Sewjo – it’s spring and I’m lost…

Down here in gator land, our cool weather is quickly slipping away. So I’ve been thinking of new things for spring.

However – I’m feeling challenged. I really do like to sew every morning (and watch Netflix in the late afternoon). But what to do?

I decided to sew Simplicity 8889, Mimi G’s summer shirt, which I found on Etsy for $6.50, considerably less than other choices online. And it’s a minor disaster, Bin-worthy. Because the neckline is trying to strangle me.

I have so little patience and simply want comfy yet fashionable things in my closet. Hmmm…

Since I included a Pattern Review photo, a few words. I am a 3-star reviewer on the site, but I deleted all 125 reviews I had posted, subsequent to their blocking all forums about Melania Trump’s inauguration parade dress. As being political. I know the site is privately owned, and I respect that, but it really really rubbed me the wrong way. Beyond ridiculous. Don’t need it, won’t contribute.

Moving on, here’s a view of the line art, super cute.

I tossed my shirt rather than struggle with it, but I kept the pattern. Both the shirt hem and the pants are really intriguing, details that I can use again.

Last week I used a remnant of Kaufman Laguna knit jersey to make a Cali Faye Gardenia dress. Just image the pic below in white instead of black.

This is one of my very favorite knit dresses, and I’ve decided to order Laguna in black. BTW, I make mine with a midi length hem, my only change. I truly like the sleeve, being self-conscious about my scarred scleroderma arms. I know – in a perfect world it doesn’t matter, but I am far from perfect 🙂

Meanwhile, I ordered a beautiful canvas from Stof, destined shortly to be 30″ x 40″ framed art for my bedroom.

STOF France Maisonnette Duck Multicolore

It joins two other fabric pieces from Stof that I’ve framed for the bedroom. All are large prints, vibrant, unusual, each is a journey and simply nice to have around me.

STOF France Zoya Multiflore
STOF France New Orleans

Forgot to add. I just joined and was treated to a free download of the very popular M7969! I made it in 2019, chose the wrong size, and didn’t keep the pattern. Now I plan a search for a nice print and a remake.

That’s it for now. It’s late, it’s decaf coffee time, and I need to order that black knit fabric before I run out of things to do 🙂

Ciao – Coco

My version of planning!

Hmmm. I really don’t plan beyond 1 or 2 projects, and I seldom have more than 2 or 3 pieces of fabric in my stash. I tend to sew multiples of a pattern before moving on to new territory, a habit that sometimes leaves me feeling burnt out. When this happens, I invariably start browsing patterns, and I even cruise my own blog for inspiration. It’s amazing how many patterns I’ve made and liked and haven’t repeated in a while.

First up – The Grainline Lark Tee. I decided to try the scoop neckline version. I’ve had the Lark since its release, but I’ve only sewn the crew neck! For this muslin, having a 2-yard rayon jersey remnant, I drafted a dress version as well (just longer and a bit A-line).

Great neckline and the band fits perfectly!

I didn’t really model this, as it was meant to be a nightie. But I did add a belt, and, surprise, rather cute!

Second – I ordered four Big 4 patterns, something I seldom do these days, choosing Indie patterns most of the time. But these will be great!

Found on Etsy
From Something Delightful
From Something Delightful

I’ve sewn all three of the above in the past, but I need a fresh pattern – I’m smaller than I was way back then. Last, a new pattern that I’ve had on my wishlist for ages and just found on Etsy this week! Views A, B, and C have faux wrap skirts, yay!

I have plenty of black jersey to do a muslin, but also ordered fabric for the dress – Girl Charlee’s classic pineapple print knit, used several years ago in a Cali Faye Gardenia dress:

I’ve been watching the blue jays attack a large hawk that’s been terrorizing the neighborhood bird population. It’s high season for mating and nesting in our dense tree canopy here. Unfortunately, he doesn’t even flinch, but I hope Mr. Hawk returns to his usual turf soon.

Bye for now, Coco

the last of the lizards…and that machine

Good morning! well, I finished the last garment in my 8-yard lizard fabric saga. I really love sewing this fabric, and the print is so much fun. Back story – I ordered 4 yards in the green color way, and 4 yards in a mocha color way. and JoAnn sent me all 8 yards in green. Refund, but I still had 8 yards of the same fabric!

