Rhubarb Meringue Pie {1928}

What do you do when you have a freezer full of last summer’s rhubarb and a limited time before serious freezer-burn sets in?

You search through your vintage cookbooks for a suitable recipe, of course!

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The winning recipe was discovered in my 1928 edition of “The Rector Cook Book” by George Rector…

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…that is apparently a signed copy! That was fun to discover!

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I’d never heard of George Rector before thumbing through his cookbook, but a quick google search turned up some interesting information. He was, apparently, a very popular chef during the 20’s and 30’s. In addition to running a restaurant very popular with Broadway celebrities, he was also featured in newspapers, movies, and radio broadcasts during his day.

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My copy of his cookbook holds some neat treasures tucked within its pages: clipped recipes accompanied by darling illustrations that, judging by the style of the ladies’ dresses, show that it was used at least through the early 30’s.

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There are also a couple remnants of the jacket that have survived as bookmarks.

I was quite intrigued by his recipe for “Rhubarb Meringue Pie,”  a combination I’d never considered before, and gave it a try.

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The recipe included very specific instructions for preparing the rhubarb, which I followed the best I could since I was starting with frozen.

The process of preparing the custard-y filling looked like I was making a very runny macaroni and didn’t appear too appealing before baking.

The crust, however, was beautiful. It rolled out nice and thin and was a wonderful dough to work with.

And, in the end, it all came together into a beautiful pie.

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A unique flavor combination, it had all the tangy deliciousness of rhubarb pie that was balanced out by the sweetness of the custard and the light, fluffy topping. I’d definitely make it again!

I’ll add the recipe under the cut so you can try it too! Tell me what you think!

Continue reading “Rhubarb Meringue Pie {1928}”

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Gatsby Halloween

In the spirit of Throwback Thursday combined with the first day of fall, I have some fun photos to share from my earlier days of sewing.

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But first, a brief background:

In 2012 I was a student at the University of Washington, living at college in a dorm with my wonderful sister. When Halloween rolled around that year we found ourselves without any plans so we gathered some friends together to go to dinner. Three of us decided to make our outfits 1920’s-themed.

In the time-honored college tradition of procrastination, what better thing to do than give yourself four days to make three dresses from scratch?

This was at the start of my sewing career, when my sewing machine was less than a year old, so there was almost no technique to what I was doing. I made my 1920’s pinterest board and used it for inspiration, not caring much about historical accuracy.

I started with my sister’s dress when I was home for the weekend, drafting the base on her and sewing a bunch of squares that I moved around until we agreed on a final design we could agree on (#3).

Next I made a dress for myself (my mom helped sew it) and finished it up by hand when I went back to my dorm.

And then I did the same for our friend, Molly!

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All three dresses were really simple but effective. They were done in plenty of time for Halloween and we had a great time going out! We went out for dinner at the Cabbage Patch Restaurant which is rumored to be haunted although we didn’t experience anything while we were there.

After our food we explored the town a bit, visiting other supposedly haunted locations, taking pictures, and admiring all the cute trick-or-treaters that were running around.

Looking back at these pictures brings back a lot of really fun memories. The dinner was delicious and it was great going out for an event in costume! That’s something that I’ve been wanting to bring back in to my sewing lately. I make really fun things but I don’t usually do anything with them. I’m realizing now that they don’t do me much good (or much fun) just hanging in my closet once they’re finished.

Now to find some things to do around Seattle…

Rosy 1920’s Dress – An Unfortunate Outcome

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Oh, this dress.

This dress was supposed to have been for the first Historical Sew Monthly challenge for this year, procrastination, but in the true spirit of the prompt it’s not going to be finished for a while longer.

This dress has been in the making for about a year now. Last year I frankensteined  together a 1920’s dress from a Simplicity pattern and a t-shirt that ended up being super comfortable for summer-wear. Lightweight + no waistline = the perfect breezy lounging dress. Around August I started planning another version of the dress that would be basically the same shape except sleeveless. I sketched out my design, envisioning small, pink roses embroidered at the neckline on a background of pale blue.

