A little sleeve magic…

s3Summer sewing, and my closet has multiples of two great dresses: the Closet Case Charlie Caftan and the Serendipity Studio Diane Kimono Dress. Both are fun to sew, easy to wear, and comfortable in summer heat.

And, as it happens, they both have short kimono sleeves, very similar to a cap sleeve.

About 10 days ago, I got to thinking about those sleeves. I admit to being conscious of the inflammation on my upper arms, and many days I just go for a top or dress with a longer sleeve. Just a few more inches of coverage might raise my confidence level…

The Diane dress was easy to modify – I just extended the sleeve by 4.25″ (as far I could take the sleeve and still cut it out on folded 44″ wide fabric – very scientific). It not only worked, it worked great! I love this length.

Fabric: Audrey Medallion Calico, JoAnns.

s1line art


Changing the Charlie Caftan was also simple. I had changed the pitch on my draft of the sleeve way back when I made my first Charlie. So I just extended it as well, and, as before, used self-fabric bias binding to finish the edge.



Fabric: Packed Poppies by Tim Coffey, JoAnns.


And I’m off to the drug store wearing poppies! Bye for now – Coco

Charlie Caftan in African Wax Batik Print


My favorite Charlie Caftan!

With only one color overlay, this batik from Fabric Wholesale Direct is the perfect weight for a dress. And the deep purple is so calm, it was a pleasure to sew.



Sewing notes: I’ve continued to use the pattern changes and construction approach that I used with my muslin of the Charlie Caftan. My original post has lots of info on these (here).

  • The front panel is raised about 5/8″, simply because I don’t enjoy seams that sit right on my waist.
  • I applied the front panel to the bodice, rather than insert it per the pattern instructions.
  • And I reduced width of the gathers under the panel by about 2″.

close front

  • I definitely prefer the dress, short or long, with the ties.
  • My ties are about 40″ long, 1 1/2″ wide, double-folded, and top-stitched along the edge.

b closeup

  • I didn’t draft my pattern with the sleeve hem allowance. All of my sleeves are finished with self-fabric bias binding.
  • And I topstitched the in-seam pockets to the front of the skirt. No waving pockets!


I’m really hooked on this pattern. It’s so easy to wear, no hooks, buttons, or zipper, and not at all confining. Plus, it looks different every time I make it, because the prints are so different. So….yes, more planned.


Parting shot:

It’s San Diego Comic Con time, so I’m in Ft. Myers, kitty-sitting for Ashley and Darrin. In addition to their three adult kitties, they’re fostering three 5-week-old little boys for Animal Services (I’m sure they’ll adopt them). They look so big in this pic, but they’re really tiny! And they have to stay in their own room, no fraternizing, for another week or so, until they get their final boosters and have their boy-surgeries. Cute things…


Bye for now – 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 ūüôā

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 Рslightly raised, and the back is raised as well. I really appreciate a little seam play Рthis 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





Love Notions Laundry Day Tee – sleeveless


Work day in the loft…making a mess, no makeup or hair-do, just a nice morning spent finishing a few projects, watching the Wimbledon tennis matches, and having absolutely nothing planned or pressing.

new line art


This is my second make of this dress (first one here), and I fully intended for it to have sleeves. But –¬†I was well into cutting out the bodice when I remembered that I needed to adjust the length of the shoulder seams. Oops.

But it’s a nice segue into a discussion of why I needed to do that at all. (BTW, IMHO, based on reviews and examples I’ve seen, a lot of sewists have struggled with the armscye area and sleeve on this pattern. Perhaps this will be helpful ).

Below, on the left – the Laundry Day Tee, aka LDT, has two cutting lines for the armscye. One for the versions with sleeves, and a second ‘tank’ cutting line for the sleeveless versions. On the right – my LDT size Medium laid on M5974 size 12 (this is the Palmer/Pletsch Perfect Knit Dress, my version here).

There is about 1″ difference in shoulder length. On Emile, whose shoulders match mine since I trimmed them a few months ago, it’s easy to see just how short the shoulder seam really is:

Since I couldn’t add the sleeves, I trimmed a bit of curve into the front armscye (the back was fine) and used self-fabric binding to finish. A view of the inside (and I still can hardly believe this armscye was meant to carry a sleeve):

inside armscye
Fabric: Fresh Produce Hideaway Flowers cotton jersey, from Girl Charlee



I’m not slamming this pattern at all, in fact I really like most of it, and I’ve certainly made more fit adjustments to other things I’ve sewn! I guess it irks me a little because it’s so avoidable – there’s a reason why Burda and all the Big 4 have almost identical shoulder lengths on their slopers. And those slopers fit me just fine, maybe with a change to the pitch of the seam for my square shoulders, but certainly long enough.


Bye for now! Coco

McCalls 7597 Kaftan – a journey


There is so much to love about this kaftan pattern. So – my story of working with it to make it my own.

Background: this pattern has loads of details that I really appreciate. The front bib, the sleeves, the gathered back, the gentle curve at the waistline. A look at the line art:


I did a muslin a few weeks ago, with no changes to the pattern, and it turned out to be a really pretty tunic with my African wax print pants.


However…there’s always a catch, right? I don’t like things to grab me around the neck. hmm. But it’s because my skin is so sensitive, scleroderma and allodynia and so on, that I really cannot wear things that have such a high neckline. But I wanted to make this pattern work for me!

I’m not afraid to redraft a pattern. Here’s a quick view of my changes. I changed the neckline completely, to have a V-neck:

It did mean drafting new facings, but they’re pretty straight forward. ¬†And, as seen in the next pic, well, another unexpected challenge – my dress (View B) was too short, even with my addition of a couple inches! so I added a longish flounce to the bottom. The inside view:


My goodness. But another look at the finished dress. I really like it!

Fabric: Stylized Diamond Aztec Print Poplin Shirting, Fabric Mart

As before, I sewed a straight size 12. One other change, I thought the 3/4 sleeve was a bit stuffy, so I shortened it. And I’m really glad I did. The sleeve is not ‘generous’ in width, so making it shorter made it more comfortable. I wore this to the market this morning – I felt pretty – a good test…

f4It’s only Monday! this was a fun weekend project. And I think I rescued my pattern for future makes. It has so many design details that I really like – it’s not going away.


Ciao! coco