StitchSisters Kaftan in a knit fabric

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This didn’t take long! After my 5-day linen version saga (here), I indulged my curiosity and sewed this kaftan in a knit fabric. This is a lightweight rayon/lycra French terry from Cali Fabrics. It’s so soft! This exact print is not available at the moment, but they have similar prints and many solids.

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My first post has sewing notes and a link to the pattern, but here are a couple notes on this version:

  • The first thing I did was to cut the back neckline too low. With the 75% horizontal stretch, it was just too wide at my shoulders. I took a small pleat, about 1 1/4″, at center back, stitched the pleat together on the inside for about 8″, and topstitched it on the outside to avoid exuberant behavior (I accented one side in this pic since the stitching is hard to see).

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back pleat full

  • After that little goof, the construction was straightforward. I decided to use the center front seam as suggested in the pattern, and I didn’t have any difficulty adding the neckline binding.

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front close

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Happy pattern and dress 🙂

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Many thanks to the StitchSisters for this lovely (free) download pattern and abundant sewing guidelines. I’m off to post on Instagram, the #sewingsansfrontieres pattern challenge.

Ciao! Coco

BTW, here are some more Igram links for the challenge hosts:

@sewing_in_spain

@hportemanteau

@suestoney

 

StitchSisters Kaftan

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This could be titled ‘how to turn a 1-hour project into a 2-day project!

I’ve been really intrigued by all the StitchSisters kaftans popping up on Instagram. So much so that I decided to give this free pattern a go and join in the fun.

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My version is color-blocked with stripes.

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And all that color blocking is which is why my project took a couple days. I’ve had lots of linen remnants this year, and I wanted to use them. I spent hours on the cutting board, futzing around with pieces. This is not my favorite thing to do. Working with my remnants, I managed this dress. Not all of the pieces are cut on the grainline, some are cut across the grainline, but always, all of them, straight. NO bias going on here.

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Sewing notes:

  • I based my pieces on the size 8. I’m 5’6 1/2″ tall, so I added an extra inch at the hemline. And over an inch to the length of the sleeve.
  • My goal was to have the blocks grow longer, top to bottom, and have the color ‘weight’ go down as well.
  • I spent some time on the sleeve, within the first block, so that the sleeve/side seam would meld without a color interruption.
  • I thought an intermittent color stripe (pink) would balance the overall silhouette.
  • I did not use a CF seam on this. My back and front are the same width. And I drew my neckline from the Charlie Caftan and faced the neckline. It’s such a nice clean finish at this focal point.

I love the result!

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This took a couple days, but it was was all fun 🙂 I really like this!

Ciao – Coco

Simplicity 8640 dress in white linen

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It’s a very rainy Saturday, and my plans to take pics in the garden gave way to the storms we’re having. It’s noon, and we’ve already had over an inch of rain today. My garden alligator is swimming (he’s concrete, BTW, but very convincing).

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In the spirit of things, I just drank more coffee and took pics in the loft.

This is my second version of Simplicity 8640 (first one here). Any time I really like a pattern, I do a repeat pretty quickly. I’m so self-indulgent!

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This one has a few tweaks, the most significant being a shorter length. Originally I added 1 5/8″ to the hemline of the pattern, but after seeing the photos and actually wearing my red dress, I decided it was too long. This one is 1″ shorter, and I think the length is perfect. And, yes, I went back and shortened the red one 🙂

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I also improved my pocket pattern by taking the 5/8″ seam allowance off the top edge and re-drawing the facing. This is a very small change, but, IMO, the result is more balanced.

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First version:

I’m so in love with the front detail. I cut the the bodice pieces on the straight grainline this time, instead of on the bias. Much better! The bias cut actually pushed out at the seam lines and caused a little ballooning on my red dress.

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Fabric: Kaufman Brussels Washer linen from Fabric.com

What a fun dress!

