An Easy Tanktop with Style

I’ve been spending a lot of time in my garden, enjoying my vegies, planting the last of the seeds, watching the critters at the feeders, and taking lots of pictures.

As a result, I’m getting a golden glow on my arms.  But my shoulders and upper arms are white, so, it was time to sew a tank-top or two.  For a mature person.  No gaping, no bra straps showing. Continue reading An Easy Tanktop with Style

Simple Recipe for Rhubarb Soda


rhubarb plants

My rhubarb plants must really like living here, because they reward me with an abundance of juicy red rhubarb stalks. 

Even though it’s a vegetable, I think most of us equate the tangy flavour with that of fruit.  And it’s that tangy taste that makes it so thirst quenching.  I have a batch of rhubarb wine on the go at the moment, and here is my simple recipe for rhubarb soda.  This recipe makes 2 liters.

Chop 4 cups of rhubarb into about 1/2 inch chunks.  If you’ve got some of last year’s in the freezer, it’s fine to use that.

Dump into a medium saucepan, cover with water and boil until it’s mushy.  Let it cool.

straining pulp

Strain the pulp out of the juice, add 1 heaping cup of white sugar, then top up with water to just under the 2 liter mark.

rhubarb juice amount

Pour the liquid into a large glass jar, add 1/4 cup of whey, ginger-bug juice or sauerkraut juice.  (It’s very important that the whey or sauerkraut juice is natural and unprocessed.)   Cover with a clean cloth held securely with an elastic band and leave at room temperature for about 3 days.  Stir it each morning and evening, then taste the juice on the spoon.  When most of the sweetness is gone it’s ready to bottle. It’s almost Rhubarb Soda!   (During the summer this takes less time than it does in the winter.)

rhubarb soda

To  finish your Rhubarb Soda, use a funnel and pour into a large plastic 2 liter soda bottle.  Leave about 1 1/2 inches of head space.  Tighten the lid and leave out at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.  You’ll know it’s ready when you can’t squeeze the bottle because it’s so firm.  Refrigerate then open carefully.  It will continue to ferment in the fridge, so don’t leave it much longer than a few days.

You can also bottle your rhubarb soda into smaller plastic soda bottles.  I don’t use glass after one exploded.  The plastic bottles make it easy to tell when it’s ready.

glass of rhubarb soda

 Here are links to my other rhubarb recipes:

Adelaide Dress

Seamwork Adelaide fusciaSummer is coming!  We’ve had a cool spring, but the heat and humidity is on it’s way!  (I hope)  Does the idea of a simple dress, with front bust and back waist darts and a front snap closure make you think of a hot summer day as you stay cool? 

This pattern is being featured on the Seamwork website this month for $5, with sizing from 0 to 26.

Seamwork adelaideAnother view from the Seamwork page, this one is in a cool cotton print that looks refreshing.

This next one is in a print that just screams my name, I found this version on la Petite Josette blog.

Petite Josette Adelaide dress

Here’s the outline drawing which shows the details really well.

Seamwork Adelaide outline

I have a piece of cotton poly in a nice weight that would be perfect.  It’s in my stash, and will be perfect to test this pattern out with.  fabric for Adelaide dress




IMG_3798This pattern is a download, and there are many pages to print. 

If you’ve not done this before, be sure to print off the first page of the pattern first, and make sure you are “printing to size”, not fitting to the page.  There’s a square to measure, check it, then if it’s the right size, go ahead and print the rest of the pattern.

It was easy to assemble, even with my cutting table assistant.  There are guide marks on every page.   Then I traced my size onto a sheet of tissue paper.   I wanted to keep the master pattern intact until I know that the size I chose fits me.  I’m sewing the size 12.

After tracing and cutting the pieces out, I held the front piece to my body and checked in the mirror.  The front darts are about 1 inch too high.  I’m fairly tall, 5 ft 10 inches, so generally add an inch in the body length anyway.  I added it between the bottom of the armhole and the top of the dart at the same place front and back.



I also used the longest length instead of the line for size 12.





I didn’t print off the instructions, but read them over before I began sewing, then referred to them a few times as I needed to.  There are some great sewing techniques built into this project.  The stay-stitching around the neck and armholes is really important! 

I only did the back darts at half the width indicated, and curved them a bit at the widest point.

