A PW to share

Hello all, hope you are enjoying the bank holiday weekend.

image

As a runner I got very used to talking about and striving for a PB (personal best) – by co-incidence I got my marathon PB eight years ago this weekend in Edinburgh. As well as the successes there were bad runs and I spent a lot of time discussing my PWs (personal worst). Well, today I have a sewing PW to share.

image

Of late, I have been going for quick fix tops – I had decided to halt this trend and ordered some fabric from Fabric Godmother to make up a Pretty Woman style dress but that won’t arrive until next week. So, in order to fit in a bit of sewing before the family descended, I decided to sew up the Sew Over It cami. I bought the kit complete with silk fabric with foxes at the knitting and stitching show. However, in the morning I saw a blog post from Saturday Night Stitch who had just used her precious Nani Iro so I decided to use mine.

image

Last year it seemed everyone was talking about this beautiful fabric so I bought an off cut from Guthrie and Ghani – just under a metre. This was the first of my bad decisions and bad sewing. I didn’t have quite enough so had to patch a sliver at the back – super sloppy. Then, as my overlocker is still sans needle, I decided to pink the facing – this fabric frays like crazy – I fully expect the top to disintegrate by the end of the summer.

image

Finally, there must be some trick to sewing the curved hem – of which I am unaware – so it sits neatly. And on the fit front it stands proud,  i.e. away fron my chest!

imageimage

I’ve got no excuse. I was just rushing and being slovenly and frankly both Nani Iro and SOI deserve better. I did wear it out yesterday for a lovely walk with the family – think I will definitely be hand washing it rather than risk the machine.

Anyway, hope you are all having a lovely BH weekend,

image

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

Advertisements

GBSB, MMMay16 and I ❤️ Liberty event

Hello all,

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

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

image

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.

image

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.

image

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!

image

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

Super proud to finally present ….. my Francine jacket (now I’ve just got to make the skirt)

Hi everyone,

I have had such a lovely half term pottering: reading (latest William Boyd); cooking (including homemade soups); eating out; visiting the cinema (Dad’s Army); marking (Years 9, 10, 11); knitting (scarf – still on-going); running (10K coming up next month) and sewing (ties x 2, sweatshirts x 2) BUT what I really want to share you today is my finally finished Sew Over It Francine Jacket of which I am super proud. Beware – this is a picture heavy post: we are talking about a jacket six months in the making!

image

Way back in August I met up with some lovely ladies at the Fabric Godmother Open Day and bought this amazing wool suiting fabric for, I think, £15 a metre. I had it in mind to make a maxi skirt suit so that I could waft around at work looking like a suffragette.

Skirt in check; jacket in plain

Skirt in check; jacket in plain

I only bought 1.5 metres of the plain because I always find that I use less that the pattern indicates. Then I promptly started sewing other things – as you do. However, as soon as I saw the Francine Jacket I knew that was the one for me and enrolled on a course in September. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I have done a number of courses at Sew Over It.  For nearly all of them I have had as my tutor Julie, who is wonderfully patient, highly skilled and determined that her tutees should learn true tailoring techniques. On the first night all I did was sort out the sizing, cut out my pattern and make some adjustments – most of which I subsequently altered back. My homework was to cut out at home  – this happened:

Oops

Oops

I decided I would have to cut a few pieces out of the skirt material – what a good idea this turned out to be as the contrast really works and it will certainly look much more like a suit rather than coordinated separates.

Francine jacket pieces cut from my Gabriola skirt fabric

Francine jacket pieces cut from my Gabriola skirt fabric

Progress continued at class during week two. We had made a number of alterations for my big shoulders and curved back but once I tried the jacket on it wasn’t right and I had to undo most of what I had done.

image

Week three – our final class and it became clear early on I wasn’t going to get finished. In fact I hadn’t even got my lining in by the end of the evening. What I had done though is learn a really valuable technique whereby you fill the sleeve head with wadding before you insert the shoulder pad and it gives it a more smooth line.

