Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Growing Lemongrass from Stalk

Recently I tried making a lemongrass cooler at home and it turned out refreshing. I also learned that I could easily grow my own batch of lemongrass with the store-bought stalks.

I took 2 stalks, chopped off the green leaves, and removed the tough outer layers of the stalk without damaging the root. These I kept in a glass filled with 2 inches of water which I changed everyday.

Within a week, the stalks started sprouting some roots which made me very happy. I then planted it in soil. In another 10 days it started sprouting baby stalks from the old stalks. I was ecstatic. I would be making a batch of lemongrass cooler in another 2 weeks with home-grown produce.

One thing I failed to consider though was my cat. I would have assumed that citrus would repel him but apparently Lemongrass has a catnip-like effect on most cats. Who knew?

I'm still hoping that some more sprouts appear. I can keep it out of kitty reach for it to grow enough to accommodate both our needs. Or it will be back to square one.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Re-fashioned Top

I've had this light knit pullover for a while now and have barely worn it twice because it clings to all the wrong curves and it's neck is very deep. I, with my very limited sewing skills, decided to make it wearable by extending the width and length with some fabric. I figured even if I ruin it, it wasn't getting used anyway - all I'll lose is a the time spent.

The fabric I used for the extension panels was a small silk scarf that I've had for ages and had barely been used too.

First thing I did was cut off the bottom 2 inches and the sides till the arm pit. I also cut 2 strips of 3 inches each for the length of the sides. These strips were then pinned to the sides to keep them in place while stitching.

Mistake 1: Knit and silk are very difficult fabrics to work with, especially for a first timer. One keeps stretching and the other won't stay still! Even though I measured the exact length of the side from armpit to bottom and pinned the fabric so it would be in place, while sewing the knit fabric stretched so the strip didn't go all the way to the top. Thankfully I had started sewing from the bottom and it wasn't a big gap near the armpit so I could just close the remaining part without any extra material.

Mistake 2: I didn't realise that if I am not also extending the arm hole, the side extension will not be the same width top to bottom, rather a triangle of sorts.

Next, I cut 2 long strips for the extension at the bottom. The strip for the back was an inch longer than the one for the front. I also remembered to keep the strip longer so that even with the knit stretching, I will have enough to go around.

I used the edges of the scarf for these strips so that I would only need to hem one side which would not be seen from the outside. The sides would also need to be hemmed in so that it doesn't look shabby. These I attached to the bottom of the pullover.

That took care of the length and width of the top. Next was the deep neck. I looked at different options like ribbons or a strip of the same fabric tucked behind the neckline, but they didn't look very convincing. I finally settled for small rosettes which are super easy to make.

The sleeves I shortened and left unfinished. The knit just rolls up at the edges so you don't see a frayed line.

Here's the finished product.
Although it is nice to wear something you've made, it was too much of a hassle and it was't as neat as I would've liked. If I can find a tailor to do this, I would hand it over without a second thought.