Monday, January 31, 2011

Spring 2011 Patterns

Butterick just released their spring patterns, the last in the cycle of new releases. I love looking through all the new patterns. Australia is 6 months (at least) behind the Northern hemisphere for getting patterns in store and Vogue patterns especially retail for an insane amount so I've taken to buying all my patterns online. Even with a shipping cost of $25 for 7 patterns they end up so much cheaper. Here's what's currently in my shopping cart.

An interesting take on the infinity dress. I've never seen one with sleeves. I could probably draft this dress but at $3 why should I?

This halter neck is really cute. I didn't think much of it in the solid but then I looked at the illustration and the line drawing and was sold on it. It reminds me of this dress from ModCloth.

The rest of the collection wasn't really for me but there were some really nice plus sized patterns which was really nice to see. I didn't find anything in the McCalls Patterns, not unusual, but Vogue didn't disappoint.

I hadn't heard of Pamella Roland before but this cute shirt dress caught my attention. I had a look on her website for more of their clothes and they are lovely. Here's this dress in her runway collection both Spring and Autumn.

Pamella Roland, Spring 2010, Look 10

Pamella Roland, Fall 2010, Look 3

I have a real soft spot for Donna Karan designs. I really like this one, the collar is especially interesting. I found that the other two designs looked a little bulky around the mid-sections which really bulked up the waist, not really what I need. 

This dress is gorgeous, I'm a sucker for well placed pleating. I'm not certain I would make it up in this print but it does look perfect.

How could you pass this one up, its so interesting. Looks stunning on the model, not sure it would look stunning on me. But it's so nice to see such an innovative and detailed design coming from the non-designer section of Vogue Patterns.

So now I'm tossing up whether or not I should buy them right now or wait. Its not like I NEED more patterns but they are so irresistible. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Navy Maxi Skirt - Colette Patterns Palette Challenge

This is my second garment for the Colette Patterns Palette Challenge but I haven't taken photos of the first yet. I made up this skirt yesterday afternoon including drafting the pattern and sewing it all up and then wore it out last night. It is incredibly comfortable and perfect for the weather that we are having here in Sydney. It should also transition really well into both Autumn and Spring. I made the skirt up in a navy cotton voile from the Lisa Ho range at 'The Fabric Store' which has a lovely soft hand and breathes really well. I self-lined the skirt and treated both layers as one at the side seams and the waistband but hemmed them separately with the lining being hemmed 2.5cm shorter then the outer fabric.

Front, Side and Back

The Skirt was based off BurdaStyle 02/2010 103A. But I ended up not having enough fabric to make anything close to a full circle skirt so I figured I was just draft myself a pattern instead.

BurdaStyle 02/2010 103A

I really like the result despite it being quite different from the original inspiration. Here are some detail shots.

Back Box Pleat

Side zipper and contrasting button

Front outward facing pleat

Outward facing pleat on non-zip side

Rolled Hem on my overlocker

Button Tab

The Skirt on me (I'm still trying to get the timer shots on my camera working well):

This pattern is so simple I drafted this pattern directly onto the material using two measurements: waist and length from waist to ankle as shown in the diagram below.
Measurement Points

I folded my material in half and then in half again in order to get the skirt as wide as possible at the bottom and used the proportions below to draft the skirt. 
I unfortunately forgot to take photos of the construction process. To construct I basted the two fronts and the two backs together. Used my serger to do a rolled hem on the bottom of each piece separately, hemming the lining of both front and back 2.5cm shorter than the fashion fabric. Serged the side seams and inserted the side zipper. Basted down the pleats and attached the interfaced waistband. Sewed a buttonhole on the extended flap and attached a button.

The result is very different from my usual wardrobe but I'm trying to branch out and am discovering that if the proportions are right even really short people like me can wear long skirts. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mascarpone Mini Cheesecakes with Dulce De Leche

Caramel Cheese cake has been something that I've wanted to create for sometime, but I'd never quite found the right recipe. When I saw the recipe for Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares on Smitten Kitchen and Delicious Magazine's recipe for Mascarpone and Lemon Cheesecake in the same day I figured that it was telling me something. So took both recipes and took the bits I wanted to make caramel cheesecake awesomeness. Then I miniaturised them for bite sized awesomeness.

Cheesecake adapted from Delicious Magazine.
Dulce de Leche from Smitten Kitchen.

500g Cream Cheese
1 Cup Caster Sugar
4 eggs 
1 egg yoke
400g Mascarpone 
1tsp Vanilla Essence 


1) Preheat oven to 140ÂșC. Place a baking tray half filled with boiling water on the lowest shelf.
2) Cream sugar and cream cheese until well combined.
3) Add eggs and egg yoke and mix.
4) Add mascarpone and vanilla essence and mix until all ingredients are well combined.
5) Spoon mixture into 1/3 Cup/80ml ramekins or similar sized cupcake liners stopping 1cm from the rim. Arrange ramekins in a large baking tray.
6) Place baking tray on the centre shelf in the oven and bake for 40mins. Remove and allow to cool fully, cheesecakes will collapse in on themselves.
7) Make the dulce de leche following the instructions on smitten kitchen.
8) Fill the hole formed in the centre of cheesecakes with dulce de leche. Place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

The hardest thing about these is stopping at one.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Patrones 292 Model 19 - Cowl Neck Top

This top has been on my sewing list for sometime. I'm so glad that I finally sewed it because it's such a versatile and classic style. It came together really quickly and simply and only took about a metre of material making it a really good project for those odd lengths of printed satins and silks we all pick up from fabric stores on impulse.

