My version of planning!

Hmmm. I really don’t plan beyond 1 or 2 projects, and I seldom have more than 2 or 3 pieces of fabric in my stash. I tend to sew multiples of a pattern before moving on to new territory, a habit that sometimes leaves me feeling burnt out. When this happens, I invariably start browsing patterns, and I even cruise my own blog for inspiration. It’s amazing how many patterns I’ve made and liked and haven’t repeated in a while.

First up – The Grainline Lark Tee. I decided to try the scoop neckline version. I’ve had the Lark since its release, but I’ve only sewn the crew neck! For this muslin, having a 2-yard rayon jersey remnant, I drafted a dress version as well (just longer and a bit A-line).

Great neckline and the band fits perfectly!

I didn’t really model this, as it was meant to be a nightie. But I did add a belt, and, surprise, rather cute!

Second – I ordered four Big 4 patterns, something I seldom do these days, choosing Indie patterns most of the time. But these will be great!

Found on Etsy
From Something Delightful
From Something Delightful

I’ve sewn all three of the above in the past, but I need a fresh pattern – I’m smaller than I was way back then. Last, a new pattern that I’ve had on my wishlist for ages and just found on Etsy this week! Views A, B, and C have faux wrap skirts, yay!

I have plenty of black jersey to do a muslin, but also ordered fabric for the dress – Girl Charlee’s classic pineapple print knit, used several years ago in a Cali Faye Gardenia dress:

I’ve been watching the blue jays attack a large hawk that’s been terrorizing the neighborhood bird population. It’s high season for mating and nesting in our dense tree canopy here. Unfortunately, he doesn’t even flinch, but I hope Mr. Hawk returns to his usual turf soon.

Bye for now, Coco

Grainline Felix maxi dress

Spring is right around the corner here in Florida! Time for a new maxi dress to brighten the closet.

I found this delightful fabric online at The House of Mami Wata. The shop is new to me, and it’s incredible. So many beautiful African prints – check it out!

The print just invites a maxi dress with a flounce. After a bit of looking, I decided to use a variation of the Grainline Studio Felix dress. The bodice is fun, and the skirt has plenty of room to showcase a large print.

Sewing notes:

  • The pattern is somewhat oversized – this is size 4 (Grainline sizing), and it’s a great fit. BTW, when I first sewed the Felix, I used the size 8, per the sizing chart (post here). Then I went down to a size 6, still large, and am now happy with the size 4! It’s really just a matter of how one wants it to fit – I like a more slender silhouette.
  • As in all my previous versions, I used the same pattern piece for both sides of the front bodice. I just don’t care for all the fussy sewing that the original pattern requires!
  • Staying with the bodice, I also reshaped the armscye a bit. The pattern is really shaped for a sleeve to be added, so you might want to check the fit for a sleeveless version.
  • As before, no lining!
  • I used the midi length as my base and added an 11 1/2″ deep ruffle (finished).
  • The pattern includes pockets, which IMHO are awkwardly sized and placed (they’re in the bodice/skirt seamline).

Instead, I used a simple large patch pocket sewn across the side seam, my favorite approach for a casual maxi.

These are cut at 10.5″ wide x 12.5″ high, finishing at 9.5″ wide x 10″ high. A bit of interfacing in the self-facing prevents the top from sagging or flopping open.

  • A note on the fabric: this one, ANKARA – GREEN, GRAY ‘ARCADIA’, is 100% cotton and is unwaxed. After a test-washing a swatch, I tossed it in the washer and dryer. No running or loss of color whatsoever! It is so saturated with color that I can’t discern a difference between sides. As a precaution, I put a small safety pin on the ‘right’ side of all my pattern pieces as I cut them out, just in case there is a difference with continued laundering.

Love it! Bye for now – Coco

Grainline Studio Lark Tee tunic

Greetings from sunny Florida! Actually this the first really warm day in several weeks. And tonight we return to our typical winter chill. I like to take pics outside, but not when I’m cold!

It really has been chilly, and I’ve been lusting after some cozy long sleeve tees to wear over leggings. Typically my knit tops only last one season, so I’m filling a seasonal gap.

