Holiday ramble

Happy holidays!

Busy much? I love this time of year, so much to do, family, services, and general good will. Even grocery shopping is more enjoyable ๐Ÿ™‚

After my marathon costume making for the Christmas pageant, I’m slowly getting back in the mood to so some sewing and posting (yes, Christmas gifts included stash-making dollars from my dear children). Meanwhile, random pics from the last couple weeks…

From the Christmas Pageant – the children were adorable and so excited. Thirty children took part, including a choir of little angels. Beautiful.
A wonky gift to Preston (everyone loved it)! I ordered the ants about a week before Christmas, and they arrived on Christmas Eve, just in time. I searched online everywhere for this ant farm, and I found it at Barnes and Noble.

My tree service guys just arrived, after a full week of rain delays. They are removing all the ancient shrubs from the front of the house, and they’re giving the tangerine tree the haircut of its lifetime. Trimming, wind-proofing, and balancing. The tree is beautiful and very old. I don’t want to lose it to a hurricane.

Yesterday was an online marathon, as I took full advantage of holiday discounts on 4 Indie patterns that have been calling my name.

Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse
Style Arc Cameron dress
Style Arch Armidale dress
Helen’s Closet York Pinafore

I’ve even ordered fabric, and the first delivery is tomorrow. Now I’m excited!!

Hoping everyone is finding joy and peace in this beautiful time of year,


Christmas pageant costumes

Greetings! I just realized yesterday that my last post was almost a month ago. I’ve been so busy, in a wonderful and fulfilling way.

I’m so happy in my new church home, and I’ve looked for ways to serve and get involved. In early November, the call for sewists went out – the Christmas pageant costumes were in need of ‘revitalization’ and/or replacement. I went over and, to my surprise, came home with the animals! Talk about a challenge – 3 sheep, 3 cows, and 3 donkeys for the little 3-5 year olds. I haven’t attempted costumes since my own children were that age, long ago. And my only animal was a bunny…

Thank goodness for Pinterest, which opened a world of examples. I chose my models:

And I found two great patterns for the costume basics:

Each costume has a top from S2068 and a hood from S2855, with embellishments. For the bottoms I used True Bias Mini Hudsons. I chose these because the cuffs are easily turned to accommodate our shorter grazers.

Fabric, XXXL Gilden T-shirts, JoAnn
Fabric: Cotton interlock, JoAnn
Fabric, Blizzard fleece, JoAnn

These 9 costumes took me much longer to sew than I anticipated, but I’m really pleased with the results, and I’m excited to see the little ones in the pageant. Christmas Eve will have additional meaning to me, and I’m grateful.

Bye for now – Coco

Must-have holiday sling bag


And of course it’s a gift. I’m sending it this week to my beautiful Ashley, to be enjoyed for the season. I know she will love it!

Background: I’ve made dozens of these bags, many back when Ashley and I had a craft table at charity events. Our logo was ‘Back Alley Five & Dime’, because we focused on small, affordable crafts. This bag was the only thing that was priced above $10. We didn’t make money on our sunk costs, but we did get to make the donations that were our aspiration. Plus we had so much fun ๐Ÿ™‚

square 5x5 rose scroll

The bag – it’s big! The finished size is about 26 ยพโ€ tall including handles, and 18โ€ wide. Remarkably, there’s something about the physics of its construction that makes it feel like nothing on the shoulder, even when packed with stuff. I admit to copying the Amy Butler Birdie Sling (still available online, though not on her site). I simply sought out online photos that gave me clues for the drafting.


Loving a challenge, I worked on the pattern and construction for quite a while. Result – I love this bag!

On the inside, an interlined bag lining with zipped pocket:


inside pocket

My fabrics are from JoAnnn. One thing they do really well is quilting cottons. They have the best selection I’ve found for holiday prints, and the fabric is very affordable with a coupon. BTW, their online print inventory is nothing compared to what’s available in the stores.


Ashley will be so surprised by this bag, and I know she will use it. We have a shared funky fun spirit – her mixed media gift to me last year. We’ve always danced in the kitchen…



Bye for now! 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

Butterick 6107 Shawl Collar Coat


It’s officially fall in the loft, time for a new jacket and a new pattern!

Butterick 6107 is lovely and interesting to sew. I originally bought it with the standup collar in mind, but I was put off by the way the collar looks when it’s open.ย No problem – I love shawl collar jackets and coats!



Sewing notes:

  • My choices: size Small, View A, the length of View C, and the pockets from View B.
  • My fabric is Marigold 100% cotton sweatshirt fleece from Fabric Mart. It has only mechanical stretch and is what I would characterize as mid-weight.


  • The collar is cut-on rather than attached. I know this scares some folks, but the pattern pieces fit perfectly, and the inside corners were easy to sew. Another nice feature: the upper collar is slightly wider than the under collar to allow for the turn of the cloth. A lot of patterns don’t bother to do this.


