The knitting and Stitching Show

Hi everyone,

I hope you can bear with me whilst I share details of my FAB day and post loads of pics of my (ludicrous) fabric purchases.

We needed fortification before we tackled the remaining stands

We needed fortification before we tackled the remaining stands

A couple of weeks ago I posted an open invite on my Instagram to see if anyone fancied meeting up at The Knitting and Stitching Show – three fellow bloggers took me up on my offer and I have just spent the loveliest time with friends: Jane, Su and Becca. I really enjoy meeting up with other seamstresses. Jane and Su I have met before, a couple of times, so it was great to catch up with them again  and I really enjoyed meeting Becca who graciously allowed me to copy one of her frocks about a year ago!

Lovely Lauren who was at Tilly's stand - I was actually really chuffed that she recognised my sweatshirt - I bought the fabric at Guthrie and Ghani

Lovely Lauren who was at Tilly’s stand – I was actually really chuffed that she recognised my sweatshirt – I bought the fabric at Guthrie and Ghani

Su organised a route around the show so that we visited every stand and then returned to the best. As part of our tour we encountered sewing royalty: Lauren from Guthrie and Ghani; Lisa from Sew Over It and Tilly from Tilly and the Buttons. Becca was wearing an Orla top and had issues with the hem facing so Tilly had a quick peep and gave some advice!

Where elsecould you go where it is perfectly normal to look at the insides of people's clothes?

Where else could you go where it is perfectly normal to look at the insides of people’s clothes?

We all made purchases at Sew Over It – in fact three of us bought exactly the same silk cami kit with little foxes on – I actually thought they were lobsters: I’m getting old – my sight is going!

The silk cami kit and some other fabric I bought at the bargain price of £6 per metre

The silk cami kit and some other fabric I bought at the bargain price of £6 per metre

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To be honest, it was overwhelming having so much luscious fabric on offer – I bought loads but the thing I am probably most excited about it this gorgeous pattern from Sew La Di Da. It is a culottes deck suit with a halter neck – although you could do crossover straps at the back.  My sister is threatening to get married this summer and if she does, this is what I plan to wear. I want to look like Anna Chancellor as she was in Mapp and Lucia.

The parasol fabric I plan to use - only £8 per metre

The parasol fabric I plan to use – only £8 per metre

The only thing I definitely had on my list was some replacement needles for my overlocker – I asked three separate people if you needed different ones for an overlocker before I got my answer – No. However, when I described what had happened to the helpful man on the Janome stand he said it sounded like the timing had gone (?) – I hope that is not the case.

Needles and the only knit fabric I bought - just in case the overlocker and I don't become friends anytime soon

Needles and the only knit fabric I bought – just in case the overlocker and I don’t become friends anytime soon

Want to see the rest of my purchases?

Liberty loveliness - bluey one to make ties and the red one to make a scouttee

Liberty loveliness – bluey one to make ties and the red one to make a scouttee

 

Very thick fabric that I plan to make a tote bag with for future fabric shopping ventures

very thick fabric that I plan to make a tote bag with for future fabric shopping ventures

 

Isn't this gorgeous? A By Hand London Kim I think

Isn’t this gorgeous? A By Hand London Kim I think

 

Don't even ask me what I am going to do with this - I also bought some fine black wool to "tone it down" a bit

Don’t even ask me what I am going to do with this – I also bought some fine black wool to “tone it down” a bit

So that’s it – I sort of think I should feel guilty at having spent so much (I haven’t added it up and don’t intend to) but I can promise you that each and every piece was an absolute bargain!

Tonight I am off to a 50th birthday bash and I have made my friend a Liberty tie for his gift and tomorrow I’ll be in full Matriarch mode for Mothers Day so all in all, a cracking weekend!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

The whole shebang

The whole shebang

 

 

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Purchases, plans and pals

Hello to all,

As you may guess from the title of my post I have been busy with sewing related activities but there has been little on the actual sewing front – I have a busy week ahead so anticipate the same but next week …..

