Tuesday, July 26, 2016

not so little black dress

Since I was *temporarily* kicked out from my family's kitchen, I poured out my grief in my sewing nook: organizing my fabric, remnants, notions, patterns and some actual sewing. 

I ticked off a project from my list: Cameron knit dress from StyleArc. I purchased the PDF copy of this pattern and the tiles are easy to assemble. The pattern includes seam and hem allowance and since the dress has a blouson design I didn't worry about the fit and simply went ahead with the sewing.

Darlene made this: Cameron Dress

I like this dress not just because it fits well but also because its black: it can be accessorized in many ways.I wore this early this month for an Iftar dinner and was adorn with a smaller version of Omani silver Hirz or Hijab necklace.

Omani Hirz Hijab Necklace

My only regret was that I should have worn a slip underneath because of the wrap skirt. I was really conscious of exposing more than I should. The problem is I don't own one since the material I always used are thick enough and my dresses or skirts are fully lined that I don't really need to wear extra underneath.

So I guess I need to make one and luckily this silk fabric has been sitting in my stash:

I'm sure I could squeezed in another project in my list.

See you in my next post!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

a repeat, new favorite, something new and grief

I spent the rest of the Holy Month of Ramadan cooking:

Darlene cooked this: Ramadan 2016 week 3


Day 14: Pad Thai
My brother cooked extra noodles for the Vietnamese Pho; he must had misunderstood my instruction I gave him. But instead of getting angry, I simply started to think on how to reuse it and Pad Thai came first thing into my mind. This is my first try: it actually a bit pink in color due to hot sauce I used (not naming the brand). It was a hit, except my dad didn't liked it - it was too sweet for him.

Day 15: Chicken Noodle Soup
This is the noodle soup of my childhood:  shredded chicken, noodles in creamy garlicky broth - no carrots no cabbage.

Day 16: Vegetable Spring roll
My sister didn't had enough last time a made this so I cooked another batch.

Day 17: Garlic Soup
There always a couple of bulb of roasted garlic sitting in my freezer. I usually make this soup whenever I'm having a cold or flu (yes, I still cook even if I'm sick). Though I wasn't sick when I made this; I just ran out of ideas!

Darlene cooked this: Ramadan 2016 week 4


Day 19: Pad Thai
My brother was leaving and my family requested Pad Thai for the send off dinner. We found a new favorite! I am also glad that one of the local grocers stocked some Sriracha and purchased a bottle. And this time, it wasn't too sweet and my dad kept refilling his plate.

Day 21: Mushroom Quiche
I remember the days when I treat myself with a few of hors d'oeuvre sized Mushroom Quiche and told myself: I should know how to make these. However, I didn't make hors d'oeuvre-size quiche - didn't have the time and patience for that!

Day 22: Ensaymada
This is a Filipino-style Brioche topped with butter, caster sugar, grated cheddar or Emmental cheese, and slices of preserved eggs. This is definitely not for the calorie or weight conscious person.

This was a very sad day to my family as one of our dog has died. We are all dealing with the loss in our way: dad spent hours doing carpentry, mom did the laundry ahead of schedule, my sister was always angry, my brother wasn't talking, and I kept on cooking. I was temporarily not allowed to cook for few days.

Since we were all grieving, our Eid celebration was very low key. I was finally allowed to cook. I decided not to post about it as there were others who were grieving too.

See you in my next post!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

empathy, gratitude, and celebration

Sorry, it's been a while since my last post. It's the Holy Month of Ramadan - a time when Muslims exercise in empathy for millions who are living under poverty by not eating any food or drink from sunrise till sunset, do charity work or do any form of aid to the needy. During this time, newspapers, magazines, even social media is filled with articles reminding Muslims its significance, fund raising campaigns and charity works.

However for me, I think of food alot more. I can't help myself not to: I smell food during late afternoons, I see ladies exchanging plateful of food, I see food advertisement on billboards, newspapers, I receive emails, SMS about food, read recipes shared by prominent personalities or chefs from famous restaurants, and food being wasted (which is an eyesore). So I make food almost everyday during Ramadan.

I tend to make soups almost every single day, though I also make something else or even try a new recipe:

Day 1: Mexican Chicken Soup (top left corner):
This is an Ina Garten recipe I tried sometime ago which I initially thought was a hit with my family but it turned out that it is only me and my dad who likes this alot.

Day 2: Filipino-style Chicken Noodle Soup (top middle)
I was really happy when one of the grocers regularly stocks fresh Chinese egg noodles making it possible for me to make this soup.

Day 3: Minestrone (bottom left corner):
This is one of my dad's favorite soup; the rest would drink this soup as long as there is croutons. I like to use pita or "lebnani"  bread for croutons instead sliced white bread. I chop 2 pita breads, toss some oil, season with salt and pepper and into preheated oven for few minutes.

Day 4: Lentil Soup (bottom middle):
This soup is almost a staple during Ramadan; at least to what I have noticed. I have come across with many recipes of lentil soup but I liked the version with potatoes the most. Just sauté onions with cumin, coriander, and turmeric, add lentils, water and chopped potatoes. Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper, then simmer till the potatoes are done. Let it cool, transfer to a food processor or use a hand blender, reheat, adjust the seasoning and serve.

Day 5: Churros (extreme right):
After 4 consecutive days of drinking soup, I craved for something fried. I made choux pastry long time ago so I wasn't so intimidated in making these. My pulled my brother as my sous chef: I piped the pastry to the hot oil, he fish it out once it reached golden brown color.

Day 6: Vegetable Spring Roll (top right corner)
This is known in my home country as "lumpiang prito"; I craved for something fried, crunchy and savory - and this is perfect. This is a spring roll filled with bean sprouts, shrimps, celery and chopped tofu. I placed a parsley leave as I wrap the spring roll for presentation.

