Monday, December 28, 2009
Anyone that has the motivation to craft a vagina... I am a fan of.
check it out.
They reminded me a lot of the joiners/photo-collages that Hockney did in the early 1980s to which I have developed a small obsession with.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Below is a step-by-step guide to making one. All you need is the following:
- a 35 inch (89cm) x 33 inch (84cm) square(ish) piece of cotton canvas or cotton drill (I chose a very durable heavyweight cotton, with the idea that it would last a lifetime, but feel free to use a more flexible lightweight cotton)
- 100 inches (254cm) of 1 inch wide ribbon (a 26 inch piece for the neck strap, 2 x 37 inch pieces for the waist straps)
- 136 (345cm) of 2 inch wide ribbon for trimming.
- reel of thread the same colour as the ribbon
measure out the square of cotton canvas according to the measurements below (click on the image to enlarge) or cut around an existing apron that you like the shape of. If you are using the measurements here, be sure to fold the material in half prior to cutting the top corners so the curves are the same both sides. Place this to one side.
Get your roll of 2 inch wide ribbon, and peg one end of it to the end of an ironing board (having some tension in the ribbon will make ironing it in half much easier). Fold in half (width ways) and iron flat. Be sure not to have the heat too high if the ribbon is synthetic, plenty of steam should do the trick. Ironing the ribbon will make trimming the apron much easier.
Cut the 2 inch wide ribbon in to 6 pieces- of lengths corresponding with the edges of the apron. I would highly recommend leaving an inch extra at each end (particularly on the top curved corners which require a deceptive amount of ribbon).
Cut the 1 inch wide ribbon (for the neck and waist straps) in to 3 pieces (a 26 inch piece for the neck strap, 2 x 37 inch pieces for the waist straps)
The 2 inch wide ribbon should fold nicely around the edge of your canvas material. Pin the bottom edge in place (roughly). You do not need to leave any overlap on this edge as the side edge trimmings will go over the bottom corners (neatly folded).
Sew this bottom edge trimming on staying as close to the edge of the ribbon as you dare whilst making sure you are not missing the side underneath with your thread. I usually leave 3mm buffer to be sure. A simple straight, medium length stitch is all you need for attaching the trimming.
Sew one of the side edge trimmings on. You must start at the bottom edge (on the corner that you have just sewn), but this time you must fold over the ribbon by 3/4 inch or so to stop the end fraying. This will hopefully make the corner much neater. Remember that there is likely a front and back to the canvas, so if you have to make one side neater than the other make sure you choose the front. Continue this around the edges, folding over the corners where necessary.
Now the apron should be the correct shape and fully trimmed. It is best to do any personalisation now (before attaching the neck and waist straps) as you do not want to inadvertently sew the neck strap to the back of the apron with about 500 stitches. I learned this the heard way.
First you want to mark out the letters lightly in pencil. I recommend marking two lines to indicate the top and bottom of the letters, and work between these. I used the width of a ruler for this.
To embroider with a regular sewing machine, you can set the stitch pattern to 'zig-zag' with and a very short (but not non -existent) length. You must test the stitch on a scrap of material first (perhaps from the top corners that were cut off earlier) and adjust as necessary.
You will quickly realise that straight lines are far easier than curved, but with practise you will be able to deal with curves (again, use the scrap material). I found that lifting the foot of the sewing machine and carefully repositioning the needle produced much better results than attempting to do the curve in one go.
To avoid constantly starting and stopping, you can do all the horizontal lines first without cutting the thread. Then cut and do the vertical/horizontal sections.
Hem the neck and waist straps by 3/4 inch or so then attach them to the corners on the back side of the apron (leaving the front nice and neat). These are going to be tugged at over the years so you will need to do a fairly thorough job. I did a 'Z' patten, using the reverse mode for the diagonal.
Trim off all the bits of thread and admire your handiwork.