This morning I have the last of my six sessions on the introductory pattern drafting workshop at Cloth Kits. It has been a really interesting course, taken at a leisurely pace with an amazing tutor, Maria Pulley. The final outcome should be that we will have made blocks for bodice, sleeve and skirt and have a toile made up for a dress of our own design. Here is my princess seamed bodice which I constructed over the weekend and hopfully today I will decide what I want to do with the skirt – currently thinking seven gored.

Very pleased with the fit across the shoulders and underarm which can be problematical for me

Very pleased with the fit across the shoulders and underarm which can be problematical for me

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In terms of fabric I am going for this which was bought last week during the inaugural SEWBESS meet-up at Ditto Fabrics. The plan is to make the dress in the MOD green wool with sleeve cuffs and belt in the check. I also rather extravagantly bough the floral viscose to use as a lining (more on that later).  The rest of the check is to make a “consolidation” Francine jacket – once I finish the one which is currently still sans lining. The idea is to make a new dress/jacket suit for my new job in January.

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I had planned to write about my meet up with these lovely ladies who are all fellow bloggers and met originally at one of the two Open Days at Fabric Godmother. However Jane has written such a good post on the event I would only be repeating it so if you are interested, please read here. I would just like to add that although we are all based on the South Coast we live in three counties between us so please feel free to join in too.

SewBees at Ditto Fabrics

SewBees at Ditto Fabrics

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At the Brighton Sewing Centre I managed to get the perfect buttons for my yet to be made check Francine jacket and some sparkly zips caught my eye although initially I had no idea what I was going to do with them, I do now!

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Perfect buttons for my jacket – small ones for the cuffs on the contrasting dress

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I only bought one thing in the Black Friday sales and that was the Orla pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. I have decided to make it up in black jacquard (I hope I have enough left over after making my maxi Anna) and use one of the sparkly zips.

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Finally back to that viscose. I had been thinking and thinking about this fabric.  Whilst I think it is wonderful to have a funky lining, I kept thinking it was just too pretty to be hidden away. I then noticed the party dress pattern with the December issue of SEW Style and Home and thought that it might be perfect to make up my Christmas Day dress.

View A - three quarter sleeves destined to become my Christmas Day Dress

View A – three quarter sleeves destined to become my Christmas Day Dress

So that is the plan.  Although as you can see, I have a lot of plans and quite a few WIPs. Presumably others have that problem – so busy buying fabric and making plans and seeing friends that your rate of output is insufficient to keep up?

Well it’s time for me to scurry off and get ready for my final workshop – lunch afterwards with my fellow student Debbie who I have struck up a lovely friendship with – us sewing peeps are such a lovely bunch! I will leave you with a final photo of the fabric because it really is beautiful and the colours are more like they are in real life. Have a FAB, Festive week.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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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

 

Delphine avec des fraises et les fourmis

Bonjour and Happy Easter!

imageI bought this fabric a year ago from Cloth Kits, Chichester when I did my first workshop (even before I had my own sewing machine).  I immediately fell in love with the funky pattern  – ants and strawberries together on a rather stiff cotton fabric.  Having bought it I didn’t really know what to make with it.  However, this week whilst I have been pottering around – both in general and on the sewing front – it suddenly came to me: a Delphine.

imageThere’s not really too much to say about the skirt.  The pattern is straightforward to sew; it comes from Love at First Stitch and I really appreciate the instructions, clear diagrams and Tilly’s pragmatic approach. Here is Tilly’s advice for Stitch in the Ditch which I did first time with this skirt: ” …don’t worry if it doesn’t turn out perfect and some stitches go off piste – for I do believe life’s too short to stress out over the little things.” A girl after my own heart but my ditchy stitching was OK.

imageI’m not sure really what to wear it with – I think maybe a plain black or red top  but I haven’t got one so for the time being it’s dark green. By the way, in the background you can see Arundel Cathedral and just in the corner, the castle.

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Well the first week of the holidays have gone and it’s been really relaxing but I am in full matriarch mode for the weekend. I made my first ever jam (jelly) – pink grapefruit and rosemary to go with the spring lamb. Just look at the lovely colour:

imageI also managed to fit in a bit of fabric shopping. There is a great shop in Worthing called … The Fabric Shop. The only trouble is, whenever there is a lot of choice I always feel overwhelmed. I bought two metres of this blue fabric which I think I am going to make another Kim with – although I did buy four buttons because I was also thinking about making a Sureau.

