Two weeks to go till the move…

One of the most time-consuming efforts, pending my house move, has been going through my library and donating books that I simply will not re-read.

I love books, I love owning them, I love seeing them on my shelves. Just holding a book and turning the pages is so peaceful and fulfilling.

But – my space as I downsize will be limited. I’ve kept nine of these shelves full. Time for big decisions.

What I kept: my collections, Churchill, Annie Proulx, Graham Greene, Paul Theroux, John le Carre, Patrick O’Brian, McCullough, miscellaneous travelogues and exploration writings from the 1800’s, all my math and science books, gardening including the priceless Exotica, 2 volumes, hard to acquire now. Family cookbooks and travelogues, chronicles of the 20th century, history of the great wars, books on the US experience in China and Japan, Atlas – the world, the human anatomy, dictionaries and grammars – English, French, Spanish, Portuguese. And of course my huge international stamp collection, catalogues, albums, and work in progress. I collect up to 1958, after which the beautiful printing techniques ceased.

My library is still large and will keep me company for all the years to come. Plus I have another 70 books on my Nook – never without a good book!

Read on, Coco

Up to the challenge

I’ve been thinking about this all day. I had my annual physical this morning, and I have a new finding. It blew me away, maybe, but it’s getting better with the passing hours. Carotid turbulence. I’m getting bilateral carotid ultrasounds next week, and I choose to think that I’m being proactive in preventing a TIA or stroke. Anyone else?

Gradually, over the last 10 years, I’ve come to consider my body as a machine. Leave it alone, don’t tend it, and it just crumbles away. Honestly, all the discovery and maintenance can be wearing. Of course I can feel down. But – I’m not undone!

Ciao – Coco

p.s. I’m back in the Loft. Atelier Sud just felt like someone else’s blog. Coco’s Loft is home 🙂

It’s my birthday month!

profile pic

The 28th of February (only 10 days away) is my birthday. I will be fully 71 years old. And I always indulge myself for my birthday 🙂

I just ordered the Olya Shirt from Paper Theory, the most expensive pattern I’ve ever purchased. But I love the vibe and the back story. It will be wonderful over jeans.

Today, I also went for 5 fabrics from Cali Fabrics. And I’m on the hunt for more before the end of the month, lurking those Presidents Day sales. I was down to only one fabric in my stash! I really really need to remedy that… So 4 French terry knits and one rayon challis (for that beautiful shirt pattern).

To say I am grateful, blessed, happy – an understatement. Ciao – Coco

African Wax Print Pants…


I look pretty calm, right? Well, it has been interesting – my first experience with an African wax print.

As background, I’ve been enjoying Zoona Nova’s  blog and pics on Instagram so much. She lives, works, and plays in Malawi, and her stories and projects are fascinating. The local handicraft projects with which she’s involved (and pending pattern releases from her own design studio) include garments made with African wax prints. The fabrics are stunning – such variety, gorgeous designs, and so colorful! I just had to try some.

Since I can’t visit the local markets in Malawi, I ordered two pieces from Fabric Wholesale Direct.  They have an wonderful selection of African prints, their prices are so reasonable, and they ship very quickly. I like the latter – I’m impatient when I order something. I want it now, please 🙂

Top: McCalls 7597 in bleached muslin.

I had no idea what to expect – stiff, waxed, starched? Well, in reality, both pieces were a bit stiff and rather shiny when they arrived. So, starch or some similar resist material. And drenched with color, all the way through. I wasn’t sure how to wash them or care for them. After a lot of research, and many opinions, I just threw up my hands and put them in a warm water wash with mild detergent, and then in the dryer on the delicate setting. They both came out fine, great in fact. No running or loss of color, and no discernible shrinkage. I was amazed!


Sassy pants! I made these with Vogue 9217, Kathryn Brenne’s dolphin hem pants (original post here).

v9217 lines

With such an ‘active’ print, I left off the curved side vents and just cut a straight hemline, with an additional couple of inches to make them really long. I did keep the bound finish though. I think it adds nice balance to the print.


Top: Grainline Studio Scout Tee in cotton seersucker.

Great project – I feel like my world has expanded, as though I’ve been travelling, and I’ve learned so much. I love my pants, and, yes, that second fabric is already in the loft, ready to be sewn 🙂

Ciao! Coco


Thinking spring …


deco for spring


Oh boy! I’ve been indulging my impatience for the change of season. Of course I’m totally ignoring articles about spring and summer trends – styles, colors, and so on. I’m more concerned with what colors I can wear with my ‘new’ white hair ,and how to reinvent my favorites (maxi dresses and tunics) for some different looks!

I must say that BMV patterns and Fabric Mart have been very collaborative. I’m beginning to feel like Chris at Fabric Mart is my BFF. So – a few thoughts.

Flutter sleeves and a floaty skirt, in light and drapey rayon challis.



Retro shirtdress, in a large print…



Short-sleeve knit midi or maxi, with a twist…

Edited to add: this is Kwik Sew 3873

spring knits

Enough to keep me busy and out of trouble for at least a couple months! Meanwhile (I’m waiting for patterns to arrive), I made a little housedress in silky soft rayon knit, using the Cali Faye Gardenia Dress. Emile gets to wear it while the skirt and sleeves ‘drop’ before hemming. Spring green!

Spring Gown

I love the curved bodice on this pattern. Small details make such a difference.

gown 2

I had just enough leftover fabric to cut out a pair of my favorite Love Notions Sabrina Slims. Probably PJs, because I can’t imagine what I’d wear with green leggings, but kicky for a trip to the mail box 🙂

Ciao! Coco