29 November 2010

208. Thanks + friends + a new refashion

Another set of related updates...  Happy Belated Thanksgiving to all who celebrated last weekend!  I am thankful for a great family.  I am thankful for fall foods, which are my favorite from any season.  I am thankful for the enduring handsome that is Kenneth Branagh, and it is clear many of you are, too (and if I can get my hands on those Swedish Wallander DVD's a couple of you mentioned, I will, but Netflix doesn't have them).  I am thankful for my friends, both in real life and in Blogland.  Super-thankful for this lady, Kyle...:

... who, in late September, took a half day off work to drive to Philadelphia to pick me up from the airport, take me to Jomar, experience vegan cupcakes from Virago Baking Company in Lansdale, and ultimately drop me off at my hotel in yet another town when the car rental company wouldn't rent me a car without my drivers license (which I'd lost at an airport and not replaced yet).  Can we say "national drivers license database, please"?!  Whatever - I first met Kyle in person less than two years ago and I think she's super-nifty.  So, so glad we are both friends in Blogland and friends IRL.  She blogged about our Septmber meeting in Philly here.

Louis and I drove down to Houston last month to visit with another friend both in Blogland and IRL, Sarah.  She was in Houston for Quilt Market, and Louis really wanted to stay in a hotel again.  So we drove down after a birthday party that Saturday afternoon.  Sarah had already been working a full few days and it was awesome that she was still ready to entertain.  She raced Louis down the hall to her hotel room so she could change shoes and we could decide where to go for dinner.  We quickly decided on Pepper Tree and it was such a fortuitous choice.  I have found so few places to have vegan Chinese food and Pepper Tree is all vegetarian and vegan Chinese and Vietnamese food!  By the end of the meal, Louis and Sarah were BFF's and I was simply the driver.  Wish I'd gotten a better photo but all I had was my (older model) iPhone -- with the dim light and bad camera, I got a whole lot of blur!  It's a distant second choice, but here's a photo of sculptures at a park Louis and I visited the next day:

A couple weeks after returning from Houston, I ended up moving my sewing stuff out of my sewing room and into my bedroom.  Now, the truth is that it was probably a very, very good decision for many reasons.  One is that my sewing room had become a dumping ground.  I had no idea what I had anymore.  It took me a good three days of going through everything, sorting, separating piles for Goodwill and an upcoming fabric swap, and finding new homes for everything I would keep.  I uncovered a skirt that had been someone else's UFO.  It was a simple straight skirt with an elastic waistband in a stiff, dressy cotton-poly blend pinstriped denim.  I originally wanted to make myself a pair of cropped pants from it, but it was an inch shy in width for pants.  So it had languished for ten months in a pile on the floor.  Till  now.

After tossing it on the form (the left-hand photo shows it pinned to Clementine as a too-large skirt) and then testing out a couple other configurations, the elastic waist pulled in the fabric enough that it looked like a feasible neckline.  I was obsessed with a single directional pleat at center front so I pinned that in.  At first it looked like a cape, but after I pinned back the fabric at the bottom of the "armhole" I could see a dress shape emerging:

I'm not entirely sure how to explain the rest.  Made it up as I went along.  I measured how big the pleats needed to be at center front and center back, took out the elastic, and decided I wanted a neckline yoke.  Using what fabric?  Believe it or not, a piece of denim I bought from my Jomar shopping trip with Kyle was a very close match, just without the pinstripes.  Using some scrap muslin I draped the neckbands, making sure the finished neckline would be high and wide.  I outlined the armhole plates on the form and cut them out, then dipped the neckline a tad lower in front than in back.

A quick line of gathering stitches around the neckline made things more recognizable.  After attaching the neckband, I put the work-in-progress on Clementine and suddenly those armholes were positively gaping.  I decided to take in some of the width of the dress under the armholes to make them smaller and give a little more shape.

Because of the gathering around the neckline, some puff appeared at the shoulders, creating a sleeve all its own.  I ended up binding the armholes so as not to enlarge them any further, and added some huge patch pockets.

Upon completing the dress, I was so proud of making a dress from a column of fabric.  But the truth is that the dress often does look like a column of fabric with armholes!  I think it's the fabric's inherent stiffness.  After wearing the dress, I now know the pockets would be more functionally placed over the side seams.  They are big, though.  Big enough for my lip balm, my keys, my iPhone, a handful of discarded Jelly Belly jellybeans that Louis won't eat (like Buttered Popcorn, Cinnamon, and Licorice), and big enough to fit an entire baked pretzel or two, if I so desire:

And maybe that's worth flipping for.


  1. I've missed you in blogland! Glad things are going (relatively) smoothly and you are sewing again. Loved the story about Kyle - a friend in need is a friend indeed. Great refashioning idea.

  2. Awwww, Antoinette, that was a great afternoon! Come back anytime! And that's also a great picture of the two of us!
    Your new dress is adorable. And I love the pretzel prop for your photo!

  3. Antoinette, you completely and totally rock my world. I LOVE this refashion and I LOVE the organic process that produced it! Definitely awesomeness personified.

  4. you are so talented at refashioning! the dress turned out so cute and hooray for big pockets!

    also so great to hear of the wonderful friends you have. :)

  5. That is such a great refashion! I miss having a dressform to help me out in such situations... Well done!

  6. Nicely done! I love the single pleat. And the pockets are cute too. Looks like a tasty pretzel!

  7. Hi Antoinette, thank you for your comment, I'm so honored:-)
    this dress is fabulous, I have to try one:-D
    I'm sorry for the Spanish blog, but Italian and Spanish is a lot of work:-D, I'm very grateful to Google translate, yes!!!!

  8. that's an awesome fabric transformation :-)
    and happy belated thanksgiving!

  9. I super like it. Another high five to you for your refashion guts & glory.

  10. Sounds like you've had some fun!!

    I like that dress. I think the slight puff that happened at the sleeves works well for the dress and for you.

  11. Looks really good on you. It must really help to have a dressform to try your ideas out on.

  12. Glad to hear that things have been going well for you! And the dress looks really cute. Great refashion!


Hi! I'm so glad you stopped by. If you have a specific question, be sure to leave your email address or check the box to receive email follow-up comments so I can answer your question! Thanks for commenting!