Wednesday, 23 July 2014

One great love..."Burda"


It had been a while since I took some time to hangout in the sewing studio and immerse myself in my sewing books and Burda Style sewing magazines that had been gathering dust. It's been a long time since I've sewn anything for myself (we're talking 6 months!) so the time had come to make something for myself again. I have a pile of fabric for myself that I always say 'I will get to' so I decided it was now or never - or the fabric pile gets bigger!

I have been a longtime lover of Burda patterns. I love their european style and the patterns are easy to follow. I have a few of the Burda magazines and early in 2012 I joined their Burda Style website and must admit I didn't use it that often (too much PTD sewing going on!). It wasn't until my holidays that I realised how fabulous this site really is! It has to be the one site that now takes up most of my down time!


So what is Burda Style? It's a website that delves into the world of the Burda Style sewing magazine. You can peruse and purchase the latest patterns, browse through the sewing resources and tips and see what other seamstresses around the world have made! There are crafty projects on there too and you can share other creations you've made from other patterns and even add your own pattern. The best section I have found is the projects section - basically when you find a Burda pattern you're thinking about purchasing, you can see the other 'projects' aka items other seamstresses have made from the same pattern. It's good to see what the patterns look like on people too and not just a model.

I love that the patterns are only $5.40AUD approx and are an instant download too! If you sign up for a free account, the patterns you purchase will save to your account so you can access them again and it's easy to remember which patterns you already have. I did find some of the instructions, depending on the pattern, a little vague with not enough detail at times, however Burda are going through the patterns and updating/adjusting their instructions to make the patterns easier to follow.

Burda Style magazine is available in Australia from selected newsagents for around $15 and the magazines include the latest patterns. The patterns come as a paper insert and you just copy the pieces you need from the sheet. To make the process of copying easier, there are Burda tracing kits available from Spotlight stores too.
If you love it as much as I do you can apply directly through Burda for a subscription which is much cheaper than subscribing through one of the Aussie companies offering the subscriptions. You just send an email to Burda and ask that you'd like the english version (otherwise you may end up with the German version which is printed in German).

So what have I made from Burda so far? I made this dress.....it has an elastic waist and slips over your head. There are no zips and is a great beginner pattern. Here's the link to the pattern:

Image courtesy Burda Style


Image from Burda Style
Here is my version:


copyright PTD 2014

I loved this pattern and will definately be using it again! I made the dress out of cotton sateen fabric and made a couple of changes to the pattern: I didn't add the arm band cuffs as I was happy with the length of the sleeves so I just hemmed them and I didn't add the elastic waist as I love my tanned belt and thought it suited the dress. I did add the button holes to the waist just in case I want to add the elastic later. This dress was very easy to make and took me around 2 hours to cut the fabric and sew the dress together. I have a couple of other fabrics to try with this dress. It's such a relaxed fit too. I think next time I will make a slightly smaller one as it's a little on the big side.

Other projects I am currently working on is a shift dress made from eyelet. I bought some gorgeous fabric from Tessuti fabrics on a recent trip to Melbourne. They have gorgeous dress fabrics perfect for that extra special project. They also have sewing classes and gorgeous lace from France!

Happy Sewing!

Kate x

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Seamless Seamstress ♥


What makes a good seamstress? I'm sure if we asked the seamstresses of the world there would be a million different answers! I think there are lots of things which make for a talented seamstress. For one there's experience, it's the time that you've been sewing for and honing your craft. It's like driving a car, you get your learners permit and then your provisional licence and then after some years your skills improve (although some people are bad drivers after many years too!). Sewing is the same really and I think no matter how experienced you are, you will always continue to learn ♥. I also think it comes down to the 'tools of the trade'; those items in your sewing room or little kit which make the process of sewing so much easier!

So here I'm sharing with you the items (some of them sacred like the sewing scissors) I have in my sewing kit - I won't include everything otherwise the post would be soooo long, but here's the top things I am always using out of my kit. ♥


A good pair of sewing shears - I love Mundial scissors, they make great knives and sewing scissors! I love these scissors as they cut beautifully and are a great fit for your hands. They come in both left and right hand versions which is even better. They also come with a plastic blade cover to keep little hands away. When I was little my brother cut up the loungeroom curtains and my mother was horrified. She'd spent hours making these velvet curtains (it was the 80's) only to find the light coming through when she pulled them closed; the lesson was learnt!



Snips - I love these, they are my favourite tool. Get a great pair as you will use them all the time and cheaper versions tend not to be as sharp. Snippers are great to trim threads and are quick and easy to handle rather than picking up chunky scissors. I have multiple pairs as I always forget where I put them.


