The knitting and Stitching Show

Hi everyone,

I hope you can bear with me whilst I share details of my FAB day and post loads of pics of my (ludicrous) fabric purchases.

We needed fortification before we tackled the remaining stands

We needed fortification before we tackled the remaining stands

A couple of weeks ago I posted an open invite on my Instagram to see if anyone fancied meeting up at The Knitting and Stitching Show – three fellow bloggers took me up on my offer and I have just spent the loveliest time with friends: Jane, Su and Becca. I really enjoy meeting up with other seamstresses. Jane and Su I have met before, a couple of times, so it was great to catch up with them again  and I really enjoyed meeting Becca who graciously allowed me to copy one of her frocks about a year ago!

Lovely Lauren who was at Tilly's stand - I was actually really chuffed that she recognised my sweatshirt - I bought the fabric at Guthrie and Ghani

Lovely Lauren who was at Tilly’s stand – I was actually really chuffed that she recognised my sweatshirt – I bought the fabric at Guthrie and Ghani

Su organised a route around the show so that we visited every stand and then returned to the best. As part of our tour we encountered sewing royalty: Lauren from Guthrie and Ghani; Lisa from Sew Over It and Tilly from Tilly and the Buttons. Becca was wearing an Orla top and had issues with the hem facing so Tilly had a quick peep and gave some advice!

Where elsecould you go where it is perfectly normal to look at the insides of people's clothes?

Where else could you go where it is perfectly normal to look at the insides of people’s clothes?

We all made purchases at Sew Over It – in fact three of us bought exactly the same silk cami kit with little foxes on – I actually thought they were lobsters: I’m getting old – my sight is going!

The silk cami kit and some other fabric I bought at the bargain price of £6 per metre

The silk cami kit and some other fabric I bought at the bargain price of £6 per metre

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To be honest, it was overwhelming having so much luscious fabric on offer – I bought loads but the thing I am probably most excited about it this gorgeous pattern from Sew La Di Da. It is a culottes deck suit with a halter neck – although you could do crossover straps at the back.  My sister is threatening to get married this summer and if she does, this is what I plan to wear. I want to look like Anna Chancellor as she was in Mapp and Lucia.

The parasol fabric I plan to use - only £8 per metre

The parasol fabric I plan to use – only £8 per metre

The only thing I definitely had on my list was some replacement needles for my overlocker – I asked three separate people if you needed different ones for an overlocker before I got my answer – No. However, when I described what had happened to the helpful man on the Janome stand he said it sounded like the timing had gone (?) – I hope that is not the case.

Needles and the only knit fabric I bought - just in case the overlocker and I don't become friends anytime soon

Needles and the only knit fabric I bought – just in case the overlocker and I don’t become friends anytime soon

Want to see the rest of my purchases?

Liberty loveliness - bluey one to make ties and the red one to make a scouttee

Liberty loveliness – bluey one to make ties and the red one to make a scouttee

 

Very thick fabric that I plan to make a tote bag with for future fabric shopping ventures

very thick fabric that I plan to make a tote bag with for future fabric shopping ventures

 

Isn't this gorgeous? A By Hand London Kim I think

Isn’t this gorgeous? A By Hand London Kim I think

 

Don't even ask me what I am going to do with this - I also bought some fine black wool to "tone it down" a bit

Don’t even ask me what I am going to do with this – I also bought some fine black wool to “tone it down” a bit

So that’s it – I sort of think I should feel guilty at having spent so much (I haven’t added it up and don’t intend to) but I can promise you that each and every piece was an absolute bargain!

Tonight I am off to a 50th birthday bash and I have made my friend a Liberty tie for his gift and tomorrow I’ll be in full Matriarch mode for Mothers Day so all in all, a cracking weekend!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

The whole shebang

The whole shebang

 

 

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Super proud to finally present ….. my Francine jacket (now I’ve just got to make the skirt)

Hi everyone,

I have had such a lovely half term pottering: reading (latest William Boyd); cooking (including homemade soups); eating out; visiting the cinema (Dad’s Army); marking (Years 9, 10, 11); knitting (scarf – still on-going); running (10K coming up next month) and sewing (ties x 2, sweatshirts x 2) BUT what I really want to share you today is my finally finished Sew Over It Francine Jacket of which I am super proud. Beware – this is a picture heavy post: we are talking about a jacket six months in the making!

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Way back in August I met up with some lovely ladies at the Fabric Godmother Open Day and bought this amazing wool suiting fabric for, I think, £15 a metre. I had it in mind to make a maxi skirt suit so that I could waft around at work looking like a suffragette.

