Coco’s Salvage Company – cheetah cardi


Can you tell I’m between projects? Anytime I’m pondering what to do next, I take things out of my closet – the ones I  haven’t worn – and contemplate their future…

I waited so long to find a cheetah print for a long cardigan, and I was thrilled to find this one in a hacci sweater knit. I love the fabric! but honestly, I was disappointed in the cardi.

side 2
Original post here

When I put it on, I feel like it’s wearing me – just too much. But I let it percolate – a candidate for salvage.

Yesterday, I cut it off, added a band and buttons, and I love the result!


I will wear this like crazy. More views:



And a closeup of the back and hood on Emile…


How I got there:

  • I brazenly cut the cardi 19.5″ below the finished neckline.
  • And I cut a band from the remnant. I wanted the band to be 2″ wide, so I cut it at 5 1/4″ wide and about 42″ long. That was longer than I needed, but I wasn’t sure how the bodice would gather into the band.
  • I added five 1/2″buttons, no buttonholes, along with #4 snaps. A note on this: I wanted to use buttonholes, but I had not sewn my facing with enough interfacing to facilitate them. Kind of a disappointment, but I was out of tear-away stabilizer. I practiced with the hacci and other external stabilizers, and I feel sure it’s feasible for future garments.

This was so much fun that I’m contemplating a similar cardigan with another hacci in my stash.

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 8.41.47 AM

So, the post office has promised delivery today of a few fabrics I ordered. Now I don’t know what I’ll do next – what a great problem 🙂

Ciao – Coco


McCalls 7476 Cardi Part 2


More fun with this pattern – As mentioned in my last post (here), I really did tweak my short cardi draft and cut out a new version in this wonderful polka dot sweatshirt fabric. I wish I had more of this! I was working with about 1 yard, and I just couldn’t wrest out the sleeves.

A look at the pattern with which I’m working:

m7476 line art

And my goal, a short buttoned cardi similar to the Ready to Sew Jamie cardi:

Jamie inspiration

I think I’m in love with lightweight sweatshirt fabric. It’s perfect for this topper. (midweight french terry would work as well).


An unbuttoned look”


A few notes:

  • I used a button/snap combo for closure. No, I’m not going to put buttonholes in this fabric!
  • On the right side, 5/8″ Toronto horn buttons from Wawak.

right side

Underneath, and on the left side, #4 snaps.

left side

This button and snap combo works great, because they are the same size. In my future, a search for metal snaps in colors, something other than black or nickel…

  • To hem the sleeve, I just serged the edge, turned it under 5/8″, and topstitched it. A double-fold hem would be too bulky.


  • A note on interfacing – any knit facing or band will try to grow when it’s handled. I interface my knit facings with tricot knit fusible, which works really well. To combat stretching, I put my pattern piece on the ironing board, lay the facing/band on top and adjust it to the pattern (a little steam can help), and then apply the fusible. I want to end up with facings that fit!
  • You can also stabilize edges with strips of knit interfacing, particularly curved or angled cuts, if your fabric is shifty.

Since I’m on a short cardi kick, here’s another idea. McCalls 6803 is a great candidate for anyone who doesn’t want to draft and draft and draft…just shorten it!


What next…well, I ordered some heathered rose jersey for a long version of M7476, and it should be here soon. I’m also toying with the idea of a knit wrap dress. I have Christine Johnson’s wrap dress pattern, and some cute jersey. Most of all, I’m looking for more polka dot sweatshirt fabric!

Parting shot:  I’m cold today – we got down to 50 degrees last night, and my house is chilly. Here’s a pic of the sweatshirt-styled topper I made last month with jersey knit and  M7634, unembellished… It feels great and is on my ‘I need more’ list.


Bye for now – Coco

McCalls 7476 Cardigan version one

closeup 1

Welcome to my very messy sewing room! It’s Sunday, and I don’t feel like dressing up or cleaning up 🙂 I’ve spent the last 3 days working on a short banded cardigan, one I can use for knit remnants in my stash. I always destroy my loft when I’m drafting something…

This idea really came out of nowhere. I recently ordered M7476, because I love the long version and all the options:


While researching examples online, I came across this adorable Jamie cardigan from Ready to Sew!

