Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How to enlarge a skirt waistband (maternity skirt tutorial)

This is a project I decided to document after trying to look it up on Pinterest and realizing THERE IS NO TUTORIAL. It doesn't exist. Unless I was just using the wrong search words, but that's probably not the case because I'm good at picking search words and I tried a few different combinations. Instead of losing heart, I pioneered ahead and decided to figure out how to do it on my own and document what I've learned along the way. 

This is how to make a skirt BIGGER. 

This could be useful if a skirt you own is slightly too small for you, or if (like me) you need to transform a regular skirt into a maternity skirt. 

Another thing to note: it's a good idea to have a general idea of how to make an elastic waistband before attempting to follow these directions, because I don't go into that part very in-depth. There are plenty of elastic waistband tutorials online. 

Here we go:

You will need a sewing machine, fabric scissors, and elastic. I also used a rotary cutter at one point but scissors work fine. You will ALSO need a small amount of extra fabric that closely matches the color of your skirt. You don't need a lot though, so don't go out fabric shopping if you have old fabric scraps lying around. 

Here is the skirt I used. As you can see, it has a fitted waistband. Not for long...

On the back of the waistband, mark out an area of about 8 inches or so in the center.

Cut into the waistband on one side, as shown above, and then begin cutting along the edge of the waistband until you have removed the entire 8 inch portion.

As you can see, since this was a pleated skirt, the pleats will start to unfold, making the skirt widen a lot. This is good. Don't freak out that it's getting TOO wide, we're gonna wrassle most of that back in later.

This is the portion of the waistband that was removed. Use it as a loose guide when cutting your piece of elastic. Your elastic should be cut to this length PLUS THE AMOUNT OF ROOM YOU WANTED TO ADD TO THE SKIRT'S WAISTBAND, be that an inch, two inches, whatever.

Here is where your extra fabric comes into play. I tried to use a fabric that closely matched the skirt, so as to not draw attention to the area. As you can see, it's not a lot of fabric. I cut it to the length of the now open and un-pleated part of the skirt where I cut out the waistband, PLUS ABOUT THREE INCHES. The exact length of this strip will be different for you depending on your skirt and how pleated and everything it was.

Pin the strip of fabric onto the top of the skirt, good sides facing together, lining up the top edge.

In the above picture, I'm trying to demonstrate that there should be an overhang of fabric, (the plus three inches I was talking about two pictures back). Now, sew down the length of your fabric strip where you pinned it to attach it to the skirt, leaving that overhanging part flappy and free.

 Here is the overhang after I folded it to give it a clean edge. I also folded the strip down and over in back. The edge of the rest of the waistband, which you didn't cut off, can get tucked right in there. Then make a stitch to hold it there and connect it. The stitch should be up and down right where my thumb is above.

Now you can definitely tell I am not a perfectionist. Anyway, the strip is folded down and you'll want to sew the bottom of it down, leaving an open space at both ends to access your elastic (as I try to demonstrate above). You're creating a sort of tunnel for the elastic to go into. If you followed my advice and looked up elastic waistband tutorials, you'll know what I'm talking about. Once that's done, you can shimmy the elastic into the tunnel, and sew the ends of the elastic securely into both ends of the tunnel to keep it in place. 

Cut off all your loose strings and admire your comfy, new and improved, BIGGER skirt.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mushroom Arugula Pizza

This pizza is the best pizza to ever pizza.

I know that's a pretty audacious claim, but I gave my neighbor a slice and she told me it was the best pizza she'd ever had, so if you don't believe me then at least believe my neighbor.

I have to admit I did not invent this pizza- it's a recreation of a pizza that my husband and I had in Kittery, Maine on our honeymoon five months ago that left a big impression on us. However, I did invent this particular recipe, and I haven't found another recipe quite like it, so I thought I would do the world a favor and write down my own detailed method to make this delicious mushroom arugula pizza.

(If you just want the basic recipe, without all the super helpful pictures and text, just scroll down and you'll find it). 

First off, I ought to warn you that I am not an exact measurer, and I don't think you need to be either with this kind of thing. I mean, it's pizza. A dash of this, a handful of this, and it's fine. Pizza is a very forgiving food.

So, to begin with, you're going to make the mushroom cream sauce. Chop up your portabella mushrooms into thin slices.

