Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sewing Plans

Ok. So January's sewing plans aka Time Before Yvonne Comes Back. Finish my suit skirt. I need to take out the machine hem, put in hem tape, hem it by hand, rehem the clusterfuck that is the lining, attach lining hem to outer hem, and everything involving the waistband.

Make the suit jacket. I keep delaying because I have to clean the studio and wah wah wah.

Get my butt in gear for Metamorphoses. I meet with a second assistant next week. The next production meeting is 1/23, but I want to have plenty done by then.

Fix my purple plaid skirt. It's currently unwearable as I cannot take a full step in it. I HAVE extra fabric to use to make it walkable, I just haven't inserted it yet.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Vintage Secret Santa Review

I realized that I'd never posted about what I received from my Secret Santa! I received a pair of antique knitting needles (wooden, size "3"), and a vintage cookbook entitled "Maine Coastal Cooking: Down East Recipes dating from 1664". The full inside title is: "Maine Coastal Cooking and the Accomplisht Cook, OR, The whole Art and Mystery of COOKERY, fitted for all Degrees and Qualities." Collected and published by Courier-Gazette, Inc in the 1960s.

I also had a very sweet card.

I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated when it came to finding the perfect gifts for you, and I hope I did alright! The knitting needles are from the turn of the century, and though simple, are some of the loveliest I've encountered! And I can't get over how old some of the recipes in the book are... Plus I thought the New England connection would be fitting. :) I hope you enjoy everything and have a lovely holiday and start to the new year. And feel free to keep in touch via post, facebook, or instagram, especially to report in if you try any of the recipes!
XOXO [Secret Santa]

I haven't yet had the chance to read through the cookbook, but what I've seen has been fascinating. The index is in the CENTER of the book (on green cardstock)(it's a spiral-bound booklet), and it appears that the recipes aren't particularly sorted, either by date or ingredient or type of foodstuff. I look forward to exploring its secrets.

In my OWN Secret Santa news, I instagram-stalked by giftee, and discovered that her gifts arrived safe and sound. Yay!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Cake

I am trying out a new recipe. As anyone who knows me in real life can attest, I collect antique cookbooks. I read them cover to cover like a novel. I also use them as inspiration and will attempt the recipes contained. What I love about them is that they're from a time when you HAD to put food on the table, three times a day, from scratch. Naturally, rather than make your workload insane, many recipes are simple, easy to put together, and often variations upon a theme. These are also useful things to consider when busy and broke.

So this recipe. It's from the 1916 edition (although is also found in the 1932 edition) of the Boston Cooking School Cook Book written by Fannie Farmer. I double checked my later copy to see if there were any edits (nope) and to see if there were any additional directions (aside from a rough chart of oven temps, nope).

As if testing an antique recipe wasn't enough stress for myself, I am also using a holiday bundt pan for the first time. I received it as a gift from my Grandmother years ago, but I had never used it. It's shaped like a castle with trees. In fact, it's this pan:

So with no further ado, here is the recipe:

Rich Coffee Cake
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 cup cold boiled coffee
- 3 3/4 cups flour
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon clove
- 1/2 teaspoon mace
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 3/4 cup raisins, seeded and cut in pieces
- 3/4 cup currants
- 1/4 cup citron, thinly sliced and cut in strips
- 2 tablespoons brandy

Follow directions for making butter-cake mixture. Bake in deep cake pans.

That's it! So here are the directions for how I actually made it.

1) Cream butter. Add sugar a bit at a time until fully incorporated and creamed.
2) Add eggs one at a time, beating fully after each addition.
3) Sift dry ingredients together.
4) Add dry ingredients to butter mix a bit at a time, alternating with wet ingredients; beginning and ending on dry ingredients.
5) In last dry ingredients set, toss the dried fruit (this is so it doesn't sink in the oven. N.B. based upon my own pantry, I used 50/50 dried cranberries and chopped dark chocolate).
6) Prepare your pan -- using a pastry brush, coat every inch with oil. Sprinkle flour over this oil, covering every inch. Tap the excess oil and flour out of the pan.
7) Carefully spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
8) Bake at 300F until done aka when the top springs back from touch and a testing skewer comes out cleanly.
9) Remove from pan immediately, and cool on rack.
10) Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Here's hoping it both GOES well and TASTES well!


Here it is!
It baked well (didn't even spill over though it domed SUPER high), it baked in a bit over an hour, it came out of the pan PERFECTLY, and the batter tasted good so I'm sure the cake will taste good. The white speckles on the cake are from the oil+flour that I used to prep the pan.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Skirt Drafting

The basic Edwardian 5-Gore Skirt pattern that I found was designed for a tiny person, with a length of only 36 inches. So as to keep the proportions the same, I found the length for MY person (45 inches roughly) and scaled it up. This involves dividing every number by 4, and then multiplying it by 5 for the finished numbers. (The image is of MY new numbers). This allows for a skirt front to have center front numbers from 5.5" -> 6.825", 11.5" -> 14.325" etc etc. It should be pretty obvious, but I go to the nearest 1/8th of an inch. I don't like fussing about sixteenths.

And that's the basics for redrafting a design that already has measurements all over it (like most Victorian/Edwardian drafting). The main difference between this pattern and my actual skirt will be length. I adjusted the pattern for full length, but I'm only going to go to upper calf length.

In order to do the wrap-around-Hong-Kong seam finish, while my wool will have 1" seam allowance all around, my silk will have 1.75" seam allowance, so as to allow for a 3/8" seam edging.

