Friday, January 23, 2009


My first press of 2009 (I think) - The ever-popular Anne dress got a lovely little posting on Love Is Near's beautiful blog, which you can peek at here.
Thanks so much, Tara! I am so honored. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Draping the Waitress Dress 101

Listening to: My Frenchie Playlist (April March, Camille, Stereo Totale, Edith Piaf)
Current Mood: Overwhelmed with sewing responsibilities

One of my 2009 resolutions is to return to my roots and spend more time crafting with others; it's inspiring and it also helps to keep me from just watching television all day (or reading Jezebel, not that there's anything wrong with that) instead of sewing.

I've been meeting with my friend Rachel to share ideas while taking the quizzes in Twyla Tharp's "The Creative Habit".

Besides learning that I am should probably pass some of the administrative worries over to someone else so I can get to sewing, crafting with others (and talking about crafting, which inevitably leads to talking about shopping, and then going shopping)is an amazing way to build community, share some knowledge, and pick up skills along the way. Right now I am trying to perfect my group-teaching skills for a class I will be teaching on how to make the Waitress Dress. I'm also trying to get it perfected so that I can take a bunch of them to Viva as Vegas this year. Here's hoping.

Dear friend Lauren came over to help me re-draft my pattern and teach Rachel the basics of draping, and Rachel brought Bing for some puppy socialization. The poor kitties had to hang out in the bedroom all day, which they only pretended to mind:

I first draped this dress in 2006, and I've been trying to perfect the pattern for it ever since. When I first made it I combined my pencil skirt pattern with my sundress bodice, which looked fine on the dummy (and a lot of people) but required a certain amount of fudging that I would rather not have to deal with every time I make the dress. I scrambled around in my sewing room but couldn't find the skirt pattern this morning so we're draping an entirely new one.

Because I like to bring out the girliness in everyone, and because my friends are perfect fit models, we decided to try it we decided to try the sample on first one body and then another to see what we needed to fix. :
It's cute, no? But still it needs a something.

Now that we've figured out that the waist is too long in the back and there needs to be more ease in the hips, it's time to block the muslin and get to draping on Blanche, my elegant and long-suffering dress form:

Should we do it as one long piece and shape it with the attached waistband, or make a bodice and skirt separately? Questions, questions.
And how much allowance to give the waist so that I can raise or lower it depending on the body it needs to fit?

We decided to give the waist a 1/2" allowance so that it could be raised or lowered and the darts could be re-positioned. We probably draped that waist dart for an hour - Lauren is obsessive about fitting darts, Rachel likes the entire process, and I wax rhapsodic about fabric, so we're a good team. When we finally agreed that the dart was laying flat enough (after much debate and a lot of prickling with pins), it was time to take the muslin off of Blanche and true the pattern, taking the fabric we draped and straightening up the markings so that we could transfer the whole thing to paper with my arsenal of rulers.

Lauren showed Rachel how to fix the waist darts while I ironed the muslin for our sample and ran around making endless cups of tea (did I mention that not only do I have the attention span of a hummingbird lately, but that I've also had a fever all day?) and wondering what to get for lunch.

After a quick call to Andy's for some veggie delights, we sat down to bean curd, broccoli, and the other thing I am trying to cut down on in '09, namely soda. I'd like to be in better shape for the wedding in August, so perhaps I should also cut down on the takeout food. One thing at a time.

Meanwhile, Rachel brought Lauren over for a closer look at the muslin and a couple of tips.
The ladies got to work on fixing the waist darts with the hip curve and putting in a seam allowance while I took a break to check on the cats (luckily Lauren noticed that I was only giving it 1/4" instead of 1/2" - like I said, I'm pretty feverish, so it's awesome to have friends who can offer good advice), who were completely unconcerned with what we were up to and just wanted to be left in their patch of sun. I can relate, especially today.

Now that we've gotten the pattern in a relatively happy state, it can be cut out of the fabric, a tightly-woven linen in pepto-pink which is strangely fetching, though it looks oddly like a big slab of bubble gum when it's all pinned together. We are nearing the 5th hour of our adventure and the darts are matching up, so it's time to sew, sew sew, and then back to the ironing board to check on the results of our experiment:

Which looks awesome so far. It lays perfectly on the dummy, and Rachel is happy, so everybody's happy! Next week we'll drape the back of the dress.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy New Year!!!!

I have decided to update my Etsy page, won't you surf on over and take a look?
Mignonette on Etsy!
I've been looking at my super-glam New Year's Eve photos and wondering how I can use them as inspiration for this season. Seriously, I have more ideas than I can shake a stick at, but lots of trouble organizing them in my pointy little head.

In the meantime, I will be updating this blog more frequently. I am planning part two of my wedding in Montreal, if you have any advice (seriously, we have NO IDEA what we are doing and neither of us has ever been there) I will gladly take it.