Pants and jackets…


It’s double-oh early on Cyber Monday! But I think I’ve already contributed all I can to the Black Friday and small business Saturday sales, so I’ll blog to keep myself out of trouble 🙂

I finished my Burda peplum jacket – it was intended as a toile, because I used remnants of a corded denim, but it’s definitely wearable. Great jacket…more details on my first post, here.


line art
Burda Style Collarless Peplum Jacket 11/2016 #125


I’m planning a second version in black ponte, with long sleeves. A stable fabric with a little weight is perfect for this pattern (imagine a brocade – would be stunning).

The jacket is styled with wide leg pants done in ITY knit, a fun abstract print in grey, white, and black.


Feeling brave, I used V9217, a Kathryn Brenne pattern that’s actually intended for woven fabrics (and I’ve sewn 3, first post is here). I love the lines and the flat front on the waistband. And it worked great in ITY!


I used a straight hem and the slanted pocket from the Pattern Emporium Harem Pants. I use this pocket all the time, because it has a 1-piece pocket bag and doesn’t gape open at the hips.

Fabric: Monochrome Printed ITY, Fabric Wholesale Direct


Last but not least, I also sewed a new Tessuti Megan Cardigan in grey ponte from Fabric Mart.



I made a black ponte version back in August, and at the time, I thought it might be a little small. But that was really my mind working on me – I love wearing it.


As with my first version, I raised the hemline by 4″, and used a 1″ wide band (the original band is quite narrow).


This was all fun sewing, and I have outfits!

Bye for now – Coco

M6531 Unlined Parka – so much fun…


And this really was a fun project. I broke a few personal barriers – the color, the fabric, the actual utility of doing a parka. At the end, I’m really happy…

I’ve had M6531 for at least 3 years. I just like the design and the idea that it’s unlined. Living in Florida, I really cannot use a lined jacket or coat. But, I do get chilly. Not just in winter, but simply going into the grocery store or a restaurant.

line artEvery review I’ve read has been positive. People like sewing it, and they like wearing it.

I’m with them! Pics with the collar/zip all the way up…



Before I go much further, some notes on what I changed, what worked for me:

  • I sewed the size Medium. Perfect.
  • I used cotton ripstop fabric from I love it. I pre-laundered it twice, and it just gets softer with use, and it’s cotton!
  • The parka has a lot of ‘traditional’ details. I chose not to use most of them. I used a front zip without a right-side overlap band. And did not use any buttons anywhere.


  • I also did not used a cuffed sleeve. Mine is lengthened a bit to accommodate the lost length, and it’s sewn with a simple hem. I’m just not fussy.
  • I designed my own pockets (I did not like the options in the pattern, which I think are too small and uninteresting, plus I really do not like bellows pockets or fly-away pocket flaps). Mine is big and has an inverted center pleat, topped with a band, and curved bottom corners.


Other notes:

  • I based my jacket on a combo of View C and D. And I redrafted the front and back hems to be on an even horizontal.
  • To be sure my front zipper was long enough, I ordered a 36″ zipper from It’s a plastic #5 separating zipper. It was about 1″ too long, but was easily adjusted at the top. The pic below shows the zipper, and the 325 cord/cord stoppers that I ordered from (great site…it can be hard to find 325 cord in colors). All of these notions were described as ‘royal blue’, and, amazingly, they all worked with the fabric and each other. Faith…


  • Although I ordered enough cord and cord stoppers to run it through the hemline, I decided not to do it. I like the simplicity without it.

So – more pics!



And the cutest Rocket Dog sneakers ever…


I’m jazzed. This might show up again in dragonfruit pink  or purple 🙂 Ciao – Coco

Working on a cropped jacket – love this!

Collarless Peplum Jacket 11/2016 #125 

I don’t usually open with a photo of an inspiration piece – but this one got me. I found it a few days ago on Burda Style, and fell for it.  I should spend more time cruising Burda Style. I really enjoy their patterns, which are rich in details, trendy, nicely drafted, and really affordable. Since I like to tape paper together, for whatever reason 🙂 their PDF patterns are right up my alley. BTW, the jacket on the left is done in jacquard, the one on the right in ‘shimmered’ jersey (which I now need).

