Thursday, June 16, 2016

Heirloom sewing and perfect weekends

The time of sewing reckoning had arrived! I had been thinking about this time for over a year, nebulous plans and Pinterest-gazing giving way to actual sketches and ideas on her part, and fairly courageous fabric choices on mine.

I decided on princess seams and a full circle skirt, with long sheer sleeves. The main fabric is silk dupioni, fully lined with soft, soft cotton voile. I used regular serged and sewn seams on the voile on the wrong side, (which I put against the outer silk so it would be nothing but comfy against her skin.) and French seams on the dupioni to ward off fraying. 
I also got some silk organza and had planned to do the embroidery myself, but found some leftover embroidered polyester organza that was enough for both sleeves and veil; I used the actual scallop on the bottom edge, and created a new shallow scallop edge all around the veil piece. 
The final result: comfy, unique, luxurious and special.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Precious cinnamon rolls too pure...

These are the stuff of cozy daydreams and tearful Tumblr posts. Contrary to what those say, they are not too good for this world. In fact, it may be through making and consuming these that the world becomes a place good enough for them... :D
If you want these for breakfast, you'll need to start a day ahead; they rise well enough at room temperature but the dough is messy to shape if it's not cold.
1 ½ tsp dry yeast (7.5 g) 

2 oz  water (57 g)

1# ¾ oz all purpose flour (475 g)
1 tsp salt (5 g)
2 oz sugar (57 g)

8 oz butter (227 g)

4 oz milk (113.5 g)
2 oz starter (57 g)
1 tsp vanilla (5 g)
1 egg+ 1 egg yolk (85 g)

Shaping: 4 oz butter (113 g), 8 oz sugar (227 g) mixed with 2 tbsp cinnamon (15 g) and a pinch of salt and nutmeg
Icing: 4 oz (113 g) confectioner's sugar, 1 oz cream, 1/4 tsp. vanilla, pinch salt 

Have everything at cool room temperature; it makes for a more easily blended dough and a happier yeast environment if the dough is not too warm. 
In a measuring cup or medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast onto the water and let it sit. 
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixer bowl and add the butter; mix with the hook until it makes coarse crumbs. 
Add everything else to the yeast water and whisk together. Pour this mixture into the bowl of crumbs with the mixer going. 
Mix on low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides (and makes a satisfying fwap-fwap sound as it gathers around the hook and hits against the bowl).
Butter or cooking-spray a large piece of plastic wrap. Turn the dough out onto it, trying to get it into a more-or-less-even thickness. Use the greased wrap to enclose the dough in a rectangle, then open it up and re-wrap loosely.
Let rise in the fridge overnight. (As the dough gets cold enough, it will stop rising. It will take about 3 hours if you're counting, or doing this during the day.)
Without letting the dough fold over, turn it out of the plastic wrap onto a floured surface. Press and roll it out into a rectangle about 12x18 inches. 
Spread softened or melted and cooled butter all over (all the way to the edges, except leave an inch bare on one long edge) then heavily dredge with cinnamon sugar. (If you like, you can just mix everything together in a bowl and spread it on like that.) 
Roll up tightly toward that bare edge -- it will seal together better. Pinch up. Mark the roll into 4, then each quarter in 3. Cut where you've marked -- my favorite way is with dental floss. (For smaller ones that fit in a cupcake pan, cut in 18.)
Space them out, cut side up, in a buttered 9x12 pan, 3x4 rows. (you can also do 6 in a 8x8 pan, and freeze the other half of the rolls for another time.)
Cover with a towel or plastic wrap, and let rise until they look puffy and doubled in size.Bake at 350 until they look yummy and browned where they meet. Let cool slightly so they firm up a bit..
Smear with icing; it will fill in the spaces as it melts. NOmmmms.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Finally another baking post!! the quintessential roll.

There are few things nicer than a good dinner roll, but too often they are plain and flabby, no flavor just fluff. These have a bit of heft, and a toasty undertone from the brown sugar and eggs. The original makes 100, so this is just a tad more manageable quantity. They make a great slider bun as well.

