Orange and blue top: #128burda02/2015

A colour blocked top in ponte is an idea that has been percolating in my head for a while.

It all came together this winter because I made a simple pencil skirt in an orange and cobalt plaid and I had ponte in matching colours in my fabric stash. I love my stash!

The project included the fun of playing with colour blocking combinations on the screen before I committed to cutting. This is style 128 from Burda 02/2015

The pattern is in petite sizing (17-21), which works for me because I am short waisted. Except that COVID-19 induced isolation, grieving and menopause mean I now need plus sized petite sizing. 22 or 24 would be perfect. But that is not really a thing. Luckily, the pattern is boxy and flat pattern measurements suggested it’d be okay as a 21.

It was.

I liked the split sleeves of the ¾ length sleeves on the dress/tunic version of this pattern but wanted longer sleeves.

I don’t know how the orange part of the slit turned out slightly longer than the blue and was perfectly matched at the seam but I suspect it was due to the orange ponte being lighter andstretchier than the blue and me not marking the slit point. I’m not mad at how its turned out. Its hardly noticeably different and if it is then I figure it just adds a little bit more drama.

I’ve worn this top as is and with a black turtle neck layered under it.  I love it – and am asking myself why it took so long to make this pattern

This is not a complicated sew – just requires precision around the piecing and the square corner of the armscye. I used a square of interfacing on this spot and marked in the stitching line with a FriXion heat erasable pen, reduced stitch length around it and crossed my fingers (virtually) when I snipped into the corner.

It’s ponte, so none of the seams are finished. How weird, but freeing, it felt to leave everything raw!

I used a double needle for the hems, and went to the trouble of changing colours for the different colour blocks. Slow mindful sewing was what I needed to do.

The skirt? It’s a simple pencil skirt made from a gorgeous wool knit from Tessuti’s lined with a fine merino wool nylon blend from The Fabric Store and an elastic waist using fancy elastic from Seamstress Fabrics. All purchased online, but that’s no surprise is it? It’s 2020 and there’s a global pandemic.

It is certainly not a subtle top or skirt but it makes me happy!

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Grief control. Knitting, cakes and chicken tray bakes

Grief. It’s a strange thing. Different very time. Why did I think I’d feel the same after my dad died as I would after my mum did?

I guess it is (blessed) inexperience. But it has been so much harder.

Anyway. I’m out the other side of (most of) it now. And I have a very neglected blog.

I haven’t been sewing as much as normal. But I have been doing some cooking and knitting.

So. Let me tell you about it. Starting with the cakes first because my dad had a sweet tooth.

The cakes

Lemon and ricotta cake

Delicious on its own or with blackberry and strawberry compote and ice cream as a dessert.

  • 250g unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 250g ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 220g almond flour
  • 75g (1/2 cup) SR flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch salt
  1. Preheat oven to 160C (fan). Grease a 23 cm springform pan and line the base with paper
  2. Cream butter and sugar with zest until pale and creamy
  3. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well in between
  4. Beat in ricotta, a little at a time
  5. Whisk almond flour, flour, baking powder and salt separately
  6. Reduce speed, add vanilla, the dry ingredients and lemon juice to the mixture, and mix until combined
  7. Whisk egg whites separately until stiff peaks form and then carefully fold egg whites into cake mixture
  8. Spoon into tin, smooth surface and bake 50-60 minutes

This delicious moist cake recipe is from David Herbert’s column in the 25-26 July 2020 issue of the Weekend Australian magazine.

 

Persian love cake

This is a super easy gluten free cake that is deliciously moist and with fabulous spicing. Super pretty too, especially when you fortuitously have Persian fairy floss in your pantry and use it for decoration!

Adapted from Poh Bakes 100 Greats

  • 300 g (3 cups) almond flour
  • 185 g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 220 g (1 cup) firmly packed soft brown sugar
  • 120 g (generous 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 250 g Greek-style yoghurt
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater
  • 4 tablespoons flaked almonds
  • 4 tablespoons pistachios, roughly chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan).
  2. Grease a 24 cm springform pan and line the base with paper.
  3. Combine the almond flour, caster sugar, brown sugar and melted butter in a food processor until you have an even, sandy consistency.
  4. Divide the mixture in two and tip half into the pan. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the eggs, yogurt, salt, cardamom, and rosewater to the remaining crumb mixture and whisk until there are no lumps.
  6. Pour over the crumb base and sprinkle the flaked almonds and pistachios over the top.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes

Serve this cake with a dollop of Greek yoghurt – it helps balance out the sweetness

The pistachio and almond topping makes this cake very attractive. No need for pink fairy floss to make it pretty – it already is!