This pattern is only 15 printed pages – the peplum is a rectangle, for which dimensions are given. Check it out! A two-part sleeve, flat-fitted band collar, interesting peplum, darted bodice, and a gorgeous 2-part back yoke

line artThe line art really doesn’t do the pattern justice, but the inspiration photos do. I have been working on a muslin in corded denim, something of which I had remnants, for a couple days.

I loved everything until I got to the fit of the sleeve, which is very gathered in the sleeve cap and somewhat narrow. So I stopped there.

What really worked:

  • First, the bodice and its components fit perfectly. I sewed the size 38, with no changes.
  • The collar is beautiful. It’s not a stand-up mandarin collar. It’s fitted and and lays down perfectly. Isn’t this pretty!? I’m so happy to find this, because collars and standing neck bands typically bug me so much. This one feels great.


  • An unexpected approach to the collar – the inside collar is attached to the facing, and the outside collar is attached to the neckline. A bit of sewing, and one has a perfectly smooth finish at the front edge. No lumps, bumps, or worry about getting the curved seam and facing to meld. I’m going to use this approach every time I can. Kudos to Burda, whose instructions tend to be minimal, but still highlight something like this construction detail.
  • To make life easy and carefree, I made a little template of the collar front along the stitching lines, and I used a Frixion pen transfer them for perfectomundo curved seams…


  • Next up – I love love love this back yoke. What a stunning deeply-curved seam…


I’ll be using this in tops, cardi’s, jackets, and coats forever.

I sewed the peplum, but didn’t attach it once I decided the sleeve was not for me. Also, the pattern is designed for a lining, but I’m not likely to wear a lined jacket here in Florida. I need flow!

However, bottom line, I really like this pattern, it stimulates my imagination and has so many details that appeal to me. The design can easily be used on the Grainline Tamarack or the Republique du Chiffon Veste Bernadette, both of which I have, for a similar look. My cropped jacket journey is just beginning.

Ciao! Coco




Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket – having some fun…

Very selfish sewing – I’ve resisted the urge to try the Tamarack jacket for almost a year. But Jen Beeman has been posting so many nice versions lately, letting folks know that the pattern now includes a button front option. I thought I’d just give it a go. And I thoroughly enjoyed the quilting process and the sewing while I’m waiting for the arrival of some new fabrics (my stash is pitiful these days. I’ve done a great job of ‘sewing it down’).

The lines or the jacket itself are very nice, particularly the hi-low curved hem. In fact the latter is my favorite part.

Both my fabrics are straight from the stash. Nicely aged. I didn’t have enough of either to do the entire jacket, so I decided to piece the inside. No, I did not do this in time for Halloween, but the combo does look ‘seasonal’. Both are cotton quilting fabrics, and, coincidentally, both have metallic details.

About the batting:

I used a piece of low loft poly quilt batting that I robbed from a quilt project that’s been in progress for about 4 years.

 And I cut it just as I would cut fabric: I pressed it on my poly setting to get rid of wrinkles, laid the pattern on top, pinned it, and cut it out. Jen suggests laying each cut fabric piece on top of a largish piece of batting and using the fabric as a marking guideline for the batting. IMHO, too much work.

If your batting is stuck to itself, wrinkly, and so on (it can be really wonky coming out of a package, e.g., a twin-size quilt bat), toss it in the dryer on low heat for a short time. It will be so much nicer.

Marking the main fabric for quilting:

I used 3″ spacing, because my ruler is 3″ wide. Years of quilting have shown me that using the width of a ruler to mark quilting lines (not going for some fancy spacing) pays off. Easier.

And there are no quilting police out there to say otherwise.

Here’s a fabric-batting-fabric sandwich, post-quilting. On the left, the batting is a bit squished out. Cutting batting is imprecise, don’t be dismayed if it doesn’t fit the fabric precisely. On the right – a piece that’s nice and trimmed, ready for construction.

