Saturday, February 27, 2010

27 February 1956 “February Dress Challenge, and Some Recipes”

shirtwaist1 My February Dress Challenge started out by dreaming on these lovely shirtdresses. I hadn’t a pattern and after the success of the January Dress Challenge Dress, I thought I would give it another try.

brownshirt  So, starting with this men’s brown shirt I had thrifted and this lovely pink cotton fabricpinkbrownfabric I wanted to create my own design.

Would I make this dress again? Not this way. I had to pin and then take apart, rethink, cut, ponder and put it away a lot. But, I persevered. The dress itself is very comfortable and I am wearing it now as I write this. It was just the way I went about making it that I would not try again. I think I will make more such dresses, but after the struggle with this one, I have learned what I will NOT do next time.

The initial idea of taking a shirt that is already constructed and adding a pleated skirt to it became more of a chore. However, if I had a dress form, many of the mistakes and struggles would not have happened. It is rather hard pinning it to oneself and then trying to take it of again. The shirt I had to cut down and then my plans to have a zipper in front proved to look silly. In the end I had to split one of the side seams and put a zipper into the shirt and skirt of the dress. The result is nice as it zips up nice and snug and the top buttons, so overall a great dress.

pinkdress1 First I decided where I needed to cut the shirt down. Again, this would have been much easier on a dress from.

 pinkdress2Next, I took the yardage of fabric while it was still one long piece at put bias tape on the hem. I just wanted the look and I like how it adds weight to the skirt. You can see my ‘new’ machine in action here. I actually have a foot that puts bias tape on for you, but have not tried that yet. I have tried the ruffle/pleat foot and it worked really well.

pinkdress3 My original plan had me sewing the rough edge of the skirt onto the top as you would a normal dress pattern, but due to my crooked cutting and inability to get a good straight line on me (again, no dress form) I decided to put a tall waistband on the skirt. So at that point it basically was a finished skirt I could have put a zipper in and wore it with the shirt, but I had already cut the shirt and this is a Dress challenge not a skirt and blouse challenge.

So, after putting the zip in (pinned only thank goodness) I took it out and realized that I had to take out part of the side seam of the shirt. I love the look of a high-waisted skirt, but it always rolls down, so having it sewn as the actual bodice of the dress makes it stay put, which I really like.

I wanted the shirt to look part of the dress and not just a separate top, so I decided to cover the cuffs. This is what I did. pinkdress4I laid out the cuff as a pattern and cut around it (double twice and on the fold so I ended up with two equally cut cuffs.

 pinkdress5I did a roll hem as you can see here, as the edges would sew the way I was sewing it over the existing cuff.

 pinkdress6Here you can see (I hadn’t hemmed the cuff yet just did this for a picture) how it is basically an envelope of fabric that slips over the existing cuff.

 pinkdress7As I literally sewed on the outside of the fabric (where it shows) I added an additional decorative stitch (this is one of the built in stitches in my Rocketeer) just to make the showing stitch seem on purpose.

And after all that, a pocket square in the same fabric and viola’:

 pinkdressonMy version of a pattern-less shirtdress! I am sorry I look so stern in this shot, but it was a long day of sewing and hubby was luckily home to take my photo. I was happier than this photo demonstrates.

pinkdressonbwAnd here is the dress in black and white for no other reason than I like to see how 'vintage’ I look if I turn it to black and white, silly I know.

I have decided that part of my March Dress Challenge is going to be doing a duct tape dress form. I think it will make dress making much easier. The finished dress hardly looks professional, but I am proud of it considering, again, I have never been taught to sew and much of what I do is trial and error. I do learn from my mistakes MOST times, but not always.

Now for some recipes. I have a few I have done lately.

As I have been doing my Breads, I am baking my way through as many recipes as I can get my hands on deciding which will remain a part of my normal baking day and what are just for special times or not good.

I had listed a great oatmeal bread recipe before that used honey that is wonderful, but until I get my bees again and honey is not so dear I wanted another oatmeal bread recipe that did not use honey. I found this one.

1 packet yeast
2 Tbs. molasses  (You could use honey and even, I think, real maple syrup might be nice)
1 C.  rolled oats
1 Tbs. butter plus 1/2 t. for buttering pan

1 tsp. salt
1 C. unbleached flour plus 1/2 cup for kneading
1 C. whole wheat flour

In a mixing bowl, combine yeast, molasses and 1 cup warm water (wrist temperature). Let sit until yeast is bubbly (about 5 minutes). Stir in oats and butter and let sit for 5 minutes.
Add salt and flours, stirring in 1/2 cup at a time. Knead dough into a soft blob, return it to the bowl and cover bowl with a damp cloth. Let rise until double in bulk (about 30 minutes).
Punch dough down and knead until smooth, adding reserved flour as needed.
Shape into a loaf, place in a buttered loaf pan, cover again and let rise. When loaf has doubled in bulk, place in the oven and bake at 350°F.  until done (about 45 minutes). Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before slicing.

easyoatmealbread1 Here is the lovely little dough ball before it’s first rising.easyoatmealbread2 It made a nice little loaf. What I liked about this recipe was it was comparatively fast for yeast dough that must rise. I will definitely make it again and I am going to try it with real maple syrup instead of the molasses and see how it affects the chemistry of the bread. You know we New Englanders will use any excuse to put maple syrup on or in anything! Mmmm.

Now another fun ‘bread’ I made was homemade tortillas. I have had never made them before and it was really just one of those “oh, I have some ground beef and would love to have a fun Mexican dinner, but don’t want to run out and get tortilla’s ( I am a stickler with my weekly shopping trip!) These were SO easy to make, so much fun and they were 1000 times better than store bought.

Here is the very easy recipe:

Tortilla Recipe

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar (optional)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (more for softer tortillas)
1 cup water

Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and oil. Add water and mix with hands. Divide into 10 small balls. Roll each flat with rolling pin and cook on very hot ungreased griddle until lightly brown on each side.

tortillas1 Here are the little balls before I rolled them out.tortillas2 Here is one rolled out. I made them fairly thin. They roll out very easily if the rolling pin is floured. tortillas3  This is the uncooked side up while the first side is down browning. See how lovely they bubble?tortillas4 The browned side up whilst cooking. And, of course, I love my close up shots of my food.tortillas5 Just look at that lovely flourly texture. They were so good warm from the griddle. Yesterday, Hubby had one in his lunch with tuna salad with tomatoes, cucumbers and mushrooms. He come home and said, “That was the BEST wrap I have EVER had”. I just love standing in my kitchen and thinking, “Hmmmm, what have I bought that I could try making?” I have to say, it’s fun! I have a lovely meat pie recipe, but I think I will share that on another post.

For those of you who follow or visit the website, I have been working on redisginng some of it and hope to upload the changes on 1 March. It will, of course, still be a work in progress and really part of the project of this year to see what I will have with it at the end of 1956. I hope to make its layout more conducive to me easily adding bits and bobs everyday. We are going to have our first APRONITE of the month and one of our fellow Apronites, Cedar, is going to be writing the first Guest Blog we are to have on Vintage Entertaining. If you have not checked out the site yet, that might be a good time to start.

Until next time, keep your Apron strings tight and your mind and hands busy!

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