I had a vision

Hello all,

Hope you have had a wonderful sunny Sunday.  I have just got back from a weekend Hen-do in Bath which was great fun and proved to me that the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun mantra is just as true for Hens who are 40/50 something is it is for the younger chicks.

I was SO lucky to receive as a gift from Ms Sew South London as metre of fabric she had bought in Hong Kong and posted because she thought it was very me and that I might like to make a Sorbetto out of it.  Well, as you know I make a Sorbetto out of practically every piece of fabric I have but nearly always as the second piece – i.e. my Scraps Sorbettos.  I really felt that such a lovely gift deserved to be used on a garment which would show off the fabric and felt that Tilly’s Clemence  skirt from Love at First Stitch was calling to me. By co-incidence a week or so before I had treated myself to some gorgeous shoes in the sales which were a coral colour and perfectly match some of the little handbags on the skirt.  I had a vision that I would waft around and look as glamorous as Tilly.  Well, it was a vision that sadly did not come to fruition!

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The instructions for the skirt were very good. I am certainly enjoying working my way through Love at First Stich and would highly recommend it – the technique I most enjoyed on this pattern was “sewing in the ditch”. As I had a metre I went right up to the selvedge and reduced the waistband by half; this was a mistake and unnecessary.  I think the skirt would actually look better for being a bit shorter.  What do you think?

This should be an out-take really - it's me trying to flatten my tummy for the photo

This should be an out-take really – it’s me trying to flatten my tummy for the photo

I decided to see if I could get away with wearing the shoes without tights.  The answer to that question is No – I only went to the local coffee shop to meet a friend and by the time I had walked back, I had an enormous blister!

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All of which has led me to consider another vision.  I think this skirt will look absolutely cracking in early autumn with navy tights, my coral shoes and a plain navy top. I am really looking forward to showing you another photo of this come September when I have styled it in work mode. It is exactly the sort of garment that my students will really enjoy and comment upon.

It is so lovely to have become part of our sewing community and to have made on-line friends like Rachel – it really was the most up-lifting experience to receive something in the post unexpectedly.

Toodle pip for now but there will be another post in a couple of days to celebrate a special birthday!

Clarinda x

Funky fabric and what it is destined to become

Funky fabric and what it is destined to become

 

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Delphine avec des fraises et les fourmis

Bonjour and Happy Easter!

imageI bought this fabric a year ago from Cloth Kits, Chichester when I did my first workshop (even before I had my own sewing machine).  I immediately fell in love with the funky pattern  – ants and strawberries together on a rather stiff cotton fabric.  Having bought it I didn’t really know what to make with it.  However, this week whilst I have been pottering around – both in general and on the sewing front – it suddenly came to me: a Delphine.

imageThere’s not really too much to say about the skirt.  The pattern is straightforward to sew; it comes from Love at First Stitch and I really appreciate the instructions, clear diagrams and Tilly’s pragmatic approach. Here is Tilly’s advice for Stitch in the Ditch which I did first time with this skirt: ” …don’t worry if it doesn’t turn out perfect and some stitches go off piste – for I do believe life’s too short to stress out over the little things.” A girl after my own heart but my ditchy stitching was OK.

imageI’m not sure really what to wear it with – I think maybe a plain black or red top  but I haven’t got one so for the time being it’s dark green. By the way, in the background you can see Arundel Cathedral and just in the corner, the castle.

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Well the first week of the holidays have gone and it’s been really relaxing but I am in full matriarch mode for the weekend. I made my first ever jam (jelly) – pink grapefruit and rosemary to go with the spring lamb. Just look at the lovely colour:

imageI also managed to fit in a bit of fabric shopping. There is a great shop in Worthing called … The Fabric Shop. The only trouble is, whenever there is a lot of choice I always feel overwhelmed. I bought two metres of this blue fabric which I think I am going to make another Kim with – although I did buy four buttons because I was also thinking about making a Sureau.

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What do you think? Kim or Sureau?

