Butterick 6296 Classic PJs – Jammin’


Sewist at work – a candid fit-photo in the sewing loft.

It’s time for summer PJs – I’m really really tired of leggings and tees!



I decided to start with a short-sleeved top and long-ish pants.


They’re sewn in Michael Miller ‘Meet Me in the Meadow Spring Bloomers’, a quilting-weight cotton I found on sale at Hancock’s of Paducah.



After my recent angst about Emile, my dress form, and my thoughts of replacing her, I found just I couldn’t do it. I apologized, and we’re still BFFs…

The pants are terrific, so I decided to make a Capri-length pair for street-wear.


I re-used the fabric from a tiered maxi dress that I made in 2015, and have never worn. It was just too much sea life – but I’ve always loved this Tonga Batik from Timeless Treasures Fabrics.


A few sewing notes – this pattern is really well-drafted, so my changes were really for style, not fit.

  • I sewed the top in size 12, and the pants in size 14.
  • I shortened the pink pants by 7 5/8″ inches, and the octopus pants by another 1 3/8″.
  • And I added 1″ to the length of the sleeve.
  • Going for comfort, I left off a couple things: the pockets on the top and the yoke on the back of the pants piece. That yoke is kind of a lost detail anyway, and it might be bunchy below the gathered waistband.
  • The pattern has lots of piping detail, which I addressed by leaving off most of it, too. On the sleeve and pants bands, I used a contrast broadcloth edging instead. I cut 2″ wide bias strips, folded them in half, and attached them the same way the piping would have been sewn.


More PJs are underway –  this is fun, easy sewing.


Bye for now! Coco

Butterick 5203 – When the shark bites…


I have sharkbite fever…

Recently I’ve sewn a couple knit tops that have a draped side hem, and I love them. They’re just so much fun to wear. Since Fabric Mart and Craftsy conspired to increase my stash of rayon crepe fabrics, it was time to sew a sharkbite with a woven fabric. Ha. No pattern. I have over 100 patterns, but not the pattern.

I don’t mind drafting a hemline, but it’s nice to have a pattern – it’s simpler, and it builds confidence. I first saw this pattern on the See & Sew shelf at JoAnns, and I almost passed on it. The envelope pics are pretty bad. But I picked it up, checked out the line art, and decided to give it a try.


It’s actually pretty cute!


This started as a muslin, made from every square inch of a rayon crepe remnant. I flat-measured the pattern, decided to sew the size 12, and made only a couple changes:

  • I drafted a v-neck, to add some balance to the length and hemline.
  • And I used 3/4 length sleeves, because the long sleeves just don’t seem to go with the top. Too much.

One thing I noticed is that it looks a lot longer on the models than it does on me (I’m 5’7″). Butterick must have lengthened it for the fit models. ummm. Nonetheless, I did goof by not adding a couple inches, something I usually do.


Not a game stopper, because I really like how this turned out. I wore it to the hardware store yesterday and felt very pretty.


And… tomorrow is my day. Wow.


Ciao! Coco


Burnout jersey and sticky business…

Have you ever noticed how jersey knits want to cling to pants and skirts? right there where it’s least wanted – on the bum.

I’ve overcome this issue in large part by wearing my jersey tunics with ITY knit bottoms. Nice slippery ITY – nothing clings to it, plus it’s just so comfy to wear. Bonus – just throw it in a suitcase. It doesn’t wrinkle.

But I digress. I’ve been meaning to make a ‘slip’ for my tunics for a long time. Such a simple solution.

I used a poly mesh knit from Fabric Mart, acquired 2 years ago – 8 yards of it! because I planned to line a mother-of-the-bride dress with it. It’s really more of a knit lining than a mesh, and I’ve used quite a bit of it for interfacing knit garments.

At the same time I bought 8 yards of poly/cotton burnout jersey in a beautiful abstract (think Art Nouveau) print. In the end, I used something else entirely for my MOB dress.

But I really wanted to use the burnout jersey and finally got my act together for the needed slip. I used Butterick 5954, View A, as the starting point for the slip, largely because it has the basic silhouette of my tunics.

I simply sewed it together on the serger, put it on Emile, and trimmed away at the armscye and neckline until I had nice muscle shirt lines! The fabric is so stretchy that it was easy to fold in the edges to hem them – no binding needed.

Then on to a B5954 tunic in the burnout jersey…

A few notes on sewing the burnout jersey, which has intimidated me – this is the only piece I’ve purchased:
  • It’s definitely sheer, and it’s not straight-forward to sew because of the thick-and-thin texture.
  • After trying several sizes,I used a size 70 universal needle.
  • I used normal pressure on the presser foot, and I worked with my upper thread tension to achieve a stitch that didn’t look loose on the burnout areas.
  • Finishing the hems – I serged the sleeve and skirt edges to stabilize the fabric, then folded the edge twice and finished it with topstitching. No steam-a-seam tape needed.
  • I think it would be a lovely fabric for a scarf – but I don’t think it would work well with a rolled hem on the serger, because of the varying texture. Has anyone tried it?

I wore white pants for these pics so that the lines of the tunic would show up – in real life I’ll probably wear black or gray.

No cling!

The slip works like a charm.

A side note: I worked on this in Ft. Myers last week, and I managed to get there without any gray thread. So I bopped over to Holly Lobby and picked up a spool of their Sew-ology thread. It worked great, I absolutely could not distinguish between it and the Gutermann I generally use.

