GBSB, MMMay16 and I ❤️ Liberty event

Hello all,

Hope you’ve had a good week? I certainly have on sewing related things.

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Me May Made has seen the rise of the boob selfie!  I have an IPAD but not a smart phone so taking selfies is tricky because I can’t easily hold the IPAD steady and press the button. Anyway, the desire to get a quick, no-nonsense pic each day without the embarrassment of having to ask someone to take it has resulted in my new technique whereby I can take a photo easily by balancing the IPAD on my desk – the only slight problem with this is that it only offers a close-up of my chest!

The boob selfie from a gal who clearly likes prints and buttons

The boob selfie from a gal who clearly likes prints and buttons

Me Made May has crystalised what I knew already: I have a plethora of tops (being the Queen of the Quick Fix) and far fewer separates to wear them with. During the week this is fine because all the tops brighten up my work suits but I definitely need to do more separates sewing – bottom half. I always enjoy these challenges because I find other people so inspiring and enjoy finding new blogs/IGers to follow.

Well, what did we all think of the GBSB?  I was delighted to discover that one of the contestants is a young lady from Sussex who also shops at the wonderful Ditto fabrics. I met up with one of my sewing buddies, Jane, yesterday to do a post mortem over lunch. I had previously spotted an Instagram pic of Jane wearing a dress in an unusual fabric covered in mini Brighton Pavillions.  I told her how much I loved it and she generously said I could have the offcut.  I thought I was going to use it for some sleeves or a border trim but when Jane gave it to me, it was a substantial piece and I knew I could get a Grainline Scout Tee out of it.

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I was really chuffed – sewing friends are the best. When I posted a pic of my WIP on IG, one lady sympathised with how tricky it would be to pattern match! I’ll leave you to ponder with how that went! Anyway, because I can really whizz through a Scout tee these days, I was able to wear it today on a walk around and above Chichester and Goodwood.

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Goodwood in the background – I am at the trig point on the Trundle

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Before we went for our lunch, we met in Cloth Kits – I love Cloth Kits.  Two years ago this Easter I attended a workshop there, Make Your Mother Proud – in fact, my banner photo comes from that day, and I was immediately hooked. I left that workshop and went straight to John Lewis and bought my machine. Anyway, yesterday they were having an I Love Liberty Event – there were all sorts of bargains to be had and even a pop up Liberty shop out the back which sold an array of goodies. The yard behind Cloth Kits – the aptly named Drapers Yard, has opened up an area with pop up shops  (prettily painted garden sheds) which you can rent for the day from £10 apparently.

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What a good idea – perhaps some of you who sell your crafts could go there?

Obviously I couldn’t resist buying some fabric. There was a good deal – spend X and you get 20% off (sorry can’t say what X is – you never know, one of my family might actually read my blog for once) and dithered for ages over what to get. In the end I bought some lovely, fleecy backed sweatshirt fabric.  I did buy it with the thought of another Grainline Linden (ignoring the fact that my overlocker still has broken needles from my last foray into trying to tame it) but I wondered…. those of you who have made Cocos – would it work in a heavy sweatshirt fabric do you think? My other purchase was some lovely Lantana Wool. I have never heard of this before but it is SO soft. I think it is destined to become my first Laurel. It’s funny isn’t it now that summer is on its way, I have been buying winter fabrics.

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Well, that’s it I think. I just want to leave you with a photo taken today by lovely Mr CK – we have been together 30 years and I am so blessed to have someone in my life who can make me laugh this much.  I am currently preparing for various stages of the Mountain Leader training and you have to have an emergency shelter as part of your personal kit.  This is us trying it out on a very sunny day at the top of the Trundle – a passer by asked me if the airport had been notified!

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Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

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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?!

Behind schedule … again

Hello sewing chums, hope you are having a good week.

My plans for today have been thwarted.  As last night was the final session in my Francine Jacket workshops at Sew Over It,  I had planned to visit my old friend, the button man of Soho (read this post if you want to know more). However, this is the state of my jacket at the time of writing (and don’t even ask me about the lining).

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I am disappointed.  I had to fight off feelings of despondency which threatened to overwhelm me all evening.  I think I   must be a right pain to be with on a workshop. Having completed my homework (which took hours), the subsequent fitting saw my sleeves having to be ripped off and reductions made to the centre back, side back and sleeves.  It seems that all of the bits I had added in to accommodate my shoulders have had to be removed. The sleeves which I had taken up to a 16 are now down to an 8 – weird. Anyway, twenty minutes before the end of the class I was back to the point I had been when I arrived!

I have learnt a lot this time about tailoring techniques. A new thing for me was something called …. I thought Julie called it ICE WOOL but I just looked that up to double check and I obviously have got it wrong. So , if you know, please tell us all via the comments. Anyway, it is a small piece of material, incredibly soft and fluffy which you sew into the sleeve head, ahead of the shoulder pads, just to smooth out the line of the sewing, prevent the seam allowance from showing and just make it all look a little more polished.