Skirt in check; jacket in plain

Skirt in check; jacket in plain

I only bought 1.5 metres of the plain because I always find that I use less that the pattern indicates. Then I promptly started sewing other things – as you do. However, as soon as I saw the Francine Jacket I knew that was the one for me and enrolled on a course in September. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I have done a number of courses at Sew Over It.  For nearly all of them I have had as my tutor Julie, who is wonderfully patient, highly skilled and determined that her tutees should learn true tailoring techniques. On the first night all I did was sort out the sizing, cut out my pattern and make some adjustments – most of which I subsequently altered back. My homework was to cut out at home  – this happened:

Oops

Oops

I decided I would have to cut a few pieces out of the skirt material – what a good idea this turned out to be as the contrast really works and it will certainly look much more like a suit rather than coordinated separates.

Francine jacket pieces cut from my Gabriola skirt fabric

Francine jacket pieces cut from my Gabriola skirt fabric

Progress continued at class during week two. We had made a number of alterations for my big shoulders and curved back but once I tried the jacket on it wasn’t right and I had to undo most of what I had done.

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Week three – our final class and it became clear early on I wasn’t going to get finished. In fact I hadn’t even got my lining in by the end of the evening. What I had done though is learn a really valuable technique whereby you fill the sleeve head with wadding before you insert the shoulder pad and it gives it a more smooth line.

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I was full of good intentions of finishing the jacket the following week but became ensconced in all manner of other things throughout November/December. During January I picked it up again. The impetus was that I was going to the Liberty exhibition and planned to call in on the button man in Soho for him to do my button holes for me. I am not going to lie – I really struggled to finish the jacket by myself. Whilst the instructions were good, I struggled to make out the tiny detail, particularly on the black and white photos. If the button man thought it odd to be presented with an unfinished garment to add the finishing touches to, he never gave any indication – just sent me off to Liberty and told me not to rush back!

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This is how the jacket looked when the buttonholes were being done

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I finally finished the jacket in February – to be honest, looking at the pics I think I should have taken more care over pressing it; the jacket has gotten so squashed on its various train journeys.

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So there you have it – now I just have to get on with the skirt but I suspect other projects will rush to the fore and it’ll be another six months. Would you like some detail shots? Of course you would if you have stuck around this far ..

Buttons courtesy of Cloth Kits, Chichester

Buttons courtesy of Cloth Kits, Chichester

very pleased with the neckline which actually sits flat

very pleased with the neckline which actually sits flat

The back - we added in, took out, re-drew the curve - I blame my posture

The back – we added in, took out, re-drew the curve – I blame my posture

lovely lining which came from Guthrie and Ghani

lovely lining which came from Guthrie and Ghani

The story of Francine is concluded – I hope you enjoyed it!

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Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

 

Sparkling all over

Hi guys,

I have had such a FAB few days on the sewing front I think I am going to spread the cheer over a couple of posts! First up my Sequins workshop at the wonderful Guthrie and Ghani studios

A super sparkly window display

A super sparkly window display

A friend and I had decided we would have a little day trip to Birmingham – I hadn’t realised quite how quickly you could get there from London or how cheaply you could buy train tickets. The premises are wonderful – a lovely detached property with the haberdashery downstairs and the studio covering the whole of the top floor – sorry SEWBRUM people – I know you know all this already.  We had arranged to arrive early to give us a little shopping time – of course we did!  Although I had already ordered my gold sequin fabric, once I was there I was drawn to a blue and pink geometric design so bought that (and some silver sequins as well just for good measure). I now have quite a lot of sequins in my stash so have the potential to sparkle quite a bit.

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The workshop was run by Layla – who was so approachable, knowledgeable and laid back; I felt in safe hands all day.  The pattern we used was Grainline Scout Tee – which was included in the cost of the workshop making it excellent value. Layla gave us some realy good advice linked to looking at the finished garment measurments as a way of determining our size.  My friend Liz was wearing one she had made earlier linked to her measurements and I did think it looked big.  In the end she went down a size and I sewed up a 4 – which is two sizes less than my measurements indicated but I thought they both looked just right.

The blue sequins were super pretty daisy shapes

The blue sequins were super pretty daisy shapes

In terms of sewing with sequins I was surprised at quite how straight-forward it was. New needles, sharp scissors and away you go – sew up almost as normal.  The only thing you had to take care to do was to finger press your seams and break the sequins before you ironed them. It is also essential to use a lining because the fabric is so scratchy against your skin – it was also a first for me to line a top. You need to be prepared for sequins to be everywhere. I noticed when we were leaving that there was a trail of my pink sequins running down the stairs to the loo!