Here's my first version made up in a polyester satin from 'The Fabric Store'. All the seams are serged and the neckline and armholes are serged and then turned under and top stitched with a double needle.

Front view

Front view - paired with BWOF 01/09 112

Back View - paired with BWOF 01/09 112

I liked the look so much I made a second version in a teal silk habotai. On this version I used french seams and self bias binding as the material is slightly transparent and any serging can be seen through the fabric.


Cowl Neckline (You can see the bias binding on the back neck and armhole.


After making two in a row I thought that was probably enough but then I saw this piece of silk satin in the remnants pile at Tessuti Surry Hills and I couldn't say no to it. 

It's white with steel grey clouds and ripples across the surface. The piece is just under a metre, just enough to squeeze the top out of. When I finish it I will post with some more construction details.

Colette Patterns Spring Palette Challenge

Colette Patterns in hosting an interesting take on SWAP or sewing with a plan. Participants pick a spring sewing palette and put it together with an inspiration board and the number of garments they want to sew. I had just been thinking that it might be nice to sew a number of garments that work well together within a colour range. I do have a habit of cutting out a number of different garments out of around 4m of fabric.

Here's my palette:
Inspiration references (Clockwise from top)
Burdastyle 02/2010 103A
BWOF 02/2009 107B
Patrones 293 Pattern 6
Pattern Magic Twist Front Dress
Patrones 292 Pattern 12

I've tried to make the colours size related to the amount of that colour I intend to use in the final collection. The palette is drawn from what fabrics I have been buying recently and takes inspiration from both safari and cruise styles. 

Here are the patterns I'm hoping to get through:
Patrones 292 12

BWOF 01/2009 113

BurdaStyle 02/2010 103A

You can see my completed version here

Light Blue Twist Front Top 

BurdaStyle 09/2010 122

We'll see how I go. I already have 3 of these patterns cut out. I'm hoping to have them done pretty soon so I can move onto the other 2. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Indonesian Black Pepper Chicken

This recipe for chicken has become my standby for the majority of asian chicken dishes, especially Chinese dishes. I found it on a recipe card in a super market in Hong Kong and have used to it make a numerous dishes including Honey Soy Chicken, Schezwan Chicken, Honey Pepper Chicken and Zuo Zong Tang Ji (Sweet and Spicy Chicken). When I saw the recipe for Indonesian Black Pepper Prawns in this months issue of Delicious I knew it would be perfect to add to my chicken repertoire.

I know that most people wouldn't substitute prawns out of a dish in favour of chicken but we have such a good garlic prawn recipe that it seems like a waste to prepare prawns and then not make garlic prawns. And this dish deserves to be enjoyed without guilt. 

Sauce and spice mix adapted from Delicious Magazine
Chicken batter adapted from city'super What's Cooking Card
Serves 4

2 Chicken Thighs (cubed)
6 stalks Broccolini (chopped) 
1 Spring Onion (chopped)
1/4 cup Curry Leaves
2 cups Canola Oil

Batter (for chicken):
2 tsp Light Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
1 Egg Yoke
2 tbsp Rice Flour
2 tsp Peanut oil

Spice Paste:
1 tsp Shrimp Paste
1tbsp whole Black Peppercorns
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
2cm piece fresh Ginger (chopped)
2 spring Onions (chopped)

2 tbsp Kecap Manis (Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce)
2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 Cup Chicken Stock


1) Place all ingredients for spice paste in a mortar and pestle. Grind until a consistent paste is formed. Add spring onions. Set aside.
2) Combine all ingredients for sauce in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
3) For Batter combine light soy, dark soy and egg yoke in a bowl. Add chicken coating evenly. Mix in rice flour, mixture will be sticky and the chicken will not look evenly coated. Gently stir in oil.
4) Heat canola oil in a wok over a high heat. When oil is almost smoking fry chicken in batches placing in a bowl lined with paper towel when they are crisp and deep brown. Fry curry leaves at the end of the last batch, watch out they will spit. Set aside.

5) Dispose of all but 2 tbsp of oil. I like to store mine in a glass bottle to use again. Heat wok over medium high heat. Add spice paste and stir fry for 1 - 2 mins.

6) Add Sauce to wok. Mix spice mix through. When sauce starts to thicken add the chicken and curry leaves. Cook for about 4 mins then add the broccolini and extra spring onions. Cook for a further minute or until the broccolini is a deeper green but still crunchy. 

7) Serve with steamed rice