Coloring Books…it’s playtime!

OK – adult coloring books, the latest craze. I’m in. I love coloring books and admit to a collection of doodle art and mandala art coloring books. And I can hardly pass up a new collection of felt tip pens or colored pencils in a store. I also pick up crayon boxes just to smell them, remember how they smell? I think the best is the box of 64 colors. Some of us just never grew up when it comes to playtime.

Coloring is so relaxing, the same way knitting is. One just sits and does it and the mind wanders.

This morning I happened across a post on Facebook referencing coloring books from McCall Company’s blogsite. How did I miss this for so long? I quickly found and printed four, which I think is all that they’ve published so far. I included links on each of the pics below.

Butterick Summer 2015
Vogue Fall 2015
Each PDF ‘book’ has 8 – 10 patterns, basically large-scale line art, from what McCalls’ considers the most talked-about patterns in a collection.

McCalls Summer 2015 
Vogue Summer 2015

They’re really nice! and they include a lot of patterns I’ve sewn or seen on other blogs. And some I might sew, particularly with all this inspiration. Meanwhile, I can color, and I hope they do more.

All of the above was totally unsolicited…

On the sewing front, I’m waiting for a new pattern to arrive. Something different – a sunhat. I haven’t done a hat in a couple years, but I have lots of cotton scraps that would be perfect for one. And I have craft-weight interfacing in the loft. I’m thinking about combining the pattern with Vicki Welsh’s free sun visor pattern.

Kwik Sew 4107
Vicki’s Sun Visor

And hope to end up with something like the sunhats I wear all the time, the ones from CVS Pharmacy. They haven’t had any this spring or summer. I was bummed, but now I have a plan 🙂

 Ciao! Coco

McCalls 6074 Flared knit maxi…

A maxi for the Maxi Dress sew-along…aka the seaweed dress.


This ITY knit fabric really does remind me of kelp!

When I saw it on Fabric Mart, it appeared to be more greenish, but it’s shades of taupe. Pretty, but once I got it home, I couldn’t figure out how to use it. It’s a tricky print.

And along came M6074. It’s simple, flowy, and flared. Perfect.

This has been reviewed so many time on Pattern Review, and it’s mostly well-loved. I was a little unsure of the elastic gathering right under the bust. I’m full-busted and not at all perky…the gathers were a potential fail for me.

But the issue was easily fixed – I left off the gathers. And I really like how the dress looks and fits without them. The pattern doesn’t have bust darts, but the lines of the bodice do a wonderful job without them.

A look at my inspiration – this beautiful flared knit maxi from Soft Surroundings, the Pretty Woman Dress.  The flare is so pretty – I’ve had this pic in my inspiration file for ages.

It’s a true tank dress, and has a low back that matches the front.

I prefer back on the McCalls pattern. It’s worry-free (no lingerie strap issues) and comfortable for me.

Missed on the back matching…shifty fabric on the cutting board. Oh well.

Sewing notes:

  • I sewed size 14, View C. I’ll admit I was wary of it being too ‘close’ through the torso, so I used 1/2″ seams on the sides, armhole to hem. It would be easy to make this dress more fitted, as in the Soft Surroundings pic.
  • ITY is such a great fabric – but it has a little weight to it and tends to drop quite a bit. Because I’m 5’7″, I added 3″ to the hemline when I cut out the pattern. Once sewn, I let the dress hang for a few days – and ended up cutting 3″ off before I hemmed it.
  • The shoulders are fairly wide, to accomodate a 5/8″ folded-in finish on the armholes. Which I don’t like! I trimmed 3/8″ at the top of the armhole, cured down each side. And applied self-fabric binding.
  • Easy-peasy V-neck finish! I bound the neckline first, then sewed and finished the center front seam. 

I love the width of the skirt and how it swirls around.

My bags are (almost) packed and ready to go to Ft. Myers this afternoon. Time for my annual kitty-sit while the ‘kids’ (Ashley and Darrin) are in San Diego for Comic Con. I made them both some new loop bracelets for the trip. I make them for David and Preston as well, in matching sets. David recently asked me for a replacement of the camo color. His fell apart after being worn in the pool for several months.

Have you made these things? It’s an addictive activity while listening to the news. And they’re fun. I have bands in 12 colors… I said it’s addictive. So is buying the bands!

Bye for now, Coco

A couple more summer blouses…

 I’m on a roll.

I’ve really enjoyed my first version of New Look 6340 – I reach for it all the time. It has such a nice fit, and I like the pockets. Handy for all kinds of little things, including my hands!

So I made another, this one in Michael Miller chain link quilting cotton from Hancock’s of Paducah. (It was on sale for $4.99, such a great buy).

I love getting fabric from this store. It is always perfectly cut, each piece is carefully folded and wrapped separately in plastic, and it’s just a delight to receive.

Back to the top. To go with, I’ve sewn another pair of the Vogue 9114 Kathryn Brenne ankle pants, done in white target cloth from JoAnns. These are a little shorter than my red ones at left. And I like this shorter length, kind of funky.