Jamie inspiration

Bingo – I was soon working on a similar draft, with M7476 View B as my starting point.

m7476 line art

Before I go any further, a note on my fabric choice. It’s a rayon/lycra knit from Cali Fabrics (still available as I write, Gypsy Floral). It’s very unstructured, stretchy, and drapey, not my favorite choice for a banded and buttoned cardigan. But it was ideal for working with my draft pattern.

Closeup 4

Drafting notes:

  • The front band on M7476 angles down to one button at the waistline. I moved that angle up 5″, to accommodate a button band similar to that on the Jamie pattern. I had to futz around a bit, redraw the curved neckline, and draft a new front facing.
  • I shortened the bodice to finish at 19″, measured at center back. I marked the back first, and then transferred the new hem to the front as well.
  • And I cut a 4 1/4″ x 40″ band to be attached at the bottom. Folded and serged to the bodice, it finishes at 1 1/2″ wide.
  • And that’s all! The sleeve length is perfect for me, which doesn’t happen very often. On this version I didn’t add a cuff to the sleeve, but it will be easy to do. And I didn’t bother with buttons or snaps.

Best seen on the inside, that lovely dropped shoulder, band, and facings:

closeup 2

I have a few tweaks to make to the pattern, and then I’m trying it with some left-over sweatshirt fabric (pic is from my hoodie, in progress for fall).

zipper in.jpg

Having a great time! Coco

p.s. I’m still thinking of buying the Jamie pattern (here). The Ready to Sew site (in French and English) has a great vibe, interesting patterns, lots of information and sewn examples of their patterns, and a wonderful blog (here).




McCalls 6559 Spring floral


Spring is definitely here! All the palms and trees are blooming (pollen season), and the birds appear to be having lots of fun 🙂 In the same spirit, I picked up this pretty ITY from Fabric Mart for a spring dress. OK, another spring dress!


I don’t sew or wear a lot of blue. In my closet I have a cobalt jacket and my recent pink/blue tropical dress. However, I’m coming around to the notion that some blues are really pretty with white hair.

Note: I’m working with my camera and Gimp software to learn how to remove color casts, such as yellow, from my pics. My hair is so white, I think it’s impacting all the hues in my photos. I’ll get there!

I love this dress pattern, especially with the extended shoulder that I added this spring.

M6559 lines-side

That little bit of extra coverage on my upper arm makes a big difference to me.


Sewing notes:

  • ITY is stretchy! I staystitched the neckline, front and back, and used strips of tricot knit fusible on the shoulders, to tame it.

strips and neckline

  • I used self-fabric binding on the neckline, 1 1/2″ wide strips cut across the horizontal of the fabric.


finished binding

  • And to prevent irritation from the shoulder seam, I pressed it to the back and topstitched it. Now it’s really stable!

finished shoulder

  • All of the detail sewing – shoulders, sleeves, neckline – was done on the sewing machine. But I simply serged the long seams. That felt really good…


About ITY knit: I love the vibrance of color on this fabric. It doesn’t fade, and it takes a lot of wear. Also, although it may seem unnecessary, it benefits from lots of pressing during the sewing process. Actually, I press every seam or detail that I sew, over and over again, to sink the threads and allow the fabric to recover. Speaking of which, ITY will drop – I always hang an ITY garment for a day or so before I hem it, whether it’s a dress, top, or pants. The best thing – you can just fold it up on the shelf or in a drawer or in a suitcase. It doesn’t wrinkle!

Parting shot: I think buying stuff from Wawak is more fun than buying makeup and nail polish!

Yes, there’s a red jacket in my future, and what a find – a 6″ metal ruler. All the markings on my plastic one are long gone, but I find a 6″ ruler to be indispensable when I’m sewing. Also, check out those buttons. They’re 5/8″ Toronto horn buttons, and they fit perfectly over a #4 snap on fleece jackets. A nice button can be hard to find, and Wawak has a great selection.


