Good Morning Colette Ceylon MINT

colette 3

Hello to the Blogoshpere!

I haven’t been bloggin much lately partly due to the poor internet I get here, and also partly due to a lack of interest on my part, and thirdly because of a lack of finished sewing projects. Sorry!

It is definitely possible to blog consistently here, you just have to seek out the internet and have things prepared in advance. And I just can’t do that at this point in my life. Sorry again!

So, stay tuned to the blog for an announcement in August about the FATE of the BLOG!

Without further ado, Colette Ceylon.

So you may remember that I bought the Colette Ceylon pattern as a birthday present to myself. I made that cute little blue shirt from the bodice before moving on to the dress with my more specific fabric. There were some difficulties with the printing, so when the shirt turned out well, I went ahead and embarked on the dress.

ceylonI got some pretty green fabric at market, not too crazily patterned, and not too largely patterned. I also bought some mint tea around the same time that just went along. Perfect accessory.ceylon 2Highlights of the sewing/fabric culture here:

1. Awesome and ridiculous prints readily available (stay tuned for bathtub printed cloth)

2. you can get a button-down short sleeve shirt tailored for around US$ 4

3. FABRIC COVERED BUTTONS MADE WHILE YOU WAIT

I went to a notions shop with my fabric scraps and the lady snipped out several dozen circles, popped them in her machine, gave them a press, and out came these adorable fabric covered buttons. I paid about 1 dollar for 16. Very pleased!

ceylon 1Less than pleasing were the sixteen buttonholes down the front. I decided to go for bound buttonholes. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe I thought they would be quicker or easier? They weren’t. I think they take me about the same amount of time, but they are a whole lot more fiddly and annoying than simply buttonhole stitching. Oh well, lesson learned. They do look pretty nice, though. Maybe it’s a task I’ll have to revisit when I have a machine.

sewing machine!Speaking of which, there is now a machine waiting for me in Cheyenne. Mom found one on sale at a thrift shop and snapped it up for me. Thanks Mom! You’re great!

About the dress. I did a lot of flat fell seams, because I like the way they look. In places that would not look good with a flatfell (ie the sleeves) I did French seams. Actually the sleeves were really weird because the front is attached to the shoulder yokes (2 pieces of fabric and interfacing) and the back is only attached to one layer of fabric.

What I ended up doing: French seamed the back, and then sandwiched the front between the two layers. This did lead to some weirdness where the two styles combined, but overall i think it was successful, if slightly time-consuming.

Alright guys, that’s it for today. I’ve got a skirt refashion I’ve almost finished and a few other quick projects on the needle, so to speak. Stay tuned.

Me Made May 2014 – Week 2 round up

MMM141Thoughts: The labor day outfit (skirt day 8, top day 11) has some significant problems. It was, after all, a rush job. The petals of the skirt don’t really move nicely the way I hoped they might. So, I think I may have to just sew the fronts together most of the way down. There’s a lot of flash potential at the moment.

The shirt… well, it has some flash potential as well. I guess crop tops are a thing, but not where I am currently living. The good news is, you can take an elastic waist skirt up around your boobs, and then wear the shirt over that. Or maybe wear it as a little jacket over a dress. But if you’re wearing a dress, why would you need to also wear a shirt? It also requires reflection. I cut it from the guidelines in “La Coupe” which tell you to refer to another shirt pattern in the book and then make some changes. The new shirt, however, is obviously much shorter than the original. They don’t, however, give you a new length measurement.

The turtle skirt is definitely going to win the prize for wearability, I think. It’s comfortable, and it’s blue. I wear a lot of blue. I learned what the sayings under the turtles mean. The fabric saleslady couldn’t tell, but the directrice of the primary school says that’s because it’s in Mina, which is a different language. She says it means something like “The won’t be able to stop talking about me.” Or maybe “haters gonna hate?” That’s me extrapolating. She couldn’t explain how her saying and turtles went together, but I’m going to try and ask again sometime.

Holes in my wardrobe: Nice everyday sundresses. I have one, and it’s super nice and easy to slip on, but I didn’t make it. I also have the cowrie shell dress, but sometimes I feel like that’s too dressy for school (little kids, glue, paint, etc.).

Can you tell which day is my day off, when I sometimes don’t even leave the house? Friday. May 9th.

The skirt used to be a wrap skirt that I’ve just worn into oblivion. I fell of my bike months ago and tore ragged 6 inch long gashes in the skirt. So I re-cut it into a A-line skirt. It’s comfy and suprisingly good for biking in. You can’t see in this picture but I also installed a waistband that was hand-woven by me on my inkle loom.

Happy May!

Birthday Preparations

Same cake, SEVERAL birthdays ago

Birthday preparations are in full swing here.

