Simplicity 8640 summer dress

A bit of fun. My sew-jo is alive and well, but my blogging-jo has been terribly repressed. Frankly, I spend my days watching Netflix (lately, Dexter) or sewing small projects. But I do put on a fresh dress every day, and I focus on what I can control and what I cannot control. I am wary, being 72 years old, but I do go to the grocery, mask and gloves, quick visit. Boy, I miss grazing in stores. For fabric, Amazon is my buddy, the ultimate contact-free shopping alternative. And I’m serious about that.

Simplicity 8640 – wonderful pattern, sewn many times with all the front piecing. Strangely, or predictably, I found that the stitching in the front pieces was irritating the skin on my chest. Solution: I drafted a one-piece front 🙂

Looking back at earlier versions, I think a white linen is in the wings. Following, just lots of pics, nothing has changed much other than the front.

Fabric: Fabric Merchants Challis Floral Navy/Orange, I purchased this on Amazon, but its also sold on the site.

Next up – actually I’ve sewn 2 jackets and a pair of pants. All of which I really love. And I have another pair of pants planned. I’m minding my mental state, these are such difficult times, at times I feel so isolated.

For now, and I hope you are well, Coco

True Bias Shelby dress – mellow muslin

So, in line with this being a muslin, I’m totally bed-headed and unadorned! It’s early 🙂

I’ve been looking for this pattern design for ages. It’s a throwback to the 90’s, when this dress style was so popular. I bought my first one in Brazil, soon found a couple more at the Limited, and loved them for casual Fridays. I see similar styles now on Pinterest, generally described as a French dress, often with cute sleeves.

Beautiful drafting and options from Kelli at True Bias:

I used this yellow chambray because it’s destined for face masks – it’s way too much yellow for me to wear, and of course it doesn’t have the drape of a voile or challis. However, it was easy to manipulate, mark, and adjust during my fitting of the dress.

Sewing notes:

  • Drafted size 10, view B, based on my bust and broad shoulders and back. It fit nicely in in the shoulders, back, and upper bodice, but I took a lot out of the balance of the dress after I sewed it to the original seam lines.
  • Removed 6 3/4″ from the hemline – it’s long!
  • Took in the side seams and back princess seams starting at the waist curve, down to the hemline.
  • And took in the front princess seam quite a bit at the bustline. I did this in small increments until I had the fit I liked.
  • Small changes, I added 1/2″ to the short sleeve, and 2″ to the ties. The latter were sewn with a 3/8″ SA instead of 5/8″.

On Emile!

Next up for this cute dress, Telio rayon challis from

I hope you and your community are well and safe, Coco

McCall 7597 Tunic dress redux

This is a true revival, because I somehow tossed this pattern (I was in the midst of a style change cycle). But I recently wanted it back – found and ordered on Etsy. Whew.

I first made this back in 2017 (post here), and I really enjoyed the ‘possibilities’ of this classic tunic design. I even drafted a v-neck version, which I revisited in this version.

As I’ve been hankering for slow, challenging sewing, I decided to use bias trim around the bib as well. Ha. It was not easy! because it forced me to bind the neckline rather than use facings.

I also think I went overboard, as I used a contrast and trimmed yoke. Honestly, I wish I had not, as I don’t particularly like the way it looks. On the other hand, I cannot see it!

Fabric: Telio Sofia rayon challis,, purchased on Amazon

I’m in love with Telio fabrics from, and their Fabric Merchants line as well.

It’s a rainy day here in Orlando, very cool and quiet. All the trees are deeply green with new leaves and the benefit of additional moisture. We’ll be in our rainy season in another couple weeks, much needed after record heat this spring. My only regret is that I cannot visit plant nurseries and start the gardens in the front of the house. Small small issue in these times.

Continuing thoughts and prayers for the well-being of all, Coco

Tessuti Lisa – Easter dress

Beautiful windy day – and I’ve kicked myself into putting on a new dress and spending some time writing.

While my sew-jo is fairly healthy, maybe a bit diminished, I find it hard to put on a garment and take pics. In fact, to be truthful, on most days I look for diversion on the TV or internet, and I long for bedtime. Isn’t that awful. Every day is so precious, and I know it. I am working on it…

This beautiful, airy, gorgeous voile was intended for my Easter dress. I was ready to hunt for Easter eggs and strut my stuff in church. Ok, understandable, but I still need to enjoy the spirit of this fabric.

This is the Tessuti Lisa dress, the original hemline with a 12″ ruffle added at the base. An earlier version is here, with sewing notes. Actually I might have forgotten to add that I raised the armscye by 1/2″, it is very low. And I can share that I used all of 4 yds at 54″ wide for this ruffled version.

