Magic Mortmain – Mark 2

Hello all on this lovely sunny Sunday,

Guess what? I’ve been having another one of my little ponders and have realised that the garments I make multiple versions of are the ones where I have had success e.g. Sorbetto and Kim.  However, the trickier ones where I have been to a workshop and KNOW that I should make another as soon as possible after to consolidate just doesn’t happen despite my good intentions.  And so is true of Gatherkits Glorious Mortmain which fitted so well I previously thought it must be magic.

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I made my first Mortmain at a workshop run by Handmade Jane at Badger and Earl.  I was delighted with the result (notwithstanding that in my haste to finish I managed to insert the armhole facings back to front/upsidedown). You can read about that workshop here.  As I said, full of good intentions I bought a further large exposed zip from Badger and Earl whilst I was there. I had a rootle through my little stash and came across the fabric I had bought when I first got my sewing machine so at that point it was a year old and I guess my first ever “stash”.  I bought it from Clothkits. It is covered in large daisies but the centre is actually a rose.  I’ve included a close up here so that you can see the fabric as it is not really so clear on the photos.

You will see I took no chances this time with the pesky armhole facings

You will see I took no chances this time with the pesky armhole facings

I cut the dress out straight away and there it has sat – since March – on the corner of my sewing table.  I think I shied away from it for so long because I was worried about the exposed zip – and the box pleats for that matter without Jane to hold my hand. I kept putting other projects on top. A week ago I cut out an Anna (another previous success) in a lovely Liberty poplin …

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… and just as I was about to start working on it, I heard a little voice in the corner say “What about me? You were excited about making me once. What went wrong?”  Well … I thought it was a good point, well made so I put my Anna (and an Edith I got out of the scraps) in the corner spot instead, picked up poor, abandoned Mortmain and just got on with it. By the way, does anyone else think of Brideshead Revisited every time they read Mortmain because they link it with Marchmain? Remember Laurence Olivier as Lord Marchmain swanning around Castle Howard (Brideshead).

For me, one of the most amazing British dramas on television

For me, one of the most amazing British dramas on television

I am so pleased that I did.  It really is a lovely pattern.  Everything is so carefully explained with diagrams and then close-ups of the diagrams.

image It turned out to be a straight forward sew – armhole facings in correctly; exposed zip – almost perfect.

imageYou can see here the box pleats and the close fitting bodice. I do still need to get a decent camera instead of my ipad so that I can improve my blog photos. I haven’t actually got a specific event to wear this frock for – I always like to have something special for a first public outing. Feel free to invite me to anything Mortmain Appropriate!

Which reminds me. Thank you for all your kind comments on my blogiversary which I celebrated in my last post.  I really do appreciate the lift that our supportive sewing community gives. My lovely friend and neighbour Ali popped round unexpectedly with a little gift: a metre or so of a navy blue wool with a pin stripe in a brighter blue and a vintage pattern of a skirt which I had admired on her, for me to trace. This will probably be my first make of the Autumn sewing phase but I am not there yet – too many summer plans still to get through!

What will be my first vintage pattern make

What will be my first vintage pattern make

I was hoping to give my blog heading a facelift but so far have only managed to get my sewing machine serviced. You may remember some moans about that fact that my machine has never been able to do button holes? Well, now it does and it won’t surprise you to read that, apparently, it has always been able to do button holes if only I had set the dials appropriately!

Lots to look forward to next week: Open Day at Fabric Godmother; working on my project for The Monthly Stitch Two is the Magic Number Challenge and … A level results.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

Just one last peep at the exposed zip - I am in love with it

Just one last peep at the exposed zip – I am in love with it

 

 

 

 

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A little displacement activity – man sewing

Hi to all, hope you are having a FAB time enjoying the sunshine, especially if you are back to work tomorrow or saying goodbye to your littlies as they return to school.   image I have had a lovely break – really relaxing.  I didn’t get quite as much sewing as I expected as I have been distracted by other activities and fussing over the family – which I love to do. I am currently supposed to be doing coursework marking which I should have done earlier in the holidays but I have hopped onto the laptap to write this blog post – naughty naughty.

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Worn here with an un-ironed, non-matching shirt just because I was impatient to get a photo

Yesterday it was my niece’s wedding – she is the first of my thirteen nieces and nephews to get married and I had made a Flamingo Kim for the occasion. However, during the holidays when my sewing plans seemed to revolve endlessly around dresses I decided to do a little man sew as a displacement activity – I was  inspired to do this by Lazy Daisy Jones who has pledged to do a man sew a month. With the wedding fast approaching, I decided to make a tie using the leftovers from my Mortmain. imageA tie does take a surprising amount of fabric.  Mr CK kept looking at it doubtfully asking “exactly how big is it going to be”?  I have made a tie once before, at a ClothKits workshop.  I used the same pattern as I was pleased at how that one turned out. I used a little bit of lilac polka dot which I have got in my stash which I think is wanting to be made up into a Gabriola – which would certainly go well with my shoes.  I have read a couple of blogs this week where people have been reviewing the goals they set themselves for 2015 – mine are not going terribly well. Making the Gabriola was one of my pledges so I think I should crack on with that now that the summer is on its way.  However, I have just cut out another Mortmain and have bought the fabric to make my Davie – so much sewing and so little time. imageAnyway, there is not too much more  to say about the tie.  I enjoyed the construction and particularly like the hand sewing elements. It was a pleasant afternoon’s distraction from my selfish sewing.  I was really pleased that Mr CK was quite happy to wear it to the wedding and told everyone that I had made it. So to close today, here are a few pics of the wedding to show you the Kim and tie actually in use for an “occasion” – a glorious London affair which saw us traipsing around on London Transport in all our finery. Toodle pip, Clarinda x