My last post was all lizards, and this is the final make with the last yard or so. It’s one of my favorite combos, the Cali Faye Gardenia dress, with neckline and sleeves from New Look 6323. This neckline is just so gratifying…

A note on the neckband: I applied it twice, because the first one gaped. This is 100% cotton jersey – without a spandex element, I had to shorten the band. Which is OK 🙂 my seam ripper enjoys its place of precedence in the sewing room.

On another note, I recently posted (and deleted) a tale of woe regarding my sewing machine. The stitching rate had slowed to almost nothing, and I thought my power supply or presser foot sensor had failed. I got out my backup machine and ordered a new primary. But for some reason, before disposing of the faltering machine, I plugged the whole thing in once again. With coffee and morning brightness of mind, I found that the speed setting on the machine was set at its lowest point! I never touch this control, who knows how I managed to change it.

Anyway, machine saved and order cancelled. Whew. On to other projects with a lot of gratitude and humility!

Bye for now – Coco

Cali Faye Gardenia tunic

I do love this pattern from Cali Faye. It’s delightful, lots of detail, easy to sew, adaptable!

I cannot find line art, but here is an envelope pic:

It has a raised front, dipped back, slightly opened bracelet sleeves, just delightful.

OK, earlier makes, in a larger size since I first sewed this several years ago, here.

My latest inspiration, to make a tunic to wear over jeans and so on. It’s so cute!

Sewing notes:

  • I’m 5’7″, bust 34″ on a good day, so I sew a size Medium.
  • Long ago I took a 1/4″ dart in the neckline, each side, to thwart neckline gap on my flat chest.
  • And I moved my CB fold over 1/4″ over for the same reason. These adjustments are on my pattern pieces, which lets me cut this out without consternation.
  • And also long ago, I drew an alternate flattened front bodice to eliminate the ‘smile’ upper bodice seaming, This version has a one piece upper front bodice. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the bodice detail, because I do, but some midweight cotton/lycra jerseys don’t love it. 🙂
  • Fabric is Girl Charlee, cotton/lycra jersey, about 2.25 yd.
  • The length – well, I aimed for 29″ on the center back, plus 1.25″ for the hem allowance.

So cute!

Love this, and I’m planning a repeat in a deep grey heathered jersey. I really need warm tops, not sleeveless, for mid-winter wear. Have you adapted a dress to a tunic? Seems so logical, this was a great project.

Bye for now, Coco

Flamingo Gardenia Dress


A few weeks ago, I posted my pineapples Cali Faye Gardenia Dress (here), which I love, and I mentioned I needed one in flamingos. I was being serious! A little searching, and I found this cute flamingo cotton knit on Girl Charlee.

Here’s a look at the pattern (which I’ve been making since 2014). Sorry, there’s not a single pic of the line art anywhere, but the Cali Faye site has more examples (here).


Without the line art, with only black fabric examples, it’s difficult to see the beautiful little sweetheart yoke on the front bodice. When I first sewed this pattern, the yoke kind of scared me, because it might be a beastie to sew in a knit fabric. But, it’s not. Just be sure to follow the guidelines for for the fabric: ‘Sturdy, one directional stretch knits with no more than 25% stretch and with a full 100% recovery work best for this project’.

Flamingo bodice

Cute fantail too…


This dress is so easy to wear, it’s forgiving of just about everything. And it fulfills my flamingo dream. I do think I made this one just a little too long…easily fixed.


A few sewing notes:

  • My 2017 versions are all size Medium.
  • I dropped the front bodice edge by 3/4″ at center front, and redrew the curved edge. As noted in my 2014 post (here), the higher seam would be great for a baby bump, but I like it a bit lower for myself.
  • The side seam of the bodice is plenty long enough to handle a bust dart if one is preferred.
  • It’s easy to draw the front bodice without the yoke, and doing so would accommodate all those lovely knits that have more stretch to them. I suggest cutting the two pieces from original design in scrap fabric, sewing and pressing the yoke seam, then using the constructed bodice to draft a new pattern piece. E.g., and please ignore my masking tape. It has nothing to do with the drafting, I just didn’t have any clear tape at hand.

bodice nber 2

Bopping along, I decided to reuse a Dixie DIY Ballet Dress that I made way back in early 2016, in a favorite cotton/spandex jersey, also from Girl Charlee. It has been way too big for me since January, and I’ve missed wearing it. In a lightbulb moment this week, I reshaped the bodice, cut a new skirt, and, ta da, another Gardenia!


