Lekala 5954 Waistcoat

Good morning – the incredibly lazy Coco here. I think this is the longest time I’ve gone without writing. Blame it on the weather, growing out my hair, and having more wadders than ever in my sewing career! I’ve tossed more than I’ve kept and at times wondered if I can sew at all 🙂

However, after 6 weeks, something I really like. Waistcoats are ‘in’ this season, and I really like the look over a relaxed shirt. I’ve sewn 3 Olya shirts this summer, so this will be fun. It took me a while to settle on this Lekala pattern. I looked at the Thread Theory Belvedere, and actually bought and printed Lekala 6063, which is its twin. Both are drafted for men, however, and I did not relish all the fitting that implied. Working with a women’s pattern just made more sense.

I have to throw this in, inspiration in multiple ways!

The original pattern is a ‘traditional’ waistcoat, meant to be worn over a tucked shirt. If I had intended to wear it that way, I probably would not have changed anything. It’s beautifully drafted and was a great starting place for my changes..

Yes, I did a muslin from remnants of fabric. I like to write all over a muslin, it’s rather fun and cathartic. The changes I made were all pretty easy – removing the bust dart was the most challenging. BTW, I use a nice tutorial for this task (I could never remember the steps otherwise):

A few sewing notes:

  • My main fabric is 6.5oz Kaufman washed denim. The lining is 3.4 oz Keepsake Calico. I mention the weights because they matter. E.g., I didn’t face the neckline and fronts in the denim because the result would have been very heavy for it’s purpose (it needs to float over my shirt!).
  • I find it daunting to do horizontal buttonholes. I used lots of basting aids and chalk pencil to keep them straight and parallel. Please, please don’t use Frixion pens to mark any visible part of a garment – they will absolutely gift you with a stain. Great for marking hidden parts, however. I use Quilter white pencils and simple No.2 pencils, they both wash out.
  • I didn’t do the welt pockets or back band, just personal choice.

Lekala rates this as a ‘difficult’ project, and I agree it can be challenging. But it is surely interesting. I’ve ordered two prints for future versions and look forward to sewing them. Hopefully I’ll actually get them onto a blog post!

Parting note: I received many very welcome thoughts during Hurricane Ian. Thank you so much for the encouragement and companionship, not just for me and mine, but for all the folks impacted by the storm.

Bye for now – Coco

Rya Shirt Jacket weather!

I love the annual cool-down! Here in Orlando a Fibre-Mood Rya shirt jacket (aka shacket) is perfect.

After two previous Rya’s (here and here), I’m back for a third. Actually, I kept the plaid fleece but not the saffron Mammoth plaid, the colorway of the latter just was not flattering.

Onward, this time in Kaufman speckled navy Shetland flannel. Beautiful fabric! To revisit the pattern:

My previous posts have sewing notes, but here is a recap:

  • The sleeve was very short on me, perhaps due to my square and broad shoulders, so I added 2” to my tissue.
  • I used a 2″ wide facing for the pocket. It, and the flap facing, are done in poly/cotton Symphony broadcloth from JoAnn.
  • I shortened the shirttails by 5” and the torso by 2 1/2” for an at-the-knee length. Do not mistake me – I love the longer length, to me it says olive drab or khaki duster in any port-side town. Very chic. In any event, my changes:

  • I drafted back and front neckline facings at 3.25″ wide to have a finished inside and to support the large collar.
  • I also drafted hem facings at 1.5” wide.
  • And I used Pellon SF101 woven fusible interfacing for this version. BTW, on the fleece version I used Pellon PF45 non-woven sew-in interfacing. Fusing to fleece is just not a workable idea.

A comment on the pattern’s reliance on bias binding to finish the inside of the collar band and collar seam, the top of the pocket, and the hem. I just don’t get it! IMHO, it’s a recipe for a bulky mess that distorts important lines. Ergo my hem facings, pocket facing, neckline facings…

On the other hand, I love the demi-band collar. It has the perfect pitch to keep the collar against the neck in the back and close at the perfect spot in front. I’ve sewn a couple other coats with ‘Peter Pan’/flat collars that use the same approach.

Something new! Rather than struggle with in-seam pockets in a soft, loosely-woven fabric, I drafted patch pockets for the fronts. These are the same width as the upper pocket and are attached in line with it. Mine finished at 7 1/4″ wide and 8 1/4″ long.

Just pics!

