Random Thursday

The lovely print I framed for my bedroom, Stof Maisonette Canvas.

Honestly, I’ve had a lot of ‘fails’ this year, perhaps because I’ve been trying new patterns and indulging in wishful thinking. But it’s spring here in Orlando, and I’m getting a bit more revved to sew. It’s so funny – I have more than enough dresses and pants and tops, but, yes, I enjoy more and different. And I am diligent about donating the garments that leave my closet. We are a big city, and there are always women who need that something to wear – against the cold, for an interview, to wear every day. I focus on One Heart Women and Children. Pre-pandemic I volunteered my time through my church. I miss those uplifting experiences.

Sewing plans! everything is on order, must be patient…

I’ve spent hours looking for a maxi dress with sleeves, no waist seams, long and lovely. And rayon challis for that perfect drape. Pefect for our hot summers.

Etsy Smart Fabrics 

And another summer and all year favorite, a maxi knit dress. McCall 6747 is my TNT. How cute is this print! I don’t usually spend so much on a knit fabric, but it seems that cost avoidance is difficult. More and more, I’ve found that inexpensive jersey knits have a harsh texture and give up color like crazy. So I choose to be realistic.

Art Gallery Luna & Laurel Eye See You

Recent fail…I ordered 4 yards of Shannon waffle cotton for a robe…I love the pattern, with it’s cozy shawl collar. Think flannel…

My fabric was awful. It just balloned out everywhere, not cozy at all. Laundered 3 times, and it persisted.

Shannon Waffle 10 Ounce Cloth

Not deterred, with a $40 piece of fabric on my hands, I cut the robe into pieces and made 8 faceclothes. Here’s a lesson, they are the best faceclothes I’ve ever had! Absorbant, easy to rinse, very cleansing, and quick to dry. So I can recommend this fabric for making those indispensable clothes for your face. My robe pieces were enough for me to make gifts for Christmas. But you can make 8 with 1 yard of this fabric.

So – I’m sitting here waiting on patterns and fabrics! Bye for now – Coco

Polka dot season…

It happens every year – that polka dot thing. Hot hot summer and suddenly polka dots seem like popsicles. Gotta’ have some!

This year’s rendition is a Fabric Merchants cotton/lycra jersey knit, purchased on Amazon. It’s a heavyweight knit at 10 oz./sq. yd., and it’s perfect for a dress or jacket with structured design elements.

About the dress. It started out as straight-forward New Look 6936 with flutter sleeves, View C, the same version as my pineapple dress (here).

But in this heavy knit, color, and pattern repeat, the sleeves overwhelmed the dress and seemed rather stuffy. Now, here’s the thing: I knew I would not wear it with those sleeves. With nothing to lose, I took out pen and scissors and reshaped the sleeves to have a simple extended shoulder.

I always add a waistband between bodice and skirt on knit dresses. I use a woven cotton on the inside of the waistband, and the result has two advantages: it prevents having a stretched-out waistband seam, and it supports the weight of the skirt. Inside the band, I added soft Sport Waistband Elastic (from Wawak, 25-yard rolls).

Polka dots or popsicle, one is never enough…

Ciao! Coco

New Look 6936 Pineapples maxi dress

Oh, that lovely pineapple jersey from Girl Charlee fabrics – a classic.

I first used this knit for a Cali Faye Gardenia dress in 2017, it’s just a lovely fabric. Specs: 10 oz medium weight, 35%/55% stretch, cotton/spandex. I think 10 oz knits are perfect for dresses.

For this new maxi, I used an old friend in my pattern stash, New Look 6936. Okay, those old pics are daunting on the hair front! But they were taken 9 years ago, back when I still dyed my locks.

My current version uses the sleeves from view C, with added length and a few other things, in the sewing notes below. IMHO, these are perfect flutter sleeves. I have broad shoulders and most add-on flutter sleeves look like an appendage on me!

Sewing notes:

  • I sew the size 14 in this dress. Remember, it’s the pattern measurements that matter. In RTW, I’m size 8 or 10, same for most indie patterns. But the Big Four continue to stick with their outdated sizing denominations.
  • To the point, the skirt is a column, in this case 44″ around, top to bottom. With 39″ hips, it’s perfect for me. And is sufficient width for me to walk without a slit (which would be easy to add if you like the idea).
  • I added a waistband casing between the skirt and the bodice. Actually, the bodice is quite short, and I am way past wanting a high empire look (the sassy ikat knit dress above is the original pattern). The casing is finished at 1 1/2″ wide and has soft elastic inside. The inside layer is white cotton broadcloth, because I find that using a woven provides support for the waist and skirt.
  • The bodice crossover is deep, so there are no issues with exposed girls or having to wear a cami!
  • The original pattern instructions are to do a folded and stitched hem on the entire neckline.Yuck. I drafted facings, which provide a little weight to all those bias edges and look very nice. I didn’t interface the facings, given the weight of the fabric. Had it been lighter, I would have used Pellon EK130 tricot knit fusible.
  • BTW, I think the original pattern is perfect for an advanced beginner. Adding a waistband is not difficult, just a matter of choice and confidence 🙂

More pics!

A note: I originally posted this dress with a full maxi length. And I thought it was dreary! I shortened the dress by about 5 1/2″ 🙂

It just feels good to have a successful project in a favorite vibe. As a parting shot, may I say that I despise WordPress’ block editor!! Makes me crazy…

Ciao! Coco

My version of planning!