Albert Kumin's Dinner Rolls 
makes 24 at 35 g, or (slightly bigger) 20 at 42 g.

227 g milk
7 g yeast + 5 g water
45 g. lt brown sugar
45 g butter
45 g eggs
45 g starter
454 g bread flour
8.5 g salt

 Either warm the milk and sand the butter into the combined dry ingredients or melt and cool the milk and butter together -- if you have more time, do the former for a cool dough that rises slowly with more flavor. Warmer dough means a faster rise.
Ferment; divide into 4 presses and round, then each into 5 or 6 and round tightly. Set 4x6 in a buttered 13x9 pan. (In the pix, there are 8 in a foil 4x7 pan...) Proof, brush with milk and bake without steam for about 20 minutes.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

refashioning and the joy of renewal...

It's remarkably springlike outside today, and this post is a feeble attempt to infuse new life into my poor neglected blog. The truth is, there has been some stuff going but not really a lot to blog about... on the surface it's been a lot of the same with just variations. Spring, renewal of old things, revitalizing things that were dormant... AH! a common thread!

Some old clothes have cute details that I can't let go of, but that obviously will never fit this figure (or lack thereof); sometimes the same details are too twee simply because these were clothes I had when I was 20. Usually it's both. 
This cotton polo has a pretty embroidered collar and extended placket; it was an easy fix to re-cut it into an A-line tunic dress. I reused the sleeves'original hems (which were a nice length instead of an awkward cap on K). 

A cool dragon print is inexplicable in a knee-length skirt ( was the 90's?) but made a nice raglan. Stretch velvet binding adds texture.

Beautiful black-on-white eyelet, but doesn't go over my hips and has odd coffee stains. 
Kept the original lace insert and hem, re-cut into a Apple-picking dress; I even reused the original lining. The placket (with pretty black flower snaps!)is just a single one because I didn't have enough width for a double-breasted one. Black cotton voile is the perfect match in texture for the tie and sleeves and adds a bit of old-world monochrome-ness.

Black-and-white in a white-on-white room... 

There are some pants that are going to get re-made into uniform sweats for P, and DH tossed some brand-new underwear he got for Christmas -- I rescued them with plans for dance pants. Basically, rip out the interior back-to-front and leg seams, get rid of the strangeness at the crotch (worn-out in one case, extra fabric in the other) and home free. I think I can even re-use the original waistbands.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Another trip 'round the bend...!

aka ballet performance sewing time again!
This year it was Journey to Neverland, an original Peter Pan ballet basically, not the famous one. I was supposed to make costumes for Peter, Hook, Tink,the three London girls, seven Indians (Tigerlily and six ensemble) and fifteen pirates.
Nightgowns, based on a vintage pattern found on Pinterest... Charmeuse and lace, fully lined in polyester habutai; three colors of the same fabrics.
Vests and skirts for Indians and Tigerlily in fawn suedecloth. Circle skirts for the ensemble, fringed tutu (and lots more jewels) for Tigerlily. Simplified version of an old vest pattern.

Tinkerbell, in lime green suedecloth. Side zip, sequin lace appliques. Actually the beauty of suedecloth is that you can use hot glue! I drafted this one myself, with a one-shoulder bodice and short circle skirt.

Pirates -- red/gold metallic brocade vests, baggy below-the-knee pants in charmeuse... simplified versions of  a Burda pattern I already had (and used several years ago for silver rapper pants!)
As things happen, they decided to order Hook and Peter's costumes instead so now I have to think of a use for red brocade and green suedecloth... I was sad but realized that it was a good thing! I would have overthought them and stressed myself out. But it was fun to imagine and plan.

Ironic that I never work on my own dd's costume except for some appliques last year... but have some pretty pix anyway!

The pirate outfits modelled... if you can call it that.

And here they are, worn! Tigerlily, Joan, Tinkerbell,Wendy, Michelle... and Maria and Franny.
Aaaand another year done! Wonder what they'll do next time....