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With my beautiful niece Sarah

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With some of the family menfolk; Summer Rose pretending she is the bride.

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There did seem to be a bit of a lemon theme going on (which I like) but the lilac looks nice too

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Outside our local waiting for the bus to take us to Clapham Junction – classy!

PS – If you did scroll down this far … I’ve got another couple of weddings to go to this summer.  What do you think about the idea of my Mortmain and the matching tie? Utterly dreadful or fun cheese?

Magnificent Mortmain

Well hello there, I have broken up for Easter today and I can’t tell you how happy I am about that.

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Look … I made something which actually fits me and doesn’t have too many boo boos – thanks to the girls at Gather for their amazing pattern and to Handmade Jane who led the workshop at Badger and Earl where I made this dress over two consecutive Sundays.  For ten hours in total we worked on our frocks and not one of us managed to completely finish so our fashion parade at the end was somewhat hurried.  Had we been on the Great British Sewing Bee we would probably have had ninety minutes and had to throw in a bolero jacket as well!

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I had a specific event in mind for this dress which influenced my fabric choice – a gorgeous ….. actually, I’ve no idea what it is!  A cotton sateen maybe? There was a bit of stretch which I hadn’t realised initially and the white background is embossed; the lilac/purple splodges look like watercolours. My school colours are lilac/purple and this year a new event was introduced: The Lilac Dinner.  The idea was to have an evening where the students, parents and teachers all have supper together just before the students go off to take their GCSEs. I do like to throw myself into things so decided I was going to make a lilac dress – of course I was!  I originally bought a purple gingham but when I was at Sew Over It making my coat the fabric kept calling my name and whispering “Lilac Dinner, Lilac Dinner”.

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I LOVED the workshop.  There were four of us and we all had gone for floral prints. The dress was a great fit on all of us without any real alterations – it seemed to be a magic pattern. Everything seemed to fit together perfectly. The only really tricky thing was the exposed zip – I thought invisible zips were supposed to be hard but they are a doddle compared to the exposed zip.  Thank goodness Jane was there to expertly guide us through every step of the way.

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Here is the back view – I have to admit I was a little sceptical of the exposed zip but it does make a statement and a lot of the girls had similar zips in their outfits so it must be very “in”!

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It was really great to meet Jane – she was very perceptive at gauging exactly where we were at any one point and who was fine and who needed help.  The only thing I messed up, and I am so cross with myself about this, was that I managed to put my armhole facings in upside down.  Jane was so kind in offering to re-set them for me as she knew I needed the dress for Thursday but I just pressed the life out of them and they stayed in place.

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And obviously we have to mention the shoes!  Aren’t they gorgeous?  I saw them on Dolly Clackett’s blog and knew they would go perfectly with my dress so I literally ordered them just before the workshop on Sunday; they arrived from Sweden yesterday at 1pm – cutting in fine!  I find I am being influenced more and more my reading sewing blogs – it’s the second time I’ve “borrowed” style from Dolly and have also blatantly copied Justsewtherapeutic. Is that wrong – I’m not sure? Do you say copy or inspired by?

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Anyway, I have had a hideous half term and I am really pleased to have broken up today.  I was thinking about going away but actually I just want to rest at home, read and sew so hopefully I will have a few things to show you over the next couple of weeks.  I will definitely make the Mortmain again (arm facings the right way up) and have already bought the zip.

Hope you have lovely things planned for Easter,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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Calling all you Overlocker Queens – Help!

Hello all,

I hope your week is going well?

Look what arrived in the post for me today!

imageNow, this is very exciting.  I got the pattern out to read on the train coming home from work (cue lots of surprised looks from commuters) and had a bit of a surprise.  I have pledged to myself that I am going to make up Sewaholic’s Davie as my first garment on my overlocker but … now that I have the pattern, it is awash with topstitching.  How do I do that on my overlocker?  Or, do I make the dress up on my overlocker but then topstitch on my normal machine? But … how will I do that with knit fabric? Do I use my walking foot? Or, if on the overlocker, do I use top stitch thread?  Oooh, so many questions – all suggestions gratefully received.

Making the Davie will probably be my first project of the Easter holidays (eight days to go – not that I’m counting but it’s been a foul half-term) as this weekend I have the second of my Mortmain workshops.  Want a peep of progress thus far?

