Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stew and Soup Season

As the temperature drops, my desire to eat stew and soup increases. In the past two weeks I've learned a couple of new techniques. The first is for beef stews. Since reading Jane Garmey's Great British Cooking, I've been cooking meat stews in the oven in an enameled dutch oven. Everything cooks evenly, nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan, and clean up is a breeze. Last weekend I took a look at one of her stew recipes and came away with this tip. Layer the ingredients in the pan so that the potatoes are sitting on top. Add liquid (whatever you generally use) only as high as the bottom of the potato layer. Cook the stew covered for the first hour and a half. Remove the lid, brush the potatoes with a little oil or melted butter, and cook for another half hour. The potatoes will develop a nice skin and brown a little. It's a simple technique that adds extra flavor and texture to a humble beef stew.

The other technique is more about mind set when it comes to root vegetable soups. For years I've been making New England Squash Soup from Moosewood Rataurant's Low-Fat Favorites. It's a delicious pureed butternut squash soup. Recently a friend gave me an immersion blender, and with my CSA share I've been getting all sorts of root vegetables. I started looking for recipes for other pureed root vegetable soups, but everything I found involved multiple pounds of one particular vegetable. Then I helped prepare soup for a church event. The recipe we followed had a little of everything in it - potatoes, celeriac, butternut squash, parsnips, carrots, and turnip. What a revelation! Yesterday I dug through my stash of assorted root vegetables and just went for it. I sauted an onion in a little oil, and then through in celeriac, parsnips, turnips, and a butternut squash that wasn't going to last much longer. I added water, cooked until everything was soft, and stuck in the immersion blender. It was delicious. It's the kind of "recipe" that will turnout different each time, but that is one of things I enjoy about cooking.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Root Vegetable and Sausage Soup Recipe

Root Vegetable and Sausage Soup

I made this soup with root vegetables from my late fall CSA share from Farmer Dave's and sausage from my meat CSA share from Houde Family Farm. The tomatoes also came from Farmer Dave's. One week during the summer tomatoes were "take what you want," and I froze some.

You can use any kind of sausage you like. I use a fairly mild breakfast sausage. Italian sausage would work just as well. Other possible additions to the soup include a cup or two of cooked cannellini beans (rinsed and drained if from a can) added with the tomatoes or celery added just after the leeks. 

2 leeks or one medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots (or a couple of handfuls of little carrots), diced
2 parsnips, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
2 cups chopped tomatoes with their juice

1/2 to 3/4 pound sausage, loose

Fresh parsley (optional)


Saute the leeks or onions in a little olive oil. Add the carrots, parsnips, and potatoes. Saute for a few moments. Add the tomatoes and enough water to cover. Bring the soup to a boil and turn down to a gentle simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Make small meatballs with the sausage. (They shouldn't even be as a big as a walnut.) Gently lay the meatballs on top of the simmering soup. Cook until the vegetabes are tender and the meatballs are cooked through. Add additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Add chopped parsley, if using, right before serving.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Return to Normalcy - with two quick recipes

Twelve weeks and six days into my pregnancy, I'm slowly starting to feel normal again. So, when I picked up my late fall CSA share this afternoon, I was not only happy to see the abundance of vegetables, I also had the energy to cook some of them.

This week the share included:


For dinner (along with some Italian bread) we had:

Eggs and Spinach

Spinach, washed with stems removed
Garlic, chopped
Eggs, 4 beaten with salt, pepper, and a splash of milk

Cook the spinach in a small saucepan. Saute the garlic in some olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the spinach. Pour the eggs on top. You can cook this fritata style letting the bottom brown and leaving the top runny, or you can mix the whole concotion until the eggs are cooked through. Serve with pecorino for grating.

Carrot, Apple, Kohlrabi Salad

Carrots, 4 medium
Kohlrabi, 3 small or one large

Grate the first two and chop the apple. Dress with mayo, mustard, salt, and pepper. The quantities really are personal. I tend to be light-handed with both mayo and mustard.