Whew! What a project. But I enjoy sewing challenges, and I feel good about conquering the burnout fabric. Meanwhile – it’s almost the weekend. I hope yours is nice and full of sewing 🙂

Bye for now – Coco

Summertime tote bag – a big one!

It’s Memorial Day, the official flip into summer. But summertime always starts early in Florida – it has been hot hot hot and humid. And the last thing I want to do is carry a leather handbag with all its metal zippers and whatnot’s. Too much!

Solution – a fabric bag. About five years ago I drafted a tote bag pattern, very much based on the Amy Butler Birdie Sling.

There are a ton of inspiration pics of the Birdie Sling on the web, and lots of tutorials as well. So drafting my version was pretty easy. I’ve made over 20 of these bags. They were both gifted and sold, back when Ashley and I were doing the craft fair circuit.

But I still have and use the first one I made. I love it. It’s roomy, about 26 ¾” tall, including the handles, and 18” wide, and it has some incredible physics going on. Load it up, and the weight is barely felt on one’s shoulder. Seriously! I’m sure it has something to do with the inside bag hanging freely from the top band. Whatever it is, I’m amazed every time I use it. I don’t know if that is characteristic of the AButler bag as well, but I’d be interested to know.

BTW, this one has been through the laundry several times. Yes! machine wash and dry. 

Time to make some more. It’s a great way to use remnants, since each piece – shell, inside bag, bands/handle – uses a yard or less of fabric. Calico, quilting cotton, and light canvas all work well. This cute black/grey number is the first one I’ve done without contrast fabric on the bands and handle. And it works perfectly with just about everything in my closet.
Keepsake Calico Cotton – Black Lines, from JoAnns
On the inside: Nothing bugs me more than a bunch of loose stuff on the bottom of a hand bag, hiding my keys and making me crazy. So the inside of this bag has a pocket on each side. One is stitched down the middle, the typical phone & glasses accommodation…
Lining Fabric, Buttercream Bicycles – Gray & Metallic – JoAnns
And the other is zipped – a catch-all for lip balm, nail file, comb, tissue, the jewelry I take off when it bugs me… I used a purple zipper because it’s easier to see than a black one would be. And I’ll put helper of some kind – a ribbon or charm – on the pull.

On the clothes front, my latest pair of Love Notions Sabrina Slims:

Black/White Ethnic Glyphs Cotton Spandex Knit, from Girl Charlee

Top – Butterick 6024

Parting shot: Zebra butterflies and a giant swallowtail roosting in the guava tree at sunset a couple days ago. They’re in the tree almost every night now, just six feet from my porch. Beautiful.

This little guy is not so little – 5″ wing span!

Ciao! Coco 

Butterick 5533 Knit Jacket

In the spirit of my epic run of posts this holiday – the Butterick 5533 jacket. Another of my favorite patterns.

I haven’t see this sewn a lot, but I jumped on it a couple years ago because I just love the back detail. I’m a sucker for swing cuts and details coming and going…

I used the front of View A, and the pockets and back of View B. And so far, I haven’t put on any buttons – that decision is still up in the air.

I thought the front was a bit plain, so I drafted it in two pieces, split across the upper bodice, and topstitched the seam to accent it a bit. If you squint, you’ll see it…

On the pic below you can also see the two-part sleeve. Such a nice design detail. I didn’t do the curved/faced hem on this sleeve, mostly because I think it would weigh down the fabric and not sit well.

This fabric is 12 oz. stretch denim from Girl Charlee – 63% cotton, 33% poly, and 4% spandex. It has 4-way stretch and curled like crazy on the edges when I was sewing it! I expected it to be more denim-like than it is. It’s definitely woven, but it feels and sews like a knit.

And here’s a version of the jacket that I made in 2013! It was gifted and never blogged. It’s done in poly fleece (JoAnns), with cotton trims and facings (Kaffe Fassett Roman Glass from Westminster Fabrics). It has the same gathered back, but I added the hood from Burda See & Sew 5807, a hooded cape pattern. So cozy. And the hood fit without any alterations to the neckline! I’m sure I’ll do another one with this variation.

This is the vented and faced sleeve from the pattern. Beautiful.
Sewing Notes:
  • All the suggested fabrics are wovens, like corduroy, tweed, lightweight denim, etc. But both my versions are knits – I just went down one size to a 12, and the fit is great.
    • Those back gathers. There’s just way too much fabric in them as drafted, knit or woven. On the denim knit, I removed 2″ from the center back, and on the fleece, which is much thicker, I removed 4″.
    • A caution: the sleeves are narrow and, if you’re tall, they might be short. 

    The jacket is unlined, which I like for Florida, but that presents a couple finishing ‘opportunities’.

    •  I drafted a back neck facing for the grey knit – I cannot stand to turn under the upper collar edge on un-banded collars. The faced hood on the fleece version served to finish the neckline, no facing needed.
    •  And I faced the back yoke on both versions. It was kind of like sewing a squid…

    Buttons? No buttons? I pinned some on this afternoon, and I think I’ll add them.

    I’ve thought a lot about this pattern and how it might be used. Maybe as a cropped swing jacket in french terry, with some gathers under the front yokes, a hood, a separating zipper – it has so many possibilities.


    This is my last post of 2015! Thank you for spending so much time with me this year, for sharing your life, and for enriching mine. I hope you and all your loved ones enjoy a happy, healthy, safe, and fulfilling new year.

    Bye for now – Coco