Hello Heather

Hello everyone,

It’s been a while hasn’t it? My new job is keeping me busy – how lovely to be able to write that!

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As soon as Sew Over It announced a new class to make their Heather dress, I was on to it. Having repeatedly struggled to get a place on the Francine Jacket course I knew I had to be quick. So it had been booked for a couple of months and I had been really looking forward to it but the day before I had a bit of a wobble and almost didn’t go. How glad I am that I did. I had a fantastic day; met some lovely ladies (who all finished their frocks) ; ate cake; made a dress that fits me and is versatile and, thoroughly enjoyed being in the sewing zone again.

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The Heather dress is a knit dress with deep pockets that are sewn in the side seams and somehow fall from the Princess seams – I have probably described that incorrectly. Anyway, I have noticed how fellow seamstresses rave about pockets: me, not so much but I have to say that on this dress I do really like them.

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I had hoped the class would give me a bit of confidence in using my overlocker (I shamefacedly admit it has been in its bag for over a year – shocking behaviour). I envy those people who are constantly posting items that they have knocked up in an evening/afternoon – I think this could be such a dress. On the odd occasion I have sewn with knit fabric, I have used a walking foot and zigzag stitch on my normal Janome. I assumed we would make the whole dress on the overlocker but we didn’t. The tutor (lovely, calm Sue) told us to make it up on the sewing machines using stitch length 3 and we just finished the seams on the overlocker. I have to say it all went extremely smoothly.

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I cut a 12, made it up then took in the side seams about an inch each side from the top down to my waist.  I noticed in the photos there is a bit of pooling in the back so I will take a little bit off the back seam too next time. And there will be a next time! I didn’t alter the length which surprised me as I had to add a whopping 10cm to my vintage shirtdress and I am on 5ft 4.

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I was a bit confused at the pocket construction – I didn’t think this would ever end up looking like the sample.

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Some of the other students made a colour block dress and I have to say, I think that is the best plan for this pattern to show off the wonderful lines and emphasise the pockets. Although I am really pleased with mine, I do think that the detail is lost. The fabric? It is a lovely jersey which stretches in all ways (I know this because Sue tested it  to see as she said I need the stretchy way going around my body). I bought it in September from Sew Over It when I was there doing my Ultimate Shirt Class (still a wip I am ashamed to say). I thought it was amazing value at £12 as I had seen it a week previously in C & H fabrics for £21. I have loads left over so I think I will have a try at making either a Lark Tee or an Agnes top as everyone raves about them.

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It was a complete rarity for me to finish in a class but I did.  During the morning I chatted away to a lovely girl who was working opposite me but after lunch I was so focused on finishing, I just shut up and got on with it – much to her relief I suspect! I was first to finish and as I wanted to see everyone elses, I filled in the time hemming a fat quarter I had bought to make my son a handkerchief – he has become obsessed with them!

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Obviously I bought more fabric for myself – even though I’m trying not to. Both purchases were inspired by choices I had seen on my Instagram:  the wool check – Ozzyblackbeard; the bees – sorry I can’t remember on whose feed I saw this. Just like Lynne the wool is going to be a Tulip Skirt (I need to buy the pattern first though). The bees? I am currently thinking that a Scout tee would go nicely with white jeans.

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I love workshops. If you are debating about doing one, I would really encourage you. It is utterly uplifting to spend time with other people who love to sew and have someone there to help you with the tricky bits.

After taking these photos, I layered up even more and we went out for a Valentines brunch. The dress has so many lovely colours it is really versatile. I teamed it with teal and green. After eating we had a walk around town and I picked up a Benetton 100% wool cardi in a charity shop which actually goes really nicely with the dress and brings out the yellow – not a colour I often wear to be honest. Mr CK is trying to grow a beard – he feels it makes him look like George Clooney. That dear sewing friends is my closing comment today … there are no words!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

Brunch at The Parsons Table, Arundel with George Clooney and, keeping it real with my charity shop bargain

Brunch at The Parsons Table, Arundel with George Clooney and, keeping it real with my charity shop bargain

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I had a vision

Hello all,

Hope you have had a wonderful sunny Sunday.  I have just got back from a weekend Hen-do in Bath which was great fun and proved to me that the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun mantra is just as true for Hens who are 40/50 something is it is for the younger chicks.

I was SO lucky to receive as a gift from Ms Sew South London as metre of fabric she had bought in Hong Kong and posted because she thought it was very me and that I might like to make a Sorbetto out of it.  Well, as you know I make a Sorbetto out of practically every piece of fabric I have but nearly always as the second piece – i.e. my Scraps Sorbettos.  I really felt that such a lovely gift deserved to be used on a garment which would show off the fabric and felt that Tilly’s Clemence  skirt from Love at First Stitch was calling to me. By co-incidence a week or so before I had treated myself to some gorgeous shoes in the sales which were a coral colour and perfectly match some of the little handbags on the skirt.  I had a vision that I would waft around and look as glamorous as Tilly.  Well, it was a vision that sadly did not come to fruition!

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The instructions for the skirt were very good. I am certainly enjoying working my way through Love at First Stich and would highly recommend it – the technique I most enjoyed on this pattern was “sewing in the ditch”. As I had a metre I went right up to the selvedge and reduced the waistband by half; this was a mistake and unnecessary.  I think the skirt would actually look better for being a bit shorter.  What do you think?

This should be an out-take really - it's me trying to flatten my tummy for the photo

This should be an out-take really – it’s me trying to flatten my tummy for the photo

I decided to see if I could get away with wearing the shoes without tights.  The answer to that question is No – I only went to the local coffee shop to meet a friend and by the time I had walked back, I had an enormous blister!

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All of which has led me to consider another vision.  I think this skirt will look absolutely cracking in early autumn with navy tights, my coral shoes and a plain navy top. I am really looking forward to showing you another photo of this come September when I have styled it in work mode. It is exactly the sort of garment that my students will really enjoy and comment upon.

It is so lovely to have become part of our sewing community and to have made on-line friends like Rachel – it really was the most up-lifting experience to receive something in the post unexpectedly.

Toodle pip for now but there will be another post in a couple of days to celebrate a special birthday!

Clarinda x

Funky fabric and what it is destined to become

Funky fabric and what it is destined to become