That's it. It's an easy, fresh dinner using local vegetables in December, and unlike many dinners that I have made in the past seven nausea-ridden weeks, I actually enjoyed every bite.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Pregnant Locavore

In general I pride myself on being a bit of a locavore, at least as far as fruit and vegetables are concerned. During the past few years, I haven't bought any fruit or veg from the grocery store from late June through the fall. One year we made it all the way through Christmas. This summer I had a CSA share and visited the markets in Boston once a week. No grocery store for me! My plan was to continue this through to Christmas again. I signed up for a late fall CSA share and was very excited to see the Dewey Square market extended into December. Then I got pregnant, tired, and nauseous. All summer long I loved finding new recipes to go with the veg I got in my share. We tried and enjoyed everything, and I carefully preserved what we couldn't eat. Now, I have no appetite for culinary adventure, and no extra energy for running into town for that certain vegetable for that new recipe that I'm dying to try. Plus, what I'm in the mood to eat changes day to day. So tonight the pregnant locavore is making pasta fazool with canned tomatoes and beans and a tossed salad made almost entirely of grocery store vegetables. Oh, well. There's always next year.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Alessia at 1

Today my baby girl turns 1. It's hard to believe. A year ago she could only see shadows, she couldn't hold up her head or straighten her limbs, she didn't know how to smile or giggle, she had those strange black newborn poops. Now she cruises all over the house, laughs when tickled, picks books off the shelf and brings them to me, and screams in protest when something is taken away from her. She's the worst napper ever and still has no real interest in solids. She's one of the most social creatures I've ever seen. She flirts with old ladies, small children, burly men covered in tattoos, entire families of tourists, and old drunks. She doesn't last more than a half hour in a car, but can go hours on the subway and bus. She kicks all the time - in the stroller, while having a diaper changed, in the tub, when happy, and when frustrated and angry. She loves a good strong breeze in her face and in her hair, which she has in abundance, and I still can't bring myself to cut. She lights up when her dadda enters a room and adores the very sound of her kitty walking down our old creaky stairs.

Today I've been a mom for a whole year. I've learned to roll with the punches more, not care if chores don't get done as planned, and take advantage of odd momenta to play and go for walks. I love being a stay-at-home mom. I get to see every little thing as it unfolds, like when she spent a week very deliberately practicing holding two things in one hand. We make our own schedules and get to take our lunch outside whenever we please. I love seeing my husband be a dad, and my daughter lighting up when her dad comes home at the end of each day. I'm more tired than I would like, especially since I'm currently pregnant again, but I'm also happier than I've ever been.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Cozy House... and a pantry stocked

Yesterday we turned the heat on, which must mean that Winter is officially on its way. I love this time of year. The air is crisp, as are the apples. The blankets are cozy, and I want to turn on my oven and bake something. This summer I've put some effort into preserving local fruit and vegetables for the winter. My stash includes chopped and sauced tomatoes, bell peppers, green beans, carrots, turnips, squash, chard, kale, and collard greens. I have strawberries, blueberries, and peaches frozen whole for winter treats. There are jars of pickles, relishes, and jams. The freezer holds meat from our CSA share, and there is a revolving supply of frozen beans.

When I think of this bounty, I find myself humming a Scottish song about the difficulties of a highland winter. The last verse goes like this:

A cozy house and a canty wife
Aye, keep a body cheery
A pantry stockt wi' meat and drink
They answer uncouth rarely

Do your worst, Old Man Winter, we're ready for you!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Halloween Costumes in the Making

I've been working on Halloween costumes for a few weeks now.  I'm going to be the Queen of the Forest, and Alessia is going to be a tree sprite. At first I was going to make her a tree fairy, but the more I thought about putting wings on a one-year-old, the more I realized that was a bad idea.  So I adjusted the concept to tree sprite.  She's in charge of the maple trees in my neighborhood.  Tree sprites are mischievous, wild creatures.  They have little in the way of a tailoring culture and their clothes resemble the leaves of their charges. If they wear ornaments at all, they are found objects - bits of ribbons stolen from passing maidens and such.

