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It's a wrap or how I became a lady who lunches

Friday, December 30, 2011Johanna / 16 kommentarer

I can safely say that this is something of a style departure for me, even though I have always liked black and white and graphic prints. For one thing it's a more mature look, plus I feel super rich in a 80's kind of way. Just wish it was more of a reality too!

I've been glued to the sewing machine today as the dress had to be finished tonight. I've developed this bad habit of running late with things lately, and while I do crack it, it does add a certain stress. Anyways, it all went super well once I figured the Danish pattern instructions out (Onion is a Danish pattern company). It's a little embarrassing to admit, but I like many other Swedes I find it hard to understand Danish, even though the languages are very closely related. While the Danes seem to have no problem understanding us, which just makes me feel even more stupid. Yes reading should be easier than hearing, but they have such funny words for things in Denmark!

I did a pretty literal knock-off of a classic Diane von Fürstenberg dress. Or as close as I could, since there is very little info on how they are constructed, though this Ebay guide (in five parts) was somewhat helpful. I think of all the wrap dress patterns that I investigated the Onion is probably the closest to the real deal, especially if you want to use binding like in this DVF dress. Most other pattern has both darts and a waist seem, which the original doesn't have. At least not the current DVF styles. 
work in progress

Wrap dress fabric

Tuesday, December 27, 2011Johanna / 5 kommentarer

Went out fabric shopping today. Man is it hard to find stable knits with nice prints! In fact it was impossible and I ended up with a stretchy rayon/lycra fabric instead. I just fell head over heels with this border print and in the process had to switch pattern, I bought the Onion wrap dress pattern nr 2037 instead. Then I started obsessing about making a proper DVF knock-off, which in fact doesn't have neither a waist seem nor any darts and is quite similar to the Onion pattern.

I'm thinking something in the line of this Jeanne dress. Perhaps with a collar, but that would mean I have to draft one my self. Oh well. Will not finish this dress tonight, that's for sure.

work in progress

A wrap dress

Monday, December 26, 2011Johanna / 1 kommentarer
 Yesterday I went for a long walk and began thinking about making a dress for New Years Eve. Not sure exactly how my thoughts led to a wrap dress, but it has been a project I've been mulling over for years and not gotten around to. I love belted dresses, and have several of the shirt dress kind, but have never owned an actual knit wrap dress. I want to do something classic, like Diane von Furstenbergs versions from the 70's. She made at least two wrap dress patterns for Vogue back in the days. The one to the left with a collar is more iconic, but right now I'm leaning more towards the one to the right.

Kwik-Sew has an OOP pattern nr 3408 that is quite similar, but with a more narrow skirt. I downloaded the pattern yesterday, and judging from the reviews on Pattern review this is a really good pattern with minimal gapsosis. Not that I have much in that department to show, but I rather not use a safety pin with this dress!
I was so psyched about buying fabric today that I forgot that it's still holiday today and the fabric stores are closed. But tomorrow I will hit the streets again, though I'm not sure what I want. But I need a fabric that is not super stretchy, especially since the pattern has bust darts.

I'll report back tomorrow!
Life of Johanna

So what's up?

Sunday, December 25, 2011Johanna / 3 kommentarer

As you might have noticed, blogging has been sparse lately. Even my mother asked me the other day if everything was fine since I haven't updated the blog lately. Never mind that I talk to her all the time, the blog clearly has a life and a message of it's own! Anyways all is well with me - and the picture above sums up my life pretty well. I have just been busy with training both in the roller rink and off, and since I usually feel pretty wiped out during this time of the year there has not been much sewing or other inspirational things going on, you know something always has to give. I think I am in the best shape of my life and that is a nice feeling, but I do miss other, more creative outlets. Now I got a week off from work and hopefully I can get back to both sewing and blogging.

Food and drink

Saffron cake for the holidays

Saturday, December 24, 2011Johanna / 1 kommentarer

Happy holidays everyone! 
For a holiday treat I want to share a recipe for saffron cake. Saffron is a big spice in the Swedish yule-kitchen. Mostly used for lussekatter, but I have another favorite way of eating saffron. This is inspired by a cake my mother used to make when I was a child. The recipe here is a bit lighter though than the original, fairly heavy cake. 

You'll need:
  • 2.5 dl (1 cup) sugar.
  • 3 eggs
  • 0.5 gram finely milled saffron (strings needs to be crushed)
  • 50 gram (1.7 oz) butter
  • 1 dl (2/5 cup) milk
  • 3.5 dl  (1 2/5 cup) wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Butter and breadcrumbs for the pan.
  • Powder sugar for decoration

Heat the oven to 175 Celsius/350 F.

 Whisk egg and sugar until it turns a very pale yellow.

 Melt butter and blend with saffron and milk.

 Pour the butter/milk/saffron blend into the egg mixture

 Blend flour and baking powder and pour into the mix.

Blend gently by hand. This advice seem to differ a bit from the American recipes I've seen. In muffins recipes an electric blender seem to be recommended, but in Swedish cookbooks this is advised against once the baking powder and flour is added. It is said to make the batter rubbery and compact. Not sure what is really best. 

Pour the mixture into a pan with a removable bottom. Let it bake in the lower part of the oven for 25 minutes, then check with a stick. If the cake is still sticky let it bake for 5 more minutes. 

When cold, flip the cake over. My mother always used a paper star as a decoration template. So I'm doing the same.

Sift powder sugar over the cake.

Ready to be served. I love to drink spicy glögg (similar to mulled wine or gluwein) with almonds and raisins added in the cup. This one is home brewed and doesn't actually contain wine, but is fairly strong never the less.

Hope you'll have a great weekend!