Pins - sharp berry head pins are a must for pinning patterns and garments.
the more expensive the pins the better they are. To keep them nice and sharp use a pin cushion filled with sand to sharpen the heads when not in use.

Cutting mat, rotary cutter and sewing ruler - these are great to cut nice straight sleeves for some of my patterns. If you're cutting multiple pieces of fabric they're great too. Patchwork and quilting folk use the cutters constantly to cut all those nice geo shapes out. Remember that you pay for what you get.

The iron - washing and ironing fabric before it's used is a must! Ironing your pattern pieces, fabric and pressing your seams as you go results in a better garment being made. It takes extra time but you can definitely see the difference in your finished pieces.

Bias binding tool - if you ever need to make your own binding this is a great tool and it's cheap! There are bias binding machines out there now but I like this version as I buy most of my binding and make it if I need binding to match my dress fabrics. This tool allows you to thread the binding through and will turn the edges so all you have to do is press the fabric - no more burnt fingers!


Good quality thread - I can't stress this one enough! Good thread means beautifully finished garments that will last. Cheap thread will break and can cause problems with your machine. Gutermann makes lovely thread.

Bodkin - a great tool to thread elastic or ribbon through casings and nice and cheap to buy. Or use a safety pin but thread the pin the opposite way in, that way the pin won't prick you as you thread the elastic through the casing and it won't get caught in the casing either.


Sewing presser foot for zippers - I use my Pfaff zipper foot to no end - it's one presser foot I couldn't live without. Zips are so easy to put in, once you have a little practice you'll be zipping zips in no time! Generally all sewing machines come with the foot, it's the foot that is half the size of the general foot.

And that's about the list of my favourite things.  There's lots of other items out there to make the process easier. What's your 'favourite' tool you use all the time? Feel free to leave us a tip or trick that you like to use!

Happy sewing,

Kate x




Saturday, 12 January 2013

Two thousand and thirteen


I do love a new year. It's a time for reflection, even if we're not the overly reflecting type!
For Pink Tulip, we've had such a big 2012 and thank you all for being part of it.  We're very proud of the work and effort we have put in to our little pink tulip over the past year and couldn't have done it without you all. You've made it extra special for us and we've met so many of you, it feels like we have a new bunch of friends. A couple of you have let us into your lives and shown us how lovely our pink tulip pretties look on your little ones too so thankyou!! We love seeing piccies of your little one's, they grow up so fast!

 2012 has been great for us and it has also been a challenge, that's for sure. But if it wasn't challenging would we learn anything? Would we grow? I don't think so. Change is not facilitated by walking down 'easy' street.  Adversity makes us stronger and a better individual for it. It enables us to grow, learn, ignore the bad and to stop sweating the small stuff.  This year we have definitely grown and we are emerging into the 'fresh handmade' business we are and love!
Image Copyright pink tulip designs 2012


We have also had time to reflect and we've decided to make a couple of small changes coming into the new year. Myself and my seamstress assistant Marilyn (love you mum!), will continue to sew and I'll sew when I can. So for the first half of this year we will no longer take custom orders. We do love our custom orders too, we love seeing how creative you guys are with fabric combinations and styles, but for myself, I can't put as much time as I'd like to into them for the first half of this year. Sometimes they take away the creativity we'd like to unleash on the world. It also means less time to sew for our market nights and online store. So for the first half of the year, we'll make you some gorgeous outfits and they'll be available on either our facebook page or our online store. We'll keep you updated with new releases and new fabrics. Yes you know that Heather Bailey lives here and the lovely Jennifer Paganelli also makes an appearance (we love gorgeous fabrics). We have some new styles in the works too.




Image courtesy Heather Bailey.com
We have an abundance of fabric too so there will be no shortage of gorgeous things that's for sure, so we'll have more one of a kind pretties. We'll also look into having a market night or two over the first half of the year so that there's more of a chance to get a hold of our goodies. Our homewares range is expanding too, we'll still be stocking gorgeous brands including My Wooden Heart, Bush to Beach candles and Robert Gordon homewares. These will be available in our online store.

So why is it we're changing the way things are? The reason is this...I need to finish my study - it's my master's actually. I have been studying whilst sewing and working full time and the time has come to write the last of my masters, a research project.  If only the project could be about sewing, I'd pass with flying colours (they'd probably tell me I'm way over the word count too!) However, it's not about sewing, it's about forensic science actually (yep science lover here) so I need to devote some much needed time to accomplish this.