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I’m not the only one behind – none of us finished so there are no photos to show you of us all proudly wearing our jackets. The tutor Julie is amazing; so patient.  She was still there at 10pm when I left helping the last student to make sure she knew how to finish. I just hope I can remember what I need to do!  Hopefully this time next week I’ll be able to post a photo of my finished Francine. As soon as I finish I plan to make another (you’ve heard that before haven’t you!).  I ADORE Brora and have been admiring this jacket for a couple of months but really can’t afford the £325 price tag so I am going to make up a Francine version – I think I have been able to track down a similar Harris Tweed so we’ll see.

photo courtesy of BRORA

photo courtesy of BRORA

Earlier in the week I had the fourth of six lessons in my pattern drafting course at Cloth Kits. This week we were making our skirt block which was definitely more straightforward than the bodice and sleeves. The highlight of this week was a sneaky peak in the tutor’s studio.  Maria Pulley, as well as teaching, has her own couture dressmaking business and her studio is above Cloth Kits.

Examples of work in Maria's studio

Examples of work in Maria’s studio

She is currently working on wedding outfits for a mature lady (see the floral jacket above) and her 91 year old mother. This nonagenarian  lady has chosen a dress in blue silk and to go over it, this most gorgeous peacock feather coat. Isn’t that FAB? Imagine being 91 and having your own couture outfit – SO much for us to still look forward to.

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Whilst I was there this week, I noticed some new Liberty fabrics which had come in and were just being stored upstairs – I think they are “old” rather than new and Liberty have sold them off to their distributors.  Anyway, this rather quirky design caught my eye. It is called Transport Threads. I bought 1.75 m – originally to make a shirt.  It is incredibly thin – see-though I would say – so I am now thinking that maybe I might use it as a funky lining for a subsequent Francine.

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So another week has gone by without anything finished to share with you!  It’s funny but looking back over my blog, I was churning out a frock a week (I know, I know, some of you can do that in an evening) but now that I have a little more time on my hands, I am working at a slower, more thoughtful pace. In addition, I have been more involved in social sewing, or to be more precise eating.  I have met two fellow sewers for lunch (hello Jane, hello Debbie!) – it is so great to meet people and to talk about sewing and life. Inspired by the SEWBRUM bunch, a few of us who live on the South Coast are having a meet up for the first time this Saturday in Brighton and I am really looking forward to that – If you can get to Brighton and would like to join us for coffee and a mooch around Ditto fabrics, do let me know and I’ll give you the details – all are welcome. I do love this little community of ours.  Ooh dear, I had better sign off before I get too maudlin!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

samples from Linton tweeds - potential Francines

samples from Linton tweeds – potential Francines

 

 

 

Me Made May Pledge 2015 (and a bit of chat)

 

Good evening fellow sewistas

Thought I’d take the opportunity to write a little mid-week blogpost and make my pledge for Me Made May 2015.  I find it astonishing that I am in a position to even contemplate such a challenge.  It was a year ago this month I bought my sewing machine and I remember that when I first started looking at blogs people were posting about MMM and I had no idea what was going on!  Yet now I’m up for it myself and really looking forward to participating. Look … I even had a little dummy run today.

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Apart from my myriad of Sorbetto tops, most of my makes are quite patterned and not really sensible teacher fare.  This is my strawberries and ants Delphine blogged about here. I think by wearing everything else in black I just about got away with it but May will need some careful thought.  The trickiest bit will be that for the last week I am on a school trip: a tennis camp in Portugal.  I will be in sports clothes pretty much all week but I have bought some fabric with racquets to make a ….. Sorbetto and, I’m really excited about this, I have managed to buy some wooden buttons in the shape of tennis balls!

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So, here it is:

‘I, Clarinda of http://www.clarindakaleidoscope.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear one me made item (even if it’s only pants) each day for the duration of May 2015’

It looks as if I’m the 235th person to sign up – how great is that?  Clearly we are all part of a vibrant, enthusiastic group and I am looking forward to seeing what other people have been making and finding some new blogs to follow.

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I bought some gorgeous fabric at the weekend – three different Liberty Tana Lawns. I have already cut out the Daisies: two ties; one Belcarra (gift for my 2ic who is leaving at the end of this term); one Sorbetto.  I was really pleased with how far I was able to make two metres go but it took me almost four hours because I kept re-jigging everything.

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The ties are made all bar the hand sewing, which is my little treat tonight.  If you follow this blog you might remember that I bought myself Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread for my Easter reading – seduced 100%, not my the cover but by the title: I thought it would be something to do with sewing – doh!  I had anticipated it would be about a quilt making community or something similar and would explore the secret lives of the members etc.  Well, I finally finished it tonight.  Having ploughed through it I had concluded that the blue thread was metaphorical and then, on page 350 out of 357, there it was, a spool of blue thread which appeared to symbolise forgiveness, or it might just have been …. a spool of blue thread!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

A Sorbetto and the start of the Arundel Festival

Today is the start of the Arundel Festival, an extravaganza of music, art, drama and some general silliness. I thought I would try and wear some of my recent makes to the festival for some location shots and then blog about them (my sewing is going well but the blogging less so – there are so many things I don’t know how to do!).

Colette Patterns Sorbetto was one of my first makes and I love the pattern – it is so straight forward for a beginner like myself but still has an air of sophisticated chic about it (or am I just kidding myself?).

 

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This is actually my second Sorbetto; I cut a 10 on the bust, graduated to a 12 on the hips and added a little bit to the overall length.  The fabric is a lovely Liberty lawn which I bought from Clothkits in their sale of discontinued designs.

Is this what people call 'swayback'?

Is this what people call ‘swayback’?

I adore this print – it is so pretty and versatile. The creams/oranges work well with a neutral palette but then the various shades of blue go so well with denim as you can see here. This is the monthly Farmers Market in the town square and today helped to kick off the festivities.

 

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