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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