Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tessuti Anita Ponti Pants

Jess is off to the States for a Bio-ethics Inter disciplinary Summer Course at Yale University - wow that's a mouth full.  Understatement to say that she's thrilled, especially the 5 days in Washington and 11 days in New York, prior to commencing her course.  So, she'll need a pair of good travelling pants.  Although it will be quite warm in New Haven, so I've been told, these pants will be useful when she returns home, as it will be winter.

Charcoal Ponti

In my stash, found this beautiful grey ponti purchased from Tessuti (can't remember what this was earmarked for) but this is perfect for Jess' pants.   I also found a beautiful purple brown ponti in the stash as well, this will be for me, later.

Tip (thanks to Pippa):  I always mark my fabric with sticky round dots marking info - BL - Back Leg  RS - Right Side of fabric.  This fabric is so difficult to determine right from wrong side that it doesn't matter which one I choose, as long as I'm consistent, and these dots are fantastic for that.   

The pattern is pretty straight forward and in the easy category so should be able to whip this up in a day.  I don't mind cutting and sticking pattern pieces together, especially if they match properly, as these do.

Cut out size 6 and shortened the leg at the knee, where indicated.  I sewed up one leg using 1.5 cm seam allowance and tried them on her.  She wanted them to be a bit firmer, so I sewed with white thread with a 4.5 stitch length and 2 cm seam allowance.   Sewed up the pants and fitted - they were perfect!!!  I now had to remove the stitches, but that was easy since the thread was white and the stitches long.

Overlocked the pants, although the instructions called for sewing, overlocking and then edge stitching to catch the seam allowance.  Pants are so dark that you wouldn't see the detail anyway, so opted to just overlock - which created less bulk in the leg.  Finished in one afternoon - not bad.  I highly recommend this pattern.  They are not a leggings but a very slim pant for ponti.

She was ready to go.....unfortunately didn't get the proper photos before she left, so I will do this on her return.

Tessuti Anita Pants - oh, and a new pair of shoes is on the shopping list for NY

"Did I forget something?"

Nah - good to go!!!!!
Have fun Jess!!!!!!  Love you.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Chelsea Flower Show 2013 - Australian Designer Phillip Johnson for Fleming's

Now I have my "gardening hat" on - just to let the world know that WE WON!!!!!!

Yes, Phillip Johnson and Fleming's have won "Gold" and "Best in Show" at Chelsea 2013.  This is the nineth and final entry for Fleming's Nurseries.  This year's design, by Phillip Johnson, has won them the prestigious award - first time ever that all judges were unanimous in their decision!!

Winning Design 
If you don't know of him yet, checkout his webpage as the designs are amazing!!!
Congrats Phil.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jess' Alexander McQueen Coat

Finally, I have been able to finish Jess' winter coat - just in time to wear, as the temperature here in beautiful Melbourne is cooling down - I just love autumn!!!

I had bought Jess this beautiful Alexander McQueen fabric from Tessuti - yes, last year and Melbourne still has stock.  Decided that I would wait until I found the perfect coat pattern as this fabric was not cheap and I wanted to do it right.

Jess wanted a peacoat style, with length and fitted at the waist.  I found Butterick B5685  just the thing except for the collar - way too big for my liking and it would swamp Jess, who's petite.  Remembering her other coat, I decided to use the collar from Burda 7458.  

Now this coat was constructed last year and I didn't take any photos of the alterations made to the main pattern.  My apologies for this.  The last thing to do where the buttonholes which I was going to make myself (by hand) but things got in the way, so I had them professionally done by Melbourne Tailoring at $4.00 per buttonhole - fantastic job, well worth every dollar.

Now to sew on the buttons - finally decided to use a toothpick to create the shank, so much easier putting the toothpick on top of the button, then all you do is take out the pick and pull the button up which will create enough space between the button and fabric.

Oh, poor Tiff, she's worked hard all day and just couldn't take it anymore!!!!  She normally would be sitting on top of the coat as I worked.

I also placed a smaller button behind each button on the lining side so that the stitching would be hidden - a nice touch I think.


I also made my own shoulder pads, sorry no photos - but will definitely next time, as this was such a rewarding thing to do, and they turned out so much nicer than the commercially made ones.  I used the above book - an oldie but a goodie.  Definitely, if you're into tailoring - this is worth having.

Hard to see from this photo but the shoulder pads are not bulky and sit properly on the shoulder.

Yesterday was Jess' 24th birthday and although she had a lecture in the City, we made time to go out for lunch afterwards.  She told me that she loved the coat that much that she didn't take it off, even  during the lecture.  However, the only thing wrong with the coat was that it didn't have pockets.   I then promptly showed her the pockets, which were sewn into the seam - she was happy!!

Happy Birthday sweet Jess!!!!!  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

French Baguettes

Sometime ago I found this recipe on the net.  It sounded great but never got around to making it, as I make my own using 'no knead' method.  One day I went to my girlfriend's place for lunch and tasted this beautiful home baked bread - it was the one I gave her - Domaine de l'Arlot's bread - yummy!!!

