A floral Anna and some funky shoes

Last day of the holidays guys – boo hoo. Anyway, hello and how are you?

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I find I am getting a lot of inspiration via Instagram these days and today’s post is about one of them.  I have seen Liberty Carline on numerous blogs but when I saw Rebecca’s Kim dress I knew I had to make one. I tracked down the fabric on EBAY and bought two metres for a reasonable price (end of roll, seconds – can’t remember) and it sat patiently waiting in my stash for me to get round to it. This was during my KIM phase.

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Following the success of my By Hand London Anna, I decided I would make the Carline up into an Anna (still love my Kim’s but Summer is slipping by) and had a little vote on my instagram as to whether I should go short or maxi – it was close but I went with short as I thought I would get more wear out of it. I am pleased with the result but sort of wish I had made the maxi after all – Love the drama!

imageSo, what to say about this Anna? Just to reiterate what everyone has already said – it is a superb pattern. It is SO straight forward to make up as the little cap sleeves are just part of the bodice – no bias binding or tricky facings for me to sew in upside down. The clever little pleats just under the boobies to provide shaping are really excellent and made this fairly flat chested person look as if she had some curves. Finally, the seven gored skirt panel is a triumph if like me you are sometimes rounder in the tum area!  I don’t know how but it just seems to skim the body in  a flattering way, easily adapted to the extra half a stone I have put on and still feel comfortable.

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I did think about putting in an exposed zip but once I had decided to go with the shorter length, I thought I would keep it a bit more subtle for school.  The dress had its first outing on GCSE results day, worn with a cream cardi (not the one in the picture below as that is a bit fluffy and glam) and was perfect.

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If you follow me on IG, you will know I have just come back from my first ever cruise (am mentally planning a post on this so won’t say more now) and wore my frock one of the evenings. Sorry the photo is not great – the combination of swaying ship and endless booze did not make for a steady hand.  Can you see my feet?

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A couple of days before we left, I went shopping in Chichester thinking to myself that I would try to get a pair of pink shoes (actually to go with my Flamingo Dress) in the last knockings of the sale. Who on earth would have thought I would ever stumble across anything so glorious.  I can confirm they are very comfortable to wear, go well with both  dresses and compel absolute strangers to stare at your feet (hopefully in awe but possibly not; Mr CK thinks they are diabolical).

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Today I will be mustering myself into return to work mode.  I have booked two further workshops at Sew Over It in Clapham which will be on the next six consecutive Wednesdays so I am looking forward to sharing the details of those with you – hoping not to get too stressed this time!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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A would be “glittery flamingo in a park full of pigeons”

Hello everyone, I hope you having a good week? GCSE results tomorrow for me to be feeling anxious about and then on Friday, off on a walking cruise to Norway which I am super excited about.  It has been dream of mine for many years to go to the Norwegian Fjords.

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I am really pleased with this dress – even though there are still a number of fitting issues.  However, I pushed myself a bit and realise that I am getting a little more confident in what I am prepared to have a go at.

First up the fabric. I bought this on my trip to Goldhawk Road, At that point I didn’t have a specific project in mind so only bought 1.5 metres.  I then got frustrated with myself because I didn’t have enough for what I decided I wanted to do with it (Ultimate trousers, Anna dress).  Having just completed a Gather Mortmain dress which I was pleased with (see here)  I decided to have a go at making another one but this time with sleeves.

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To fit in with the theme of Two is the Magic Number for The Monthly Stitch I decided to make up my Mortmain in two fabrics – I felt the box pleats would show off the flamingos to their best advantage.  I found a plain cotton in a similar shade to the flamingos in C and H fabrics – I only bought 0.7 of a metre to make the bodice and really had to eek this out. When I looked at the pattern for the sleeves properly I realised that there was a cuff detail with elastics, buttons and keyholes.  I immediately dismissed this as being too complicated.  However, once I actually sat down to start the dress, I thought I’d try and see how it went and I’m pleased I did! It is worthwhile reiterating here that this is an absolutely brilliant pattern with really clear instructions.

