Saturday, 5 March 2011

This Time - Just Sewing, Baking and Cooking

The spring is still not here. Not that there's anything even remotely surprising about that. That, my dears, is what you get for living at the Arctic Circle. Yep, the sun is back. The snow is melting. But there's just soooo much of it! Damn and crap. But hey, bring on the optimism. Bring on the spring clothes. And I have the perfect excuse. I have dropped down almost three dress sizes since last summer so, bring on the new spring clothes. And just as a side note, this drop was not intentional and is still continuing for some weirdo reason, so I will need stuff that I can simply scale down if and when needed. And, I intend to make everything myself! Just don't kill me if I slip with a pair of jeans or a leather jacket or some such...though I promise to try and find the jacket at least second hand...

A few days ago I made a trip to a major fabric store, followed by a peek at what one major clothes chain had on offer for the spring. And the result was perplexing. And this time I'm not talking about the fit issue, though my top part still refuses to share a dress with by waist or my bottom half, but rather the simple fact of pricing. For the price of a whole dress in one of these chain stores, you could pretty much get half the fabric needed for it from the fabric store, never mind all the rest of the stuff needed to bring the piece together. And never mind the price of your own work. Why bother, then, you might ask. Well, I'll tell you. Because you get the fit. You get one of a kind styling and one of a kind quality. And you're not adding to the mindless consumerism by buying clothing that you wear twice and then throw away because you need the next trend already waiting in the wings. So...

It's been a long time that I've wanted a new wiggle skirt, one with a sort of mermaidy back, so  no better time than the present, eh. For the fabric I chose dark wash denim with some stretch, and having had no luck whatsoever with finding the perfect pattern I eventually ripped up an old skirt that hasn't fit me for more than five years now but that was exactly the shape I wanted. Drew a new pattern based on the pieces, cut the fabric and off to the sewing machine. The waist is lined with self-fabric band and I hand sewed the zipper on, simply because I absolutely loathe machine sewing zippers. The hem is also hand sewed, using slipstitching. This time simply because I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to hemming, and since the back part is curved, I just wanted to be able to control the easing in as I went. The waist is very high, the original skirt was not this high, but I just drafted a new waist line and added some darts at the front to get a perfect fit. As you can see it fits close, but because of the stretch in the fabric, yes indeed, breathing is still an option...

I have been waiting for a picture for eeeteernity
and still manage to be without 
so here's what it's pretty much like...
....except nix the buttons.

My second project was a Burda blouse from the  January 2011 issue that was pictured with a skirt that is actually also on my list, along with the 1940's style top also shown. I wanted a summery, feminine blouse, so chose a pale blue cotton sateen with miniature white polkadots. And, as the pattern was drawn for the B/C-cup, I again did the FBA ( full bust adjustment ) that I could probably do in my sleep by now, and added some length to the back piece as well. As I wanted to have the possibility of wearing the top, well, on top of whatever was going to be on the bottom, I changed the hemline from straight to curved at the sides. And yeah, did the same to the collar points which are now much rounder....

And I thought I ironed it...

The pattern uses regular buttons and buttonholes, but I again wanted something a bit more special, so decided to use self covered buttons and loop closure ( yeah, I know, setting myself up for some serious gray hairs there...). Both in the front and on the sleeves. Also, on fitting, the sleeves seemed a bit too wide at the end and also strangely flat in the front, so I ended up adding an inverted pleat on both sleeves at the front. I just looooove improvising...

Buttons and W.H.Auden...

Button and placket...

Because of the full bust adjustment, the waist darts on the front obviously needed re-placing and re-adjusting, because not only do I need one size on shoulders, an FBA on the bust, I also need to take in the waist a notch as well because the same size that fits me on shoulders otherwise does not fit me on the waist. Phewww. See, I wasn't kidding about the fitting issues... And since I know from experience that the back darts just never hit the right place on me anyway, I just put on the skeleton of the blouse on myself, inside out, and pinned the darts on place wherever I wanted them. Yes. On the back too. And no, I do not own a dress dummy. At least I get to put my years as a gymnast to some use by being able to pin my own back darts while wearing the half-finished piece. But seriously, I obviously basted them first before actually permanently stitching them in place. Still intending to stitch some tape to the inside of the neckline...

