Paper Theory Olya shirt in Swiss dot

Getting shirty – in the new and best sense of the word! I’ve been on an Olya journey, prompted by being so tired of the summer heat and really really tired of my summer wardrobe. I’m tempted to sweep my much-worn dresses out the door!

I first sewed this in early 2019, a muslin and two versions in challis (here). Immediately after, I was distracted by my plans to move house and all that entailed. And the pattern has been aging in my stash ever since. It’s a lovely design:

This Olya is a gem – it’s sewn in Swiss dot lawn, a wonderful transition to fall (if it ever gets here…).

Sewing notes:

  • My first versions were size 8, but for this version I decided to draft a size 10. I’m so happy I did! It has more of a boyfriend shirt appeal, something I love over pants.
  • An aside, the pants in all these pics are Tessuti Margot pants, sewn in Kaufman 6.5 Oz Washed Bleach Indigo, lengthened and given front, back, and cargo pockets!
  • Sewing Swiss dot is kind of difficult, because all those little dots make squares that have to be considered and matched. Read that as needing a lot of single layer cutting…
  • As before, I bound the sleeve placket instead of doing a more structured one. Given such a light fabric, I think a two-piece placket would overwhelm the cuff area of the sleeve.

  • Interfacing – I used Pellon 950F Shirtailor interfacing in the collar and cuffs, and Pellon PLFB36 ultra lightweight interfacing in the button bands. Both are non-woven and fusible.
  • I added 2″ to the length of the front and back bodice.
  • No pockets! (1) they are really tricky and (2) I think they would look like giant pasties in this sheer fabric!
  • This shirt has the most beautifully drafted collar I’ve ever sewn 🙂

To close – I will always remember Queen Elizabeth as a most extraordinary woman – timeless in her example of kindness, steadfastness, dedication to service, prudence, adaptivity, leadership, and faith. My thoughts are with everyone touched by her passing.


Two Ermine blouses – two sizes

The Fibre Mood Ermine blouse is one of my favorites this year. My daughter saw my first one in January, and so began a journey.

For my girl:

She will be here for a visit in August, so I purchased a relatively inexpensive challis for her muslin. I say relatively – prices for fabric are somewhat amazing these days. No matter…

I drafted size 18-20 on the top, down to size 22 – 24 at our target hem, and elongated the entire bodice to her preferred blouse length. The Ermine is drafted to glide to a something some inches below one’s waist. For DD, I moved the side seam out to work with her hip at a 31″ CB measurement. Not a tunic length for her, but her usual blouse CB length. She is tall:-)

Fabric: Telio Viscose Voile Floral Print Black/Multi,

She has 6 kitties, so this fabric, with its playful cats, is appealing.

The sleeve on the Ermine goes from a gathered cap to a wrist length. Which works fine for me in a size Medium. But Ashley has a 7.5″ wrist, versus the 12″ width of the sleeve at the wrist in her size! Crazy. Wave that around in the breeze. So I drafted the size 20 sleeve in the Fibre Mood Norma blouse, which is ‘puffed’ at a high bracelet length. I have enough yardage to draft another set of sleeves if this doesn’t work.

Another Ermine, this one for me, in a playful navy and white rayon poplin voile. It took a bit of single layer cutting to do the upper bodice, and then I could not come up with a ‘plain’ button band for the front. I thought about finding a solid for the band, and then I decided not to obsess! This will have white buttons, and I’ll love it.

Fabric: Telio Pandora Rayon Poplin Leaves Navy,

An aside: the New Look 6689 flared leggings, mentioned on my Instagram account, were a disaster. The flare is indiscernible, the rise is a mess. I won’t be keeping this pattern! A day later, and I’m going to try this again, I do get stubborn!

Up next – my stash is empty, but I just ordered a pure white linen/rayon woven to make some britches to go with the Ermine above. Meanwhile, I’m re-reading all of Patrick O’Brien’s seafaring books and binge-watching Seinfeld. Among other things 🙂

Bye for now – Coco

SewHouse7 Free Range Slacks

Think spring…

After reading many reviews and examining photos online with a magnifying glass, I decided to try out this pattern. It’s really cute! I particularly like the narrow inset side band, not easily seen in the line art or photos, but it’s there, and wraps from front to back.

