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September 17 2017

Bamboo Sahara


I’m a bit late for the Sewcialists’ Tribute Month, but this garment was very much inspired by Shauni of The Magnificent Thread! It’s a Ralph Pink Sahara shirt; Shauni has made two beautiful versions and slowly coached me into buying the PDF.



This was my first time sewing a Ralph Pink pattern, and it was a largely positive experience. The PDF layout is a little different to usual but once I figured out which markings to match it went together easily. The instructions are well illustrated but a little brief in places so a beginner may struggle, but this pattern is fairly standard shirt dress construction so I found it fine.





The Sahara is obviously very oversized so I cut a size small without toiling and I’m pretty pleased with the fit. The only adjustment I did make was to take an inch off the hem length and slightly level off the dipped hem in the back. I did notice that my side seams are buckling a bit; I’m not sure if I got something a bit off-grain or the slightly bulky seams under the arms are causing it to drag a bit.



Collar open I think I prefer it fully done up.



Having not sewn for a while I went to town with the finishing and used a mix of French and flat-felled seams throughout: no overlocking in sight. I also topstitched along the main seamlines to bring out the cool curved yokes on the front and back. Even so, I got the whole dress finished in a day of fairly leisurely sewing, buttonholes and all (I’m that weird sewist who actually enjoys sewing buttonholes)



I especially adore the fabric I used which was a perfect match for the pattern: it’s an organic woven bamboo from Ray Stitch. I’ve never seen woven bamboo fabric before but it has the same silky smooth hand and soft drape of bamboo knits and was a dream to work with, taking a press beautifully and easy to manipulate around the curved hem yet still pretty stable so easy to handle. It has an almost sanded/peached finish and doesn’t seem to crease too badly. I used a size 60 microtex needle to make sure it didn’t snag. I might buy up some more of this fabric in white and try dyeing it as it’s basically dream dress fabric.



I feel rather like a fashionable bat wearing this, and I’m pretty into it! Needless to say, it’s insanely comfortable and being basic black it’s going to get a ton of wear. Much as it pains me to consider autumn weather, I feel like this’ll work great with tights and boots as the temperature dips. I feel like it’d work well worn open as an overshirt too. I’ve just got a new job after a summer contracting and having some delicious time off, so it’ll be great for work too.


More Saharas: Self-Assembly Required, Paprika Patterns, Frock and Sew, and of course thanks again to Shauni for the main inspiration!


P.S. If you’re reading in a reader, I gave my blog a bit of a fresh look click on over to have a look!

P.P.S. If you’re not on Instagram, you may have missed that I was a guest on Helen and Caroline’s excellent new podcast, Love to Sew, talking about my sewing and blogging journey. You can find my episode here or on all podcast apps.


September 10 2017

Comment on corn chowder with chile, lime and cotija by WendyH

My husband and 8 year old loved this as did I. (Left out the jalapeo for the little one.) Loved having enough for leftovers this week as well as putting some extra away in the freezer for later in the fall. We had white corn from our neighbor’s garden so our chowder came out beigy as some other folks mentioned might happen. But we didn’t mind. Also, am thinking I should have pured the corn more thoroughly, as the half-pured corn didn’t blend quite perfectly with the broth. One of the other comments noted this as well. Still, delicious and swoon-worthy. A fabulous keeper of a recipe!

Comment on smitten kitchen every day trailer + book tour! by cheril

The video is so cute. I can't wait for the new book.

September 03 2017

By: sarina

The top list. Hope you will add https://www.burdastyle.com & my site http://sewguide.com to the list . http://so-sew-easy.com is very good.

August 27 2017

August 13 2017

Back-to-School Reading for English-Language-Learner Teachers

From reports about efforts to create quality learning materials for ELLs to tips on how to help students develop literacy skills, here are some stories that caught our eye this month.

July 02 2017

Mitchell Chester, State's Education Commissioner, Dies at 65 - Education Week

Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester has died.

Comment on cherry clafoutis by Emily

I love your blog but I have to say that I personally did not like this. It wasn't like custard it was very eggy. Like having a fruity omelet. I've never had traditional clafoutis so maybe I will try one of the more traditional recipes next time and see if I like it more.

June 25 2017

Comment on easy drop berry shortcakes by Molly

I just made these and they were a hit! Barely used any sugar with the strawberries, added vanilla bean paste to the cream, and had to use granulated sugar for the shortcakes, but they were amazing! I found the biscuits perfectly sweet and everything. THANK YOU DEB!

June 18 2017

Comment on easy drop berry shortcakes by C.P.