Like they aren’t funky enough already with those upside down pockets on the leg.

Next up, another Butterick 6024 pintucked blouse. Light and comfy in Robert Kaufman Calling 4 London lawn (also from Hancock’s of Paducah).

My first version has the original long hem in the back…

Butterick 6040 Pintucked Tunic

On this one, I shortened the back by 4.5″ at the center, cured out to the sides. It just seems to suit the print fabric better than an exaggerated hem. And it’s still long enough to be easy-going. No anxieties about the back view…

I don’t want to give the impression that all has gone well in the loft…I’ve put a couple things in the wadder bin since last week. The biggest disappointment was a dress I planned for the Maxi Dress sew-along. I ordered the pattern, McCalls 7080, sight-unseen. It’s new for the summer season. And ordered the fabric just for the pattern as well.

Both were awful. The bodice was so tight around the sleeve, horrible, and the original neckline was up around my earlobes. And the fabric – I swear, I thought it was cotton. Not. It’s 100% woven polyester. Feels like the outside of a Pampers pull-up…

To make things even worse, I managed to get part of my finger in with a seam I was trimming with my razor-edged Fiskar scissors. ouch.

So – I’m working now on another dress for the sew-along. This is why I have a stash 🙂

Parting shots – the guavas are getting fat and ripening (the ones that Ms. Squirrel and Mr. Anole cannot reach, way out on the skinny tips of the limbs).

Bye for now – Coco

Coming soon – San Diego International Comic-Con!


It’s that time of year again – the international congress of pop culture aficionados from all over the world…the San Diego Comic-Con.

I love this event, and I’ve never been there! But Ashley and Darrin go every year. To San Diego and to other ‘cons’…but this is the max, the biggest, the one with all the ‘primo’ stuff. The summit of autographed pics and spontaneous fun…And their major meet-up with friends from all over the States.

I’ve made something special for lots of the con’s…

Kaylee Firefly Jacket

Darrin’s PJ’s for the pile-up at the Marriott

The Original Zen Dress

A witch right out of Salem…

Center Front -Pirate!

Ashley needs PJ’s too!

I always go to their house to keep the kitties company – and take them to the airport.

 Of course, I have a lot of faith in Darrin – he’ll keep my girl safe…

There’s no accounting for love and fascination…

Happy Hour

Where’s the fence?

Actually, I am reassured by this pic…really.

Sith Girl

This year’s featured garment – a new version of the Zen dress, and my birthday present to her. But she bought the fabric – what! and sent it to me. This year we are into, at minimum, Thor, Spidey, the Hulk, Iron Man, and, oh my, my favorite, be still my heart – Wolverine.

Her dress is ready to go to Ft. Myers on July 7. The sleeve binding and hem will be finished once I get there and do a final fitting.

It’s a kick – I love it. Ciao! Coco

McCalls 7131 – gauchos, culottes, shorts!

Good morning (or afternoon) – I’m up early today and positively feisty after 6 hours of uninterruped sleep. Usually I wake up a couple times, maybe get up and read for a while. Sleeping through was great.

This is from McCalls spring release – wow, it got me right away.  I’ve only seen one version online, this beautiful midi-length version by Mimi G. It’s so pretty, and I love her tropical print fabric. After seeing hers, I pulled out a print that I recently picked up for a loose maxi sundress (Hoffman Fabrics, from Fabric Mart). I think it’s perfect for these pants.

So many options. I decided to go with View E, the longest one – I was thinking I could always shorten it, maybe to the midi-length of View C. But I won’t – it makes great long pants. Gauchos? I think that views B and C could be called culottes. And how about those shorts – adorable. It would be so easy to make them a little longer, more a walking short length.

Such a great fit. I seldom tuck in a shirt with an elastic-waist bottom. But this waist is so nicely done, I really like how it looks. The waist band is 2″ wide and features 4 lines of elastic in the back.

And the front is plain, no elastic.

It takes a little patience to insert four lines of elastic. And lots of small safety pins at hand really help. I started by inserting all four elastics as far as I could without causing any gathering.

Then I worked all four to the end of the casing – and kept using those pins! I was lucky – I used the elastic guide from the pattern and it was just right.

The pleats on the upper front are intended to be open and loose. But I liked how they looked when they were basted down. So I decided to sew them permanently with topstitching.

Some sewing notes:

  • I sewed a straight size 14, my usual size.
  • The hem is generous on this pattern, no need for additional length. I used a 1″ hem with topstitching.
  • The crotch measured about 27″, so I added 1″ to the top of the front and back pieces, and added the extra inch to the top of the pocket pieces as well. I decided to finish the crotch with two lines of stitching, and I serged the allowance together to finish. By stretching the curves open while serging, I was able to get plenty of give in the curves without any clipping.

This is definitely getting sewn again!

Parting shot: My son and grandson, kindergarten graduation day at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando. Joy.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable and safe weekend – Ciao! Coco