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20% off Sale

It’s the midyear sale! Get 20% off all Scroop Patterns

It’s the best time of year!  The midyear Scroop Patterns Sale!

All downloadable PDF Scroop Patterns are 20% off this week!

20% off Sale

The discount is applied automatically at checkout: no need to do anything.

The sale ends Tuesday 21 June, 11:59pm, NZ Time

Happy shopping, happy sewing!

The Scroop Patterns Selina Blouse

I usually do a sale this time of year, but this time there’s an added incentive.  My car needs replacing, and cars are expensive in post-covid NZ 😢  Also car shopping is the worst.  I’d rather be doing even my least favourite part of patternmaking (figuring out fabric requirements.  It’s the worst).

Rate the Dress: Pink Aesthetic Tea Gown

It’s been a while since I did a Rate the Dress post.  I was (and am) struggling to keep up with blogging and life in the era of Covid.

Then a WordPress update borked all the formatting on my blog, which was so disheartening I just stopped.  I still haven’t figured out how to fix it without going back and re-writing thousands of posts…

So for now, enjoy a random Rate the Dress post, that hopefully will be the beginning of more regular posting on this theme!

Last weeks/months/oh goodness I don’t even want to think about it rating: a 1807-10 evening dress/court gown bedazzled with gold

There was MUCH love for the early 18th century very gold and sparkly court dress, with a few points off here and there because it wasn’t the very best dress of its era some of you had seen, and a few more from people who just flat out don’t like Regency.

The Total: 9.2 out of 10

At least if I was going to take a 5 month hiatus from Rate the Dress I left it on a high note!

This week: an 1890s tea gown in the aesthetic style

This week’s Rate the Dress is a tea gown (follow the link to learn more about tea gowns) in the aesthetic style.  It combines the comfort and (relative) ease of wear that was originally supposed to be the point of a tea gown, with the luxurious fabrics and whimsical use of trim and design features that came to be the defining characteristic of a tea gown.

This tea gown features a body and lower sleeves of fine, lightweight wool in a deep muted rose pink.

The dress is topped by a pleated yoke and full gigot sleeves in pinky brown silk with a small geometric pattern in a pink which matches the wool.

The fullness of the sleeves and the interest of the silk fabric are balanced by a scalloped pleat and bow effect on the hem trimming.

In keeping with the less-confining ethos of aesthetic dress, the gown falls semi-loosely from the over-bust yoke, with shaping provided by a ribbon that sweeps down from the front bust to the waist, and back up again to the centre back.

Unless I am much mistaken, the looseness is an illusion: the dress is built over a fitted under-bodice, which the ribbon and back pleats are tacked to to provide more shaping.

What do you think of this example of 1890s fashion?  Do you like the aesthetic-inspired mix of drape and structure, geometry and softness?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

A reminder about rating: feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment. Phrase criticism as your opinion, rather than a flat fact. Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting. It’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste.

As usual, nothing more complicated than a .5. I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment.

Making Roach's 40 Orange Glaze Cake by Samba Schutte

Making Roach’s 40 Orange Glaze Cake

Here’s some more notes on making Roach’s 40 Orange Glaze Cake, and what we did!

(I know, this is supposed to be a costume blog, not a baking blog.  We’ll return to our standard programming shortly).

The Quest for Oranges

One of the things I love about New Zealand is that produce availability is much more seasonal.  Out of season items are available, but only in small quantities at high prices.  And covid has meant that there are supply issues with a bunch of things…

Unfortunately, this is a problem when you decide to make a 40 18 orange cake in early winter.  Oranges were out of season…

It took us three supermarkets to finally find oranges, and even then the NZ ones were definitely end-of-the-growing year oranges, and weren’t the prettiest.

Making Roach's 40 Orange Glaze Cake by Samba Schutte

However, having to go on a major quest to find oranges is just so on-theme for an Our Flag Means Death cake that it just added to the whole experience!

And today there were no oranges at all even in the supermarket I found them at last week, and two different customers were having befuddled “how can you not have oranges” moments.

Orange You Glad You Wore Yellow

So, as you know, I really like yellow.  I wear a lot of yellow.  So on the day of cake making, I found myself at the yellow-themed NZ supermarket, wearing…

…a yellow Te Aro dress, and yellow minx boots, carrying my yellow and orange re-usable shopping bags, and buying mandarins, oranges, bananas, and butter in yellow wax paper wrappings. 🤣

I guess I really like yellow…

Making the Cake

Oranges.  So Many Oranges.

OK, unless you have an orange juicer and some fancy zesting machine, be prepared to spend a LOT of time zesting and juicing oranges.

Making Roach's 40 Orange Glaze Cake by Samba Schutte

As the sous-chef, I was on a team juice-and-zest.  While Nina got candied oranges started, and made the cake, I sliced and juiced and zested as fast as I could to keep up.

While she made orange syrup, and orange glaze, I zested and juiced.

Making Roach's 40 Orange Glaze Cake by Samba Schutte

Finally, finally, the pile of oranges had been reduced to a mountain of orange skins and pulp, ready for the compost.

And then I got to stir glaze and taste!

Things We Changed, and Things that Stayed the Same:

We made our own candied oranges!  (and when I say we, I mean that I sliced the oranges exactly as Nina told me to, and that was my total involvement…)

Making Roach's 40 Orange Glaze Cake by Samba Schutte

They came out beautifully, and were so delicious.  I could just gobble them up.

In fact, I got so carried away with how fun making candied oranges were that I suggested we used the leftover syrup to make candied apple slices with the last of Nina’s tree apples from this year (the few that the naughty Wellington kākā didn’t get first).

Making Roach's 40 Orange Glaze Cake by Samba Schutte

I particularly like this, because if you look really closely, the tea in Our Flag Means Death features dried apples.  Not quite the same, but close!

Other things that were changed:

  • We weren’t that fond of the filling flavour with orange essence.  It was a little chemical-y.  So Nina added crème fraîche, and some of the syrup from making candied oranges, to add more dimensionality to the flavours.  Next time we’d just skip the orange essence altogether, and use the candied orange syrup for flavour.
  • We added more corn powder/starch to the glaze, as it seemed too thin, but I personally think it made it a little too thick and lumpy, and wouldn’t do it again.
  • We sliced each of the cake layers in half, for a four layer cake, instead of a two layer cake.

Making Roach's 40 Orange Glaze Cake by Samba Schutte

Things that stayed the same:

  • Nina’s expert opinion is that the Genoise Sponge recipe was an exceptionally good recipe.  My inexpert opinion is that it was delicious.

Things that we might change if we ever did it again:

  • We refrigerated the cake for a whole day before decorating it beyond the initial frosting, which made the decorations slide off it 😢


All in all, 10/10 for cake deliciousness, and 10/10 for a lovely day making a cake with a friend.

Making Roach's 40 Orange Glaze Cake by Samba Schutte

Making Roach's 40 Orange Glaze Cake by Samba Schutte

Making Roach's 40 Orange Glaze Cake by Samba Schutte

Making Roach's 40 Orange Glaze Cake by Samba Schutte

Making Roach's 40 Orange Glaze Cake by Samba Schutte

40/10 for eating delicious cake with friends.

Making Roach's 40 Orange Glaze Cake by Samba Schutte