Monday, February 27, 2017

The brightest pink halter neck dress you ever did see! Vintage Advance 9393

Put your shades on, people - this dress is as bright as they come!

Advance Halterneck #1



If you squint closely, you can also see that the envelope claims it is "Sew Easy!" Aw, how cute - they even added an exclamation mark to boost your confidence. Don't make a muslin - just dive right in! And in a way they were right - it was 'sew easy' to sew. It was just getting the fit right that was a nightmare!


Advance Halterneck #3



As you can probably tell from the photos, I did not achieve one hundred per cent success on the fit. (Did I make a muslin? Of course not! Lesson duly learnt). I probably could have brought the bodice in tighter in order to get a better bust fit, but just between you and me, I kinda like being able to breath in my dresses. Going blue in the face for blog photos is not the look I am currently going for. So slightly floppy boob area but with added breathability it is. Sometimes ya gotta take the pay off!


Advance Halterneck #2


Also, as much as I love this dress (and I really do, despite the fit issues - it's bright pink! And with a full skirt! And a funky bodice!), getting into the darn thing is a trial within itself! The straps cross over at the back, so you need to pull the dress on over your head, then do some Houdini-worthy wriggling and arm rearranging before finally drawing pretty tight straps cross-ways over your head. And of course I made this dress in the most wrinkly cotton twill known to man, so even once you do get into the dress you find that (a) your perfect bun is totally mussed up (b) your lipstick is now smeared halfway over your face and (c) the dress is wrinkled to pieces! If I ever make it again I will consider doing it in a less wrinkly cotton, after doing a muslin first (promise!), and maybe putting in a side zip instead of the back zipper.


Advance Halterneck #5



Still, you live and learn. It's good to have a challenging project occasionally - it stops me from floating above the world thinking I am a superb sewist, and brings me down to earth with a heavily felt thud! But that's one of the grand things about this hobby - there is always something new to learn (the importance of muslins, Jorthy, cough cough!). And even though I am acutely aware of the fit issues, I think the brightness of the pink succeeds from blinding everybody else to them. I wore this dress out to dinner, and received quite a few compliments on it, so my evil blind-you-all-with-mega-fuchsia-so-you-see-no-faults plan totally worked! Woo hoo!


Advance Halterneck #6



And I do love a full skirt you can dramatically throw around! Ok, bright pink dress - you get to stay!

Project Details
Pattern - Vintage Advance pattern number 9393, size 12 bust 32
Fabric - 2.4m of silky cotton twill from The Fabric Store
Notions - Interfacing for facings, invisible zipper

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Banana choc chip muffins

Some people get really excited over a pair of shoes. Others, it's the perfect handbag that melts their ice cream. However, I save the pounce and the emitting of happy cries for when I spy some super ripe bananas, because once I have my hot little hands upon them I know that I can make THE BEST BANANA MUFFINS EVER!

Banana Muffins


1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup wholemeal self raising flour
1/2 cup raw caster sugar
1 cup raw oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
3 really ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup olive oil
2 eggs, beaten well
1 tsp vanilla essence

1 - Preheat oven to 180 C.
2 - Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside.
3 - Mix together the bananas, oil, eggs and vanilla essence until combined. Add to the dry ingredients, and mix gently until just combined.
4 - Line the holes of a 12 hold muffin tin, then dollop spoonfuls evenly into the cases. Bake for 20 minutes (test with a skewer to ensure they are cooked through), then cool out of tin on a wire rack.

Monday, January 23, 2017

TNT - Another Vogue 8184

I think anybody who sews for any length of time ends up with a TNT - a tried and true pattern that they turn to again and again. Fashion archivists will look through my sewing history one day far (hopefully really far) in the future, and start to log the Vogue 8184 frocks I've made in increasingly bored tones. So far the tally is 8 and counting, but I can't help it - it's such a versatile pattern, is very fabric length friendly, and suits my vintage-loving heart down to the ground!

May I humbly introduce you to the latest addition to my 8184 canon:


Blue Fields #4


Blue Fields #3


There's not a lot different in this make to some of the others I've done in the past - I've altered the straps once again to originate from the centre of the neckline (lengthening the straps is required here if you'd like to do this yourself).

