Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WIP: Colette Hazel

I guess WIP Wednesday is a theme, huh?  I'm currently working on a Colette Hazel that I'm making out of one of my souvenir fabrics from Nicaragua.  It's going to be in the blue and white striped fabric from this post.  Since this is a new pattern for me, I had to start by adjusting the bust like I always do.

I started out by cutting the bodice pieces out of this sheet ($1.99 at the Waterfront Rescue Mission!), transferring the markings, and sewing the pieces up.
 I normally prefer to make my draft out of a solid fabric, but this one was big and cheap.  I can handle the extra difficulty of finding markings and such.  It doesn't make for good photos though.  End tangent.  You can barely tell I made any adjustments at all in this photo and the one below.  I needed to adjust the bust curve ever so slightly on both sides.  I don't have a before and after picture for evidence, but trust me that the 1/4" adjustment I made makes a huge difference in the fit.  When I cut my fashion fabric, I will just mark the new stitching line on the pattern piece and my fabric and stitch there instead of creating a whole new piece.  That just isn't necessary here.

Colette patterns are made for a C-cup bust.  I am a C, but I'm very narrow and I normally need to pull some fabric out of the Colette bust pieces.  In addition to that tiny adjustment I made above, I extended the bust darts inward approximately 3/4."  I had a little point when I tried the bodice on and the dart is supposed to end just before the nipple.

I need to sew something other than dresses.  As much fun as dresses are, I just can't wear only those every day.  I think I'll give the Colette Laurel a try after I finish this Hazel!


Monday, July 29, 2013

FO: Lovebirds Dress

Here's the finished version of my second Colette Parfait.  I love this pattern so much.  In the near future, I am going to work on a plain top version and drafting something more like sleeves for another version.  This version uses a stiffer quilting cotton and it doesn't breathe as well as the last one I made.  That greenish one is made out of kona cotton I think.  It is a lighter 100% cotton fabric I picked up at JoAnn's.  So, I don't know how I feel about the feel of this dress.  I love it, but I don't know that I love it.  I really need a do-over on the pictures.  It was so bright and sunny out for round 1 and I look like a mess 8 hours later for round 2.  Here you go:
I look so displeased to be taking pictures.  I noticed my hairstylist parted my hair wrong and one side is way longer than the other.  My hair parts on the right!

What am I doing/

I'm gonna sneeze.  I'm trying not to laugh.  These pictures...

Selfie of the chest.  Fancy.

I have giant shoulders.  Wow.

Weird exposure picture.

I really need to get better at taking pictures of my FOs.  I notice in some of them that the camera angle is wrong and it cuts me off at the knees.  It's not something I think about until I save the pictures to my computer.  I'm working on it!

So what fabrics do you normally sew with?  Do you find that your taste in fabric matches your taste in actual finished garments?  Let me know!


Friday, July 26, 2013

Freezer Friday: Peach Ice Cream

July is still National Ice Cream month!  And to celebrate, here is another recipe.  I didn't take many pictures this time, so I'll just give you the recipe and comment along the way.

Peach Ice Cream
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar (B&J Bible says fruit to sugar is 4:1; just trust it)
4 really big peaches or 6-7 smaller ones, sliced up
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon almond extract

Squeeze the lemon juice into the peach slices.  Smoosh them up or otherwise make the slices into smaller bits as desired.  Set that bowl aside.  Heat the heavy cream over the stove until it just starts to bubble, whisking constantly (about 10 minutes).  In another bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy.  Add sugar a little at a time until it is thoroughly dissolved.  Add in whole milk and almond extract while continuing to whisk.  Finally add in the warm heavy cream.  Strain the milk/egg mixture into the bowl of peaches.  Mix to incorporate.  Pour approximately half this mixture into your ice cream maker and finish according to manufacturer's instructions.  Reserve the other half of the ice cream mixture and repeat the ice cream process the next day.

The downside to this recipe is that you do have to churn the ice cream twice.  Using all that peach juice adds a dimension to the recipe that you just don't want to skip.  While it is possible for you to scale it down to try to half the recipe, I'm not comfortable guessing on the amounts this early in my ice cream churneing career.  This recipe is, um, perfect.  I had 8 people try it so far.  Seven said, "OMG!  This is SOOOO good." and one said, "I expected it to be sweeter.  I thought it would taste different."  Seven out of eight isn't bad!  If you are able, definitely put the almond extract in the ice cream.  It really takes the flavor to another level without being obnoxiously almond like you would typically expect.
Beautiful ripe peaches!

