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

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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

Finally ….. I am proud to present: The 1960s Coat

Greetings all on this last day of the half term,

I am SO pleased to say that I have FINALLY finished my coat and here it is!

imageIt has taken four weeks of a weekly workshop at Sew Over It, Clapham with the super talented, super patient Julie and four weekends of homework (which has been substantial).  I have blogged each week charting my different feelings towards the project which have veered from extreme frustration and desperation through to pleasure and wonderment. If you are new to my blog and are interested in its journey (someone might be – certainly no-one in my household is) then you can read about it here: week one; week two; week three; week four.

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I think it is only fair I give huge credit to Julie who held my hand throughout the process.  I found the number of pattern pieces overwhelming: lining, interlining and shell.  The lined pockets incorporated into the seam took me one whole workshop of three hours.  I don’t drive; I don’t have any spatial awareness. Similar deficiencies became apparent during sewing – I find construction really quite baffling and when some particular aspect finally comes together, it seems to me to be as if by magic.

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I was also lucky enough to meet David Miller of DM Buttons  in Soho who expertly made my buttonholes and the funky buttons came from Ditto Fabrics in Brighton – I was really lucky to get some which managed to perfectly match the flower design of the coat.

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The fabric came from Guthrie and Ghani who also supplied the lining.  I would highly recommend Lauren’s store for online purchases. She was extremely helpful, sending swatches and confirming that the fabric would be suitable for the coat I was going to make.  Items purchased always arrive swiftly and are beautifully packaged.  Ooh dear – this could be beginning to sound like an Oscar Acceptance speech – so after, Julie, David and Lauren there was me!  Regular readers will know how I frequently feel deflated and am quick to point out errors but I really am chuffed to bits with my coat – it is certainly my most ambitious make to date – and probably a feat never to be attempted again!imageimageIn order to consolidate my learning (SUCH a teacher), I really should go straight into another one – perhaps in a cotton twill or canvas for summer.  I know this would be the best way to ensure I do not forget all of the techniques I learned but I am not sure I have the motivation to keep going by myself.  Knowing I had to face Julie and my fellow workshop chums each week meant I tried hard to do all of my homework and keep more or less on track.

So there you go, the journey of my 1960s coat has finally reached its destination.  The photos were taken in Arundel this morning on a cold but bright sunny day and the coat kept me warm.

One final comment – a question actually: I have three weddings to go to this year.  I am toying with the idea of making a little dress in the same fabric as the coat to wear together as a set – perhaps a sleeveless shift or a Megan – a la Jackie Onassis.  What do you think? Would it be too much?

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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