Two Felix dresses and Sunday musing


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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

line art

This one is done in Kaufman Pickle yarn-dyed Essex linen from (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’.


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.


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


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



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.


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

A volunteer papaya! Thank you, Ms. Squirrel.


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


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

Grainline Felix dress numero dos


I worked very quickly to make my second version of the Grainline Studio Felix Dress! Which simply means I really like it. This one is in white Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen, made as a lounge dress. The unlined white is too transparent for public perusal, but the dress and fabric are wonderful to wear at home.

For background, my first post is here

And as promised, this post has lots of notes and suggestions on sewing the dress without a lining.

  • I used my original size 8 draft. However, I sewed the side seams at 3/4″ instead of 1/2″, to narrow the silhouette.
  • A note on linen: I do NOT clip notches, because the fabric is loosely woven and will ravel at any clips. Instead I use small brass pins, and, if needed, Frixion or quilters chalk to mark within a seam allowance. I also put a pin on the top right side of every piece – the front and back of some fabrics are nearly identical, also the nap, but the difference is easily seen in a finished garment if things get mixed. BTW, I always cut my pattern pieces in the same direction, even if it means using a bit more fabric.

pins and marks

  • I do a right sloping shoulder adjustment on all my garments. Otherwise I would have a bit of a wrinkle from the right inside shoulder out toward the lower armscye, both front and back. Due to scoliosis, my shoulders are 1″ different in height, shoulder to the floor. On a coat, the hems would not meet without the adjustment. On this pattern, lifting the right bodice impacts the join of the bodice to skirt – it will be too high at the seam. I just split the difference when I wrapped the front: the right bottom is a little short, the left is a little long. And I trued up the front curve. If you do a sloping shoulder adjustment, this will make sense ๐Ÿ™‚
  • For both comfort and a clean finish, I flat-felled my shoulder seam to the inside.
  • I also brought in the outside shoulder seam by 5/8″ on this version of the sleeveless dress. The pattern uses the same armscye for sleeves, and it’s too wide on me.

shoulder trim

  • As I mentioned in my first post, I used the right bodice front and bands for the left side as well, and wrapped the two fronts. There are two reasons for my madness: (1) I wanted to decrease bulk in the front band, and (2) I wanted a balanced finish on the outside of the dress. Left side, the inside. Right side, the outside:

Unfortunately, I have a pin inside the wrap on the pic below, discovered after it poked me ๐Ÿ™‚


  • The bands: I attached them as directed, but folded in the band facing just beyond the seam line. To finish, I stitched in the ditch on the outside.
  • No pockets. I wouldn’t use them, and they mess around with the directionality and bulk of the bodice seam. If I want them, I’ll do in-seam pockets.
  • I turned up my bodice/skirt seam allowances and topstitched them. I just don’t like the unconstructed appearance if the seam is left free. With washing, it would curl and do its own thing, up and down.
  • Speaking of seam allowances. I lightly gathered the back skirt into the back bodice, instead of easing (stretching) the two pieces to fit. Stretching that seam that much would just make it poke out…

back seam

  • I also used a uniform approach to my seams: stitched and then serged together at 3/8″. This works really well with linen.

seam finishes

  • Last point: I used a 2″ hem allowance. I just like a deep hem on linen. My first version is as instructed, 1/4″ fold, another 1/4″ fold, and topstitched, which is perfect for thin fabric. I didn’t add anything to the length, and it’s still clearly a midi.

Thoughts: I really like the spare aesthetic of this design. I also think a solid fabric showcases it. Ideas – A Lagenlook side seam, layered perhaps over a skirt. Or the beautiful mitered side slit from the Allie Olson Highlands Wrap Dress. Or Jen’s own shirttail hem from the Alder dress. Perhaps a maxi done with a deep gathered tier.

And that’s it for my unlined Felix! Ciao – Coco

Grainline Studio Felix Dress


Okey dokey. A review. I want to be as gentle as possible, because this pattern from Jen Beeman has some wonderful design elements.

line art

The examples from the Grainline site:

Screen Shot 2018-07-25 at 4.16.52 PM

I opted to make the sleeveless version, long length, as in the center photo above.


And before I go any further. Yes, I’m a little disappointed. I don’t think my dress meets my expectation. On the other hand, I’ve been wearing it all day, and I’ve become attached.

I sewed this in a solid color with intent – I like to see the lines of a dress, its design elements, when I sew it for the first time.


