Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jess' Alexander McQueen Coat

Finally, I have been able to finish Jess' winter coat - just in time to wear, as the temperature here in beautiful Melbourne is cooling down - I just love autumn!!!

I had bought Jess this beautiful Alexander McQueen fabric from Tessuti - yes, last year and Melbourne still has stock.  Decided that I would wait until I found the perfect coat pattern as this fabric was not cheap and I wanted to do it right.

Jess wanted a peacoat style, with length and fitted at the waist.  I found Butterick B5685  just the thing except for the collar - way too big for my liking and it would swamp Jess, who's petite.  Remembering her other coat, I decided to use the collar from Burda 7458.  

Now this coat was constructed last year and I didn't take any photos of the alterations made to the main pattern.  My apologies for this.  The last thing to do where the buttonholes which I was going to make myself (by hand) but things got in the way, so I had them professionally done by Melbourne Tailoring at $4.00 per buttonhole - fantastic job, well worth every dollar.

Now to sew on the buttons - finally decided to use a toothpick to create the shank, so much easier putting the toothpick on top of the button, then all you do is take out the pick and pull the button up which will create enough space between the button and fabric.

Oh, poor Tiff, she's worked hard all day and just couldn't take it anymore!!!!  She normally would be sitting on top of the coat as I worked.

I also placed a smaller button behind each button on the lining side so that the stitching would be hidden - a nice touch I think.


I also made my own shoulder pads, sorry no photos - but will definitely next time, as this was such a rewarding thing to do, and they turned out so much nicer than the commercially made ones.  I used the above book - an oldie but a goodie.  Definitely, if you're into tailoring - this is worth having.

Hard to see from this photo but the shoulder pads are not bulky and sit properly on the shoulder.

Yesterday was Jess' 24th birthday and although she had a lecture in the City, we made time to go out for lunch afterwards.  She told me that she loved the coat that much that she didn't take it off, even  during the lecture.  However, the only thing wrong with the coat was that it didn't have pockets.   I then promptly showed her the pockets, which were sewn into the seam - she was happy!!

Happy Birthday sweet Jess!!!!!  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

French Baguettes

Sometime ago I found this recipe on the net.  It sounded great but never got around to making it, as I make my own using 'no knead' method.  One day I went to my girlfriend's place for lunch and tasted this beautiful home baked bread - it was the one I gave her - Domaine de l'Arlot's bread - yummy!!!

After having come home from visiting family in France, and tasting their beautiful bread, I decided on baking this bread but in baguette form.  Well it has been a hit ever since and I bake it at least twice a week - sometimes more.  I'll link the recipe and write up my version, which is actually halved because the recipe is too much bread for my baguette forms.

Domaine de L'Arlot's bread is featured on this website on wine - oh, my other vice!!!

You can use the whole recipe and just use half the dough one day and the other half on another day.  I like halving the recipe and using it once, as it doesn't take long to mix up and it frees up fridge space.

1 kg (3 cups) untreated flour - I have used 'No Knead',  Lowan,  Laucke and have used multi-grain, brown and Tuscan (I usually mix 1/2 and 1/2 - e.g. 1/2 white and 1/2 multi-grain)
475 mls lukewarm water
1 teaspoon salt (don't use less)
1 1/2 teaspoon yeast (I use dried which I keep in the freezer)

Mix all together and place in the fridge overnight to rise.   

Next day place dough on floured surface and form the bread - baguettes or leave round.
Oh,  I don't knead my bread. 

I halve my bread for 2 baguettes.

    Place the dough in your bakeware and spray with water before placing in the oven.  

You don't have to pre-heat your oven, just pop it in and when your oven reaches its temperature, turn the setting of your oven to bake.  I also, during the baking stage, spray the oven cavity with water - keeps the bread crisp - maybe three times in total - it's just a fine misty spray in the oven.

You could even place a container of water in the bottom to create a bit of humidity - but a spray bottle is fine.  Got this tip from a waiter when I commented on how the bread was crispy and mine wasn't turning out like that - he gave me this tip and it works for me.  Do you have other tips for crisping bread?


This recipe is no mess no fuss for me.  One thing I did do wrong one day is that I used the "Tuscan" flour - No Knead Bread, which has added sodium, so the bread came out a bit salty - so just check this before adding the salt.

I have frozen this bread and comes out just fine.

Yummy with my favourite french cheese!!   ENJOY!!