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The bodice looks as if it will fit well – I cut a 10.  You can’t actually see the darts on this but I do look gloriously flat-chested (I am).  If you think it clashes somewhat with my stripey top, just look at the skirt when I was still wearing my jumper!

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Really looking forward to sharing the finished garment with you and telling you all about Badger and Earl. Will have to remember to wear appropriate shoes/tights for the group photograph as the above photos are decidedly unflattering!

Have a good rest of the week,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

Thank you Cynthia …

I haven’t actually done much sewing this week to but I am going to have a whole day of it tomorrow which I will tell you about in my next post. My week has been tedious to say the least so I am delighted to share with you a gloriously generous, unexpected gift I was given this morning which filled me with absolute delight.image My daughter had been given a black bin liner to pass to me by a friend who I have met a few times. I opened it and found it contained an old cardboard box and half a dozen carrier bags: an absolute treasure trove filled with threads and notions. image It took me a good couple of hours to sort out my inheritance stash from “Cynthia”, who her son referred to as Minnie Cool, which I think is lovely. imageimage I sorted into three main groups: vintage wooden bobbins; some permacool terylene thread and Gutermann reels. There isn’t any way I could possibly ever get through it all so I have decided to share it amongst my sewing friends/textiles department at school. Aren’t I a lucky girl! Thursday saw the final of the Great British Sewing Bee – who would have thought it would be Matt to take the hallowed dress form. My money was on Neil from the beginning but he had a shocker – I think all of the excitement finally got to him! The contestants this year really did seem a friendly bunch – it was lovely when they all came back for the presentation. Before the Bee started I had a private lesson with lovely Katya from Sew Pretty. Regular readers will know that I am still frightened of my overlocker which I bought on EBAY back in the Autumn; I haven’t completed a single garment on it yet – in fact I haven’t done more than finish four seams.

Photo courtesy Sew Pretty

Photo courtesy Sew Pretty

It was a really productive couple of hours; we had a cup of tea and a chat and Katya took me through the whole of the manual – I changed the threads – twice; learned how to lower the knife; use a gathering attachment; do a rolled hem etc. etc.  It remains to be seen if I will be able to do these thing by myself but I certainly feel more confident about having a go – thank you Katya.  I would certainly recommend having a private lesson to anyone who has the equivalent of Writer’s Block with any aspect of sewing! Tomorrow I am off to another workshop – as you know I am a bit of a workshop  junkie and I am going to a new studio for me in South London – Badger and Earl.  I am going to be doing a class with Handmade Jane making the Mortmain dress. The feature of this dress is its exposed zip.  I bought this glorious fabric at Sew Over It and a purple zip but I really wasn’t sure if I actually liked the exposed zip idea anyway.  But …. Look … my lovely friend Ali offered to rummage through her vintage supply (kept in a trunk no less) and gave me this gorgeous white zip with silver teeth (?) which I think will go perfectly. image I am feeling really rather humble and grateful for the good things I have been given today.  I hope you are having a similarly rewarding weekend.  Happy Mothers Day to you for tomorrow if you are celebrating; I’m in deep disgrace over it because I am going to my workshop for the day and not the Sunday Lunch at a Manor house which had been planned for me! Toodle pip, Clarinda (and a final picture of Cynthia’s stash – thank you) x image

Knitting and Stitching Show and a grumpy CK

Hello all, hope your weekend is going well?

I am going to be completely upfront and say I have had a really horrid week at work because, well basically because, I work with incompetent, spiteful morons. Ooh, you’d think it would feel better getting that off my chest but no … I’m still cross!

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The only reason why I’ve said that is because it might have affected my view of The Knitting and Stitching Show. I was SO looking forward to it but left feeling distinctly underwhelmed. It’s the first show of its kind I’ve been to since I’ve become passionate about sewing. I had imagined it would be like the Ideal Home Show exhibitions in their 1970s heyday. I anticipated returning laden down with freebies, giveaways, samples, literature, offers etc. but no: Love Sewing Magazine and a metre of jersey stripe (suggestions of what to make anyone?) was my total haul.

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I did see one of the BHL girls – the patterns looked beautiful all stacked together on the shelves. I was going to say thanks for the excellent Kim sewalong which I am currently sewingalong with but she was busy with a paying customer so I didn’t interrupt. I did get to say Hi to the ladies at the Badger and Earl stand. I am doing a workshop with them next Sunday to make the Mortmain dress. It was good to see one made up. The ironic thing is that one of the features of the dress is it’s dramatic exposed back zip which … I’m not sure I like – I think I might end up putting in an invisible one!

Bodice completed just the skirt to go

Bodice completed just the skirt to go

So, perhaps it was my mood that made me think everything looked a bit tired – a sad man wandering around pushing a 1970s domestic carpet cleaner didn’t help. If you are going, I hope you have fun.

It was nice to have two of my makes featured on Lauren’s Guthrie and Ghani blog round up this week and this weekend I hope to do a bit more on my Flamingo Kim but mainly it’s preparation for an interview I have on Monday – fingers crossed.

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Finally, something good to end the weeks – clogs!

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Toodle pip,

Clarinda x