image

I was full of good intentions of finishing the jacket the following week but became ensconced in all manner of other things throughout November/December. During January I picked it up again. The impetus was that I was going to the Liberty exhibition and planned to call in on the button man in Soho for him to do my button holes for me. I am not going to lie – I really struggled to finish the jacket by myself. Whilst the instructions were good, I struggled to make out the tiny detail, particularly on the black and white photos. If the button man thought it odd to be presented with an unfinished garment to add the finishing touches to, he never gave any indication – just sent me off to Liberty and told me not to rush back!

image

This is how the jacket looked when the buttonholes were being done

image

I finally finished the jacket in February – to be honest, looking at the pics I think I should have taken more care over pressing it; the jacket has gotten so squashed on its various train journeys.

image

 

So there you have it – now I just have to get on with the skirt but I suspect other projects will rush to the fore and it’ll be another six months. Would you like some detail shots? Of course you would if you have stuck around this far ..

Buttons courtesy of Cloth Kits, Chichester

Buttons courtesy of Cloth Kits, Chichester

very pleased with the neckline which actually sits flat

very pleased with the neckline which actually sits flat

The back - we added in, took out, re-drew the curve - I blame my posture

The back – we added in, took out, re-drew the curve – I blame my posture

lovely lining which came from Guthrie and Ghani

lovely lining which came from Guthrie and Ghani

The story of Francine is concluded – I hope you enjoyed it!

image

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

 

Hello Heather

Hello everyone,

It’s been a while hasn’t it? My new job is keeping me busy – how lovely to be able to write that!

image

As soon as Sew Over It announced a new class to make their Heather dress, I was on to it. Having repeatedly struggled to get a place on the Francine Jacket course I knew I had to be quick. So it had been booked for a couple of months and I had been really looking forward to it but the day before I had a bit of a wobble and almost didn’t go. How glad I am that I did. I had a fantastic day; met some lovely ladies (who all finished their frocks) ; ate cake; made a dress that fits me and is versatile and, thoroughly enjoyed being in the sewing zone again.

image

The Heather dress is a knit dress with deep pockets that are sewn in the side seams and somehow fall from the Princess seams – I have probably described that incorrectly. Anyway, I have noticed how fellow seamstresses rave about pockets: me, not so much but I have to say that on this dress I do really like them.

image

I had hoped the class would give me a bit of confidence in using my overlocker (I shamefacedly admit it has been in its bag for over a year – shocking behaviour). I envy those people who are constantly posting items that they have knocked up in an evening/afternoon – I think this could be such a dress. On the odd occasion I have sewn with knit fabric, I have used a walking foot and zigzag stitch on my normal Janome. I assumed we would make the whole dress on the overlocker but we didn’t. The tutor (lovely, calm Sue) told us to make it up on the sewing machines using stitch length 3 and we just finished the seams on the overlocker. I have to say it all went extremely smoothly.

image

I cut a 12, made it up then took in the side seams about an inch each side from the top down to my waist.  I noticed in the photos there is a bit of pooling in the back so I will take a little bit off the back seam too next time. And there will be a next time! I didn’t alter the length which surprised me as I had to add a whopping 10cm to my vintage shirtdress and I am on 5ft 4.

image

I was a bit confused at the pocket construction – I didn’t think this would ever end up looking like the sample.

image

Some of the other students made a colour block dress and I have to say, I think that is the best plan for this pattern to show off the wonderful lines and emphasise the pockets. Although I am really pleased with mine, I do think that the detail is lost. The fabric? It is a lovely jersey which stretches in all ways (I know this because Sue tested it  to see as she said I need the stretchy way going around my body). I bought it in September from Sew Over It when I was there doing my Ultimate Shirt Class (still a wip I am ashamed to say). I thought it was amazing value at £12 as I had seen it a week previously in C & H fabrics for £21. I have loads left over so I think I will have a try at making either a Lark Tee or an Agnes top as everyone raves about them.

image

It was a complete rarity for me to finish in a class but I did.  During the morning I chatted away to a lovely girl who was working opposite me but after lunch I was so focused on finishing, I just shut up and got on with it – much to her relief I suspect! I was first to finish and as I wanted to see everyone elses, I filled in the time hemming a fat quarter I had bought to make my son a handkerchief – he has become obsessed with them!

