BurdaStyle 7184 waterfall cardi…

Well, there’s nothing like just jumping in and sewing a muslin with corded velvet knit!

But it was only $1.80/yard – which makes this a $2.50 project 🙂

I got the fabric from Fabric Mart two years ago, thinking of a midi-length sweater coat, something kind of boho. But I just couldn’t settle on a patten. It has just been decorating my stash ever since. Rather nicely, I must say, since it doesn’t wrinkle. It’s been rolled, tossed, pulled out and thrown back in, and not a wrinkle in sight.

Finally, I took it out and gave it a real appraisal. I was going sew it or donate it – it was kind of bugging me that I would buy fabric and not use it.

Then I realized that it would make a great waterfall cardi – it’s drapey, the color is really pretty, and it’s light enough that I’ll actually wear it in our winter months.

On to patterns. I made a cascade cardi from the Grainline Lark tee earlier this year, and it has a nice little funky vibe. But I wanted something with raglan sleeves, a higher start to the cascade, and very little else. Picky.

A search on the web turned up a gazillion variations on this style. It’s a good thing I like to research patterns…

Finally – BurdaStyle 7184. It has clean lines:

Nice sleeves and cascade:

A clean-finish neckline and front edge:

And bonus pockets for those who can’t live without them. It’s also designed for knits!

I got the PDF version from SewingPatterns.com, which meant printing it from the sometimes finicky PrintSew site. But I today I found it on BurdaStyle as pattern 08/2011 #117D. Printing from the BurdaStyle site is so easy – wish I’d seen it there first!

Some sewing notes:

  • I sewed size 12, View B, but only after some prodigious flat-measuring on the pattern. I could not find finished garment measurements anywhere, and I was torn between size 10 and size 12. Since I did all that work, I’ll share. For reference, I’m 5’7″, 36″-31″-42″, and have an 11″ upper arm.

    Finished garment measurements, in inches:                        10                       12

    Width at bustline, waist, and hip from CF to CF                35 1/4                 37 1/4
    Cascade width at bustline and waist, each side                 9 1/2                   9 1/2
    Upper arm width                                                                13 7/8                 14 3/8
    Sleeve width at hem                                                           8 1/2                    8 7/8
    Back length from top of neckline with 5/8″ hem                 32 3/4                  33
  • I used a piece of cotton calico, cut on the bias, for the back neck facing. It adds a lot more stability than a piece of the knit fabric would have done. Also, I lowered it by 3/8″ at center back, to remove a slight roll below the neckline.
  • No pockets, because my fabric is just too stretchy for them. Maybe in another version…
  • I used 5/8″ seam allowances everywhere. This is one advantage of the PDF I used – it included seam allowances. The version available on BurdaStyle does not.
  • I also used a 5/8″ hem, which matches the front edges. The cardi would be a lot shorter with the suggested 1 3/8″ hem allowance.
  • One caution: the sleeves might be short on some people. My arms a not long, and I used a scant 1″ hem. However – and this is amazing, not often seen – the sleeve has lengthen/shorten lines for both the upper/armscye area and the area below the armscye. 
My flash went off on the next pic – it’s not really this shiny or this purply color! But it’s the only back view I have. I love the way this lies in the back and across my shoulders, and I think a lot of credit goes to the two-piece sleeve. 

Great cardi, and worn with a new pair of Love Notions Sabrina Slims.
Ciao! Coco

The Maxi Dress Sew-Along…Quatrefoils and lawn

My first dress for the Maxi Dress sew-along, sponsored by That’s Sew Amy. It’s my version of the BurdaStyle Tiered Maxi Dress, the same pattern and changes that I used for my pink Valentines dress in February –  back when it was cool in Florida, and the mosquitoes stayed in the Everglades.

There will be no more photo shoots in the garden until the weather breaks. We’re supposed to have thunderstorms this afternoon, and my fingers are crossed. The temps drop about 15 degrees with a good rain.

I’ve been living in my pink dress, and it finally occurred to me that I could make another one. I’ve had 5 yards of this cotton lawn in my stash for months, and I just didn’t think about it. I so seldom wear blue. But I love it! Cool and light.

I have one more maxi planned before the sew-along ends in mid-July.The fabric is here and laundered, and the pattern (McCalls 7080) is on its way. It’ll be a nice project for my visit with the kitties while Ashley and Darrin are at Comic-Con.

Notes from the garden…
Two days ago a red parakeet visited the birdbath for a drink and a wash. Beautiful, and unusual in my yard. I usually see the parakeets and parrots in the early evening – they fly in flocks to their ‘home’ trees. No picture…the one I took through the porch screen looks like a screen.
Last week, this giant swallowtail spent 14 hours in the guava tree. He was about 4″ across. 

And then there’s Mr. Cuban Knight Anole, Jr. He’s noticeable and long at about 12″ from his nose to tip of his tail, but he’s a juvenile – he will reach almost 20″ by next year. He’s very active in the guava, and fun to watch.

What a show off!

Bye for now, Coco

BurdaStyle 03/2012 #108C Knot Front Dress

A fumble. I don’t often write about a wadder (how depressing), but this dress is worth a look, wadder or not. I’m in a really fair mood this morning – but it’s because I’ve already cried and fussed over this one.

I love this look! and had such high expectations. There are some really cute makes out there in blogger land. My favorites are this one by Deborah at The Tropical Sewist, done with an embroidered fabric. And these chevron print versions by Make Me Studio and The Selfish Seamstress .

