My Christmas dress – finally!


Christmas isn’t over yet –  I just finished my holiday dress today!

I had planned to wear it up in Orlando later this week, my Christmas visit with David and Preston. But the weather is not cooperating – it will be too cool. Instead, I’ll be in leggings and long sleeve tunics. Not a problem – there’s always Valentines Day 🙂


I fell for this cotton/lycra poplin from Fabric Mart the moment I saw it. Sewing stretch wovens is generally not something I enjoy, but the print was reason for an exception. I was careful to practice tension, presser foot pressure, needles, and stitches before I began. And I staystitched all the edges that had any bias to them.


Not wanting something too fussy, I chose an old favorite, the Serendipity Studio Diane dress (last version here).

Diane Envelope Pic

As before, I raised the neckline, but I didn’t do anything fancy aside from rotating the print on the waistband.


I love Christmas, it’s simply my favorite season. And it’s just about the only time I paint my fingernails, mostly because sewing is brutal on nail polish! But my toe nails are always red. Florida is sandal city all year…

Polish: China Glaze “The Heat is On”

So, I managed to make this dress without too many major oops, although my seam ripper got a workout from time to time. I blew out my first waistband because the button holes were in the direction of the stretch, and I made a mess of them. Rather than replace the entire waistband, I practiced a bit, chose a heavier stabilizer, and made new button holes in a 4″ long patch. After getting it into the band, it’s not at all noticeable.


On to new projects for the new year! I hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful season.


After the fall…the way back

lady of leisure

Doing  better after falling a couple weeks ago! And showing the ‘good’ side of my face. The other side and the back of my left hand are still bandaged. But…it takes time.

A small post, but just look at that cute Charlie Caftan. I was totally inspired by Sue at ‘A Colourful Canvas’. Her pink plaid Charlie, posted way back in June, just gripped my heart… I spent hours online looking for a pink plaid fabric.

And I found it at Fabric Mart, mine is a cotton plaid jacquard shirting. Serendipitous. This pic is from ages ago, because I never did take a full set of pics of this version of the Charlie Caftan. My bad, but I have so many versions now.  I just love the pattern.


A link here

line art

I’m feeling better, and I’ve started sewing again. I’m working on a long cardigan, based on McCalls 6461. On Emile…

cardi 1
Fabric: Fresh Produce Sea Life Charcoal Black Cotton Jersey Knit  from Girl Charlee

And a pic of my lovely view, calm and peaceful, from the porch.


Bye for now – Coco

You gotta get up, early in the morning…

afrev2 2I woke up at 5:00 a.m. with ‘Early in the Morning’, by The Gap Band, rolling through my head. They’re one of my favorite groups from the 80’s – here’s a link to a YouTube version, if you want to sing along!

First business, thank you all so much for the support, prayers, and thoughts, not just for me, but for everyone facing Hurricane Irma this weekend. What nice friends you are. It’s a special moment – I’ve heard from so many of you who live in Florida, have family and/or friends in Florida, have weathered similar challenges, or simply care enough to drop a line. Again, thank you.

Sewing! it has been a wonderful diversion. I decided to fall back on familiar and comfy, and McCalls 6747 Classic Henley Dress is perfect. I’ve sewn it so much that I had to buy a new copy of the pattern this summer (some earlier versions here).


I also had some favorite cotton/lycra knit fabric on hand. I like this fabric/print so much that I’ve ordered it 3 times from Girl Charlee. As I write, it’s still available.


inside garden


I don’t usually have a plant shop in the living room. But I had to move everything off the porch, which gives me a new backdrop for pics.


What’s missing here is the cup of coffee just out of view. I actually put on makeup and combed my hair, but I do look sleepy. Or tired.


There have been moments of levity! Someone asked about one of my notes on my previous post, ‘move the alligator’. Yes, I really do have one, but it’s concrete 🙂


I also had a very indignant toad, who got tossed with the water when I moved the bird toad bath.


The wind is up, and we’re getting a lot of rain. Parts of Miami have already lost power. Wow. Here I am, my sanguine pose 🙂


Thinking of so many things and people – be safe, be well.

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

Vogue 9253 Deep-V Kimono Dress muslin


OK, work with me! My funky muslin, of a pattern that’s had a lot of air time lately – that Red Carpet Ready Vogue 9253. And since it’s muslin time, no makeup or hairdo, so head shots are limited 🙂


Initially, I passed on this. I’ve been doing a lot of kimono-style dresses this summer, and the ones I’m sewing are very similar – except for that neckline. However, when I saw the McCalls-sponsored sewing challenge for the pattern, I picked it up. And I also got 6 yards of fabric for it.

Nothing is hemmed in these pics…

That was the extent of my participation in the sewing challenge, but I’m grateful for all the reviews and pics it generated . They were so helpful – you can take a look with tag #V9253 on Instagram and Facebook.

I got thrown off schedule by my fabric. I thought it was cotton shirting. Apparently I don’t read every word of a fabric description, or I read the words to suit my purpose! This is polyester charmeuse – could there be anything worse to sew (or wear in Florida, for that matter). I didn’t touch it for a couple weeks, but finally decided to use it for a muslin.

SA prepAwful. The fabric ravels for no reason. More if it’s touched! This dress got tossed twice, just because fun was leaving the room.

Every single cut edge had to be serged before I could start sewing. I don’t mind that part – I was just afraid of losing my seam allowances before I got it all secured.

Back to the pattern. After my online research, and working with the pattern tissue itself, I decided on two changes:

1 – The deep V-neck is simply not something I’d wear. So I re-drafted it, using other V-neck dresses as a guide.


front bodice

2 – The waistline and tie look pretty in the envelope pictures, and in pictures on the Vogue site. However – I noticed on other versions that, in the front, the tie tends to end up several inches below the bodice seam. That would really bug me, because IMHO, the dress looks too short in the torso. (If you love it, please don’t be offended!) Anyway, I dropped the bodice, front and back, by a couple inches, which is not unusual for me. And I removed the front rise, so the tie could fall naturally on top of the seam.

back bodice

These changes actually work very pretty well for me. The neckline is comfortable, although I think I’d like it about 1″ lower, and the tie falls easily over the slightly raised waist (I’m using an Obi-ish belt that I keep in the loft for fittings. From V8807).



I did a few more tweaks – adjusted various pleats and darts, and reshaped the skirt to fit my bodice, little stuff that took hours 🙂


Conquered this! and I don’t know if I’ll ever sew it again. Maybe.

Ciao – Coco