Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Serger Success!

There's a new baby at our house - a Baby Lock Imagine serger - and I am having a blast getting to know her.  I bought a used serger years ago but could never figure out how to thread the blessed thing.  After several years of moving it only to dust, I finally sold it.  About a year ago, I had the urge to try again.  I've been doing more garment sewing for the kidlets plus I've tackled a few things for myself with some success.

So, I researched and then visited sewing stores to try them out.  Not surprisingly, I leaned towards the more expensive Baby Locks with their jet air threading ease.  I managed to locate exactly what I wanted through the yahoo site, SewItsForSale, and made my purchase a few weeks ago.  Probably paid a bit more than I should have, but you can't take it with you, right?

Serger project completed - yippee!
Here is a picture of my first completed project.  I used Butterick 5948 and made view E.  I made no alterations at all.  In the garment sewing world, I guess you would call this my muslin.  If I make this pattern again (and I will), I think I'll lengthen it a bit to hide more of my hips.  Lordy, lordy ....

The fabric is from the stash I inherited from my mother-in-law so cost basis is zero.  I learned a lot and even wore the top out into the world today with DH.  That's always a good test - are you willing to actually be seen in the garment that you made?

This was a good choice for a beginning serger project, in my opinion.  Simple design and construction, but I had to think about how to put it together using a serger.  Construction is not quite the same as using a regular sewing machine.  This was a combo project - I did the neck facing with my Bernina and topstitched the hems on both the sleeves and bottom of the garment on the Bernina as well.  (My serger does not have a coverstitch.  A stand-alone coverstitch is next on my list but don't tell DH!)

I had lots of good advice about the order of construction from another favorite yahoo group, the Creative Machine Newsletter.  Those wonderful ladies gave me detailed instructions so I didn't mess up!

I love, love, love the way the inside of the garment is finished.  Just makes the whole project more professional even if done by a fair-to-middling sewist with hand-me-down fabric!

By the way, if you are not familiar with yahoo groups, check them out.  There is a wealth of information out there.  Fair warning - the SewItsForSale group can get expensive!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Well, it's been a long, been a long, been a long time ....

.... since I blogged.  No excuses here.  (I hate those bloggers who tell you all their reasons for not blogging - I just had other things on my mind.)

Anyway, Happy St. Patrick's Day!  DH absolutely loves corned beef, so there is no reason at all that I only make it once per year.  Well, maybe one reason - the kids hated it!  They would tease me unmercifully in hopes that I would forego the annual ritual.  No way.  I was raised by a mom who celebrated every holiday imaginable regardless of ethnicity.  (We were probably the only pseudo-Protestant family who ate fish every Friday, pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and latkes during Hannukah.  Mom's goal was to celebrate every day.)

Over the years, I've gone from the traditional stove-top corned beef, to the crockpot version, to the Dutch oven version, etc., etc., etc.  Here is my tried and true, never fail, would even serve it to company version.  It was a success again tonight with DH.  Enjoy!


4 pounds center cut corned beef brisket
1 lemon -- ends trimmed
1 onion -- peeled
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
6 whole cloves
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar

Trim and discard most of the surface fat from brisket. Rinse meat well under cool running water, rubbing gently to release its corning salt. Lay meat, fattiest side up, in a 2-inch deep, 11 by 15 inch roasting pan. Thinly slice lemon and onion and lay slices over meat. Sprinkle with peppercorns, allspice, and cloves. Set pan on middle rack in a 325 degree oven. Pour about 8 cups boiling water around brisket, seal the pan with foil, and bake until meat is very tender when pierced, about 4 hours. Uncover and drain off all but about 1 cup of the liquid. If desired, reserve the lemon and onion slices and rearrange them on top of the meat. In a small bowl, mix the mustard and brown sugar; spread evenly over meat, on top of the onion-lemon mixture. Broil about 8 inches from heat until the mustard mixture begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the brisket to a platter. Serve hot, warm, or cold; slice meat across the grain.

The only problem with this recipe in our house is that there aren't enough leftovers.  DH had thirds ... oh, my.