Peaches made smaller, plus any opportunity to show off my polka-dotted knives
Egg/sugar mixture
Whisking the milk into the eggs
Everything together
See this?  Don't do this.  This was my first attempt at churning.  The ice cream didn't have anywhere to go and it stayed a liquidy mess even after 90 minutes.  I wasn't ready to give up on it though!  I poured half the base into my frozen bowl a couple days later and it's absolutely perfect and delicious and I wouldn't change a thing!
What's your favorite ice cream flavor?  I would love to have a try at making my own recipe!  Leave me a comment (and a challenge) below.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WIP: Lovebirds Dress

Here's another Colette Parfait.  I love this pattern so much.  I saw this Michael Miller Lovebirds fabric and I fell in love with it.  I bought 7 yards.  That is serious love and commitment.  This dress also represents a huge leap out of my comfort zone.  I never wear prints.

See how off the bodice and skirt are?  This happened on both versions I made and I think it is something in the pattern.  I'll have to hold add 1/4" to all the sides of the bodice pieces and to the back side pieces OR decrease the seam allowances to compensate here.  It was frustrating to deal with this.  I kept thinking I did something wrong.

Pockets or no pockets?  Definitely pockets!
Do these pattern variances ever happen to you?  This is the first pattern that hasn't perfectly lined up for me.  Leave me a comment and let me know how you handle this problem.  My solution was to move the zipper right against the cut edge and curve the zipper towards the seam allowance as I got to the skirt.


Monday, July 22, 2013

FO: Swiss Dot Colette Chantilly

I finished my Colette Chantilly dress.  I like the way this one turned out.  I took a few inches off the length of the last one I made and that was a big mistake.  I don't know why Colette Patterns are made so short.  I had to make a bunch of bodice drafts to get the fit right.  I don't think I have pictures of the stages I made, but I will try to come up with something to make a post of that because those bust adjustments are the whole reason I finally decided to make a blog.  Anyway, this is Version 2 (the one without the pockets).  It's made out of a very sheer Swiss Dot I picked up at Hancock Fabrics in Savannah last year.  I think the 2.5 yards I bought cost $15.  My quick math accounting brain says this dress cost me $30 to make including 1/2 the pattern cost and the white cotton batiste I used to fully line the dress.  Pictures!

This is pre-hemming with bonus crazy hair!  That is 9 feet of skirt.  I want you to know that.

I cut a huge chunk out of the bodice.  The gathers are what make the dress, but I just couldn't stand all the poofiness.  Extreme boob close-up!

That's it for now!  Hopefully I'll have a new WIP to show you on Wednesday.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Freezer Friday Returns: With Strawberry Ice Cream!

I have long-coveted  the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid mixer.  I finally bought one!  I didn't want to spend the money or have yet another box of something in my house, but I am so happy to have it now.  My first batch of ice cream was a happy accident.  I had a quart of strawberries that were borderline bad and I thought they would make perfect strawberry ice cream.  They delivered. 
The finished product.  Yummy.  What you'll need:  one quart of hulled strawberries mashed, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1.5 cups of heavy cream, 3/4 cups white sugar, 3 egg yolks.
Mash the strawberries.  I started with a potato masher and transferred the berries to my mixer because I wanted to set it and forget it.  Add the lemon juice to the berries while you are mixing the berries smaller.
Heat 1.25 cups of the heavy cream over low heat mixing constantly until it just begins to bubble.  You don't want this to boil, so watch it closely.
I use these antique-ish revereware copper bottom pots.  They are awesome.  This one is so loved, it's missing the handle!
I forgot to take a picture of this part, but whisk the egg yolks, the sugar, and the other 1/4 cup heavy cream together and pour the heated milk into that mixture while continuing to whisk.  Once everything is incorporated, strain the milk mixture into the strawberries and whisk some more.  You want to strain the milk just in case you have any curdled bits or solid egg yolk you don't want in your ice cream.
This is what mine looked like when it was all stirred!  I prefer a bit of chunks in my strawberry ice cream, so you can see that there are pieces in there.
This is what the ice cream looked like after 15 minutes in the mixer.
And this is after approximately 30 minutes!  Perfectly delicious soft serve.
Make some!

