Kwik Sew 3873 and a summer muslin


Well, I’m trying very hard to break out of my maxi dress and loose tunic mold. It’s not easy! I haven’t made or worn a short dress in 3 years, ever since my morphea scleroderma took aim at my legs. With most of the lesions ‘burnt out’ into scar tissue, I decided it’s time to pull up my big girl britches and get over this particular mental bump. A short dress ūüôā

Grant you, the colors are all wrong for me, I bought this fabric before my color epiphany. But that just made it an easy choice to muslin a look that I really like. I.e., a slim dress with a slightly dropped waist, simple neckline, and short sleeves.

I started with the bodice from Kwik Sew 3873, because it has all the elements I wanted in the top. (It also has a super cute skirt. Check out this beautiful version by Cat in the Wardrobe).

line art

After a bit of flat-measuring, I added 1 7/8″ to the length of the bodice, dropping it about 1.5″ below my natural waist. And I drafted a simple A-line skirt. The top of the skirt is about 1.3 x the width of the bodice at the waist seam.


A note on the bodice front. The cut is so sensible. It’s a bit longer toward CF, so the skirt doesn’t hitch up due to the girls and so on.

front pattern piece
I drafted my version with 1/2″ seam allowances, not being willing to sew with a 1/4″ SA!

Truth time. Initially, I cut out a maxi skirt. Boring, same-old-same-old look. So I took off 17″. And then another 2″! I was on a roll – my finished skirt is 22″ long at the side seam ūüôā




I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself, and I’m looking forward to making some summer dresses sporting my new look.¬† It feels good…

Bye for now – Coco





Vogue 9168 Kathryn Brenne dress – end of story


And I mean it this time!

I’ve been messing with this dress since the third week of March. When I first wrote about it (here), I mentioned that it was well-drafted (it looked just like the envelope pic), but it was uncomfortable to wear. It was destined for a re-do in the fall. But it has been on the garment rack in the loft, and it’s been bugging me. So this week I took it on once more.

A pattern refresher РALL of the pieces, except the sleeve, are cut on the bias. I actually cut my back bodice on the straight grainline as well:

I decided to (1) put back the original flutter sleeve – it’s perfection and will be re-used, and (2) raise the waistline. The sleeve business was easy, and they’re beautiful. The waistline adjustment was a terror!

I carefully removed¬†the skirt from the bodice and got to work. And I¬†re-worked it¬†4 times! This is a rayon crepe fabric, and all those bias cuts just kept on growing and growing. I just couldn’t get and keep a straight seam in the front bodice edge.

Even the final version shows a new dip since it was finished this morning (the arrow). Looking past that, the double pleats in the front bodice are very flattering. They fit more closely than the original pattern, because I crossed the center front a bit to raise the neckline.


 The back is very pretty, no problems there.


An inside look – the waist has a narrow casing¬†¬†with¬†1/4″ elastic.


I know there are ways to stabilize the waist – a buckram waist stay, invisible side zip, etc. but I can’t wear those against my skin, and am not about to wear a slip. This hot and humid Florida, and I’m into easy dressing.

I’m glad I continued to work with this dress, which is now officially out of the house. I’m done with bias cuts! but I learned a lot. I certainly know why all those movie star bias-cut dresses have unstructured, dipped and draped bodices.

To close – here’s the same fabric, in a different colorway, in¬†the StyleArc Toni Designer Dress (posted here, way back in November). Much better marriage of pattern and fabric. And I love the colors!


Okey dokey –¬†I’m off to more fun stuff! Bye for now – Coco



Diane Kimono Dress to the rescue…


OK – my recent wadder with this fabric has really been bugging me. I had such hopes for the fabric, and I’m very reluctant¬†to give up on things.