Of course, it doesn’t have the front yoke feature, since I didn’t take the Ballet Dress completely apart. But it’s so cute!


It’s also a little shorter than my flamingo version – I like this length better.

Taking one’s own photos tends to generate some weird pics. Like this one, caused by a thread caught on my foot. I have threads everywhere in my house, despite my extraordinary brilliant and incomparable housekeeping…


Ciao! Coco

Cali Faye Gardenia Dress – Pineapples!


Well, fiddly-dee… No more spam problems (thank you, WordPress). Let’s do some sewing!

I love love this pineapple print from Girl Charlee. So much that I was willing to try a cotton/poly blend (poly is a bad word around here, unless it’s ITY or thread). And I must say, it was easy to launder and to sew. I’m very happy with it. Perhaps I’ve been too hard on poly 🙂

How cute is this print!

front waist

And what is summer without things like flamingos,


and pineapple?

I’ve sewn this pattern so many times, but I had to re-print it and draft a smaller size for this version. Happiness…I’ve lost almost 40 pounds since October!! Side benefit: sewing things that fit me now.



Back to the pattern, which I really like. I’ve made it so many times, both short and maxi versions. Cute dress, lots of sleeve options, kind of the perfect knit dress for summer. I can’t find a pic of the line art, but here’s a link to the pattern (here.) 

I want those shoes!

The front – slightly raised, and the back is raised as well. I really appreciate a little seam play – this pattern would have been blah without it.

back waist

Sewing notes – well, none. I sewed the size Small, and just added 3″ to the length. I’m 5’7″, and the additional length was mostly to get the dress to a length commensurate with my age (ha!).


I’m so happy with this dress. Hello, summer, I’m with you…


OK, those other things, like flamingos – I’m looking for the fabric!

Ciao – Coco





Cali Faye Gardenia Dress – 3 times!

Oh, it feels so good to sew and take pictures and write a blog post!!
First, thank you all for the lovely comments on Ashley and Darrin’s engagement. They are so excited. And her ring is exquisite 🙂 The wedding date is now February 21, firm, which is nice. More time to enjoy the engagement feelings and activities.
Gosh, I’ve been sort of absent for a while. But recovering from being unwell for 6 months has taken some time and lots of rest. But I’m so much better. Feels so good.
Meanwhile, what a super cute dress. I found this on Kollabora, just zipping along looking at projects. And ordered the PDF download right away (there is a version for girls as well). I can’t find a line art pic anywhere, so I’ll try to describe: the front bodice is two-piece, with a slight sweetheart seam below the neckline and a raised front curve. The back bodice has a dipped curve ending just around the waistline. And the dress has nice 3/4 length sleeves.

The bust conundrum:

Incredibly for any pattern, this one comes in sizes XXS – XXL – but that is a little misleading 🙂 The associated bust range is 30″ – 39.5″.  Whose bust – that of the dress, my bust? What size to use? A clue from Cali Faye: the model’s bust is 33.5″, and she is wearing a size Small, bust 31.5″. OK, I followed suit. My bust is 37.5″, so I drafted the size Large, bust 36″. And it worked – but I do wish pattern makers could be specific on this point.

(Before I forget, for reference, I’m 5’7 1/2″ and wear a size 14/40 just about all the time).

This mid-weight cotton/spandex from Girl Charlee (love, love) is a great weight for this dress. I only made two changes changes on this first version:

  • Added an inch to the skirt length.
  • Lowered the curve of the front bodice edge by 1″ at center front, cured out to the side seams. It would be great for a baby bump the other way, but IMHO, looks nicer a little lower.
I was very surprised that the bodice, front and back, was long enough for me. I am accustomed to adding 1.5″ inches for my height – might be a caution for short waists…


I love this dress! While in JoAnn’s ages ago, I found a piece of camo cotton/lycra knit (and haven’t seen it since, in the store or online). And I’ve wanted to sew it ever since Angela of Collected Yarns made her camo maxi in August. Voila!

On this version I removed the sweetheart seam from the front bodice, drafting it as one easy piece, and used elbow length sleeves.
And now it’s jingle bells time! Again from Girl Charlee, a cotton/poly knit.


This was fun. Ciao! Coco