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I don’t know why I still get so anxious about doing anything for the first time – it is these little cuffs which have given me a sense of achievement with this frock. A few months ago there was a little flurry of knicker making (since replaced by, firstly the Morris Blazer and then the Bettine).  I was part of the knicker brigade and bought shedloads of elastic which has since sat languishing somewhere amongst the fabric.  I just used this for the loop after having first cut off the lacy part of the knicker elastic. The button is a glass one from my mum’s button box (1960’s).

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Something I have only realised since I have been sewing is that although I have small boobies I do have large shoulders. I had completely forgotten this when I started to make up the Mortmain (my previously one having been sleeveless it was not an issue). SO annoying! It was incredibly tight under the arms so I decided to do a big scoop out of the fabric and re-sew.  I am sure there is a more professional way to do this.  It worked to a certain extent – i.e. it feels OK and I can move my arms but looking at the pictures it really is too tight and pulling across the back. Talking of which ….

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I now absolutely love exposed zips – I bought this delight on EBAY and when it arrived I had to keep looking at it as a thing of beauty. Mr CK caught me staring at it as I had laid it out on the sofa and thought I was bonkers.

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The experience with the armholes has taught me a valuable lesson – I will now always take extra care with measuring/fitting sleeves.  I remember now that when I made my 1960s coat, after all the fuss of putting the shoulder pads in, we decided it would look better without on me, so I took them out again.

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Photo taken at the end of the garden – the swans have become regular visitors

My final flourish was to use bias binding on the hem – this was because I wanted to make the dress as long as possible and I had used all of my fabric on the length.  Whilst I quite like short/above the knee in winter with thick tights, I favour just below the knee in summer because my legs/knees are not what they used to be! Which brings me to another little ponder!

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I recently read the following  in a FAB new blog  – Coolarama   which made me have a little bit of a wobble: “I need to stop making cutesy dresses for 20/30 year old’s, I’m a bloody 40 something! Get a grip and dress like a grown-up!” As I surveyed my recent makes and pondered my own age, I wondered if others might be thinking that about me: Parrots, Frida Kahlo, Flamingos, Queue for the Zoo, Tennis Racquets etc etc. Anyway, hopefully you’ll be pleased to hear that I didn’t ponder that for too long! I love the amazing choices of fabrics we can buy to make really unique clothes for ourselves and I plan to grow old disgracefully making whatever takes my fancy.

Just to reinforce that little moment of positivity I just bought a new paid of shoes this morning which will go perfectly with my dress – shame I didn’t have them when I did the photos.

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Toodle pip dear friends – I am off to continue my dream of becoming “a glittery flamingo in a park full of pigeons” (can’t find where that quotation comes from to credit it but it sure is a cracker (along with another favourite motto of mine – it’s really doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty – there is still room for more wine).

Clarinda x

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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

 

 

 

 

Clarinda Kaleidoscope celebrates First Blogiversary – Hoorah!

Hello and thanks for reading!

Today my blog celebrates being one year old proving that it wasn’t just  a seven day wonder and no-one is more surprised than me.  It has been a wonderful year of learning new skills, making friends and (incredibly) creating an on-line presence!

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An early make worn last week for a picnic at Parham House (the car is not mine by the way)

Blogging

My first post was about my Lilou from Love at First Stitch – you can read that post here.

Photo from my first blog post

Photo from my first blog post

I have 90 followers – thank you so much if you are one of the 90! I have written 62 posts and usually post at the weekend.  I still feel a bit underskilled in relation to blogging, for example, I can’t work out how to add an About Me page (although I thought I had written one during the original set up) and when I try to add a button to say I am joining in with something (e.g. OWOP) it is very hit and miss if it works. I am looking at giving my blog a bit of a facelift and to that end am considering having a customised blog heading designed – I just can’t decide what the image should be though. Any ideas?

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My instagram was set up five weeks later and has 200 followers – I enjoy using instagram and only follow fellow sewistas. I am currently doing the daily sewphotoblog set up by House of Pinheiro which is a great way to find out what others are up to.

Sewing

I had been sewing for about four months before I started my blog.  I have learned so far that there is much I have still to learn!   I mostly enjoy the learning part but sometimes I’m quite impatient and get frustrated when things don’t go right first time.  I have had some triumphs:

1960's coat made at Sew Over It

1960’s coat made at Sew Over It

and some disasters:

How could I not have noticed this until I put the finished garment on

How could I not have noticed this until I put the finished garment on

but most of all I have had fun!

