Sewing is my happy place

Hello dear sewing chums,

It has been seven long weeks since my last post.  A number of blogs I have read give an apology after a break saying that “life got in the way” or something similar; I fully appreciate that and YAY for “life” anyway.  I recently read Roisin’s blog post  (aka fabulous Dolly Clackett) and in the first paragraph she says that she is not apologising for her break  but that it feels weird not to comment on the fact there has been an absence.  I sort of feel exactly the same so this is my bridge post before normal service resumes!

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Well, sewing is my happy place and to be perfectly frank, I have not been happy; I have been utterly miserable. Sometimes I know it’s good to lose your worries in a hobby but I made the decision not to pollute my happy place and have kept away from the sewing machine; I have barely commented on my favourite blogs or posted on my instagram.  Can you imagine what any garments might have looked like if they had reflected my mood!

I don’t plan to bore you with the details – nobody died. But for those of you who appreciate a metaphor, I have been unwillingly engaged in a game of chess with three ferocious opponents whose skill, cunning and utter lack of integrity led to a very swift checkmate; defeat has been a crushing blow.

On the plus side, I am about to start a sewacation and that is really good. I abandoned not one but two workshops at Sew Over it over the last six weeks.  My mint flamingo blouse is looking rather forlorn at the moment but at least it got started which is more than can be said for the cigarette pants! So, those are my first two WIPs to tackle. I have booked a workshop for November to make the Francine jacket which I am really looking forward to.  I have it in mind to make a maxi skirt suit in tweed which I think could be really something (and possibly slightly eccentric). Over at Bimble and Pimble I am looking forward to SEWVEMBER which is a sewing photo everyday challenge .  I took part last year and it was a great way to get lots of inspiration from other sewistas. Finally on the positives, I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Red W Sews – a bloggers award for those with less than 200 followers.  This is very humbling as well as exciting.  I need to do a separate blog post for my acceptance speech so watch this space!

Oh, and I had another birthday and the beautiful framed embroidery at the top of this post was a present from my dear friend Ali (in fact it was one of a number of lovely sewing gifts and I am going to do a separate post about that too). Ali is madly into vintage and charity shops and this was one of her finds – can you imagine anyone just giving away such a personal piece of work.  I will treasure it and plan to hang it in my sewing corner. I will take a photo once it is in situ  – I need to do some dusting and blow the cobwebs away first!

Well, that’s it for now – I am looking forward to getting back into the groove.  If you have read this far then thank you for indulging me with this rather cathartic post – it’s been like therapy. As it’s been such a personal post I have posted a couple of piccies at the end of me and James Bond taken on my birthday last week – I am even older than the Bond Girl!

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to me!

 

Dress from ENVY Arundel

Dress from ENVY Arundel

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

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Round up of the year – My five top hits of 2014

I really enjoy the community events, most recently Bimble and Pimble’s Sewvember which introduced me not only to Instgram but to some wonderful, inspirational ideas. Now it’s approaching the end of the year and I see that Crafting a a Rainbow is again promoting a Top 5 of the year. As I only bought my Janome at Easter, my round ups will be from the last eight months and here is my first one: The Top Five Hits of 2014

Moneta and Marilyn
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This was my first ever knit and I was particularly proud of myself when I had completed the bodice.  I followed instructions from The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits having bought myself a walking foot and a twin needle.   This post could have made it into the Misses of the year due to my failure with the twin needle and the clear elastic – both of which have still eluded me and will be goals for 2015.  However, the sheer fun to be had from the fabric  and the pleasure of completing my first knit puts in firmly in the Top Five Hits post.
Sorbetto and One Week One Pattern

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Having only been sewing since Easter I did not really have much of a choice for my One Week One Pattern – it had to be the Sorbetto – which I love.  The skill I most enjoyed learning from this make was bias binding.  It was through this that I discovered The Little Tailoress and her super helpful tutorials.  Here are three of my five Sorbettos from that week, including a running top I made from some of the leftover Marilyn knit – as you can see I take my race preparation very seriously.  My participation in this event was a HIT for another reason.  I entered a giveaway competition by Handmade Jane who organised this year’s OWOP and won my choice of three patterns. Having this announced on her blog gave me by biggest number of hits in one day – 99 – the likes of which have never been seen since so as a new blogger this was very exciting for me in addition to the delight of wining three patterns – which will feature in a future post.

Sureau

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How I love my Sureau.  I adore the button placket at the front and the easy comfortable styling.  I would say this is the make I wear the most.  It is super comfortable and always gets favourable comments.  I plan to make more, many more.  This could be the garment for OWOP15.

Lacy beanie

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I do enjoy knitting – I was a knitter long before I could sew but like many other hobbies of the past it was long forgotten but my interest has been reawakened and I now knit regularly on my commute.  This little beanie was my first time of using both circular and double ended needles.  I really enjoyed making it up and knitting is such a useful thing to have in your handbag  for a spare ten minutes – imminently more portable than a sewing machine.