What I am really happy about  is the fabric I used. It's a Cotton + Steel cotton lawn from the Hatbox collection that is so light and delicious to wear! I'm really feeling the heat this summer (curse you global warming!), so an airy dress like this is just the ticket for those relentless summer days.

I am also totally into the deep blues this summer. It just feels so fresh - much better than white on me, which only makes me look like a bewildered ghost. Since confused spirit out of time is not exactly the look I am going for, I think I'll stick to gorgeous blue fabrics like this!


Blue Fields #2



So, TNT Vogue 8184 has come through with the goods again! After all, summer ain't summer without me whipping up one of these!


Blue Fields #1


Project Details
Pattern - Vogue 8184, view B with alterations to straps
Fabric - 2.3m Cotton + Steel cotton lawn from the Hatbox Collection
Notions - 35cm invisible zipper



Thursday, January 12, 2017

So nice she made it twice! Vogue 9100

"Put your bets on, ladies and gents, put your bets on!" hollered the bookmaker, as the crowd surged forward to see which pattern Jorth would choose. Bets were placed left, right and centre, as Jorth spread her TNT patterns (tried 'n' trues) out on the table, and thoughtfully considered the teardrop printed fabric before her.

"Vogue 8184 is leading the pack, with odds of 3 to 1, closely followed by Simplicity 1803 at 5 to 1", the bookie informed the gathering, as he handed out betting slips with one hand and pocketed the money with the other.

"What are the odds on Vogue 9100?" asked one punter in hope. "Terrible!", the bookie replied. "I've given dreadful odds of 85 to 1 on that one - she made it too recently, and despite her love of pockets, I reckon a new year calls for a new style. Place a bet if ya wanna, mate, but all you'll be doing is making my retirement fund that little bit sweeter!"

The punter was undeterred. He'd studied Jorth's form for years now, and had a hunch he could reliably predict her unpredictability. He took out his wallet, and rashly placed his money into the bookie's hand, who accepted it with a contemptuous smirk. Suddenly a hush descended upon the crowd, and every body there craned their necks and stood on the tippiest of tippy toes to see which pattern Jorth would reach for. Her hand reached out... hovered... moved from one pattern to the next, sending the crowd into a moaning frenzy then...

"Well love me tender and call me Elvis!" exclaimed the bookmaker in surprise. "It's Vogue 9100 for the win!" He watched as most of the crowd departed, cursing their luck, and was ready to pack up and head for home when one happy punter appeared before him. "Oh, it's you again, 'eh?" he said as he grumpily delved into his case and began extracting bills.


Teardrops#2


Teardrops#4


What can I say? It's a new favourite! The fit is great, the pockets are the best, and the gathered skirt hides all the big lunches I've indulged in recently!

I also just adore this teardrop fabric - it reminds me of the dress I made for Tyger all those years ago (she's so little there!), but thankfully that dress has long been passed on so we don't do the matchy-matchy mother daughter thing. People already say she is a mini-me - we can't start dressing the same way, as that would just be too weird!


Teardrops#1


Teardrops#5


As you can see this dress has quite a low back on it - I know some other sewists have disliked that feature as their bras can be seen, but mine sits just fine. Maybe having a longer than average torso has it's advantages! I have no idea where those scratch marks came from - please excuse them!


Teardrops#3

And finally, the 'battling with an uncooperative wind' shot! All in all, I love this dress, and suspect that version number two will be far from the last. Can you imagine how sweet it would look in a broderie anglaise or eyelet fabric? If I ever see some such fabric in a bright hue (alas, white just makes me look like a ghost) then I think I know what I will do with it!

Project Details
Pattern - Vogue 9100, size 8
Fabric - 2.3m cotton from GJ's Discount Fabrics
Notions - 35cm invisible zip

You can read about my other version of this dress here.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

The Vintage Green Dress: McCalls 7208

I had considered buying fireworks. Or at the very least a massive amount of confetti to throw gleefully around. And popping of champagne corks felt like a must! Because after years of lusting, and yearning, and pressing my greasy nose against the computer monitor and moaning with unfulfilled desire, I finally had got the vintage pattern of my dreams, and even better yet, I had found it in my size! The sewing gods indeed had smiled upon me!