Her costume is a little tunic dress.  I'm going out of my way to avoid tailored details.  The seams will be overlapped and top sewn with heavy embroidery floss. The neck and arm holes will be left raw and fraying.  I've used fabric pastels to create leaves across the bottom hem, and I'm going to trim the fabric around the shapes of the leaves.  I have ribbons from presents she got before she was born.  Bits and pieces of them will peek out from behind the leaves and tie the back opening shut. Even if she would wear a headdress, she doesn't need one with her mop of unkempt blonde hair.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Italian Composed Salads

As much as I enjoy composed salads, I don't make them very often. For some reason I find it tedious to cook each ingredient separately. This week I got cranberry beans in my CSA share. Since I've never eaten them before, let alone cooked them, I went straight to my cookbooks. Verdura by Viana LaPlace is one of my favorites. LaPlace has multiple recipes for salads with borlotti beans, which are very similar to cranberry beans. This is my slight variation on one of her recipes:

Several potatoes, boiled and diced
Green beans, boiled and halved
Cranberry beans, boiled
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Basil (I only had two leaves left)
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar

I lightly tossed all the ingredients on a platter, which is much more impressive looking than a big bowl. I served it with sliced hard boiled eggs for some added protein. Very delicious and pretty, too.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lamb Stew with Butternut Squash

This week in my CSA share we got butternut squash. With the weekly newsletter was a recipe for pork and butternut squash stew in a slow cooker. I don't have a slow cooker, and I didn't have any stew pork in the house, but the idea intrigued me. Participating in both vegetable and meat CSA shares often means that I can't strictly follow recipes, because I just don't have certain ingredients. I have learned certain cooking techniques though, that let me make use of what I do have in interesting ways.

So, I had the butternut squash, but I didn't have the pork. I did, however, have a package of lamb for stew, and a leftover leek, a tomato, and some scallions that needed eating. Here's what I did.

Brown lamb in a little olive oil. Remove lamb from pan. Add chopped leek and scallion. Saute until wilted. Add chopped rosemary and tarragon from the garden and saute a bit more. Add lamb back in and saute for a few minutes so that it sucks up the onion flavor. Add a peeled, seeded, and chopped tomato. Once the tomato releases its juices, scrape the bottom of the pan. Add salt and water, cover the pan, and let simmer for 2 hours. Add peeled and chopped butternut squash. Simmer until the squash is tender. Done!

Monday, September 26, 2011


Two bits of background information:

First, when I got my sewing machine and tried the automatic buttonhole maker I thought all of 20th century technology had arrived at my house in one remarkable invention. Never, I boldly proclaimed, would I ever need to make a buttonhole by hand,

Second, when Adam was a teenager, many years before I knew him, he bought a tweed jacket at a used clothing store.

The story itself:

Two weeks ago when the weather became truly fall-like, Adam came downstairs happily wearing his favorite tweed jacket. I realized that the buttonholes were getting a little ratty and decided to take a closer look. (This might have been my first mistake.) I quickly realized that the rattiness was not the buttonhole thread. The buttonhole thread was gone completely, and the rattiness was the fabric of the jacket starting to unravel. For one brief moment I thought of my bold proclamation about "never" making buttonholes by hand and then realized that that was just what I was about to do.

It's actually not unpleasant work. I wouldn't do it by choice on a new piece of clothing, but to save an old favorite, a jacket that Adam has enjoyed for so many years, an item of clothing that has become a symbol of fall for me, it's worth it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hot Peppers to Spare

I get hot peppers with my CSA share. As much as I like spicy food, I just don't use the hot peppers fast enough. This is a quick way to preserve a small amount of hot peppers, without canning or drying.

A couple of handfuls of hot peppers
About two cups of vinegar (white vinegar has a bite to it, apple cider vinegar has a bit of sweetness)
1/4tsp salt
Pint jar (or larger) with a plastic lid

Seed the peppers. (You might want to wear gloves for this. I generally don't. I'm very careful not to touch the cut sides or insides of the peppers.) Mince them by hand or throw them in a food processor. Pack them into the clean jar. Heat the vinegar and dissolve the salt. Pour the vinegar mixture over the peppers. If there is not enough vinegar to completely cover the peppers, add more. Cap the jar and keep in the refrigerator.

If you don't have a plastic lid, put a layer of plastic wrap or waxed paper between the lid and the jar. The pure vinegar will corrode a metal lid.