Great jacket and super fun project. Ciao! Coco

Republique du Chiffon Gerard twill jacket

Finally! cool weather and I get to layer jackets and shirts. And it’s delightful. After over 20 years of living in Deep South Florida, Orlando has seasons, the leaves turn and fall, and I get to wear sweaters and jackets and leggings…well, you get the idea.

The Republique du Chiffon Gerard Manteau is my very favorite loose jacket. I’ve made so many, the pattern just doesn’t disappoint.

I made this version in July, in Kaufman Santa Cruz Cotton Twill from Fabric.com. And this is my first opportunity to wear it!

Some notes on the ‘newer’ version of the pattern. I first sewed this lovely jacket in 2014, when the line drawings were by hand, sizing was sketchy, and there was no English version. Versions by Jolies Bobbines were my inspiration. I went looking for pics for my earliest makes, alas, I was not good at keeping them. But I’ve enjoyed them all.

From 2014 to now:

  • The pattern and the PDF are very standardized and professional. Easy to use and understand. I bought the new version specifically because I really like this pattern.
  • The sizing, height options, and pockets have changed.
  • The jacket is more commodious – it just fits better, the design is more proportionate.
  • It has a much better English translation, instructions, and illustrations.
  • The instructions are separate PDF.
  • The pattern has middle and long length markings.
I sewed size Medium, and used Hong Kong finishing on all my seams, no lining needed.

My more recent versions from the updated pattern include:

Stretch cotton poplin

This was fun. I’m wearing a cotton big shirt and stretch leggings, could not be happier. Bye for now – Coco

Tessuti Silva Jacket

I’m late to the party! The Tessuti Silva Jacket has been around since 2014, but I only recently took notice. The latter because I’ve been looking for a summer jacket as an alternative to my usual cotton knit cardigans. Yes, I get cold. Stores, pharmacy, clinic, I freeze!

The jacket has very simple lines and a nice silhouette. And some spice – frayed edges on everything:

Surely nothing frays so well as linen, so I chose Robert Kaufman Brussels washer linen. It’s a linen/rayon blend, and I wear it a lot. BTW, I can’t wear 100% linen – the loose fibers actually hurt my skin. Bet I’m not the only one with this issue.

I had to start with black, right? But I’ve lightened some of the photos further along in this post.

I did a muslin in Kona cotton. Bad choice, because the Kona’s body and lack of drape hid the issues I had when I sewed my first linen version. The latter was a miserable fail…

  • It would not stay put on my shoulders, falling either forward or backward.
  • The neckline edges, with no facings, were shapeless.
  • The top corners just flopped around, which totally destroyed the lines of the front edges.

After throwing the bad-boy version and the pattern in the bin, I did my usual: I rescued the pattern and made notes on how to modify it. Because I like the jacket.


  • I sewed size 12, which fits me with no changes. (I’m 5’8″, 34″/30″/39″).
  • As a preference, I added 5 1/2″ to the length of the sleeve. The 3/4 length sleeve felt a little stuffy.

And those notes:

  • Since I was unhappy with the neckline drafting, I re-drew it using the Grainline Tamarack jacket pattern. The Tamarack’s neckline is basically the same as the Silva’s, but it’s higher all around.
  • To add support, I drafted facings for the entire neckline and the front edges. The front facing design is one that is common in women’s garments. These are cut at 2 3/4″ wide and interfaced with woven poly/cotton broadcloth.

Inside view:

I admit, this is the first time I’ve done a frayed edge finish, and it was rather fun. Tessuti’s instructions for this are quite good. Here’s a look before washing:

A quick launder, and all the edges are frayed!

Styled with an Ogden cami

The last step in this project was to clean not only my machines, but also my entire sewing room! Maybe even my house – linen makes such a mess 🙂

Ciao! Coco

A weekend ramble…

I’m feeling very mellow today – the weather is cool and drizzly, and I’m watching good films on Netflix with a crochet scarf project on my lap. So a chat, fresh coffee in hand..

I recently finished (another) Simplicity 8640 handkerchief hem dress, this one in rayon challis from Fabric.com. It’s called Telio Dali Rayon Poplin Print Botanical Floral in navy, but I’m not sure that’s correct. In the pic below, the fabric on the left is from the listing, and the one on the right is what arrived at my door. This is the second time I’ve had a ‘close but no bananas’ delivery from them. Weird.

Perhaps it was just fate, as my new very sunflower yellow Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan works perfectly with the dress.