And check out the RTW versions I found:


Dries Van Noten 

So I went for it. There was a huge investment in prepping this pattern. I used the download PDF, which meant I did a lot of paper cutting and taping (which I enjoy. I also love paper dolls, even now). Then came the drafting of the pattern pieces. The front piece goes from shoulder to hem – it’s long and wide! Thank goodness the back has a separate bodice and skirt. The pattern also has lining and facing pieces. And, yes, it ate up 5 yards of 55″ wide cotton lawn.

I finished the dress up to the point of basting the side seams, and then I stopped. Without a side zipper, it’s too tight to fit over my dress form, but I can put it on over my head without a problem.

And actually it’s very pretty. I just can’t stand how it feels – it’s the futzy, fussy knot business at the front! So I don’t want to model it.
Because it is a nice pattern and might work really well for someone else, here are my sewing notes:
  • The pattern is sized for ‘tall’ ladies, perfect for me at 5’7″. I sewed the 84, which is corresponds to regular size 42. I usually cut a size 40 in BurdaStyle, but this pattern is slim through the bodice and upper skirt, so I sized up. 
  • The back bodice is a little wide for me at the neckline. Maybe by 1/2″, which could be fixed easily.
  • The front armhole is reinforced with a narrow strip of bias interfacing. Burda refers to this as Vilene/Pellon G 785. Mystery to me! I used 1/2″ wide strips of bias-cut tricot knit fusible interfacing – worked fine.
  • I used Symphony broadcloth for my lining. A more slippery lining would definitely make the twist knot easier to form and adjust.

Front lining, also showing the interfacing strip on the armhole edge.
It was HARD to find the right side of my fabric, both sides have dense color.
I put a small pin on the right side of each pattern piece as I cut it out.
Front bodice inside

Back bodice inside

Burda gives this pattern an Intermediate difficulty rating, which I think is about right. The design is also available in a short version, BurdaStyle 03/2012 #108B, which also includes a free download PDF of the sewing instructions. The patterns themselves are the same. The instructions might be good reading ahead of purchasing the pattern 🙂

And I’m off to other projects!
Ciao – Coco

Pink for Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! And yes, my second post in two days. I just can’t stand to look at all that bluish green on my blog from my last post. Just me…

I need pink!

This little dress is one of the muslins I did for my MOB dress. I’ve done 5 muslins from all sorts of pattern combos. Exhausted. But my MOB dress is in the closet and will be blogged post-wedding 🙂

This version is basically my Jungle January dress,

BurdaStyle 05/2010 #113 with modified bodice
with  3/4 length sleeves, as in this muslin.

It’s done in Tribal Stripe cotton lawn from FabricMart.com. So soft and easy to sew, it presses beautifully and doesn’t wrinkle! 
Originally I thought I would line it because it’s a very thin lawn. And I made a full lining, planning to connect it to the main dress with binding only at the neckline. I even added lining for the sleeves, but thought I might remove it.
I attached neckline facing using the main fabric, so that any peek-a-boo into the back or front bodice would be pretty and not afford a glimpse of lining. The facing was sewn on top of the lining, to prevent show-through of the print.
Maybe this will make a nice summer dress or nightie! because I didn’t use it. The dress doesn’t need it. In retrospect, I think the lining would defeat the coolness of the lawn fabric in our Florida heat and humidity.
Things learned…
So I removed that pretty facing, underlined it, and used it on the dress. I used every scrap of 5 yards of fabric. Planning, matching, and sewing the pattern of stripes was pretty challenging, particularly with the attachment of the skirt to the bodice. Additionally, the skirt has three tiers – I didn’t want to end up with the same stripe where two tiers joined!

It’s extraordinarily comfortable and breezy to wear. Love it.

I’m off to the market to show off. Bye for now! Coco

Jungle January! BurdaStyle 05/2010 #113 Tiered Maxi Dress

I love Jungle January! And missed it last year, life was just going in other directions back then. I was determined to get in a growl or roar this year.

And things worked out like a charm. I’ve been attracted to this tiered maxi dress from BurdaStyle for a couple years. It’s so feminine and a little bohemian. Definitely perfect for Florida almost year ’round.

The drawback for me has been the bodice. It’s not my style and wouldn’t work for me either! I need lingerie with straps.  But the vertical darts on the pattern seemed a good idea. I pored through my stash and came up with McCalls 6554, a Fashion Star sundress pattern. Bonus: both vertical and side darts!

A quick muslin and just a few changes to the McCalls pattern:

– I slit both bodice pieces just above the front side dart and dropped the bottom piece by 1″. This took care of my FBA and vertical dart adjustments. 
– To compensate, I removed that 1″ from the bottom edge. 
– I taped some drafting paper inside the front neckline and redrew it to a rounded neckline. 
– I didn’t sew the back darts or use a zipper, and I straightened the side seams just a tad.

This little bodice is going to be a TNT for me. The fit is great. I’ve already sewn it in ITY knit fabric, and used it in a muslin for my Mother of the Bride dress.

The same pattern worked for both the woven and the knit. Serendipitous.
It’s hard to see the print on this wonderful polyester broadcloth from Fabric.com, so here’s a closeup:
Jungle Safari Cheetah Rose Burgundy

It came in two more colorways, both of which I purchased – wish I had more of all three.

Jungle Safari Gold & Green Flowers
Jungle Safari Amber & Rose Flowers
I wear cardi’s a lot and love how this dress looks with a sweater. And it feels good – it was windy and  ‘only’ 70 degrees during this photo shoot. Yes, I was chilly!
Back in the house and into my jungle jammies…

Ciao! Coco