I use this in cooked dishes, like stir fries or chilli. Since I don't know how hot the finished mix of peppers will be, I add a little at a time. I also use this method to preserve slices of jalapenos, sometimes adding garlic and peppercorns. Whenever we have "Mexican Night" we pile them on our tacos and burritos.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sewing (and more)

I was feeling bad about not writing more. The problem is while I love sewing, there are many other things I love as well. Right now on my counter there are three pounds of tomatoes waiting to be processed, a small jar of cucumbers quietly becoming pickles, and a bowl of rising bread dough. Plus upstairs there is a baby taking a nap. So it occured to me that what I should really do is have a blog about all of my domestic pursuits. Those of you who know me may have noticed my new email signature "Educator, Dolly Domestic Extraordinaire." Well it seems as if all the cool blog names about domestic pursuits - dolly domestic, domestic diva, urban hearth, etc. - are taken. So, for now at least, "sewing Without Zippers" will become "Sewing (and more) Without Zippers," and when I think of a new name, then we'll deal with that.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my expanded blog, where DIY meets SAHM meets locavore foodie.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Eating Local (a non-sewing post)

Today I made a locavore meal for a friend’s birthday.  For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, locavore is generally defined as eating within a 250 mile radius, as far as one can easily drive in a day. (You can plug your zip code into this online tool to find out your locavore area.) With the pre-decided exceptions of olive oil and coffee (and the last minute decision to include Sicilian passito with dessert), everything else in the meal was “local.” The veg and fruit were all from Mass. farms (including our CSA share from Farmer Dave’s in Dracut) and the salt from the Main Sea Salt Company.

The menu included:
  • Burrata cheese from Fiore di Nonno in Somerville (milk from Mass. Farms) - served with tomatoes and arugula, basil from the garden, olive oil, and salt
  • Grilled rack of lamb from Houde Family Farm in Vermont, seasoned with olive oil, salt, garlic scapes, and rosemary from the garden
  • Tatsoi prepared with olive oil and garlic scapes, grilled beets and turnips, bread made with flour from Four Star Farms in Mass., and butter from Maine
  • Ricotta cheese (made at home from regional milk), sweetened with Mass. honey, and topped with local strawberries
  • Dinner was enjoyed with Turtle Creek Cab Sav (from Lincoln, Mass.) and dessert with espresso and the aforementioned passito wine from Sicily

The meal was delicious.  Who can beat local strawberries in season, cheese made by hand and eaten truly fresh (the burrata was made two days ago and the ricotta hours before being eaten), vegetables that had seen the sun just days before hand, and bread fresh out of the oven. 

It was very satisfying to be able to name each item’s origins. Wine from Lincoln – I’ve worked there. Lamb from St. Johnsbury’s Vermont – I’ve been there on vacation. Herbs from my own little back yard garden. Flour from the Pioneer Valley where I went to college.

As I made the meal there was another layer though.  Sure, I can make bread from locally grown wheat flour, but where does yeast come from?  And what did people do before it came in little jars and paper packets?  I can use local milk to make ricotta, but where did the citric acid come from, and what did people do before you could sit down at a computer and order such things from the New England Cheesemaking Company?

There are many forces behind the locavore movement.  For many people it’s a desire to eat healthier.  Most packaged foods are off-limits, and e-coli outbreaks rarely happen in small farms. There’s a DYI aspect.  Much of the locavore movement is based on buying individual fresh ingredients and cooking at home. Making your own cheese and bread, or beer as recently highlighted on NPR, marries the desire to eat well with the desire to get one’s hands dirty.  Even buying from local manufacturers satisfies the desire to know how things are made as they are often more transparent about their processes than big companies.  Micro-brew-restaurants have visible beer tanks, and small chocolate shops have open kitchens. It also comes from a desire to feel grounded.  Americans have a history of movement. We often describe ourselves in terms of where our ancestors came from and think nothing of turning 18 and moving cross country to go to college and then moving again for that first job. Eating local connects us to the place we live, even if we can’t claim long-established roots there.

For me it also involves my desire to know how people lived their everyday lives in the past. What does it mean to eat only locally grown fruit and vegetables the way people did for centuries before refrigerated shipping? While in some ways it seems limiting, it also removes the sometimes painfully taxing decision-making process that is involved in going to the grocery store.  At the grocery store every kind of fruit (and multiple varieties of each kind) are on display all year long.  In the locavore approach, if I’m in the mood for fruit and it’s June, I eat strawberries. And I know that they are going to be amazing strawberries. I also want to know what role food has played in our culture. Why has bread been considered sacred in European cultures as far back as the Greeks? Adding yeast to flour is a faith-based act.  Every time I do it, I believe that the seemingly inert yeast will once again come to life and breathe life into the flour. And every time it happens I am once again amazed. (But I still wonder how people did it before yeast came in packets.)