We're also in the process of unleashing our new website later in the new year too. It's been in the works for sometime now but we haven't had the time to finish the final tweaks ♥

So here's to 2013 and a more unique and fresh pink tulip. We have thoroughly enjoyed our break over Christmas and feel refreshed to start the new year. Hopefully our custom orders will be back in the second half of the year, we know how much you love a custom order! Thanks for being here and here's to a wonderful 2013 to you all! x

Happy 2013!! (Image copyright pink tulip designs 2012).








Thursday, 10 May 2012

One great love....Cheesecake

I'm in a cake baking mood today, I think watching Masterchef has inspired me to jump into the kitchen and bake again and so I baked......Cheesecake! I've been a die hard cheesecake fan from way back when my mum used to bake them for birthdays. I love the creamy texture and that crumbly sweet biscuit base. I thought I was only a convert of the no-bake variety until I met the 'baked' cheesecake. This recipe is the one my mum uses and since we're celebrating another birthday in our house the cheesecake was the cake of choice.....the hardest part of assembly is trying not to sample the delicious sweet goodness of the filling before cooking it!

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon - Aussie lemons are the best!
  • icing sugar, for dusting (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cups sweet biscuit crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon flour (optional)
  • 2 x 55g eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 70g butter, melted
  • 750g of block Cream Cheese, softened (is 3 blocks of the cheese)

First, smash up the biscuit crumbs in a blender or similar until you have nice fine crumbs. Melt the butter and mix into the crumbs. Press the crumbs into a prepared cake tin (spring forms are good as you can pop the cake straight out). Pop the base into the fridge to set. (depending on the crumb size I tend to add a little more butter if the crumbs aren't sticking together well).

Make sure to push the biscuit crumbs into the tin
 with the back of a spoon so the base is hard. 


Next beat the cheese on a low speed until the cheese is soft, add the sugar and combine. Then add the eggs one at a time and mix well. Add the lemon rind and juice and mix well until smooth. 
You can add the flour as well but I'm not a fan of the flour in the cake and have never added it and my cakes have always turned out fab!


Pour the batter onto the base you prepared earlier and smooth out. Pop into the oven for 45 mins at 150 degrees Celsius.







Tips: Tap the prepared tin on the bench to get rid of any air bubbles. Nigella Lawson also swears by cooking cheesecakes in water baths - I can't say I've tried this method as I cook with a gas oven at home and every cake I've ever baked comes out perfect (I swear it's not my cooking only the gas!), I therefore will never by an electric oven! I did cook this one in an electric oven though and the results are below!
The results - YuMmO!

Whilst perusing Nigella's website I came across another fabulous cheesecake - Peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake. I love peanut butter and chocolate!  Nigella describes it as: "Unashamed indulgence; think Reece's Peanut Butter Cup's in cheesecake form" (YuM!!!!!). 

Here's the recipe if you dare........

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheesecake:

INGREDIENTS

  • for the base:
  • 200g digestive biscuits
  • 50g salted peanuts
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
  • 50g soft unsalted butter
  • for the filling:
  • 500g cream cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks (freeze the whites to make meringues)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 125ml sour cream
  • 250g smooth peanut butter
  • for the topping:
  • 250ml sour cream
  • 100g milk chocolate chips
  • 30g soft brown sugar
  • 1 x 23cm springform tin

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°c/gas mark 3
  2. Then process the biscuits, peanuts, dark chocolate chips and butter for the base in a food processor.
  3. Once it comes together in a clump, turn it out into a springform tin and press into the bottom and up the sides to make the crunchy crust.
  4. Put in the fridge while you make the filling.
  5. Process the filling in the cleaned or wiped-out processor bowl, putting in the cream cheese, eggs and egg yolks, sugar, sour cream and peanut butter and whizzing to a smooth mixture.
  6. Pour and scrape the filling into the base in the chilled springform tin and cook for 1 hour, though check after 50 minutes.the top – only – should feel set and dry.
  7. Take the cheesecake out of the oven while you make the topping.
  8. Warm the sour cream and chocolate with the brown sugar gently in a small saucepan over a low heat, whisking to blend in the chocolate as it melts, and then take off the heat.
  9. Spoon and spread the topping very gently over the top of the cheesecake, being as careful as you can in case you break the surface of the cheesecake. (not that anything bad will happen; you’ll just have chocolate marbling the cake a bit.)
  10. Put it back in the oven for a final 10 minutes.
  11. Once out of the oven, let the cheesecake cool in its tin and then cover and put into the fridge overnight.
  12. When you are ready to eat the cheesecake, take it out of the fridge, just to take the chill off: this will make it easier to spring from the tin. don’t let it get too warm, though, as it will become a bit gooey and be hard to slice.
  13. Additional information - for vegetarians make sure the cream cheese is a brand that doesn't contain rennet.

img courtesy Nigella.com

Happy baking!

Kate x