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.

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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.

 

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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 | 6 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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