Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Lace Midi Skirt

Have you ever traveled to an event, packed one outfit, and then felt totally demoralized because you don't look anything like what you envisioned?  


After the wedding

And of course the wardrobe blahs are all the more poignant when you have spent every extra moment of the last five days finishing the damn thing, including three hours of hand stitching on the plane!  

When my college friend Julia asked me to be a bridesmaid in her Seattle wedding, I was relieved that the only restriction was that I wear purple. I picked up a beautiful synthetic lace from Chic Fabrics several months ago and planned to make a midi skirt with a black silk camisole (RTW).

I have been working on self-drafted skirts the past few months (blog post to come soon), so decided to draft my own midi skirt. A Challenging Sew's five paneled midi-skirts served as primary inspiration for this project. I like mid-skirts and it's a flattering fit for my pear shape.

With only two yards of lace on hand, I drafted a three panel skirt.


Although the muslin fit properly, I knew that the base layer of black silk charmeuse and organza was prone to stretching because of the bias panels.  To mitigate distortion, I cut the center back on the straight of grain, stay stitched immediately, and hung the pieces for several days to allow the bias to grow out. I attached 1inch strips of organza on the straight grain to the zipper opening for additional reinforcement.

Organza to stabilize zipper
Organza pockets strengthened by cutting each piece out on the cross grain and straight grain

In spite of my best efforts, when I tried the skirt on it had stretched on the bias and no longer fit at the waist. I added two rather large darts in the back of the skirt.

I finished the waistband with a petersham ribbon using a similar method to Goodbye Valentino here.  Instead of under stitching and trimming, I placed the petersham on the right side of the fabric, above the skirt's waistband finishing line.  I sewed it down and then flipped it to the inside where I used a fell stitch to attach the bottom of the petersham.  

Close up of the lace

I wore the skirt again for dinner the other night to celebrate our third wedding anniversary at Le CouCou.  This time I paired it with a different black top (a refashioned nightgown!), a belt and some suede wedges.  Much preferred the skirt with this outfit than at the wedding. Though I'm not thrilled with the addition of the belt...

Dressed up for Anniversary Dinner 

About Le Coucou:  I had been following the chef, Daniel Rose, since the launch of Spring in Paris many years ago.  Rose's food is decidedly modern with some very strong nods to the 50s/60s cult classics that I associate with Julia Child or Paul Bocuse: Omelette Norvegienne, Quenelles de Brochette with lobster bisque.  But we also dined on some thoroughly modern fare, my favorite being the eel fried in rye flour with a mango curry sauce.  The atmosphere, service, wine, vibe...all excellent.  The chef came over to our table and chatted with us for 10+ minutes and I geeked out over my favorite French nostalgia dish, "coulibiac," which he recently prepared for a private party but does not plan to add to the menu.  A few days before our reservation, Le CouCou won the James Beard Award for best new restaurant (US).  Probably little chance of snagging a reservation again...

Monday, May 1, 2017

NYC Sewing Meetup: Comme des Garçons at the Met

The Met Costume Institute's Spring exhibition, Comme des Garcons Rei Kawakubo | Art of In Between  is finally here!  Rei Kawakubo is a Japanese designer who is best known for designs that result in wearable(ish) art, as opposed to functional garments.  Since there are fewer parallels with traditional garment construction, I must admit I'm not as excited for this one as in years past. Still, it's hard not to get swept up in the glamour of the Met Gala and the celebrity interpretations of the designer's oeuvre...Inspiration needn't come from an item of conventional beauty, right?  

I would like to invite you to visit the exhibition with me on Saturday, May 20  +  a post-exhibition lunch at my apartment a short walk from the Met. Last year's meet up (posted here) was a great success!  It was so energizing to connect with others over our shared interest.  

Please RSVP to by Friday, May 12.  I look forward to meeting you!

-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-12:00pm. You are of course welcome to stay for however short or long you would like, or hop to other galleries.  
  • 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.  

12:15pm – 4pm: Drop in for lunch and conversation at Claire's in the Upper West Side

  • Note on food:  Please be my guest for lunch!  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 at  


Please RSVP to Claire at 
by Friday, May 12 


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