Originally made for my niece's wedding, this dress was equally at home at the races

Originally made for my niece’s wedding, this dress was equally at home at the races

It has been great meeting people on line and in the next couple of weeks I am actually going to meet some of my on-line friends at Fabric Godmother.

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The most exciting aspect of blogging for me this year was being voted as a finalist and then a winner during The Monthly Stitch Independent Pattern month – it was really wonderful to know that other sewistas had actually voted for my dress – a By Hand London Kim featuring Frida Kahlo.

My winning dress

My winning dress

In the coming year I hope to continue making clothes in fabulous prints, engage more with the on-line sewing community to gain inspiration from others and finally, get over my fear of the overlocker.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

Just so you know - It's not all about me (but mainly it is)!

Just so you know – It’s not all about me (but mainly it is)!

 

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

 

Things I have discovered during Me Made May 15 Week 1

Hello all, I hope you are set for a FAB weekend?  It is a bit windy here but I have shedloads of marking to do so the weather is fairly irrelevant.  So, my first time of joining in with MMM15 – as I only started sewing in April 2014 it is quite exciting for me to be able to join in.

Day 1 Wearing my Colette patterns Dahlia – this dress was such a struggle to make (details here) – I had so many problems with the neckline.  There is an inverted pleat at the back scooping up four inches of surplus fabric (which is why I am wearing a cardigan).  The first thing I’ve realised during MMM15 is that it is quite tricky finding someone to take photos for you/of you without feeling deeply embarrassed.  Friday was the last day for our Y11s so we were outside having a class photo and I got one of the students to take this – I hadn’t realised at all that I was being photo-bombed till the girls all started shrieking with laughter. I do like the Dahlia but have yet to brave making another.

Being photo-bombed

Being photo-bombed

Day 2 – this is part of my Saturday routine.  I do the shopping (you can see it on the floor next to me) then I finish up by popping into a local coffee shop for a latte – it is here I usually catch up on blogs.  This is another thing I have discovered – MMY15 is an absolute time thief.  I am only doing Instagram (I did think about Flickr and Pinterest but thank goodness I abandoned those) but it is taking all my time to keep up with everyone – I actually feel anxious that I might miss something!  I have seen some lovely makes over the past week and found some new blogs to follow which is really good.  Here I a wearing one of my early Sorbettos  – made with leftovers from the dress I made for the work sewing bee.

At GROUNDS our local, independent coffee shop

At GROUNDS our local, independent coffee shop

Day 3 – I was pottering about at home trying to finish my Gabriola and popped down to my friend Ali’s for her help with fitting.  She was busily adding the finishing touches to her FAB Map Dress (a collar which was apparently later discarded). I am wearing my Tilly and the Buttons Francoise which was my Christmas Day dress (another neckline problem for me). What is so odd about this dress is that it looks as if it should be fairly formal/uncomfortable being made in wool but it’s not at all – I am wearing it as a comfy, slob about in, sweater dress.  And here is another thing I have discovered – all my garments are too big for me.  I clearly do not measure myself properly.

Map dress credit to my friend Ali

Map dress credit to my friend Ali

Day 4 – Bank Holiday Monday and a glorious day for a walk.  We went off in search of bluebells as I had just finished my Gabriola and thought it would make a great location shot – it was quite fun lurking behind a tree to whip off my Sew Over it Ultimate trousers and change into skirt and heels. Before we came to the bluebells we passed these gorgeous fields of Rapeseed  – I saw three other MMM15 participants on Instagram similarly photographed.

Gorgeous fields of Rape

Gorgeous fields of Rape

Day 5 – back to work and here I am in one of my Y13 lessons.  You can hardly see it in the photo but I made the shirt at a workshop at Sew Pretty and it is covered in little bumble bees.  I would say this is my most frequently worn garment – not sure why I haven’t tacked another shirt yet – I certainly have bought patterns.  I think it is to do with a fear of  buttonholes.

