I love RTW: Shock, Horror!

Hi everyone,

I gather that many in the UK have snow today? Not here yet but the local radio weather report seems to indicate that it’s just down the road ….. Which is a million miles away (metaphorically speaking) from where I have spent the last week.

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If you follow my Instagram you will have seen my many photos from beautiful La Gomera – one of the smaller Canary Islands and, by complete coincidence, today’s Sunday Telegraph supplement is all about … La Gomera.

There was no sewing last week (couldn’t manage my Janome AND my walking poles) but I did knit a beanie (which I plan to show you once I have sewn it up) and spent a lot of thinking about clothes – not those that I plan to make but those that I was wearing.

North Face convertible trousers and Rohan shirt

North Face convertible trousers and Rohan shirt

So here it is, my fulsome praise for those clothes which I don’t make but buy because, quite frankly, they are bloody brilliant. Over many years of being a walker, having been involved with Duke of Edinburgh and even having been a school leader on a month long expedition to Madagascar, I have come to appreciate the value of having appropriate, technical clothing. As I walked up yet another steep hill behind someone who was absolutely drenched, their clothes showing uncomfortable wet patches, I smugly congratulated myself on being suitably attired.

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Each day I alternated between one of two pairs of long trousers from North Face (seven years old and still like new) which you can zip off to make shorts or roll up and secure with a strap to make capris and shirts from Rohan. The detail is amazing: fabric which dries almost immediately, secure pockets (and lots of them) and tabs on the inside so that you can hang it up on your washing line for a quick overnight dry. Each evening I washed through what I was wearing and popped it on the balcony to dry (get yourself a travel washing line – I use mine everywhere) and then I was good to go again.

Travel washing line, secure pockets and straps to roll up sleeves to make them shorted and the tabs to clip over a washing line.

Travel washing line, secure pockets and straps to roll up sleeves to make them shorted and the tabs to clip over a washing line.

I had  a made a couple of tops to wear in the evenings/afternoons after walking but although as a solo traveller in the group lots of people offered to take pics of me whilst out walking, I felt too self-conscious to ask any of the group in the evenings to take a blog shot for me. I did however get to wear my new Liberty Grainline Scout Tee on our day off and here it is at a beach bar with a couple of lovely people from my group. I don’t expect it will ever be worn again in such a glorious location!

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Well, I have had a FAB time – do consider la Gomera if you enjoy walking; it is a beautiful island and if you do know of any where that stocks this kind of fabric, do let me know. It seems rather odd for someone who loves colours and print and natural fibres to be so in awe of clothes which are so patently functional but for me, that is where the beauty lies!

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Have a great week ahead; only one more week to go for me then I start my new job which hopefully should mean a couple of WIPs get finished – but don’t hold me to it!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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Sewing Related Musings …

Hello dear sewing chums, how are you all?

Have you guessed from my title that I haven’t actually got any sewing to share with you? Just telling you up front so that you can move onto the next blog if you don’t want to read my ramblings. Anyway, I am back from ten glorious days in Yorkshire seeing my cousins (my mum’s side of the family are all  in Wakefield) and pootling about on a narrow boat.

Social Media and Holidays

I had a wonderful time on the boat – once I’d mastered the locks and swing bridges (it’s quite different “down south” – on the Thames the lock-keepers do it for you!).

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Wearing one of my scraps sorbettos

However, there is no wifi on a narrowboat boat!  Holidays are times to relax and I really enjoying reading blogs for relaxation/inspiration so it was quite frustrating not to be able to nip online for a quick five minutes here and there as I am used to.  We moored up each night and went to a pub (which had to have free wifi) so that I could log on for half an hour.

Being touristy in Haworth - there is a Sorbetto hidden under the Rohan

Being touristy in Haworth – there is a Sorbetto hidden under the Rohan

This only really gave me time to update my personal facebook and quickly scroll through a few instagram pics. Poor Mr CK tried to be accommodating but after ten minutes of sitting silently whilst I was frantically clicking/scrolling away he would say “Well, this is fun.”  Reluctantly, I had to sympathise with his viewpoint. We arrived home yesterday and I spent two hours in bed this morning trying to catch up on my blog feed – I had 104 post to read – now down to 47.  I did wonder if I should just start afresh from today but I didn’t really want to miss out on what people have been making (the Southport maxi and Tilly’s new Bettine have gone bonkers). I then thought perhaps I could scroll through and just delete ones I wasn’t especially interested in but realised, joyfully, that everyone I follow, I enjoy following and didn’t want to skip through anything. So if you blog, and I follow you, and you are receiving random comments a week plus after you posted … now you know the reason why!

