Friday, 1 November 2019

Butterfly Print Max & Meena Rozzlyn Peplum Top Sewing Project

Isn't this butterfly fabric stunning??  The peplum top adds a lovely feminine touch that makes an otherwise plain top so pretty.  However this pretty feature doesn't interfere with active play.

Lovingly made in the UK with digitally printed cotton Lycra fabric that's amazingly vivid and bright.  The fabric is also soft and stretchy so this top will fit for ages.  The contrasting neckband is made from super stretchy ribbing.  The contrasting peplum is made form the same fabric.  

With long sleeves this top is perfect for colder weather.  The contrasting rib is quite thick almost jumper weight fabric so it's lovely and warm for winter.  The soft and stretchy fabric make it ideal for rough and tumble playtime but the stunning print makes this a perfect party top.

Tools and Materials:

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Pattern by Max and Meena
Butterfly Fabric from stash


I use a stretch stitch on my sewing machine followed by a second line of stitching on my overlocker (serger).  Two rows of stitching makes an ultra strong seam that will stand up to rough and tumble play.


I use loads of pins to get a lovely neat set in sleeve.

I overlock (serge) my sleeve hem to neaten the raw edge.  Then I use my homemade hem guide to press a perfectly even hem.  My paper hem guide won't last much longer, I've got this one


in my Amazon wish list.  Maybe I'll get lucky for my birthday later this month.

I leave sewing the sleeve hem until after I've sewn the sleeve seam.  I just open out my pressed hem to stitch the sleeve seam then fold it back to stitch the hem.

The sleeve and side seam is sewn in one continuous seam which gives it a very neat finish.


When sewing the bands I use a straight stitch because it allows the seam to lie a little flatter than it would with a stretch stitch.

To make it lie even flatter I press the seam open.

I find it easier to line up the two raw edges of the bands perfectly by using a tailors ham for pressing.


It can be tricky to press such a rounded hem neatly.  I take it slow and make good use of my sewing gauge.

I switch to a twin needle for a really professional finish on the hems.

And I also use the twin needle to top stitch around the neck band.  This helps the neckband to lie perfectly flat whilst allowing it to stretch.

Linking Up to:

#simplycrafting #sewingchildrensclothes #handmadechildrensclothes #handmadechildrensclothing #sewingkidsclothes #sewngforkids #butterflytop #numonday

Monday, 30 September 2019

Slow Cooker Budget Batch Cook Beef Stew Recipe

As autumn draws in I'm craving a good, hearty beef stew.  This slow cooker recipe makes the cheapest cuts of meat taste like the most expensive.  By batching cooking this beef stew you'll have quick and easy weeknight dinners on a budget and healthy to boot.

We don't have beef very often because it is so expensive.  In fact part of me thinks it may be a little misleading to call this a budget recipe as it's one of the most expensive dishes we eat.  But even having splurged on good quality fresh beef it's still only 76p per serving, a budget recipe by most people's standards.

Ingredients and Tools:

2kg Beef Joint £10.59
Garlic 16p
1kg Onions 50p
1kg Carrots 59p
1kg Frozen Peas 62p
2.5kg Potatoes £1.20
Plain Flour 5p
Beef Stock 12p
Rosemary - from the garden

Total = £13.83
Makes 18 servings = 76p  per serving

Food purchased from Aldi

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Instead of buying the ready cut chunks of beef for stews it's cheaper to get a big roasting joint and cut it up yourself.

In my experience enough flour to coat the beef is just the right amount to thicken a beef stew like this one.

Instead of using a separate bowl to toss the beef chunks in flour I'm using the same pan I'm going to be cooking it in.  This will save me time and money when it comes to the washing up.

I love my stainless steel skillet.  The sides on this one are nice and high so I can easily brown enough beef for a big batch cook.  It's stainless steel so I can scrape off all that lovely burnt on flavour and add it to the slow cooker. 

I'm also using the same pan to fry the garlic.

Normally I would use my food processor to dice the onions but for this beef stew recipe I really want the vegetables to be nice and chunky, so I'm chopping them by hand. 

As soon as the garlic has started to cook I throw the onions into the same pan to fry them.

I'm leaving the skin on the potatoes, mostly because I'm short on time.  I think the beef stew would taste better with peeled potatoes but there's lots of vitamins in the skins, or so I've heard.  I guess it's a matter of personal preference and for me it's more often than not a question of how much time I have availible.

So I've loaded my browned beef chunks and onions into the slow cooker.  I've started added the potatoes and it's almost full.  There's no way I can fit the rest of the potatoes never mind the carrots and peas.  This is a common problem with doing a particularly big batch cook.  This is how I solve it.

I add the stock and herbs to the slow cooker along with the meat and onions.

This gets stirred and cooked as normal, on low for at least 4 hours for this beef stew recipe.

The rest of the veg goes into my trusty stock pot.  I'll boil them about half an hour before the slow cooker has finished cooking.

I then mix together the contents of the slow cooker so that's the meat and everything that gives it flavour, with the boiled vegetables.

A there we have a really hearty dish of beef stew.

Here are a couple of my other beef stew recipes.

 Corned Beef Stew Batch Cook Recipe Irish Stew Recipe