image

Obviously I bought more fabric for myself – even though I’m trying not to. Both purchases were inspired by choices I had seen on my Instagram:  the wool check – Ozzyblackbeard; the bees – sorry I can’t remember on whose feed I saw this. Just like Lynne the wool is going to be a Tulip Skirt (I need to buy the pattern first though). The bees? I am currently thinking that a Scout tee would go nicely with white jeans.

image

I love workshops. If you are debating about doing one, I would really encourage you. It is utterly uplifting to spend time with other people who love to sew and have someone there to help you with the tricky bits.

After taking these photos, I layered up even more and we went out for a Valentines brunch. The dress has so many lovely colours it is really versatile. I teamed it with teal and green. After eating we had a walk around town and I picked up a Benetton 100% wool cardi in a charity shop which actually goes really nicely with the dress and brings out the yellow – not a colour I often wear to be honest. Mr CK is trying to grow a beard – he feels it makes him look like George Clooney. That dear sewing friends is my closing comment today … there are no words!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

Brunch at The Parsons Table, Arundel with George Clooney and, keeping it real with my charity shop bargain

Brunch at The Parsons Table, Arundel with George Clooney and, keeping it real with my charity shop bargain

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.

image

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!

image

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.

image

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.

image

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?

image

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.

image

image

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

image

Farewell to all that …

Hello all,

I have been enjoying all of the end of year round ups and reflections. It prompted me to look at my own post from this time last year when I set myself five goals – see Here. Oh dear. Only one was accomplished but nevertheless I think it has been a successful year on the sewing front. There is no point beating myself up over what didn’t get done. One of the lovely things about getting older is that you care less about things which, on reflection, are not important. I had a complete meltdown at 40 but since turning 50 I would say I have entered one of the happiest phases of my life. I get so much pleasure from my family and friends and I think that that, and continued good health are worth celebrating.

My 54th birthday - somewhere in the bay of Biscay. Dress from ENVY Arundel

My 54th birthday – somewhere in the bay of Biscay. Dress from ENVY Arundel

So,  my year in review. I discovered the joys of cruising. Here I am on my 54th birthday feeling FAB – the only thing which would make this better would be if I had made the dress myself … but I didn’t so there you go – no point fretting about that either! Something to aspire to … maybe.

I was super lucky this year to go to three weddings and for each of them I made my outfit. This was an achievement I am proud of and it added to the pleasure of a wonderful day. First up the first of my thirteen nieces and nephews got married. Here I am with Summer Rose, my son Sam and two of my nephews.

Flamingo border Kim for my niece Sarah's wedding

Flamingo border Kim for my niece Sarah’s wedding

Secondly, a friend of mine, Andy married his beautiful bride Onuma in a beautiful village in Hampshire.

A BHL maxi Anna covered in parrots (lovebirds actually)

A BHL maxi Anna covered in parrots (lovebirds actually)

Finally, a really close friend, Claire got married the first week of the Autumn term. I had been involved in wedding dress shopping and the hen night and was just elated for Claire all day. As a bit of a cheesy joke I made Mr CK a matching tie – people who knew us thought it was really funny but for anyone who didn’t, I guess they thought we were right weirdos!

Mortmain and matching tie!

Mortmain and matching tie!

The only thing I did complete of my stated goals was to make a coat. To date this remains my sophisticated make and I am really pleased with it – although I don’t know if I could do it again.

1960's coat made at Sew Over It

1960’s coat made at Sew Over It

image

 

Social media became an increasingly important part of my life – as well as a time thief! I find myself getting stressed if I get behind on my blog reading/commenting.  The last third of the year I haven’t blogged as much but have continued to contribute to Instagram and now have over 400 followers there. Through the sewing community I have met a number of on-line friends – people I feel I could literally meet and we would be able to start chatting as if we had known each other for years.  This has happened with the people I have met up with, firstly at the Fabric Godmother Open Day and then at the South Coast SewBees meet up – a little nucleus of half a dozen bloggers which I hope will grow next year. And I have a penpal too! One sewing blogger (who shall remain nameless so as not to embarrass her!) and I have developed a friendship over long emails. Our life styles are different but through sewing we found a connection and that has been one of the really lovely things about my year.