Next, heat up the butter and minced garlic in a saucepan, then add the mushrooms and cook for about five minutes or so.

The mushrooms should start to be nice and soft. 

Go ahead and add the cup of heavy cream, and stir.

When the sauce reaches a velvety consistency, (about 10 minutes) dump the whole mixture into a blender and blend. (It will look a little grainy in texture). Set aside for later. At this point you'll probably want to start pre-heating your oven, (450 degrees).

Now you'll want to go ahead and chop up your onion and saute it in olive oil until brown. Set that aside too.

The aioli sauce is kind of just a thinner, glorified mayonnaise. I found a ton of recipes for actual aioli online, but since it doesn't play a huge part in the recipe, and most of the recipes called for a food processor and fancy oils, I decided to just go simple and wing it and it came out pretty good anyway. If you would rather create a true aioli, or buy an already made truffle aioli, go for it! However, real aioli is a little thicker and it's advantageous for this recipe to be able to drizzle it. I made the sauce pictured below by stirring up a glob of mayo, one egg yolk, some lemon juice, and a little olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Now it's time for some more chopping! I don't recall the exact amount of mushrooms I used, but as you can see from the picture, it was a hearty handful. Mostly crimini, with a few shiitake thrown in for good measure. Honestly, any kind of mushrooms you want to throw on there will work great.

Lightly oil a shallow baking pan, and set mushrooms on in as close to a single layer as possible. They'll shrink during the roasting process, so if they overlap a little now it's no big deal. Toss a little more oil on top, and add a dash of salt and pepper. Roast for about twenty minutes in your 450 oven, stirring and flipping mushrooms at the ten minute mark.

While that's happening, go ahead and shred your fontina!

Now is a great time to spread out your dough on a spray-greased cookie sheet or a pizza stone. Note: I used a store-bought dough, since I have not yet found a satisfactory homemade pizza dough recipe. But when I do I will update this with a link to it so that you can make your dough from scratch if you prefer to do so.

As you can see, I've clearly mastered the art of flattening pizza dough. Let's just pretend I was going for an abstract heart shape. Also, I hope you have the fortune of owning a less wonky cookie sheet.

*(Not a prime example of flattened dough).
Take out your lovely mushrooms. See how they've shrunk? 
Lower your oven temp to 350.

Now you are ready to assemble the pizza. It goes in this order: mushroom cream sauce on the bottom, then fontina, roasted mushrooms, sauteed onions, and a drizzle of the "aioli." 

Cook the pizza until the crust is golden brown, about 15-20 minutes, or longer if your crust is thick like mine was. I think I took mine out at about thirty minutes, but just keep an eye on it.

Finally, top with the fresh arugula and another drizzle of aioli. It is ready to eat!

Mushroom Arugula Pizza


Mushroom Cream sauce:
-2 Tbsp. butter
-1 tsp. minced garlic
-1 cup heavy cream
-1 large or 2 small portabella mushrooms
-Salt and pepper to taste 

-1 lb crimini mushrooms or assorted small mushrooms of choice
-1/2 yellow onion, chopped into long, thin slices
-1/2 lb block Fontina cheese, shredded
-2 cups fresh arugula
-Olive oil

-One tablespoon mayo
-One egg yolk
-One teaspoon fresh lemon juice
-One tablespoon olive oil
-Dash of salt and pepper

-Pizza dough of your choice


Preheat oven to 450. 

To create the mushroom cream sauce, melt butter with garlic in a saucepan, add sliced portabella mushrooms and cook until soft, add heavy cream and continue to cook until velvety. Pour into blender, blend about one minute. Set aside. 

Saute onion in olive oil until soft and light brown. Set aside.

Chop crimini mushrooms into thin slices. Lay out in single layer on oiled shallow baking pan, top with another splash of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. Roast in 450 oven for twenty minutes, stirring and flipping mushrooms at halfway point. Remove and set aside. Lower oven temp to 350.

To create aioli sauce, stir together mayo, egg yolk, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Flatten pizza dough onto spray-greased cookie sheet or a pizza stone until it is as thick or thin as you prefer. Top dough with a thin layer of mushroom cream sauce, evenly distributing out to edge of crust. Top with shredded fontina cheese, roasted mushrooms, sauteed onion, and a drizzle of aioli, then bake in 350 oven for 15-20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. 

Top with fresh arugula and another drizzle of aioli. Enjoy!