Meet McCalls 7208. First released in 1964, and very happily made by me 52 years later!

Vintage Green McCalls #1


Vintage Green McCalls #2


First things first - whilst I love this dress, it sure did use up a huge amount of fabric! The skirt is one of the biggest I have ever gathered, and when I read the pattern and realised that they wanted a skirt lining (gathered also) plus piping for the skirt seam, I threw back my head and laughed and laughed. I had enough trouble gathering all that amount of thick fabric and then sewing it to the bodice without complicating matters with extra fabric for lining and the fiddlyness of piping to boot! So I kept things simple and just sewed on the skirt. Just between you and me, I feel the incredible fullness of the skirt makes it look like I have added a few pounds, so I shudder to think of the effect the lining would have had!

The bust size on this was 32 inches, which I am, but as per my usual experience of making a vintage pattern, I needed to bring it in substantially to get a correct fit. The strap was a bit of a nightmare to put on - getting the strap seam and the bodice centre seam to match felt like mission impossible at times, but after employing my quick-un-pick too many times to mention, I got there in the end!

I also cut about 20cm off the skirt length. I am constantly surprised at how long vintage skirts end up being, especially since the pattern illustration makes them look like they finish at the knee. Was there some sort of anti-calf sentiment going on in the 1950s and 60s that I remain blithely unaware of? I am so puzzled by it!

All things considered, I am pretty happy with this dress. The green is my favourite shade of green, but if I ever made it again I would choose a much lighter fabric than the one I sewed it up in. It's just that bit too heavy for the dress - a lawn or voile with lining would be a much better choice. Ack - ya live and learn!

Vintage Green McCalls #4




Now if you'll excuse me, I gotta go do some twirling. This dress was made for being spun around a dance floor!


Vintage Green McCalls #3


Wheeeeeeee!

Project Details
Pattern - McCalls 7208, published 1964
Fabric - Heavy cotton from The Fabric Store
Notions - Interfacing, invisible zip

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Liberty Tween Dress: New Look 6444


Liberty-Progressive


Genetics are a wonderful thing. My daughter has inherited, via a random combination of nucleobases zipping around at the moment of conception, not only my teeth (er, sorry about that one, Tyger), my dark hair and pale skin but also - and let me assure you folks, I consider this one to be the most important - my LOVE OF LIBERTY FABRIC!

So when we went to The Fabric Store armed with our copy of New Look 6444, and she pointed out a fetching blue Liberty print and asked if her dress could be made out of that, my answer was somewhere along the lines of "Hell, yeah!"

It's come up rather nice, if I do say so myself!

LibertyDress1


LibertyDress2

It was easy to sew, but I did query the way the ruffle elastic was attached. Basically, the pattern instructions asked for you to sew a line of bias binding a few cms down from the ruffle edge, threading in the elastic as you sewed. Once I did this, I asked Tyger to try it on to see if the bodice was the right size (we'd already both agreed that the off-the-shoulder version was a bit too grown up looking for both our likings, so we wanted it to sit on the shoulders, and not easily slip off). So she tried it on, and then we both looked at her reflection in the mirror in dismay.

Me: "Um, honey - I'm not super keen on that wavy edge above the ruffle. Thoughts?"
Tyger: "Can you get rid of it? It's WEIRD!"

Weird, as I've learnt the hard way, holds no currency whatsoever with the tween crowd, so I did what I thought I should do regarding the ruffle in the first place - I made a hem at the top edge of the ruffle, then threaded the elastic into that. No mucking around with bias binding casings if I ever make this again - my way gives a neat finish, which both Tyger and I consider to look much better.

Apart from that design quibble, it was a very easy pattern to put together. Despite the fact it is meant to be her Christmas dress, she has worn it 3 times already, and has already asked for another. That, my friends, is a win! Trust me - those tweens are a tough crowd to please!