Hmmm. I really don’t plan beyond 1 or 2 projects, and I seldom have more than 2 or 3 pieces of fabric in my stash. I tend to sew multiples of a pattern before moving on to new territory, a habit that sometimes leaves me feeling burnt out. When this happens, I invariably start browsing patterns, and I even cruise my own blog for inspiration. It’s amazing how many patterns I’ve made and liked and haven’t repeated in a while.

First up – The Grainline Lark Tee. I decided to try the scoop neckline version. I’ve had the Lark since its release, but I’ve only sewn the crew neck! For this muslin, having a 2-yard rayon jersey remnant, I drafted a dress version as well (just longer and a bit A-line).

Great neckline and the band fits perfectly!

I didn’t really model this, as it was meant to be a nightie. But I did add a belt, and, surprise, rather cute!

Second – I ordered four Big 4 patterns, something I seldom do these days, choosing Indie patterns most of the time. But these will be great!

Found on Etsy
From Something Delightful
From Something Delightful

I’ve sewn all three of the above in the past, but I need a fresh pattern – I’m smaller than I was way back then. Last, a new pattern that I’ve had on my wishlist for ages and just found on Etsy this week! Views A, B, and C have faux wrap skirts, yay!

I have plenty of black jersey to do a muslin, but also ordered fabric for the dress – Girl Charlee’s classic pineapple print knit, used several years ago in a Cali Faye Gardenia dress:

I’ve been watching the blue jays attack a large hawk that’s been terrorizing the neighborhood bird population. It’s high season for mating and nesting in our dense tree canopy here. Unfortunately, he doesn’t even flinch, but I hope Mr. Hawk returns to his usual turf soon.

Bye for now, Coco

the last of the lizards…and that machine

Good morning! well, I finished the last garment in my 8-yard lizard fabric saga. I really love sewing this fabric, and the print is so much fun. Back story – I ordered 4 yards in the green color way, and 4 yards in a mocha color way. and JoAnn sent me all 8 yards in green. Refund, but I still had 8 yards of the same fabric!

My last post was all lizards, and this is the final make with the last yard or so. It’s one of my favorite combos, the Cali Faye Gardenia dress, with neckline and sleeves from New Look 6323. This neckline is just so gratifying…

A note on the neckband: I applied it twice, because the first one gaped. This is 100% cotton jersey – without a spandex element, I had to shorten the band. Which is OK 🙂 my seam ripper enjoys its place of precedence in the sewing room.

On another note, I recently posted (and deleted) a tale of woe regarding my sewing machine. The stitching rate had slowed to almost nothing, and I thought my power supply or presser foot sensor had failed. I got out my backup machine and ordered a new primary. But for some reason, before disposing of the faltering machine, I plugged the whole thing in once again. With coffee and morning brightness of mind, I found that the speed setting on the machine was set at its lowest point! I never touch this control, who knows how I managed to change it.

Anyway, machine saved and order cancelled. Whew. On to other projects with a lot of gratitude and humility!

Bye for now – Coco

New Look 6323 Tunic Top

Making my own sunshine during a cold snap – and revisiting a favorite New Look pattern.

I mentioned on my last post that NL 6323 has been re-branded as McCalls Style L9484, (whatever that means, it can’t be found with Google). I found it at Walmart, and I’m going back to see what other OOP gems are hidden on the pattern rack.

It’s a keeper – so many options, and the drafting and instructions are excellent. Even the v-neck band fits and goes on easily! (I’m slightly intimidated by banded v-necks).

Sewing notes:

  • I sewed View D, which has a v-neck and gathered back skirt, in size Medium.
  • Fabric is double-brushed poly from Fabric.com. I love the print and colors 🙂
  • It looks better in person than in the photos!

I’ve been looking around for new styles and ideas, and just finished a muslin of the Named Clothing Ninni Culottes – very cute! pics soon.

My current project is totally intriguing, the Rya ‘shacket‘ from Fibre Mood! I have to content myself with cutting and taping and drafting the tissue while waiting for the fabric to arrive (found on Etsy, Robert Kaufman Saffron Mammoth Flannel).

I hope everyone is well and safe – For now, Coco

Online shopping mysteries

IMHO, online shopping calls for a sense of humor and acceptance of the inevitable. In general, I am a big fan – it’s entertaining, doesn’t cause fatigue, and, most of the time, I find something wonderful, needed or not. I admit that Amazon Prime has expanded my horizon in ways I never imagined…

To share a couple of funny experiences this week:

(1) I recently placed an online order with Mood Fabrics, 4 woven fabrics, $108, received the email confirmation and a tracking number – but the order doesn’t appear in my account. I sent a couple emails to their support desk, but no response. Kind of bugs me…

(2) Sometimes the picture is not what you get. I ordered this double-brushed poly from Fabric.com to make leggings:

And received this very large print instead! It happens that I like it, so I kept it 🙂

The tunic pattern is also a surprise. I had New Look 6323 in my stash for about 6 years, but tossed it when I lost some of the pieces. Subsequently I could not find a replacement anywhere online. Shopping in Walmart last week, I found it in the sewing section, re-branded. Whoopee!

Similar stories? Ciao! Coco