This is how I spend my days

This is how I spend my days

Day 6 – I look a bit of a mess here.  The skirt is new from Seasalt and even when I bought it I was thinking I could easily make that but I was really drawn to the fabric and then struggled to team it with anything.  My Me Made item here is the cardigan which has a cable edge and a single button.  I was a knitter before I was a sewer but not a very advanced one and I had never heard of blocking until I started reading blogs.  I have really enjoyed seeing all of the sophisticated knits being proudly worn for MMM15.

back to the tree shot

back to the tree shot

Day 7 – Election day.  I was waiting outside before the Polling Station opened and asked the guy next to me in the queue if he would take my photo.  I explained it was for my blog and he asked what I blogged about – he certainly was not anticipating my answer! I am wearing another Sorbetto made in a fabric with beautiful garden birds on it.  One of my students said I looked very “FatFace” which I take as a compliment.  I posted this pic on my Facebook and a number of people asked if I was standing – I guess it does look like it.  Anyway, not so smiley the next day as my team didn’t win.

Election Day!

Election Day!

Day 8 – I realise now that the scarf doesn’t go! This is my Tilly and the Buttons Delphine.  I have made two now and I have to say – very functional work wear.

At the Juniors

At the Juniors

Day 9  – and so to today!  I am home alone which led me to take my first ever mirror selfie.  I am wearing my Deer and Doe Sureau which is clearly far too big for me: a shame because I love the denim and antique brassy buttons. I’ve taken far longer over this blog post than I intended – clearly operating as a displacement activity for what is waiting for me!

First ever mirror shot

First ever mirror shot

Bonus  – here is the Gabriola I wore on BH Monday (but only briefly to get blog photos)

blog photo shoot!

blog photo shoot!

Thank you for reading, if you managed to get this far! I hope you are having a lovely weekend and enjoying MMM15 if you are playing along.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

The reason why I will not be sewing this weekend

The reason why I will not be sewing this weekend

 

Perfect for Bluebells

 

Hello dear readers, fellow bloggers and especially Me Made Mayers,

During last year’s OWOP I was lucky enough to win three patterns as part of a giveaway and one of them was Sewaholic Gabriola. On 29th September 2014 I pledged here that I would make up all three patterns and blog about them. Well …. one down two to go.

imageI bought the fabric originally (cheaply, on-line, can’t remember from where) to make a frock for the Lilac Dinner (a school event) but it was usurped by another predominantly lilac fabric I subsequently found at Sew Over It.  Anyway, I had the urge to tackle the Gabriola and thought that the abandoned polka dot would be perfect.  I had a little ponder over the zip and put it to the vote on  instagram; the invisible zip won. What do you think?

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I DO like the lacy one and hope to use it soon on something suitable.

Today is BH Monday – it was sunny earlier.  We tried to take photos up on the riverbank (my garden ends at the river) but it was too blowy really.

imageimageIn the afternoon we planned to go on a bluebell hunt so set off on a lovely walk: we did find some glorious bluebells  but I have to admit – I did not wear my high heels and super swishy skirt all the time so what you see here is very much a “location shot”.  I wish I had a decent camera rather than the one on my ipad.

imageIn terms of making up, it took a while as most things do for me.  The sizing was odd.  I would describe myself as a classic pear but my waist was size 10 whilst the hips were size 6.  I knew I would struggle to grade as there were all the yoke pieces to get through but lovely Saturday Night Stitch gave me good advice – thanks Hila, it worked! I did have to fiddle around a bit once I had traced off the pattern because I hadn’t realised how much of a jigsaw the yoke would be – my fault I should have labelled up my pieces more carefully.  I an lucky enough to have a lovely friend and neighbour called Ali who also sews.  I popped round to hers to get fitting help before I put my zip in  – I had to cut a wedge out of the back. This is why this particular skirt is a better fit than most of my other makes! Whilst I was there I spotted this gorgeous frock on her dress form  – a genuine vintage make.

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Finally, are you doing Me Made May? I am LOVING it!  I have seen so many FAB outfits on Instagram but it is a terrible time thief.  I am not sure how I am going to keep up with what everyone is wearing once I have to go back to work tomorrow.  Not as many Sorbettos as I thought – which is good for me!

