A little lull between two Susies

Hello dear sewing chums,

Well, it’s been a while …  When I started my blog I did say I would write about other things but as it is only fellow sewists who read I won’t force other stuff on you! But, just in case you’re interested, I have started my mountain leader training which means doing lots of long walks at the weekend and less time for sewing. I was actually thinking about starting up a blog linked to my walking. Anyway, just before I started walking, I made a lovely Susie blouse by Sew Over It.

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My word – what an absolutely gorgeous pattern – I am surprised I have not seen more Susies on the blogosphere. It just goes over the head – very handy for someone who can’t use her buttonholer! The collar makes it really quite smart enough to wear with a suit for work but its lose tunic style also goes well with jeans.

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I made this up in a straight 12 in gorgeous Liberty tana lawn which I bought in Cloth Kits – beautiful flowers are arranged whimsically in an old fashioned milk bottle. However, to be honest, it’s quite big on me.

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There are three sleeve lengths – I went for short.  I have worn it for work a few times – it is light and airy and looks good with both trousers and skirts.

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I immediately cut out another and then the lull ensued. This was at Easter and I haven’t sewn anything since. However, with all the excitement surrounding the Great British Sewing Bee I have found my inspiration to get sewing again AND I managed to complete my blouse today.

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I decide to make up a size 10 but grade out to 12 around the middle for my mumtum. I also kept the neck opening as a size 12 as I didn’t want to be having to wriggle in and out of it and I think I’ve got it right. I cut out the three quarter sleeve length but then used the length to make little cuffs; I thought that with such a nice collar a straight forward hemmed sleeved looked a little unbalanced.

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I am really chuffed with the fabric.  It is called Vinyl Vacation by Alexander Henry and I bought it at the Knitting and Stitching Show in March.  I also bought another AH fabric whilst I was there which is completely bonkers.  I am now thinking that perhaps I should make that up into another Susie – what do you 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

It felt really good to be sewing again – I was rushing to try and get it finished so that I could wear it out this afternoon for a walk – a rather fun 5 mile charity event for the Snowdrop Trust. The sun came out and at the end we had tea and cake – of course we did. The ice cream was before we started – just to give sustenance you understand.

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Well, I am so looking forward to the 4th series of GBSB – hope you are too!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

New sunnies - I thought a bit Marilyn Munroe but Mr CK thinks more Miss Marple

New sunnies – I thought a bit Marilyn Munroe but Mr CK thinks more Miss Marple

Liberty Lovliness

Hi everyone, hope you week is going well?

I had such a lovely day yesterday. My friend Ali and I went to the Liberty in Fashion Exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum and finished the day off with a little trip to Liberty itself – incredible to admit this but it was my first every visit to the store.

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The first room gave a timeline on one wall and an eclectic display on the other: the overall effect was very calming.

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I particularly liked the smocking on this wedding dress – it looked so dated I couldn’t believe it was 1985 but the Dianasque sleeves gave it away.

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Here are some more pics of exhibits I particularly liked:

Flower power! I wish I knew a man who would wear this suit and some super funky Jimmy Choos

Flower power! I wish I knew a man who would wear this suit and some super funky Jimmy Choos

Adorable details

Adorable details

At first I thought it was feathers but it is actually the material

At first I thought it was feathers but it is actually the material

My absolute favourite was a Vivienne Westwood dress in a gorgeous delicate floral fabric. I took a quick pic of the details so that I could include them in my post and it was only when I looked later I realised the fabric was designed by a former colleague of mine, Rachel Pedder-Smith so that was a lovely surprise.

Dress by Vivienne Westwood: Fabric designed by Rachel Pedder-Smith

Dress by Vivienne Westwood: Fabric designed by Rachel Pedder-Smith

For a more erudite round up of the exhibition, do head over to Fabrikated: Kate’s post has better quality photos and more of the history. The exhibition is on until the end of February so if you can get to London, I would highly recommend it.

Look at the scarf and not my face please!

Look at the scarf and not my face please!