Well, the fabric and the sketch languished in the back of my closet for months. Summer slipped away and making a dress for the warm weather slid down to the bottom of my to-do list. In the new year I thought this would be a good project to take up again, especially in anticipation of spring being on its way.

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I cut it out and stitched it up a couple weeks into January and was making good progress until I got side-tracked by working on my first commission (yay!) so it wasn’t until the last day of the month that I revisited the dress.

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Turns out my hasty work wasn’t all that well thought out – the top is too tight – so I set it aside to work on later while I mull over ideas on how to fix it.

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There isn’t much fabric left so my plan is to cut out a U-shape that echoes the shape of the godets in the skirt. Then I can cut a slightly bigger piece to insert, probably embroidered with the roses I had been planning, that will give me more room. I’ve got to think it through a little bit first, though, since I’ve never run into this problem before.

What do you think? Do you have any ideas for how I can remedy this situation? Any suggestions would be most appreciated!

1920’s Day Dress – (HSM #3)

I spent a long time thinking about this month’s challenge, stuck for several weeks. While I had plenty in my stash that I could draw from, I had a hard time finding any inspiration. I can’t tell you how many times I sorted through my patterns and pinterest boards, looking for something that would spark my interest. 

Then, about two and a half weeks in to March, I happened upon a new show.


There are two seasons on Netflix and I’m already on my second watch-through.

It’s about a female detective, Phryne Fisher, who solves crimes in 1920’s Australia with the aid of her wonderful friends, the local police, and Detective Inspector Jack Robinson. The show is filled with fun mysteries, lavish sets, and some of the most amazing chemistry between I’ve ever seen. Not to mention gorgeous costumes.

     
    
 
And so I decided that for the third HSM challenge, I was going to make something from the 1920’s. I have a set of instructions for the infamous “One Hour Dress,” but I’d made it once before a few years ago and I wasn’t happy with how it turned out. So, I turned to the internet to browse for a new method of construction.
 
 
I was a big fan of these dresses and I had a pattern in my stash that I could adapt to make a similar skirt.
 
 

Simplicity 1802. Last night I spent twenty minutes cutting out the three pattern pieces that I would use and sorting through my stash to pick out the fabric.

In doing so, I discovered that most of my stash is made up of quilting cotton, which was too stiff for this project. I wanted something sheer, but, in the end, went with a length of green fabric that I’d forgotten I had. I have no idea as to where it came from or its content, but it drapes nicely and I had enough of it to get a dress out of.

Fabric up close. It’s less olive-y in person.

I used the bottom half of the pattern, dropped it down a few inches so it would start around my hips, and drafted the top part of the dress from a loose-fitting t-shirt that I have.

 
I cut it out in two pieces, front and back, plus the four u-shaped godets. Then, this morning, I sat down to sew.
 
It went pretty quick and I had it done early in the evening, though I would have been faster if I hadn’t been distracted by TV while I was working. After a while I turned it off and put music on instead and worked much more efficiently.
 
Trying it on to check the fit of the top.
Trimming the bottom.
By the time I finished it was dark, so there wasn’t enough light inside to get good photographs. But phone pictures will do until I’m able to take proper pictures of it with my Nikon.
 
 
 

It’s a very simple dress, but I like it. It went much better than the last ’20’s dress that I made (too tight across the chest) and is very comfortable, especially with summer around the corner. It’s nowhere near as fancy as Phryne’s outfits from the show, but I could see her companion, Dot, wearing something like it.

The Challenge: Stashbusting (HSM #3)

Fabric: Green knit

Pattern: Part of Simplicity 1802

Year: 1920’s

Notions: Green thread. No closures or anything; it slips over my head.

How historically accurate is it? Ummmmm, 50%? That would be my guess. I went for more overall aesthetic than accuracy on this one as true ’20’s styles don’t tend to be very flattering on me.

Hours to complete: About 7.

First worn: Tried it on to take pictures. I will probably wear it on Thursday.

Total cost: Since everything came from my stash, $0. (I don’t remember what I got the fabric for when I bought it but I know that I got the pattern for $1.)