Project Details
Pattern - New Look 6444, version D, size 10 (even though she is twelve and tall for her age, she is very slim, so we went for fit rather than length. The length is fine, anyway)
Fabric - 2m Liberty Tana Lawn from The Fabric Store
Notions - Elastic



Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Frocktails 2016 Dress aka Lady In Red


Frocktails


Chris de Burgh was, all things considered, rather proud of his back catalogue. He'd had some big hits in his day, but the one song he slightly regretted writing was that ever popular classic, Lady In Red. It wasn't the song itself that was the problem, but the fact that the mischievous imps he called his friends never failed to send him a pic of a lady in - you guessed it - red whenever they came across one. The little blighters had totally blown his data limit for the month by sending him an assortment of pics from some seamstress in Melbourne who had donned a red dress for an event called Frocktails.

Chris sighed as another pic notification dinged on his phone. Who were these people, he thought jadedly to himself, and what the hell is a Frocktails when it's at home? He stopped to look at the pic, and despite his general weariness of all girls in red dresses, he couldn't help but think that this red dress wasn't actually bad as far as red dresses went.

Tossing the phone onto the sofa, he then sat down at his piano to finish composing his next hit. He had been inclined to call this one Lady In Absolutely Nothing, but remembering the pictures filling his phone he thought better of it. and called it The Great Non-being instead.

*********************************************************************************

Frocktails4


Oh dear - my apologies to Chris de Burgh, but ever since that night I have had Lady In Red on constant repeat in my brain. Wearing a red dress to Frocktails will do that to a girl! Melbourne Frocktails 2016 was a blast, and it was such a pleasure to see so many other fellow seamstresses all in their best, most inspiring finery. Old friends were caught up with, and new ones were made - it was a wonderful, wonderful night!

I had already made a version of Vogue 9100 the week before (as yet unblogged), and was so darn pleased with how it turned out that I immediately began dreaming of another one. The first one I made was in cotton, but with the tight bodice and full gathered skirt, I knew that the next one should be made into something sumptuous that with a skirt so full it could fill a room! Dashing into The Fabric Store with a scant 20 minutes to spare before they closed for the day, I caught sight of some red silk dupion, and knew my choice had been made.

If I may say so myself, the gorgeous lustre and the full body of the dupion made this dress! Sometimes the pattern itself that you use isn't overly complicated, but when pared with the right fabric it can become something very special indeed, and I humbly think I may have achieved that with this frock!

The pattern is one of those marvelous Custom Fit ones, where you can get a very accurate fit on the bust, which was brilliant because it made me look like I had actual cleavage, for once in my skinny minnie life! The super fitted bodice (I did wear a strapless bra, but I could totally have gotten away without one, so tight was the fit) combined with the fullness of the skirt meant that my waist looked pretty small. Ah, love a bit of trompe l'oeil!

The only issue I had with this pattern was the fact that I was unlucky enough to purchase one of the versions with the skirt pattern pieces printed wrong. Thankfully I had already read about this on Pattern Review, so was able to redraft the pieces before I cut out my fabric. I was told by Clegs, where I purchased the pattern, that if I cared to bring it back to the store they would happily replace it for me.

Frocktails5


All in all, I am thrilled with this dress. It had everything I love in a frock - full skirt for swishing about it, pockets, great fit and the shine on the dupion makes me feel very regal indeed. It was perfect for a night of dressing up (thank you ladies, for organising Frocktails!) and I'd also like to say a big thank you to photographer Kirsten Simpson for her amazing pics of my dress (and everybody else's!) on the night. Her work is all the pics on this post, except for the very top one. What a talent!

Project Details
Pattern - Vogue 9100, version A, size 8
Fabric - 1.6m red silk dupion from The Fabric Store
Notions - 35cm invisible zipper

And last but not least, here is my other favourite lady in red - or orange to be absolutely correct!

