Zlata Skirt

Tuesday, February 25

I finally made something people. After months of inactivity I finally made something. Since my last sewing project, so many things have happened, bad things, good things, and so so things, but more on that later.

I made a skirt. Do you like it? I certainly do. Sometime ago, Ana of Stepalica patterns, was looking for testers for her new pattern, and I signed up for it. Ana's patterns are not your usual patterns. She is self taught, but you will not know by the quality patterns she puts out. Last year I wrote about her first pattern, the Nougat dress. I am still to make that, but this year shall not go by without me making it. Touchwood.

So yeah, the Zlata skirt. It is a lined pleated skirt with a twist. I told you Ana does not do the usual. You can read all about the skirt here, and see different versions of the Zlata skirt made by some of the testers here

It has three variations, and I made view C. I was not sure about my size, so I cut size 42. In hindsight I should have cut the 44 because the 42 is a teeny weeny bit too tight. Which brings me to another thing, I have put on alot of weight. I recently discovered I am a comfort eater, and the past couple of months of have been really hard on. Lots of stuff, which I hope to never go through again, happened. Anyways, my issues translated into midnight trips into the kitchen for some ice cream and chocolate cake, followed by macarons and coca-cola.I now weigh 92kg, which is the heaviest I have ever been. I currently have an incovenient pain in my knee, which Mr.Dibs and a friend of mine have attributed to my weight gain. Sad stuff people, sad stuff.

Anyway, back to my skirt. I love it. It is so different to what I normally make. I rarely sew solids. I definitely should incorporate solids into my wardrobe. The fabric is a cotton/linen blend I bought from Abakhan fabrics in Manchester. It was a dream to sew and I now wish I had bought more of it.

In terms of difficulty, I would say the skirt is a medium. You have to line it, so if you have never made a lined skirt before, this is a good project to start with.

 I found that my bum raised the back of the skirt, so I need to address that in my future projects.
 Ana gives you a few suggestions on how to add more details to your skirt, one of which is pipping. I added some pipping to the pockets, and waistband.

I might make view B next. 
Stepalica: Zlata skirt Pattern #1401

My next two projects are a toile du jouy dress, and a simplicity 2053 dress.  I actually started these two projects last year, but with the issues I had, I could not complete them.

You might also have noticed that I have not been posting Minerva Blogger projects. I left the network. I am very happy I was asked to join. I had fun while part of the network, BUT, I was not in a good place, and I just did not have the energy to do the projects justice. I still love seeing what everyone else has been making, and I just know it will only get better.

Macaron Sunday

Sunday, January 19

Happy New Year people. Have you already broken your new year's resolutions yet? Yes? Ah, see, that is why I do not set new year's resolutions. I never keep them.

What I did decide on though, was to enter the kitchen more. Before getting married to Mr.Dibs, I lived with him for a couple of months, and I was such an exemplary house guest that he decided to put a ring on it. I suspect the marriage proposal was a result of the delicious food I cooked everyday. Unfortunately for Mr.Dibs, my forays into the kitchen was part of my plan to get a marriage proposal from him. I stopped cooking regularly as soon as we came back from the honeymoon. I am not even joking. Mr.Dibs has been trying to get me to turn back into the domestic goddess I was pre wedding ring, but I have been steadfast in refusal to revert. Every so often I would be moved by the need to do some good for the universe, and I would cook him something special.

Which led me to my new toy.

Last year, when my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I was not sure what to ask for. I wanted two things, a Coverstitch machine, and a Kenwood chef. Both of these things are not cheap. So I could only choose one. I weighed the pros and cons. Which of them would get the least resistance from Mr.Dibs? Hmm, Mr.Dibs has never benefited from my sewing. I am that selfish. I'm sure there will come a time when I would make something for him, but that time is not now. Food on the other hand, is something the whole family could enjoy. So I chose the Kenwood. And his exact words were " About time I benefited from one of your hobbies". Now, saying cooking is one of my hobbies is a very long stretch, but what the heck, Mr.Dibs can say anything just as long as I get what I want.

So, last year, This bad boy made its way to my house.

Since having it, I have improved somewhat in the kitchen department. I am not quite up to Nigella Lawson standards yet, but I will get there eventually...I hope.

I have used it mostly for baking. I love baking. I have used it to bake cakes and cupcakes, but what I have loved making the most, are macarons.

I am quite pleased with myself. I first had macarons from Pauls. They are not cheap though, so I reserved consumption for special occasions. Then , when I was pregnant with Noah, Mela came visiting with some chocolate macarons she had made for me. Junior Mr.Dibs still remembers that day fondly. When I think of baking, I thnk of my two gals, Mela and Rachel. Those girls are mean in the kitchen. So when I got the Kenwood, I started looking online for receipes and inspiration. The general consensus was that they were very finicky to make, and you had to be very precise with your measuring. The macarons in this post are my fourth attempt at macarons, and they are my best so far.

Traditional french macarons are made using almond flour, icing sugar, caster sugar, and egg whites. So you make a meringue, and mix with the almond flour and icing sugar, and a colouring of your choice.  You can make macarons using three different meringues. The french, swiss or italian meringue. I used the Italian method. I will go more into the details in another post.

Noah has been very excited about these macarons. He would not even let me do a successful photoshoot.

I had to enlist Mr.Dibs to restrain Noah.

I love making macarons. I find them really easy to make, if you follow the instructions that is, and carefully weigh all your ingredients, and pipe them well, and bla bla bla. What I am trying to say is, they get easy with practice, and once you get the hang of making them, they suddenly seem like the easiest things to do.

