Sewing loft journey – in tropical waters

It’s just me and the fish!

Here’s a little summer project – dresses that take me on a journey, starting here in Florida waters! I’m using my favorite knit maxi pattern, McCalls 6559, as my canvas.

Sewing notes:

  • My draft is size 10. I’ve sewn this version so many times that I can pretty much cut and sew, which can be really relaxing.
  • The front neckline is raised a bit so that it fits more nicely on my chest.
  • The change I love most is to the armhole, which I extended to provide a little coverage and softness over the shoulder and upper arm.
  • That little extension at the bottom of the armhole facilitates a beautiful finish.
  • And I like to finish the neckline on simple knit dresses and tees with a self-fabric band. I attach it on the inside, then fold it over and finish on the outside to diminish irritation to my neck and shoulders. Picky!
  • This cute fabric is STOF France Barracuda Blue, midweight cotton/lycra jersey from Fabric.com.

The ultimate in armchair travel. But in the past…

Where next? Ciao! Coco

Sneeze away – Handkerchief hem trio

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Smug mug… I’ve been working on three dresses over the last couple weeks, each one a variation of the Simplicity 8640 Handkerchief Hem dress. No surprise – I changed up the hem to be more exaggerated, and I drafted a V-neck option as well!

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A peek back at my original version of S8640, sewn to the pattern, no changes:

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And the new draft, ready for the summer season:

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Fabric: Rayon Bandana Print Voile, Fabric Mart

Sewing notes:

  • I added 10″ to the length of View B/C, and drafted a ‘real’ handkerchief hemline.
  • And I used the neckline from Style Arc Adeline to draft a V-neckline.

S8640 mods

More pics!

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Fabric: Cotton Dot Clusters Print Voile, Fabric Mart

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Fabric: Rayon Paisley Challis, Fabric Mart

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Parting shot – my new driving glasses (Ray Ban)!

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Ciao! Coco

Felix and the hidden zebras

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It’s 94 degrees outside, and I’m taking full advantage of the drape and float of rayon challis. This little number is a play on the Grainline Studio Felix dress.

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I apologize for the ‘bad’ photos. I was using my camera phone, had it propped on a pillow in a chair, and I just didn’t feel like getting picky. But I do love this pattern. The neckline is so flattering, comfortable, and feminine. See the zebras? This challis is from Fabric Mart’s ‘Famous Dress Designer’, snagged on sale at $4.20/yard. So cute!

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Sewing notes:

  • I recently redrafted my Felix pattern to size 6 (my previous pattern was size 8, and it was way too big on me).
  • As in past versions, I did not line this dress. It’s so simple to make without a lining.
  • I also cut both sides of the bodice using the right bodice pattern pieces. This puts evenly-distributed fabric weight into the bodice/skirt seam. And it bypasses the tricky sewing of the band, as described in the original pattern. IMHO, that band treatment alone can be very off-putting and significantly raises the difficulty level of this dress.

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  • A tip on the band: rather than use fusible interfacing, I underlined the band with lightweight poly/cotton broadcloth. All those bias edges are challenging enough without having a fusible shrink the fabric. Honestly, I seldom use fusible interfacing now, it’s just too likely to compromise the shape, size, and appearance of a pattern piece. Shirt and coat-makers, do not cringe. There are some lovely fusible interfacings available for those garments.
  • For fun, I added 4″ to the midi-length hemline, and then I added a 5″ deep ruffle. Kicky 🙂
  • Since this version is sleeveless, I also trimmed about 5/8″ off the entire armscye before adding self-fabric bias binding.

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This is actually my second dress with this design. The first is also in rayon challis from Fabric Mart, but overwhelmed with house decisions, I just posted it on Instagram. I also wore it for 4 days running, while waiting impatiently for the zebras to arrive.

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Stay cool – or warm, and happy sewing. Ciao! Coco

More Carolyn PJs…

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Straight from bed into my new Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas! That sounds backward, but I don’t actually sleep in my PJs.

I do love to wear them on rainy days (that cozy factor) and in the evening after my shower.

These have been in the sewing loft for over a week, pending photos. I do this all the time and I need to get them into my closet 🙂

This is my second pair of these super comfortable and cute PJs (first version here). Making them – layout, cutting, construction – is a rather big project, but it’s also fun because of all the details.

 

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Sewing notes:

  • I sewed a straight size 8, View B, which has the cuffs on sleeves and pant legs.
  • This wonderfully cool and wrinkle-free fabric is chocolate/off-white cotton/lycra poplin shirting from Fabric Mart’s NY Designer category.  I looked at it for days before it went on sale for 60% off – I was really fortunate to get it.
  • Once again I applied bias edging details instead of piping. This time I used double-fold quilt binding, pressed open and cut to 2″ wide. It’s poly/cotton (no shrinking to speak of), and is a nice weight for an edging. It’s also available in a myriad of colors.pj2 top

pj2 edging

I like the fit of the pants so much that I’m planning a couple pairs to wear with a sleep shirt.

Something else got moved out of the loft this morning as well. This dress was on Emile for 4 weeks as part of the staging when the house was on the market!

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It’s Simplicity 8640 (purchased on Etsy), in Traveling Bananas, a cotton/rayon/linen blend from Fabric Mart’s Hawaiian Designer.

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Parting shot – my resident doves. I know they had a baby earlier this spring, because the three of them spent hours sitting together on the fence and ground-feeding once the juvenile was out of the nest. I had to take this photo from inside the house because they startle so easily. Beautiful.

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Bye for now – Coco

Patricia Rose dress playtime

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More fun in the loft 🙂 Having finished my draft of the Patricia Rose dress, and having sewn a muslin, it’s time to enjoy.

My muslin went to a new home. The color is all wrong for me, and I was really annoyed by my print placement. It happens!

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But I learned so much from this version. On to the next one, this time in a beautiful Ralph Lauren white/black stripe from Fabric Mart. It’s cotton/poly/elastane, described as suiting, but it’s very light, with just a bit of stretch both ways. It’s also opaque, and I have no issues with ‘see through’.

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Sewing notes:

  • As before, I sewed the size 8, and I increased the neckline seam allowances from 1/4″ to 1/2″.
  • I also used my back and skirt variation, which has a fold to match the front fold (lots of info on the folds and skirt on my original post). I took these two pics outside, before our temp reached 91F. At which point I went inside!

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  • My bananas print fabric was 46″ wide, this one is 53″ wide. I used 3 yards of both.
  • Playtime! I used an oversized pocket, centered on the side seam. The unfinished pocket is 11″ x 11 1/2″. After the top fold of 1 1/4″,  it’s a bit wider than it is long.

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  • Something I left out of my first post, I’m really happy with the seldom-seen armscye darts on the front bodice. I was afraid they would be pokey, but they’re perfect. Also shown, the solid white cotton/poly broadcloth facing, which prevents print shadows on the right side.

stripe bodice

Cute! I’m not done with this pattern 🙂 It’s a wonderful palette for solids, stripes, large or abstract prints, and many substrates. I’m sewing summer now, and I cannot wear wool, but I think this would be beautiful- elegant – in a black wool woven or dupioni silk.

Or French terry – that middle ground between a woven and a knit.

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Ciao! Coco