The workshop lasted six hours and everyone finished comfortably and was delighted with their tops.  We also had time for lunch and went to a Syrian restaurant a couple of doors down for a lovely wrap and a piece of baklava. So all in all, a great day – really enjoyable. Huge thanks to Layla for being such inspiring tutor.

Tried to get a couple of photos yesterday but it was so cold and blowy. Mr CK was not happy and I was freezing so the two below are the best of a bad bunch – Yes, even with my eyes closed!

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Please ignore wellibobs which of course would never be worn with a sparkly top!

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It was also serendipitous that this is the first garment I have made since I received my own labels ….. from Liz – the friend I did the workshop with. Now my garments have the potential to look really professional I must ensure I take care over the details!

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Finally, I just wanted to share with you some really good news – which I received on the morning of my Birmingham jaunt. I shared recently that I have got a maternity leave cover to start in January; I now have been offered a permanent position (at a different school) from September. It is such a relief to have got everything sorted out so now I can just relax for the rest of 2015!

Have a good week,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Finally ….. I am proud to present: The 1960s Coat

Greetings all on this last day of the half term,

I am SO pleased to say that I have FINALLY finished my coat and here it is!

imageIt has taken four weeks of a weekly workshop at Sew Over It, Clapham with the super talented, super patient Julie and four weekends of homework (which has been substantial).  I have blogged each week charting my different feelings towards the project which have veered from extreme frustration and desperation through to pleasure and wonderment. If you are new to my blog and are interested in its journey (someone might be – certainly no-one in my household is) then you can read about it here: week one; week two; week three; week four.

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I think it is only fair I give huge credit to Julie who held my hand throughout the process.  I found the number of pattern pieces overwhelming: lining, interlining and shell.  The lined pockets incorporated into the seam took me one whole workshop of three hours.  I don’t drive; I don’t have any spatial awareness. Similar deficiencies became apparent during sewing – I find construction really quite baffling and when some particular aspect finally comes together, it seems to me to be as if by magic.

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I was also lucky enough to meet David Miller of DM Buttons  in Soho who expertly made my buttonholes and the funky buttons came from Ditto Fabrics in Brighton – I was really lucky to get some which managed to perfectly match the flower design of the coat.

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The fabric came from Guthrie and Ghani who also supplied the lining.  I would highly recommend Lauren’s store for online purchases. She was extremely helpful, sending swatches and confirming that the fabric would be suitable for the coat I was going to make.  Items purchased always arrive swiftly and are beautifully packaged.  Ooh dear – this could be beginning to sound like an Oscar Acceptance speech – so after, Julie, David and Lauren there was me!  Regular readers will know how I frequently feel deflated and am quick to point out errors but I really am chuffed to bits with my coat – it is certainly my most ambitious make to date – and probably a feat never to be attempted again!imageimageIn order to consolidate my learning (SUCH a teacher), I really should go straight into another one – perhaps in a cotton twill or canvas for summer.  I know this would be the best way to ensure I do not forget all of the techniques I learned but I am not sure I have the motivation to keep going by myself.  Knowing I had to face Julie and my fellow workshop chums each week meant I tried hard to do all of my homework and keep more or less on track.

So there you go, the journey of my 1960s coat has finally reached its destination.  The photos were taken in Arundel this morning on a cold but bright sunny day and the coat kept me warm.

One final comment – a question actually: I have three weddings to go to this year.  I am toying with the idea of making a little dress in the same fabric as the coat to wear together as a set – perhaps a sleeveless shift or a Megan – a la Jackie Onassis.  What do you think? Would it be too much?

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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Week two of my coat making plus a dollop of naval gazing

At my coat making workshop last week, I became acutely aware that I was a nightmare student – as a teacher myself this is particularly embarrassing. There were only three of us which is an excellent ratio but even so I ended up with far more than my fair share of the tutor’s time because I was continually fussing. I really don’t know what happened but I became completely flustered and got myself into quite a state.  At the end even the tutor said she was surprised that I was so insecure  – she actually said that – as I could clearly do the work.  SO ….. I have spent a long time pondering about why I had been so needy and I finally came up with a theory: I am a control freak.  We were given all of the pattern pieces (three huge sheets) plus separate A4 packs for each week with associated diagrams of what was to be covered. I think I was so overwhelmed at seeing the sheer volume of what had to be done, I just kept asking and double checking.  Retrospectively, I think had I taken ten minutes to just sit down and read what needed to be done so that I least I knew where I was going, I would have been fine.