Have a good week – I am already planning my next post – a Me Made May round up.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

imagePS just a final pic to show you how well my Swedish Hasbeens go with the Gabriola – roll on gorgeously hot summer days

 

Nautical Kim with a Twist

 

Hello all. hope you are having a FAB weekend!

I want to share my second Kim with you – these photos were taken at the beach last weekend which is probably why I am sat here now with a cold. It was such a gloriously sunny day albeit windy and I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to take photos of my nautical Kim in an appropriate setting.

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We had so much fun taking the photos but I have to tell you – this dress did not make me smile the first time I put it on.  I bought the fabric at Fabric Land in Worthing over the Easter holidays, originally for a Sureau but decided to go with a Kim because the fabric was so summery.

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Although I had bought lining fabric I managed to eek the dress out of two metres.  It did necessitate a lot of twiddling around and I had to cut right up to the selvedge which fortunately was patterned rather than being a white strip.  Anyway, I thought I had marked each piece so that the selvedge pieces were on the inside of the bodice but I was sewing whilst watching, I think it was, Morse.  There are so many adverts in these two hour programmes that in order to alleviate the guilt from lazing on the sofa – I hop up every time the ads are on and do a bit of sewing which proabably accounts for why this happened (and I did not notice until I tried the finished garment on)!

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Normally I become despairing when things go wrong but this just made me laugh and laugh.  I could not believe that I hadn’t noticed this: I will certainly be more attentive when I am lining in the same fabric in the future.  I have not been put off though – I have already bought some Liberty with all of the Alice in Wonderland characters on and am going to make another one. imageimageYou will see that I did correct it.  I had to unpick the shoulder, twist the pieces round the right way and then I simply butt the two shoulder pieces together and handstitched with really tiny stitches.  Obviously I can notice it but as my hair is shoulder  length, I don’t think anyone else will – unless of course I meet you on a beach somewhere and you want a quick peek to see how neatly I did it!

Here are a couple more pics – just because it was such a lovely day.

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In other sewing news I have finished the two ties I was sewing in the Liberty Lawn with daisies – I did the hand sewing on the train which seemed to intrigue people. I gave one to a friend last night at his leaving do and the other has been hidden away for Mr CK’s birthday next month.  I really do enjoy making ties.

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This weekend I am hoping to cut out my Gabriola (need to trace the pattern first) and I am currently making my tennis themed Sorbetto in preparation for the half term tennis camp.

Hope you have a lovely weekend and especially good luck to you if you are running a marathon!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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Kim, Flamingos and a (Copy) Cat

Hello all,

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I finished my Kim Sewalong a little bit behind schedule but still on time for my niece’s wedding on the 11th April.  She is having a very colourful wedding in Peckham and I thought this fabric would be perfect for a fun dress – here I must confess – the inspiration came from Dolly Clackett whose dress I have completely copied – please forgive me and thanks SO much for being such a huge source of inspiration to me during my first year of sewing.  There, I’ve got that out of the way right at the beginning of the post so now I can give you the deets.

I am writing this post as my contribution to the Monthly Stitch Collective and the theme for March is Inside Out.  Well, the insides of this frock will probably make you sigh with disbelief.  So far, every dress I have made has had shedloads of surplus fabric so instead of the three metres I should have got, I went for two.  Big mistake.  The skirt is supposed to have all three metres in it so mine is nowhere near as swishy as it should be.

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The bodice is lined and as I didn’t have the full amount of fabric (Grrrr), I couldn’t get the lining out of the same fabric. As I had already started cutting out and just wanted to get on to sewing I searched my stash – which is nowhere near as abundant as some I  have seen.  The only fabric I had which was not printed or not cotton was some gorgeous broderie anglaise I had bought from Sew Over it and cost half as much again as the dress fabric itself.

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It looks very pretty anyway.  If you are a regular reader you will know I have a fear of my overlocker, which came threaded with black.  I decided I would be bold and use it to finish my seams …. can you see where this is going?

imageI promise I won’t do this again.  I have now had a private lesson and been shown how to change my threads – although I haven’t yet done it by myself. If you look very carefully at the picture of the bodice you can see just see the darkness of the thread peeping through – Oh I am a wally. Luckily it’s on the inside so only I know.  The bodice top was a challenge for me – I have never done that thread the fabric through the shoulders thing before – I didn’t think it would ever go through and when it did, the fabric was so creased it looked like a rag.  Here is a picture mid procedure – looks rude doesn’t it?

imageI also learned a new technique for gathering and I have to say, it has produced the best results so far; you prepare the gathers by hand-sewing two rows of running stitch at the same time.

