Little cheetah PJ’s…Jungle January!

Quick, Coco! You’d think I’d been off on safari, I’m so late getting into Jungle January!
Actually, there is a cute story behind these little PJ bottoms. My grand nephew has apparently been asking for cheetah PJs for ages, a message passed on to me by both his mom and my sister. With his birthday and my grandson’s coming in March, 2 days apart, I started looking for fabric early in January. Wow – there must be 10 variations on cheetah prints. What to do? I sent choices 4 to the jury…


I thought #1 would be the winner – wrong! Good thing I asked, #3 won!
I used Butterick 4635, a wonderful children’s pattern with robe and PJs in sizes 3-4 and 5-6 (I made my grandson a flannel robe two years ago, he was only 2).¬†

And the multi-sizing works well for multi-kids! There is no such thing as making only one member of a family a pair of PJs ūüôā Notice there are three pairs, three sizes, in my pic. Nephew, niece, and grandson – I cannot wait to see all three in their jammies!!¬†
The boys have working flys, and the little lady, of course, does not. The waists have sewn in elastic and a drawstring (I used wide 45″ shoelaces, perfect). And a 1.5″ hem so that they can keep growing – and these would be cute as short PJs as well.

Edited a couple hours later….
I ran down to AC Moore this morning to buy black and red yarn for a neck scarf for my nephew (a personalized request from him this past weekend. How could an aunt resist!) I already have pink and purple for his sister… Anyway, look what I found! Headband toggles, perfect for the drawstrings on the PJs because they have two holes! Moms won’t have to worry about the consequences of ties coming undone. Ooo ahh.
Ciao! Coco

Burda Style 7297 – A long wrap robe for October

Oops – it’s November! Oh, well. I love my long wrap robe. My ‘Garment a Month’ for October and for every month until I wear it out! It came out just as I hoped when I wrote about my plans for it back on Oct. 8.



I found a pattern from Burda Style that has almost everything that I needed. It’s long, wraps, has pockets, and, can you believe it, has a belt that is attached at the back waist. The last detail is one I’ve always hoped to find – it’s so pretty and 40’s-looking.

When I studied the pattern pieces, the only issue I anticipated was the depth of the wrap, which was about 4 or 5 inches. I like a robe to really wrap in the front. No peek-a-boo and lots of cozy.

So I spent about 3 hours working with the pattern and my much-loved-soon-to-be-gone cotton robe that’s being replaced by this new one. Turns out the best starting place was the size 16 (I usually sew a size 14). And my only ‘major’ adjustment was for the front wrap.

I added 1.5″ at the shoulder (which it needed anyway to match up with my old robe), and then drafted a new front line, easing out a total of 3.5″ just past the neckline curve. The same 1.5″ were added to the back shoulder all the way to the waist (I was glad to have more room across the back).

The other change was a simple addition of 3″ to the length. In the end, 1.5″ would have been enough – but I think that is very fabric-dependent and will keep the addition for my next robe as well. Just in case!

My robe wraps all the way across and goes to the floor!


It’s really hard to photograph black! But here are some pics I lightened up to show some of the features of the pattern and robe:
Nice big patch pockets! My fabric is a very light weight poly-rayon-spandex jersey knit from To guard against pulling at the pocket corners, I boxed the side edge topstitching.


An easy add, not in the pattern – a hanging loop on the inside back neckline!


The back waistband. So pretty. It is actually quilted, I used low-loft poly batting.
Great place for all kinds of fun – monogramming, embroidery…


The inside of the back waistband. Very smooth and comfy.
Edited Nov. 5 to add a note about interfacing for the long neckline/front band and pocket cuff: I used Pellon EK130 easy knit fusible interfacing. Sometimes I just use lightweight nonwoven interfacing with knits, but it would have been too structured for this fabric and garment.
I can hardly believe I actually finished something. Between the re-roof, the slab leak, the water damage and mold, and the rebuild of my garage – not to mention 18 days without hot water and my washer & dryer – I’ve been kind of ¬†unable to settle down to anything for very long. I am very grateful for silence and the complete absence of any workmen at my house! End of whinge …
And I really love my new robe.
Ciao! Coco

Sewing a garment a month…my kind of challenge!