We made it tonight and absolutely LOVED IT! The person I ate it with (who hates shortcake and generally every dessert that isn't chocolate) couldn't stop complimenting the biscuit. It's just. so, so, so good.


Thanks for another winning recipe, Deb! (Though I feel like that's cheating a bit, since I can't remember the last time I used a recipe from this site that *wasn't* a winner. You are so talented!)

Comment on scalloped tomatoes with croutons by Eve

I made this for a community pot luck dinner last night and it was devoured! I doubled the recipe and used a 9 x 13 glass pan. Can't wait to try it with fresh summer tomatoes.

Comment on zucchini bread by Katie

Do you have a suggestion on how to make this into a Lemon Zucchini recipe? I always find it tricky adding lemon to a recipe because just zest won’t do it, additional liquid is problematic, accounting for the acid and baking soda interactions gives me headache, and lemon extract can come out too artificial. Any help is appreciated! :)

June 11 2017

June 04 2017

Comment on strawberry graham icebox cake by Meredith

I’ve made it both ways (depending on availability) and the Seville was better, but I tend to prefer a less-sweet cake (so do Germans, they make cheesecake with half the sugar)

May 28 2017

May 21 2017

April 02 2017

Mono Ansa dress


I sometimes have a strange ‘gotta-have-it’ urge for a pattern that at first glance doesn’t really seem to be my usual thing. That was definitely the case with Named’s new Ansa dress, and I’m happy to report that my inkling was true and I lurrrrve this dress.



I bought the pattern at the same time as the Ronja dungarees, and sewed them one after the other. Named patterns are just such sewing joy, and I need those sorts of projects when sewing time is scarce. I really agonised about whether to sew to the top or dress first, but haven’t sewn a fun dress in a while and I have an event next weekend that it may get cracked out for.





Based on the finished measurements I cut a size 40/12. The waist has a couple of inches of ease and the bust and hips are even looser, so I figured I could fit as I sewed. I found the waistline tucks a tiny bit lower than my natural waist, so took a cheeky dart out of the shoulder line to hike the whole thing up a bit. I also took two inches off the length and sewed the side seams at a slightly larger seam allowance, and the fit’s pretty perfect!



Sewing it up was quick and fun, even all the tucks and darts (eight in all) which I used to avoid like the plague. If a pattern has a lot of dart/tuck markings on multiple pieces, personally I find it much more manageable to deal with preparing each piece in turn, i.e. I cut the back, marked the darts and immediately sewed those before moving on to cutting out the front. Unfortunately most of the design details get totally buried in this print, but the silhouette and the drama from the butterfly sleeves (easy-to-set raglans) make up for it.



The fabric is a lovely viscose challis from Minerva. It’s now sold out; I bought the last of the reverse colourway, probably to make the top version of this pattern! Challis has a natural springy stretch which makes it very comfy to wear, but you just have to be extra careful about not distorting it at the cutting stage. I lay the folded fabric out on my cutting mat then give it a quick press with a warm iron to get it flat and on-grain.





Nothing too fancy going on in the construction or finishing: I overlocked most of the seams, French seamed the side seams, and the neckline is finished with bias facing which I handstitched down.



I feel like this dress is made for dancing, so hopefully she’ll get a spin soon!


March 16 2017

5439 a883 500

bellygangstaboo:

The concert will make Matthew the world’s youngest ever conductor!

Matthew’s performance will form part of NSO’s ‘Animal Magic!’ show which will also feature Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky and Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev.

Neil Bennison, music programme manager at the Royal Concert Hall, said young conductors like Matthew are rare.

Successful conductors have to be team managers, leaders, motivators and diplomats, and these people skills take time to develop and require a level of maturity that only comes with years of experience.Orchestras can be pretty merciless to conductors for whom they have no respect, so you’d have to be a supremely confident young maestro to win over a lot of hardened professional musicians.

Derek Williams, NSO conductor and Matthew’s music teacher, added: 

I spotted Matthew’s musical talent very early on in his musical tuition as I’ve been teaching him violin for five years. There aren’t many children who have the ability to conduct a 75-strong orchestra from memory and it’s a really incredible thing to witness.

Can we be honest for a moment and say that it’s rare to hear anything positive on the news, especially when it comes to black children? Matthew Smith is definitely making history. This young man is talented. I hope he does well and goes far.

learning

March 12 2017

District Chief Is Targeted for Comment About Trump - Education Week

Maine's Republican Party is accusing a school superintendent of pushing a political agenda after he suggested an attack on several black students was the result of President Donald Trump's stance on immigrants and minorities.
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