Next stop, blue jersey dress that was originally a mock wrap on top, but ended up becoming, well, something else altogether. Wraps do not work on me, no matter what they say about ladies-with-large-boobs and wraptops. They also say a lot of things about the same ladies and haltertops.... And I wonder if they've ever actually tried being one of those said ladies and wearing one of those halter thingies without practically decapitating themselves. But anyhow, a blue dress on the way.

And since I don't have a pic 
of the dress 
as its still in pieces on my bedroom floor
here's a little flower brooch I made
and wore last weekend
with a thrift store find sweater...

Righty 'o then, outside covered. But don't want to shrink so I can't wear my lovely new Me Made wardrobe so as per my Daughters wishes, yesterday we made a lovely, cheesy, tomatoey lasagna. And Sugar Donut Muffins. With raspberry jam. And sugar on top. See, no need to worry about me disappearing into the woodwork any time soon now, dears. 

As for the lasagna, I once heard somebody asking for tomato ketchup to put on top of their lasagna. Oooops. Well, if somebody thought they needed to put ketchup on Me Made Lasagna I would tell myself to seriously reconsider the way I was cooking. We Are Talking About A Tomato Based Dish Here. You should not need to add ketchup to it.  And you won't, not if you make it my way.

Tomatoey Cheesey Lasagna Thingey

olive oil
one onion
three gloves of garlic
can of chopped tomatoes
tomato puree
can of tuna chunks in oil
any meat of your choice
salt and sugar

and for the bechamel sauce...

about 50 grams of butter
couple of tablespoons of flour
1/2 to 3/4 of a litre of milk
one cup or 2.5 dl grated cheese
white pepper

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, chop the onion and place in pan, not too hot in order not to burn. Peel the garlic, squash and chop and add. Cook until golden. Add chopped tomatoes and a couple of spoons of water. Lower the heat and let simmer. Add the tuna or pre-cooked meat. Add half a cup or 1.25dl of tomato puree. Simmer, again. Next, add salt and sugar, equal measure. I usually just throw in some, but I'd say go with about half a teaspoon to a teaspoon. Add the spices and let simmer on very low heat while you prepare the bechamel.

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan, when completely melted, add the flour and immediately whisk the flour into the butter to form a sort of paste. I use a small hand whisk. Then pour in the milk, whisking all the while in order to not have those unsightly clumps and globs. Lower the heat and let simmer, whisking every now and then. Keep an eye on things here though, milk does not behave... When the sauce starts to thicken, add the salt and white pepper, again about half a teaspoon, and then the grated cheese. At this point, change your whisk to a spoon unless you fancy a weird clumpy thing previously known as whisk that just ate all your cheese. Keep stirring until you have a nice, saucey consistency.

Start layering by beginning with a base of tomato sauce, topped with bechamel and a layer of pasta, then tomato, bechamel, and infinum.. When you reach the top of your dish, only cover the last layer of pasta with the bechamel sauce on top of which add a generous layer of grated cheese. Cover with foil and place in an oven at about 220C for about half an hour. Then remove the foil and cook for another 20 minutes or so until golden on top. No ketchup needed. Promise.

And for the dessert, Sugar Donut Muffins With Raspberry Jam. 

The recipe you can find here
Baking Bites

Yeah, what can I say, I am a woman who can appreciate the finer things in life such as lasagna-that-does-not-ketchup-need and donutlike muffins, not to mention some seriously nifty hand sewn button loops and hems. Weeheehee. And now I'm going to go back to my Madwoman in the Attic ie. The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination and some smooth tunes. As a matter of fact, I think there just might be some of those donut thingies left over somewhere..

And here's to hoping the sun will get down to business...


  1. Wow, I'd love to be able to make my own clothes, like you. What a great skill to have: fun, creative and practical!

  2. Tuo sininen polka dot on ihan täydellisen värinen!

  3. I love the skirt. And the blouse. And the cake looks yummy...

    /Evis at Om Stil