My Christmas dress – finally!


Christmas isn’t over yet –  I just finished my holiday dress today!

I had planned to wear it up in Orlando later this week, my Christmas visit with David and Preston. But the weather is not cooperating – it will be too cool. Instead, I’ll be in leggings and long sleeve tunics. Not a problem – there’s always Valentines Day 🙂


I fell for this cotton/lycra poplin from Fabric Mart the moment I saw it. Sewing stretch wovens is generally not something I enjoy, but the print was reason for an exception. I was careful to practice tension, presser foot pressure, needles, and stitches before I began. And I staystitched all the edges that had any bias to them.


Not wanting something too fussy, I chose an old favorite, the Serendipity Studio Diane dress (last version here).

Diane Envelope Pic

As before, I raised the neckline, but I didn’t do anything fancy aside from rotating the print on the waistband.


I love Christmas, it’s simply my favorite season. And it’s just about the only time I paint my fingernails, mostly because sewing is brutal on nail polish! But my toe nails are always red. Florida is sandal city all year…

Polish: China Glaze “The Heat is On”

So, I managed to make this dress without too many major oops, although my seam ripper got a workout from time to time. I blew out my first waistband because the button holes were in the direction of the stretch, and I made a mess of them. Rather than replace the entire waistband, I practiced a bit, chose a heavier stabilizer, and made new button holes in a 4″ long patch. After getting it into the band, it’s not at all noticeable.


On to new projects for the new year! I hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful season.


More gifts – a travel jewelry wallet


Brrr…baby, it’s cold outside! What a snow storm, I hope everyone is OK and not stressed by it. Here in deep south Florida, it’s only 63 degrees as I write – and it’s going down to 43 tonight and tomorrow night. My heat will be on as soon as the house gets chilly 🙂

Gifts! I don’t remember what triggered this project, but it was a lot of fun. I think most women carry their jewelry in their handbag when they travel. How about a travel jewelry wallet to keep those goodies safe and protected.


Open, this measures 7 5/8″ wide and 9 7/8″ long. Closed, it’s only 3 1/2″ long! I used size 4 snaps for the closure, instead of the usual ties, because ties would come undone in a jiffy in the bottom of a bag.


So – the construction. I did a muslin of this wallet with old zippers and remnants, and I really learned a lot. Most important lesson – to cut everything a bit larger than is necessary, because things get off-square pretty quickly when 3 zippers are being added.

How I cut the four pieces that form the inside zippered pockets:

Cutting layoutIn addition I cut the shell fabric, fusible fleece, and pocket lining at 8 1/4″ wide and 10 1/4″ long. And a 38″-long bias binding strip, 1 1/2″  wide.

The fleece is fused to the shell and quilted diagonally with 1 1/4″ spacing. I like using the quilters chalk pencil, because the chalk pretty much falls off after the quilting. Any remnants can be brushed off.


I used 9″ long zippers – there’s no need for a new stopper at the top because it gets stitched in place a couple times.


Here’s a view with all pieces (shell, lining, and inside) stacked, basted together, trimmed, and ready for binding:


I sewed the binding in place on the inside, using mitered corners, then turned it and sewed it by hand on the outside.



Ta dum! I like this so much that I want one for myself!!


Ciao! Coco

Gifts – mug rugs and baby snakes!



Ha! I finished my last DIY holiday gifts!

I always do kitty thingies for Ashley and Darrin, parents to SIX kitties. And, yes, sometimes it’s hard to find something new. But I lucked out this year – two cute gifts.



First up, mug rugs. Actually, these could be used as treat mats as well. I started with a cat pocket pattern that I found on SelfAssemblyRequired’, no charge, courtesy of Emily. It’s adorable.


And the size is perfect for a mug rug.



I used 2 layers of fabric, with fusible fleece on one to add a little body and support the quilting. The rug was sewn right sides facing, turned, topstitched around the edges and quilted in the center.

Easy peasy 🙂 And a very quick project.

I did a variety of themes, including The Walking Dead (of course) and a Peeps version to match Ashley’s scrapbooking apron.


Thank you, Emily!

Second gift, and this one is for the kitties themselves, Catnip Baby Snakes from Sew4Home (here). I’ve become addicted to this site – what great DIY ideas and projects.


These are about 10″ long and are stuffed with poly filling and a generous portion of organic catnip. OK, a pause. What catnip isn’t organic? Anyway, these are so merry and different!

