Thursday, 18 August 2016

Silk Wedding Ties

When I originally wrote my list of what I was planning to make for the wedding, ties didn't feature on it at all. It was only when I read a blog where someone had made their wedding dress, their bridesmaids dress, and attempted to make their grooms whole outfit that I thought I wasn't being ambitious enough.
 In all seriousness though, I thought it was a lovely idea to make part of the grooms outfit too, to make it extra special. I didn't fancy making his suit and he can be pretty picky when it comes to things like shirts, so I settled for the tie.
When we had decided on poly silk/satin for the bridesmaids I realised the same fabric would work for ties, and it would mean the colour was a perfect match. So I planned to make one for all the men in the wedding party.
This was really something that was supposed to be 'ONLY if you have time', but once I got the idea in my head I got carried away as usual. I ended up making them when really I should have been concentrating on the bridesmaids dresses!
After a spot of google research, I found this article, which I found overwhelmingly helpful for constructing a tie. The only problem was, they never mention which pattern mentioned they use. I plumped for Burda's Osman tie, as it didn't seem too skinny and was quite an inexpensive download. Annoyingly I found out later Sew Over It also has a tie pattern.
Mr Makes didn't fancy having his face in it...but wanted to show off his beard growth!
I didn't do the tip as instructed in the pattern, instead using the article above to do a more professional finish. For the tie lining fabric I used a similar curtain lining from eBay. When it came to folding up the tie around the lining, I found that this pattern had an extra fold-in. So at the centre seam it would be several layers of fabric on each side, and as the silk I used was already medium-weight, it would just be too thick.
I cut down the pattern so that after folding the edges in there would be just one fold to the centre. In retrospect, the fabric I used was probably a little on the heavy side anyway, as they didn't have as much fluidity as I would have liked. But then it was the perfect choice for the dresses!
The main centre seam has to be sewn by hand in silk thread. This was actually a blessing as it meant I could pin each tie together, and then take them with me when I left to work in London for 3 days each week without my machine. I ended up sewing 5 of them one sunny afternoon sat in a Wandsworth park for several hours!
I also ordered some cute handmade labels from this Etsy shop so I could sew one in each tie, and mine and the bridesmaids dresses.
As well as his tie, I made a little pocket square for my groom just a few days before the wedding. It's just a simple 15" square of silk with double fold edges. For tips on how to fold them try Brit & Co's article.
I made him a little wedding present too... a pair of boxers! Despite the fact they have reindeer on them, the pair I made him for Christmas are worn as often as the washing machine allows, so I thought it was about time he had a new pair...
Emily Kate.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Tips on Baking Your Own Wedding Cake

When I told people I was going to make my own wedding cake, and dessert table, that seemed to be the thing that pushed them over the edge. Make your wedding dress?... sure, bridesmaids dresses even but the CAKE???! Which is kind of ridiculous really. I might be more of a sewer than a baker nowadays, but I wasn't planning anything too difficult. And whilst the cake would have to be done nearer the big day, my dress was finished with weeks to spare, so the two didn't interrupt each other.
As well as my cake, my mum and I made various things for the dessert table. Lemon cheescakes, chocolate mousses, profiteroles, cupcakes, brownies and other treats. Unfortunately they went down rather too well and I haven't found a single photo of the dessert table before it was demolished by the hoardes!
I wrote about my practice cake a few months back and my DIY cake topper, but I thought I would share what I had learnt when it came to the real thing. So here are a few tips...

  • Make it in advance and freeze it. - Even if you're not making a cake that is usually made far in advance like a fruit cake, sponge cakes can easily be made ahead and frozen. Contrary to what you might think, freezing the cake after wrapping it well in Clingfilm actually keeps it moist. I took out the largest layer the night before I iced it and the smaller ones just an hour or so. They are also easier to cut and ice if still slightly frozen. Every dessert we made was also made in advance and frozen, and you would never have guessed.
      My timeline looked like this:
      The weekend before - Make all desserts and wedding cake.
       2 days before wedding - Take biggest layer of cake out of freezer and make icings.
       1 day before wedding - Take all desserts out of freezer. Take cake out, ice and sandwich layers.
       Day of wedding - transport to venue, stack layers and decorate.

  • Think carefully about what you plan to make - Given that we had a very DIY wedding, I wanted a cake and desserts that needed very little to no work on the actual day or day before. The cake just needed sandwiching together, and I chose desserts that could be frozen as is.

  • Let someone else arrange the cake on the day - I was constantly told by our vicar, my mum, mother-in-law, the hairdresser... that I could do all the DIY-ing I liked until the actual day, when I would have to delegate jobs. As difficult as this was for me, its true, you want to enjoy every minute of the day and concentrate on getting married. Mr Makes' mum kindly stacked the layers of the cake on the day and did a beautiful arrangement of fruit and gypsophilia around it.

  • Think about how you will store it and transport it. - Each of my layers was quite tall so I had to get some deep storage tubs. Make sure they are airtight so your cake won't dry out overnight.

  • Practice - Practice and perfect your cake recipe, even its a straightforward sponge. And practice the entire process, from baking and freezing to assembling the cake. Then you know how long it will take, and any issues you might have.


I'd definitely recommend making your own cake if you like a spot of baking, or enlist a family member to do it for you. Cake is one of those things that you can really save on as ingredients cost very little and its just a case of investing time and love into it.
Emily Kate