So, I removed the bodice, cut a new one from the Serendipity Studio Diane Kimono Dress (fortunately I had left-over fabric ), and made a new dress! A look at the old yucky dress and the Diane pattern:

The skirt on the original was from the Diane dress anyway, so it just made sense to try it. Bonus – I discovered that the Diane works really well with challis. I was thinking it wouldn’t, that it would be too drapey. But it¬†has just the right amount of swish ūüôā


My original was hemmed at midi length, so I added a gently gathered 7.5″ ruffle/flounce to the bottom of the skirt. Squint, you’ll see it – it’s much more obvious in real life…


Rayon challis is obnoxious to gather on the sewing machine, so I made the ruffle on my serger. A couple notes on this:

  • I used two needles, 4 threads. This makes the serged/gathered edge a little ‘sturdier’ than a 3-thread ruffle.
  • The gathering¬†is soft, maybe a 1.3:1 ratio at the most, because I didn’t want a frou-frou ruffle on this A-line skirt.
  • I enjoy new techniques, so I did a test¬†with my serger¬†gathering¬†presser foot, unused until today. It creates a¬†ruffle and attaches it to the main fabric all in one pass. ¬†But the gathering was inconsistent, and it was a real pain to hold the two fabrics in the right¬†position as they moved forward. Challis is shifty even when it’s behaving! I’m curious, though, and¬†plan to do more tests with other fabrics.


So – end of the day, in the late afternoon sunlight in the kitchen – I’m really glad I didn’t give up ūüôā

Ciao! Coco


Serendipity Diane Dress – a note on the neckline

Throwback Thursday post –¬†to 2 days ago!

After I wrote about the Serendipity Studio Diane Kimono Dress recently, I realized that I left out a modification I made to the neckline. And I think it could be helpful to anyone who prefers a higher neckline and V-crossover.

In the pics above, the dress on the left has the original neckline. On the right, the dress I just made has a higher neckline.

The change is very easy:

  • I extended¬†the shoulder by 1″ at the neckline, front and back.
  • And I raised the back neckline as well.
  • The new front edge is¬†trued into the original pattern at the bottom edge.
  • The final¬†step was to re-draw the neckline facings to match.

One last note¬†– I didn’t use a drawstring in the waistband of any of my versions of this dress. I just inserted 1″ elastic, and, on my early versions, added a ‘faux’ drawstring, tacked to the band.

Hope this is helpful – have a great Thursday! Coco

Serendipity Studio Diane Dress – Dragons!


It’s good to have dragons on your side…

I saw this Riley Blake fabric on sale at Fabric Mart and scooped it up. It’s from the 2014 Year of the Ninja collection by Scott Jarrard, and the price was soooo low. Serendipitous!

I’m a big fan of Kay Whitt (Serendipity Studio) – she loves quilting cottons, and her designs really showcase them. I sewed 4 versions of this pattern in 2012 (here), and for some reason, I haven’t revisited it since. It’s so cute and wearable, and the style is timeless. It has the look of a wrap dress without all the aggravation – the skirt is not split, so there’s nothing to chase.

Diane Envelope Pic

I sewed the size Small, and the fit is wonderful. Just a few changes and tweaks:

  • Kay uses a 5’4″ model, so I added 1.5″ to¬†the length of the bodice (1/2″ just below the armscye and 1″ at the bottom edge). And I added another 15″ to¬†the skirt for a maxi.


  • The pattern offers a slim-ish skirt or one that’s a bit fuller. I used the latter¬†– it’s a comfortable A-line, just barely gathered at the waist.


  • Of course I added side-seam pockets. To prevent their waving around on the inside, I topstitched them in place on the front.



I love the faced neckline and bound sleeves. Such nice touches. And the drafting on the sleeve is beautiful.


I’m so glad I remembered this pattern. It’s perfect for spring and summer cottons. And it’s now available in print or PDF. For years, Kay did not offer her patterns as downloads. I have the printed version, but if I were to buy it now for the first time, I’d go for the PDF. I like them! Actually, once they’re taped together, they’re great for flat measuring, drawing, and re-drafting. I write all over¬†them…


Oops.¬†Why doesn’t the camera pause when the phone rings?


Ciao! Coco