated waist which was due to a combination of using a technique for the first time, the fabric being a little slippery and me being too tentative using my new walking foot (I’ve used it since and let it know that I’m the boss and will not be  putting up with any nonsense).

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I wore the dress for a night out and teamed it with a black leather jacket – maybe too old now for a leather jacket now but the dress got lots of compliments and will certainly be worn again on other nights out.  I plan to make a further Moneta more suitable for work, perhaps in a plain fabric.

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I ended up with a little bit of fabric left over so, you’ve guessed it – I squeezed another Sorbetto out of it – minus the front pleat.   I had planned to make a VNA top to wear for the Arundel 10K but did not order the fabric in time.  So here is the Sorbetto as a running top – as you can see I took my pre- race preparations very seriously, posing on the riverbank at the end of my garden.

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The race went well – I can confirm that the fabric had no wicking properties whatsoever (which I didn’t need the pace I was running) but that it was very comfortable.  I have decided to run the Chichester Half in October wearing a VNA running top so watch this space.

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It is a miserably wet Bank Holiday Monday and incredible to believe that these photos were taken yesterday on such a gloriously hot, sunny day. Final comment – in the ’80’s I loved Madonna’s styling in Desperately Seeking Susan but would never have had the confidence to wear a headscarf with a big bow plonked on top of my head – a few decades on, I couldn’t care less and actually enjoyed my fun look for a fun race. What do you think?

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WW1 song – Sister Susie Sews

For the last couple of months, since I have been reading blogs ( it’s become quite an addiction – I wake up at 3am and have a quick peek) I have been amazed at how quickly you sewistas whip something up for a specific occasion. Well, this week I did just that!

This weekend saw the start of the Arundel Festival – a ten day extravaganza of art, drama, live music, the silliness of the bathtub race ( yes, really – people use a bath as a vessel in which to race down the River Arun) and SO much other fun stuff.  This year I signed up to be part of a choir singing songs of WW1 for an event taking place the first weekend. There was a dress code – wear red!  Although I love the colour, I do not have any red clothes so, for the first time ever – thank you lovely sewistas and bloggers who have inspired me – I thought . . . . . I’ll make something!

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And so I did. Clothkits have a bucket where you can find cheap remnants that are all one metre and, incredibly, I found lurking there this super appropriate poppy fabric.  It was labelled as Italian sateen – I don’t even knows what that means but it sewed up beautifully.  The Sorbetto has become (admittedly from a limited pool so early in my sewing life) a favourite pattern.   I increased the length by three inches – no one wants to see my mum tum/ middle age spread peeping out – and sadly had to abandon the centre pleat as I just couldn’t eek it out of my metre.

It was really satisfying to make something specific occasion and also a really enjoyable evening singing the songs from WW1.

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One of the the most surprising things was that we got to sing a song about an early seamstress called Susie.  It’s rather fun but her efforts appeared not to have been appreciated.  I have copied it below just in case you want to do your own sing-a-long whilst you sew!

Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts

Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts For Soldiers

Sister Susie’s sewing in the kitchen on a “Singer”,

There’s miles and miles of flannel on the floor And up the stairs,

And father says it’s rotten getting mixed up with the cotton,

And sitting on the needles that she leaves upon the chairs.

And should you knock at our street door Ma whispers, “Come inside.”

Then when you ask where Susie is, She says with loving pride:

Chorus

(fast) “Sister Susie’s sewing shirts for soldiers

Such skill at sewing shirts Our shy young sister Susie shows!

Some soldiers send epistles, Say they’d sooner sleep in thistles

Than the saucy, soft, short shirts for soldiers sister Susie sews.”

Verse 2

Piles and piles and piles of shirts she sends out to the soldiers,

And sailors won’t be jealous when they see them, Not at all.

And when we say her stitching will set all the soldiers itching,

She says our soldiers fight best when their back’s against the wall.

And little brother Gussie, he who lisps when he says “yes”,

Says “Where’s the cotton gone from off my kite? Oh, I can gueth!”

(Chorus faster) “Sister Susie’s sewing shirts for soldiers Such skill at sewing shirts Our shy young sister Susie shows!

Some soldiers send epistles, Say they’d sooner sleep in thistles Than the saucy, soft, short shirts for soldiers sister Susie sews.”

Verse 3

I forgot to tell you that our sister Susie’s married,

And when she isn’t sewing shirts She’s sewing other things.

Then little sister Molly says, “Oh, sister’s bought a dolly.

She’s making all the clothes for it With pretty bows and strings.”

Says Susie: “Don’t be silly” As she she blushes and she sighs.

Then mother smiles and whispers with a twinkle in her eyes:

Final Chorus – sang twice

(even faster) “Sister Susie’s sewing shirts for soldiers Such skill at sewing shirts Our shy young sister Susie shows!

Some soldiers send epistles, Say they’d sooner sleep in thistles Than the saucy, soft, short shirts for soldiers sister Susie sews.”

(Breakneck Speed Finale) “Sister Susie’s sewing shirts for soldiers Such skill at sewing shirts Our shy young sister Susie shows!

Some soldiers send epistles, Say they’d sooner sleep in thistles Than the saucy, soft, short shirts for soldiers sister Susie sews.”

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x