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What do you think? Kim or Sureau?

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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Dotty Delectable Delphine

This is my first skirt and I know already that I will be making lots more. It is SO practical – I can see this becoming a real staple for work but there is also scope to dress it up/down too. image In fact, I did try to dress it up and tried it on with these cute shoes I bought for a wedding three years ago and haven’t worn since.  Needless to say, they are not going to be worn with my Delphine because it was just too polka-dotastic and I looked ridiculous! imageBack to the skirt (although it is always nice to look at shoes). This is the Delphine from Love at First Stitch by super-talented Tilly.  This is my third Tilly make now and I am really impressed with her clear instructions, lots of photos and simplicity of design.  I am also a straight size 4 and for someone who is still not confident with fitting this suits me fine.image Although I am really pleased with it – there are a number of things I would do differently next time – to be honest there are a number of things I should do to this skirt to improve it but I am eager to get onto the next thing – as per usual.  I am looking forward to achieving the wisdom and patience that the more experienced sewistas have. image OK – here is my list of boo boos – it never occurred to me to try and wriggle the fabric around a bit so that my seams didn’t slice off half a dot making it look like this.  I thought with a pattern it wouldn’t notice but it does (and at the waistband too), I also, and it’s the second time I have done this, not bought an invisible zip when I thought I had.  I stupidly decided to insert it just as if it were an invisible zip but got into a right mess with the end which was exposed so there is another bodge job involving a bit of hand sewing. image You will recall from my Denim Sureau that I am now an expert at top-stitching (!) so I decided to add it to my Delphine even though there is no requirement. You can see the fabric a little clearer.  It is a lovely cotton which has a look of linen and I bought it on my first fabric shop of the year at Ditto Fabrics. image The big excitement for me this week is that I begin my four week course at Sew Over It to make a 1960’s coat.  I am already thinking this is too ambitious but it was my Christmas present and I am looking forward to learning some new techniques and meeting some fellow sewing enthusiasts.  I am planning to blog my weekly progress so do drop by again to see how I am getting on. Toodle pip, Clarinda x

A week of firsts and a trio of Dahlias

My pink sewing journal has recorded a lot of firsts during the early days of January and I am feeling rather pleased!

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I went fabric shopping in Brighton for the first time and thanks to Ditto Fabrics I have increased my stash which was paltry compared to others I have seen.  I loved having a jolly good rummage and I can see how addictive it could become.  Anyway, having said in my last post that I thought sewing with denim was a bit of a challenge for me, I DID actually go ahead and buy some which has led to further firsts: sewing with a denim needle and using topstitch thread.  I know this probably seems rather dull to some of the more experienced sewistas but if you are fairly new to the sewing, you will appreciate my trepidation and excitement – hopefully I will be able to blog my denim outfit in due course but here is a taster of my fabric and facing combination – look familiar?!

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The doggie fabric is for a shirt which I will wear with black twill Ultimate trousers – once I have made them that is. The polka dot is for a skirt and as for the bird fabric – who knows? It just looked so sweet I couldn’t resist it. Any suggestions for one metre? Whilst in Brighton I also saw this amazing display in All Saints – 200 antique sewing machines: I counted them!

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The overlocker has finally been used on a garment – shock, horror.  When did I get it? October maybe? Anyway, I am tinkering about with Tilly’s Megan (sounds rude doesn’t it?) which has been a WIP abandoned from about August. I’m still making slow progress.

I never sleep well the night before the return to school so when I was wide awake at 2am I decided to read some blogs, as you do, and saw this absolutely cracking dress from Dolly Clackett.  I have to admit I shamelessly immediately bought the fabric and pattern – Paypal makes everything too easy – and intend to make one for myself for my niece’s wedding in April.  What do you think?  Stunning.