Frocktails3

Monday, November 07, 2016

Into The Woods Dress

Well folks, I hope you are happy. In order to bring these pics to you, I braved crazed koalas, threatening kangaroos and killer snakes - you know, just the usual inhabitants of the Australian bush. And ants! Man, those six-legged wonders sure can get big down this way. I was scared! But such is my dedication to you all that I ventured forth with nary a thought for my own safety, just so I could present to you my Into The Woods Dress. I got scratched up, but I survived!

And yes, technically I know we don't called forested areas in Australia 'woods'. But I thought "Into The Bush Dress" might bring the wrong kinda readers to my blog, and apart from rare lapses into complete and utter crassness, I like to keep it clean around these parts. Anyway, here she is!

IntoTheWoods2


IntoTheWoods1


This is the sixth version of this dress I have made - I swear, I will find a new summer dress pattern, but I honestly had to make one out of this fabric, as I only had 1.8m to work with, as that was all that was left on the fabric roll, and Simplicity 1803 is very fabric-length friendly. I knew whilst in the store that I was setting myself a cutting-out challenge, but there was no way I was leaving this fabric behind! I've always been a sucker for a cute print, and I think this is the cutest print dress I've made to date!

IntoTheWoods4


The pockets are made out of plain green fabric, as I couldn't fit them onto the length of fabric I had, but you can't tell at all. I always forget how much fabric pockets actually take up until I am laying pattern pieces out. Fabric hogs! No other adjustments were made to the pattern - it's such a great fit for my body shape that I never need to do anything to it, which is always such a blessed relief.

IntoTheWoods6


I am so happy with this dress! The cute girls (plus cats!) in the print always make me smile, and I've wanted a fun green dress pretty much since the day I was born. Hooray!

IntoTheWoods3


Now all I need is to meet my favourite girl crush Emily Blunt somewhere, so she can humble brag about being in the movie version of Into The Woods, and I can act all cool and like "Yeah, but I got the dress, baybee!" And then we would totally go and have pint somewhere and end up becoming best friends (I'll probably tell her the same drunken word play about being in Into The Woods myself, literally, like right now cos I am totally wearing the dress, about 8 times and being the new BFF she will be she'll laugh like a drain every darn time) and one day I might even let her borrow the dress for the 20th anniversary digital remastering release. Maybe.

Project Details
Pattern - Simplicity 1803
Fabric - 1.8m cotton fabric from GJ's Discount Fabrics
Notions - 35cm invisible zipper, interfacing

IntoTheWoods7


IntoTheWoods5


Monday, October 24, 2016

Peacock Eyes Cardigan

You know you've had a busy year when you finish a cardigan way back in February, but don't manage to get pics of it until October. Good grief - what have I been doing with my time? (knitting, obviously!)

Well, as they say in the classics, better late than never. Meet my Peacock Eyes cardigan - here she is, finally, in all of her very red glory!

PeacockEyes7

PeacockEyes6

PeacockEyes5

PeacockEyes3

PeacockEyes4

PeacockEyes2

PeacockEyes8

PeacockEyes1


I loved knitting this pattern. It's so elegant - could work equally well with jeans as I've done here as draped casually over an evening dress when the chill of the evening sets in. It's a classic, timeless design, and since my love affair will red will only die when I do, I think I'll probably be wearing this for the rest of my mortal life!

It's knit out of Spud and Chloe Fine, which is a wool/silk blend in a fingering (4 ply) weight. Normally silk in a yarn provides drape, but not in this case - it ends up being quite sturdy, which is good as it supports the lace well (I don't want no floppy lace) and will wear well with minimal pilling. For when you've spent hours and hours knitting a cardigan on tiny needles, you want it to look for as long as possible!

I didn't alter the pattern except to make the sleeves full length rather than 3/4. The fit is great, and the pattern is beautifully written. Five stars from this happy knitter!

Oh, and one last thing: Tyger is laughing in that last pic because she is hatching her evil plan to steal my cardigan from me. Note from the wise, kid: don't tell your victim of your intended evil plan!

Project Details
Pattern - Peacock Eyes Cardigan by Justyna Lorkowska (Lete's Knits)
Yarn - 4.25 skeins Spud and Chloe Fine by Blue Sky Fibers (227m per skein) in shade 7815 Red Hot
Needles - 3.0mm and 3.25mm circular needles.
Notions - 13 buttons

See this project on Ravelry.