So what about you? Have you made macarons before, any interesting flavours you think I should try? I'd like to know. I would also like to make more use of my kenwood chef, so if you have one of these, or a normal food processor or a Kitchen aid, what do you use them for? Care to share any recipes?

Minerva Crafts Blogger Network: Butterick 5559 sheath dress

Tuesday, December 24

My project for this month is not for the faint hearted. Don't get me wrong. Butterick 5559 is not a difficult pattern. Far from it. What it is though, is LABOUR INTENSIVE.

I should have read the reviews from other bloggers before picking this pattern, but what can I say? I loved the pattern. I have been admiring it for a long time on other bloggers, and wanted to have a go at it, so I have no one but myself to blame.

For this project, I selected a turquoise ponte roma knit fabric. This fabric is absolutely luscious, and I love the fact that it behaves like a woven fabric, minus the fraying, and it is stretchy enough to hide my many lumps and bumps. You can find it in 21 colours here. I am  definitely going to buy more of this fabric for future projects. I call it my "no hassle fabric".

 So, back to the pattern.

It is a sheath dress, which is good for me because my body proportions are all over the place. I cut a size 14 for the bodice, and then graded out to size 20 at the hips. I have a feeling after Christmas I shall be grading out to size 22.

The pattern like I said before, is easy, but quite tedious. It has 7 darts which are placed between 14 1/4 inch tucks, which when sewn, are hidden. Genius non? Tracing the fold lines for the tucks was not remotely amusing. You have to make the tucks on the right side, so what I did was machine baste the lines directly on the pattern with the pattern pined to my fabric. In hindsight, I should have used wax paper and traced the lines unto the wrong side of the fabric, then use that as my guide to machine baste the lines. My pattern is now completely destroyed, because I had to rip it off my fabric after basting. If you want to have a go at this pattern, don't make the same mistake I did.

When doing the 1/4 inch tacks, you have to be very accurate. I think I rushed things a bit, and the sides are not as aligned as I would have loved. I can live with the way they are though.

The dress runs short, so if you don't like short dresses, you will need to add some length to it.I added about 4 inches to the hem, but I think I should have added more because after hemming it, and all those tucks, it went to my knees, and I am not even tall.

I am actually quite happy with the dress. Mr.Dibs was impressed, and in his own words, "hmm, you know what you are doing sometimes". I'll take that as a compliment, thank you

If you want to read more about this dress, and various ways to help with the construction, you can check out this pattern review page on it.There are 37 reviews on it. If you want to brave it, you can buy the kit to make it here.

Merry Christmas everyone, and see you all next year.

Make your own Catherine Middleton engagement dress

Friday, December 6

Ok, so I have not been around these parts for the longest time ever!!
I had such grande plans at the start of November. None have been realised. The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed I did not even post a Minerva Crafts project in November. What can I say? Life happened. So many things happened last month, more on that on another post. For today though, we have the privilege of hosting Adrienne of All Style and All Substance

I first met Adrienne when she lived in the UK. She currently lives in Sweden. sigh! I have long envied Adrienne's country hoping. It feels like every time I read her blog, she has moved to another country.Adrienne is kindly showing us how to dress like the Duchess of Cambridge as part of the Wrap dress project. 

For those of you who don’t know me: Hello! My name is Adrienne and I blog over at All Style and All Substance. I’ve been a regular reader of Dibs of the Machines and it’s an honour to write this guest post today!

When I saw that Dibs was doing a wrap-dress sewalong, nothing was going to stop me. I was going to take part. Wrap dresses are my favourites!

But what wrap-dress sewalong would be complete without the wrap dress of all wrap dresses, namely, Catherine Middleton’s engagement wrap dress by Issa London?


Today, I’ll show you how to make your own engagement dress with a few simple tweaks, using a basic shawl-collared wrap-dress pattern, such as Vogue 8827.


1)     As we know, in dressmaking, picking the right fabric is half the battle. In this case, pick a fabric having extreme drape. It’s also preferable to pick a stretchy fabric.
2)     Make your dress following the instructions as you normally would, making sure the belt is wide enough (at least 3 inches, I would say) and long enough (so you can wrap it around your waist 2,5 times). During construction, omit any steps for side ribbons or snaps on the inside. Also hold off hemming your dress. If you’re using pattern Vogue 8827 as a base like I did, make View B with long sleeves, and cut three belt pieces instead of two, so you’re making the belt 50% longer.
3)     Sew the panels together down the middle. In order to determine where to sew, try on your dress and let both panels hang down the front. Mark on your dress the point where you would like the center front seam to begin (and the neck opening to end). With the dress on a flat surface, draw a straight line from the marking to the bottom of the front opening, as in the picture bellow. Stitch on that line.

4)     You’ll see that the hem will be irregular. Before hemming or cutting anything, hang your dress overnight, to let gravity pull your dress.

Thanks for allowing me to share this tutorial with you, and I’ll hope you’ll enjoy you Catherine Middleton knock-off dress! Happy sewing everyone!

P.S.: For more construction details and pictures of my dress, feel free to stop by!


Thanks Adrienne for such an informative post. This will hopefully spur me to make my own wrap dress this weekend. I say "Hopefully" because I have learned the hard way in the past 30 days not to plan too much.

What about you, have you made your own dress yet?

Fabric Detective

Saturday, November 2

UPDATE :  The fabric has unfortunately sold . out. All within 24 hours. Wow.

This is just a shout out to all the people who were itching to get their hands on this fabric

It is back in the Debzzart ebay shop.

Good luck!