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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Dotty Delectable Delphine

This is my first skirt and I know already that I will be making lots more. It is SO practical – I can see this becoming a real staple for work but there is also scope to dress it up/down too. image In fact, I did try to dress it up and tried it on with these cute shoes I bought for a wedding three years ago and haven’t worn since.  Needless to say, they are not going to be worn with my Delphine because it was just too polka-dotastic and I looked ridiculous! imageBack to the skirt (although it is always nice to look at shoes). This is the Delphine from Love at First Stitch by super-talented Tilly.  This is my third Tilly make now and I am really impressed with her clear instructions, lots of photos and simplicity of design.  I am also a straight size 4 and for someone who is still not confident with fitting this suits me fine.image Although I am really pleased with it – there are a number of things I would do differently next time – to be honest there are a number of things I should do to this skirt to improve it but I am eager to get onto the next thing – as per usual.  I am looking forward to achieving the wisdom and patience that the more experienced sewistas have. image OK – here is my list of boo boos – it never occurred to me to try and wriggle the fabric around a bit so that my seams didn’t slice off half a dot making it look like this.  I thought with a pattern it wouldn’t notice but it does (and at the waistband too), I also, and it’s the second time I have done this, not bought an invisible zip when I thought I had.  I stupidly decided to insert it just as if it were an invisible zip but got into a right mess with the end which was exposed so there is another bodge job involving a bit of hand sewing. image You will recall from my Denim Sureau that I am now an expert at top-stitching (!) so I decided to add it to my Delphine even though there is no requirement. You can see the fabric a little clearer.  It is a lovely cotton which has a look of linen and I bought it on my first fabric shop of the year at Ditto Fabrics. image The big excitement for me this week is that I begin my four week course at Sew Over It to make a 1960’s coat.  I am already thinking this is too ambitious but it was my Christmas present and I am looking forward to learning some new techniques and meeting some fellow sewing enthusiasts.  I am planning to blog my weekly progress so do drop by again to see how I am getting on. Toodle pip, Clarinda x

Me? Blog Hop? Yes please!

For the last few weeks I have been reading, with interest, various sewing blog hops where people answer a varying range of questions about their sewing/blogging/inspiration etc. It was therefore incredibly surprising, that this fledgling blogger (with only eleven posts to her name and an even fewer number of followers) was nominated.  So huge thanks to Rachel from Is it fitting for thinking that I might have something of interest to say –  Here goes . . . . . Why do I write?image I have always liked writing. I like the permanence of the written word – particularly from a social and historical contextual point of view. I find writings from women of the past fascinating.  I have been both a diary keeper and a letter writer – I guess that I am just moving with the times, albeit a little after everyone else, and now blogging.  Years ago Virginia Woolf wrote about the importance of A Room of One’s Own – the desire is just as important today and it is with great interest and pleasure I have read about various bloggers’ sewing spaces and how precious they are to them.

My first Sureau

My first Sorbetto

What am I working on at the moment? I am still in the September return to school flurry and have not completed any projects this month but I have started loads!  I tend to sew at weekends and knit during the week which is more manageable on my commute.  I have started knitting a patchwork blanket designed by Martin Storey as a knit-along for Rowan.  On the sewing table is a dress from Love at First Stitch (cut out and ready to sew), a yoke top from Learn to Sew with Lauren (cut out from the most gorgeous silk I bought in China this summer) and I am determined to make Fehrtrade’s VNA top for the Chichester Half Marathon which I am running on October 12th.

Chinese silk

Chinese silk

How does your blog differ from other blogs? It’s obvious isn’t it?  I’m new, don’t really know what I am doing, can’t easily add buttons, icons, etc.  take rubbish photos (or rather my willing students take them) and haven’t really established my own style yet.  I am working on that and hopefully by the time I celebrate my first blogiversary I will look back fondly (and with some embarrassment) at these early, juvenile posts.

Bluebell woods on a run

Bluebell woods on a run

How does my writing process work? I am a runner.  Whilst I am out I go through all sorts of things in my head: letters of complaint; job applications; blog posts.  I can assure you that somewhere on the South Downs are crafted the most amazing, original and entertaining blogposts.  Bizarrely, by the time I have got home, showered, done a million and one other things, all the little gems have vanished and what remains is what you can read here.

Post race ice cream

Post race ice cream

Nominations No pressure at all if not your sort of thing but I would like to nominate Lazy Daisy Jones  whose blog I discovered with this post on Day Three of OWOP and saw immediately that I would  love her style – her description of herself as a “mid-century …..mama who will forever be a girl at heart”  had me cheering “Me too!”   My other nominee is Sew South London who has been a kind and generous supporter of my blog and sewing efforts. Toodle pip Clarinda x

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

A brief foray into kidswear enabled me to use this wonderfully nostalgic fabric called Making Paper Planes