Highlands Wrap Dress part two…


Well, this really didn’t take me long. After my struggle with the neckline on the Highlands Wrap Dress (here), I looked everywhere for a wrap dress pattern that would suit me. But nothing I found had the design elements that drew me to Allie’s pattern in the first place. It’s so pretty, balanced, and interesting!


So I knuckled down and read some articles on adjusting the neckline on a wrap dress. I found an article on Craftsy that made so much sense to me that I retrieved my crumpled pattern, apologized to it, and went to work.

Following the Craftsy guide, I took a generous dart in the center of the neckline and smoothed it out to the opposite side seam.

neckline dart

Here’s my ‘new bodice’ (I also dropped the bust dart), and a new one-piece front facing.

new draft

That bust dart was a bit of a trial. My girls are small and no longer perky, so I dropped the dart again during fitting. I also narrowed it and angled it up a bit toward the apex.

I really made only one other change. I decided to add 1 1/4″ to the length of the button/snap tabs. This was arbitrary, but I thought it made sense to allow for additional ease given the new neckline. And I really like the longer tab.



Fabric: Kaufman Blush Brussels Washer linen, Fabric.com

Happy dress!! Ciao – Coco



Artwork while waiting for fabric…

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Words for a perfect day…two pieces of Brussels Washer Linen from Fabric.com are almost here!

Meanwhile, I’m continuing my Chameleon Colortone Pen journey. After practicing for 5 weeks, I’m confident enough to commit to something. The design has taken me a couple weeks. I started with pencil, added the black detail, and used a white rubber eraser to clean it up.

This is for my son, who got me started with these pens for Mother’s Day. It’s 5×7, and I began adding color just this morning.


It’s actually on white cardstock, but I took this pic with my antiquated flip-phone 🙂

A tremendous help – I finally made a color chart with all my pens. It’s just to the side of my work table, an easy reference as I colorize the picture.


For now – Coco

Allie Olson Highlands Wrap Dress


This is a rescue project. It got tossed into the infamous bin twice. I think of it as another nod to my persistence and reluctance to give up 🙂


This woven wrap dress was part of Allie’s 2017 summer collection, but I just caught on recently when I joined the Indiesew community. My experience with knit wrap dresses has been disappointing, so I was very happy to find one for woven fabrics. Inspiration – Check out the lovely and spirited version by Sue at Colourful Canvas. I love it!


I had a nice rayon challis in my stash, one with a vertical pattern, that I chose for my muslin. Not my favorite colors, but, it’s a muslin and a vertical element is proof of the pudding. Plus I wanted to try it out with a lightweight fabric.

Challis is shifty, but I was very careful to pin the selvedges and folds to my cutting board, intending to best the fabric. And I’m pretty happy with my drafting and cutting workout (which followed an entire day of taping the 64 pages of the PDF pattern).


So why a rescue? Because when I had most of the dress assembled and tried it on, the front edges, where they connect to the side seams, fell about 3″ below my waistline, both sides, and both fronts were off vertical. Plus, I was left with a big gaping upper front bodice. That was the first time this dress was binned.

I slept on it, thought about it, and decided to hike up that front edge to see if it would help. Yes! I took about 3″ of the lower edge into a fold. If you look at the pic above, you can see that this brought the vertical elements of my fabric in alignment.  But it was not fun.

front fold

As consolation, I recalled that the wrap dresses I tried in the past all had gathers or folds in this area. Example, Vogue 8379.


Back to happiness, the back is so pretty.


Sewing notes:

  • Based on Allie’s sizing, I drafted the size 8. Since she drafts for a 5’6″, B-cup model, I didn’t make any changes to the length or the position of the bust darts.
  • The pattern comes with 3/8″ seam allowances, but I drafted mine with 5/8″ allowances. No way am I going to deal with linen or challis with such a narrow allowance.
  • A minor change, I trimmed 1/4″ off the front facings. These are topstitched in place, and I thought the 1 3/8″ facing was a bit much.
  • LOVELY mitered slits on the sides. Great drafting and instructions. I lowered my slits by 12.5″, since they are intended to be above the knee. Nope!

mitered slit


  • The length of the ties is perfect! Because challis is so light, I did not trim the seam allowances inside the ties. I wanted enough weight that the ties would not collapse.


  • The back waistband is inspired. With just a touch of elastic (I used 7/8″ wide knit elastic), it’s a nice design element that provides ease without a bunch of gathered fuss. Did I mention that the sleeves are also perfect?


After all that enthusiasm, will I sew it again? No. The second bin event was to trash the pattern, instructions, and all that taped paper. I did save a few elements: the sleeve, back waistband, mitered hem, and ties.

