Saturday, 17 August 2013

Jumped on the Mathilde Bandwagon

So like dozens if not hundreds of crazy sewing bumbles around the blogsphere, I succumbed to Tilly and the buttons, beautiful Mathilde blouseI started reading her blog during The Great British Sewing Bee and then became obsessed with her souvenir Mathilde blouse.

This pattern is easy to follow and Tilly has very detailed step by step instructions on her blog. These are an absolute godsend when you are a novice like me. Every single step was new to me- pleats, french seams, button holes, gathering , attaching sleeves, applying interfacing, back blouse closure techniques, collar facing, sleeve gathering (Whew!!!). Obviously the knowledge of learning these many techniques in one go wasn't enough for me, that I decided to make my own fabric buttons as well. 
I faced quite a few hurdles on the way, not due to the pattern or the instructions but simply by my inability to pay attention to details and my rather deceptive looking heavy hand. But more of that on another day.
So, as I mentioned the pattern is a joy to work with and the end result is this unbelievably cute top that can be dresses up or down . 

Fabric : Polyester Navy Polka Dots ( From Remnant Kings ) ///Buttons: 6 5/8 Cover buttons  (John Lewis ) ,(The Little button shop)///Some lightweight fusible interfacing for collar facing, back opening  and cuffs.

I used the size 2 and have made no alterations to the pattern.The buttons were covered with some red fabric that I had in my stash.
When I decide to make another one I will probably make a more dressier version which would probably include a lace yolk!!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

My Kelly Skirt

There are few patterns around that are a breeze to make, but also look so polished that they might be mistaken to for a high street purchase. The Kelly Skirt from Megan Nielsen patterns is most certainly one of them. I bought my pattern last week and started straight on to making it.
The instructions were a breeze to follow even for a novice like me. I absolutely love this skirt. I have worn it with my White broderie Anglaise Sorbetto, several times already. It makes a classic feminine look and because this is my first ever handmade outfit, I am squealing with excitement. 

My Navy Corduroy Kelly Skirt 

The super cute cat face buttons!!!! 

Polka dotted pockets !!!

Fabric : 100% Navy Corduroy ( From the sewing box, Morpeth), Polyester navy Polka dots for pocket lining (from The Remnant kings) ///Buttons: 5 5/8 wooden buttons  (John Lewis ) , 2 cat face buttons for the pockets (The Little button shop)///Some lightweight fusible interfacing for the front opening

Alterations to original pattern: I used size S, but then next time I make this pattern I will look into making size XS as I have had to take in 2 inches of the waist after I tried on the finished garment. Maybe worth measuring myself properly in the future! I took about 3 inches of the bottom hem, as I like my skirts slightly shorter. I added some cute cat face buttons to the sides of the pockets and used 5 instead of the 7 front opening buttons suggested in the pattern. 

Sorbettos Galore - Round 1

One of the first things I did when I decided to give sewing a go was to browse online for patterns that gave me the assurance that I could make something wearable at the end. A lot of people tell you ' Oh just buy a square of fabric and practice sewing'. That is all well and good, but unless you make something that you can use or wear, the exercise seems tedious and futile. When I stumbled across the Sorbetto Top from Colette patterns, I decided that this was the right time to take the plunge into making garments for myself.
I have whipped up three different versions of this very versatile and elegant top, and feel the itch coming on to make another one.

My First Sorbetto- Broderie Anglaise with back button closure 

Fabric : White Broderie Anglaise for top , slightly ribbed White Cotton for Bias binding (Both -John Lewis) ///Buttons: 7 5/8 wooden buttons  (John Lewis again) ///Some lightweight fusible interfacing for the back opening.

Alterations to original pattern: I used size 2 and lowered the neckline by 1.5 inches to make it a bit more feminine, increased the hemline by 2 inches for that tiny bit extra coverage when I sit down. Added the back button closure, to add shape, make the top more fitted and ultimately make it the main feature of the blouse. :)

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Best* Chicken Curry in the world !!

Oh the spicy goodness!! 
 * Based on every chicken curry I have ever eaten .

Ingredients : 

Chicken - 500gms (cut into bite size pieces)
Vegetable oil - 2 tbsp
Garlic paste -1 tsp 
Ginger paste-2 tsp
Dried red chillies - 2 ( deseeded if you like your curry mild) 
Coriander powder- 1 tbsp
Garam masala powder- 1 tsp 
Tomatoes - 1 can ( chopped ) 
Cashew nuts- a good handful
Salt to taste 
Chopped Coriander leaves - to garnish 
Ghee ( Indian clarified butter)- 4 tbsp - optional 


Soak the cashew nuts in enough water to cover them for 30 minutes . Then grind to a fine paste. Keep aside, this will be added in the end. 
In a large skillet heat the vegetable oil. To this add the garlic paste and saute until slightly golden. the paste will spit so be careful not to get stung. Ass the chillies and the garlic paste and saute till the aromas are released (~1 min). Now add all the powdered spices (coriander, turmeric , garam masala) and cook it through. The trick to getting well rounded flavours in Indian Cooking is to ensure that the spices are cooked through.(2-3 minutes).Add in the tomatoes and mix well. Again cook it through ( 5 minutes) .
Now it is time to add the main ingredient, the chicken in. Ensure that the chicken is thoroughly coated in the tomato spice mixture. Add 100mls (or less if you prefer your curry thicker) of water and let it cook on a medium flame for 10 minutes.
Once the chicken is cooked add the cashew nut paste that you made earlier on, and blend well. Add the coriander leaves and ghee( if using) on top and give it one final stir.
I normally leave the curry for about 10-15 minutes after this to let the flavours mingle.
I normally serve this with some chapatis or parathas and some Cucumber Raita!

* Recipe from my personal family archives

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Korean Beef Stir Fry

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What you need ( Marinade): 

500gms of beef fillet- sliced into thinish strips
2 -3 garlic cloves crushed
1'' piece of ginger grated or 1 tsp ginger paste
3 medium spring onions ( scallions) finely chopped
80 ml of  Soy Sauce ( I used Amoy dark)
1-tbsp of ground sesame seeds 
Few rounds of freshly crushed black pepper
Salt to taste. 

Season the beef strips with salt and pepper. Mix all of the other ingredients in a non metallic bowl. ( I used a glass pyrex dish). Place beef in the marinate. Cover in clingfilm and leave to marinate  for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight. I made this marinate after dinner one night for next nights dinner. No, I am not organised, but rather was very keen on trying something new. 

What you need ( To cook)

2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp of crushed sesame seeds
Sesame oil to drizzle. 

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok on high heat. Using tongs drop the strips of marinated beef into the wok and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. I did this in batches as my Wok isn't the biggest. 
drizzle some sesame oil and 1 tsp of seeds on the beef once cooked. I served this with some egg fried rice. 
Seriously nommers!

*Recipe taken from a photocopied page of a friend who doesn't remember where she got it from. - if i ever do find the source I will put a link to it here 

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

My New Sewing BOX!!!

I am so Spoilt!! I received this A-MAZ-ING!! sewing box from K as a very early birthday present. It is so pretty. I have already populated it with all my sewing bits and bobs. In the long run I will definitely  need some ribbons, bobbins and some permanent thread storage arrangement thingy. But for now I can't stop staring at this beauty .
The best  about having a sewing box like this, is not only is it super functional and ergonomic, it is also so incredibly delicate and pretty that when not in use, it make great eye candy and would add a touch of class to any room :)