Sunday, 20 March 2016

Three Ways to Copy Multi-sized Patterns

This great little pattern would suit a variety of ages
and sizes.
Back in the day when you bought a pattern, you bought it in your own size and there was only that one size in the envelope. Today,  most patterns come in multiple sizes. Many, like the one on the left, would suit a variety of ages. However, once you have cut it out in your size, there is no going back.  All you have left is scraps with the edges of the larger sizes printed on them.  Any smaller sizes are printed inside the one you have cut out and you can't really use them as you will destroy the one you want.
Occasionally, you will want to use the other sizes as well. This top would suit my daughter and I know several people who might like to make it. If you are making children's clothes, you may want to use the larger sizes later. For my sewing club, I made three patterns for pyjama bottoms - small, medium and large and we had a pyjama-making session.

It's really not difficult to copy out the sizes and get maximum value from the outlay on your pattern.
Here are three different ways to do it.

This is the cheapest and easiest way to copy a pattern and would even work on Burda patterns.  On Burda patterns, though, I would add an extra step - use a felt tip pen to draw around your size.  Otherwise, you may find it hard to identify which lines to trace.
What you need:
Your pattern, a soft pencil, a ruler, pins or sello tape, scissors and some greaseproof paper.

A pattern spanning sizes 10 to 22.
Greaseproof paper is very good - sturdy, transparent and will probably last longer than the original paper.
Begin by laying out your pattern and securing the greaseproof paper over it. I used a few pins, but you could use a bit of sellotape.
I carefully traced over the pattern lines, using a ruler where necessary. ( The dressmaker's curves were not really useful on this pattern, but may suit another one. They go back to my pattern making days and were definitely useful then.)
Cut out your pattern and label it. Don't forget the notches, darts, straight grain line and markings like 'cut on fold' and the pattern number and size.
Proceed to next size. I traced sizes 10 to 16.
Covering the pattern with greaseproof paper.

Tools for tracing.

The second method:
What you need:
Large sheets of paper. I used the A2 paper from my husband's whiteboard. You could use newsprint (cheap, unprinted paper) or even newspaper although you would need to ensure the ink did not harm your fabric.

Cut out the largest size that you want to copy.  Lay it on the paper and pin it just like fabric.  Cut around the pattern and label it with straight grain line, notches, darts 'cut on fold' line pattern number and size. Continue with each smaller consecutive size taking care where pattern sizes overlap.

Cutting out the pattern and then the copy on paper.

The third method: Tracing the pattern.
What you need: 
You will need large paper again and a tracing wheel and dressmaker's carbon paper.
Sandwich the pattern, carbon paper (carbon side down) and paper and secure with pins.
You may need to put a few layers of newspaper underneath to allow the tracing wheel to do its work.
Trace around the pattern including markings and notches. Then cut out the pattern and label it.

Dressmaker's carbon paper and a tracing wheel.

Using the tracing wheel and dark dressmaker's carbon paper.

The traced pattern.

The shell top ready to cut out in my size.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Salmon, Leek and Spinach Tart

Salmon, Leek and Spinach Tart
As Nigella Lawson says, 'It's not meant to be restaurant quality, it's meant to look homemade.' and this tart does look homemade, but that is part of its charm.

Last week was a friend's birthday and to celebrate we had a little dinner party here.  She does not eat meat, and not everyone can arrive on time.  Two of my guests have young children and cannot get here until the little ones are safely tucked into bed.  So the menu had to be one that could be kept at room temperature and not be spoiled.  I wanted an easy option and something that could be cooked in advance. I like to be part of the fun, not stuck in the kitchen once guests arrive. This tart was perfect. It was done an hour ahead and we had drinks and nibbles until everyone was here and ready to eat.

I served the tart with roasted tomatoes and a Salade Nicoise, which consisted of Little Gem and Cos lettuce, new potatoes, spring onions, French beans,and avocado.
The cake was a lemon sponge filled with lemon curd and topped with lemon icing.  I served it with vanilla ice cream.
It was a pretty meal, enjoyed by everyone and the 'birthday girl', who usually hosts the birthdays, was delighted.

Here's how to make the tart. It looks complicated, but it is not.
For an even easier option, you could used tinned salmon.

1 package pre-rolled shortcrust pastry
( You can make your own, but I went for the easy option.)
2 fillets of salmon.
1 leek, washed, split lengthways and chopped.
1/2 packet of baby spinach. (The rest can go in the salad.)
2 eggs
5 oz cream or creme fraiche
10 oz milk
1/2 cup grated Cheddar.
salt and pepper
a little dash of nutmeg or cayenne pepper (optional)

Fit the pastry to the tart tin.
Put in the fridge for 10 minutes.  This seems to prevent it shrinking.
Brush with a little egg mixed with water.
Blind bake at 200 C for 10 minutes.

While the pastry is in the fridge, put the salmon fillets in a piece of foil, add salt and pepper and a little white wine or lemon juice.
Wrap the foil loosely, ensuring the juices will not escape.
Bake at 180 F for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven, open the foil and allow the salmon to cool enough so you can handle it,
Gently flake the salmon and remove the skin.

Put chopped leeks in a frying pan and saute gently in oil and butter for five minutes to soften.

When the pastry shell has been baked, layer the leeks in the bottom, then the flaked salmon, then the spinach and finally the cheese.

In a small bowl, whisk the two eggs, cream and milk and add seasoning,
Pour the mixture over the salmon, leeks and spinach and put in the oven.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes at 180 F. Keep your eye on it near the end so it doesn't go too brown.
Test the centre with a skewer to see if it is set.
Remove from oven.  Remember that it will continue to cook while it is warm (a bit like scrambled eggs).

Let it cool to room temperature and serve.