Monday, March 26, 2012

Pattern review: Lisette Portfolio Tunic

For the amount of times I've searched for pattern reviews and finished garment images online, I feel I owe other sewers my 2 cents' worth when I actually make something.  I've started doing that recently, after a whole week of sewing a pretty dress (on the pattern envelope) and ending up with a sack (on me).  I'm not sure I'm ready to review that one yet though...

If you are not a regular reader, just some background: I'm a pretty experienced sewer, but when it comes to clothes, I'd say I'm at an intermediate level. I'm a size 12 here in New Zealand (which is around an 8 US, I think) and about 1.7m tall.

Earlier this year I was given some beautiful printed wool or wool-blend fabric.  The pattern is lovely close-up and reminds me of the Chrysler Building; very Art Deco.  I decided to use it for my new Lisette Portfolio tunic (Simplicity 2245).  I had seen so many amazing examples in the Flickr pool and elsewhere, and it looks like one of their most popular patterns.  Safety in numbers, right.  Right.  It's a very versatile garment, and can be worn as is with leggings or with layers underneath.  I'm looking forward to wearing it with skinny jeans and boots and merino tops underneath this winter.

I love the pockets! What a great design: the middle front panel widens out towards the bottom and ends in the pockets.  They are perfect for a dress, and I'm very keen to try incorporating them into my all-time favorite dress from the book Sewing Talk.  I made the folded cuffs, and will try the longer sleeves next time.

I used a couple of vintage buttons from my stash for the simple closure on the back.  I like their instructions about turning the loops with a needle facing backwards (sew thread to end of loop, draw needle eye forward through loop).

All up, a nice, versatile pattern and garment.  My main problem is the fabric I chose. The busy patterns  hide the details that made me want to make this in the first place: the small square yoke at the top of the middle panel and the flattering line of that panel into the pockets. Next time I will use a solid color in linen or even a lightweight corduroy, as I've seen on Flickr. I am also keen to use piping on the front panel, although that might be a bit ambitious.

The fit is a bit shapeless too, but I think that has something to do with my sizing. Next time I will take it in a bit in the waist and cut the lower part slightly wider (I cut it out as a 12, but think I should have done 14 for the skirt part). To wear it with leggings, I'd like to lengthen it by about 4cm because it's a well-known fact that leggings are not pants :)

Monday, March 19, 2012


Just a quick post to let you know who won the giveaway: numbers 2, 10 and 12, who turn out to be Jacqui, Melissa and Kitty444.  Congratulations ladies, can you please forward me your addresses so I can get your Bakers Delight vouchers to you?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The hutch

Meet my little china cabinet, or Hutch, as I like to call her.  She came to us via TradeMe, with broken glass, a missing back and the ugliest handles you've ever seen; a cheaply-made pine cupboard with pretty scallops.   As you might have noticed before, I see The Potential in everything and had to have her.  About a dozen coats of paint, and all the replacement parts later, I think she looks a million dollars.  She houses my random collection of tea party china and jugs, which coordinate very well with the bit of color I used on the inside.  It's 'Chinook' by Resene, by the way; one of my favourite colors of all time.


Update: as usual I just jumped in and started painting before I took any photos, but it was an  almost orange varnished pine with these handles.  Looking at them now, I wonder how they would look with some, ahem, paint.  It's the answer to everything, you know. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tea time (and a giveaway)

I'm dying to show you my almost-completed project: a new china cabinet/hutch.  It's sat in the garage for a couple of months, patiently awaiting a paint job, but now it's in the house. Dare I say everything around it is in chaos: there are boxes of junk to sort through now, but this is all I see.  It still needs a few finishing touches, and then I'll show you properly.     

While we're on the subject of tea (cups); how about some hot cross buns? I don't like advertising products on my blog, but this is for a really good cause and you can also benefit: it's time for the Baker's Delight Bundraiser again. They are running a fundraiser on Saturday, 24th of March in which $1 from every pack of hot cross buns sold will go towards Starship Hospital, so if you're planning on buying some buns, make sure you do so on the 24th.

I have 3 vouchers worth $10 each to give away. You can just leave a comment here or on Facebook; tell me how you like to eat your hot cross buns and I'll do a random draw next Monday. Make sure I can reach you, so leave an email address if you're not on Blogger. It's only open to NZ residents, but they are running similar giveaways for Australian customers on their website. 

My favourite ways to eat hot cross-buns are 1: toasted and buttered and 2: made into bread and butter pudding.  We had this one tonight and I can guarantee there'll be requests for second helpings. I used Baker's Delight choc chop buns, added some blueberries and served it with custard. Very very nice! Here's my recipe, based on Edmonds':

Hot cross bun Bread and Butter Pudding (feeds 4-6)
4-6 buns, depending on size (I used 4)
2 cups of milk
3 eggs
handful of blueberries
a teaspoon or two of sugar (not necessary when you're using chic chip buns)

Cut the buns into quarters or eighths, layer with blueberries.  Whisk eggs and milk together and pour over buns.  Leave for 15 min and then bake at 180 degrees C for about 30 min.  Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with cream, milk or custard. Enjoy :)