Gifts: Given and Received

Hello all,

Commiserations to you if today is the first day back to work; bigger commiserations if you have already been back for days/was never really off. As I’m in the post Christmas tidying everything away phase I thought I would share with you some of the lovely gifts I received and show you what I made.

First up – some ties.

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I have made ties before using a pattern I got at a Cloth Kits tie making workshop a year ago.  The pattern is for a structured tie that has a separate piece of fabric in the middle – I thought it was called chad but I might be wrong. Anyway, although I really like that pattern I noticed that in Love Sewing magazine they had a pattern to make a Liberty tie which was actually much slimmer and used interfacing rather than a separate piece of fabric. This style seemed a bit younger/more trendy. I bought some lovely Liberty fabric (from Cloth Kits); .70m is enough to make two ties. The paisley I made for my husband and brother-in-law and the speckled one for my son and a friend. I really like using a fun fabric for a surprise lining – Queue for the Zoo anyone?

My sister-in-law came to spend the day with us on the 27th. She is the one who made my Shetland Tam which I am so happy with. We had a lovely time together which included a walk around the Wetlands. She had knitted for me some beautiful mittens with the flip back top to reveal fingerless gloves – very useful when you need to get things out of your purse. It was her husband who I had made the tie for. He was really chuffed and put it on immediately and wore it for the rest of the day. Surprisingly it goes well with his checked shirt!

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For my sister-in-law I made a little tote bag out of the wool fabric I used to make my daisy coat; I lined it with bird fabric. It was my intention that it be used as an on-the-go knitting bag so I included four lovely balls of Rowan Merino Alpaca so that she can do a little bit of selfish knitting for herself.

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By coincidence I also received a bag as a present from my friend and neighbour who is also a talented seamstress. It is made from a lovely thick tapestry style fabric and it is the perfect size for my (almost daily) trips to the Co-op.

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Sorry this picture is a little dark – we haven’t had decent light for what seems like days

Another neighbour doesn’t sew but she cooks! We share a side entrance and I found a whole pile of food goodies which she had pushed through the cat flap! Over a period of a few days I received cranberry sauce – gorgeous with sausages; mincemeat; rough puff pastry; a Christmas pud.  Can you see the little rabbit decoration on my mince pies? I bought crackers from Joules last year and this pasty cutter was one of the gifts – incredibly I didn’t lose it and was able to use it this year. I love food gifts – did you receive any?

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Finally to show you is a gold sequinned Grainline Scouttee I made for my daughter – she has promised me a photo WHEN she wears it so you might be waiting quite a while for an addendum to this post! I do really love the ease of this pattern. A couple of days ago I used it to make one for myself for my walking holiday – I go on Friday and am getting rather excited about it.

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I also received a new camera – a wifi camera no less. I haven’t yet used it to take any photos (as you have probably guessed from the rather dreadful quality of today’s pictures – sorry about that) or worked out how to use the wifi but it is on my list of Things to Do… soon.

Well that’s it for now my lovelies,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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The Birthday Tie

Hello all on this rainy Sunday,

I made a tie for my husband’s birthday which is …..today! I completed this as part of the May’s Menswear and Childrenswear Challenge for The Monthly Stitch Collective. So whilst it was made in good time, I held on until today in order to try and get a photo of him wearing it but before that ….. Childrenswear.

I have not had a lot of success with this.  Sometime last year in my early sewing enthusiasm I made the little people matching dresses in fabric which I thought was gorgeously nostalgic (for me) called Making Paper Planes.  I really messed up the yokes and ended up having to get the textiles teacher at school to give me a hand.

My brief foray into kids wear enabled me to use this wonderfully nostalgic fabric called Making Paper Planes

My brief foray into kids wear enabled me to use this wonderfully nostalgic fabric called Making Paper Planes

Making Paper Planes

Making Paper Planes

Would you like to guess how many times these dresses have been worn? Twice and one of those times was to take the photos. So I was dubious about attempting another childrenswear pattern but I do like to attempt the challenge so I bought what I thought was a funky Oliver and S pattern for the Seashore Sundress and decide to make it a joint enterprise.

My enthusiastic assistant

My enthusiastic assistant

Annoying I decided not to cut out the pieces for the pockets but when I went to sew it up realised that without the pockets there would be a big gap in the ruffle skirt- Grrrr. At that point we both lost enthusiasm and sadly this is the current state of the dress.

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I will come back to it but not sure when!

Anyway, the menswear part of the challenge was more successful. I had already made a tie at a Clothkits workshop in December so had a pattern. I really like tie making.  I used some glorious Liberty Tana Lawn from this season’s Alice in Wonderland collection.

Liberty Alice in Wonderland collection

Liberty Alice in Wonderland collection

I decided to use some little offcuts from another design in the collection and am very pleased with my placement.

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I think ties make lovely gifts and I find them very calming to make. There is a fair bit of hand-sewing with a tie and I even did some on my morning commute!

Beats reading The Metro

Beats reading The Metro

So here is the finished tie …

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…. and here is the Birthday Boy wearing it – not happy that it’s raining or that he has had to put on a shirt on a Sunday for me to take a photo!image

 

Next month’s challenge is Indie Patterns – the Big Four would be more of a challenge for me because so far I have only sewn Indie.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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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A little tale of inspiration involving Margate, Isle of Wight and GBSB

 

The Great British Sewing Bee is dear to my heart and I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode of series three.  I felt so inspired to sew at the end of the second series I booked a workshop which offered to teach basic skills to enthusiastic beginners.  The Easter workshop, at Cloth Kits, Chichester was called Make your Mother proud; I think it more likely she would have been bemused.

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The workshop confirmed my new passion and I went straight to John Lewis and bought a Janome sewing machine. I then discovered sewing blogs and a whole new world of inspiration opened up to me: Scruffy Badger; Handmade Jane; House of Pinheiro; Lladybird, Dolly Clackett and Did You Make That.  With only basic skills I became a little like Catherine Tate’s character who always said “I could do that“-  only with me it was “I could make that”.  So, the beginnings of an addiction was born; following sewing blog royalty, I emulated choices and bought patterns and fabrics.  One particular post which inspired such purchases was this one from Did You Make That. I ADORED the fabric – it reminded me of my holidays as a child.  It was a tana lawn from Liberty and the design was called Isle of Wight.

imageI didn’t go to The Isle of Wight as a child; we always went to Margate. I have happy memories of going to Dreamland night after night after having spent my days making sandcastles and paddling; some of the illustrations in the print reminded me of those gloriously carefree holidays of my childhood.  My parents never went abroad (few did to be honest from the little corner of South West London where I grew up) but many years later I took my parents on a day trip to the Isle of Wight.  It was a really special day – my mum was so excited because she thought it meant she had finally gone abroad!  The last family holiday I had with my own children, before they decided they were too cool to go on holiday with their parents, was to the Isle of Wight so it is a wonderfully nostalgic place for me.  Having bought the fabric and pattern I put them in my wicker stash basket where they have languishfor the past six months.

By the summer I decided I too wanted to blog to share my sewing adventures and in early August 2014 Clarinda Kaleidoscope was born.  Retrospectively I realise I made a faux pas with the name because A. it is not easy to remember and B. it does not convey any sense that it is about sewing but, what can you do? In any case, I like it!

So I sewed, and blogged and got more and more involved in my new hobby – even making a running top for my other passion. Since I’ve been sewing I have not run nearly enough – both are absolute time thieves.

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So I’ve had my machine for about nine months now and when the GBSB aired this week I was astonished at how much I knew compared to last time; I recognised bodices, techniques – I can even put in an invisible zip which appeared to cause some consternation!  However, the thing I was most chuffed at was that one of the contestents, Amanada, whose blog I follow made her summer frock challenge in …. Isle of Wight Liberty Tana Lawn.  So, I abandoned my weekend sewing plans and decided to use my Isle of Wight to make Sewaholic’s Belcarra blouse.

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I was really pleased with how it came together and as I was feeling so nostalgic by this point, thinking of childhood and holidays of the past, and of course, my lovely mum, I decided to have a look through her button box to see if I could find anything which would go with my new blouse.

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The Belcarra doesn’t have any fastenings – it just pulls over the head so the buttons I put on are purely decorative. They are incredibly subtle, barely noticeable in the photos but the pleasure for me is knowing that they are there – a little reminder of the precious past.

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Overall, I think the Belcarra is super versatile.  It looks a bit boxy here – I usually go for a size 12 equivalent but went with the measurements on the packet and cut a 10 – I almost think I could go a size smaller.  I think this will look great with denim shorts in the summer and equally good with a work suit – adding just a little bit of fun.

So, there you go, a few memories, places and people who have inspired me, brought together in one sweet little top.

Have a lovely Sunday,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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