Friday, December 14, 2012

New Mock Up, Old Traditions

Ah, now I remember why trying out a new pattern is so frustrating.  It's a pain to work out the adjustments that you need on your own, transfer them to the paper pattern properly and then sew up another mock up.  I'm at the first stage in this Vogue pattern and with holidays and our construction project starting shortly, I'm packing it up to head north for sewing retreat help.  But here are the pictures of Vogue 1262 and I'd love your opinions.

I was quite unhappy with the pulls at both shoulders since that armhole is very tricky to adjust and I'd like to avoid it and/or a bust dart if I can.  Then I looked at the pattern picture and those sames lines are there so maybe I'm just getting too picky:

As for the back, I may extend those back pleats further down the back since I am narrow there but then add some width in the back side seam area.
I've sewn it up in an old sheet and haven't decided yet what I will use for the final jacket.  
In the meantime, I've had some lovely days with friends this week (which nicely counter balanced the infuriating experience with an acquaintance earlier in the week.)  Wonderful lunch with sewing friends on Wednesday and then a fun movie discussion night last night at our Cineclub gathering.  We watched Shall We Kiss?, Shall We Kiss?  a romantic comedy with an interesting perspective on our friendships and relationships.  We carried over the discussion about men, women, friendship versus physical attraction and romance all the way to the dogpark this morning and had many laughs and revelations along the way.  Last night we brought a plate of cookies and I thought I'd share the recipes with you.....and keep them here on my blog as a reminder to me in the future.  These are some of my favorites from The America's Test Kitchen Baking Book  baking cookbook

Molasses Spice, Mexican Wedding and Chocolate Chips cookies 

Molasses Spice Cookies (Adapted from Cooks Illustrated, January 2002 and America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook)

1/3 cup granulated sugar (about 2 1/2 ounces)
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (11 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (I had whole allspice which I coarsely ground)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup molasses (about 6 ounces), light or dark

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir in cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and pepper and cook until fragrant (about a minute). Pour the mixture into a large bowl and cool slightly.

4. Using a whisk, mix in the white sugar, molasses, brown sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla into the butter until smooth. To easily pour out molasses, I spray the inside of a measuring cup with cooking spray before measuring the molasses out. It makes cleanup a lot easier.

5. Stir in the flour mixture until combined.

6. Pour some white sugar (about 2-3 tablespoons) into a shallow bowl or plate. Take a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Then, roll the ball lightly in the sugar until well coated and place it onto the baking sheet. If the sugar doesn't stick, you can lightly moisten your hands when rolling the dough into a ball. Space the balls about 2 1/2 inches apart.

7. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 9-12 minutes until the edges are set and beginning to brown, but the centers are still soft. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through.

8. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack 

Mexican Wedding Cookies (Pecan or Walnut Crescent Cookies)
2 cups whole pecans or walnuts, chopped fine, divided
2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon table salt
½ pound unsalted butter
(2 sticks), softened
1/3 cup superfine sugar (see note)
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups confectioners' sugar for rolling cooled cookies
Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix 1 cup chopped nuts, flour and salt in medium bowl; set aside.
In work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process remaining chopped nuts until the texture of coarse cornmeal, 10 to 15 seconds (do not overprocess); stir into flour mixture and set aside. (To finely grind chopped nuts by hand, roll them between two large sheets of plastic wrap with a rolling pin, applying moderate pressure, until broken down to coarse cornmeal-like texture).
In bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed or by hand, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 1½ minutes with an electric mixer or 4 minutes by hand; beat in vanilla. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula; add flour mixture and beat at low speed until dough just begins to come together but still looks scrappy, about 15 seconds. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl again with rubber spatula; continue beating at low speed until dough is cohesive, 6 to 9 seconds longer. Do not overbeat.
Working with about one tablespoon of dough at a time, roll and shape cookies into balls, crescents, rings or cigar shapes. Bake until tops are pale golden and bottoms are just beginning to brown, turning cookie sheets from front to back and switching from top to bottom racks halfway through baking, 17 to 19 minutes.
Cool cookies on sheets for about 2 minutes; remove with metal spatula to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Working with three or four cookies at a time, roll cookies in confectioners' sugar to coat them thoroughly. Gently shake off excess. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to five days.
Before serving, roll cookies in confectioners' sugar a second time to ensure a thick coating, and tap off excess.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Note: You can buy superfine sugar in most grocery stores. Or you can process regular granulated sugar to superfine consistency in about 30 seconds in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
- Source: America's Test Kitchen

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Cook’s Illustrated May/June 2009)
I made mine slightly smaller and baked them for about 11 minutes.
1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
¾ cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.
3. Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whish for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use a #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.
5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10-14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

Hope your sewing time is productive and your Decmber holidays of all traditions are a delight.


  1. Jane, I didn't realize this pattern had those dart details at the upper bodice until I saw your muslin pics. The collar is different on this coat as well, another feature I hadn't noticed.
    I agree, your lines match those on the Vogue model. The thing that stands out to me is perhaps the shoulder seam doesn't lie flush with your shoulder close to the neck on both sides - like it's standing up higher than your shoulder.
    I like the idea that you mentioned of doing some shaping to the back.
    Looking forward to seeing the final garment!

    1. Great eyes, Andrea. I had not noticed that about the shoulder seam and I now understand why one PR reviewer adjusted the collar to make her hug her neck more closely. Looks like another adjustment I'll be making also. Thanks!!

  2. the molasses spice cookies look like and sound like my grandmothers, and I've been looking everywhere for the recipe. So I'll try and see if this is it. she passed away in 1989 and took all the recipes with her.

  3. To me, it looks like your garment is just too big across the chest/shoulder area. I would try a size smaller on top, pinning out those shoulder wrinkles and make that adjustment on the pattern.

  4. I know so little about pattern adjusting, I'll just pass that over and say it will look like a really cute coat when finished. What a good idea you have to share such fun with with cinema friends! I'm also all too familiar with "frustrating experiences with acquaintances" so I sympathize.

  5. I agree with gwensews that it looks a bit big across the top. Thank you for sharing the cookie recipes -- they look delicious! Have a wonderful holiday season!


Love your comments, opinions, advice and questions. I just ask that we all "play nice."