Ciao! Coco

Knit fabric – playing with ponte

model 1

I love knit fabric! and feel very confident sewing jersey in all kinds of blends – rayon, cotton, polyester, and so on. But, ponte knits have stumped me at times. It’s an interlock double knit. A bit different, and I’ve had some magnificent failures, mostly due to my lack of practice with this fabric.

One thing I learned early on is that ponte di roma tends to come in two blends, poly/nylon/lycra and rayon (viscose)/nylon/lycra. I will never sew the poly blend again – did it once – it was awful, unpredictable, crazy stretchy, and not fun.  So I stick with the rayon blend. Having several nice pieces in my stash, I decided to get with the program. I.e., work with ponte, learn how to sew it, and understand the designs with which it works best. Time for a sacrifice with a couple yards of ponte from Fabric Mart.

I chose to use Burda Style 01/2018 #119. size 36 (it’s pretty boxy). It’s a hooded jacket, with a front zipper, and curved hems. I really like this pattern! and think it would be lovely in pink sweatshirt fabric. Check out that pleated dropped sleeve…

Screen Shot 2018-04-06 at 6.28.45 PM-side

I modified my pattern to move the side seams to the outside, but kept everything else. I’ll use it again, but my focus here was on the fabric, not the pattern.

Sewing notes:

  • Technicalities: I used a size 80 universal needle in my sewing machine, and size 90 in my serger. I released the presser foot pressure on my sewing machine, since ponte is a bit thick, and used longer stitch, 2.8, and 3.0 for topstitching.
  • Also,  I sewed all my seams on the SM, and serged the seam allowances to finish. Ponte wants to stretch at the serger.
  • The pleated sleeve on my jacket – so easy., what a great design detail. I stitched the pleats down a bit to avoid ‘ballooning’ at the seamline.

sleeve pleats

  • I decided to stabilize curves and critical straight edges with knit tricot interfacing. On curved edges, I cut the interfacing across the horizontal, the stretchy pitch of the interfacing (neckline and curved hems). On straight edges (front edges, shoulders, and the straight edges of the hem), I used interfacing cut on its grain which has almost no stretch. On the pic below, the shoulder interfacing is cut on the grainline, while the interfacing on the neckline is cut horizontally.

stabilize 1

  • I drafted front and back neckline facings, also stabilized with interfacing. The facings a look so nice – no exposed seam lines, tape, or serging where the hood is attached to the jacket.

front inside

back inside

  • Some results! The front edges are super nice, no waving, and I could easily have inserted a zipper.


  • The lined hood is lovely and not too heavy for the jacket.


  • This curved hemline is so pretty and reflects a lot of trial runs. In the end, I stabilized the edges, turned them up 3/8″, and topstitched them. Note: the pattern has bound hemline edges. I can’t imagine doing that with sweatshirt or any other fabric!

curved hem 1

stabilize 2

  • The sleeves – I ran out of fabric, so I just worked with the cuff and shortened sleeves.  The pattern has the sleeve gathered into a cuff, usual for a ‘sweatshirt’ style. And it worked out really well.

gathered cuff

  • Out of curiosity, I did two more tests: a cuff the same length as the sleeve edge, on the left, and a cuff with the sleeve edge stretched to fit. Interesting.

straight fit-side

  • On to buttonholes – a hoodie has them on the underside so that a cord can be inserted. I got the best results by using a piece of mid-weight non-woven fusible interfacing over the area on the inside, and stitching with the fusible facing the needle and the fabric against the feed dogs. Buttonholes in ponte are iffy anyway, because they tend to stretch out and take on an urban decay look.


Last shot – I always have the TV in the background in the loft, usually a movie I’ve watched a gazillion times.

model 2

I’m really glad I did this, all 4 days of it! But there’s a payoff 🙂 And I hope you find this useful,

For now, Coco