Alder variation and cleaning the loft!


Second post today. I’ve been in house-cleaning mode all day (I should be wearing a Lucille Ball head scarf), and I decided to take a break and get some photos of a blouse that’s been aging in the loft. So I can wear it 🙂

I love the Grainline Alder dress, it has such a nice silhouette, and it’s easy to modify. For this blouse, I decided to create a fold-and-gather detail for the back. Back details on garments intrigue me. IMHO, something should be interesting both coming and going.

Itty bits: I split the back and drafted it to have a fold with gathers in a lower skirt.


The fold is at the height of the bust dart and is 1″ deep. I added a couple inches to the bottom piece for the gathers.


Love this look. Kind of Audrey Hepburn. I think it would be fantastic on a dress version.


I wanted to take pics outside, but the rainy season persists. Wind, rain, but the garden and I are happy.

While doing all the terry cloth project clean-up, I realized I have more things to blog. I have had them hanging in the loft, and they’ve been neglected! Another day…

Bye for now – Coco

Linen blouse trifecta

Fabric: Kaufman Brussers washer linen from

Before I got caught up in my recent kaftan, linen shift, and apron saga, I spent a few interesting days drafting a top for jeans. I’ve always loved a white blouse/jeans combo.


Trifecta – I used three patterns! The sleeve is from the Allie Olson Highlands Wrap Dress, the front bodice from the V-neck variation of Grainline Studio’s Alder dress, and the back is from The Sewing Workshop Trio Top.


Funky, right? Pics:



The real challenge was the back because the Trio top is quite boxy and oversized. I made a copy of the back of the Alder dress and incorporated the Trio detail to fit. Then I cut out the pieces, added width to the skirt center back for the gathers, and drew everything again with seam allowances. A jigsaw puzzle 🙂


(Below, I moved just as the camera clicked. Aaargh)


A kickback to the 70’s – I think I’d really like it in white cotton jersey as well.

Bye for now, Coco

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 🙂

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 🙂
  • 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 🙂


  • 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. But 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 🙂
  • 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