Just the idea of this sewing challenge makes me relax…a garment a month, just for me – well, OK, I mostly sew for myself anyway. But there’s something so inviting about making it official and special.

Sarah Liz (SarahLizSewStyle) is hosting this year-long challenge, starting this month. Only a few simple guidelines (here’s a link to the ‘rules’ page):

– The garment has to be for you and not for someone else…
– Choose a pattern at the beginning of the month and post about it with background on
how/why you choose that pattern, fabric, etc.
– Blog about the finished garment with pics, etc.

And the button is on my sidebar, has a link to the challenge as well.

I’ve already chosen my pattern for October, it’s something I need badly! A long knit robe. My white one is 5 years old and just worn out.

Burda Style 7297

I plan to make view C, and mine will be all the way to the floor and then some, as I’m using a cotton jersey that will shrink a bit over time. Love the back belt treatment, so forties!

Holly Lobby 100% cotton jersey knit
Lots of inspiration for this robe. I’ve always loved the iconic Calvin Klein wrap robe.
But I have to admit that with all the work being done around the house – the roof, the slab leak, the mold remediation – my energy and resource reserves are really stretched.
So I’m also inspired by other great wrap robes…



Ciao! Coco

Burda 05/2013 #102 panneau print dress or…

Oh la. This pattern is perfectly sized for a dress in a panel print in satin, rayon, or silk – but I’ve done it in a featherweight cotton jersey from Girl Charlee. Like a wisp …

I’ve been looking for months for a simple gown – something feminine.¬†Love this.
——————————————–Edited May 28 2013——————————
I’ve just realized how new this pattern is! I don’t get the Burda Magazine, so I downloaded this pattern from Burda’s online site. After the pages are taped together, the pattern is the same – no seam allowances – but tracing off one size is easy, since all the lines are black ūüôā
Here is my second version, done in a mid-weight cotton jersey (yes, just like the bubble pockets shorts!). More a summer shift than a nightie…
Both of these dresses were sewn with remnants from the stash – the pattern only requires a 40″ long x 60″ wide piece of fabric for the front and back panels. And a little something for the straps and bindings.¬†
And Burda is so nice – the pattern is marked for 05/2013 #101, the short version of this dress. Cute top for jeans and shorts…
I feel better – my first post was so short, lazy me…¬†Ciao! Coco

McCalls 6552 Fashion Star Maxi Caftan Dress

I missed the Fashion Star program debut of this dress  by designer Nikki Poulos. But I fell for the pattern when it came out РMcCalls 6552 Maxi Caftan Dress. Love love maxi dresses!  And adore caftans and muumuus that make me feel pretty at home.

My caftan is done in a very lightweight polyester seersucker. When I ordered the fabric, I was under the impression it was cotton! hmmm. It turned out to be very sheer. And I am not fond of polyester next to my skin (too warm). But the stripe is lovely oranges, tangerines, and muted browns. So I lined it completely in an ivory cotton lawn Рnow it feels heavenly!

The lines are very pretty: classic kimono sleeves ending just at the elbow, raised waist drawn under the bust, and a reasonably gathered a-line skirt. The pattern does not have pockets in the skirt, and I did not add them to this version because of the lightness of the seersucker. Future renditions in cotton will have side seam pockets – love pockets!
Because of the difference in the two fabrics (lawn being such a tight weave and more likely to shrink in repeated laundering), I cut¬†my lining pieces with additional 3/8″ allowance, all edges, and eased in the difference in sewing.
A surprise and welcome touch in the construction: the back and front bodice and sleeves are cut and sewn as one piece. Wonderful! I did take the time to measure myself and the pattern – waist to waist, front to back, over the shoulder, round the bustline¬†– to reassure myself before cutting my fabrics. My only adjustment was to add 1/4″ to the bottom edge of front and back.
I also like the constuction of the¬†drawstring casing. It is formed from the bodice/skirt seam, which is¬†sewn a bit wider than 5/8″, trimmed on the bodice side, and turned up, folded and stitched. I am very fond of this approach, as it leaves a smooth inside finish and does not add¬†bulk for the casing.
Caution tall ladies: I am 5’7″ and used only the 5/8″ hem allowance in the pattern!¬†My caftan¬†touches the floor when I am barefoot, which is what I like. But scary!
And modesty prevailed –¬†¬†I made an¬†alteration to the bodice front. The original pattern has a deep v-neck ending even with the bottom of the bustline. ah. I redrafted the bodice pieces to allow for a 1″ (finished) crossover at center front, which still allows for an oo-la-la neckline about 4″ above the original ūüôā