Sunday, September 18, 2016

Monthly Menu Plan - September/October


Grapefruit

Ahh, spring is here, and my thoughts turn to...greenery! Roquette, asparagus, dill, grapefruit, mint - I want fresh, vibrant flavours to wake up my deadened winter palate, and make my coat shiny and my eyes bright. I also want loads of veggies, and to be as plastic-free as possible, and totally unrelatedly, a new red dress. I fear all this probably says more about my scattered ping pong ball system of thinking than anything else, but there you have it. The thoughts and desires of Jorth laid bare for all to see.

Hmm. Not very deep today. Onwards to the menu plan!

Week One
Monday - Pumpkin and pearl couscous tagine
Tuesday - Lentil spaghetti bolognaise with rocket salad
Wednesday - Spring chicken stew
Thursday - Potato and yellow split pea curry
Friday - Lentil sausage rolls with garden salad
Saturday - Roast chicken
Sunday - Dinner out


Week Two
Monday - Creamy chicken and rocket pasta
Tuesday - Salmon, pea and potato cakes with green salad
Wednesday - Harissa roast carrot, quinoa and haloumi salad
Thursday - Asparagus, feta and dill tart with garden salad
Friday - Spaghetti and meatballs with rocket salad
Saturday - Beetroot ravioli with sage and poppy seed burnt butter sauce
Sunday - Roasted and spiced vegetable tacos


Week Three
Monday - Curried butternut and red lentil soup with silverbeet
Tuesday - Italian beef casserole (half in freezer) with sweet potato mash
Wednesday - Jamie Oliver's spring minestrone
Thursday - Spiced carrot fritters plus quinoa salad with asparagus and feta
Friday - Spicy kumara sausage rolls with chunky garden salad
Saturday - Zucchini pasta with asparagus, smoked salmon and rocket
Sunday - Tofu burgers with coleslaw and wedges


Week Four
Monday - Spinach and ricotta cannelloni with chunky lentil sauce
Tuesday - Italian beef casserole (from freezer) with garlicky mash
Wednesday - Creamy silverbeet soup with savoury scones
Thursday - Jamie's vegan burgers with red cabbage coleslaw
Friday - Roast vegetable pasties with salad
Saturday - Pizzas on homemade honey and wholewheat bases (roasted veg + feta, Hawaiian)


Monday, September 12, 2016

Summer Camisole and French Knickers Set

Eeek! Feeling ever so slightly (read: incredibly) nervous about posting this one, because I'm basically going to be showing you my smalls! But when your smalls - also known as your new summer pjamas - are made out of the cutest Liberty lawn print imaginable, it feels like a duty to show them to your sewing community so everybody can make themselves a pair! They are so light and comfortable to wear, which will be perfect come the searing heat this summer. I see another pair, plus a nightie from the same pattern, in my future. And not in slithery old silk satin, either - it's crisp and cool Liberty allllll the way!

Ok. Enough of the stalling. Here they are!

Camisole #2

Camisole #2


Ergh. I feel like the naffest pj model ever! And my photographer forgot to notice that the lace on the back had folded itself down, so please excuse that and my blindingly pale winter skin. The pattern is an old 1980 Simplicity pattern that I had in my stash, and I can tell you, the model on the front looks pretty darn cool in her version. No feeling naff for her! And the drawn models are practically oozing sex appeal. I should probably take lessons from them!



But seriously, how cute is this pattern? I don't even remember where I got it from, but it had been languishing in the stash for ages. I always knew I wanted to make up the camisole and French knickers set, but it wasn't until I spotted this particular Liberty print from Cutting Cloth that the dream pjs came together.

The pattern was so economical on fabric - the set took only 1 metre in total, and that is despite having the camisole cut on the bias. Even making it out of Liberty, it was still a steal! The sewing itself wasn't hard - just a bit fiddly sewing on the lace, but it turned out so well. I am pretty chuffed with my lace attaching skills now. Watch out, I'll be putting lace on everything now!