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

T'was a pretty good year! Roundup post 1: sewing

Nothing like a nice introspective look over the past year to make one'sself feel accomplished, right? Somehow arranging pictures of projects within a pattern theme makes the most sense.

First, dancewear... there is definitely a learning curve to sewing Spandex/Lycra/stretch knits. This year I had fun modifying and tweeking commercial patterns (two Jalie and a Kwiksew) into the following:

Top row are the shortards that snap closed along the inseam -- the second from left is the latest and best-fitting, with a diamond-shaped gusset. 
Second row are the snap leotards -- with lace, skirts and color-blocking, and one with flower snaps along the raglan closure. 
I have a few more fun stretchy prints to use this 2016! It makes me happy that her acrobatics jazz teacher actually noticed what she wears. She's in advanced tap and ballet now so they only wear black, but in acro-jazz anything goes. (And there's still good variation possible in black!)

Next, Oliver + S sewing... the patterns Liesl Gibson designs work so well, I wouldn't think to stray from them even as I riff on the classics. Looking at these, the Field Trip raglan and Sketchbook patterns are the ones that got a workout this year. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Villains, but huggy. Or, costumes 2015!

Quite proud of this year's efforts... P just wanted a long black cloak with a hood -- Grim Reaper, Palpatine/other random Sith, or Voldemort. Easily achieved -- harking back to his original Jedi robes from long ago, it's a long selvage-to-selvage rectangle with slashes on the sides for sleeves, which were half the width of the body. I sloped both shoulder and cuff lines slightly. The hood is nice and deep and it has a snap at the throat so he can wear it as a cape too. It's exactly what he wanted, with lots of growing room.

With less than two weeks to go, K changed her mind from Scarlet Overkill (i was excited for that rocket dress!)

to Evie, daughter of Snow White's Evil Queen stepmother, from the Descendants TV movie...
and its animated follow-up, Wicked World.

and of course I agreed because of that very swooshy jacket. Kara Saun, the movie's costume designer/wardrobe mistress, put together the most interesting shapes and textures...

looking at these sketches I thought it was more like a cape, but looking at how it moves in the movie (and probably taking into consideration changes made during production), it's really more like a moto jacket with bell sleeves. So mine is a tribute to, or inspired by, Ms. Saun's distressed leather multi-layered creation.  

I went with costume satin -- a dark royal blue rather than the navy/denim shade of the leather, and remnants of red for the lining. I used a basic raglan draft and a combination of slash-and-spread and plain swinging-out lines to get the right shape for the sleeves. (I wanted a fluid look, not the boxiness I sometimes get with set-in sleeves... )
I constructed the lined sleeves first, then sewed them to the body... I dithered about lining the whole thing, but I'm glad I did because it made it that much warmer, and prevented the back applique from irritating or snagging. Rather than the sculpted/princess seams of the leather source garment, I sewed the front and back as straight pieces then pin-fit deep bodice darts. 

Franny helped with the hand-painting of the sleeves and wide stand-up collar -- we used Speedball waterbased screenprinting paint and regular flat and stiff round brushes. This is heat-set and washable!

I'm rather proud of the way the 24" brass zipper looks -- I used it as a non-functional edging for the open collar instead of trimming at the top. F has historical difficulty with jacket zippers, so i made sure this one stuck out from the bottom enough. Added a few brass studs to the front -- it's tiring doing those one-by-one, so I stopped at 6 per side... 

jacket front: metal studs, 24" brass jacket zipper used as both closure and "piping"/finishing for the neckline. 
The iconic cracked crown on the back is an applique of gold-on-black allover sequinned fabric, outlined with gold dimensional fabric paint then glitter.

Back applique and velcroed belt.
The other components: a dark blue mock turtleneck with finger-loop sleeves (that I made into a
 leotard just because!), tights hand-painted to look wrecked, and a circle skirt with an elastic waist. I couldn't find any red/blue/black/white print, so I color-blocked a dark blue batik and a Robert Kaufman vortex/starry sky print. I then had some fun embroidering touches of red...
the rest of the outfit
crown-heart pendant made from polymer clay

blue yarn braided into her hair