I’m really glad I persisted, because this dress caused me enough angst that I browsed my patterns. I want a woven wrap dress this summer. And found a great one, sewn twice in 2012, and actually a vintage housedress pattern, that I can adapt.

Bye for now! Coco

Crossover Culottes – summertime!


I’m a dedicated browser of BurdaStyle.com – their designs fit me really well, they add patterns frequently, and, if I’m looking for a particular style, I can usually find it somewhere in their collections.  And, IMHO, their summer patterns are much more creative and interesting than those being offered by the Big Four (boring boring boring). My latest find is this really cute culotte pattern,  2018-06-103A.


BS6770 Line Art



The ‘look’ reminds me of the Burda 6770 wrap pants (posted here).

I made a couple pairs of these last summer, and wore them out. Now I think I need some more! but that’s for later.

Back to the culottes…

These are not skorts! Check out the super nice crossover tab element, the subtle front pleats, and the big pockets.


Sewing notes:

  • This lovely cotton twill is from Fabric Mart, the elusive ‘NY Designer. It is so soft and doesn’t really wrinkle, just rumples a bit. I drafted my pattern with 1/2″ seam allowances and serged all of them after cutting, since twill tends to ravel.
  • I thought the fit might be a bit tricky, so I drafted my first version in size 40, using the Burda size charts. My muslin was much too large in the hips and waist, although the crotch length and curve were fine. Rather than adjust my tissue, I went back and drafted size 38. Bingo!
  • Even the back fits really well. Whew.


  • The pattern has an invisible zipper in the left side seam, but I simply cannot wear zippers against my skin. So I used the left pocket and snaps for access and closure. This is the only change I made to the pattern.


  • The instructions are typically cryptic and worth reading several times before starting the project 🙂
  • A tip: there are a lot of seams, folds, and fabric going into the faced waistline. Clipping out the seam allowance really helps to reduce bulk. After the clipping, but not shown here, I also layered the seam allowances.

SA clipping

Parting shot: demonstrating the pants leg, with assists. Remember those Vogue pattern poses a few years ago?


Ciao! Coco

Simplicity 1946 Robe – needed!


Truth time! My three robes were in awful shape, serviceable but not great. Not especially inspiring or fun to wear!

So I’ve been working on new ones. This is a great pattern, I mean, a great pattern. It’s so easy to sew and so predictable.

art and pic

I used this family pattern to make robes for my son and grandson, and, yes, cushions for my daughter’s cats! Now it’s ‘me’ time.

front 2

Fortunately, I was able to cut my own version in size Medium from the original tissue. So I destroyed any future large versions. The children’s draft is intact…

My son and grandson love their robes.


I really like this pattern because it’s so uncomplicated. No attached front band, big pockets, and an easy fit.


I was feeling pretty brave with my choice of fabric. This is a denim/white cotton and tencel sweater knit from Sol Angeles (purchased at Fabric.com). It’s beautiful, so soft.

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And chunky. I serged all my edges before sewing! I had snow in the loft…and all over me. I kept shaking myself when I left the room, otherwise I would have had white fluff everywhere. Kind of reminded me of sewing plush fleece, but it didn’t make me rub my nose or sneeze.


Sewing notes:

  • I sewed a straight size Medium. The only change I made was to narrow the sleeve a  bit toward the bottom.
  • Lots of serging and topstitching going on. I topstitched, per the pattern, around the front/neck facings. And because my seams were so thick, again about 3/8″ from the edge. It’s really a matter of working with fabric, no topstitching police out there…
  • I used 1 1/4″ hems on the sleeves and bottom edge, both with 2 lines of topstitching to keep them nice and flat.
  • Big change: I lined the pockets in white cotton broadcloth. It stabilized the pocket for that ‘cram my hands in’ moment and prevents the pocket fabric from stretching out from use.

More pics…



It’s so comfortable!

looking down

Next up – well, I sewed the same pattern in gold French terry, and I sewed a ‘spa’ robe in white French terry, different pattern, it’s pretty nice. The latter has been used so much that it’s in the laundry.

New projects – wrap front culottes from Burda, and the Allie Olson Highlands maxi dress. My living room is a mess with drafting paper and things to be taped! Which is fine, happy mess. My dining room is a quasi-art studio, paper, rulers, and pens everywhere. I think it’s good for me to chill and not be so picky about things. It’s my space  🙂


Other stuff. I got an oil change this morning (much delayed) and bopped into the nearby Orchard Supply Company for scotch tape. I love that place, it just smells so good. I came away with marigold and zinnia seeds, to be planted tomorrow. We’ll see. My target spot has sprouted peanut plants and some unknown plant, it’s fun to see what the squirrels and birds gift me.

I hope everyone has a nice, calm, and enjoyable weekend – Coco