Tag Archives: travel

McCall’s 6706 | Carolina Herrera Skirt

12 Mar

Howdy, friends! I have another completed sewing project for you today! But before you get too excited, this is a project I completed sometime last year (probably Summer 2014), and just never got a chance to get good enough photos to blog.

Luckily, we finally had some pretty weather this past Sunday and there is a cute spot outside our new condo, so I took advantage and enlisted my handsome stepson to play photographer. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until after the photo shoot that there was a large smudge on the lens so you will have to excuse the blur around my feet 🙂

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This skirt started with the fabric. I found it at Promenade Fine Fabrics in New Orleans, one of my favorite fabric haunts. It was milled for Carolina Herrera and is a silk organza with blue flowers with black outlines embroidered on it. Maybe there’s a better term for the way this fabric is embellished but I don’t know it. The black outline appears to be clipped to have exposed threads, kind of reminds me of velvet, but the blue looks like embroidery. Any info on this type of fabric would be appreciated. The fabric was very pricey ($58/yd) so I knew it had to become something that didn’t require much yardage and that I could make without any errors.

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I decided on McCall’s 6706 (rendered once before in a drapey rayon challis), to create a simple, elegant, pleated knee-length skirt.

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Then I found this photo of the designer herself wearing a very similar skirt in an almost identical fabric. I never could find any garments in the exact fabric.

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I decided to underline the fashion fabric with plain silk organza so I could finish the raw edges like I did in my red Hollyburn skirt and to give it a little more opacity and body.

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I also lined the skirt with a bone colored silk crepe de chine from Promenade. At first I thought I would line it with black, but the neutral silk really made the white of the organza stand out.

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Finally, I decided to use some fabulous, authentic Petersham ribbon for the waistband. This notion also came from Promenade and Herbert says that it is some of the only truly legit Petersham that is still made. I wish you could feel it through the computer — it is so thick and luxurious. Another pricey option ($32/yd), I purchased just enough to go around my waist twice for the waistband and facing.

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Construction was pretty straightforward. As I mentioned above, I underlined the skirt panels with organza then hand basted the pleat lines and lightly pressed the pleats into place then machine basted them across the top.

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For the lining, I basted it to the skirt along the top then treated it and the outer skirt as one piece when applying the waistband. I laid the Petersham ribbon directly on the waist seam line and used my edgestitch foot to stitch just inside the outer border of the ribbon. Then I matched the other piece of ribbon (the waistband facing) up with the top and edgestitched along the top border to connect the two. The I did one final row of stitches to secure the bottom of the facing to the bottom of the waistband. Fortunately, these stitches just melt right into the ribbon and you can’t see them, otherwise I would have been doing a lot of handstitching!

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I finished the lining with a 1/4″ machine hem and the outer skirt is finished with a 1″ hand stitched hem, catching my stitches in the organza underlining.

All in all, I love this skirt even though it was not the cheapest project. It is one of a kind and I feel like it looks like a designer piece. I think I will be able to enjoy wearing it for many years so I don’t mind the little splurge to create it.

What about you, my fair readers, have you ever splurged a little bit on a project? Did you play it safe with a pattern you knew would sew up well or did you do something more daring? I would love to hear in the comments!

I hope to be back soon 🙂

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Thirsty Thursdays | Kentucky Saint |La Petite Grocery

18 Sep

Happy Thursday again, friends! I hope the upcoming weekend holds promise for being fun and relaxing for you. I am here to tell you about another ingredient that may fit right in to said weekend.

 

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This beverage is called the Kentucky Saint and the recipe is courtesy of La Petite Grocery, a James Beard award-winning restaurant on Magazine St. in New Orleans. Mr. Homemaker and I took a day trip to NOLA earlier this summer (for fabric shopping and eating), and this is where we chose to have a late lunch. Thank goodness we did because the service was friendly, the drinks were refreshing, and the food was delicious.

That afternoon, I went and purchased the ingredients that were listed on the menu. But no matter what ratio I tested, it didn’t taste quite right. So I sent an email to their bar manager, Julia (who happens to be from my hometown), and she graciously provided me with the official recipe. And the missing ingredient? A splash of orange juice.