Onwards to Liberty! I felt I was quite restrained in the circumstances (i.e. of being in Liberty). I bought a little headband so that I could try and emulate the sassy style of Suzi of Alternative Ageing and a silk scarf. I had been umming and ahhing about the scarf but then the most magnificent sales assistant wearing a gold jacket and black brocade maxi (see first photo) sallied forth and started tying the scarf on me in various ways – of course I bought it!

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Finally up to the 4th floor and the fabrics! I bought a wonderful liberty tana lawn with a tiger design.  I am going on a walking holiday tomorrow, hand luggage only, and I thought this would go perfectly with my blue/grey only palette. So, I threw myself into it when I came home and Tah Dah!

Grainline Scouttee in Liberty Tana Lawn

Grainline Scouttee in Liberty Tana Lawn

I will by using Instagram whilst I am away In La Gomera so please feel free to have a peek and see how I am getting on – my first ever holiday as a solo traveller (but joining a group of 14).

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

How distracting would it be to sew on this?!

How distracting would it be to sew on this?!

A tale of two Wandas

Hello sewing chums, I hope you are having a good weekend? I am LOVING being part of The Monthly Stitch during Indie Pattern Month for a number of reasons: so many talented sewistas are joining the community and sharing their makes; every time I check my blog feed I see more gorgeous things which I want to make; it’s FAB that everyone is getting so involved with the challenges and last but not least ….. I was a winner in the first week Dresses category! More of that later …. It all kicked off for me by reading about the inaugural secret santa style pattern swap. It’s the first time I had participated in something like this and it was really good fun. I know that the person I bought a pattern for liked it because she has made it up and written a blog post about it – I thought she looked gorgeous so have been congratulating myself on my excellent choice (it’s actually really hard not to comment on the post and say “It was me” but then I’d be just as bad as my Y9 form who do Secret Santa each year and everyone knows who has got who!). I was chuffed when my pattern arrived – my partner had organised for it to be sent directly me to and the company addressed it to her so I do actually know who my partner was! Anyway, you know who you are and you made an excellent choice for me so many thanks. image I decide to make the dress up in some lovely floral cotton I had bought at Badger and Earl when I was doing a workshop there. I measured myself and went for 12 on the bust grading out to 14 at the waist. The paper is really study, i.e. not tissue and the instructions are OK.  The pattern is described as beginner  but to be honest, if I hadn’t already got a couple of frocks under my belt I might have struggled a bit with some of the instructions e.g. pleats.  Anyway I made the dress up and … was hugely disappointed. imageimage The dress was too big – I didn’t need to have graded out at the waist after all. Unlike Wanda the yoke did not come immediately beneath my boobiloobies (although in fairness the line drawing does show it as being more on the waist but that version doesn’t include the bust pleats/gathers) and my floral fabric looked positively frumpy.  All in all I thought it looked like a 1950s utilitarian type frock you might have worn to do the housework! image I really was hugely disappointed.  However, I decided to try and put  a positive spin on it and congratulated myself on having made my first wearable muslin.  I felt I owed it to my swopsie partner to have another go – I did not want to just blog about a failure so I immediately set about making another. I bought some cornflower blue linen at Sew Over It whilst doing my first Vintage Shirtdress workshop and decided to use this for the dress part and use the last of the scraps from my Liberty Queue for the Zoo left over from my Belcarra.  I spent a stressful Friday night trying to eek it out … and failed. imageIn the end I had to give up.  It was only the interfacing I couldn’t squeeze out so I had an idea!  I decided to use the linen as a full lining.  Having made a couple of  BHL KIMs recently I was familiar with this method. The is a real departure for me  – I normally stick to the pattern because I haven’t got the knowledge/confidence to deviate but this time I really went off piste! I did a full lining in the linen and it worked!  To be honest I am not sure if the delicate tana lawn would have held up the linen base anyway. imageI even made alterations so that the dress would fit me and was more like the Wanda of the pattern illustration.  I chopped off an inch and a half from the bodice and took the sizing down too.  It looks so much better with the yoke ending just under the bust rather than at the waist – don’t you think? imageimageSorry the photos are not great.  The sun wasn’t out and Mr CK was not in the mood for taking photos – how I need a blog manager! There is still some pooling at the back which I will attend to next time. image I wore the dress to work this week and lots of people commented on it; it really is a work dress I feel. Anyway, I decided what I needed to finish it off was a little cropped jacket – made in the blue cornflower linen. Which brings me neatly onto my exciting news.  I was one of the winners for IPM2015 dresses contest. My prize was a Tia Dress Craftsy Class and a Named pattern of my choice so I have chosen the Lourdes Cropped Jacket to join Wanda.  I am not sure when I will get round to making this up as my sewing TO Do List has just gone off the scale this month. image So, here it is then …. my entry to the New to Me contest.  Thanks to my swopsie partner for choosing the pattern for me in the first place and I also want to say a special thanks to Elle from Laura Loves Pugs whose clever ideas for using precious fabrics inspired me for the second Wanda. Toodle pip, Clarinda x