 

imageHaving felt so needy during the workshop I was determined to get ahead for the next week so I diligently threw myself into my homework on Saturday – it was extensive!  It took me five hours to finish cutting out the pieces and iron on all of the interfacing/lining, some of which you had to “draft” yourself.  The instructions said you needed to iron over a fine cloth but after pressing and pressing and getting nowhere, I abandoned my liberty lawn scrap and applied my iron directly to the interfacing and hey presto, it worked a treat.

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Last night we had the second workshop and I was much calmer which I think was a relief to everyone!  Three hours rushed by and all I really did was attach the pockets/linings – a really interesting technique and then, after a fitting, adjust the back.

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Needless to say there is a LOT of homework again this week: attaching the collar to the front facings and the coat back and constructing the lining including little dart pleats which I haven’t done before. All of which means I won’t get to do all of the other sewing I had planned!

imageAlong with many others – Justsewtherapeutic and Lazy Daisy Jones  – I am having a bit of a knicker phase at the moment; I bought these gorgeous fat quarters from Guthrie and Ghani in the new Liberty Lawn Alice in Wonderland designs.  Seriously, aren’t they gorgeous?  Having made a pair already I should only need an hour but I have to prioritise my coat so we’ll see.

imageWhilst as Sew Over It, I took the opportunity to buy some little goodies from the haberdashery (How I LOVE that word!); zips and threads for the Mortmain dress I plan to make in March and a funky little magnetic pin tray.  All of that lovliness AND The Great British Sewing Bee is on tomorrow night – Life is Good!

Hope you are all having a fun week, enjoying the snow etc.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outerwear, Underwear – it’s all happening here!

Yesterday was the first of my four coat making workshops at Sew Over It Clapham with super patient Julie who has already guided me through a lace dress and a pair of trousers.  The workshops were a Christmas present (obviously lots of careful hints) to my other half.

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This is my fabric – a beautiful (reversible) daisy wool and the polka dot is for the lining; both from Guthrie and Ghani. I got the gorgeous buttons from Ditto fabrics.

There are just three of us in the class – just as well as the class is labelled as Advanced and at the very best I would describe myself as Intermediate Beginner.  The others have chosen wonderful fabric/lining combinations so I am hopeful we will have a trio of quite dramatic coats to show off mid February.

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The style is 1960s.  Here is a rather unflattering photo of me wearing the sample.  It will be quite interesting to compare my final version with this beauty!

imageThere is a lot to do.  The session lasted for three hours and in that time all I managed to do was cut out the wool and pin the interfacing.  The construction process is carefully broken down into four weeks and there are detailed instructions for what needs to be covered each week during the lesson and separate instructions for what needs to be done for homework.  The homework is substantial – I would say at least a further three hours but I will let you know in my next progress report. Most of the pieces need to be cut out three times: fabric, lining, interfacing. New things I learned: there is a different type of interfacing (not the Vilene type stuff I have used previously) which is used for coats – it is actually woven and you have to cut it on the grain. This I have to cut and iron on for my homework so I cannot comment on if it is easier/trickier etc.  The other interesting thing is that a man in Soho is recommended to do our button holes.  I had commented that they looked great on the sample and despaired of ever being able to do anything like that and then we were given the recommendation.  I did wonder if it was sort of cheating to get someone else to do the final finishing touches but it would be a total bummer to have made your coat, invested hours and hours and then bugger up the buttonholes – which I would almost certainly do.  If you read my blog about the silk top you will know that button holes are my nemesis.

imageI DO love the studio.  It is such a calming (although I was anything but calm and that is going to be the subject of a future, navel-gazing style post), twee, girly space – all shocking pink staircases, pretty jars of notions and tea cup pin cushions.  Always there is lovely cake and tea on tap.  That was something else I learned – when you are sewing, your bladder ceases to function! I have a lovely little routine – established when I did the lace dress workshops –  I leave work and arrive an hour or so before the class starts (I am always a super punctual person and would rather arrive an hour early than with just two minutes to spare) and then sit in a little independent coffee house and use the wifi to catch up on blogs whilst having a couple of lattes. Then, at the studios, there were further mugs of tea and it was only when I got home I realised I hadn’t been to the loo once!  Anyone else get so engrossed they forget such things?!

So, I have made a start – there is much to do this weekend but I hope you found my first progress report interesting.

Just a quick thing to finish with – a pair of pants!

