Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Multiple Muslin Monday

Normally I take my time circling a new-to-me pattern warily like a wolf sizing up its prey.  I dislike the pattern adjusting stage of sewing intensely (but I love the fabric shopping, pattern buying and actual sewing machine time) and so I have a tendency to mull over a new pattern for a looooong time before I'm willing to tackle it.  These two extremely simple patterns are no exceptions to that practice, despite how majorily easy they are to stitch up.  One of them is already OOP....a frequent happenstance when you delay like I do.  But that's ok with me, I'm making clothing that fits my lifestyle and luckily that doesn't include red carpet runways and public scrutiny.
So yesterday I decided to try out two patterns that have been simmering in my mind for quite a while and I'm happy to report that both of them....with adjustments....are looking to be successful garments this week.
Vogue 1195
First one up is Vogue 1195,   another floaty overblouse concept similar to the lightweight silk poncho plans that I drafted two years ago (and my most viewed blog post by far.)  silk chiffon poncho directions post  The Vogue pattern is more shaped and has shoulder pleats but accomplishes the same thing....skims over the fluffly parts of my midsection and upper arms.  
I made my muslin out of a washed print silk dupioni that was far too girly to be a real garment in my wardrobe.  Looks like nothing on the hanger but I think the next one will be quite stylish.  
The next muslin was even easier and I used the same fabric.  It's Vogue 7717, an OOP Sandra Betzina pattern.  I normally avoid dolman sleeves and even in this nice pattern, it's not the most flattering look for me.  But I like the bias pullover look for a light summery top.  Marcy Tilton's newsletter, from years ago, Marcy Tilton newsletter made a reference to this top as a more chic version of the formerly stylish summer camp shirts and I so agree.  As she calls it, a non-dorky summer top...I have some lightweight linens and washed silk dupionis that will sew up nicely.  But even this simple pattern needs pattern alterations to make it fit me.  

I have plenty more to write about but I'll stop and leave you today with just one more picture....like these mock up garments, not very exciting to look at but trust me, there's a a lot of good stuff going on.  That's this recipe.  Boring to look at but absolutely scrumptious.

Chicken Adobo from this month's Cooks Illustrated Magazine  
Please, buy this issue, subscribe or just support their wonderful mission of making home cooks better cooks. 

Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines, and chicken adobo is among the most popular. The dish consists of chicken simmered in a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper. The problem with most recipes we found was that they were aggressively tart and salty. Our secret to taming both of these elements was coconut milk. The coconut milk’s richness tempered the bracing acidity of the vinegar and masked the briny soy sauce, bringing the sauce into balance.


Light coconut milk can be substituted for regular coconut milk. Serve this dish over rice.


  • 8(5- to 7- ounce) bone-in chicken thighs , trimmed
  • 1/3cup soy sauce (I used low sodium version)
  • 1(13 1/2-ounce) can coconut milk  (I used light version)
  • 3/4cup cider vinegar
  • 8garlic cloves , peeled and chopped or pressed
  • 4bay leaves
  • 2teaspoons pepper
  • 1scallion , sliced thin  (I omitted)


  1. 1. Toss chicken with soy sauce in large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  2. 2. Remove chicken from soy sauce, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Transfer chicken, skin side down, to 12-inch nonstick skillet; set aside soy sauce.
  3. 3. Place skillet over medium-high heat and cook until chicken skin is browned, 7 to 10 minutes. While chicken is browning, whisk coconut milk, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and pepper into soy sauce.
  4. 4. Transfer chicken to plate and discard fat in skillet. Return chicken to skillet skin side down, add coconut milk mixture, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Flip chicken skin side up and continue to cook, uncovered, until chicken registers 175 degrees, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil.
  5. 5. Remove bay leaves and skim any fat off surface of sauce. Return skillet to medium-high heat and cook until sauce is thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour sauce over chicken, sprinkle with scallion, and serve.

Our humble version served with a tossed salad.  Ymmmm, that simple sauce was company good.  

Leaving you now to sew up that first top and eventually get a picture and review to post.  Happy sewing time to all.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Tabula Rasa Jacket #2 and Other TNT Projects

Hello, lovely patient readers, lurkers and the mildly curious.  Some sewing going on here but my own blog reading or writing has fallen by the wayside in the last two weeks.  No dramatic reasons, good or bad, just too many other lovely distractions.  So here I am to play catch up and share a few projects from February.
First up is this outfit from the Fit for Art Patterns Tabula Rasa Jacket.  I made a lined tweed tone on tone version back in August Tabula Rasa Jacket #1 and this is my entirely different one suitable for FL evenings.  

Stitched wrong sides together then rolled hem edged

Thanks to my enormous collection of lightweight silks, stashed from numerous JoMar and Fabric Mart Pennsylvania trips over the last 10 or 12 years, I have plans for several more of these easy to sew jackets.  This one was made to go with black pants and also this black twist top dress which is merely the Jalie twist top Jalie 2788  lengthened and sleeveless.  The fabric is a corded slinky like fabric from Fabric Mart.  Wonderful travel dress and I am sure I will wear it frequently.  
This lightweight jacket is easy to wear although without shoulder pads my low right shoulder (which seems to be sinking lower ever year) does make the right side droop.  I'm too lazy and not vain enough to make separate right and left pattern pieces for this jacket and I figure my vivacious personality and sparkling conversation will distract you, right?  Or maybe the bold fabric combinations will blind you until I leave the scene.

Simplicity 2364
TNT patterns are always fun to sew and wear in a few days.  While Mr. Lucky was up north I made two more Pamela's Patterns Magic Pencil skirts and one of these delightful Simplicity 2364 tops,2364 review my first here in my Florida wardrobe.  

Magic Pencil Skirt from Pamela's Patterns
Now that Mr. Lucky and I are back together in the same state....yes, in Florida and in the same happy state of being...I'll have my chief photographer back as well.  He's such a help around the condo that I'll have more time to sew, than you very much.  (Aside:  I bow in awe to those of you who work outside the home, raise children, care for declining family members AND who sew, take and post pics and blog about it all....) This Tabula Rasa Jacket and Simplicity top were both projects that I started at the sewing retreat in late January.  I have one more to complete, a lovely tweedy jacket, that remains unfinished.  But also only half way finished is my latest reading project, Drums of Autumn ,fourth in a series by Diana Gabaldon.  Almost nine hundred pages and worth every page.  We celebrated my birthday yesterday rather quietly (in the midst of a week of social events otherwise.)  Rode our bikes to the new Trader Joe's in the afternoon then I made a salad that we took to the beach with wine and bread and our books for sunset.  So grateful for time and health and the ability to appreciate our many blessings.  These long distance, virtual sewing friendships are among those blessings to here's a toast to all of us connecting around the world.