I used cotton calico paired with sherpa fleece. And I made a real mess with the catnip. But the suggested funnel didn’t work well for me, so I just used a spoon and smushed it inside. Plus, I didn’t mind the mess – DIY is supposed to be messy.


I used a tube turner to turn the snakes inside out, and a chopstick to stuff them.


Parting shot: he just knows Christmas is coming.


Bye for now – Coco

Holidays! Quilted Storage Pod

Beth Studley Storage Pod

Time to get  busy – the holidays will be here in a flash!

And every year I wonder what in the world I’ll make for the family – hopefully something they haven’t received half a dozen times already. Of course, they do wear out the PJs, shoe bags, cat treat mats, etc. But it’s nice to throw something new into the mix.

Enter these adorable quilted storage pods, designed by Beth Studley (aka ‘Love from Beth’). I saw them way back in April, in a Craftsy newsletter, and purchased the pattern right away. They’re perfect to catch hair bands, pens and pencils, sewing scraps, love notes, die cast cars, dinosaurs, all sorts of little thingies…

Source and pattern:

Some sewing notes:

  • The instructions are to quilt the main fabric, batting, and lining together, and sew ten darts to shape the pod. After the pod is constructed (side sewn, base attached), those darts are still visible on the inside – which would really bug me.Instead, I sewed my pod with a bagged lining, which results in a very nice finish. And it’s easy to do – quilt just the shell and batting together, and construct it as one piece. Then construct the lining the same way, but without batting. Insert the lining in the shell, and it’s ready for binding.
No exposed darts or seams!
  • Since I’m not adept at free-motion quilting on my machine, I used straight lines to quilt my main fabric and batting together.


  • The pattern includes a shaped piece for the binding, but I just cut a long strip of fabric on the bias, 1.5″ wide, and used that instead.

pd 3

  • I used low-loft batting because I had a remnant that was just the right size. However, fusible fleece would work really well (maybe better, since it’s a little stiffer), or even several layers of flannel. Whatever is on hand 🙂
  • My pod is 6″ high at the center front, and 9.5″ high at the center back, with a base diameter of 4.25″. Overall, a little smaller than indicated on the pattern.
  • and last note – this pattern is rated as intermediate skill level. I really think it’s pretty easy, and it would be a nice stretch for a beginning sewist. Required skills include quilting, adding a binding, and  sewing darts.

Ciao! Coco


Quilted eyeglass cases…

2 versions

The holidays are right around the corner…time to get busy on handmade gifts!

But first – thank you for all the nice comments wishing me a speedy recovery. So appreciated, and I’m doing great now. You guys are the absolute best.

These quilted eyeglass cases are perfect for readers and sunglasses – the ones that get lost on the bottom of a handbag. I used to make them back when Ashley and I sold handmade fabric and mixed media items at charity craft fairs. We even had a moniker and logo: Back Alley Five & Dime (because most of our items were $1, $5, or $10).

square 5x5 rose scroll

The case is basically a small drawstring pouch, with a quilted shell and plain lining.

Quilted shell
Inside of shell, showing fused fleece, quilting and curved bottom.
Lining, showing 1.5″ circle template to draw bottom curves.
Shell in lining
A chop stick works great to push the shell into the lining!
Turning the case
Turning the assembled case through the side of the lining.
Press it
Turned case, nice and pressed.

Once the lining is pushed back inside the shell, I topstitch the case 1/2″ from the top edge, forming the casing for the drawstring.


The drawstring goes in, the cord lock goes on, and, voila, done!

Materials and so on:

  • Finished size 3.5″ x 7″.
  • 1/2″ seam allowance.
  • Shell, lining, and fusible fleece or low-loft batting: Cut 1 of each, 17″ x 4.5″ (or 2 pieces, 8.5″ x 4.5″, if using smaller scraps). I prefer the fusible fleece over batting, because it makes the case a little stiffer.
  • Drawstring: Cut 1, 14″ long  x 2mm or 3mm. I like faux leather or waxed cotton cord, found in the jewelry making section of craft stores.
  • 1 medium cord lock. There are loads of sources online, and JoAnns carries these as well.

So, I’m thinking I’ll make some more little things to match, maybe card wallets. These are perfect to tuck into a clutch or wristlet, where a wallet just doesn’t fit.  Actually, I use mine to hold my Coco’s Loft cards, just in case someone asks for one (or I want to force one on people!) There are loads of DIY card wallet ideas on Pinterest.

case and card

I love the holiday season! Bye for now – Coco