SewBees at Ditto Fabrics

SewBees at Ditto Fabrics

Other highlights were that I was nominated for a bloggers award; my Frida Kahlo dress won a competition organised by The Monthly Stitch and I participated in various photo-hop challenges “meeting” new people and getting lots of inspiration along the way.

My winning dress

My winning dress

I’ve decided not to make any pledges for 2016. I have not one but two new jobs to start and I expect that will keep me very busy. I have a ridiculous amount of WIPs so feel I should try and finish at least some of those before I move onto other things. WIPs: Francine jacket; gabriola skirt to match my Francine Jacket; Cigarette pants; Ultimate blouse in a flamingo print; maxi Anna with sequin bodice and brocade skirt.

image

So, thank you for following along with me this year. Your comments and support are very much appreciated – being part of a wider community has been a real blessing, particularly in the latter part of the year when I was overwhelmed with other matters. Onwards and upwards! Wishing you all a very happy new year – I don’t know where the quotation comes from to credit it  but … May your bobbin always be full.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

Purchases, plans and pals

Hello to all,

As you may guess from the title of my post I have been busy with sewing related activities but there has been little on the actual sewing front – I have a busy week ahead so anticipate the same but next week …..

This morning I have the last of my six sessions on the introductory pattern drafting workshop at Cloth Kits. It has been a really interesting course, taken at a leisurely pace with an amazing tutor, Maria Pulley. The final outcome should be that we will have made blocks for bodice, sleeve and skirt and have a toile made up for a dress of our own design. Here is my princess seamed bodice which I constructed over the weekend and hopfully today I will decide what I want to do with the skirt – currently thinking seven gored.

Very pleased with the fit across the shoulders and underarm which can be problematical for me

Very pleased with the fit across the shoulders and underarm which can be problematical for me

image

In terms of fabric I am going for this which was bought last week during the inaugural SEWBESS meet-up at Ditto Fabrics. The plan is to make the dress in the MOD green wool with sleeve cuffs and belt in the check. I also rather extravagantly bough the floral viscose to use as a lining (more on that later).  The rest of the check is to make a “consolidation” Francine jacket – once I finish the one which is currently still sans lining. The idea is to make a new dress/jacket suit for my new job in January.

image

I had planned to write about my meet up with these lovely ladies who are all fellow bloggers and met originally at one of the two Open Days at Fabric Godmother. However Jane has written such a good post on the event I would only be repeating it so if you are interested, please read here. I would just like to add that although we are all based on the South Coast we live in three counties between us so please feel free to join in too.

SewBees at Ditto Fabrics

SewBees at Ditto Fabrics

image

At the Brighton Sewing Centre I managed to get the perfect buttons for my yet to be made check Francine jacket and some sparkly zips caught my eye although initially I had no idea what I was going to do with them, I do now!

image

Perfect buttons for my jacket – small ones for the cuffs on the contrasting dress

image

I only bought one thing in the Black Friday sales and that was the Orla pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. I have decided to make it up in black jacquard (I hope I have enough left over after making my maxi Anna) and use one of the sparkly zips.

image

Finally back to that viscose. I had been thinking and thinking about this fabric.  Whilst I think it is wonderful to have a funky lining, I kept thinking it was just too pretty to be hidden away. I then noticed the party dress pattern with the December issue of SEW Style and Home and thought that it might be perfect to make up my Christmas Day dress.

View A - three quarter sleeves destined to become my Christmas Day Dress

View A – three quarter sleeves destined to become my Christmas Day Dress

So that is the plan.  Although as you can see, I have a lot of plans and quite a few WIPs. Presumably others have that problem – so busy buying fabric and making plans and seeing friends that your rate of output is insufficient to keep up?