Sewing Gifts

I stayed in Wakefield with my cousin Mel, a gloriously talented seamstress who used to own her own wedding dress shop.  Whilst I was there she was frantically sewing on sparkles for a dress she was delivering the following week. She had lots of stories to tell from her wedding shop days including a man who came in and wanted a wedding dress made to measure in pink and a lady who came in with a drawing she had made herself as a nine year old child of what she thought her dream wedding dress would be and said “I want that”.  The lady’s mother subsequently came to the shop to countermand the instruction saying her daughter would look ridiculous. The nine year old’s dream dress was made – sadly I don’t have a picture to share.

Thread catcher being put to good use whilst I was hand sewing a tie on the train

Thread catcher being put to good use whilst I was hand sewing a tie on the train

Last time I met my cousin she had made a couple of sewing related gifts for me; a travel pin holder and thread catcher and a pin cushion with (I think) a cathedral design. The thread catcher is brilliant – it is actually structured around a Pringles lid and folds down so that you can slip your pin holder in the lid. – the pins are stored around the edge – a little like a wheel.  This was made with fabrics Mel had used for dresses/waistcoats for weddings of her own family. She said her idea was that you could just “pop them in your pocket” for sewng on the go  – as you do.

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Closed thread catcher

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Pin wheel sitting inside the closed thread catcher

Pin cushion with "cathedral dedsign" (I think)

Pin cushion with “cathedral dedsign” (I think)

In the time I have been blogging I have made some lovely blog friends and I hope to make more.  I  have found this to be one of the many pleasures of blogging (even  today I felt the need to blog but without having anything sewn to show you!). One of my early blog pals was Sew South London and being a South London girl myself, hers was one of the first blogs I was drawn to. We struck up a friendship quite quickly and I am looking forward to following her adventures now that she has moved on from South London to sunnier climes. Imagine my delight a couple of weeks ago when, as I was laying on the sofa feeling really sad after having attended the funeral of one of my former students, I suddenly decided to check my post box and found there a lovely gift – a metre of super funky fabric bought in Bangkok. I have decided to make a Clemence skirt with it and just as soon as I have finished this post, that’s what I’ll be doing. How lovely that someone you have never met can “know” you and be so generous too.

Funky fabric and what it is destined to become

Funky fabric and what it is destined to become

Whilst writing about gifts, I just want to refer to one I blogged about here – a wonderful stash of sewing goodies given to me by a friend of my daughter’s.  His generous gift means that I will probabaly never have to buy thread again in my life and have a choice as I did here with my Anna.

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Adding to the Stash

Just before I went to Yorkshire I had a little day trip with my neighbour and friend Ali, a fellow runner and sewista.  We went to the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V&A and then on for an afternoon’s shopping in Goldhawk Road.  The exhibition was a glory – very intense.  The music  alone was enough to make you want to slash your wrists although interestingly, as soon as you exited into the gift shop, a rather jollier tempo met your ears.

postcards of two of my favourite exhibits

postcards of two of my favourite exhibits

After a FAB lunch in Knightsbridge we moved onto our afternoon of shopping. I suffered from overwhelmedness in Goldhawk Road – odd that I had never been before.

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Just a tiny corner of one of about ten shops we went into

Just a tiny corner of one of about ten shops we went into

We traipsed into every shop and I had to keep sitting down like an old lady.  On the way back, we spread out all our wares on the train and a group of young men across the aisle from us, clearly amused, offered to take our photo.

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My purchases from Goldhawk Road - think I was quite reserved

My purchases from Goldhawk Road – think I was quite reserved

I am thinking another Clemence skirt from the Flamingos (if my first one goes OK).  The middle fabric I think will make a nice shirt – I was lucky enough to book Sew Over It’s Ultimate Shirt class during the summer sale. Finally, the floral fabric is a delicate needlecord (allegedly Liberty) which I hope to make some sort of pinafore out of – maybe a Sureau without the sleeves.

I have never bought fabric in Cath Kidston before but couldn’t resist this in their sale – £8 a metre – it’s really heavy so I’ll have to think carefully what I’ve going to do with it. Any ideas? Photo also includes my notions purchases that day – I was super organised and took samples of the fabrics with me so that  could colour match my zips.  The book was an impulsive purchase, which, now that I’ve read it, deeply regret!

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Well, I have rambled on for ages and although I still have more musing to share, will save those for another day. Just to conclude by saying that I have a big birthday coming up so look out for a celebratory blog post early next week. It is the school summer holidays now so I am looking forward to lots of sewing and keeping up to date with my blog feed. I have really enjoyed wearing my makes this summer so will close with this pic of me at the evening races at Epsom which was followed by a brilliant Madness concert – I had forgotten just how many glorious sing-a-long songs they had made. But the best part of the evening was when a lady came up and said “I have been looking at your dress – it is really lovely” – of course you can guess my reply!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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