This is my first attempt at a BHL pattern. This pattern was included with Simply Sewing Magazine issue 12 and 13. The pattern pieces and instructions for the bodice were in issue 12 and the rest of the instructions were in issue 13. Really, you could get away with just buying issue 12. A word of warning though, you do need to trace off the pattern pieces because the sheet is printed on both sides but it’s easy enough, it’s not a Burdaesque tracing horror.
The sewing of the bodice was straightforward enough but I think the instructions could have done with a few more diagrams to make things clearer. I expect, because it was in a magazine these were limited but I don’t know what the usual quality of BHL’s instructions is.
On to issue 13, this was another double page spread, this time without pattern pieces. The instructions basically tell you to make a quarter circle skirt. I hope that if you were paying £10 for a pattern you would get actual pattern pieces! I have quite wide hips compared to my waist and there was no way I could cram myself into a quarter circle skirt so I made a half circle skirt instead using the circle skirt calculator. In went an invisible zip and I let it hang for a day or two before hemming it.
I thought it would be a quick sew but the circle skirt toile drama added some extra time. If it had come as a full pattern with better instructions it would have been but even so it was wrapped up in an afternoon. I’m tempted to try one of their other patterns now.
I used a slightly sateen cotton that I got from my local market for £1/yard, invisible zip was 80p so the total price was about £3.50….not bad!
If you live outside the UK, don’t worry because BHL said they are planning to release it themselves at some point.
I spotted some raspberries in the freezer so I made this cake. It’s almost better to use frozen berries because they don’t get squished and squashed as much. Of course if you want pink cake use fresh!
150g soft butter
150g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
a few drops of almond extract
2 large eggs
150g self raising flour
150g ground almonds
50ml double cream
200g raspberries-fresh or frozen
25g flaked almonds
Preheat your oven to 180°C and butter and line a 20cm/8″ cake tin
Beat the butter and sugar together. Hard. Until it is light, fluffy and paler in colour. Then beat it for another minute. Add in the extracts and beat some more.
Whisk in the eggs one at a time.
Mix the milk and cream together and fold half into your batter. If the milk/cream is fridge cold your mixture might look split or curdle-y but don’t worry.
Fold in the ground almonds followed by the rest of the liquid. Fold in the flour. Now it should be dropping consistency, give it a spoon of milk or two if it is too stiff.
Nice and gentle, fold in the raspberries. Spoon it into the tin and smooth the top. Sprinkle the flaked almonds on top. Bake for 30-35 min until golden and delicious and a skewer comes out clean.
I like to serve this with a jug of pouring cream. I love to make it in the summer, after a visit to the PYO farm…I’ll throw in an extra 50g or so. Usually I’m not a fan of baking berries but this is the exception
I’ve always wondered if the patterns that are given away with sewing magazines are any good or if their sole purpose is to suck you in to buying the mag. The pattern I tried came with issue 22 of Love Sewing magazine. It can be downloaded for free in sizes 6-14 here.
I did have a look on patternreview.com before I started but none of their patterns were on there.
I have been sewing a lot of indie patterns recently so I don’t know if I have just gotten used to the amount of hand-holding and detailed info that comes with indie patterns. This pattern had no sizing chart, just a chart of finished bust/hip/length measurements. It says it was designed for “moderate stretch” knits but doesn’t give a stretch %
So, onto the sewing. Not a bad pattern actually, everything matched up as it was supposed to and the instructions were pretty clear. I remembered to use a stretch needle and stabilise the shoulder seams with cotton tape. The only changes I made were to lengthen the bodice by about an inch and to increase the sleeve length to the elbow.
Cost 1.8m polycotton knit @ £1.50 per metre = £2.70
I’m fairly new to the overlocker scene so I’m still learning the best ways to do things. One of those things is dealing with tails of overlocker threads at the start and end of a line of sewing.
I tried using a bodkin to weave them back in but really, who can be bothered? I tried doing that thing where you turn your piece over and sew but cut chunks out of my garment! At the moment I use fray-check to glue the loose threads together before I trim them and cross my fingers and hope for the best. I thought I had seen a gadget for this very purpose a while ago but couldn’t for the life of me remember its name. Not surprisingly, a Google search for “overlocker thread tail tucker inner” yields few results. Maybe I imagined it….
Then today, browsing at John Lewis I found this:
The Prym mending needle! Reddit design award winner 2010 apparently. It’s like a cross between a loop turner and a seam ripper. The handle at the end comes off and turns into a lid. Magic.
But does it work? Surprisingly, yes. The neck is flat so it’s easy to squeeze up a line of stitches and the loopy bit isn’t as fiddly as I was expecting.
This handy little gadget can be bought here for £4.65
Now that it’s started to get cold and feel a bit wintery I’ve been craving soup. Now soup is possibly one of my least favourite things to eat…..except this one. The beauty of it is you can make it as thick or runny as you like. And this is how it’s done.
1 tbs clarified butter or butter and a drizzle of olive oil
1 medium onion
1 tsp salt
3 peeled potatoes
2-4 grated cloves of garlic
approx 160g watercress
300-600ml veg stock
freshly ground black pepper
Serves 4-8 depending on how thick you want it
Heat the butter in a pan and add the chopped onions. Let them sweat for about 7 minutes so they’re translucent but not coloured.
slice up the potatoes as thin as you can. Add them to the pot with half a teaspoon of salt. Stir it about and let it cook for a few minutes.
Meanwhile wash your watercress and get rid of any really stringy bits. If you are not going to blend your soup give it a rough chop too. If you are planning to blend, don’t bother. Add the garlic and watercress to the pot and let it cook till the watercress wilts.
Now add the milk and 300ml of stock. Let it simmer until the potatoes are cooked through.
if you are going to blend your soup, now’s the time to do it. A stick blender would be easiest but I usually put about three quarters in a blender so there is still some texture.
if your soup is too thick add some more stock. Add your pepper too and see if you need more salt.
serve with garlic bread…yum
If you want to be fancy you can garnish it with a few watercress leaves (I forgot) or a swirl of cream. This soup reheat perfectly and can also be frozen