Thursday, 18 September 2014

August's Garment: Dress 'H' from the Stylish Dress Book

August's garment wasn't supposed to be a dress - I have a blouse that I started and have abandoned for the time being.  It seems that I have to take into consideration my size 12 hips even when making a top - I cut out a size 8, after taking bust measurements and comparing to the given dimensions - after getting to the point just before putting the zip in, I decided to try it on . . . shoulder seems hang off my shoulders, very roomy around my bust and then very tight across my hips.  This pattern is going to need some adjustment before I try again.  It's a good job I was only using a bargain piece of fabric that I found in a oddments bin at Abakhan in Chester (although I will have a little weep as I loved the fabric and don't have enough left to try again - perhaps I should start making toiles . . . )

I bought this month's fabric in preparation to make a second Chinello Maxi Dress - ah well, I will just have to go fabric shopping again when I get round to that!  A couple of months ago I bought Yoshiko Tsukiori's Stylish Dress Book as it looked like the type of book that would have everyday clothes patterns.  I wasn't disappointed - there are 26 different garments to sew.  After carefully looking through I decided to make dress 'H'.  The patterns are on full size sheets tucked in an envelope at the back of the book - it took a bit of looking to find all the pieces for my dress, but it was fairly easy to trace, despite the many different colour coded lines.  Just remember that you need to add a seem allowance to the traced pattern pieces, I only realised this after I had traced out my pieces -thankfully I just about managed to put a half inch seam on every piece.

I cut out a size 10 and added a half inch seam allowance - I probably could have cut out a size 8 - but not sure if this is because the sizes come up big or that I didn't make full use of my seam allowance.  The instructions look very minimal, especially when compared to multiple guideline sheets of traditional paper patterns.  However, they were logical and easy to follow - particularly helped by the accompanying line drawings.

I decided to add a complete lining to the skirt part of the dress as the fabric was lightweight.  To do this I stitched the two skirts together along the top raw edge before sewing it to the outside yoke piece.  Then the inside yoke piece was hand stitched to cover the raw edge.  The result being that if I really wanted to I could wear the dress inside out and nobody would know!

Garment number 9 out of 12 complete!

Monday, 1 September 2014

GBBO Week Four - Baked Alaska

Apologies for those eagled eyed readers who have spotted I have missed out Bread Week - I wasn't particularly inspired to make any of the bakes, especially after a previous year's 8 plaited loaf, ciabatta bread just didn't have the same draw . . .

However, this week was 'Dessert Week' and my husband convinced me to try a Baked Alaska - he even offered to buy me a blow torch! (I so should have taken him up on that offer)  Instead I decided to bake it in the oven, as I thought this was the whole appeal of making a baked Alaska - putting ice cream in the oven to bake.

I found my recipe inspiration from the very first Great British Bake Off Book - it is for individual ones, but we wanted a huge one.  This recipe suggested Swiss Roll for the sponge base, I'm afraid I cheated and bought Swiss Roll.  I bought an extra large one and cut it into pieces an inch in length and carefully squashed it into a cake tin.  This was then weighted down and left in the fridge overnight to make sure it was very cold.

On top of the sponge I put a layer of halved strawberries, with a generous layer of ice cream on top.  This was then piped with the meringue from the recipe: to partially cook the meringue it was whisked over a pan of simmering water for 10 minutes and then whisked off the heat to bring the mixture down to room temperature.  I painted a couple of lines of food colouring down the inside of my piping bag to add some colour to the swirls piped onto the ice cream.

Then it was popped in the very hot (230C) oven for 3 minutes - it probably could of done with slightly longer, and also more meringue, as I had a few tiny gaps which meant the ice cream leaked out in places.

The pudding was a success, and the middle of the ice cream was still fairly cold when we sliced it up!