I chose to start with the Lark tee because it has a crew neck option and good bones. This is a great tee pattern:

Sewing notes:

  • I drafted the size 14, a couple sizes larger than I sew for a ‘regular’ tee shirt, to get the loose fit I like in a tunic.
  • The pattern has a generous center back length at 28″, to which I added 2″ for that tunic look (read that as ‘covers the tush’).
  • I also took out the form-fitting curves at the waist and hip.
  • DBP is relatively easy to sew, just test your machine and serger settings before starting. It’s densely knit and a bit spongy, think of an ITY with body. I find that a jersey needle works best – no skipped stitches or pierced threads.
I love this double-brushed poly knit from JoAnn – Ember Dark Orange Gingko Leaf. I got the last 2 yards from my store, and I think it’s sold out online.
  • The fabric is 58″ wide, so I had a nice remnant for an infinity scarf!

More pics:

Parting shot – the Christmas cactus continues to bring joy. They love the cool weather.

With warm thoughts, I hope this finds you well – Coco

Grainline Alder – Mandarin blouse muslin

Muslin time! I’ve been thinking about drafting a mandarin collar blouse for 8 years – ever since I saw a young woman in the dentist office wearing a white sleeveless version over jeans. It was so fresh and feminine.

I’m right in the middle of making a dress, but decided to stop and get started on the blouse.

My starting point was the beautiful Grainline Alder shirtdress. It’s so well-drafted and lends itself to many variations.

Some time ago, Jen posted a tutorial on a band collar option, using just the collar stand. Brilliant!

Sewing notes:

  • I started with the size 8, with a few tweaks to accommodate my hollow chest and thin neck.
  • The collar stand – I wanted it a bit higher with a fuller curve at the front edge. And no button.

I’m so pleased with the result!

  • Impossible to see on this print, I also added 2.5″ to width of the back piece, gathered into the yoke. I just like the added ease provided by this small change and have incorporated it in all my Alder shirtdress versions.
  • This muslin has a CB of 25″, but I’m planning to narrow this hem and lengthen future versions to 26.5″
  • Miscellaneous: my fabric is cotton voile from Fabric Mart. To ensure that the collar would not be floppy, I interfaced it with midweight non-woven interfacing. And I used cotton broadcloth to interface the front button bands.
  • I also drafted 2″ wide facings for the neckline, front and back, to add stability around the collar seam.

Great project, soon to be sewn in white fabric.

Parting note: You guys are the best. I am so uplifted by all the thoughtful comments on my last post. I really do feel that I have a team of friends supporting me. Thank you 🙂 Coco

Felix and the hidden zebras


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.

line art

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!


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.


  • 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.


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.

Screen Shot 2019-05-14 at 12.49.19 PM

Stay cool – or warm, and happy sewing. Ciao! Coco

Grainline Studio Felix – redrafted!


I am such a fan of the Felix dress. When it first came out, I made a couple right away.

line art


Interestingly, I made the size 8, and it was big on me.

By the time I made my beloved pickle green version, I was holding it in the back to take a picture 🙂


Time to rethink and redraft. I reprinted the pattern and drafted the size 4. Big difference! And it also highlighted an issue I often encounter. I’m flat-chested, and my left shoulder is 3/4″ higher than my right shoulder (scoliosis at work). The resulting bodice, with no changes, was really discouraging. Bad on Emile, worse on me.

original with pull

Having constructed the bodice, I went to work. Changes I made:

  • I lifted the bottom line of the bodice by about 4″, then realigned the base of the v-neck to allow for the shoulder business.
  • I trimmed the front skirt to have a shallow curve to match with my new bodice.
  • And I took a bit of the flare out of the torso area.



Much better!!



Last change: I did not include the pockets included with the pattern. My dress is unlined, and the original pockets do not finish nicely without the lining. Instead, I used the pockets from Simplicity 8640, a favorite, and attached them once my dress was finished.

Fabric: Floral Medley Print stretch poplin, Fabric Mart

front closeup 1

I love to sew!

BTW, I also love the JellyPop Dallas slip-on sneakers I found at Belk. I have arthritis in my instep, and conventional lace-up sneaks hurt the top of my foot. These are so comfortable, like going barefoot (3 colors now).

Ciao! Coco

Is it Christmas yet? Maxi Alder


The time between Halloween and Christmas is my favorite season. So of course I had to make a fun dress to wear!

Actually I searched everywhere for the fabric equivalent of the ugly Christmas sweater. Maybe I looked too soon, but I found this cute stripe pattern, complete with silver snowflakes, at Walmart.


I just cut the Grainline Alder dress to a maxi length. And added a 1.25″ waistband, with elastic, for my first go at a Christmas dress.



It took about 3 yards, but I bought 4, just enough to make a little something else…

Loving the holidays…Coco