I must confess that I didn’t do the armhole bias finish as described.  Instead, I left the side-seams unsewn, applied the first step of attaching the bias, then sewed the side-seams before top-stitching the bias down to the inside.

underarm bias finish

When I finished the placket by folding it to the right side along the fold, I also finished it at the hem the same way, but used 1/2″ seam allowance.

page 13

When it gets turned outward, it’s perfect.  Notice my assistant.

hem step 1






I used plastic snaps and they went on easily.  I really like these, they’re the “Babyville” brand, and I’m going to get more in different colours.

plastic snaps


My observations:

  • I’m going to make this dress again, I really like it!  I was a bit concerned about the bare shoulders, but it’s fine.
  • The next time I make it I’ll make size 14 and sew the back darts according to the pattern (I already have it traced onto tissue)
  • I’m going to draft a neck and armhole facing for my next version
  • I’m also making the neck a 3/8th of an inch narrower at the shoulders, making the shoulder 3/8 of an inch wider on the neck side.
  • I had a little issue with the tie belt.  By cutting it according to the pattern, there was a lot of seam allowance bunched up in the point, even after trimming the excess off.  If you change the pattern and cut the ends as an outward point instead of an inward point, that problem is alleviated.  Drawn in red, below.belt fix

Do you want to make this dress?  If yes, follow the link above to the website where you can buy it. 


Gaiter, a noun

1.      a covering of cloth or leather for the ankle and instep and sometimes also the lower leg, worn over the shoe or boot.

2.     a cloth or leather shoe with elastic insertions at the sides.
3.       an overshoe with a fabric top.
My daughter lives in BC, very close to the coast, and loves to hike and explore the outdoors.  Ticks are a real problem, so is just getting debris her shoes.   We decided that a pair of gaiters would help.
Some internet searches gave me a good idea of what they should look like, then Amber sent me some measurements to work from.
Sew, off to the sewing room I went and found this perfect piece of swimwear weight lycra, a bathing suit remnant.  It was first cat approved, then Amber approved.
IMG_3786 IMG_3785
These needed to be strong, stretchy, washable, pack-able, and most of all, easy to put on.
Here’s what I made!
 I used velcro at the back to attach it to her shoes and a hook at the front to attach to her laces, and Amber will test them for me.  I’m going to write up directions after this first pair has been tested.
What do you think?  Are you interested in a tutorial?

Loving Lovage

In my garden, lovage is the first edible green to appear.lovage lovage

Well, not counting the dandelions and stinging nettles.

What is Lovage?

Lovage belongs to the parsley family, and its seeds, leaves, and roots are commonly used in Europe for flavoring foods and beverages and for their medicinal properties. The Romans, who introduced lovage to Europe, used it widely in their cooking as well as to reduce fevers and treat stomach ailments. Germans called it maggikraut because its aroma reminded them of maggi cubes (meaty yeast extracts). Today it is popular in South and Central European cuisines. Learn more about Lovage by clicking here.

It’s a perennial that grows to well over 6 feet tall in my garden.  The only care I give it is water and weeding.lovage

While the leaves are still young and tender I make a fermented pesto using the same recipe as my cilantro pesto.

I just substitute the lovage for the cilantro.  It’s delicious spooned over tomato halves grilled on the BBQ.

cilantro pesto

 Yesterday I made Lovage and Potato soup, and it’s delicious!

lovage and potato soup

It’s a simple combination of onions, garlic, potatoes, lovage and chicken stock along with a bit of seasoning.  I searched the internet for recipe ideas, and many of them required a “bunch” of lovage. 


My “bunch” is 6 leafy stems about 12 inches long.

Lovage Potato Soup
Serves 8
A delicious and simple to make soup
Write a review
Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
  1. 2 tablespoons butter
  2. 1 medium onion, chopped
  3. 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  4. 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut up into 1/8ths
  5. 2 quarts or liters of chicken stock or broth
  6. 1 "bunch" of lovage, coarsely chopped (save a few leaves to garnish)
  7. 2 bay leaves
  8. 2 teaspoons salt (my broth is unsalted) adjust if needed
  9. 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  10. 1/2 cup yogurt, greek yogurt or sour cream
  1. Saute the onion and garlic in the butter. Use your soup pot, why wash a fry-pan? When they're soft, add the potatoes and chicken broth, salt, pepper and bay leaves.
  2. Boil gently until the potatoes are almost done, then add the chopped lovage.
  3. Continue to cook until the potatoes are cooked.
  4. Remove the bay leaves and add the yogurt.
  5. Blend carefully until smooth using an immersion blender or a counter top blender.
  6. Serve with chopped lovage leaves as a garnish.
  1. I had a few bits of cooked chicken remaining from the broth I made, so I added it after blending.

Tee with Inverted Front Pleat

left view

Only look at the tee, not my facial expression, please.  I was so intent on watching the timer on the camera that I forgot to smile.

With summer just around the corner, a couple of new tees were in order.  I picked this fabric, and a couple of others when a local fabric store was having a sale.  It’s a nice, soft, ITY knit.  (Read more about ITY’s by clicking here.)