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I saw on IG that JustSewtherapeutic had had a snow day (no sign of any here) and had productively made three pairs of Trixie Lixie pants.  I am a shameless copycat and immediately bought a kit (bargain as it includes the pattern, elastic, fabric etc).  It really is the first time I can say “it came together easily”.  I knocked them out Sunday night – we were watching a box set of Spiral series one (on a colleague’s recommendation) but I found it too distressing so gave up and took refuge in my Janome.  I wore them on Monday and they were comfy too – hoorah!  I plan to make many more in Liberty lawn – specifically the new Alice in Wonderland designs.

Hope you are having a good week!,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

 

 

Chinese silk Yoke top ….. finally done

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If I say so myself, this Yoke top by Lauren Guthrie looks effortlessly chic – however, it was not effortless to make and has been trailing around me and the blog for five months!

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I returned from China in August with this metre of gorgeous silk and another metre of a different floral design. I read up on how to sew with silk, bought appropriate needles and pins and was ready to go.  The pattern features in Learn to Sew with Lauren but I actually picked the pattern up in issue 5 of Love Sewing (what a great magazine).

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(I am absolutely freezing my tits off in these photos by the way – a gorgeously sunny morning whilst the ground was crisp with frost). Anyway, I made a start and I can’t remember why but, I got a bit stuck with the yoke so it became a WIP whilst I tinkered about with other things.

imageCome October I picked it up again, determined not to be one of these people who end up with piles of unfinished objects; the Yoke Top and I went on holiday for a week in the Peaks (alongside Dahlia who was very demanding and prevented the Yoke Top and I from really making much progress).  Again, it disappeared under other sewing priorities.

imageIn December, I took it to the first Sewing Club at Sew Pretty – the fabric was much admired by everyone but I got distracted by the hem on my lace dress and no progress was made.  It sat in its little purple folder for another month (I keep all of my various projects (doesn’t have to be sewing) in clear, purple plastic envelope files).

imageCome January it was Sewing Club again and I spent two hours working on the yoke.  I have to say, I do find yokes difficult.  I managed to get the front correct with Katya‘s help but when left to my own devices for the back, I just couldn’t work out how to do it.  I find construction and “seeing” how things fit together REALLY difficult – I think I must have some kind of condition, Discalculia maybe, linked to fabric rather than numbers. So the back had the raw seams exposed rather than all being neatly hidden away. However, on the plus side, I bravely whisked that single seam through the overlocker and it didn’t end in tears!

imageJust look at the absolute pig’s ear I made of the button holes.  I am supposed to have a one step button holer but it doesn’t work.  I did look at a couple of Youtube videos and I actually don’t think it is me!  The machine does the bar at the bottom, sews one side and then just stops. So I have to reset it all so that the machine it thinks it is doing another one and I have to turn the fabric 180% and wiggle it across a bit.  I only bought my machine in April so it is still under warranty from John Lewis but I don’t think I can bear to be parted from it for the weeks I’ve heard it takes for a repair.  So, I am just going to have to get better at bodging it OR only make garments without buttons.

imageSo, to conclude, Lauren’s Yoke top feels lovely against the skin and I am really looking forward to wearing it with a jacket for an evening out – just don’t look too closely at the finish! My next project is a skirt I will wear IF I ever get to an interview!

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

Sewing Bees

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Having only bought my sewing machine at Easter I needed some help with learning to sew and was really chuffed to find that, literally, round the corner from me, was Sew Pretty, a sewing studio run by Katya Essery.  Katya is a great teacher who immediately made me appreciate what fun social sewing is.  I’ll let you into a secret – Katya always cracks open a bottle of wine for her evening workshops.

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I signed up for a shirt making workshop, along with a couple of my colleagues who had participated in the Sewing Bee at work (a future post) and along with two other sewists we embarked upon our projects under Katya’s careful guidance.  I chose Makower Bees fabric which I bought online from Guthrie and Ghani which I would highly recommend. Lauren despatched the material swiftly and wrapped it up so beautifully I felt I was upwrapping a birthday present.

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The collar was tricky – my first one  ever and I’m not sure I could remember how to do it again. I had to finish off my shirt at home – too much chatting, laughing and quaffing wine during the workshop.  I used the  one step button-hole feature for the first time. Really annoyingly it is not a one-step. It does the base and one side and then stops so you have to take it out and do the other half – which was a bit hit and miss. Very annoying. I also didn’t like the sleeves which were just hemmed and therefore rather plain.  I fiddled about it and managed to fold in a cuff which looks ok but has meant that the three quarter sleeve now rests right on my elbow and is a little big irritating.  I’m going to have another go with some lovely Liberty lawn.

So, shirt: tick.

 

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