And lastly, we had another sewing bee at work.  Six of us were supposed to take part but Christmas is a busy time and not every one finished.  Here are three of the Dahlias – without exception we all had problems with excessive fabric at the neckline and had to make significant adjustments.  I do love Liz’s version  – the plaid.

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So, lots of things on the go at the moment but nothing quite finished as yet!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

Merry Christmas from Francoise and Clarinda

I made it – literally and metaphorically!

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I rushed to buy Francoise by Tilly and the Buttons as soon as it came out and initially planned to take part in the competition. However, the end of term is so mad that I just never finished in time.  However, I loved looking at everyone else’s dresses and it gave me lots of ideas. I decide to add contrast cuffs to match my collar – now this might not seem very adventurous to you but this was my first time off piste so to speak and I have to say how chuffed I am with how it turned out.

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I bought the fabric from Clothkits – it is some sort of wool blend, gorgeously soft to the touch.  It is a delicate herringbone pattern and I still can’t quite decide if the contrast if black or dark brown.  Bits of fluff were coming off all over the place and I am sure I will regret not having made friends with my overlocker yet.  I bought one a couple of months ago and am still waiting for a chuck of time to devote to us getting better acquainted. So edges which would really benefit from being overlocked are just pinked – however, I do sort of like pinking – it somehow seems very 1960s.

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Having missed the deadline for the competition I decided I would have Francoise as my Christmas Day dress – even this looked in doubt but after a final push yesterday and some last minute hand sewing this morning I finally finished it on Christmas Eve.  Although, you could well be forgiven for not realising it was 24th December from these photos – it is gloriously sunny here in Arundel – the tide is very high (the river always looks prettier) and I thought that the cathedral would make a festive backdrop to my photos in the absence of snow –  although I am sure the neighbours thought I was bonkers traipsing up the garden in a pair of high heeled patent shoes.  On reflection I think the dress will look better with my suede boots.

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In terms of fitting, I cut a size three on the top and graduated out to a four at the hips – I probably didn’t need to do this as there seems to be lots of spare fabric at the back. I’d be really happy to hear from anyone else who has made a Francoise as to how their collar went.  I THINK I have messed mine up – it doesn’t go the whole way round the back – I wasn’t sure if it was a design feature but  suspect not. You can just see where it ends in my back view shot.

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I am super pleased with my dress – it’s my most adventurous make to date (by myself – no workshop hand-holding) and so I feel fairly confident about tackling more challenging projects in 2015: it has been a great first year of sewing. So, from sunny Arundel, very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

 

Workshop junkie and my first attempt at manly sewing

Oh I do love a workshop – I love having an expert on hand to help and give guidance; I love the seemingly endless supply of drink, cake/biscuits and I love meeting other people who sew. Rather last minute I decided to book myself onto Saturday morning’s workshop at Clothkits, Chichester to make a tie.

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There were four others on the course. The first task was to choose the Liberty Lawn fabric which we were to use.  I had already brought my fabric with me; a gorgeous wool mix I brought from Ghani and Guthrie and for the lining I wanted to use some Liberty Tana Lawn, Queue for the Zoo , which I had bought ages ago to make a blouse and remains untouched. The tutor, Maria Pulley thought that my fabric may be a little too thick but I had my recipient in mind and knew that the grey/blue floral combo was perfect and was not to be swayed!

A tie has lots of funny little fiddly bits associated with attaching the lining and getting a good point.  I was really pleased to have someone there to show me precisely how to do it but apart from that, I found it relatively straight forward.  The most interesting thing for me was the ….silence!  Once you have the fiddly bits out of the way, the tie has to be hand sewn.  There was a period of about forty five minutes where you literally could hear a pin drop, no-one said a single word whilst we concentrated intently on trying to sew invisible stitches.  So, not quite as social as other classes.

Here is my sewing concentration face.

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Here are the finished ties – quite impressive for a morning don’t you think.  I do love the Liberty prints so will be making more I am sure.

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In the afternoon I cut out my fabric for Tilly and the Buttons Francoise – there is a contest and photos have to be uploaded by midnight tonight.  I don’t think I’ll manage that as today is ear-marked as Christmas card writing day etc but I will give it a go.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x