Chinese silk Yoke top ….. finally done


If I say so myself, this Yoke top by Lauren Guthrie looks effortlessly chic – however, it was not effortless to make and has been trailing around me and the blog for five months!


I returned from China in August with this metre of gorgeous silk and another metre of a different floral design. I read up on how to sew with silk, bought appropriate needles and pins and was ready to go.  The pattern features in Learn to Sew with Lauren but I actually picked the pattern up in issue 5 of Love Sewing (what a great magazine).


(I am absolutely freezing my tits off in these photos by the way – a gorgeously sunny morning whilst the ground was crisp with frost). Anyway, I made a start and I can’t remember why but, I got a bit stuck with the yoke so it became a WIP whilst I tinkered about with other things.

imageCome October I picked it up again, determined not to be one of these people who end up with piles of unfinished objects; the Yoke Top and I went on holiday for a week in the Peaks (alongside Dahlia who was very demanding and prevented the Yoke Top and I from really making much progress).  Again, it disappeared under other sewing priorities.

imageIn December, I took it to the first Sewing Club at Sew Pretty – the fabric was much admired by everyone but I got distracted by the hem on my lace dress and no progress was made.  It sat in its little purple folder for another month (I keep all of my various projects (doesn’t have to be sewing) in clear, purple plastic envelope files).

imageCome January it was Sewing Club again and I spent two hours working on the yoke.  I have to say, I do find yokes difficult.  I managed to get the front correct with Katya‘s help but when left to my own devices for the back, I just couldn’t work out how to do it.  I find construction and “seeing” how things fit together REALLY difficult – I think I must have some kind of condition, Discalculia maybe, linked to fabric rather than numbers. So the back had the raw seams exposed rather than all being neatly hidden away. However, on the plus side, I bravely whisked that single seam through the overlocker and it didn’t end in tears!

imageJust look at the absolute pig’s ear I made of the button holes.  I am supposed to have a one step button holer but it doesn’t work.  I did look at a couple of Youtube videos and I actually don’t think it is me!  The machine does the bar at the bottom, sews one side and then just stops. So I have to reset it all so that the machine it thinks it is doing another one and I have to turn the fabric 180% and wiggle it across a bit.  I only bought my machine in April so it is still under warranty from John Lewis but I don’t think I can bear to be parted from it for the weeks I’ve heard it takes for a repair.  So, I am just going to have to get better at bodging it OR only make garments without buttons.

imageSo, to conclude, Lauren’s Yoke top feels lovely against the skin and I am really looking forward to wearing it with a jacket for an evening out – just don’t look too closely at the finish! My next project is a skirt I will wear IF I ever get to an interview!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x


Me? Blog Hop? Yes please!

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

My first Sureau

My first Sorbetto

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

Chinese silk

Chinese silk

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

Bluebell woods on a run

Bluebell woods on a run

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

Post race ice cream

Post race ice cream

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

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

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