Bees shirt

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This shirt is a favourite because I have worn it a lot and I love the funky fabric.  It teams well with a grey skirt for work and looks equally at home with denin for a more casual look.  I also have fond memories of making this shirt.  Six colleagues and I held our own sewing bee at work and afterwards we decided to take a workshop at Sew Pretty together to further improve our skills.  Only three of us actually made it to the workshop but we all made a version of this shirt and none of us finished it during the three weeks worth of classes because we were laughing and chatting so much. By the way, as we’re getting to know each other a little more through this series of posts, I’d like to point out that these two photos were taken at the end of my garden

So, four more posts to come.  I am looking forward to pondering about what to include and then writing them; I hope you are looking forward to reading about my Misses, Highlights, Reflections and Goals!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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Weekday Knitting

I have been able to knit since a young age and I go through phases of being madly into it and then not doing anything for a good couple of years. I was certainly having a dry spell but since I’ve started sewing and reading blogs I have been inspired by a number of sewistas who finish off their handmade clothes with a funky little cardigan and so I have gotten into it again. I have a number of WIP but did want to show you a little lace beanie I made which has had SO much wear already. I found the pattern in KNIT magazine.

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I really needed to concentrate on the lacy pattern so I couldn’t really knit whilst I watched TV so it was pretty much completed on my commute. It was my first experience of circular needles and I have become a huge fan and now knit using them even when the pattern doesn’t need circular needles.

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The wool is Sublime cashmere merino silk dk – I have already bought another 100g in an inky blue to knit another as this one has proved to be super versatile.

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Worn on my birthday for a walk across the South Downs – this is the lunch stop – champagne in a beaker.

 

Selfie on the beach with the family in Gand background

Selfie on the beach with the family in the background

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I tend to knit every day on the tube and train into work. I keep my WIP in  this little bag I made during my first workshop at a Clothkits – I have had some odd looks when I open my Mulberry and pull out my knitting. I am currently working on a variety of squares to make a blanket for my daughter.

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On the sewing front, I just wanted to share a little peak of how my lace dress is coming along.

Week two of four at Sew a Over It lace dress workshop

Week two of four at Sew a Over It lace dress workshop

And finally, I am LOVING Sewvember – so many interesting glimpses on a daily basis. Have a peek on Instagram at #bpsewvember. So much inspiration; so little time.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

 

Dahlia in disgrace and the joys of being part of sewing communities

I have been feeling a little down.  I proudly boasted in my last post how I was going to make a Dahlia whilst on half term and had visions of elegant poses of me in the Peaks looking suitably smug showing off  my autumnal sewing success.  I did not finish the dress in the week; I have not finished it since; it is currently looking at me from where I have tossed it on the sofa – this particular Dahlia is in deep disgrace.  Its misfortune would have remained private but I have been encouraged to move on and blog, regardless of having anything to share/show, by Sew South London who has blogged today of her own frustrations and an unfinished Dahlia.

Just look at that renegade seam - it is supposed to be on the inside. How did that happen?

Just look at that renegade seam – it is supposed to be on the inside. How did that happen?

So, once my patience has been replenished (the store is currently closed) I will complete the last bit of hand sewing and post photos of my finished dress.  The sewalong started today so I might well have another attempt – I did have some nice navy and red plaid lined up but my confidence is currently depleted.

However, what I did want to share was some of the fun things that are going on at the moment linked to various sewing communities.

1. Tomorrow I am starting a course at Sew Over It  for four consecutive Wednesdays to make a lace dress – hopefully it will look like this:

photo courtesy of Sew Over It

photo courtesy of Sew Over It

The tutor is the brilliant Julie who guided me through my first (only) pair of trousers.  It will be tiring going to a workshop after work but I am excited about having expert help with my sewing and learning some new techniques.  I am also looking forward to meeting some fellow sewistas.

2. By complete chance I read about Bimble and Pimble’s Sewvember on the day it started

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I have been diligently uploading my photos to Instagram (quite a new experience for me) but the really fun thing is all the sticky beaking you can do.  I have been truly over-awed with the sheer size of some people’s stash and the sewing space pictures on Day One are really making me think about how I can pretty up my own space.  I guess that’s what Instagram is about for us – caring, sharing, inspiring and I have been inspired!

Finally, 3. the wonderful Katya Essery of Sew Pretty is starting a Sewing Club at her gorgeous studio in Wimbledon on a twice monthly basis where you can drop in and get help with your projects – no doubt I will be turning up with my Dahlia!

Photo courtesy of Sew Pretty

Photo courtesy of Sew Pretty

Katya has also introduced some new workshops including a winter coat, a tie and Christmas stockings.  If you can get to Wimbledon, do consider taking a class at Sew Pretty – I have done a couple now and love Katya’s relaxed approach which combines really skilful instruction with wine and friendly banter.

Hopefully, I will be able to share a garment, of some description, soon – you can guarantee I will not be saying “this came together really easily”.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda