My almost zero waste Lillypilly dress

Before I launch into a post about the latest thing I made, I want to say:

Black Lives Matter

I’m a white woman of privilege. Black makers like Renee, Elaine and Carolyn have said it so much better than me and written eloquently about murder, injustice, civil unrest, pain and anguish in a way I never could.

I don’t want to be trite. There are many things much more important than my sewing or this blog.

So. This is what I made recently while doing a lot of thinking and reading about race, prejudice and privilege, and realising I have a lot to learn.

It’s the Lillypilly zero waste dress from Liz Haywood, my local indie pattern maker. Her versions are all really cute:

Lillypilly dress all views
Image source: https://lizhaywood.com.au/new-zero-waste-pattern-lillypilly-dress/

I had a lot of fun drawing the pattern directly onto my fabric with chalk. And that was also where my mistake was made.

The armscyes ended up a lot bigger than they should have – a combination of blunt chalk, cutting out on the outer edge of the blunt chalk line and then not reading the instructions and turning the bias tape to the inside rather than binding the edge. Probably a bit of stretching out of the fabric too.

So I sewed the shoulder seam again, 4 cm lower at the shoulder point angling back to nothing at the top of the funnel neck edge. Now not zero waste and not the most beautifully shaped armscyes but much more wearable. Also, how good is my KATM mini ruler?

The fabric has been in my stash for 11 years. Well done past me for recording the date of purchase, fabric composition, length and width and provenance on a price of paper pinned to the fabric.

It’s a sophisticated silvery olive and black mid weight woven polyester that has never seemed quite right or been quite long enough for any project until now – 2 meters of 115cm wide fabric limited what it could be used for. So it languished in the stash.

Being a jacquard, the reverse side is nice too – which matters because you can see the wrong side of the fabric at the neck, The selvedge is particularly lovely so I left it to show at the hem.

Liz’s very clever zero waste design re-purposes the pieces you cut out for the armscyes as pockets. But they are not very big, even with my mistake.

I had extra fabric (see – another reason this project is not really zero waste) so I cut out regular sized in-seam pockets from the leftovers using the pocket pattern from Tessuti’s Bella dress. I have used the Bella dress pockets on so many garments as well as the Bella dress now.

I particularly like the organic shaped funnel neck on this dress. I didn’t do anything to style it for these photos – it just seems to fall into a nice shape.

This photo also shows the not straight hem. I could have curved it up into a more conventional hem line at the side seams but that would have been the third not zero waste thing I did, and would also have meant the selvedge hem had to go.

I think I might be sold on zero waste sewing ….. and I have 16 projects in Liz’s zero waste sewing book to work my way through.

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

Still sewing Wilder gowns

This last week I’ve been reminded again of the restorative power of sewing. My father is in the late stages of terminal cancer.

A few moments here and there working on this project among all the busy-ness of end of life care has been a tonic.

Is there anything better that having lovely fabric between your fingers and running through your machine? Especially with a pattern you love?

I might be a bit obsessed with this pattern.

The Fabric Store’s recent online sale on premium merino didn’t help my obsession.

Felicity loved the lilac colour and wanted a Wilder gown so who was I to stand in the way? Even though I was pretty sure it would look like a Victorian era nightgown. After all, this was isolation fashion so a nightgown seemed like a good idea.

It does look like a nightgown. Especially with creasing that makes it look like she slept in it. For the record she says she didn’t. But she did wear it two or perhaps three days running after I stitched the last stitch. I’m taking that as a compliment.

Looking less like a nightgown with a denim shirt knotted at the waist. Also accessorised with sparkly unicorn socks and a mug (and several rolls of tracing paper and interfacing on the side – there’s a sewist in this house!)

It has pockets.

This was a sort off size M (inattentive printing, see earlier posts) but with 2 cm added to the bodice length as a nod to an FBA. The gathered skirt sections were cut out according to the size M dimension for width and not as an XL and then a bit more depending on whatever the fabric width was. Which was what I did for my other Wilders.

Which meant the skirt sections for this one are less full. But as a bonus, there was enough leftover lilac merino knit for a t shirt for me.

The neck details of this gown are cute, and I’m loving the perfectly imperfect bow tying

I added one of KATM’s labels to the side seam and I love this little detail too.

Love this pattern.

Love The Fabric Store’s premium merino.

Love this girl!

Posted in Sewing | 16 Comments

Sewing competitions: another Wilder gown

I have just cut out and sewn fabric from Tessuti’s 2019 competition whilst the 2020 one is still open.

What does this say about me? Slow? Large stash? Not enough sewing time? Indecisive? All of the above?

Its not that I don’t love this year’s competition fabric – I have several pieces waiting for me. Just not feeling it. Perhaps its too autumnal now to be sewing a summery fabric? Not that that has stopped me before. But. I digress.

A cooler weather Wilder gown was demanding to be made to fill a gap in my working from home / Zoom/Teams/Skype meeting wardrobe.

This fabric is a delightfully drapey synthetic in the indigo colourway from Tessuti Fabrics 2019 sewing competition.

Again I’m sewn a sort of size M ( I printed the pdf smaller than I should have by mistake and I haven’t got around to reprinting it at 100%).

This time I added long sleeves – I cut them 12 cms longer than the longest sleeve provided. That wasn’t long enough. I cut out a rectangle the width of the sleeve and 7 cm long and sewed that on and turned it up because I wanted to add an elastic casing to draw the sleeves back in. Which would mean I added about an extra 2.5 cm after all the seaming and turn backs. None of this will help anyone else of course since I printed the pattern smaller than I should have.

Also pockets. Pockets are always a good idea. Of course I remembered to add pockets after I’d sewn and overlocked the side seams, so the middle tier is about 2cm’s less full than drafted.

I was going to unpick and resew but this fabric really shows the needle holes. And this was me using a Microtex needle!

Left is the unpicked seam showing every single stitch like a ghost. Right is before unpicking

So I unpicked and cut the overlocked edge off and then sewed 5 mm inside the original seam line.

But totally worth it to have pockets!

Love this pattern! And love this version!

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Klimt the Kiss meets Tessuti Bella Dress

One of my favourite artists is Gustav Klimt and one of my favourite paintings of his is “The Kiss”.

I’m not an orphan in liking this painting, nor of items made from copies of it.

A quick web search revealed an umbrella available from the National Gallery of Art, Washington,

 Gustav Klimt: The Kiss, Umbrella

a hoodie from Cacofonia Milano,

a tote bag from Plumeria Museum,

Tote Bag Canvas, Klimt, The Kiss Gold

mugs from McIntosh shop,

and, best of all, a tram, launched in Austria on Valentine’s Day last year

Image source

(these are not affiliate links and I cannot vouch for the quality or authenticity of items for sale at these links!)

So you can probably understand that when EmmaOneSock had fabric printed with Klimt the Kiss, there was absolutely no way to resist!

No affiliate links here either 🙂

I can attest to how fabulous this fabric is, though. This cotton lycra knit is an absolute delight to sew and wear.

But then I had an agonising decision. What was I going to make from it?

Thank you, Covid-19, for helping me realise that no fabric is too precious.

#sewtheprecious.

And also thank you, Covid-19, for helping me accept that what I’ve done with this fabric didn’t have to be perfect.

This is Tessuti’s Bella dress, chosen for its minimal seaming and easy to wear trapeze shape.

That trapeze shape didn’t quite fit on the panel. So there’s a bit of fabric piecing action on one side seam.

The fabric makes something like this almost invisible.

I eliminated the centre back seam and centred the design of the second panel on the centre back, left to right. Getting the centre of the pattern from top to bottom wasn’t an option due to the aforementioned trapeze shape of the pattern piece and fabric restrictions! But, the bonus of this is that I almost have wings.

As much as I love this painting I don’t really love the olive background pattern of the fabric nor does this colour love my complexion. So I had the idea to add a neckband in a colour that would build a bridge between the dress and my skin.

I’m not convinced it’s a good feature. But I’ve left it on at this point.

I stabilised the neck edge with a special stabilising fusible bias tape whose name I’ve forgotten but might be Vilene. I then sewed the neckband on, wrong side to right side. That why there are pins in the image below – the special tape was already fused but the neckband needed to be secured. Once it was on I clipped and edged stitched, flipped to the right side, turned the edges under and top stitched.

#ithaspockets!

I stabilised the pocket openings too, with a woven ribbon. This made the edge very neat and firm.

I used up most of the scraps too but I give major side eye to this pandemic accessory. Despite its well centred pattern.

Flawed execution of this fabulous fabric? Yes.

Do I love it? Yes!!

Have I worn it two days running whilst working from home? Also yes.

With that other pandemic accessory – the headset.

Yes, some of my work videocalls are that exciting!

How I imagine I look most of the time is second left bottom row, but apparently I don’t…

Keep safe and sane everyone.

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , , | 32 Comments

Virtual Venice travel jacket: Closet Case Sienna Makers Jacket

I am so lucky that the only casualty to COVID-19 for me is garments I intended to make for a holiday. So far, that is, and long may it last. And for your family and friends too, dear readers. Keep safe everyone!

I do feel a bit weird to be posting about sewing when there are many more important issues.

I’m guessing you will forgive me. If you follow this blog, you probably won’t mind a bit of sewing trivia against a backdrop of uncertainty, working from home and self isolation.

I made a Sienna Makers Jacket out of gorgeous cotton twill from The Fabric Store.

It was intended to be my hero piece for a trip to Venice at Easter to celebrate a wedding anniversary.

Perhaps next Easter?

This pattern has lots of lovely details already built in and plenty of opportunities to add your own.

I added bias binding to finish the edge of the facings and the hems and did a sort of double flat felled seam down the centre back.

I love the apple green background of this fabric. It’s almost reversible.

My slit for the belt was not well executed. And I’m okay with it. Perfectly imperfect.

The D rings for the belt went in wrong too. Another perfectly imperfect detail!

I had some diamanté D rings in the stash and. after some agonising, decided they’d be okay. And then installed them with the ‘jewels’ to the wrong side anyway. *eyeroll*

This pattern has so many pockets, including an internal one that I think will be just right for my passport.

Perfect for traveling. Some time in the future I hope to test that statement!

I made this in a straight size 12 and exactly as per the instructions, except for the breast pocket- I use 5/8 inch ‘seams’ ( ‘turn-unders’) instead of 1/2 inch because I didn’t read the instructions.

I love it. Great pattern. Great fabric, Gorgeous colours.

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Fruit tingles top: Vogue 8805

I went to my local fabric store for thread and came out with thread and fabric.

The fabric is pretty cute. An oatmeal coloured marle cotton knit with rainbow freckles sprinkled throughout. Practically a neutral.

While I should have just bought the thread and left the fabric behind, I thought Felicity would like the fabric and that it would work as a top to wear with her cat skirt.

Right on both counts.

What pattern to use? After a long search through all my large BurdaStyle magazine collection, my smaller stash of PDF and paper patterns and some online exploration (long enough to have already sewn something!) we settled on shortening a simple shift dress pattern, Vogue 8805, into a top.

The fabric is a knit with some stretch but only in one direction, so I acted as if it was a delicate woven that needed stabilising – I used a straight stitch for all construction and added a woven ribbon to the shoulder seams.

Rather than finish the neck with bias binding, I trimmed to 1 cm by overlocking the edges, folded in on the stitching line and stitched the overlocked seam allowance down. This seems to have held up just fine.

This is size 12 with a D cup. I removed the excess fabric in the dart before sewing it and then overlocked close to the stitching.

This makes the dart look like a seam.

Such fun fabric. Goes with the cat skirt as planned but also look great with denim.

Now I want one too!

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What not to do on Valentine’s Day, and Vogue 8921 to the rescue

I love Joy the Baker’s blog. She suggested a recipe that couples could cook together on Valentine’s Day. I thought yes, brilliant idea! Who wouldn’t want to prepare shrimp etouffee risotto (spicy Cajun stew with prawns and risotto) together and then eat it?

He who Cooks was much less enthusiastic. He was right that the recipe was more winter than summer. He was right that we’d need to go shopping for ingredients – and how romantic is grocery shopping?! He was right that it was Friday night and this didn’t sound relaxing.

What he didn’t say was how annoying it was going to be for him to have me, the unskilled amateur, in his kitchen. Much better when I’m perched on a stool with a drink and out of the way.

I pushed on and made the risotto part of the recipe whilst telling him what to do with the prawns. Who even am I?

Here’s the risotto part way through, after he had interfered and taken the thyme leaves off the stalks. What are you doing I said? Joy doesn’t tell me to do that! At this point I’m sure he wanted me well out of the kitchen.

But he’s such a darling that he just smiled sweetly at me.

It was delicious. The risotto was gloriously creamy and the etouffee had fabulous depth of flavour. Perfect winter food. Yes he was right about that too. At least we were having a slightly cooler spell from the very hot summer weather that’s normal in February in Adelaide.

Eventually we got to relax on the front verandah. A squeeze of lime and we’re back to summer food I said. He was unconvinced.

The day after Valentine’s Day I got it right.

I sewed. I kept out of the kitchen. We went out for dinner.

This is what I sewed – a glorious digital viscose print from Emmaonesock made up as view B, Vogue 8921. This pattern seems to be OOP now – I’ve purchased it a few years ago after seeing excellent versions on other people’s sewing blogs.

Image result for Vogue 8921

I cut out a size 16 and almost entirely ignored the instructions. Have the instruction writers at Vogue patterns not heard of overlockers and stretch stitches? And why would you ever think a zip was a good idea in a light weight stretch fabric? And what about stabilising shoulders? Seriously. Someone needs to rewrite the instructions!

I used a straight stitch for the pleats and most of the rest of the construction, followed up with overlocking the seams. I stabilised the shoulder seams and side seams with a ribbon. If you buy fabric online from Tessuti Fabrics, you’ll recognise this.

I know. Not all the threads from basted the pleats have been snipped off. And probably never will now I’ve worn this!

For the neck edge I overlocked the edges and folded in the seam allowance to the inside, sandwiching a light weight iron-in strip of interfacing between the outside and inside. I fused it with the iron and then stitched it with a straight stitch. This gave a very secure and non stretchy neck line. It is drafted ‘date night low’ so I hate to think how much it might gape without this stabilisation.

I can’t believe I am posting an image of my cleavage on the web! It does show the neckline stitching as well though, especially through the lavender flower and white leaves.

the dress was a bit loose through the waist and perhaps a bit long through the back bodice. I stitched elastic the length of my waist measurement (80 cm) into the waist seam stretching as I went. Slightly wonky stitching as a result. You can also see the ribbon stabilising the side seam below.

The elastic has made the dress a bit blousy. I might take it back out.

See what I mean?

You can also see the side seam (through the large lavender flower) isn’t hanging true but is pulling towards the front. I don’t know if it’s a fitting issue or a design fault . The front drapes are stitched into the side seam and might be pulling the seam? Perhaps I should go back and stabilise this seam with ribbon too.

So the morale of the story? I need to remember that he cooks and she sews.

Posted in Cooking, Sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Cielo Top and a Burda pencil skirt: BurdaStyle 11/2019 #110

My new year’s resolution to sew my fabric collection (AKA stash) is still going strong.

Formerly too-precious-to-use fabric continues to break out of my fabric collection and into my wardrobe.

This gorgeous fabric comes from Mood in NYC and was purchased 5 years ago. A beautiful cotton voile with a huge pattern repeat featuring birds, flowers, botanicals and the odd old map or two.

090715_1250_VisitingNew15.jpg

It has almost been a dress several times, but I never got to the cutting out phase.

This time I broke the jinx and its now a Cielo top

I used French seams for construction and bias binding on the neck and hems. This is a size 14.

The neck and hems are an inch higher and longer than drafted because I attached the bias binding flush with the cut edges rather than in the seam allowance.

I didn’t add the seperate back yoke – there is plenty already going on with this top and one of the shoulders looks like it has a yoke anyway.

Pattern placement was a bit of a head scratcher, but I settled on the pinker and brighter section on the front and the yellower and more muted section on the back.

This top works well with my grey blue linen wide leg pants (love the yellow wall, don’t love the messy hair so much –  it was very windy)

It’s a beautiful match with a new pencil skirt.

This is BurdaStyle 11/2019 #110, at the #111 length and without the D rings, made as a size 44 with size 42 waist.

My fabric is a stretch cotton in dove grey with a lovely sueded feel to it.

I was not careful enough with cutting out so the front was a touch bigger than it should be. I added two small tucks to the front and solved the problem.

This pattern has the front pockets drafted as a single piece. It acts almost like a tummy control. And inaccuracies in cutting out this piece and the front skirt mean that extra design features such as tucks need to be added.

So, to sum up how I’m feeling.

  • Love, love, love my top. Glorious fabric and beautiful lantern sleeves.
  • Very happy with my skirt. It’s a neutral basic that I need in my wardrobe and its lovely to wear.

 

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Banana bread

I know, I know, why the big deal about banana bread? There are thousands of recipes out there.

Well, that’s the reason. Thousands of them and I can’t remember which one of them was the one I used last time and really liked.

This one is adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s jacked up banana bread and it is terrific.

  • 3 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 75 grams melted salted butter
  • 190 grams brown sugar (this much sugar makes it more cake like than bread, next time I might dial  it down a bit)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon spiced rum (apparently this is optional and Deb suggests bourbon. I used Sailor Jerry, because there was no bourbon in our house and I could not bring myself to use the single malts in banana bread)
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (Deb uses only 1 teaspoon but I love cinnamon)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (again more than Deb )
  • Pinch of ground cloves (I forgot to use this, but I will next time. I love all the spices)
  • 190 grams plain flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  2. With a wooden spoon, mix melted butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla and rum.
  4. Sift the flour with the spices, salt and bicarb soda , then  mix into the wet ingredients
  5. Pour mixture into a buttered 10 x 23 cm loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a tester comes out clean.

Delicious. Not sure how long it keeps. This loaf was all gone within 2 days.

Posted in Cake, Cooking, Recipes | 7 Comments

A sequinned Bella

Who buys rainbow reversible sequin fabric as a souvenir in Bordeaux? This one is a bit harder to explain than buying Japanese cotton in Spain!

I knew Felicity would love it.

I only just had enough to cut out a Tessuti Bella dress without sleeves.

My traced off pattern was a size M so I made it a bit smaller for Felicity by placing the centre front and back in from the fold and selvedge by about 1 cm in.

Sequinned fabric makes such a mess when you cut out!

I know you should remove the sequins from the seam allowance but I didn’t this time because it was invisible thread on a black background and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. My bad. This is not couture! I did stabilise the shoulder seams and then covered them with a strip of the mesh selvedge to stop any scratch Ines. So. Not totally bad sewing…

Wonder clips were so much better than pins for this fabric.

And my machine sewed through those sequins like it was easy. I did use a thicker needle than normal.

I bound the neck and armscyes with purchased poly satin bias binding. I sewed it on onto the wrong side a bit within the seam allowance then brought it over the sequins to the front. This meant the neck and the armscyes were finished with the seam allowance still included. Clear as mud? Sorry. The bottom line was that the neck was raised by 1 cm and the armscyes extended by 1 cm.

Remember how I said I could only just fit it on my fabric length? Once it was sewn up and tried on it was clear I had made it too long. And it needed to be shorter. I cut 8 cm off. And left the hem raw.

It has been worn. Apparently not scratchy despite the sub standard sewing techniques. And the bonus thing is that I can fit into it too.

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A skirt of Japanese cats: BurdaStyle 05/2019 #112

Who buys Japanese fabric on holiday in Spain? Who wouldn’t when it’s as irresistible as this!

I mean. Look at that cheeky cat in the middle with the ball of wool. And the smiley yellow one. And the little black one. And the….

I turned this souvenir fabric purchased from Nunoya in Barcelona into a skirt for Felicity.

This is BurdaStyle 05/2019 #112 (or #112burda052019 in instaspeak)

( image source: the previous USA based Burda website that was so good. No point adding the link now. Not happy Burda!)

I added 7 cm to the length and cut the front skirt and yoke on the fold. This omitted the centre front seam and the decorative button tab.

I lined the yoke with a poly/cotton from an old shirt of her fathers.

I covered the end of the zip with a scrap from his shirt too.

It’s very satisfying to recycle like this 😊

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The dress that’s IKEA inside and out: Butterick 6677

This fabric was another long term stash dweller but not of the too-good-too-sew variety. It’s cotton IKEA curtain fabric with a very simple bright print that Felicity loves and I don’t.

Our local fabric store had this pattern made up as a sample and that’s what inspired this make. First I thought I could find something similar to Butterick 6677 in my extensive Burda magazine collection. Then patterns were on sale. Why not give Butterick a go I said!

I made this as a size 14 at the shoulder then graded out to 16 through the armscye, and bust and down to the waist then back to a 14. A cheaters FBA. Sort of okay fit wise but next time I’ll do a real FBA.

It has pockets!

I lined the bodice and skirt with a preloved IKEA cotton sheet. Superbly soft. This makes the dress delightful to wear I’m told. I think we both also love the thought of IKEA curtains and sheets being used for a dress.

What better than a novelty button to close the back!

Such a cheerful dress. I like this fabric so much more in a dress than in my stash.

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My Missoni ‘Tee’ jumper: BurdaStyle 06/2016 #101

Back in 2015, I was incredibly fortunate enough to acquire this Missoni summer weight wool/viscose knit from Liz of designerfabricsaustralia.

It’s been sewn into many imaginary garments over the last five years. But they never got past the planning stage and actually into my wardrobe. It was one of those too-good-to-sew fabrics. Until now.

This is style 101 from BurdaStyle 06/2016 or #101burda06/2016 in instragramspeak

A very simple pattern – just right to showcase my Missoni knit.

I cut out the patterns pieces so that the hem of the sleeves and the front and back were on the zigzag selvedge. This meant the upper bodice/ sleeve piece stretched across the complete width of my fabric from selvedge to selvedge.

I spent a lot of time working out how to cut this out of my slightly too small length of fabric and I’m pleased how well it tuned out with all the zigzag edges meeting and matching. What I didn’t do is pay enough attention to getting the flow of the zigzags going the same way on the front and back. If I’d done this the shoulder seams would have been patterned matched. Not mismatched like they are, as you can see above. Oh well. Live and learn.

I stabilised the neck and shoulder seams (about 13 cm down from the neck) with a strip of very lightweight interfacing. The neck was then finished with bias binding.

I love it!

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What I’ve been cooking this summer

This summer I’ve discovered a fabulous new salad, two great cakes and a new gluten free cookie recipe.

Carrot and edamame salad with soy ginger dressing

Salad:

  • 1  x 450g packet of frozen shelled edamame beans
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded or grated
  • 2 spring onions or half a red onion, finely sliced
  • a generous few handfuls of salad greens, some shredded
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted

Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the edamame for 2-3 minutes or until tender (they float to the surface). Drain well and run under cold water to stop them cooking further.

To make the dressing, put everything into  screw cap jar or small bowl and mix well to combine.

Combine all the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Mix well then drizzle over the dressing. There will probably be more dressing than needed, but it is delicious with whatever salad you are making the next day, or over cooked rice or noodles.

This is a slight adaptation of a recipe by Emma Galloway published in Cuisine in issue 197, Nov/Dec 2019.

Chocolate chip sour cream coffee cake

Cake

  • 120 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 300 grams caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 390 grams plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bicarb soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt

Filling and Topping

  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 100 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 175°C.

Butter a by 23 x 33 cm baking pan and line the bottom with baking paper. This makes a big cake! I used a roasting pan because none of my cake tins are that large.

In a large bowl, cream butter and 300 grams sugar. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.

Whisk flour, bicarb soda, baking powder and salt together into a separate bowl.

Alternately mix in sour cream and then dry ingredients into butter mixture until both are used up and the batter is smooth and very thick.

In a medium bowl with clean beaters, beat eggs whites until stiff, then fold gently into batter.

In a small dish, combine the cinnamon and remaining 100 grams caster sugar for filling and topping.

Spread half the cake batter in the bottom of prepared pan and spread smooth. Sprinkle with half of cinnamon-sugar mixture and 1 cup of chocolate chips. Dollop remaining cake batter over filling in spoonfuls. Use a spatula to gently spread it over the filling and smooth the top. Sprinkle batter with remaining cinnamon-sugar and remaining chocolate chips.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan.

This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, published online at https://smittenkitchen.com/2006/11/chocolate-chip-sour-cream-cake/

Lemon blackberry yoghurt loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups (190 grams) + 1 tablespoon (10 grams) plain flour (if you’re skipping the fruit, you can also skip the last tablespoon of flour)
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (230 grams) plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 255 grams) blackberries, frozen
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Grease a 22 by 11 by 7 cm loaf pan. Line the bottom with baking paper. Grease the sides of the pan.

Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Mix the berries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, and fold them very gently into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in (a pastry brush works great for this, as does using a toothpick to make tiny holes that draw the syrup in better). Cool.

This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, published online at https://smittenkitchen.com/2008/04/lemon-yogurt-anything-cake/

 

Salted Peanut Butter Cookies (gluten free)

Makes 26 to 28 cookies with a 1 2/3 tablespoon scoop. I used a 1 1/4 tablespoon quenelle scoop loaded up generously and made 25 cookies

  • 1 3/4 cups (335 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups (450 grams) smooth peanut butter
  • Coarse-grained sea salt, to finish

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in vanilla extract, then the peanut butter until smoothie and completely incorporated. Yes, that’s all you need to do. So easy.

Scoop out mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.  I had an appointment to attend to I put the scooped out cookies on the baking tray into the freezer for over an hour before I baked them. This is recommended to get the tallest cookies and the striations across the top of the cookies, but I did it out of necessity and poor timing.

Sprinkle the cookies lightly with coarse-grained sea salt just before baking. Bake cookies for 14 to 15 minutes. When finished, cookies should be golden at edges.

They’ll need to set on the sheet for a minute or two before they can be lifted intact to a cooling sheet. Once they have cooled completely they are crisp outside and soft inside. Delicious!

This recipe is also from Smitten Kitchen, published online at https://smittenkitchen.com/2015/10/salted-peanut-butter-cookies/

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Baby blue floral Wilder gown. Not like a nightie at all.

I have fallen hard for this pattern.

One minute I’m “why is it so popular? It looks like a nightie. Or little house on the prairie style. So not for me.”

The next, I’m totally smitten by the gorgeousness of the Wilder made by M of Nonsuch Sewing and so many other beautiful Wilders appearing in my feed.

Pattern duly purchased and plans made to make my own.

Yes it does look like a nightgown. But (I tell myself) a cool, swishy, loose and just gorgeous to wear nightgown.

The technical details

What size to make? My measurements put me into XL so that’s what I went with. Or so I thought. I hadn’t paid attention to the test square. I’d printed the pattern out at about 90%. My “XL” was closer to an M.

To attempt to compensate for this error I reduced the seam allowances through the bodice and sleeves from 5/8 to 3/8 inch (apart from the centre front which I took down to 1/2 inch).

The ‘fit’ seems to be fine. Although I’m not sure my shoulders would be okay if I gathered the neckline up to my neck. Lucky I prefer it looser and lower.

I made the gathered skirt layers wider and longer by about 10 cm in length and width to account for the pattern repeat of my fabric. This made the dress length floor grazing. I took off the extra 20 cm of length from the bottom layer.

I used a charming floral woven viscose from Spotlight for this first version.

I suspect I’m going to be seeing more of my garment labels on this pattern.

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