McCalls 7969 transitional dress

I’m still here! but a bit challenged on the sewing front. I’m working on my lightweight Brother machine, on a coffee table. But I’m so in love with sewing, all things are possible.

I don’t often shop patterns at JoAnn, but without my pattern inventory and printer at hand, I’ve been perusing the catalogs for things I can sew with limited resources. This cute dress caught my eye right away. I love the sleeves on View A!

I also really like the fabric in the envelope pic. Staying with the vibe, I chose a tropical aviary print in 100% cotton, again from JoAnn.

Sewing notes:

  • I sewed the size Medium, with just a few design and fit adjustments.
  • My first change was to add 4″ to the length of the skirt. With a 1 3/4″ hem allowance, it ended up in just the right place. BTW, I really like a deep hem in cotton fabric, for skirt or sleeve. The weight makes the fabric hang so nicely.
  • The neckline is very low! I increased the bodice crossover until I was happy with the depth of the v-neck. This adjustment also narrows the front bodice silhouette, which adds a little shaping.
  • My other ‘big’ change was to the sleeve, which was rather voluminous and dipped almost to my wrist on the back side.

The resulting sleeve is fun and super comfortable, without being over the top.

On the home front, I’m closing on my new house on October 7! I’m so ready to move in 🙂

Bye for now, Coco

Weathering Dorian – Simplicity 7051 blouse

We’ve been so fortunate here in Orlando (yes, my house closed last week, and I’m officially here). It’s very windy, with some rain, but my temporary pad is an apartment snugged inside an incredible property called The Gardeners Cottage. I’m living in the middle of a rampantly lush botanical garden. Good for the soul.

I ventured out between rain squalls to get a few pics of my new Simplicity 7051 blouse, sewn before I moved (first version and sewing notes here).

This fabric is so cute, it’s STOF Dodo Petrole woven cotton from It’s 63″ wide! and, given the length of the repeat, I used all of 2 yards to accommodate the print matching and placement. I think of this as my ‘Incredible Dr. Pol’ blouse 🙂

My landlord has five gorgeous kitties.This one is quite old and calm, and he seems to like me. Or maybe he just connected with the cats on the print.

(There’s nothing like a back view to highlight baggy jeans – shameful!)

I have more things to post, but without my sewing gear, I’m knitting, painting, and reading. All the effort, work, and worry that went into showing and selling the house left me more tired than I realized. I’m sleeping like a baby.

Bye for now – Coco

What I’m reading…

I particularly enjoy histories, and this year I’ve been reading about the great wars, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and a couple intriguing and detailed writings about Australia and the British in India.


John Toland, In Mortal Combat: Korea, 1950 – 1953.

Churchill, WWII, all of his writings. I am fortunate to have the entire collection, from my father’s library. He is surprisingly easy to read, rather chatty at times. Of course the writings reflect his opinions, but what better transcriber of the times, challenges, background, and decisions.

Wade Davis, Into the Silence, the Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest.

Tuchman, Stillwell and the American experience in China, 1911 – 1945.

William Craig, Enemy at the Gates: the Battle for Stalingrad.

Philip Ziegler, Mountbatten.

Robert Hughes, Fatal Shore.


Max Hastings, Vietnam, an Epic Tragedy, 1945 – 1975. Terrible. He opines, speculates, second-guesses, through the entire history. I finally gave up on the book, and I’ll look for a more fact-based dialogue.

Update, since I will be in temporary accommodations for a few months, I just ordered the Nook ebook of John Toland’s The Rising Sun.


Sunday project – a padded phone case

Since my daughter gifted me with an IPhone 8 Plus for Christmas, I’ve had some anxious moments. It cost almost as much as my MacBook Air! And seems fragile to me.

I immediately ordered glass protective shields for the face, and a really nice snap-in case. But I dislike carrying it around! it fits in my wallet, and I’ve been thinking about a padded envelope for its travels in my handbag. Yes, I looked all over for one online, and they all came up short on some feature. Picky…

So I made my own 🙂

Sewing notes:

  • Materials: fabric for the shell (Kaufman Balboa Essex linen), lining (poly/cotton broadcloth, and fusible fleece, 1 x size 3 sew-on snap.
  • About closures: velcro would work but also catch all kinds of lint. And magnets are a big no-no for anything that has a circuit board.
  • All my seams are 1/2″ and are trimmed quite a bit after sewing.
  • My phone, in its backing case, is 3.6″ x 6.5″.
  • Pattern and construction:

I cut 2 layers of the shell fabric, lining, and fusible, and a 4″ x 2″ strip for the closure tab.


It’s just a bagged shell with the tab added at the top. And the snap sewn to shell and tab.

It’s perfect! Happy Sunday to all, Coco

Sewing! Ready to Sew Justine Skirt

Actually, I’ve been sewing like crazy. It’s a great way to release tension and get off to never never land 🙂

Check out this delightful skirt from Ready to Sew and, at the moment, it’s free. Grab it… Features: a layered PDF and half sizes, total 21 sizes. Remarkable!

Sewing notes:

  • I sewed the size 38, and it was perfect, including the width of the waistband.
  • My fabric is Kaufman Essex linen from Hancocks of Paducah. It’s a longtime favorite fabric for pants, jumpsuits, and skirts. It has just enough body with a relaxed drape – I wouldn’t do this skirt in anything really drapey, e.g., rayon challis, or too heavy, e.g., bottomweight twill.
  • Loves – the pockets. The decorative flap is so cute, and they are truly deep.
  • Be sure to catch the flap in the corner triangle. Got to keep it turned and flat…
  • The skirt has a one-button closure, but I was very wary of using a button closing. Have you ever had a button pull and pull, maybe tear the fabric to which it was sewn? I opted for two things: I added an additional piece of woven interfacing under the closure area,
  • and I used a waistband fastener for closure, with a non-functioning button on top!

About that top – it’s a Style Arc Elsie blouse, sleeveless, sewn in Kaufman Royal Cotton Oxford, from What a delightful blouse fabric.

I love this and plan to wear it over and over as I search for a new house in Orlando. Easy dressing 🙂 Coco