Well it’s time for me to scurry off and get ready for my final workshop – lunch afterwards with my fellow student Debbie who I have struck up a lovely friendship with – us sewing peeps are such a lovely bunch! I will leave you with a final photo of the fabric because it really is beautiful and the colours are more like they are in real life. Have a FAB, Festive week.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

image

 

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).

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

 

 

 

Workshops galore – the Sewcation continues

Hi all, hope you are well and happy?

Well this is the third week of my Sewcation and I’m learning lots but still haven’t actually completed anything to show you! So here is a round up of this week’s activities.

Pattern Cutting Workshop at ClothKits

Dear Lord, there are only two of us on this course – such a privilege – and we are behind!  It was the third session on Monday and we were supposed to be drafting our sleeves – which we did do BUT there were so many niggles with our bodices – we both had to do further alterations on our second toiles.

image

Just look at this odd adjustment on my bodice – a bizarre pleat going horizontally over the top of my right boob.  The tutor said it was because I was “hollow” – I think this is more to do with my massively padded bra rather than my inherent body shape. Having seen all of the miniscule alterations needed to get something to fit, I am surprised that we ever mange to get anything to fit rtw  – what with my size 20 shoulders and hollow chest it’s a wonder I don’t live in saris – actually I love saris – so elegant. You can read here a very early post of mine about this beautiful sari.

Thought I'd brighten up my post with a pop of colour

Thought I’d brighten up my post with a pop of colour

Anyway, I digress. The sleeve drafting had less mathematical calculations than the bodice but I still made a couple of errors. Next week we are going to put our patterns onto card – the Block. Then it’s onto the skirt drafting and finally to designing our own dress – exciting!

image

After the class I met up with Jane from Jane Makes  and we had lunch in Carluccios and chatted about sewing and life.  It’s really lovely to meet up with people who I have met through the on-line community. Next week I am having lunch with Debbie, my fellow student on the course – so  I have become, temporarily,  a lady wot lunches with other ladies wot sew!

Francine Jacket Workshop at Sew Over It, Clapham

Last Wednesday I started the Francine Jacket workshop – it has been so incredibly popular it has taken me  months to get a place. The workshop runs over three consecutive Wednesdays.  Having done a number of workshops now I know that there is a lot you have to do at home.  With just three weeks for this jacket there was a huge amount of homework to do.  I left the class only having cut out my pattern – I am SUCH a slowcoach.  To be honest, if I hadn’t been on sewcation I would never have been able to get the work done – I must have spent about ten hours on it.  A lot of this was because I couldn’t squeeze the pattern out of the 1.5m I had earmarked for the project and spent ages faffing about with my jigsaw.

image

I resolved this by using some of the check fabric I am going to make a Gabriola out of – I plan to make a maxi skirt suit. There are six of us in the class. I love Julie’s super calm manner. It must be really stressful trying to fit six different people  – each of us needed a number of alterations – but you would never guess it from her demeanor.

image

To account for my super shoulders we went up to a size 16 on the arms (the rest of the pattern was a 12) and added some extra in at the centre back seam but look – now that I’ve made it up, I think it’s too much.  The photo doesn’t really show it properly but the back is so rounded I could squeeze a small hunchback in there – to balance out my hollow chest obviously.

imageimage

The second class is tonight – I was supposed to have finished the under collar but I can’t work out where it finishes.  It will be really interesting to see how the others have got on.  One of the other girls bought her fabric from Linton Tweeds and it is beautiful – I’ll try and get a photo tonight.

Guthrie and Ghani – Sewing a Sequin Party Top

Finally, a friend and I have booked a little jaunt together to go up to Guthrie and Ghani for a one day workshop to make a top in sequins.  I am really looking forward to visiting the haberdashery – it always looks SO beautiful and welcoming in the photos and Lauren has an amazing fabric selection.

And just before I close, I have some news.  I went for a job interview last week and was offered the position.  It is only a mat leave cover but a huge relief for me. The school seems lovely and although I am still applying for permanent roles from September 2016, at least I can relax a little bit for now.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

image