More pics…

Fabric: Telio Verona cotton/rayon voile from

I hope you are well, Coco

Vogue 9237 flight of fantasy spring dress

Sometimes I just want to have some fun. As in ignore my age and absolutely (resolutely) run away from tourist’s polyester shorts/tops, and the ubiquitous leggings, t-shirt, and sneaks cop-out! Yes, I said that 🙂

This is not a new pattern, but it caught my eye because of the back ruffle detail.

Pattern from, it took 15 days to arrive. Ridiculous…

I am always up for a little back sass…

I read lots of reviews, and a couple things stood out: the neckline is high and the armscye/sleeve is a bit uptight. Appreciating all that great input, I made just a few changes.

Sewing notes:

  • I sewed the size Medium, just because I have a broad chest and back.
  • I removed quite a bit from the ‘tent’ design lines below the armscye.
  • My armscye and sleeves are drafted using the Grainline Studio Felix dress. It and the Allie Olsen Highlands dress fit me so well in this area.
  • The underarm sleeve seam is finished at 4″.
  • I eyeballed and redrew the back and front neckline to something more flattering and comfortable. I can pull this over my head, so no need for the back closure on the pattern.
Fabric: From Hawthorne Fabrics, Hedgehog metallic black cotton, Ombre confetti metallic black, both by Moda. Bling!
  • The ruffle on the pattern is very full. I removed 7″ from the width, and, to combat a side-seamline pouf, started my gathers about 2.5″ in from the side seam.

I love the great little pockets, stitched down on the front to prevent flopping. Included in the pattern…

It’s short! but it’s comfy and fun. Following this pic session I hosed down my porch and screens (green pollen this time of year), and I’m really liking this little style departure.

Ciao! Coco

Helens Closet York Pinafore

I am really back to sewing! I bought Helen’s pinafore pattern way back in the spring, just waiting to wear in cooler weather. Today, with a short sleeve tee, but I have every intention of styling it with a black long-sleeve tee and black leggings. Maybe boots!

There is something about this pattern, it just says fun and wear me.

Sewing notes – well, a bunch:

  • I sewed View A, the deep neckline, in size 8. The pattern has generous ease, and I did not want a loosey-goosey look. Size 8 is perfect for me (5’7″, 33″ bust, 31″ waist, 34″ hips, 128 lbs).
  • Basic Changes: the pattern has two lengthen/shorten lines in the bodice. I raised each one by 1/2″. I did not want the neckline cutting across my bust apex, or the waistline hanging below my waist.
  • More: I added a button placket to the front and drafted neckline/pocket facings. My intention was to stabilize the garment, so it would not be loose and unstructured. I think these adjustments work really well.
  • The button placket is simple. I added 2″ to the CF and used it to create the placket and self-facing. The plackets have Pellon SF101 woven fusible interfacing to give them weight and structure. I sewed the buttonholes, but I did not open them. The dress just pulls over the head, so I sewed the buttons through both plackets.
  • And yes, I pattern-matched the fabric. Wiggling eyes… This is Robert Kaufman Peacock Balboa linen (55% linen/45% cotton), 43″ wide, from I am in love with the Balboa line. I cut the pattern on the fold, 2.5 yards.

Just pics:

Ciao! coco

Vogue 1315 Knit dress revival

Oh, it feels so good to be sewing again! Not costumes or gifts, but, yes, selfish sewing 🙂

And this is a true revival – I made this dress way back in 2013, loved it, put on weight, lost weight, let my hair go white, and now it’s back. I’m just glad I kept the pattern!

This dress has delightful pockets, really stunning and beautifully drafted. Although the construction is much like a puzzle, the instructions are clear, and everything works out in the end.

Fabric: olive green heather cotton/spandex jersey from Girl Charlee. It’s a 10 oz. midweight knit and perfect for a dress.

Sewing the bodice is much the same as sewing a tee shirt. I admit, though, that I don’t use the double-layer funky neck band that comes with the pattern. Mine is simply bound with 1 3/4″ wide fabric cut across the stretch of the knit.

Sewing notes:

  • I sewed the size 10 (my 2013 version was size 14, primarily driven by my bust measurement, pre-removal of breast implants. Happy day, that decision).
  • I managed the dress with only 2 yards of 55″ wide fabric, nothing left over but plenty yardage for the pattern.
  • The dress is quite short, so I added 5″ to the length of the skirt and used a 3/4″ hem allowance.
  • Edited to include: And I reworked the front neckline using the Grainline Studio Lark tee. Raised it a couple inches. Thank you, Becky, for noting this is your comment!
  • No more changes!

Photo notes:

  • It’s 58 degrees outside and I was freezing! Like those porch flip-flops?
  • I have a huge 14’w x 24’l screen porch that is largely empty but has all new Florida-bug proof screening. I bought 4 Christmas cactus because they are available now, and I was gifted my first orchid for Christmas.
  • Missing from my furniture shipment: my metal plant shelf unit and my watering can 🙂

Happy New Year!! Bye for now, Coco