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Archive for May, 2012

Shrewsbury, Yum City

OK internets, I am out to confuse you: In New Zealand these biscuits are sold as Shrewsbury’s, but if you internet that name the only recipe you’ll find that matches the biscuit you know will be a New Zealand one (and a good one at that, thank you Woman’s Weekly!). The rest of the internet describes Shrewsbury’s as some kind of biscuit with dried fruit in in, while Jammie Dodgers seem to be the same as what we call the mighty Shrewsbury. Bought ones have paste-like raspberry jam in them, with either a plain round hole or a star or heart to show off the jam inside. When I am in bought biscuit mode I will quite happily polish off the whole packet in an afternoon, but I don’t have the stamina for that anymore.

The recipe is faultless. The biscuits are crisp and they taste nice. I didn’t have any vanilla essence so I just added a bit of lemon zest and a splash of lemon juice and I think it might have worked better for it. I could have gone all superhousewife and used homemade blackberry jam in them but I don’t have much left of that and there’s a large jar of cheap boysenberry jam in the fridge that needs using too (Pams actually make nice jam. If you need a lot of jam. I discovered this through being the housekeeper for Playcentre).

I rushed things by trying to bake both trays in the oven at once, and I should have known better than to do that. The tops biscuits cooked faster of course, but I made the whole ones a bit thick so their bottoms were nicely browned before their tops went golden. Oh well.

Now we are readying the teddies and the china for a tea party with our friends Marta and Anouk! It’s Anouk’s second birthday this week and Rata decided that Anouk’s birthday present should be the fancy dress costume I made for Rata this week… which Rata refused to wear. It seems like my days sewing for Rata are numbered. At least she likes my baking.

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Hot Chips!

Here’s what I’m working on at present –  a chips dress!

But first, does anyone know with doing a neckline on a t-shirt – you know where you use the ribbing or whatever it is called -whether you sew it to the outside, fold it over and sew, or start on the inside? I have tried to do it in the past and despaired when the facing gaped out. I know I’ve made it work once doing the opposite of what I had in the past, but I can’t remember which was which!

I remember seeing a very good tutorial for this, maybe on the Burda website, but for the life of me I can’t find it, or anything remotely useful. But if you have a good link tucked away somewhere, I’d be so grateful if you could share it.

I’m of to fix the shoulder seams so that once I’ve worked out which way to go with the facing, it’s not all for nothing!

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So, at long last I have ‘documented’ this dress. More recently I made the deer hunting dress with the same pattern, and for a more detailed explanation of my experiences with Butterick 5605 go here and then here.

But when I said I’ve ‘documented’ it, you knew it was just going to be a couple of photos, right? I didn’t get your hopes up now, did I?

The bumps on the hips are the pocket openings. They work better on the fuller version of the dress, but in order to sew them up I would have to take apart the dress. So for now they are going to stay. I like pockets, and also I like the little peek of polka dot lining.

The back is pretty super and fits better than the deer hunting dress (but I also spent a LOT of time on the fit so that’s hardly surprising).

The best thing of all is that I can get away with wearing it to work with boots and tights and a cardigan. And it may currently be my favourite work dress, though it has a fair amount of competition. This afternoon I am going to put my bout of Extreme Productivity to use in making my “chips dress”. And go to a clothes swap in the hope that I might find something warm to wear.

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(May 1st, me-made skirt)

I have signed myself up for the rigorous challenge of Me-Made-May ’12, the brainchild of the marvellous Zoe where one seeks to wear self-stitched clothes for the month of May but defines their own challenge. My pledge went a little something like this:

‘I, Lotte, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’12. I endeavour to wear at least one article of me-made clothing and the rest New Zealand-made each day for the duration of May 2012’.

In reality the last few days have been freezing cold and I have had to do without my merino long sleeve tops from Glassons, which are – yes – made in China. Basically I knew as much about this gaping hole in my me-made/NZ-made wardrobe, I just wasn’t expecting it to get so cold. My bottom-half is sorted though: undies made by my neighbour, Columbine tights and Minnie Cooper shoes.

I will admit though that already I have cheated. Or rather, added another ‘genre’ of clothing: op-shopped items that are not made in China. While not gifting me any get-out-of-jail layers of merino, there are a few warm British-made things I own that I hope to bust out. This is certainly a learning curve! I’m not beating myself up about already bending the rules, but perhaps with more preparation I can be a little closer to my ideal by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, back to the outfit photos…

May 3rd – a plush me-made dress and a me-made wool coat.

This is my newest creation: a pattern from my Built By Wendy Dresses book sewn up in a wool/angora blend with super-super cuddliness. I made the shift dress pattern up for Clementine for her birthday (more on that when I’ve adjusted the shoulders to fit her) and this is the dirndl pattern. I was a bit sneaky and just cut out the pattern pieces on the Large line, then stitched on the Medium line, effectively giving it a 5mm seam allowance. It fits, it works, sort of. The important thing is that the dress is made, instead of my waiting for a spare moment in which to draft a pattern. The lace was from the Salvation Army and I sat in the kitchen at Playcentre tacking it on last Friday, finishing it in Rata’s room that afternoon.

(Julie will notice the wombat, commonly known as “the Daddy one” sometimes “the fluffy one”)

What I love about the Built By Wendy patterns is that they are so quick to sew up. I need to make the bodice of the dirndl dress a little longer as the waist is too high and my belt just won’t stay up there (for this dress I will make some loops to hold it up there). I intend to whip up my “chips dress” this weekend, and I think the dirndl will work well with the cotton knit, though the skirt will be something more robust.

Despite the woolly nature of the dress, I was actually quite cold all day, possibly because the sleeves are short, and the neckline low. Getting booted off the train a station early and having to wait for the bus replacement in the bitterly cold frosty air was not pleasant. I need some goodly sourced merino, or at the very least the internal thermostat of a preschooler…

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