2012 has been a year of transitions for me. I started my blog, One Stitch At a Time, as a way to help myself navigate through all of the changes I am dealing in my business and my family. At the same time I am trying to rekindle my love and passion for the art of sewing that I have lost in the slog of business and bringing home a paycheck.
Goldilocks was on to something with her persnickety tastes. Every girl needs a special touch of frosting in her life. I have been working in the alterations and custom sewing world (heavy on bridal work) and I see daily the transformation that takes place when a girl or woman suddenly realize that they look beautiful when you add just the right touch of “frosting”. That being said, it is very difficult for a beautiful work of frosting to do its job if the foundational cake is faulty. I am referring to true foundation garments here. The bras, tummy suckers, slips, and hosiery that set the stage for showing off the beautiful frosting. So I say if you go for frosting make sure your cake is the very best quality it can be!
Because of my work I sew frosting all the time. Like 6 days a week 45+ weeks of the year. I am always working on something for someone’s wedding. Always.
For myself? That is a completely different story. Until this past summer I actually can’t remember the last time I made something for myself. I am a stickler for good fit and it is so frustratingly difficult to properly fit something on oneself. I would love to be able to clone myself just to have someone I know, who is as good at fitting as I am, mark my garments. This is the bane of seamstresses the whole world round.
I guess I have been sewing so long now that if I am going to put the effort into making something for myself I really want to enjoy the project. I don’t enjoy making t-shirts or shirts in general. I don’t enjoy making pants. I love, love, love making dresses. I love making hats, and I am finding that I love making corsets. I am working on loving to wear dresses. Mostly that involves the right kind of foot frosting if you know what I mean:-) I really am a Goldilocks when it comes to both my cooking and my sewing! Everything has to be just right;-)
I made my first corset earlier this summer as part of the VPLL 1912 Project and I fell in love! Completely impractical and wildly lovely, it was something like I had never worn before in my t-shirt and blue jeans life. I can’t even sit down in the crazy thing because it is a true Edwardian style corset, but damn I feel good when I wear it!
My most recently completed corset project is much more practical but with the same great frosting effect. I guess I really am a frosting girl at heart, despite what the majority of my wardrobe may say!
My favorite cake piece is a recent project that I was really unsure of. I collect vintage patterns and I have been aching to play with them for a long time but I was always too busy doing other people’s sewing to make time to play. So earlier this summer I finally had a chance to make up one of my vintage dress patterns (which I loved). Unfortunately the dress was in a light weight white cotton and the pattern was unlined! Oh, no! So I dug around through my patterns and discovered that I actually had a vintage, bias cut slip pattern in my size. I also had some scrumptious ivory silk charmeuse that I had been saving for something special.
I feel like this isn’t really cake today, but in the 1940s when the pattern was written I am sure it was a cake piece. Today it is more like a decadent cream filling surprise!
By far my favorite foundational cake recipe is Chocolate Crazy Cake. It is so easy and so delicious it doesn’t need frosting. It is also poor man’s chocolate cake (or for those with dairy or egg allergies). I love all things vintage but it never dawned on me that my cooking is vintage too:-) From what I have read Crazy Cake came about during the Great Depression. It was inexpensive and easy to make with limited resources. I will include the recipe that my mom taught me growing up. And my grandma made the best cream cheese frosting ever. Of course her recipes were never written down, but I think I have a pretty close approximation.
Chocolate Crazy Cake
Pre heat oven to 350
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup coco
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
Once combined add liquid ingredients and mix until smooth.
2 cups water
3/4 cup oil
2 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
Pour into a well greased 9×13 pan and bake for 30 minutes. (I think the cupcakes took 12-15 minutes to bake and made 22-24 regular sized cupcakes).
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
1 – 8 oz cream cheese, room temp.
6 TBSP butter, room temp.
2 tsp. vanilla
Mix together until smooth and creamy ( I use an electric hand mixer). Slowly add in your sugar.
1 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar (depends how sweet you like your frosting)
I like to beat the frosting until there is no trace of sugar crystals left. This is easier to achieve if you use the lower amounts of sugar, but it all comes down to personal preference!