The only part that gave me any trouble was the v-point on the centre front of the bodice. I really suck at these, and it took a few unpickings to get a nice smooth finish. I was actually a bit worried about the fine lawn fabric, as it didn't take kindly to unpicking (and I unpicked 3 times) but we got there in the end with no lasting damage done.

So there you are: my super cute (and kinda sexy) summer pjs. Short version of the nightie next, but with the straight neckline lace trim. We're in for a hot, hot summer!

Project Details
Pattern - Simplicity 9859 (printed 1980), size 10
Fabric - 1m Liberty Tana Lawn from Cutting Cloth
Notions - 2cm wide lace from Rathdowne Fabrics, elastic for French knickers

Monday, July 11, 2016

Plastic Free July - Menu for Week Two


Cake #1

And here we are - one week in to Plastic Free July, and plastic has been successfully avoided! But the biggest success? Last week nobody went hungry, or complained about the food. Phew!

Here is the menu for week two - since the weather forecast is telling us that we are in for some nasty old wintry weather this week, the menu is heavy on hearty soups to see us through.

Monday
Breakfast - Toast with home made spicy bean dip
Lunch - Minestrone
Snack - Pear
Dinner - Store cupboard lentil soup

Tuesday
Breakfast - Muesli with stewed fruit
Lunch - Left over lentil soup
Snack - Fresh winter fruit salad with ginger
Dinner - Chickpea tagine with dates and couscous

Wednesday
Breakfast - Porridge with bananas and cinnamon
Lunch - Left over tagine
Snack - Bean dip with carrots and cucumbers
Dinner - Potato and leek soup with pumpkin bread

Thursday
Breakfast - Feta, tomato and spinach toasted sandwiches
Lunch - Left over soup and pumpkin bread
Snack - Banana bread
Dinner - Sweet potato and white bean chilli with green salad

Friday
Breakfast - Scrambled eggs with roasted tomatoes and salad
Lunch - Leftover chilli
Snack - Fresh fruit
Dinner - Beetroot and kale risotto with feta cheese

Saturday
Breakfast - Pancakes with poached dried winter fruits
Lunch - Leftover risotto with garden salad
Snack - Fruit salad
Dinner - Roasted veg and feta tacos

Sunday
Breakfast - Raisin toast
Lunch - Salad sandwiches
Snack - Orange butter cake
Dinner - Ribollita with olive and rosemary focaccia


Monday, July 04, 2016

Plastic Free July - Menu for week one

It's July - time for hand knits, snuggling up in front of the heater, and oh! Plastic Free July! I've decided to join in, and will attempt to live without any single-use plastic items (such as food packaging, plastic bags, straws, take-away food containers etc) for the month of July. I have made essential toiletries and medical supplies the exception, but apart from that no plastic shall cross my threshold if I can help it!

You can join in yourself, or just read up on it at the official website. There are heaps of great tips on how to be plastic-free in every aspect of your life.

Most people, when I tell them of my plans, are simultaneously intrigued and baffled. Plastic is such a prominent part of our modern lives - insidiously so, I believe - that the concept of avoiding it for a month seems nigh on impossible. So I've decided to share my weekly menu plans to show that with a little planning and organisation it can be done, and that my family doesn't have to live on raw fruit and vegetables for a month!

The first thing to do is to find a good store that sells dry goods, particularly grains and pulses, in bulk. Most of these items come in plastic packets at the supermarket, but bulk good stores allow you to fill your own bags (or handily provide paper bags), which are then weighed at the counter to calculate the cost. If you are lucky, these shops will also sell an array of dairy products in glass, too.

The second thing to do is to focus not on what you can't have, but what you can have, which is fresh, seasonal food! By making the most of the ingredients you have that come plastic-free, it soon becomes easy to figure out delicious meals that are as plastic-free as nature intended.

All grains, pulses, dry goods and dairy products that I am using this week are from such a store, and our bread is from local bakeries that put their bread in paper bags. Once you incorporate this way of shopping into your routine, it becomes pretty easy to avoid the evil plastic stuff. It does help that my local area has places like this to shop in, but it is getting easier - there seems to be more and more places selling food in this way. Sustainable Table even has a bulk store directory, so you can see if there is one local to you in your state.