Not only am I getting the wearable muslin into wearing shape in time for my birthday weekend, but also:

Making a half batch of my / my mom’s / my gramma’s famous Sour Cream Chocolate Cake (a birthday tradition). Some substitutions are necessarily, most notably, I’m having to sub the sour cream for yogurt. You may see why I decided to make a test batch. Good news, it’s delicious. I even tested it on one of my neighbors, who also thinks it’s delicious. It’s delicious. Definitely delicious. And, as an added bonus, it cooks really well in a steam bath. Recipe to follow.

Last year's cake was super tasty, Emily can vouch. It even SMELLS good!

Last year’s cake was super tasty, Emily can vouch. It even SMELLS good!

Planning the cake frosting: there is the standard frosting, but that uses a lot of 4x sugar. Not sure I’m into that. Pretty sure last year’s frosting choice was cream cheese frosting (delicious, easy, creamy, not too sweet). Not sure that I can get cream cheese here (actually I’m sure I could in Cotonou but, cost and lack of refrigeration at site….?) I just tried to make a batch of Vache Qui Rit frosting, but my last TWO wheels of VQR have been terrible quality. Not getting anymore of that until they run out of the current batch at the super market. Open to frosting suggestions. Especially if they include condensed milk.

Planning my Cotonou trip (for the Indian food). I’m going to have to get someone to either cover my Thursday afternoon classes at the other school with one of the sections of CE2 while my counterpart has the other section (ha!), or my Saturday morning music theory class (but, but, I like that class!) I think the best we can do is hope that class will be canceled on Thursday. Cross your fingers.

Sending out Birthday cards to all my May Birthday Kittens! They are now all in the mail. They may be late, but they are in the mail.

(I’ve been sitting here on the internet for like, an hour, trying to dig out an old photo from the back logs of facebook. I’ll put it up if I have time later in the week.)

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake for regular folks:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
¼ cup shortening
¾ cup sour cream
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp baking powder
2 eggs
4 oz melted baker’s chocolate
 
Measure all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix on low speed 1 minute. Beat on high 3 minutes. Grease and flour a 9×13 pan. Or two 9” layer pans. Bake at 350 for 40 – 45 minutes. Or, make 3 dozen cupcakes and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
 

Frosting:

1/3 cup of butter
3 oz melted baker’s chocolate
3 cups 4x sugar
½ sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
 

 

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Benin Style

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar (less if using sweetened yogurt)
½ cup of butter OR about 114 grams
¾ cup plain yogurt (two 125 ml yogurt cups)
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
¾ c cocoa powder
¼ tsp cream of tartar
 
Have fun crushing up your sugar cubes bien. Mix everything together really well with a fork. Bake in a steam bath (not super high) for about 30-40 minutes. Stick a knife in to see if it comes out clean.

IMG_7695Don’t fill your pans too full like I did.

Progress on the Birthday Dress

I made an executive decision that there probably won’t be time to make the Colette Ceylon dress in time for my birthday. Especially considering we’re at just over a week ’til and I haven’t even cut out yet.

So, I’m concentrating on my wearable muslin, which is going to be a shirt.

Basically I cut the bodice out of some fabric that didn’t have a goal in life yet, since I hadn’t found the PERFECT fabric yet, and I wanted to check the fit because of the fact that I accidentally printed the pattern at 90%.

Won’t be going to that copy shop again! Actually, I will because she was super nice and gave me, like, a 20% discount and threw in a free folder.

So, I’m concentrating on finishing up this blouse. And yeah, the size 4 at 90% is a little tight. I did measure, but I didn’t take into account the overlap of the buttonbands at the front. Should have cut the 6. But I’m just sewing the side seams a little less that 5/8. And this is why we make a muslin, right?

I also drafted little straight tail pieces to make the shirt long enough after the midriff bit. Just straight down the same angle from the midriff pieces, although I am going to go back and redraft the back tail piece because I didn’t account for the darts. But no matter! That’s why I made them a little longer than necessary. I’m also going to curve the hems when I get to that part.

Funtimes at the sewing desk!

Unrelated, but….

“Why did the chicken cross the road?”

“To get to the other side!”

I feel like I understand this joke so much better now.

I can’t tell you how many chickens and little peeps I’ve almost run over on my bike. On a bike, mind! Not even that fast! Because a chicken who was perfectly fine on the left side of the road decided she needed to be on the RIGHT side of the road, RIGHT NOW!

I have yet to run over a chicken, but I know the day is coming soon.

“Why did the chicken cross the road?”

Who can fathom the mind of a chicken?

Me Made May 2014

Greetings from the first week of May!

MMM2014I was successfully able to wear handmade clothes every day this week! Hooray for setting manageable goals!

I also finished up two projects, which count, but it’s a little bit cheating since I did most of the work in April. Turn your attention to the sailor-looking shirt on days 5 and 7. It’s newly finished so I should do a post on it. Unfortunately I’m having a difficult time photographing it. See the collar? The big collar that is sort of the main point? Perhaps not because it refuses to photograph very well.

As you can also see, we are now repeating clothes. So I need to get busy on my new projects so I can wear them. Luckily in Benin, repeating clothing is perfectly normal.