In the end I guess that’s where all the different layers, the different angles, the different attractions of the locavore movement come together.  Eating local can making eating a sacred act, can give it spirit and depth, can make it more than just filling my belly. And it's also so delicious.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The boring inbetween bits.....

For a few weeks now, I’ve been spending odd moments here and there making these:

 But, you might be thinking, they’re boring, just uninteresting prints in shades of beige and brown.  One of the things I love about quilting is the relationship between the part and the whole.  When I look at these pieces, I agree with you.  They’re boring, not at all interesting, kind of blah. They are part though of a quilt with 25 brightly colored stars, like this one:

And this one:

Each star is different. The boring pieces are part of the sashing, the spaces between the stars.  All alone they are boring, but in the context of the whole they are going to hold together all those brightly colored stars and make them pop off the surface of the quilt. So, they might be boring, but they still have their role to play. There’s probably a metaphor about life here, but I’m essentially a quilter, not a writer, so I’m not going to try and put that into words.  I’ll just let the finished quilt do the talking.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Zero-waste in fashion design

There has been talk on blogs lately about the zero-waste concept in fashion design.  The idea is that the fabric is cut in such a way that (almost) every last bit is used.  Conventional fabric design (as anyone who has worked with a purchased pattern knows) is very wasteful in its use of fabric, and so the idea of using the fabric more economically (and therefore environmentally) is welcome. 

Zero-waste is not a new concept though.  Traditionally all over the world (including Europe and the US) fabric has been used in as economical a way as possible. Weaving fabric by hand was (and is) very labor-intensive and thus it was used with great care. For most people this has meant that their clothes were designed using rectangular construction.  Rectangular construction involves cutting the fabric into squares and rectangles, some of which may be cut in half to produce triangles.  The classic peasant skirt is two rectangles sewn into a tube and then gathered into a waist band made of one or more rectangles. 

Below is a purple jacket made on this concept:

And a brown tunic:

The body of the tunic is one long rectangle folded in half.  The jacket is two rectangles with small wedges cut out at the shoulder lines. The front rectangle was split up the center.  The sleeves of the tunic are two trapezoids cut in such a way that they nested against each other.  The sleeves of the jacket are rectangles.  In both cases rectangles were split into triangles in order to add width from the waist line to the hem. You can see this more clearly in the below photo.

Generously sized and long (mid-thigh), each project took a mere two yards of fabric and all that was left on the cutting table was a few scraps. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Progress (or more specifically, the lack there of)

This Sunday was my baby girl's baptism, and so little sewing happened for well over a week.  I am hoping to finish the purple jacket this week.  More this weekend.....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Alessia is learning to sleep swaddled in a swing, which means I've done a bit of hand sewing lately.  I slip stitched the lining to the body of the purple jacket, and I sewed up the hem.  I need to attach the closures and turn up the cuffs.  I'll have photos this weekend. Yeah!

Monday, March 7, 2011

In Progress

I have managed to get some work done recently.  I'm slip stitching the sleeves of the purple jacket closed and have ironed up the hem. I also resewed the areas where the sleeve seams meet the body seams so that they don't pucker any more. There are no pics.  No excuses.  I just haven't gotten my act together enough to do it.

I also dug out an old skirt that my husband bought me in Cambodia some years ago.  It's a straight wrap skirt.  I've never worn it, because I don't like straight cut skirts, but I do take it out every now and then and touch the lovely decorative band across the hem.  I'm thinking of making a pair of loose yoga pants (from the Sew Everything Workshop book) and using the decorative band from the skirt.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Skirts and Bog People

A few years ago I learned how to fit skirts.  The result at the time was that I had several skirts that fit me like, well, like they were made for me.  The unfortunate long-term result is that none of those skirts now fit my post-partum body.  This was getting slightly depressing, so I cut out a skirt today.

The fabric is from IKEA.  It's a bit stiff, but the print is just too much fun.

The pattern is from the book Sew Everything Workshop. It's a wrap skirt.  I think the fabric is too stiff to create an all-in-one waistband and ties.  I might look for some black bias tape to use instead.

