From dress to pedal pushers

It was time to recycle a couple dresses that I sewed last September, but never wore. For some reason, the sleeves and bodice kept slipping backwards, which was really annoying!

McCalls 7969, blogged here.

Enter new pants based on the Burda 6250 pull-on cargo pants, size 38. I just shortened the pants to fit the fabric salvaged from the skirt of the dress.

Fabric from JoAnns..

A second dress, same pattern, was also transformed to pants 🙂

To be really sporty, I’ll just call these board shorts – who wears pedal pushers these days?

Ciao! Coco

McCall 7634 Sweatshirt in French terry

front 2

I’m so cold!! and have only a couple long sleeve tops. January and February are our chilly season, we went down to 43 degrees last night. Great excuse for a new top.

I started with M7634, followed with a few modifications, including the V-neck from Burda 06-2011-107B.



I love how this looks! the fabric is navy Telio Stewart French terry knit from, 38% cotton/32% polyester/30% rayon. It has about 25% mechanical stretch both ways, but no recovery at all.


Sewing notes:

  • Sewed the size 12 in the McCall pattern.
  • Used the short view with an additional 4.5″ in the length, and a 3″ (finished) bottom band. The unfinished band is about 7″ wide and a couple inches shorter than the bottom hem. Doubled and stretched it to fit.
  • Recut the neckline using the Burda pattern. It has facings, which I used to stabilize the neckline, in cotton/poly broadcloth. Yes, there is fusible tape in side the shoulder seams to prevent stretch.


  • Stiches and finishes: I sewed the top using a longish (3.0) straight stitch and serged the seam allowances together to finish.
  • Finished the sleeve with a 1.5″ hem allowance plus a couple rows of topstitching.


It’s such a cozy and warm top, and I love the silhouette.

front 1

Parting shot: I was the woman out on the street in her robe last night, taking pictures of the lunar eclipse. Spectacular event! Moving clockwise from the top left photo:


Ciao! Coco


Burda 09-2016-119 Fleece Wrap Coat


The quintessential grab-and-go wrap coat, this time in navy polar fleece from  I love their fleece selection, and their quality is so dependable. OK, price point – how about $4.98 for 60″wide fleece…

Back to the coat! It’s from BurdaStyle, 09/2016 # 116. Their sample is in mohair knit, all of mine are not! I’ve made this in espresso sweatshirt fabric (my muslin, but not posted) and black minky plush – great pattern, lots of opportunity for playtime.

BS 09-2016-119

I made this one full length so it will cover any tunics or cardigans I’m wearing. And in these pics I’m wearing sarouel pants, but you’d never know it!



Sewing notes:

  • I sewed size 38. It is very loose and generous in size and coverage.
  • The center back seam is 44.5″ long (my minky one is shorter at 39″).
  • As before, I used front and back neckline facings rather than turn in seam allowances on the edges. I like the weight and structure that the facings bring to the coat.
  • On this version I drafted a ‘smaller’ pocket that is attached on the front only, instead of being across the side seam.
  • I love topstitching fleece!


  • The big sleeve on the original pattern connects to the coat at the waistline. I decided to redraft mine to finish about 3″ above the waist, so that I can use a belt if I like.


arm alteration

And here it is with a belt (no, it’s not a robe, it’s a wrap shawl collar coat) !

belt front

belt side

belt back

This is still in the loft, because I’m thinking about adding buttons…why not!buttonsIn parting – my dryer quit, and I’m waiting for my new one. I find that draping laundered yardage to dry across my car in the garage works pretty well 🙂73ec52694163349c775ecc1094587a64Ciao! Coco


Crossover Culottes – summertime!


I’m a dedicated browser of – 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

Goes with jeans…


What to do with white french terry?

My intention was to make a robe – a fresh white robe just feels wonderful after a shower. However, I discovered that I only had 3 yards of fabric (huh, I really did mean to order 5 yards). Time to re-think this project.

I’ve been toying with the idea of a long button-front cardigan, a mix of the Ready to Sew Jamie Cardigan and the Blackwood Cardigan from Helen’s Closet. I don’t have the Jamie pattern, and the Blackwood is very slim, so I trolled the stash. Voila! Burda Style 09/2016 #119.

line art

Yes, I made changes!

  • I left off the collar and drafted 2″ wide facings for the front and back neckline.
  • The original sleeve is very wide at the armscye and connects at the natural waist. I narrowed mine by 7″ on the front and back seam, which gave a nice kimono sleeve.


  • I was short on fabric so I made a two-piece pocket with fun topstitching.


  • And I cut 10″ off the bottom, which I refashioned into a 4″ wide hem band.
  • For closure, I used 5/8″ buttons with silver #4 sew-on snaps. Easy peasy 🙂


I admit I sewed this with some trepidation, not totally convinced I was making something I would enjoy. But I love it with jeans!


I used my Frixion pens all over this as I was sewing and fitting, so I laundered it again when it was finished. The cotton terry is so soft and rumply.


Yes, I still want that white robe. I just ordered more fabric, because Cali Fabrics only had 7 yards left when I went looking!

Bye for now, 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

Burda Style Wrap Coat and minky madness


What was I thinking!

I’ve really been enjoying my fleece fabric adventures this year. So I went for the full Monty. During my recent trip to Orlando, I managed a visit to the Sewing Studio Super Store in Maitland. And in the Annex, I found this black minky plush, a real bargain at $4 a yard. Irresistible.

Note on the store: high-end knit and quilting fabrics, ditto the trims and so on, and more built-to-purpose specialized sewing machines than I’ve ever encountered in a fabric store. The Bargain Annex is spotty, and I felt lucky to go home with a piece of fabric.

The store put it in a big bag, and once home, I pulled it out to an absolute flurry of fleece fluff. As a starting point, here’s a pic of my constant companion during this project:


I already had a pattern in mind, BurdaStyle 09/2016 #119 – a beautiful design, simple and elegant. I had recently worked on a muslin in sweatshirt fabric, so my confidence level was high.

line art

It’s so nice! I know it’s hard to see the details in black, but please squint a little.



Things I love: those kimono sleeves, the oversized pockets, and the set-in collar. About the collar. No way would I use this minky for a cut-on shawl collar, one that is an extension of the front, because of the treacherous clips at the shoulder. There shouldn’t be crying in sewing…


Sewing notes:

  • This is a challenging fabric because of the fluff stuff from cut edges. All my cut pieces went straight to the serger, and every single edge was serged before I even began sewing. Between my cutting area and the loft, I emptied my little vacuum twice. Even so, the fluff seemed to travel with me everywhere I went in the house! Takes patience…
  • I sewed a straight size 38.
  • Great fit!
  • I didn’t line the pocket, but I did face the top fold to stabilize it.
  • I shortened the length quite a bit. The original CB length is about 44″. I took off 5 1/2″. It just seems more balanced and interesting in the shorter length.
  • Incredibly, the coat has no front or neckline facing. I added both, self fabric without interfacing.
  • My sleeve and coat hems are a little less than 3/4″. I’ve found that a deep hem on fleece doesn’t always work well.

Machine settings:

  • I sewed all my seams with a long stitch (3.2 on my Juki) and topstitched with a 3.4 length.
  • And used a 90/14 ballpoint needle in my sewing machine. Also 90/14 universal needles in my serger.
  • I also decreased my presser foot pressure, from it normal 5 setting, to 2.

I had just enough fabric to make a neck scarf. This is hanging out on my sofa, it’s so warm on my neck.


I had just come home from the grocery when I took all these pics. It felt wonderful in that cold cold store!


Will I ever sew minky again? Sure. It was very messy, but I really like this coat!!

Ciao! Coco