Below is my menu plan, including snacks even. Never let it be said that my plastic-free experiments resulted in my family going hungry!


Food


Monday
Breakfast - Raisin toast with butter and/or homemade jam
Lunch - Vegetable soup with spelt bread toast
Snack - Orange, pink grapefrut, ginger and black pepper fruit salad
Dinner - Malaysian vegetable curry with brown rice

Tuesday
Breakfast - Porridge with stewed apple and rhubarb
Lunch - Left over vegetable curry
Snack - Banana
Dinner - Moroccan lentil and chickpea soup

Wednesday
Breakfast - Avocado with black pepper on spelt toast
Lunch - Left over soup
Snack - Winter fruit salad
Dinner - Kale and sweet potato pilaf

Thursday
Breakfast - Soft boiled eggs with toast soldiers
Lunch - Left over pilaf
Snack - Apple, rhubarb, oat and yogurt pots
Dinner - Pumpkin and feta risotto with rocket salad

Friday
Breakfast - Toast with home-made hummus, cucumber and tomato
Lunch - Left over risotto
Snack - Pears
Dinner - Home made veggie pizza with feta

Saturday
Breakfast - Sultana, apple and cinnamon couscous porridge
Lunch - Left over pizza with garden salad
Snack - Carrot and cucumber sticks with hummus
Dinner - Greek bean and silverbeet stew

Sunday
Breakfast - Chocolate chia waffles with banana and maple syrup
Lunch - Left over stew
Snack - Oat and fruit cookies
Dinner - Heuvos rancheros with salad


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Vintage Blue Dress for The Dressmaker's Do!

By the splendid power of the sewing machine, I command ye Jorth to turn this:

Blue Dress

into this:

Dressmaker's Do Blue Vintage #1


Mission accomplished, and just in time for The Dressmaker's Do!

What a fabulous night it was - one I'll remember forever. Sewists from all over came to join Nichola from Handmaker's Factory and I for a fun night of drinking, dining, and lots and lots of oohing and ahhing over each other's beautiful frocks - and trust me, there were gorgeous dresses and outfits aplenty on display that night. I am constantly in awe of the talent that fills our amazing sewing community!

It was so lovely to hang out with sewing folk I knew, plus meet some brilliant new ones. I think the best part of night, however, was taking total control of the microphone so I could hand out prizes from our kind and generous sponsors: The Cloth Shop, You Sew Girl, Woolarium, The Fabric Store, Ink & Spindle and Handmaker's Factory.

And now for the dress - I had changed my mind over which vintage number I would make for the evening (no pressure, being the host and all) but finally decided on the blue one. And I'm glad I did, for it was the perfect marriage of comfort and glamour.

The pattern is a mail order one from 1950s that you could send away for and then receive from The Workbasket Magazine which was based in New York. I had never heard of the magazine, and just happened to stumble upon this gem one day when perusing Etsy for vintage patterns (which I do far too often!) There's a brief history of the magazine on this website - it's always sad to read about great magazines that disappear, but alas, that appears to have been The Workbasket's fate.

Dressmaker's Do Blue Vintage #3


The pattern itself was very well written, well drafted and super easy to follow - however, I did end up wondering if the grading itself was accurate as I am definitely a 32 bust, but needed to bring the bodice in by 2 inches! However it wasn't a big drama, and I ended up with a fit I was happy with.

The back is cute, with a pleat at the back to stop the skirt from being the full wriggle. I'm so glad I decided to go with this vintage beauty, and can see myself getting a lot of wear out of her in the future, and maybe even making another few versions!

Once again, I'd like to thank all the fabulous ladies who came along - it was such a fun night, and Nic and I are already thinking about planning another!

Project Details
Pattern - 9199 Mail Order pattern from The Workbasket Magazine
Fabric - Stretch cotton sateen from The Fabric Store
Notions - 35cm zipper, interfacing

Dressmaker's Do Blue Vintage #4