McCalls 6966 Maxi Skirt – easy dressing…




Oh, it was so nice to sew this skirt! I love maxi’s, so this project felt like coming home.

I bought this pattern ages ago, and I’ve never sewn it. Mostly because I was simply drafting my knit maxi skirts as an A-line with a yoga waistband. Like this one from a couple years ago (worn with Kathryn Brenne’s beautiful jacket, V9135):

Vogue 9135 - Kathryn Brenne jacket

But my earlier skirts were showing wear and are now gone. M6966 has lots of options, including the hi-lo look that’s so trendy this summer.

Time to give it a try. It’s pretty cute!


Sewing notes – this is very easy to sew:

  • I used size Medium, without a single change.
  • My fabric is a very loosely woven cotton French terry from Girl Charlee.
  • The length was perfect for me at 5’7″. In fact, I took off 1″ before taking up a 1″ hem.
  • This skirt is very similar, in shape and sizing, to the the Sewaholic Gabriola skirt, which is for woven fabrics and has a zipper.

I love the waistband construction. It stays up a bit better than a yoga band, and it’s very nicely finished.

(1) The outside waistband and facing are joined at the top edge, right sides together. A line of stitching about an inch below forms a casing for elastic.

(2) The elastic is inserted, and the band is turned with right sides out – the elastic is hidden!

(3) And the band is attached to the top of the skirt. I sewed it on with an elastic stitch and serged the seam allowance together to give a nice finish.


I took my pics in the dining room this morning, so I could go back and forth to my closet for options to style the skirt. I tried a cropped shirt, a belted tunic, and a jeans jacket (which is why I was wearing the white bra that’s peeking out on my shoulder). Of course, I ended up liking a simple knit tee the best.



Parting shot – since the mosquitoes rule the yard for the moment, I’m doing a little gardening on the porch. These skinny dudes are papaya sprouts, grown from seeds I harvested from a fresh papaya way back in January. If I can get them up to about 20″, they’ll go in the back garden.


I’ve had papaya trees before, and the wasps really enjoyed the fruit – they’re fast.

Bye for now – Coco

McCalls 7597 Kaftan – a complete muslin


Complete because I did it with and without sleeves.

Fran, this is for you 🙂

I’ve been wanting to be in love with this pattern, so I ditched my knit fabric muslin and sewed it in a woven – in fact, in muslin.


As a lover of tunics, and an admirer of really well-done kaftans, I snapped up this pattern just after its release. I looked all over the web, and I’ve found no reviews or pics. So – here we go!

My first focus was on the front bib insert, on both my knit attempt and on this one – on how it’s constructed and finished (because I’m picky). The pattern does not disappoint.

Inside and outside views – very nice. My muslin is a very high-thread count muslin from JoAnns.  It’s actually more like poplin, very stiff, so I didn’t use any interfacing. But I think the high neckline slit calls for interfacing in most fabrics to support the neckline.


The pattern instructions would have one (1) sew the sides of the bib into the bodice, (2) clip the corner turn, and (3) sew across the gathered bodice and bib edge. But I am not a fan. I sewed the sides of the bib into the bodice, and simply folded the bottom edge of the bib over the the gathered bodice. And topstitched. Much much easier.

Stay sane, peeps!


Having conquered the front, I also had concerns that the gathers in the back, under the yoke, might be too much. But the back is pretty! And the sides have just enough curve in them to give a nice silhouette.


Aaargh…I just had to stop typing and go to my laptop settings. I got the Microsoft 10 Creator update this morning, which took 3.5 hours and changed a bunch of settings, including my touchpad. I don’t use the touchpad, but I kept touching it with my palm as I typed. This post got a little wonky for a while…

But I’m back.

Here’s another view of the back, moving my arm a bit. It’s very comfortable and fits well.

back 2

Sewing notes:

  • To start, I’m 5’7″, and have a 34″ bust. I sewed size 12.
  • With no changes!
  • Other than my usual adjustment for a sloping shoulder on my right side. Without the latter, necklines and jacket hems do not match up. It worked fine on this pattern – whew. You never know until you do it…
  • I used the cutting line from View C, which has an added contrast band that I didn’t use. I just wanted the extra length. It’s easier to cut off than to add on!
  • My finished back length on this version is 32 1/2″, which is super nice with leggings.
  • The sleeves are cut at the longest length ( which is not full length – if you want a full-length sleeve, be sure to measure and add to the sleeve).
  • I used a 1 3/4″ hem allowance on the sleeve, finishing with a 9.5″ underarm seam.
  • A note – I have an 11″ bicep, and the sleeve is comfortable on me, but you can see that they are not generously wide.
  • I sewed the sleeve in flat, because I never sew a set-in sleeve unless I have to do it!
  • For this muslin, I trimmed the seam allowance off the sleeveless side to get a true view of a sleeveless version. The pattern uses the same armscye for sleeveless and sleeves makes, so it’s good to see how both work. I think the sleeveless armscye falls just where I’d want it.

Last view with my sewing buddy…


Parting thoughts – this is a great little pattern. The drafting is well-balanced, the pattern pieces fit together perfectly, and it was fun to sew. I even like the high neckline! and I usually go for v-neck and scoop-neck designs. The pattern might not be for beginning sewists, given the insert and sleeves. It’s such a new pattern, I’m happy to help out with any questions and so on if you’re thinking of sewing it.

Last week, before I sewed this muslin, and with crossed fingers, I purchased fabric for a maxi length version, including 3/8″ wide trim for the front insert. Five 1/2 yards – that’s a lot of fabric, but I think it will be really pretty.

fabric and trim

It’s Friday – I hope everyone enjoys a very nice weekend. Ciao! Coco

McCalls 7597 – Thwarted mid-muslin


Well, I’m sitting here laughing at myself as I write. Because I usually cause my own problems! In this case, I decided to muslin a pattern with a very lightweight knit with 60% stretch. Ignoring the fabric suggestions for cotton blends, stable knits, crepes, gauze.

The pattern – McCalls 7597 – really has me intrigued:


I ‘m pretty sure that sewing it in a woven fabric will be easy. But I love wearing knits. So a knit muslin was in order, using a cotton modal rayon that I picked up from Girl Charlee at only $2.50/yard over Mothers Day.

The exorbitant stretch factor was not really a problem. The problem was the HOLE I managed to put at the turn of the bib insert.


I’m so stubborn, I really like it when I sew well – not when I put holes in my garments!

I’ll probably use Fray Check on it and keep going. When the fabric is relaxed, the hole really isn’t noticeable.

I’m in love with the length of the front bib. It gives the illusion of a dropped waist. Very pretty.


A note on sewing this type of knit fabric – very light (almost sheer), stretchy, and curly.  I use my patchwork presser foot, a 70/10 universal needle, and a small straight stitch. This little foot really keeps the fabric in place on each side of the needle, and the needle doesn’t carry fabric into the feed dogs. A 1/4″ presser foot would work as well, but doesn’t afford the view of the stitching area that the patchwork foot provides. I also play with the pressure on the presser foot until the fabrics moves just right across the throat plate. Worth trying if you get frustrated at the machine 🙂

patchwork presser foot-horz

Speaking of throat plates, I managed to bend one of the looper needles on the throat plate of my Juki serger. I’ve had a couple weird weeks in the loft. A replacement plate is expensive, so I’ve set it aside for now, and I’m using my Janome 8002D serger. It’s a nice machine as well. I always kept it threaded with white thread and used my Juki for color changes. What luxury…I’m just glad I had two sergers!

I’m still shopping fabrics for a ‘real’ version of this pattern, so I plan to mosey on over to JoAnns once I have enough coffee in me…

Bye for now! Coco

Summer dress refashion


e1I’m feeling invigorated ! I remade a dress, and I just got back from JoAnns. My stash is a little bit healthier, and I have black and white thread (how bad is that – I was down to almost none, less than half a spool of each).

The dress. Originally, it was Vogue 1297, a Sandra Betzina dress that I blogged back in February as my Valentines dress.


I love this Betzina dress and this fabric! But it was simply too big for me with my weight loss. I wanted to save the fabric, so I laid it out on the floor and, voila, a new dress. It’s the same as my recent muslin using the bodice from Kwik Sew 3873, but with long sleeves.



I might decide to shorten the sleeves later, but for now, I like them long.



Now, that tripM7597_01 to JoAnn’s – I also picked up McCalls 7597, which, IMO, is a super cute and versatile kaftan pattern. It has options for a top, tunic, short dress, or maxi, with or without a narrow mandarin collar.

I’ve seen it online, on BMV, but I always gave it a pass because the envelope pic they show (at left) is just …well, you decide. For some reason, I took a closer look yesterday. Wow. What a nice pattern!

I love the the large floral maxi dress. Decisions, decisions – all of the options are so appealing.


I need a nap now – fabric shopping wears me out 🙂 Bye for now – Coco

B6296 – Summer (campin’) shirt

front 1

Sometimes I think I’m like a puppy – I just keep shaking that new toy. I mentioned in an earlier post that the top from the Butterick 6296 pajama pattern would make a great camp shirt. I had a large remnant of Michael Miller cotton couture in the stash, so I decided to give it a go.  Bingo! It’s really cute.


A couple pics with the shirt worn outside – I had to take these first since I knew it would get all wrinkly once I tucked it in my britches.

out 1

I used the cutting line from View A, which is shorter, and then shortened it another 2″, using the scientific eyeballing method and the back length of my TSW Trio Shirt.

out 2

I did want to ditch the PJ look as much as possible, so I didn’t use edging detail on the sleeve band. Instead, I added a curved corner to each end of the band, and then attached it ‘upside down’.


I really like this small, easy change. It also occurred to me that it also would be simple to widen the band and create a cuff.

side 1

No changes to the collar – it’s so pretty, and I like it much more than a pointed collar. It’s a generous width and really behaves. No fear of flying with this convertible collar style – without a collar band, collars are very easy to sew.


A couple more pics. It’s way too hot now for jeans, but these are my favorites. I made them several years ago in mid-weight denim,  using the McCalls 6291 cargo pants pattern (great for shorts as well).

back 2

front 2

Well, I think I’m done with this pattern for a while – but it was fun trying various looks with it. And I love my PJ sets.  I’m giving it 5 stars!

Parting shots – it’s Mother’s Day! From my dear not-so-little ones…from david

David sent these incredible flowers from my favorite florist, ‘Art of Flowers’. For years he sent me orchids, which kept expiring under my care. A hit to my gardener ego, but in reality, orchids from florists are tender. They’ve been handled way too much, chilled, warmed, and mushed. I love getting flowers – my living room smells heavenly.

From my creative Ashley, a precious memory of dancing together in the kitchen…

mom abug

Hope this special day brings nice memories to all – Bye for now, Coco