As I mentioned last week in the Thirsty Thursday post, this is the recipe I originally purchased the St. Germain liqueur for. So now you have two excuses to buy some 🙂

This cocktail makes bourbon taste good even to the bourbon-averse among us. It has just the right amount of sweetness and citrus to compliment the bourbon. I didn’t think I would like this one but surprisingly, it is now a favorite.

Give it a try and let me know if you find it as much of a palate-pleaser as I do.

 

Looking for a few other refreshing cocktails? Try one of these:

La Recolte

Meyer Lemon Drop Martini

Cuba Libre

Absolut Stress

Blood Orange Martini

 

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Kentucky Saint

  • 1 ounce Noah’s Mill bourbon (or other bourbon of your choice)
  • 1/2 ounce St. Germain liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce Aperol
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce orange juice (original recipe called for 1/4 ounce)
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup

Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously until the outside surface of the shaker is frosty.

Strain into a martini glass straight up or pour over ice in a rocks glass.

Garnish as desired and enjoy!

 

Courtesy of La Petite Grocery.

Our Favorite Biscuits | Gruyere Biscuits | The Ravenous Pig

9 Sep

Last fall we went to Orlando, Florida for work/fun. While there we tried out the restaurant Cask and Larder. It was delicious and before leaving I purchased the cookbook from their sister restaurant, The Ravenous Pig. I perused the book on the trip home and decided the first thing I had to make were these Gruyère Biscuits. And I have made them at least a dozen times since then.

They are great for any meal. I love them for breakfast with a little butter and homemade peach jam. But they are also good with dinner in the place of your traditional biscuit. I have even cubed the leftovers and made croutons for salad!

This recipe employs some basic pastry making techniques that may or may not be familiar to you. But don’t let that stop you from trying these out. They are definitely worth the effort. You can also make a double batch and freeze the uncooked biscuits to pop in the oven later. Just put the frozen biscuits on your baking sheet and place in the preheated oven. You will need to bake just a few minutes longer.

 

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First, combine all your dry ingredients in a bowl.

 

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Then, grate your frozen butter using a box grater.

 

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Work the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers until it resembles coarse meal. This shouldn’t take too long since the butter is already in such small pieces.

 

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Now stir in the cream and buttermilk just until mixed. The dough will look rough and shaggy but will pull away from the sides of the bowl.

 

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Sprinkle your counter top with a nice dusting of flour and spoon your dough on top.

 

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Gently shape the dough into a rectangle and roll it to about 1″ thick.

 

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Sprinkle the dough with half the cheese mixture.

 

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Fold the dough up into thirds like you would a letter.

 

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Roll the dough out to about 1″thick. Repeat sprinkling the rest of the cheese, fold and roll to 1 1/2″ thick.

 

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Using a knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 12 equal squares. Or get fancy and use your round biscuit cutter.

 

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Transfer the biscuits to a parchment lined or buttered baking sheet and brush the tops with a little cream.

 

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Bake at 375F for 12-14 minutes until golden on the tops.

 

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Enjoy in whatever manner you prefer. With homemade peach jam and a side of homemade bacon (recipe from the same cookbook) and Conecuh sausage. Or make a bacon or sausage biscuit sandwich.

 

How ever you enjoy them, just promise me you will make these biscuits ASAP!

 

 

Gruyere Biscuits

  • Servings: 12 biscuits
  • Print

  • 3/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese*
  • 2 Tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup briefly frozen butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing**
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a sheet pan with parchment or brush with butter.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together to combine. Using a box grater, grate the butter into the dry ingredients. Blend the butter and dry ingredients with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Pour in the cream and buttermilk and stir just until combined and dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Pat into a rectangle and sprinkle lightly with flour. Roll the dough to 1″ thick.

Sprinkle the dough with half of the cheese mixture. Fold the dough into thirds like a letter.

Lightly flour the surface of the dough and roll again to 1″ thick. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and fold into thirds and roll to 1 1/2″ thick.

Cut the dough into 12 squares (3×4) and place 2″ apart on the prepared pan. Lightly brush the tops with the remaining heavy cream.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, turning the pan halfway through baking, or until the tops are golden brown.

Remove the pan from the oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving warm.

 

*We have used other cheeses in this recipe with success (Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, etc.).

**I have substituted half-and-half for the entirety of the heavy cream with perfectly tasty results. We couldn’t really tell a difference so consider subbing if you are trying to be healthier ;)-

 

Adapted from The Ravenous Pig: Seasons of Florida.

Me Made May 2014, Part 1

13 May

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How’s everyone’s May going? I’m off to a pretty good start around here with a different me-made garment each day so far. I’ve also worn a few things that I haven’t shared with you yet and I have plans to do dedicated posts on some of them soon. But before we get too much further into the month, a round-up of my daily me-made picks:

 

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Top: Me Made Sammy Cami Jacket: LOFT Pants: Womyn Shoes: Me Too Necklace: Kenneth Cole

 

Thursday, May 1 — I worked in the office for most of the day then left a little early to catch a plane to Philadelphia for a conference. Two of my wonderful employees accompanied my on the trip. I wore an unblogged Sammy cami from Iconic Patterns, available for free download! And with only two pattern pieces, it’s as quick as lightning to sew up. I made mine from a navy knit with printed on white polka dots. I used white fold over elastic for the neckline and sleeves. I hemmed it with two-sided fusible tape, no stitching.

 

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Top: Me Made McCall’s 6898, unblogged but highly recommended Jacket: LOFT

 

Friday, May 2 — I attended some conference sessions to learn more about the EMR (electronic medical records) we use in my office. I skipped out mid-morning to check out Philadelphia’s Fabric Row and shipped myself home a nice little box of goodies including silks, knits, sequins, leather, trims, and zippers. That night we had a delicious dinner at Parc Brasserie. If you are ever in Philly, you should go there if for nothing other than the pureed potatoes!

 

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Left: with Zoe from Zo Sews at the Workroom Sewcial meet up Right: at Per Se Both: wearing Me Made Elisalex in Leggy Roses

 

Saturday, May 3 — I attended more conference sessions then we caught the afternoon train to Penn Station in NYC to spend an exciting 24 hours before heading home. That night for dinner, I got to pop in at the Workroom Social party before heading to dinner at Per Se in Columbus Circle. You may remember me talking about my excitement about trying the restaurant. While it was good, it wasn’t quite what I had built it up to be but it was still a wonderful evening out with two lovely ladies.

 

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Skirt: Me Made McCall’s 6654, similar version already blogged Jacket: Nordstrom Shoes: Me Too

 

Sunday, May 4 — I squeezed in a little time in the Garment District and picked up some more silk, knits, and cottons.  Paron’s shipped my purchases home for a very reasonable charge (even purchases from other stores). The weather deteriorated as the day progressed and I ended up looking a little silly with my long skirt and trench coat, not to mention stringy, windblown hair. Before catching our late evening plane home, we popped into a local joint called Jack’s, just around the corner from the big button, and had a nice little meal with entertainment by a charming Irish bartender.

 

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Top: Me Made Renfrew Pants: Dillard’s Shoes: Cole Haan Necklace: Kenneth Cole

 

Monday, May 5 — Not getting into bed until almost 1 AM made for a rough start to the day. I opted for an oldie but a goodie that I could rely on for comfort while I saw patients in clinic.

 

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Top: Me Made Jalie 2921, unblogged Pants: Elie Tahari Shoes: Pliner

 

Tuesday, May 6 — Another normal office day.

 

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Top: Me Made Renfrew Jeans: Citizen of Humanity Rocket high-rise Shoes: Me Too

 

Wednesday, May 7 — My day out of the office and I spent it running errands.

 

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Top: Me Made Simplicity 2599 Pants: Limited Cardigan: Talbots Shoes: Stuart Weitzman Necklace: Premier

 

Thursday, May 8 — Back to the office.

 

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Left: with my sister and parents and our husbands, wearing Sewaholic Gabriola Right: after dancing to the Molly Ringwalds

 

Friday, May 9 — I was able to take the day off to attend my sister’s graduation from her doctorate of nursing program. I am so proud of her! That evening we attended the annual Steak Cook-off in our town and got to dance the night away to the awesome 80s cover tunes of the Molly Ringwalds. I actually wore two different me-mades this day!

