Tessuti Lisa Dress – wild horses

It’s official, I’m moved in, unpacked, decorated, cleaned, and sewing 🙂

I think I’ve ignored this pattern because it is so similar to the Grainline Felix dress and a few others in my inventory. But I recently came across this adorable version, went on to read the Tessuti blog post, and love it.

Unfortunately, when I ordered my fabric from Cali Fabrics, I forgot to add yardage to make the ruffle. That has been corrected, and I’ll be receiving an additional yard in a couple days. Meanwhile, I sewed the dress, hemmed it, and am ready to make that ruffle adjustment.

Sewing notes:

  • I sewed the size small based on my bust measurement, and added 3″ to the hemline based on my height (5’8″).
  • I didn’t care for the rather high round neckline, so I changed it 🙂 I drafted and interfaced 2.5″ wide facings and attached them with a 1/2″ seam allowance. This lowers the neckline quite a bit and facilitates some pretty topstitching detail.
  • Those buttonholes are not opened! Since I can pull this dress over my head, the buttons are simply attached through both fronts.
  • Based on reviews by other sewists, I raised the underarm by 1/2″ – worked great, and I recommend this adjustment to avoid lingerie peek-a-boo. Whatever!
  • The Tessuti pocket construction didn’t suit me either, so I fashioned my own pockets (a bit wider and more rounded) and attached them in the ‘conventional’ way for side seam pockets. More detail – I sewed them to the front to prevent pocket flap. Pics below: (1) basting the finished pocket in place, (2) an outside view, and (3) topstitched using the basting stitches as a sewing guide.
  • So picky…I think the suggested double-topstitched finish on the seams is overkill and is likely to distort light fabrics. I serged my seam allowances, pressed them open, and topstitched them.

I love this high-low waistline!

Fun project, a kicky little dress. I’ll be back soon with that ruffle in place.

Bye for now! Coco

McCalls 7969 transitional dress

I’m still here! but a bit challenged on the sewing front. I’m working on my lightweight Brother machine, on a coffee table. But I’m so in love with sewing, all things are possible.

I don’t often shop patterns at JoAnn, but without my pattern inventory and printer at hand, I’ve been perusing the catalogs for things I can sew with limited resources. This cute dress caught my eye right away. I love the sleeves on View A!

I also really like the fabric in the envelope pic. Staying with the vibe, I chose a tropical aviary print in 100% cotton, again from JoAnn.

Sewing notes:

  • I sewed the size Medium, with just a few design and fit adjustments.
  • My first change was to add 4″ to the length of the skirt. With a 1 3/4″ hem allowance, it ended up in just the right place. BTW, I really like a deep hem in cotton fabric, for skirt or sleeve. The weight makes the fabric hang so nicely.
  • The neckline is very low! I increased the bodice crossover until I was happy with the depth of the v-neck. This adjustment also narrows the front bodice silhouette, which adds a little shaping.
  • My other ‘big’ change was to the sleeve, which was rather voluminous and dipped almost to my wrist on the back side.

The resulting sleeve is fun and super comfortable, without being over the top.

On the home front, I’m closing on my new house on October 7! I’m so ready to move in 🙂

Bye for now, Coco

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.

bodice

  • 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.

pocket

  • 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