After having come home from visiting family in France, and tasting their beautiful bread, I decided on baking this bread but in baguette form.  Well it has been a hit ever since and I bake it at least twice a week - sometimes more.  I'll link the recipe and write up my version, which is actually halved because the recipe is too much bread for my baguette forms.

Domaine de L'Arlot's bread is featured on this website on wine - oh, my other vice!!!

You can use the whole recipe and just use half the dough one day and the other half on another day.  I like halving the recipe and using it once, as it doesn't take long to mix up and it frees up fridge space.

1 kg (3 cups) untreated flour - I have used 'No Knead',  Lowan,  Laucke and have used multi-grain, brown and Tuscan (I usually mix 1/2 and 1/2 - e.g. 1/2 white and 1/2 multi-grain)
475 mls lukewarm water
1 teaspoon salt (don't use less)
1 1/2 teaspoon yeast (I use dried which I keep in the freezer)

Mix all together and place in the fridge overnight to rise.   

Next day place dough on floured surface and form the bread - baguettes or leave round.
Oh,  I don't knead my bread. 

I halve my bread for 2 baguettes.

    Place the dough in your bakeware and spray with water before placing in the oven.  

You don't have to pre-heat your oven, just pop it in and when your oven reaches its temperature, turn the setting of your oven to bake.  I also, during the baking stage, spray the oven cavity with water - keeps the bread crisp - maybe three times in total - it's just a fine misty spray in the oven.

You could even place a container of water in the bottom to create a bit of humidity - but a spray bottle is fine.  Got this tip from a waiter when I commented on how the bread was crispy and mine wasn't turning out like that - he gave me this tip and it works for me.  Do you have other tips for crisping bread?


This recipe is no mess no fuss for me.  One thing I did do wrong one day is that I used the "Tuscan" flour - No Knead Bread, which has added sodium, so the bread came out a bit salty - so just check this before adding the salt.

I have frozen this bread and comes out just fine.

Yummy with my favourite french cheese!!   ENJOY!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Annecy, France

Last year (wow that sounds odd) - in October 2012, I visited my birthplace, Annecy, France and stayed with my cousin.   Thought I'd post some pictures of my visit of the old town.

This flower shop is amazing - they do love their window pots.  

This is The Thiou Canal which flows through the old city of Annecy - gorgeous flowers. 

Love this old town

Annecy's old town is built around waterways.

The old Gaol

Annecy's old goal is now a museum.  You can see that it sits between two channels of water.  Annecy is nicknamed the Venice of France.



Couldn't resist photographing these little beauties - no, didn't have one, so now I'll have to go back!!!

Seriously, I do miss this place and have plans of returning with my husband, hiring a car and driving around this beautiful part of France - oh, have to include Lyon.

Something funny - we were in the old town wanting to buy sunglasses for our visit to Mont Blanc (tallest mountain in Europe).  We checked out the optometrists and struck a conversation with Olivier.  He mentioned that he had a cousin in Melbourne, Australia.   My sister and I looked at each other - yeah, they all say that.   He said "he is a Chef", and we said "oh, yes, and who would that be?"  He said "Do you know Jacques Reymond"  Wow - here we are in little Annecy buying sunglasses in a shop being served by the cousin of Jacques Reymond - very famous French Chef in Australia.  We couldn't resist and took a photo.

Me, Olivier and my sister Liz
We had a wonderful time with our family and will definitely return.  

Since that time, have had quite a bit happening in the family.  My son's operation finally happened and it was a total success.  We can now look forward to being able to make plans for the future, without being left 'on hold' waiting for that phone call, a week's notice that the op is scheduled.  Am now looking forward to blogging more and sewing more - oh, yes, redesigning the garden is taking my time as well, but I love to be out there - it's my meditation time and I'm able to create, as I do with sewing.

I had an email from a beautiful lady Maggie, who inspired me to continue blogging.  She was concerned re: my absence, which I was really touched by.  Just to let everyone know that I will still blog, sew and plant.  Leaving for a R&R to Hawaii next week, so looking forward to returning with renewed vigour.  


Friday, January 18, 2013

Burda Pants 123 (6/2011)

On one of our shopping days at Tessuti, Jess spotted this fabric, and knew exactly what she wanted - pair of cropped pants.  

The blend is wool/viscose/acetate/poly - "New Hepburn" which is still available.  It is quite a firm fabric, so no stretch whatsoever - not what the pattern called for, but still worth a try. 

Pattern is from the Burda 6/2011 book - pattern 123.

I cut the smallest size - since the original pattern called for stretch fabric, wasn't sure if it would be enough, so I added another 2 cms - yep, could have saved myself some time and just cut the next size up - Doh!!!!

Since I wasn't confident with the sizing, thought it best to fit Jess directly.  I actually had to take it in, so the extra 2 cms was not required.  What did I learn - to attend a pants course and learn the finer details of making pants.   

Jess is happy - isn't that all that matters.  At least I've mastered pattern matching.  This is something I take a great deal of care with, as nothing screams hand-made than lines that don't match.  Having said that, some cheap imports don't care and don't match their stripes/checks.  

I have some fabric left-over, so a skirt might be nice.