Best of luck.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
It regularly amuses me to see my friends' reactions when they hear that not only can I use a sewing machine but I have just bought one! I recently spent 5 minutes attempting to convince someone I wasn't lying. Admittedly, I can't deny that stereotypically it is the tool of middle aged mothers, making curtains or costumes for their 5 year old's nativity play but I wish this wasn't the case as I feel a lot of people are really missing out. I was only lucky enough to learn how to use one because I was a windsurfing instructor in Greece and helped out mending sails on an industrial sail repair machine when it wasn't windy.
I have made a couple of great costumes over the summer with it. The first was for Winterwell festival, where the theme was 'outer space'. I made a Ziggy Stardust inspired silver lycra body suit and accompanying space gilet... and yes- that is my brother behind me in a full silver lycra gimp suit.
The next was for a UV party that Harty, a good friend was having at his house. I bought a few sheets of UV material from Soho and made another lycra number- but this time with a cape. I like capes.
Today I used some of the spare UV fabric along with some offcuts from Peter Jones' fabric department to make an ipod case for a friend whose current one is looking a bit worse for wear. My favourite part is the hole I made for the earphone jack. My sewing machine has this great feature where it will sew perfect button holes for you- you just slot the button in question into a little holder and press the foot pedal. It was one of the most satisfying feelings seeing it work it's magic. My next project is to make a shirt. A big step up from an ipod case.... hmmm- we shall see.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
The meat was still a little tough but very enjoyable. If I am honest it's taste was rather overpowered by the other ingredients and the wine. Still, the result was one less squirrel eating my cherries and a very cheap enjoyable meal. Perhaps I will wait until Autumn before cooking squirrel again once they have had a chance to fatten up over the summer. I will keep you informed.
- The front legs and rear saddle of the hare cut into pieces.
- 50g butter
- 1 parsley sprig
- 1 thyme sprig
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 peppercorns
- stock or water
- 2 oz (50 g) mushrooms, sliced
- 1 thick slice of bread, soaked in milk
- 1 egg yolk
- 6 tablespoons brandy or Madeira
1. Melt some of the butter in a frying pan and fry the hare pieces until they are lightly browned on all sides.
2. Transfer them to a saucepan, packing them in closely. Add the parsley, thyme, 2 of the bay leaves, the peppercorns and salt and just cover with stock or water.
3. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2 to 3 hours or until the hare is very tender.
4. Drain the hare, reserving the liquid, and take the meat from the bones. Chop the meat. Strain the liquid.
5. Melt the remaining butter in the frying pan and fry the mushrooms for 3 minutes. Add to the hare meat.
6. Squeeze the slice of bread to remove the excess milk and add to the mixture. Mince or blend to a smooth puree.
7. Moisten the puree with a little of the reserved liquid, then beat in the remaining butter, the egg yolks, the brandy or Madeira, salt and pepper.
8. Put the remaining bay leaf in the bottom of a pate dish and spoon in the hare mixture.
9. Smooth the top, then cover and steam for 3 hours.
- Olive oil, for browning
- 500g hare meat
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, cut into small cubes
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes
- A couple of sprigs of thyme
- A few bay leaves
- A pinch of allspice
- A pinch of sugar
- 300ml red wine
- A square or two of dark chocolate or 1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly (we used both)
- Salt and pepper
1.Heat a little oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat and when it is smoking hot add a third of the meat.
2.Brown the meat on all sides and season with salt and pepper before removing and reserve.
3.Repeat with more batches until all the meat is browned.
4.Heat some more oil and add the onion and carrots. Cook for 5–10 minutes, stirring from time to time so that the vegetables don’t colour.
5.When the onion is translucent, add the garlic, and after a couple of minutes the tomatoes, herbs, allspice, sugar and wine.
6.Add the hare and simmer for a few hours. 10 minutes before serving add the chocolate and/or redcurrant jelly.
- 1 saddle of hare
- zest of 1 lemon
- olive oil
- 6 juniper berries
- 1 garlic clove
It was generally accepted that the ragout was the best of the three. I think this was due to the slower cooking (4-5 hours) making the meat far more tender than the saddle (45 mins). However, the pate was a perfect starter, great to serve on lightly toasted home-made bread.