Vintage Shirtdress Workshop – week one

Hello all, I hope you’re having a good week?

Yesterday I went to the first of three workshops at Sew Over It to make their Vintage Shirtdress. It’s my fourth workshop there and I really can’t recommend them enough. My favourite make EVER is the 1960s coat I made – blogged here.  The studio is gorgeous – tea and (homemade) cake permanently available and best of all, a brilliant teacher to take you through the pattern and help with all the fiddly bits.

Took both fabrics to the workshop but eventually decided on the charcoal one - a Liberty Tana Lawn called Winter Dreams of Spring

Took both fabrics to the workshop but eventually decided on the charcoal one – a Liberty Tana Lawn called Winter Dreams of Spring

I was really pleased that the teacher was Julie who is super patient and highly experienced.  There were six of us.  A lovely generational divide: three young women in their twenties and another three who I would estimate were at least twenty years older (I hope I haven’t offended anyone by writing that!).  That is one of the lovely things about sewing – it unites people who might otherwise not appear to have much in common.  There was a little bit of chatter but everyone was really busy measuring and cutting out – we didn’t actually get to do any sewing at all.

Only roughly laid out here to check I had enough fabric.

Only roughly laid out here to check I had enough fabric.

It does seem that most patterns over-estimate fabric requirements.  I had bought three metres and was worried that I would have to eek it out but I had a considerable chunk left over.  I wonder if you can guess what I plan to make with that?! Sew Over It have toiles made up in all sizes so that you can check your fit first.  The last few things I have made at home have been too big – I do always measure myself but perhaps I just don’t hold the tape measure tightly enough?  Anyway, I decided to try on the 10 toile instead of my usual 12 and that was to big so I ended up with the 8 …. which I am surprised about because I am definitely not an 8!

It is going to be an expensive couple of weeks – I am incapable of going into a fabric shop without buying something and last night was no different.

Cornflower blue linen and my very own ham!

Cornflower blue linen and my very own ham!

I was really excited to see that Sew Over It have expanded their fabric range and put more shelves in to accommodate the additional choice.  This weekend just gone I made a dress (yet to be blogged) which I was really disappointed with. However, I resolved to call it a wearable muslin and have another go.  I have a little bit of blue Queue for the Zoo Liberty leftover from  my Belcarra (blogged here) so I thought I would use that for the yoke and make the dress with this contrasting linen. What do you think old hands – will a bodice of tana lawn (one thickness – it has interfacing rather than being fully lined) hold up a dress of linen?

I bought my goodies before the class but then at the end Julie gave us our homework and to be honest, I am not sure I will get anything else done.  I jotted down what I thought were the couple of tasks on the top of my instruction sheet but the list just kept on growing!

My homework

My homework

I said to Julie, “I’ll be bringing in a complete dress next week at this rate” and she replied that it was just basic sewing and then we could concentrate on the fiddly bits such as fitting and doing the collar: good point, well made!

I’ll let you know how the homework goes – as a teacher myself I am very diligent about such things!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x