It happens that I am not in love with this color (I always have difficulty feeling comfortable in blue), but I do love the fabric itself, which is Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen from

Sewing notes:

  • No way was I going to line this dress. A lining, IMHO, is just overkill. I can understand that one might want to line a thin fabric. Butย if I want a wispy lightweight breezy something, in perhaps a voile or challis print, it won’t be in this pattern. All the design elements are lost in a print, and the lining is very difficult. A bodice with an attached skirt would work just as well.
  • I sewed the size 8, based on my measurements, and it’s way too big for me. Voluminous. The size gradient on the pattern is about 1/4″, so I could go way down to a size 4 and be comfortable. Actually, I wanted to give this a fair chance, so I washed and dried it before taking these pics, thinking it might have grown during the construction process ๐Ÿ™‚
  • I think the armhole is perfect for an armscye with a sleeve. On the sleeveless version, I think the outside shoulder should be moved in by at least an inch to give the upper bodice some distinction and anchor the dress. However – the depth of the armhole, as it is, barely covers lingerie. I used a 1/4″ seam allowance when I attached the armhole binding, and it’s iffy. Alert…
  • Of course I tried on the bodice before I decided on the ‘wrap’ of the front pieces. BTW, I cut both my fronts based on the right front, to avoid bulk in the neckband. I’m OK with the result, since this will be a lounge dress for me. But a caution: try it on and figure out the best landing place for the wrap. Adjusting the skirt to the bodice after deciding the wrap is easy, since it’s just eased in.


Bottom line. I’m happy to have this pattern, because I can adapt it to some other project. I particularly like the front and back seaming detail at the bodice/skirt join.

It’s definitely a sew and size challenge. But for me, it’s a pleasant alternative to my usual knit shifts. Next time I sew it, I’ll include some tips on managing the pattern without a lining.

Bye for now! Coco

Alder V-Neck Shirtdress with Sleeves


What’s up, Buttercup?

Yes, I’ve been influenced by all the bright yellow dresses this summer. But mine is mellow yellow Buttercup Brussels Washer Linen from

I’ve been planning this variation of the Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress for months. I love the pattern, but I’m not fond of collars. And, lately, I like sleeves when I go out (it’s that upper arm business ๐Ÿ™‚

Jen is so generous with her techniques for modifying her patterns. For this one I used two tutorials from her archives, the v-neck and sleeve variations:

Both have lots of info and pictures, and my draft worked perfectly on my first attempt!


Sewing notes:

  • My basic Alder pattern, View A, is size 10, with only two changes: adding 2.5″ to the length (I’m 5’7″) and drafting both fronts without an attached button band.
  • Jen uses self-fabric binding to finish her v-neck. I like a little more finish and weight on this neckline, so I drafted facings for the front and back. Cut at 2″ wide, they finish at the same width as the cut-on front facing.


front view

  • I love the shirttail hem on this dress! Making it simple, I serged my hem edges and turned them twice for a nice clean finish. Your best buddies for dealing with a curved hem are your steam iron and patience ๐Ÿ™‚

collage 2


  • My dress goes over my head easily, so I made the buttonholes but sewed the buttons on top and through both fronts. I’ve found that a buttonhole with rounded ends works really well with loose weaves, but I always practice first to find the best settings for the presser foot pressure and upper thread tension.


  • About this fabric, which is 55% linen and 45% rayon.ย It’s wonderful to sew and to wear, and it has the characteristic rumple of linen without the wrinkles. But itย will lint and shrink. I serge the cut ends of the yardage and wash/dry it at least two times before I use it. To convince doubters, this mound of lint is from 8 yards of fabric after two cycles!





Simply irresistible. Ciao! Coco

Butterick 5504 Capris and shorts


Revisiting a pattern I sewed way back in 2012, the year I started this blog! I had forgotten the nice lines and spectacular pockets of these pants.


My 2012 version was View B, the capris, done in lightweight stretch denim, and I really enjoyed wearing them. So I ordered a similar denim from Fabric Mart.ย However, the fabric was such a disappointment. It’s heavy, stiff, and very stretchy, quite a bit more than the 20% in its description. Multiple washings didn’t help, and I really couldn’t think of any way to use it successfully.

Having decided that, I was happy to play with it. I started with the capri length and then took off 14″ to see the shorts ๐Ÿ™‚


Top: New Look 6150 in grunge burnout jersey


Just a few sewing notes:

  • This is a Connie Crawford pattern, and it’s described as ‘modern fit’. I’m not sure what that implies, but I like it. In the envelope drawings, the pants look wider at the bottom, almost like sailor pants, but they actually have a straight leg, as in the line art.
  • I sewed the size Medium.
  • Rather than use a drawstring in the waist, I added 2โ€ to the waist band and used 2โ€ elastic. I think 2″ is a little too much and plan to use 1.5″ elastic on my next pair.
  • And I used broadcloth for the pocket facing to reduce weight. Those pockets – such a nice detail.


Odds and ends:

I finally found the pin in the sewing room carpet that’s gotten me (painfully) several times. Wicked – it’s a 2″ quilters pin.


And I did a muslin of the Grainline Studio Alder dress, View A. I had to reprint the PDF and draft new tissue in size 10, but it was worth the effort.ย I love the lines and fit, it just needs a nice summer fabric and a little shorter length.

view A


I’m not fond of pointed collars, so I tried a curved one. Very cute!

Alder collar

In addition to playing with patterns, I’ve been very busy online, cruising the spring and summer collections. I always try searching on Pinterest, but it insists on feeding me shredded blue jeans, skimpy tops, bras, and makeup tips for older women. So weird.

Bye for now! Coco