And how does this fit into the sewing-without-zippers philosophy?  According to Elizabeth Wayland Barber in Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years wrap skirts are probably the oldest form of clothing there is, with a few examples dating back thousands of years. Think fashion for bog people!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Purple Jacket

Last spring I bought some purple wool at Winmill Fabrics and spent months hemming and hawing about what to use for a lining. Then in late summer I bought flaming orange curtains for my bedroom from IKEA.  The best thing about IKEA curtains are they all come "puddle length" and include a package of iron-on hem facing.  After I cut the curtains down to size I realized that I had found the perfect lining for the purple wool. The orange fabric is a fairly heavy cotton which gives some body to the relatively loosely woven wool.

The pattern is pure rectangular construction.  Two long rectangles for the body, two rectangles for the sleeves, and two rectangles cut in half diagonally for the side gores.  I didn't plan on underarm gussets, because the sleeves are so wide.  I may go back and put them in, as there is a bit of pulling where the sleeves meet the body. I still need to hem the purple wool and finish the sleeve hems.  I am planning on stitching the two layers together and making turned back cuffs so that the orange lining shows.  There's also some finishing work to do on the inside. I can't wait to wear this.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The little dress in progress

I've made progress on the baby dress in the last week.  I gathered the top and sewed the outside half of the yoke pieces on.  I also sewed the inside pieces of the yoke on at the neck line.

I haven't made gathers by hand before.  At first, I was a little stressed about making the gathers perfectly even, and then I remembered that the key difference between formal pleats and informal gathers is that gathers aren't expected to be perfectly even. Once I figured that out, the process went pretty quickly.

I wasn't crazy about using polyester binding on the armholes and didn't want to spend the time making bias binding.  So I sewed a narrow baby hem.  While I've read in plenty of places that a curved opening flares when hemmed, this is really only true when working by machine.  Sewing by hand with a relatively thin fabric, the hemmed armholes came out nice and smooth.

The next steps are the back opening and the bottom ruffle.  I don't have enough of the gold fabric to make the ruffle quite as ruffle-y as the pattern calls for.  So I may substitute another fabric. We'll see.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

French Seams Anyone?

For the little dress I decided on French seams.  When sewing by hand French seams have several advantages.  First, I never have to sew through more then two layers.  Second, the seam allowances are controlled without making tedious whip stitches.  So here's the process.

First, I sewed a seam with the wrong sides of the fabric held together.  That's right.  Unlike most seams, this starts with the wrong sides held together.  Since the pattern includes 3/8 inch seams allowances, I sewed a 1/8 inch seam.

I then turned the dress inside out and pressed the seam open.

Next, I folded the work on the seam line with right sides together. The seam allowances are sandwiched in between now.

Finally, I sewed a 1/4 inch seam, encasing the seam allowances.

I used two different stitches when sewing the seams.  Since the first seam is not the primary seam, I used a simple running stitch.  For the second seam I could have used a backstitch, but my running stitch is quite strong, so I compromised.  I took three running stitches on my needle at a time and alternated with a backstitch to reinforce the seam.  This is a technique that quilters often use.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Tiny Little Dress

A few weeks ago I bought the book Making Baby's Clothes, and yesterday I finally got started on a cute little dress for Alessia.  So how does this fit into the "Sewing Without Zippers" philosophy?  First, I'm removing the back zipper.  What baby wants to lie down to nap on a zipper?  And I'm replacing it with a ribbon tie.  Second, I'm sewing the dress by hand with French seams. Most days the only time I really have to sew is the hour or two after she goes to bed and before I conk out, and I'd rather spend that time in my pyjamas sitting in bed than sitting at my sewing table.  So hand sewing it is. Tomorrow I'll post photos of the French seams in progress and the modifications I'm making to the back seam.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another sewing blog?

This one is different, I promise. The three ideas behind this blog are:
Pre-zipper fashion techniques – sometimes really pre-zipper.  The Egyptians wrapped themselves in transparent linen. How fabulous is that? 

But not garb for reenacting – making clothes for today, but taking inspiration from period fashion. I love the layered look of early medieval clothing.  Now how do I recreate that without looking like I’m going to a Halloween party?

Pre-zipper fabrics – in other words, natural fabrics.  I understand that scientists are hard at work everyday creating undeniably gorgeous synthetic fabrics.  I’ll take old-fashioned linen, cotton, wool, and silk.

Now, I'm writing this with my 10-week-old daughter asleep on my stomach (the only place she is willing to sleep during the day), so I know I won't get to post here as much as I would like, but I figure I have to start somewhere.  So here we go......