  • My buttons are 7/8″ faux tortoise shell, with sew-on snaps for the actual closure. I did lots of looking and found beautiful 15mm bronze snaps by Cotowin on Amazon. BTW, Amazon is a great place to look for studs and snaps, the variety is amazing.




  • The patterns calls for lined pockets, but given the weight of my fabric, I drafted mine with an interfaced cut-on facing.
  • Here comes more fun – the back! It’s plain on the pattern, but I split it into 2 pieces just below the armscye. I think the topstitching on the collar, the hem, and this new seam add a lot of interest to the back view.


Oh, this is such a nice jacket, and I love wearing it.


We had a nice Halloween night here in my little community, complete with a pizza party at the clubhouse to get some food into the kids’ tummies ahead of all that candy. Most of my neighbors have left their decorations in place, I think everyone is simply enjoying the season.

Parting shot: I had to do it, Starbucks kicked off it holiday flavors today with free reusable cups ๐Ÿ™‚ Did anyone else splurge on a peppermint mocha latte?


Ciao! Coco

Progress on Christmas aprons!

cut out

An apron seems such a simple project – but it’s not when one drafts 7 aprons in 3 sizes!

All fun. I serged the ends of my Marshall Dry Goods Dream Cotton and laundered it last week.

This morning I got serious. I needed to draft appropriate sizes for the family and to decision lining fabrics for the basic apron and the pockets. I used broadcloth to line all the pockets to keep them ‘light’ since my aprons are lined with the main fabric.

Here’s a view of the patterns I’m using. Each also has ties and pockets sized to the apron:

3 patterns

I have to credit several patterns for the result. I have Butterick 4585 (an adult and child apron pattern), but the child version is very small. Fortunately, I found some guidelines to help me out with that grandson-size conundrum.

Line art from Kwik Sew 3247, found by Googling kid’s aprons

Tutorial from (and she has great fabric craft ideas and tutorials…

All day today I’ve been drafting patterns and cutting the fabric. Just the latter really does take a while. Apron, pocket, waist ties, neck tie, D-ring tab.

And, to my dismay, I found that my 1″ D-ring supply is down to one set! I have oodles of 3/4″ rings, but I like the larger ring for the neck ties. So – I hopped onย Wawak to order more. BTW, Wawak’s shipping cost is really reasonable, plus these were on sale much below the retail store price. And they’ll be here in 3 days. Can’t beat it. I love Wawak!

While I wait for the hardware and generally get over this apron effort today, I’m planning to sew another French terry StitchSisters kaftan. I’ve worn both of mine in rotation for several days, and I’m hooked.

Happy stuff ๐Ÿ™‚ Ciao – Coco

Christmas is coming!


I know fall is still ahead, but Christmas sewing for others does take some planning. I think I start planning right after New Years Day ๐Ÿ™‚

Creating that special something for my special loved ones is so important to me. I simply enjoy the entire process – thinking about a gift, messing around online looking for ideas, landing on a decision, and making it happen.

Which is why I’ve already purchased fabric, and I’m ready to get going.

This year will feature some repeats of things I’ve sewn for family. Actually, requested. Wow. Be still my heart.

Aprons for everyone, based on the classic Williams Sonoma apron (and copied from my own apron purchased years ago), and on Butterick 4585. This year I’ll draft a version for my grandson. Nothing brings family together like cooking in the kitchen or on the grill.

Screen Shot 2018-08-29 at 11.22.46 AM

williams sonoma classic apron

A couple weeks ago I ordered 16 yards of Dream Cotton from Marshall Dry Goods, and it arrived in just 3 days. Dream Cotton is, to my eye, indistinguishable from Kona cotton, except in price. MDG’s version is only $3.99/yd. I have white yardage in both Kona and Dream Cotton, and I actually wrote the brand in the selvedge with a Sharpie, for reorders.


I also ordered camo knit jersey from Girl Charlee. It’s on presale at the moment, but will be here soon. This is for True Bias Hudson pants for my son and Grandson. The pattern is available for both adults and children. A pic from a couple years ago in black jersey:

hudson 1


Recently I made Ashley a pair of Mc2 sarouel Afghan pants (to match my own), a birthday gift, and she loves them! She was here recently and picked out a stash French terry fabric (Fabric Mart) for Christmas, with the proviso that I have a matching pair. Fortunately I was able to cut them both from just 3 yards! And mine will be in time for Jungle January ๐Ÿ™‚


Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 8.39.34 AM

That works for me! To round off the gift lists, catnip snakes for the 6 kitties (a link to my post on the snakes and some cute mug rugs here).


And a big cushy pillow for the Frenchy pup. He lovesย pillows. Mine won’t be this fancy, but he won’t know the difference. A pillow is a pillow, big and soft are the most important elements.


Such fun. I’m blessed.

Ciao! Coco