Thursday, April 21, 2016

NYC Sewing Meet Up: Manus x Machina @ the Met

It's almost here!!! The Met Costume Institute's Spring exhibition, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an age of Technology opens May 3rd. The exhibition highlights the tension between machine made (Ready to Wear) and handmade (haute couture) and explores how technology has upended the time-honored view of handmade's superiority.   The exhibition will include reproductions of couture workrooms, as well as 150+ garments and objects.  Video preview of the show here.

I would like to invite you to visit the exhibition with me on Saturday, May 14  +  a post-exhibition lunch  and opportunity to meet other local sewists.

Please RSVP to me at by Friday, May 6.  I look forward to meeting you and connecting over our shared passion!

-Claire (aka Domestic Coquinette)

                                   Schedule of Meet Up Events:

10am: Meet on the North corner of the front steps facing 5th Ave (side closest to 85th St)
 Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue

  • We will plan to visit the galleries from 10am-12:30pm. You are of course welcome to stay for however short or long you would like, or hop to other galleries.  (Could be a good opportunity to visit the Vigee LeBrun exhibition if you haven't already. It is closing on May 15.)
  • Note on ticket price:  Please bring $ for admission.  Admission to the Met is pay as you wish, with the suggested ticket price of $25.  Official ticketing details from the Met are here.  (For unofficial details on why you should not pay the suggested ticket price, see this Atlantic article.  You're welcome 😀)

1pm – 4pm: Drop in for lunch and post-exhibition schmoozing at Claire's in the Upper West Side

  • Note on food:  Please be my guest for a tea party style lunch (scones, tea sandwiches, assorted desserts, etc.) It may be dainty, but it will be plentiful!  Vegetarian options will be provided.  
  • Note on location: My apartment is a 15 minute walk west across Central Park from the Met (5 minutes by crosstown bus).  Address and directions provided when you RSVP to me directly.  


Please RSVP to Claire at 
by Friday, May 6 


P.S.  Feel free to share the meet up details with others in the sewing community via Instagram, blog, word of mouth, etc.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Asaka Kimono in Paradise

I recently returned from an epic vacation to Vietnam including four tropical nights in the Gulf of Thailand.   Phu Quoc Island is known for its white sand beaches, crystal blue waters, and red dirt roads roaming with cattle and wild ridgeback dogs.  Freedomland -- our aptly named jungle resort -- was a little piece of heaven!  

Sunset on Ong Lang Beach

What better occasion to sew a special garment than Freedomland's famous communal dinners in the jungle!

Yes, I took this picture!  Amazing 4 course dinners every night at Freedomland.

I decided to go big and bold with the Asaka Kimono by Named Pattern Company.  There was no turning back when I saw Closet Case Files' beautiful cotton version!

I am pretty happy with how mine turned out!

In our thatch room bungalow at Freedomland

The silk charmeuse is from Chic Fabrics.  Chic has a great selection of colorful prints at $15/yard.  Highly recommend when in the NYC Garment District.

Cutting this out was challenging.  With previous silk projects I laboriously hand basted the fabric to medical paper to ensure a precise cut.  At Sonja's suggestion, I tried the new-to-me method of laying the silk out in a single layer on muslin before cutting.  Presto!  The muslin adhered to the silk and the cut pieces were more or less precise. Because of the slippery fabric, I sewed with a microtex needle and my walking foot.

The slits at the juncture of the open sleeves were a little bit tricky to hem because they met at a french seam, but I figured it out by clipping at the juncture of the french seam and slit.

In lieu of the iron-on interfacing recommended by the pattern, I used silk organza to interface the collar.  Next time I will try self-fabric for the collar interfacing.  I chose not to interface the belt.



The sleeves are set in the round and I had to run some gathering stitches to get the sleeve to fit into the shoulder. This probably wasn't the fault of the pattern drafting.  I think the fabric probably stretched since I forgot to staystitch the curves.

Since indie patterns are more expensive than the Big 4, I had higher expectations of the overall experience. This pattern should have been drafted for french seams. Period.  The seam allowance was only 3/8",   so I took the extra time to add 1/4"  so that I could make french seams. Also,  the instructions  were quite minimal and the cutting layout was only for 60".  I had a scant 4 yards of 45" fabric and spent a head scratching hour maneuvering the 14 individual pattern pieces into a workable layout for 45".

I do wish that I could get the hem to fall evenly and keep the skirt from riding up in every which direction and clinging.  I have a hunch that a lot of these problems would be solved if I used a cotton.

Pesky imperfections aside, this make was a real confidence builder.  Working at a steady rhythm, I completed the garment over about 6 days.  Each day I had a new goal and for the most part I accomplished everything on the day that I set out to do it. Maybe my good sewing juju has finally arrived?