I used a tried and true pattern, MacPhee Model Tee

323 model Tee

By angling the front pattern piece on the fabric I added a couple of inches to the width of the front neckline.  The pic shows a different tee with a larger pleat that I had a photo of.  For the top I’m wearing I pivoted the pattern piece so the neckline was just 2 inches from the fold.  I also straightened the bottom like the photo.

pattern hack

After cutting out the front, I marked the neckline where the original would have been, also at the fold, then with the front folded with right sides together I used a straight stitch and sewed a 2 inch “seam” following the line of the original fold. 

I opened out the extra bit of fabric, matched the mark made for the center front to the sewing line and opened out the fabric to make the pleat.   I basted it just inside the 3/8 inch seam allowance.

inside of pleat

stabilized shoulders

You’ll notice that I used a fusible interfacing to stabilize the shoulders.

To finish the neckline on this top, I measured around the unfinished neckline, it was 62 centimeters, multiplied by .8 = 49.6.  I rounded to 50 cm and cut the band 1 inch wide with the 50 cm going with the stretch. 

After joining the short ends, I quarter marked both the neckband and the neckline, matched the marks and serged the band on with neck finishthe right sides together. 

To finish the band I turned it and the seam to the inside, wrapping the band around the serging, then sewed it from the right side, 1/4″ from the edge, enclosing the serging.   I carefully trimmed off the excess band. 

right view

Then the sleeves went in, the side-seams serged, and a rolled edge for the hems on the sleeves and the bottom.  I like it! And it looks great with my 7th pair of Jalie Pull-on Jeans.

Now the sun is out, so it’s outside time.


See What’s Growing at My House

In spite of a very cold spring,  the peas and rapini are finally poking their little leaves out of the ground.  They’re outside, shivering in the cold earth.

I finished building my cold frame, it’s dimensions designed around a  window my sister gave me.  I used scrap wood pieces leftover from our shed, and cut everything with a hand saw.  (so some of the cuts are a bit crooked)  Inside are kale, rapini, radishes and “greens”.

cold frameThe chickadees are house-hunting,



and a Flicker was gorging on something in the backyard.



Inside, things are growing like wildfire.  Today I made new transplant pots by wrapping a double sheet of newsprint around a soup can, taping the side, then folding the overhang to the bottom before removing the can.  I secured the bottom with a bit of tape, too.  All the squash seedlings were transplanted to their new pots this morning. 


On my kitchen counter I have a ginger bug starter, a jar of spicy fermented greens, and a batch of lemon-rhubarb-ginger beverage. 

ginger bug

The greens are ready to eat, so they went to the fridge.  The radicchio turned it all a beautiful burgundy colour.  I’m teaching this ferment along with sauerkraut at a workshop in May. 

fermented greens

The ginger bug is a perpetual thing, so it just hangs out on my counter.  The ginger-lemon beverage is ALIVE!  The fruits and sliced ginger slowly sink to the bottom of the jar, then up they go again.  It’s constantly in motion!  I took a short video, click here: lemon rhubarb ginger-bug to watch it.

I wrote about it here: The Ginger-Bug

Tomorrow I’ll transfer it to soda bottle so it can “finish”.


Leggings for Barbie, a Free Pattern

navy leggings

 Every well dressed Barbie needs leggings, and the more the merrier.  If you cut out a few pairs of these in colours that are “family” you could sew them without changing your thread colours.  Just saying.

This pattern has been designed for a 4-way stretch, in other words, it stretches in all directions.  These fabrics can be a bit challenging, and I have included some sewing tips on my pattern sheet.  Download it at the bottom of this page.

Are you making any of these?   I’d love to see your creations, just email them to me at yvettechilcott(at)yahoo(dot)ca

here’s the link to the pattern:


Free Pattern for Barbie Pants in Knit Fabric

OMG, I don’t even have a picture.  I sent all my Barbie clothes to my friend’s grand-daughter and have no picture of these. 

And my sewing machine is in the shop getting a little repair, so I couldn’t even make a new pair. 

Oh well, here it goes, a free pattern for Barbie pants using stable knit fabric.

The link is below, what do you think?

knit pants

Loose Pants (or Pajamas) for Barbie

Here’s a simple pant pattern for Barbie.   These make great P.J.s too.feature loose pants barbie

This top pattern is coming, but right now I’m publishing a series of pants.  This is the loose pair, next will be a pattern for a pair designed for knit fabrics, then the legging pattern.

These work best in flannel, soft linen or chambray.  Quilting cottons work really well, too.

The link to the pattern is below, and the sewing instructions are on the pattern sheet.

I would love to hear back from you if you made these!  If you have requests for other garment patterns for Barbie, I’m open to suggestions.

loose pants for barbie

Yup, I sew, machine knit, crochet, garden, cook, love, and share.