My final adjustment – Nikki, are you writing this down? – was to insert 1/4″ elastic in¬†a narrowed¬†waistline casing instead of¬†inserting the¬†drawstring. Seems so simple, and it¬†is so much more comfortable than fiddling around with¬†a drawstring.¬†I attached the drawstring on top of the elastic at center front. The stitching¬†also serves to anchor the elastic at that point (I did a similar anchor at center back, shifting elastic is distracting ūüôā
You can also see in this picture that I left the sleeve facing unattached.¬† I had to piece the bottom of the sleeve lining, my precious lawn was running out on me…
Now for the Fashion Show…¬†

Fashion Star Episode 1¬† – Macy’s Kimono-Sleeve Maxi Caftan Dress by Nikki Poulos ¬†$89
Sold out day 1 in stores! Shown here in woven and knit fabrics.

But you can still buy it as the Dahlia dress from Nikki Poulos online and in select stores for $175! (I love this blue and black pattern, it shows how well the dress carries a large print.)

(from¬†the official NBC site)¬†Nikki Poulos grew up on a farm with no electricity in the Australian Outback on 54,000 acres of land. With no television – and only the outdoors to entertain her and her siblings – they were forced to be creative. Sewing soon became her favorite pastime. In the early 1990s, Poulos created an eco-friendly baby clothing line called “ecobaby,” which she sold in open-air markets, and eventually expanded the business to sell in major department stores. Poulos quickly experienced much success and, after five years, sold her company and decided to go back to school and study marine biology. After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree, she worked in marine research and coral reef conservation. However, Poulos could not stay away from fashion for too long. Now she is selling her clothing online and in stores across the U.S., Caribbean and Australia.

And Coco’s Loft Maxi Caftan $30 ($17 unlined)!

Ciao! Coco

Me-Made-May’12 is on!

Today is day 1 of Me-Made-May’12. It’s early in the morning, rainy, windy, one of those¬†cozy days. I have a fresh pot of coffee, the news is on the TV – this is a sewing day for me, so nice. And I am wearing polka dot shorts and a tee from the pajama line ūüôā

Hope yours is a nice day as well – Coco

Pyjama Party Reveal! McCalls 5989

I am late revealing my jammies because of the rain…I had planned to do my pics outside in our pretty sunshine. oops! ¬†And then I decided to do my hair and makeup (what an occasion this is…).

Adorable robe and bottoms. My fabrics are from JoAnns –¬† I sewed a size 14 with no alterations, except for a couple adds in the robe, below.

Simple bottoms, thoroughly comfy. I did them in a cute seersucker stripe and used a 1″ knit elastic waistband. I plan to do more in seersucker and in quilting cotton, so many print choices and constantly on sale.


I must say that making the robe was like making a couture coat! And I think it would be stunning in velvet as an evening coat. Mine is done in a funky fabric called tutti fruitti. It washed up soft as a worn sheet, really nice for this robe. (Strange, I used it in a red polka dot that is still crisp after many washing. Must be the dye.)

The pattern suggested making a thread belt loop – NOT – I added sewn loops in the side seam. And of course I added in-seam pockets 3 1/2″ down from the natural waistline. What is a robe without pockets?

Did I leave out something? Oh, yes. This pattern comes with a top, which I will call the paper doll top. It earned this moniker by not having any shaping for someone over the age of, say, 8. It is and will remain unfinished, since I will take a tee shirt over this any day ūüôā
Quickly now…what I’m reading….
And passing the ball!!

Happy Pyjama Day to all my fellow sewists and readers and everyone who loves a good PJ bottom РCoco