The Intersection Between Vintage Sewing Patterns and Cookie Decorating

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Foodie Friends, if you happen to read the sewing blog page on my website, you’d know that I am somewhat stuck in a bygone era…mostly the 1900s. I collect vintage sewing patterns: mostly women’s wear, children’s wear and baby layette patterns.  The artwork on the envelopes is divine and nothing about today’s sewing pattern artwork compares.  Recently I have been exploring the intersectionality between cookie decorating and my love of vintage sewing patterns.

These cookies are from a pattern I saw online; I don’t own it…I kind of wish I did though. The pattern is firmly rooted in the ‘Fabulous Roaring 20’s’.

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These were all created the same way. First I drew the outline using a Pico (pocket sized hand held projector that attaches to a stand) and Rainbow Dust’s double-ended black edible food marker – I used the fine tip.

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Then I hand-painted the cookies using edible gel food colourings. I used a couple of methods. I have some already made-up alcohol/food colour ‘paint’. I make this over the course of a week and the bottles last for ages. (I’ll do a blog about my method very soon). I also used teeny amounts of food gel that I mixed up with small amounts of alcohol in a palette and I also used the edible food markers and water to blend-paint.

Using the picture below, I’ll go through how I used each paint method.  The fill-in of the bow on the hat and the fill-in of the shoes was created using the edible food marker and water. I drew little lines and dots and then dipped my paint brush into water making sure to blot really well. Then I very carefully used the tip of the paintbrush to ‘melt and blend’ the coloured dots and lines. The colour blended and I was able to move it around to fill the areas I needed black.

The dress was painted using my pre-made edible water-colour paint. All I had to do was use the syringe in the bottle to squirt a drop or two of colour into the palette. I used the brush to soak up some colour and then I blotted on some paper towel before I painted on the cookie surface. It’s very important to blot before you paint or you’ll get big blobs of colour in one area that might be difficult to disperse and blend. Or worse, it might eat through the surface of the royal icing.

The yellow hair, the pink flower and yellow flower were also painted using pre-made edible water-colour paint. I have yet to make up red pre-made edible water colour paint so to achieve this I just used a teeny amount of red gel food colouring on the end of a toothpick. I mixed the gel paste with 95% alcohol to make the water-colour and then painted the flower – I made sure to blot my paint brush before I painted on the cookie.

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For me, at this point in my hand-painted cookie journey, my painting is very much in the ‘colour-in’ mode. By this, I mean that I colour-in black or dark outlines rather than free-hand painting. I am not an artist…truly, painting is not my forté and it never has been. Give me a needle any day of the week and I can create beauty but I am not at all skilled with a paint brush (much to my disappointment). I realise that it is about skill and I just don’t have the skill but could learn it if I chose to. At some point I may indeed take steps to acquire the skills of free-hand water colour painting and then apply that to my cookie decorating, but to be honest, I’m more than happy (at this point in time) to continue outlining with a marker using the Pico and then filling in ‘colouring-in book’ style.

If you want to recreated these cookies, here’s what you’ll need:

An iced cookie (I ice my cookies with Royal Icing that I make up myself)

edible food colour gels (I used Americolor for these designs)

Rainbow Dust double-ended edible marker in black

90%-95% clear alcohol (cake decorating alcohol is fine, Everclear is great if you have access to it. I used a mix between cake decorating alcohol to mix un-mixed food gels and Spirytus (a Polish white spirit 95% alcohol) in my pre-made water-colours)

Pico (pocket projector or tissue paper and a marker to transfer the image to the cookie)

Smart Phone or iPad/tablet (if you are using a Pico, you’ll need to use some sort of technology that saves images to project onto the cookie)

Image (if you are using a Pico then you’ll need an image saved onto the iPhone/iPad/smart phone etc or if you are tracing by hand you’ll need a hard copy of an image that you draw onto tissue paper and then redraw over it but with the cookie underneath)

Camera Lucida App (if using the Pico option, you’ll need to purchase the Camera Lucida App so that you can resize the image to fit your cookie)

Friends, I really enjoy the intersectionality between vintage sewing patterns and cookie decorating – it’s right up my vintage alley!

I hope you too get inspiration from a by-gone era and incorporate it into your cookie decorating.

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