I will get a chance to start breaking into my fabric after my last student of the day, who should be here in 10 mins or so. I'm excited!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Updates on VSS and Suit

So I mailed out the package to my Secret Santa giftee yesterday. I wrapped everything and drew a little Christmas themed image with silver sharpie. I also wound up using the LAST of the burgundy/gold star wrapping paper that I got when I was in college! It's weird to not have it still around. :-P

I definitely didn't have time to make a full vintage suit before my wedding, but I'm borrowing a blouse from the mother of two of my students (her face when I said I'd find something lying around my house was absolutely hilarious), and I WILL have time to make the skirt for the suit this weekend.

While proctoring this week I finalized the design and I wrote out the steps. It'll be a upper-calf length skirt, based off of the Edwardian 5-gore skirt I used for Earnest, and with lots of pleating in the back panels. It'll also be flatlined with the wrap-around sneaky method (you wind up with "hong kong" finished edges as well as the lining.

Steps for Skirt
1) Re-draft pattern for my measurements. Make sure to adjust BOTH width and length uniformly.
2) Double check seam lengths before finalizing.
3) Cut out wool and silk.
4) Zigzag edges of all pieces.
5) Hem silk panels.
6) Attach silk to wool.
7) Stitch side seams.
8) Set zipper.
9) Pleat back panels.
10) Interface waistband.
11) Bias bind waistband edge.
12) Attach waistband; use stitch in the ditch coupled with bias bound edge for inner edge.
13) Attach hem tape to wool.
14) Catch stitch hem of wool.
15) Slip stitch silk hem to wool hem.
16) Handwork buttonhole.
17) Attach button and garment loops.

I will try to photodocument this process, but it's mostly straight forward.


I ALSO put together a basic step order for the suit jacket:
- make mock-up to test fit
- cut out wool
- bound buttonholes
- interfacing! carrier strips, pad stitching, tailor basting, etc.
- twill tape on roll line
- interlining
- seaming
- cut and sew lining
- attach pockets
- lining + jacket
- hand sew hems at sleeves and body

** Interline jacket with flannel to protect from hair canvas through thin lining **

interline sleeves?
add tiny double welt pockets near shoulder?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Chronically Vintage's Vintage Gift Exchange

Last year I was a bit of a bum and poor in my gifting and my giftee was amazingly generous. So I'll make up for that this year.

My person is newly married, expecting her first child, a crafter/sewer/knitter, and has an Edwardian home. So! I'm going to have four things in this, two of which are from my far-too-large collection in my own home. So firstly are a few trims and laces from the massive stash that I got from Mary a while back. 2 blue laces, a purple, white, 2 tan, red scalloped on white and blue/yellow scalloped on sheer.

I'm also going to give a table runner type object that's embroidered in white. It's currently washing in the sink and I'll press and starch it well too.

The next two things I ordered on Etsy. The first is a set of three adorable vintage framed children's prints. My person had mentioned knitting a baby blanket with bunny puff tails, so I looked for bunnies.

I also got a Marion Harland cookbook from the 1870s. I love my Marion Harland's Complete Cookbook and wanted to share the joy of quirky Victorian/Edwardian cookbooks with their comments about cleaning and how to deal with maids.

The Etsy description is:
Here is a very interesting and hard to find copy of “Common Sense in the Household: A Manual of Practical Housewifery” by Marion Harland, published in 1874. This antique cookbook is loaded with interested recipes. The spine is nicely decorated with gold lettering. The contents of this book include Blanc-mange, Bread, Brandied Fruits, Butter, Cakes, Candy, Canned Fruits and Vegetables, Catsups, to Clean, Company, Corn Bread, Creams, Custards, Drinks, Eggs, Familiar Talks, Fish, Ripe Fruit for Dessert, Game, Gingerbread, Ices, Ice-cream, Icing, Jellies, Fruit Jellies, Meats, Milk, The Nursery, Pancakes, Pickles, Pies, Preserves, Pork, Poultry, Puddings, Salads, Sauces for Fish and Meat, Servants, The Sick-room, Shell-fish, Soap, Soups, Sundries, Tarts, Vegetables, and Flavored Vinegars! The binding of this book is holding strong with all pages intact. Look at some of the great contents! This book measures approximately 5” x 7 ¾” and has 556 pages. A great book for any collection!

This is an original cookbook from 1874, it is over 140 years old!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


So after a long phone call to Mood Monday, I got my order straightened out. They've been having problems with their email system, and I should expect my order by the end of this week.

I ordered red and black herringbone wool for my suit (finally getting around to that...), peridot silk for the lining and a matching blouse (probably a pussy bow cause I want one), and a blush silk to make myself a new slip. I still need to purchase thread (which I'll do when it arrives) and hair canvas but that I can do at my local store. Boy am I happy that Y and I spent this semester working on a tailored jacket for her pattern drafting class. I feel much more confident in my ability to do this. As to whether or not I'll make A's suit... probably not. I would like to, but I still don't have a working pattern that I feel confident in and I lost a lot of steam. Maybe when my MassArt kids go on break and my concerts are over I'll find the time? But then I only have a week. And mysteriously there are other things I could do with that week. Like clean my house. Start teaching baby oboe how to make reeds.

In other news, my crocheted turban has up and disappeared. I last saw it on the night of strike for Earnest (so... 11/21). I was going to wear it that night, and then haven't seen it since. So I'm trying to decide if I want to make it again. I really liked it, but that sounds like effort.

I want to buy the wool to replace my zip up lace up jacket since it's falling apart in every direction and it's such a great coat. Maybe I'll actually finish my fur lined one this year too? It's not been cold enough to need it so far.