Half term busyness

Hello dear reader, hope you are having fun and starting to get excited about spring?

In all the excitement of finishing my 1960s coat, I’m only just getting round to blogging about my other recent activities. I had a great half term which left me feeling relaxed and ready for the next surge. I had a bit of a supper party one night for some friends/neighbours and one of them actually asked me what exactly it is I am doing when I prance about on the riverbank in season inappropriate clothing!

imageI don’t have a posh camera (or a tripod, remote control etc.) so I have to take photos outside to get the best light and I only use my mini IPAD anyway.  I might need to re-think this strategy as sewing/blogging is becoming a bigger part of my life (it’s not so big for others who I have to cajole into taking pictures for me). However, for the time being I will continue to prance around at the end of my garden.

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This is my second Sewaholic Belcarra blouse – it is such a lovely top – I made it up in Liberty Lawn Queue for the Zoo which I bought last year.  Similar to my first Belcarra (see here) – I think this has the potential to be worn to work with more formal attire as well as with denim as seen here.

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This is a better view of the fabric (and my goose bumps) but I also wanted to show you the little button detail I added.  This is another one from my mum’s 1950s button box and I love it that I am now able to put to use some of the buttons that I have sorted through periodically for decades.

imageIt is a wonder I managed to squeeze this top in at all as the little people were around with it being half term.  They are so inquisitive about sewing but to date we have only made a tote bag together.  The majority of the time in which I could sew was spent on finishing my coat (see here)  but now that is done I can move onto another couple of projects which I have lined up.

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The first is a Kim dress – which I am doing as part of the sewalong.  I am doing a direct copycat of Dolly Clackett’s dress which used a fabric called Flamingo Border.  Unfortuantely I made a huge boo boo.  I have noticed that frequently when I buy the amount of fabric stated on the pattern I end up with so much left over  – I have squeezed a number of Sorbettos out of such generosity. So, on this occasion, I only bought two metres – doh. The skirt is made from a rectangle of the full three metres and consequently not only will my full skirt not be nearly so full but I didn’t have enough for the lining of the bodice. I was already entrenched in my cutting out so  – what to do?  Well, I did something rather extravagant.  A couple of weeks ago I bought some lovely broderie anglaise from Sew Over it (with no particular project in mind) and I used a little bit of that for my bodice lining.

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It will be my first project which looks lovely from the inside!  I also ran up a couple of pairs of Trixie Lixie knickers with my leftover Liberty lawn (what a wonderful way to use up leftovers!).

imageMy other half term achievement was to set up a Twitter account linked to my sewing activities.  I have two followers so that is exciting!  I am struggling to de-couple an existing twitter account which I used when I walked the Camino de Santiago six years ago (pre hashtag days) so I can’t add a button yet to the blog but if you are interested it’s ClarindaKaleidoscope @Clarinda_K  I only really decided to set one up so that I could follow along with all of the tweeting which  accompanies #GBSB which I am enjoying hugely.

Hope the week is going well – Good Luck to Amanda and Deborah tonight!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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Claudia the Calf? Where’s Gogglebox when you need it? Welcome back Great British Sewing Bee!

 

 

There was a real sense of excitement and anticipation at home last night – for me at least.  My menfolk were quietly resigned but they watched The Great British Sewing Bee and the endless comments proved that they were clearly engaged.  As our roast chicken supper was cooking, I snatched an hour or so to make another couple of Trixie Lixie knickers in some lovely Liberty Lawn I had ordered from Guthrie and Ghani.  I was SO impatient AND determined to have a sewing filled extravaganza of an evening that I sewed them up without matching thread – Shocking behaviour.

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I credit GBSB 100% for getting me into sewing and how funny a year on to see how much more I know about it all.  Was it a BHL Kim bodice I saw (two possibly?) in the summer frock category? The trousers for the first challenge – surely Sew Over It’s Ultimate Trouser with a tweak at the waist to swap facing for bias. Both currently in my stash!

imageThe Kim pattern is because I am taking part in the Kim sewalong – not that I am up to date with that of course.  The Ultimate trousers I made at a workshop a couple of months ago and immediately rushed out to buy some Black twill (?) to make super boring work trousers.  It is because of the super boring bit that the fabric has sat in my stash but I think I will make them up this weekend.  If the Sewing Bees managed it in three hours then I’m going to try and match that.  Regular readers will know that we have had a Sewing Bee at my work.  One of the Bees asked on Wednesday if we were going to follow along with the series – we all looked at her as if she were bonkers. But here I am, actually considering doing one of the challenges for this week.

imageWas one of the dresses made of this fabric?  I thought so but we didn’t get a close up.  It is a gorgeous Liberty lawn with lots of little seaside related illustrations on it. It’s waiting to be made up into a blouse/summer top of some description – hopefully with enough left over to make another pair of pants – they are VERY addcitive!

Finally, onto the contestants and the challenges. Why oh Why is Gogglebox not on tonight?  I LOVE Gogglebox – a glorious celebration of family and what it is to be British in our wonderful,l multi-cultural society.  I would love to know what Steve and Chris, Steph and Dom and Sandy and Sandra think of the garments, characters, challenges.  It is sad when someone has to leave – especially when you have barely been introduced but what a travesty to lose Annie so soon. Did you catch that glorious retort to Claudia when she told she had to leave: Don’t worry – I’ll still name a calf after you!

Have a great weekend sewing,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workshop junkie and my first attempt at manly sewing

Oh I do love a workshop – I love having an expert on hand to help and give guidance; I love the seemingly endless supply of drink, cake/biscuits and I love meeting other people who sew. Rather last minute I decided to book myself onto Saturday morning’s workshop at Clothkits, Chichester to make a tie.

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There were four others on the course. The first task was to choose the Liberty Lawn fabric which we were to use.  I had already brought my fabric with me; a gorgeous wool mix I brought from Ghani and Guthrie and for the lining I wanted to use some Liberty Tana Lawn, Queue for the Zoo , which I had bought ages ago to make a blouse and remains untouched. The tutor, Maria Pulley thought that my fabric may be a little too thick but I had my recipient in mind and knew that the grey/blue floral combo was perfect and was not to be swayed!

A tie has lots of funny little fiddly bits associated with attaching the lining and getting a good point.  I was really pleased to have someone there to show me precisely how to do it but apart from that, I found it relatively straight forward.  The most interesting thing for me was the ….silence!  Once you have the fiddly bits out of the way, the tie has to be hand sewn.  There was a period of about forty five minutes where you literally could hear a pin drop, no-one said a single word whilst we concentrated intently on trying to sew invisible stitches.  So, not quite as social as other classes.

Here is my sewing concentration face.

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Here are the finished ties – quite impressive for a morning don’t you think.  I do love the Liberty prints so will be making more I am sure.

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In the afternoon I cut out my fabric for Tilly and the Buttons Francoise – there is a contest and photos have to be uploaded by midnight tonight.  I don’t think I’ll manage that as today is ear-marked as Christmas card writing day etc but I will give it a go.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x