April 25, 2014

Sew: Tessuti Anita Ponti Pants

These pants were almost in the "too boring to blog" category but I wanted to show you the adjustment I did on them to make them more wearable for me.

I made this pattern up twice last winter, in black and a charcoal print, with mixed results. They were extremely comfortable but not so flattering. Pants that bordered on being leggings were not the best choice for me. I still wear the black ones around home and even took them camping. The grey ones were donated.

I'm lucky to wear my weight fairly evenly distributed across my body. I do carry weight on my hips and I have large calves. Shopping for knee high boots is a nightmare!! I wanted the comfort and ease of wear of these ponti pants but I wanted them to be more flattering and less tight from the hips down. On one of my internet perusing sessions I discovered this tutorial on the Colette website on how to adjust a pattern for large legs. It was a light bulb moment!

So I hacked in to my Anita ponti pants pattern and added about 1cm to each side of the leg from the crotch line down. It worked a treat. I do have a bit of bagging around my knee but I think this is from the divot created where my large-ish thighs meet my large large carves. Something I'll have to live with. The photos above show where the fabric has also bagged a bit from wearing them two days in a row.

Project Details
Pattern: Tessuti Anita Ponti Pants, size 14
Fabric: Four way stretch black ponti from Clegs Brunswick
Alterations: Lengthened 10cm, raised back rise by 2.5cm, large leg adjustment 1cm each side

I wore them to work yesterday with my digital floral peplum top. It was like secretly wearing tracksuit pants all day!!

L x
April 23, 2014

Sew: Vogue 8916 Pencil Skirt

My work wardrobe is seriously lacking of late. I made a lot of work clothes towards the end of 2012 and these beloved dresses are nearing the end of their life cycle. My favourite work dress has lining that is deteriorating rapidly. Every time I sit down at my desk, I hear a tiny rip. But I just can't bring myself to part with it yet... 

I do love a good work dress and sheath dresses are my favourite. The sheath dress is closely followed by a pencil skirt. I don't own many, a problem I'm hoping to rectify soon, but my favourite is the Autumn Pencil Skirt. I wear that skirt a lot. 

Sorry (not sorry!) for the dodgy early morning photos and "renovator's delight" backdrop. Sometimes I just need to snap a few photos when I first wear an item because if I don't, I know I won't ever take photos of it. Also, the basic items are the hardest to photograph. They're just a bit too boring.

The pattern is a relatively new Vogue Patterns Wardrobe pattern, Vogue 8916. There are very limited reviews of it on the web. It comes with a blouse, skirt, dress and jacket. I like the look of all items except the dress. It is a great basic work wardrobe pattern.

In terms of construction, it came together really quickly and easily. I made two slight changes to the pattern. Instead of putting darts in the lining pieces, I simply folded the fabric to create a pleat. This is my preferred way of doing linings. Also, the skirt pattern is missing a kick pleat. I added one in using another pattern. Who wears a pencil skirt without a kick pleat?! How can one walk?

The fabric is a lovely wool suiting from Tessuti that I grabbed from the remnant table. I'm not usually a remnant shopper but this was a wide piece and enough for a pencil skirt. The print is actually tiny white polka dots on a black background but looks like a charcoal grey from a distance. It has a lovely feel to it but does not keep a press. I swear I ironed this skirt excessively before taking these photos!

Project Details
Pattern: Vogue 8916, view D, size 18
Fabric: 100% wool suiting remnant from Tessuti Melbourne
Lining: Black goldliner lining from Clegs Brunswick
Alterations: Added a kick pleat

Overall, I'm really pleased with the basic addition to my work wardrobe. I will most definitely use this pattern again in the future but my next pencil skirt will be using Simplicity 2343 again. Probably in a thick black cotton with a waffle print.

Watch this space!

L x
April 22, 2014

Cook: Spiced Stewed Prunes

The cold weather is fast approaching around here. I'm secretly glad as I love dressing up in stockings, scarves, jackets and boots. I'm sure I'll regret that soon as this is our first year of footy in what I feel will be many years of weekly Saturday morning winter footy with these two crazy boys. It might be time to invest in a good umbrella and woolen socks...

Cold mornings mean porridge for me and the boys. I love the stuff and so do my boys. Thankfully it is cheap, easy and fills them up for the day ahead. We go through a few kilos of rolled oats a week. I currently use 3 cups of oats every morning but should probably up that to 4 cups.

I like to top my milky oats with stewed fruit or a chopped banana and a dollop of honey. Last week I made poached quinces which were delicious. This week it is stewed prunes. I know people think they're old fashioned and not fancy enough to mention. But I love them!

I'm currently on a mission to clean out the pantry cupboard in preparation for our renovation. This includes the drinks cupboard. Pear vodka anyone?? I found an opened bottle of dessert wine that I thought would stew up nicely with prunes and a few spices. I'm pleased to report it was a success!

1kg pitted prunes
1 cup dessert wine
1/2 cup water
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon or 1 stick of cinnamon
1/2 nutmeg grated

Throw all ingredients in a medium saucepan and gently simmer for approximately 10 minutes until prunes are plump and surrounded by a lovely syrup. Allow to cool before storing in the fridge.

Serve warm on porridge oats in the morning or with custard as a dessert.

Also, does anyone have any suggestions for how to use pear vodka? Cooking or cocktail recipes welcome!

L x

April 21, 2014

Bake: Anzac Biscuits

These coconut Anzac biscuits are an all year favourite around here. They are excellent for school lunch boxes and last well in the cupboard. With Anzac Day this Friday, I thought Anzac biscuits would be perfect for this week's daily baked good lunchbox treat.

Am I the only person who calls their baked items, baked goods?? My husband thinks I'm a loony when I ask if he'd like a baked good with his lunch...

My recipe for Anzac biscuits has been adapted from a recipe given to me by a friend a few years ago. The original recipe has more sugar but I prefer them less sweet. I always make a double batch.

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup coconut flakes
125 g butter
2 tbs golden syrup
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
2 tbs water

Preheat oven to 180C. Combine oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a large mixing bowl. Melt butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add bicarb soda and water and allow to froth. Add hot, frothy syrup mixture to dry ingredients and mix well. Roll into balls and squish flat before baking until golden brown (about 10 minutes). Cool on wire racks.

Makes about 20 biscuits.

Eat and enjoy!

L x
April 01, 2014

Sew: Pleated Style Arc Ali Knit Skirt

I like to keep it real around here at Sew Brunswick. I really don't like this skirt I made last weekend but I decided to post the photos anyway so others can learn from my mistakes. The decision to use the pleats on both the front and back of the skirt was a very, very bad decision. The pattern is designed for a flat back piece with a pleated front. To spice it up, you can have a plain pencil skirt, like my floral scuba skirt, by using the back pattern piece in both the front and back. Or you can use the front pleated pattern piece twice and get pleats in the front and back. It's quite a versatile pattern for such a simple style. I do plan on using this pattern again, and again, as I think it's going to be a great wardrobe staple. Just without pleats in the back!

I thought putting the pleats on the back would avoid having the visible undie line and avoid showing all the lumps and bumps. It has just drawn even more attention to my backside, in addition to adding bulk! Lesson learnt.

Project Details
Pattern: Style Arc Ali Knit Skirt, size 16
Fabric: Medium weight black ponti from Tessuti

I'm planing on making this again with just the pleated front in a black ponti to replace this one and also a charcoal knit, maybe a wool knit, to wear with boots and tights during winter.

You live and you learn!

L x
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