 

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Dress: Me Made McCall’s 6559, unblogged but 2 blogged versions on the site

 

Saturday, May 10 — I did a lot of housework this day so I wore a simple cotton knit tank dress that was my muslin of McCall’s 6559 — you can see my other two versions here and here. I know this picture is crazy but I sent it as a joke to my office RN who HATES mayonnaise! 🙂

 

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Dress: Me Made Simplicity 1810 Shoes: Cole Haan Necklace: Dillard’s

 

Sunday, May 11 — My new dress, Simplicity 1810, got its official debut at church and afterwards at Mothers’ Day lunch. Blog post to come soon.

 

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Top: Me Made Vogue 1291 Jeans: Citizens of Humanity Shoes: Me Too

 

Monday, May 12 — Vogue 1291, which I made last year during the Sandra Betzina workshop. I don’t really like this top because I forgot to center the pattern and the bottom is too snug to stay where I want it to on my hips so I have never given it a blog post. If you make this shirt, consider using a knit, not a woven. If you use a woven, you may want a larger neck opening and more ease at the hips.

 

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Skirt: Me Made Vogue 8603 Top: Limited Cardigan: Boden Shoes: Chinese Laundry Necklace: Kluster Stethoscope: Littmann (haha, just seeing if anybody is reading the fine print:)- )

 

Tuesday, May 13 — Another normal day at the office. I wore my Vogue 8603 skirt which is one of my favorite makes.

 

On a side note, Kluster, the Etsy seller I purchase many of my bead necklaces from (including the coral one in the last photo), is having a huge sale through the end of the weekend. Check out her shop and score an extra 40% off sale items with the code FINAL40. I am in no way financially connected to the Kluster Shop (other than being a normal customer), but I love their products and wonderful customer service so I thought I would share this sale with y’all.

 

That’s it so far, friends. I will be back soon with more details on the new dress. Have a great night!

Susie Does Housekeeping… And Me Made May ’14!

30 Apr

 

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Hi, y’all! I hope your week if going well. Ours is very wet here on the Gulf Coast. I don’t have anything new to show you today but I do have a few exciting things to tell you. First of all, I am squeaking in under the wire to say that I am participating in Me Made May for 2014:

‘I, Katrina of Susie Homemaker MD, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade item each day for the duration of May 2014 and at least one hand knit item during them month of May.’

Alright, next on the agenda is an award — the Sunshine and Shine On blog awards to be exact. I was kindly nominated by Annette over at Mrs. Toad Sews. I am apologizing in advance for not fulfilling all the requirements of the award (listing 10 things about myself, nominating 10 others), but I hope you will forgive me because of the next item on the agenda…

 

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I am packing as we speak to leave for a work-related trip but I have managed to squeeze a little sewing related fun into the mix and I will be joining my brothers and sisters of the needle and thread who live in the NYC area for the Workroom Social Sewing Swap Meet and Party! I am so exciting about meeting the faces behind some of the blogs I follow. I am also going to get to do a little fabric shopping in Philly and NYC so I will tell you all about it when I get home.

The last little bit of excitement may not seem like much to most of you but I finally get to eat at a restaurant of my favorite chef, Thomas Keller, while I am in NYC — Per Se. I will let you know if it lives up to my expectations when I return.

That’s it for today — meeting adjourned! 🙂

Sewaholic Gabriola Skirt in Silk Cotton Voile

15 Apr

 

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Howdy, friends! I hope you have had a good Tax Day (ha!). I have another finished sewing project for you today — the newly released Sewaholic Gabriola skirt.

 

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Let me start off by saying how much I love my finished skirt. It is flowy and feminine and manages to be elegant and casual at the same time. The first chance I had to wear it was this past weekend when we took a mini vacation to New Orleans. I wore the skirt while strolling through the French Quarter and then eating the best brunch ever at Restaurant R’evolution — beer battered crab beignets, ’nuff said. Then we headed to the Audubon Zoo and I swished about in my fine skirt among all the animals. I am pretty sure I overheard some of the zebras singing its praises.

 

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I love the seam lines of this skirt — I wish Tasia had released this pattern a few months earlier as it is very similar to the self-drafted one I made in August for the Grand Summer Ball (that skirt has since been sacrificed to make other projects). Of course, I like her version better.

 

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My fabric is the delightful “Georgia” silk-cotton voile from Sawyer Brook Fabrics. It has a smooth hand and a great drape for a project like this. It is a bit sheer so I lined it with white Ambiance Bemberg, also from Sawyer Brook. Because both my shell and lining fabrics were only 43″ wide, I had to have 5 yards of each, meaning this was not the most economical project ever. But I know I will wear this skirt a lot this spring and summer. In fact, I am thinking about wearing it as part of my Easter outfit this Sunday.

 

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Now let’s talk construction — this was not the easiest make ever. Because many of the seams are cut on the bias, you have to be very careful to stabilize those edges before handling the pieces too much. I wish for the sake of beginning seamstresses that the pattern instructions called for this. I used extremely fine fusible woven stay tape from Emma Seabrooke on all my bias seams.

I also wish she had outlined other possible seam finishes for various fabrics. I used French seams for the shell and stitched and serged seams for the lining. The French seam caused a small hiccup at the point in the front but it was pretty easy to make work.

 

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I substituted the curved waistband from the Megan Nielsen Tania culotte pattern as several reviewers noted that the included straight waistband tended to gape. I also replaced the prescribed regular centered zip with an invisible one and I attached the lining to the zip by machine.

 

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For hemming, a very sweet local seamstress (who does alterations in her home), marked by hem for me and I stitched it up using 1/4″ Steam-A-Seam for a clean and even finish. I used the rolled hem on my serger to hem the lining about 1″ shorter than the shell.

Overall, I love my new skirt but beginning seamstresses should proceed with caution before cutting this pattern out.

Thanks for reading along and have a happy Easter!

 

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2013 in Review

1 Jan

Now that 2013 is officially over, I thought I would take a minute to reflect on what the past year has held.  The year started out with lots of excitement when I traveled across the country by myself to attend a 3 day sewing workshop with Gretchen Hirsch and Heather Ross. While there I made quite a few friends, in particular Lauren, who started her own blog not long after the sewing weekend. She and I worked on the same pattern so we were able to give fitting assistance to one another. I also got to visit the brick and mortar Hart’s Fabric, which has become one of my favorite places for fabric shopping.

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My next trip took me to Washington DC for work-related business but I managed to squeeze in a little time to shop at G Street Fabrics.

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I participated in Me Made May for the first time and surpassed my expectations by not repeating any items for over 2/3 of the month.

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I attended a local sewing workshop with Sandra Betzina and made her pattern Vogue 1291. I also got to enjoy a lovely dinner party at a friend’s home with Sandra.

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I participated in the Spring Sewing Swap hosted by Kestrel. I was paired up with Shelly of Shelly’s DIY Style and got some great goodies all the way from Australia.

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I reviewed a pattern for one of my favorite indie designers — In House Patterns — and ended up with a gorgeous, breezy Blossom top. I currently have my next pattern to review cut out. Will be making a muslin soon.

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I participated in a garment sewing competition on the Hart’s Fabric website and thanks to all my wonderful readers, I won a $50 Hart’s gift certificate!

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In August I made an evening ensemble to wear to our hospital’s charity gala. I ventured into couture sewing with a lace bustier with spiral steel boning and self-drafted a silk charmeuse skirt.

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The last major sewing of the year involved creating dresses for my nieces to wear in my sister’s wedding — sewing for little girls is so much easier!

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I did squeeze in a quick sewing project right before Christmas — 10 infinity scarfs from my stash fabric to give as gifts to all the girls in my family. I used this tutorial but didn’t snag any pictures of my finished products before giving them away. Maybe one of the recipients will send me a picture so I can post it…

Top 5 Recipes

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Decadent Hot Cocoa Mix

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Caesar Salad

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Bourbon and Rosemary Roasted Chicken

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Cuba Libre, Reinvented

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Goat Cheese Spinach Dip (most searched post of 2013)

Top 5 Sewing Projects

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Knit Maxi — McCall’s 6559

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Bustier Top  Simplicity 1664

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Lace Bustier — Vogue 8849

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Date Night Dress — New Look 6457

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Belle Bow Blouse — In House Patterns

Top 5 Things I Learned

New binding for knit necklines

Underlining to create neat seam finish on vertical seams

Using spiral steel boning

Handpicking zippers

How to draft a skirt pattern

5 Goals for 2014

Post my backlog of completed sewing projects

Learn how to match patterns on fabric when creating a garment

Make some good basics for my wardrobe (knit tops, specifically)

Sew a jacket

Fess up that I have learned to knit in the last few weeks!!!

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Dulce Neck Cozy — free pattern on Ravelry