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And I’m off to the loft to sew. Bye for now – Coco

Simplicity 8640 Handkerchief hem dress

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Looking sassy for a reason! I fell in love with this pattern the moment I saw a post on Instagram by my friend Valerie. Here’s a copy, and here’s her post. I unabashedly called her an enabler because I ordered the pattern and some fabric within 30 minutes. A happy shout-out, thanks, Val.

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The pattern, which I think is from last year:

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So cute for summer (and all year here in Florida).

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Fabric: Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen Blend in Brick, from Fancy Tiger Crafts

Sewing notes:

  • I sewed a straight size 12, based on my 34″ bust. I noticed on other reviews that the bodice tended to be a little tight across the girls, which informed my size decision.
  • Not sure of what length I wanted, I cut the shorter length plus 1 5/8″. For reference, I’m now 5′ 6 1/2″ (yes, I was taller in the past, actually 5′ 81/2″ in my prime :-).
  • Following Val’s lead, I used a short sleeve. I found a perfect match in McCalls 7597. It matches the sleeve from this pattern down to the notches and marks! My only change was to add 3/8″ to the length of the sleeve.

Notes on finishing:

  • I serged my front and back seam allowances and topstitched them on each side of the seam. The pattern would have you press the SA to one side first. Well, that’s off-center, plus, with this approach, the topstitching echoes the topstitching on the facing.

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  • That curved 5/8″ hem . First, there’s no crying in sewing. I angled out my side seam for the last 5/8″, to give me enough ease to turn the hem inside a pretty tight curve. I ran a line of stitching 5/8″ from the raw edge and pressed it up. It was easy to turn a narrow hem after that.

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 Ta da 🙂

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  • The pocket. Well, the pattern pocket is lined, with a gathered front. As did many before me, I only used the lining pattern. Not wanting to add additional weight, I also drafted my pocket to have a cut-on facing. This is easy to do! and I’m really happy with the result.

One more pic (I love this hem), and I’m off to work on a white linen blouse.

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Ciao! Coco

 

Two Felix dresses and Sunday musing

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I feel very green this morning! I hustled outside to take some pics ahead of our daily rain (and it’s raining now, pouring), and I was amazed by the green cast on all my photos of this dress! BTW, it’s Sunday, so no fancy styling going on here. Except for flip flops, because my patio is a guava-hazard area 🙂

The Grainline Felix dress continues to intrigue and please – I love it!

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This one is done in Kaufman Pickle yarn-dyed Essex linen from Fabric.com (here). Essex is 55% linen/45% cotton, so it shrinks and lints a bit. As with all my linens, this yardage was washed/dryed 3 times before I used it. And returned to the laundry again after I finished sewing it. Result – wonderful soft rumply linen. I do not press or iron my linen garments once they go into rotation. To me, they simply say ‘tropics’.

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As with all my Felix dresses, this is not lined. Sewing the Felix without lining is easy, and I posted my approach earlier (here), along with notes on my size choice, sewing tips, and adjustments.

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I love the front and back seaming detail and all the opportunities for topstitching to define the design.

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Unable to resist, I also sewed a version in black Kaufman Brussels Washer linen, again from Fabric.com. This blend is 55% linen/45% rayon.

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Total this summer: 4 Felix dresses.

Staying with the green theme, I’ve been harvesting strawberry guavas for a couple weeks, and, with a gallon in the freezer, I’m done. Our rainy season this year started 6 weeks earlier than usual, which resulted in incredible fruit on this tree and many others. The palm date spathes all over Weston have been beautiful. I actually had some removed from my Chinese fan palms because they are such prolific germinators.

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More from the haphazard section of my garden (that means I need to do some planting):

A volunteer papaya! Thank you, Ms. Squirrel.

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The sole marigold survivor from my casual broadcast of two packets of seeds.

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Loft construction area, a couple repeats: an Allie Olson Highlands Wrap Dress and a True Bias Yari Jumpsuit! Both in Kaufman linens.

I hope everyone is enjoying a nice weekend. Ciao! Coco