Day 7: Crab and Corn Soup (top middle)
This must be the one of the easiest soups there is. However, I probably "murdered" this one by using butter - I have no regrets.

Day 9: Potato and Leek Soup (bottom left)

Day 12: Vietnamese Pho (bottom middle)
I never associate cinnamon with savory dishes and never really like anise seeds and yet, I took up a courage to make this one. The beef was tough that it sat in the simmering and aromatic broth for 6 hours but it was worth the wait. Though it made the broth cloudy it was very satisfying.

Day 13: Spaghetti Stroganoff (extreme right) 
It was only the night before when my brother reminded me it was Fathers' Day the following day. This is one of my go-to dish whenever there celebration in my family.

If you notice, Days 10 and 11  was skipped: I didn't cook on these days and my mom took over the cooking duties as usual.

See you in my next post!

Monday, May 23, 2016


I was on my way to meet Mr. F for our usual date night when he phone in saying he was running late. I didn't get upset at all; instead I decided to do a little window shopping in a district where there is 4-5 fabric stores just next to each other near to our meeting place. When I stepped in the last store and found myself as the lone shopper. I hate it when this happens: all the salesmen's attention were on me, watching my every move. Fortunately for me they are not annoying like in other stores while I, on the other hand have a face that can be easily remembered.

I really don't want any of these salesmen to make a mental note "she just look but doesn't buy" so I walked away with this:

Darlene's Vogue 8872: Construction Details

A metre of printed satin more than enough for Vogue 8872 in view B however, getting the coordinating fabric took me a while though and was acquired elsewhere. I settled with blush pink silk satin:

Darlene's Vogue 8872: Construction Details

Its not really the right shade so I cut the upper bodice pattern pieces where there is the cluster of the floral print.

Darlene's Vogue 8872

I did not sew any belt carriers as I have no intention of wearing this with a belt.

Darlene's Vogue 8872

Now for the construction details: The dress has organza interlining and lined with cream colored batiste cotton. I somehow regretted using batiste cotton, I should have use heavier fabric...

Darlene's Vogue 8872: Construction Details

I pickstitch part of the armhole which serve as the understitching. I added a bra strap holders; I prefer using 3/8" rayon ribbon over thread chain

Darlene's Vogue 8872: Construction Details

I didn't serge the seam allowances with a serger sewing machine instead I did overcasting stitch; catching few threads of the organza interlining to keep the seams flat.   

Darlene's Vogue 8872: Construction Details

Mr. F and I realized we are a mismatch and decided to go on our separate ways. 

At least I'm moving on with a nice dress ;)

See you in my next post!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

hot pink

I'm seeing a lot of silk trench coat recently and I thought, maybe I catch up with the fashion trend once in a while. I also took the opportunity to use one of my vintage pattern from my collection.

I bought this coat pattern last year . It is double breasted coat though it doesn't have the details of a trench coat but it did just fine with me. I made the coat in View C and did a rough tissue fitting instead of making a toile or a muslin. Luckily, I only need to shorten the hem and the sleeves by 2 inches.

The fabric is rayon or faux silk (not really sure); lightweight and has a lot of drape. I was hoping to get tan or a powder pink colored fabric but my options were very limited: purple, lavender, wine and hot pink. Wine was my first choice but there weren't enough yardage for the project so I ended up settling with the hot pink.

Darlene's Silk coat

Darlene's Silk Coat

I wore the coat with my Floral Princess Sheath Dress, first seen here. Now for the construction details:

Darlene's Silk Coat: construction details

I used light weight fusi-knit for the facing and the collar. The facing has a Hongkong finish; I must be lucky to have bias strips of the same color in my stash!

Darlene's Silk Coat: construction details

I used a medium weight fusible interfacing for the belt and though it wasn't called for, I added belt loops at the sides. I omitted the side inseam pockets and finish the sides with French seam. 

Darlene's Silk Coat: construction details

Also did a top stitching at lapels. I really liked how this coat turn out and I hope I could make another - maybe a linen version. 

Darlene's Silk Coat

See you in my next post!


Monday, May 2, 2016

insta-recap: April, 2016

Here's a little recap for April:

New dress and used the last of the clothing label for 2015:
Darlene made this: Burdastyle Geometric Dress

A work in progress; I usually bundle up cut up fabrics like so and put it in a small box or bag along with the notions that are needed for the project. It saves me time.

Work in progress

Last char-grilled food for the season: Chicken Tandoori.

Darlene's Chicken Tandoori

Ticked off a project from my list

Darlene's Ultimate Trousers

I had a pasta cravings last month. My mom always cook this for my birthday but since I learnt the recipe, I can cook this anytime.

Darlene's Spaghetti ala Stroganoff

Are you participating this year's Me Made May? I unfortunately have to pass but I am considering joining Self Stitch September instead.

See you in my next post!


Monday, April 18, 2016

it started with a kiss

Darlene's Ultimate Trousers

My first trousers ever!

I used Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers sewing pattern for this.  I tested the pattern by making a muslin first but I know it will be long so straight away I shortened it and raised the waistline following their tutorial. There were "smile" lines in the crotch area so I re-draw the shape of the curves.

Darlene's Ultimate Trousers

I used this blended wool pincheck-print material which reminds me of the uniforms of professional chefs!

There's nothing much to say about the construction of the trousers as it is very straight forward and everything is detailed in their sewalong.

Darlene's Ultimate Trousers

I wore these with my second Astoria (my first is here). I bought this fabric from Girl Charlee; part of their Valentine collection.

That is one project cross off my list!

See you on my next post!