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Although I am please with the overall outcome, there are a few things I regret – of course, there are. The black overlocking and the fact that I didn’t handstitch the hem.  On the plus side my invisible zip insertion is improving and if I can get my waist seams to line up it would be moving towards perfect.

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So all in all a reasonable outcome. The fabric is called Flaming Boarder and I got it from Fancy Moon; the dress pattern (which I would highly recommend) is By Hand London’s Kim – but don’t skimp on the fabric.

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imageI thought you might like a little close up of my shoes.  I have become obsessed with Swedish clogs – I bought two pairs at the end of the summer in the sale which I hadn’t had chance to wear but now that I have and know exactly how comfortable they are, I have bought another …. sssshhhh, don’t tell Mr CK this ….. three pairs.

So, the clocks have gone back, Spring is officially here and it is the first day of my two week Easter break – Happy Days!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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Half term busyness

Hello dear reader, hope you are having fun and starting to get excited about spring?

In all the excitement of finishing my 1960s coat, I’m only just getting round to blogging about my other recent activities. I had a great half term which left me feeling relaxed and ready for the next surge. I had a bit of a supper party one night for some friends/neighbours and one of them actually asked me what exactly it is I am doing when I prance about on the riverbank in season inappropriate clothing!

imageI don’t have a posh camera (or a tripod, remote control etc.) so I have to take photos outside to get the best light and I only use my mini IPAD anyway.  I might need to re-think this strategy as sewing/blogging is becoming a bigger part of my life (it’s not so big for others who I have to cajole into taking pictures for me). However, for the time being I will continue to prance around at the end of my garden.

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This is my second Sewaholic Belcarra blouse – it is such a lovely top – I made it up in Liberty Lawn Queue for the Zoo which I bought last year.  Similar to my first Belcarra (see here) – I think this has the potential to be worn to work with more formal attire as well as with denim as seen here.

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This is a better view of the fabric (and my goose bumps) but I also wanted to show you the little button detail I added.  This is another one from my mum’s 1950s button box and I love it that I am now able to put to use some of the buttons that I have sorted through periodically for decades.

imageIt is a wonder I managed to squeeze this top in at all as the little people were around with it being half term.  They are so inquisitive about sewing but to date we have only made a tote bag together.  The majority of the time in which I could sew was spent on finishing my coat (see here)  but now that is done I can move onto another couple of projects which I have lined up.

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The first is a Kim dress – which I am doing as part of the sewalong.  I am doing a direct copycat of Dolly Clackett’s dress which used a fabric called Flamingo Border.  Unfortuantely I made a huge boo boo.  I have noticed that frequently when I buy the amount of fabric stated on the pattern I end up with so much left over  – I have squeezed a number of Sorbettos out of such generosity. So, on this occasion, I only bought two metres – doh. The skirt is made from a rectangle of the full three metres and consequently not only will my full skirt not be nearly so full but I didn’t have enough for the lining of the bodice. I was already entrenched in my cutting out so  – what to do?  Well, I did something rather extravagant.  A couple of weeks ago I bought some lovely broderie anglaise from Sew Over it (with no particular project in mind) and I used a little bit of that for my bodice lining.

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It will be my first project which looks lovely from the inside!  I also ran up a couple of pairs of Trixie Lixie knickers with my leftover Liberty lawn (what a wonderful way to use up leftovers!).

imageMy other half term achievement was to set up a Twitter account linked to my sewing activities.  I have two followers so that is exciting!  I am struggling to de-couple an existing twitter account which I used when I walked the Camino de Santiago six years ago (pre hashtag days) so I can’t add a button yet to the blog but if you are interested it’s ClarindaKaleidoscope @Clarinda_K  I only really decided to set one up so that I could follow along with all of the tweeting which  accompanies #GBSB which I am enjoying hugely.

Hope the week is going well – Good Luck to Amanda and Deborah tonight!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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