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 Fabric.com. 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 Wawak.com. 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 Paracordplanet.com (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

McCalls 6461 – A sea life cardigan


What could be better than marine creatures all over a cardigan! I fell for this cotton knit fabric the moment I saw it on Girl Charlee, way back in May, and I grabbed both prints in this colorway. I was lucky – the Sea Life print is gone, and only a few yards remain of the Hideway Flowers.

Fresh Produce
100% cotton, 8.5 oz, 58″ wide, 20% stretch 

Girl Charlee’s description: From designer clothing line Fresh Produce comes this high quality garment dyed botanical floral print cotton jersey knit…Fabric is pre-shrunk, soft, …medium weight with a small stretch. 

It really is pretty beefy and is very similar to lightweight French terry knit. Cute, right?


m6461 line art

So, back to the cardigan, one of my favorite patterns of all time, McCalls 6461. This is the 5th time I’ve sewn a variation of View C, and bad on me, I’ve never written about it.

Sad part – it’s out of print, but I see it on Ebay and Etsy from time to time.

The pattern is simple: cut-on sleeves and a hemmed neckline. I’ve always squared off the front edges, which makes it even easier to sew. For this version, rather than hem the neckline, I decided to attach a 1″ wide neckband.

cardi 1

Notes on the neckband:

  • I trimmed 5/8″ off the neckline all the way around, and reshaped the back neckline to be a little concave.
  • I have very square/level shoulders, so I also adjusted the fit before I added the neckband.
  • I cut a 4″ wide neckband with the grainline along the length of the band, not across it. And folded it in half, wrong sides together, and serged it to the neckline.
  • Suggestion: if you piece a neckband, use a diagonal seam to reduce bulk and ‘hide’ the seam.

neckband seam

  • Other changes for this version: I added 2″ to the length and used 3/4 length sleeves.

More pics!


Leggings: Love Notions Sabrina Slims in cotton/lycra jersey.


Here’s a pic of version I sewed in 2014 and still enjoy wearing. It’s a very light and stretchy tri-blend cotton jersey, so I simply hemmed the neckline.


And a muslin I did recently, using View B. I’m thinking it would make a great shrug to wear over sleeveless dresses. Ignore the fabric please – it’s French terry and is way too heavy for the bottom curve.

shrug muslin

I’m so pleased with this cardigan and with the success of the neckband 🙂


Ciao! Coco


After the fall…the way back

lady of leisure

Doing  better after falling a couple weeks ago! And showing the ‘good’ side of my face. The other side and the back of my left hand are still bandaged. But…it takes time.

A small post, but just look at that cute Charlie Caftan. I was totally inspired by Sue at ‘A Colourful Canvas’. Her pink plaid Charlie, posted way back in June, just gripped my heart… I spent hours online looking for a pink plaid fabric.

And I found it at Fabric Mart, mine is a cotton plaid jacquard shirting. Serendipitous. This pic is from ages ago, because I never did take a full set of pics of this version of the Charlie Caftan. My bad, but I have so many versions now.  I just love the pattern.


A link here

line art

I’m feeling better, and I’ve started sewing again. I’m working on a long cardigan, based on McCalls 6461. On Emile…

cardi 1
Fabric: Fresh Produce Sea Life Charcoal Black Cotton Jersey Knit  from Girl Charlee

And a pic of my lovely view, calm and peaceful, from the porch.


Bye for now – Coco

You gotta get up, early in the morning…

afrev2 2I woke up at 5:00 a.m. with ‘Early in the Morning’, by The Gap Band, rolling through my head. They’re one of my favorite groups from the 80’s – here’s a link to a YouTube version, if you want to sing along!

First business, thank you all so much for the support, prayers, and thoughts, not just for me, but for everyone facing Hurricane Irma this weekend. What nice friends you are. It’s a special moment – I’ve heard from so many of you who live in Florida, have family and/or friends in Florida, have weathered similar challenges, or simply care enough to drop a line. Again, thank you.

Sewing! it has been a wonderful diversion. I decided to fall back on familiar and comfy, and McCalls 6747 Classic Henley Dress is perfect. I’ve sewn it so much that I had to buy a new copy of the pattern this summer (some earlier versions here).


I also had some favorite cotton/lycra knit fabric on hand. I like this fabric/print so much that I’ve ordered it 3 times from Girl Charlee. As I write, it’s still available.


inside garden


I don’t usually have a plant shop in the living room. But I had to move everything off the porch, which gives me a new backdrop for pics.


What’s missing here is the cup of coffee just out of view. I actually put on makeup and combed my hair, but I do look sleepy. Or tired.


There have been moments of levity! Someone asked about one of my notes on my previous post, ‘move the alligator’. Yes, I really do have one, but it’s concrete 🙂


I also had a very indignant toad, who got tossed with the water when I moved the bird toad bath.


The wind is up, and we’re getting a lot of rain. Parts of Miami have already lost power. Wow. Here I am, my sanguine pose 🙂


Thinking of so many things and people – be safe, be well.

Bye for now – Coco

McCalls 6203 Bats in the attic


Good Monday morning! I was up double-O-early today, that full moon just wanted some attention. Beautiful moon…

2013With fresh coffee in hand, I finally got together some pics of my latest knit tops. These were sewn with a purpose, which is not something I can say about most things I sew! I wanted some tops that I can tuck into my jeans. Just that. But not tee shirts or blouses. It sounds easy, but I spent hours looking at patterns online, and finally remembered this top that I made in 2013, during my batwing period. OK, it was also my zebra period…

envelope m6203

I remember buying this pattern as a leap of faith, because the envelope pics are really really bad. But the line art, no embellishments, is quite good. And it makes a great top.


I really like the deep ballet neck. It’s feminine and sort of elevates the vibe of a pair of jeans. BTW – I love jeans. I don’t sew them, I buy them. I could never ever get this fit in a pair that I made myself. The ones here all from Coldwater Creek and are old, just the way jeans should be 🙂 And it’s really gratifying that these fit again…

Fabric: rayon/spandex medium weight jersey, Fabric.com

Of course I made a white top as well.

Fabric: cotton/modal lightweight jersey, Girl Charlee

A few sewing notes:

  • I sewed a straight size Medium, View C.
  • Since the pattern is tunic length, I shortened it by 4″ for this tuck-able top.
  • And I used self-fabric binding for the neckline. The pattern has a double-layer, raw edge affair for the neckline, which is a bit much for me.


Parting shot: I was messing around in the garden the other day and found this hoya carnosa blossom almost hidden from view. Hoyas bloom exuberantly in the sun, but at the expense of their foliage. I moved my two baskets into the shade a couple years ago, and I really enjoy their deep shiny foliage and occasional blossom.

Hoya Sep 1 2017

Bye for now – Coco