Strawberry Ice Cream
1.5 cups heavy cream
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
quart of very ripe strawberries, hulled

Puree or otherwise make your strawberries smaller.  Add the lemon juice to the strawberry puree.  In a pot over low heat, heat 1.25 cups of heavy cream until bubbles form along the edge, stirring constantly.  In another bowl, mix egg yolks, sugar, and remaining 1/4 cup heavy cream until combined.  (You need that second amount of heavy cream to have enough liquid to dissolve the sugar).  Add the heated heavy cream to the egg mixture and whisk to combine.  Strain the cream/egg mixture into the smooshed berries and stir to combine.  Cool the mixture in the refrigerator overnight, or at least a few hours.  Dump the ice cream-to-be in your ice cream maker as instructed by the manufacturer.  Enjoy!

July is National Ice Cream Month.  Make ice cream!  Have a fantastic weekend everyone.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WIP: Colette Chantilly

This is actually my second time making this pattern.  I cut out this white swiss dot fabric almost a YEAR ago and never started sewing it up.  How annoying?  I don't even remember what I was up to that made me put sewing aside.  I didn't make much of anything after I cut this pattern out.  Anyway...
This is the fabric.  These are actually skirt pieces--super sheer, right?
 I thought I would share some other quick sewing tricks I have.  You know to wind two bobbins before you start sewing, but if I'm using white or black, I keep the empty bobbin and a second spool of thread right there to be able to wind a new bobbin quickly.  Here's my old sewing machine too.  It's a Singer 401A that I inherited from my grandmother.  I call the machine Josie after my grandmother.
 The freezer paper is making an appearance again.  I trace all my tissue patterns on freezer paper instead of cutting the tissue.  I don't like using tracing wheels to mark my pattern pieces because the tracing wheel can puncture delicate fabrics such as the one I'm using for this Chantilly.  Instead, I cut one leg of the dart open on the pattern and mark it with my chalk pen that way.  You should be able to see my pink markings near my finger in this photo.

 I'm sure this isn't old news, but I'm sharing anyway.  It's easiest for me to pin my hems by folding the entire hem allowance--1/2" in this case--and steaming a crease into it.  I work section by section with my ruler and my iron this way.  Once I crease a section, I pull the pins back up and fold the frayed edge to the crease and repin.  This method works extremely well for me and I don't have to worry about measuring twice.  Shortcuts!  These photos actually show the Chantilly lining skirt.  Sometimes I hate having to make two identical dresses to get one finished object.  Annoying.  Ain't nobody got time for that!

I can't wait to post the finished dress!


Monday, July 15, 2013

FO: Colette Parfait

Long time, no post, huh?  I've been so busy the last several months.  There was a hockey game, a concert, a trip to South Florida, a few hikes, lots of cooking, and even a few finished dresses.  The first one I finished was the Colette Parfait I started back in November.  It took me long enough!  The thing that was holding me up was my buttonholer.  I have a really old sewing machine and it has a buttonholer attachment.  The way the fabric was going through the buttonhole process was causing the needles to catch the bobbin thread in the wrong position and bending my needles.  I ended up buying another buttonholer to finish the dress up.

I might have mentioned the modifications before, but here they are again.  I cut the 0 and left the length alone (CP are short I think, especially considering I'm 4'11").  I did a SBA and had to take 1.5" off the bodice pieces.  As a result, I had to redraft the facings to fit my new curves.  When I went to sew the bodice to the skirt, my pattern pieces were off about a half inch--the skirt was wider than the bodice.  I made this dress a second time (photos soon!) and had the same problem, so I don't think it was me.  To compensate, I am going to make a smaller seam allowance on the bodice pieces for my next version.  I could use a little extra room to take some pressure off the zipper anyway.  My buttons are all functional because I have giant shoulders and I wouldn't be able to get this on/off without them.  I'm beyond pleased with this dress and I will make this pattern again and again.  I'm trying to figure out how to add actual sleeves to make a wintery version. 

Here is some picspam:

Happy Monday and hopefully regular posting will resume.