Tuesday, June 17, 2008

No-Frills Frilly Apron: A Pattern Review

When we recieved our first issue (free sample) of Mary Jane's Farm magazine I had to make the free apron pattern that it included. This apron is a curved darted apron with a large flounce around the bottom that tapers at the sides. The waist band is sculpted and the pattern includes two pocket options: a regular curved square and a full waist-to-flounce pocket. In the magazine it suggest using vintage table clothes and working with the details to create decoration. A lovely idea if you have old stained table cloths that can be salvaged for the project. I was able to pick up some delicate feminine specialty cottons from our local Joann Fabrics that I thought fit the pattern quite well.

The first step in this pattern was the hardest, it was to enlarge the pattern in the magazine by 400% ( it comes on a 1/4" grid). If you attempt to make this pattern save yourself a lot of trouble and have it enlarged at a copy shop. I had some 1" gridded pellon that I used to carefully copy the pattern. It came out perfect - two hours later. So I was rolling my eyes at the comment in the magazine "I used freezer paper and drew a 1" grid and just re-drew the 1/4" squares on the pattern. It went fast and I enjoyed it!" Another commenter said it only cost her $0.87 at Office Depot, so you won't save a lot by doing it at home.

The instructions were pretty straight forward, but not as detailed as most patterns. As an experienced sewer I was able follow it and make adjustments as needed, a beginner would probably need some help. Two places where I made adjustments to the pattern were adding a triangle to the pockets and joining the ties to the waist band with no top stitching (using the method that most commercial apron patterns give). Another adjustment I would make is finishing the edges where the flounce meets the body either by serging or French seam.

Over all I thought the pattern was simple and left a lot of room for creativity. I was delighted with the finished product and would consider making again. The flounce adds such a feminine touch and makes it a lot of fun to wear. I think it a great garden and outdoor apron, though you may want a more sturdy fabric than what I choose. Just be careful not to get a hand wash or dry clean only fabric. If you are interested it obtaining this pattern it is the current issue of Mary Jane's Farm (vol. 7 no.4 May-July). You can also purchase the printed pattern from Mary Jane's Farm for $8 (you still have to enlarge it yourself). I believe it may also be in her special stitchery issue Artists in Aprons which includes five apron patterns and only cost $10.99.

Also check out her free "Make-Do" apron pattern.

My Finished Apron

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rhubarb Season

In my family we LOVE rhubarb. Every year when it comes into season I am required to make large batches of these two recipes. If I had more I would probably make a wider array of recipes, but for now we have to buy it so it all goes into the tried and true recipes. Both of these recipes are passed down from my grandma (slightly modified by me to have less sugar, they still are extremely sweet). From my family to yours, ENJOY!

Rhubarb Jam

5 cups rhubarb, chopped and tough strings peeled off
2 cups sugar
1 3oz box of raspberry jello (strawberry good too)
In saucepan stir together rhubarb and sugar and heat to a boil. Simmer until rhubarb is soft and mushy. Stir in jello and boil 1 to 1 1/2 minutes more. Remove from heat and pour in to sterilized jars and cap with two piece lid. Let sit until sealed. Can also be put in freezer containers and frozen.Refrigerate after opening.


Rhubarb Strawberry Pie

3/4 to 1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unbleached white flour
2 cups chopped rhubarb (1/4 to 1/2 in. slices, tough strings removed)
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 9" pie shells

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir together sugar and flour. Add fruit and toss to coat. Pour into pie shell and top with remaining pie shell. Crimp or flute edges and slit top, or do a lattice top. Bake for 40 -50 minutes or until crust is golden and filling thick (you may want to cover edges with foil when it begins to brown). Serve with vanilla ice cream.