I realized recently that I have an abandoned project in the Loft – I think I stopped working on it because I got distracted by Christmas projects. It’s a sleeveless blouse with a ‘statement’ collar, drafted using the Kathryn Brenne jacket, Vogue 9217. It will be finished soon, it’s cute.

I could not even remember which pattern and fabric I used, until I checked my Evernote files. I keep everything sewing on Evernote!

About that crocheting – I finally learned how to do a double crochet foundation row. It was a ‘duh’ moment for me when I learned that I did not have to do a basic chain stitch foundation. Tutorial: https://hearthookhome.com/foundation-double-crochet-tutorial/

To close, I must share an epic fail – the bodice in progress, my last post, did not work.

The collar was simply too heavy despite my efforts to support it. No tears shed. I had 5 yards in hand, and the remainder is currently being cut for a Tessuti Lisa dress!

I hope your weekend is peaceful, bye for now – Coco

Fibre Mood Rya jacket in mammoth flannel

How I love this fabric/pattern combo! I’ve never before sewn with Robert Kaufman mammoth plaid flannel. I was expecting something fuzzy, like pajama flannel. No! this is a midweight (6.4oz/sq yd), soft, substantial, gorgeous fabric. Kaufman also makes Shetland flannel, the same weight, but in solid variations.

Saffron colorway
Pattern here

Wandering through the construction:

  • As with my first version (here), I used facings on the neckline and hemline, rather than folded bias tape. That post also has notes on size and changes to the length.
  • Something I didn’t mention in my first post, the pattern does not have a separate under collar. To allow for ‘turn of the cloth’ and avoid rumpling in the under collar, I slid the under collar forward (a scant 1/4″ at the center) to shorten the underside. As in the pics below, this easy step ensures a nice contour. The the back of the collar is nice and flat, and doesn’t stick out.
  • On this version, I used the side seam pockets, but moved them down. They’re sewn in Kona cotton and are stitched to the fronts to avoid flapping 🙂 Great, roomy pockets!

This is so much fun to sew, I wish I needed more jackets! But I did promise one to my daughter, so that’s good.

Here’s what I had for Christmas dinner – I love love love pimento cheese sandwiches! Wish I had leftovers…

Before I go, thank you so very much for all the lovely compliments on my last post. For now, Coco

Fibre Mood Rya Jacket

Not for the faint-hearted. This seemingly straight-forward jacket/coat has a few challenges.

I love the idea of an over-sized shirt as a jacket – the current jargon is a ‘shacket’. And this is a great place to start. It has sloping shoulders to dropped sleeves, a statement-worthy collar, and big chest pockets. Lots of appeal!

So when I found it, I was all in, what a fun look for a challenging, almost dreary, season!

Fabric: JoAnn beastly blizzard fleece

Cute, right!

Sewing notes:

  • I sewed the size Small, as it is very over-sized. I haven’t mentioned my measurements for a while, so 5″ 7 1/2″, 34″ bust, 39″ hip.
  • And I removed a whopping total of 7 1/2″ in the length, 2 1/2″ in the torso and another 5″ in the shirt tail hem area.
  • My goal was a jacket just above my knees, so I took a lot out of the shirt tail to balance the shorter length.

The nitty gritty:

  • The basic drafting is fine, i.e., pieces fit together and the silhouette delivered as promised
  • The instructions are marginal and the fitting requirements are high. Caution, take your time.
  • The finishing approaches are just weird. Why use bulky folded bias binding on the neckline when a nice facing would work so well. And afford a pretty look to the inside when the jacket flips open…

I drafted these facings at 3 1/4″ wide unfinished.

  • And again with the folded binding, this time on the hemline, what a bunch of bulk. I drafted a facing for the hemlines, cut at 1 1/2″ unfinished. It sewed down beautifully and gives just the right amount of weight to the hem.
  • I almost forgot – the instructions call for another folded bias binding on the top of the chest pocket. What! Just cut your pocket 2″ longer and do a self-facing finish.
  • Cautions: the sleeve is very short, add about 3″ and do your fitting with the cuff later.
  • And the pockets are at kangaroo sweatshirt length down the side seam. I ditched them, but of course one could just move them down to useful placement.

I like it! given my changes and how I will wear it here in a Florida winter. I particularly appreciate that this project has kept me very very busy for a week and has exercised both my sewing ability and my patience.

I am seldom deterred, and I am going straight into my second version in a Robert Kaufman Mammoth plaid flannel.

The fabric has arrived, it has been laundered, and I’m ready – Ciao! Coco