 

The chicken tray bakes

Moroccan chicken tray bake

This is another one of David Herbert’s recipes from the Weekend Australia Magazine – the 13-14 June 2020 issue.

  • 4 tablespoons harissa paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6-8 chicken pieces (David recommends skinless thighs – I’ve made this a couple of times, every time with something different – skin-on Marylands, skin-on thighs and skinless chicken chops – all good)
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 2-4 zucchini, cut into 2 cm slices
  • 8 capsicum pieces from a jar
  • 50g whole blanched almonds  (I used flaked)
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley (I just picked the leaves off)

Couscous

  • 175g (1 cup) instant couscous
  • zest  half lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • seeds from half a pomegranate
  • 2 tablespoons sultanas ( I used currants)
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (fan)
  2. Mix harissa and vinegar in a large bowl.
  3. Add chicken pieces, onion  and zucchini and gently mix to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer to a large roasting pan and cook uncovered for 25 minutes, turning halfway.
  5. Add capsicum and almonds and cook a further 10 minutes or until chicken is tender
  6. Meanwhile, make couscous:
    • Put couscous in heat proof bowl and add 350mL boiling water, stir, then cover and leave for 5-7 minutes.
    • Stir through Zest, garlic and herbs; drizzle with oil
    • Add pomegranate seeds and sultanas and toss well
    • Season with salt and pepper
  7. Scatter chicken with parsley and serve with couscous and lemon wedges (I made a space in the roasting pan, piled the couscous in, added lemon wedges and served it straight from the pan)

I highly recommend this – so simple and yet so delicious. It is almost my favourite chicken tray bake recipe.

Sheet pan chicken tikka

This queen of all tray bakes from Smitten Kitchen is still my favourite.

The version below is double the recipe (recipe serves 4) and so well and truly smothered in coriander and pickled red onion that you wouldn’t know there was chicken and potato and cauliflower underneath.

  • For the chicken
    • 4 cm piece of ginger, peeled and minced
    • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 fresh green chili seeded and minced
    • 1/2 cup yogurt
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1 teaspoon garam masala
    • 1 kg chicken thighs or drumsticks (skin-on, bone-in)
  • For the vegetables
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 4-6 potatoes, peeled if desired, cut into 2 cm chunks
    • 1 small cauliflower, cut into 2 cm-wide florets
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • To finish, if desired
    • A few thin slices of red onion
    • Lemon wedges
    • Salt
    • Dollops of yogurt
    • A few tablespoons roughly chopped coriander, parsley or mint
  1. Combine ginger, garlic, fresh chili, yogurt, salt, and spices  in bowl. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat evenly. Let marinate for 15 minutes or up to a day, covered, in the fridge.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C.
  3. Add potatoes, cauliflower, salt, cumin and olive oil to the roasting pan and toss together with your hands until evenly coated.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade and leave excess behind. Make spaces in the vegetables for chicken parts throughout the pan.
  5. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, then toss the potato and cauliflower to ensure they’re cooking evenly, and return the pan to the oven for 10 to 20 minutes more (i.e. 30 to 40 minutes total roasting time), until chicken and vegetables are cooked through.
  6. While it roasts, if you’d like to use lightly pickled onion rings on top ( it adds colour and a nice tangy fresh zip to the dish) separate the rings and toss them in a small bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Set aside until needed.
  7. When chicken and vegetables are cooked, top with dollops of yogurt, herbs and scattered the above onion rings all over.
  8. Serve right in the pan.

Truly delicious!

 

The knitting

This winter I finished off two long term WIPs.

A cable hat

This is from Moda Vera Mawson yarn and the pattern was on the ball band.

Memorable mostly for my daughter’s delight in the truly terrible photos of me modelling it (actually I have to admit that it was a lot of fun taking these photos).

But also memorable because I finished this off in the hospice at the bedside of my beloved father. Plus I used a cute label from KATM.

A lacy shrug

This one was started on holiday in Yorkshire – that’s Richmond castle in the background! It’s the wrap from pattern #5954 in Wendy Aran with Wool yarn, both purchased in a little shop in the middle of Leicester.

Happy holiday vibes to this one.

I don’t have any ‘good’ modeled shots of me wearing this (this is as good as it gets), but it was worn a lot WFH over winter. It is one of those great things to add for a little bit of extra warmth whilst sitting in a chilly home office.

The sewing

I know. Its time to get back to sewing…

Coming to the blog soon..

Posted in Cake, Cooking, Dessert, Mains, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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!

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

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 , , , , , | 34 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.

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , | 33 Comments

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!

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

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.

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

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 😊

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , , , | 21 Comments

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.

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

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!

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments