Saturday, April 14, 2012

The kitchen corset project

For the past 3 years I've desired to create a kitchen corset - just the thought of it fills me with glee! Finally, a garment that captures the feminine shape and restrained beauty of a corset and the retro 1950's vibe that evokes images of the quintessential baby-boomer housewife. I had to have one.

So, I set out to first learn to sew, then design and create the first kitchen corset! It really is an internet first (search for kitchen corset and see for yourself!) My good friend C and I made our kitchen corsets together, figuring it out as we went along.

A Turduckenfest victory pose

We presented our corsets to the world at our annual Turduckenfest, but that's another post.

Here's the skinny
Hand-punched eyelets let me lace up
the back nice & tight.
The corset was made using a 1880's heart-shaped full corset pattern. Each piece of corset paneling was measured, cut, and sewn to fit my measurements. Lesson learned: Stabilize your weight before making custom clothing - the corset is a little wide because I managed to lose a few pounds during those late nights sewing.

Salt pouch
How does it go on? A metal corset busk was sewn in to close the front panels while hand-punched eyelets to lace up the back. I hid the busk by installing it on the inside, and covering the center seams with white piping. The front opens, and wraps around like a jacket, once the busk is hooked up the back is tightened with lacing.

Pepper grinder holster
A kitchen corset is nothing without matching accessories. I created a  salt pouch, pepper grinder holster, and oven mitt in contrasting pink and white cherry-themed fabric that complimented the green and white polka dots and added to the fantastic 50's theme. Each accessory is mounted by small buttons along the bottom of the corset.

My inspiration
A few years back, I was inspired by a work corset designed for Nifer Fahrion by Robynne Winchester of Tulgey Wood Designs, blog post outlining her project here. Realizing how delighted I was by the contrast of femininity of corsets and the ruggedness of construction, I instantly had to have one for my favorite "workshop" - my kitchen!

Seasonally spring: Sweet Peas

 Spring is in the air, as is my excitement over spring veggies!

Peas are one of my favorite spring veggies, something my parents would never have guessed. As a kid, most peas I met were of the mushy, gray, canned variety - not the sweet, nearly crunchy orbs you can get fresh or even frozen.
Finding fresh pea pods at the farmer's market can be like striking gold - peas are best when they're fresh so grab a bunch when they're looking good locally, otherwise I stick to high quality frozen varieties.

Shelling peas is as simple as popping the pod open (it should be crunchy & snap open) then gently popping the little gems out of their jacket into a small bowl. You might wish to blanch them depending on your recipe.

As a new pea advocate, I wanted to share a few of my favorite recipes.

  • French Peas & Ham from Serious Eats
    Fresh peas are amazing in this dish. I have used Canadian bacon instead of ham, then added a dash of salt. This dish calls for a herb I'd never used, Chervil but it really makes the dish so don't skip it!
  • Creamy Pea and Asparagus Soup

    This healthy soup can be made vegetarian or even vegan and still be as creamy and rich and delicious - the trick? Using a russet potato to add starch, and blending the soup thoroughly emulsifying the olive oil and whipping in some air to keep it light.
  • Fried Rice
    Make mine bacon. I know... this isn't a spring dish but it's really one of my favorite things to do with frozen peas - especially for breakfast. The sweet pop of the peas in what can be an otherwise dull or salty dish makes all the difference.