A note: I wouldn’t even try machine quilting without a walking foot. I pinned and thread-basted all my pieces, and had zero slippage between the fabric layers. 
I used black lawn for my binding, since I had so little of my main fabric. To answer the unasked question, I have an aversion to packaged binding. If you do use it, I suggest you give it a wash and dry in a lingerie bag before you use it. It comes full of finish, is very stiff, and is not preshrunk. 
To ensure an even width when I turned it to the inside, I butted the binding all the way up the edge of the fabric and used a 1/2″ seam.
Pinned in place:
On to the jacket – Emile is doing the honors today. First the inside:

And one more of the outside.  

The whole time I was working on this, I was thinking of ways to change it. Sleeveless and long as a topper, with a collar (which would change the vibe of the jacket completely), with cuffed sleeves. In a floral print, in pieced linen solids and prints, with a rounded corner at the front neckline, maybe not quilted at all… Because as it is, I really won’t wear it – I’m much more happy in unstructured styles, and I’m not likely to wear something that reminds me even remotely of a suit jacket.

But I do love that hem… Ciao! Coco 

StyleArc Stevie Jean Jacket – a keeper!

What a fun project! I’ve been looking for an oversized jean jacket pattern for ages. One that looks like it was purchased in the men’s department. Know what I mean?

In my wildest dreams, I never thought StyleArc would come up with one. But recently, clothingengineer posted a super cute version on Pattern Review, actually the first review of the pattern. I’ve no idea when StyleArc released it, but I took a look at it right away.

And lucky me, I just happened to have a bunch of wildly green 8.5 oz bull denim just waiting for its turn.

My relationship with StyleArc patterns has been so iffy, more disappointment than success. After my recent Designer Daisy wadders projects, I had no plans to even think about StyleArc patterns. But I have to hand to them on this one. It’s a great pattern that delivers the promised boyfriend jacket look.

I really wanted my jacket to mimic the classic jean jacket style, so I did a bunch of looking around on the web – Levi, Wrangler, and Lee. And I checked with one of my favorite fabric/sewing databases, just to be sure I handled the denim in a classic way as well. I don’t remember how I originally found the ‘Historical Materials from the University of Nebraska‘ site, but it’s a absolute gem.

Some sewing notes:
  • I sewed the size 10, and it’s a great fit.
  • No welt pockets, just because I don’t like pocket bags inside short jackets. I thought about adding a faux welt, and I still might, on a rainy boredom-filled day…
  • My upper/flap pockets are faux – I didn’t use the pocket bag at all. I’m not going to use it these pockets, and I didn’t want all the extra fabric in the yoke seam.
  • My only whinge on this pattern is the seam allowance. It’s 3/8″ everywhere, but the neckline/collar, which is mere 1/4″! But I used the PDF pattern and simply drafted the entire thing with a 1/2″ seam allowance. I cannot imagine working all these small pattern pieces, most of which are meant to have a felled finish of some kind, with less than 1/2″ in play.
  • I wanted to keep the jacket loose and supple, so I serged all my seam edges and used a faux-fell finish.
  • I love all the topstitching! and used regular sewing thread for mine. I’m just not a fan of the thicker topstitching thread that’s available.
  • In a deviation from the sewing instructions, I sewed my pocket on top of the bodice, rather than behind it. The difference? The Wrangler jean jacket has it on top, while the Levi trucker jean jacket has it behind, as below. Choices!
And mine, with my first set of buttons. I later changed these to some nice nickel buttons from Holly Lobby.
I love it, and I’m working on a second one in marigold – got to keep those tropical colors coming.
Parting shot: 
Tomorrow I’m off to Ft. Myers to kitty-sit while Ashley and Darrin go to Salem, MA, for their annual Halloween fest. And I’ll get to meet two newbies that they recently brought home from the shelter. Willow and Thor! A total of 4 now – I’m dosing myself with Claritin 🙂
Ciao! Coco