Check out the nice pockets as well…

The thing that appealed to me most is that, even with an elastic waistband, the silhouette is slim, not bunchy.

Hmmm – I cropped my head. It’s truth time – I’m letting my hair grow a bit. It’s agony. But in the end, as I age, I identify more with Diane Keaton than with Judi Dench or Jamie Lee Curtis. My hair is wiry and curly, so at the moment it’s also out of control!

Sewing notes:

  • I chose my size based on my waist measurement, the size closest to my hip size to reduce bulk at the waist. So a size 8.
  • And I made version 2, the cropped pants.
  • I sewed the pants up to the point of the waist treatment. Which is funky. The waist takes a prodigious dip at center front, leaving a very short front rise. I’m sure the low-rise look will appeal to some, just not to me 🙂 I decided to remove the piece seen below, leaving a level edge at the top of the pants. And I added a sewn-on waistband. If you sew the pattern, this will make more sense.
  • The result is a nice, clean waistband, with 1 1/4″ elastic, and pretty topstitching.
Fabric: Kaufman Brussels Washer linen in Pear

I really really like the result!

Ciao! Coco

True Bias Hudson Pants

I think it’s Hudson Pants season!

I haven’t made these for myself since 2014, and that pair was heavily modified to be more like a harem pant (it was before the Pattern Emporium Harem Pants came out).

In 2015, I made the Mini and Men’s Hudson for my grandson and son, they were a bit hit!

This winter I find myself freezing in thin leggings, and having seen several Hudson versions recently on IGram, the lightbulb came on. Finally 🙂

Fabric: Kaufman Laguna stretch jersey in Bonsai. Top: modified Cali Faye Gardenia tunic.

Sewing notes:

  • This time I sewed the size 12. Based on my measurements, I could go down to a 10, but I’m a bit nervous about slim-fitted britches of any kind.
  • In general, I don’t care for drawstrings, they’re fussy and get in the way of tops. I simply inserted 1 1/2″ elastic in the waistband casing.
  • The pattern is drafted for a 5’5″ frame and 28″ inseam. I’m just under 5’8″, 30″ inseam, so I added 1 3/4″ to the length. These pants are meant to land at the ankle – for slacks I would have added more.
  • Speaking of the ankle, I don’t care for a tight ankle band, so I added to the width of mine.
  • My only fit issue was a slight pinch at the crotch. I fixed it by extending the inseam at the crotch by about 3/8″, front and back.

Trivia: this was Kelli’s first pattern!

Of course I’ve made another pair already, in navy Laguna, and I’ve ordered some grey as well.

Parting note: I started my blog in February, 2012, it’s my 10-year anniversary! I was nervous as a cat, took down the post, the then re-published it in March. And in all that time, I’ve never been a decent photographer 🙂

McCall 6488

It has been a wonderful journey. Bye for now! Coco

By Hand London Jackie trousers

Oh boy! I love the way these Jackies wear, look, and feel! After a muslin (here) and an unhappy version in 100% linen, I hit the jackpot with Kaufman Brussels washer linen/rayon blend.

The difference between the linen and the linen/rayon blend is drape and hand. IMHO, with such deep pleats and wide legs, these pants really need to flow…not a 100% linen characteristic.

Sewing notes:

  • I stayed with size US8/UK12, which I chose based on my waist measurement.
  • I left all my cut pieces pinned to the tissue while I marked notches with small brass pins in the seam allowance. As I removed the tissue, I took the pieces straight to my serger and serged every edge. Just look at linens and they begin to ravel! It’s easy to remove unneeded serging – just find the needle threads and pull them out, it’s fun actually 🙂
  • I ditched the cuff, which is a simple matter of removing 3″ from the hemline. And I laundered the trousers before I hemmed them. The latter might seem like an extra step, but it removes chalk and pencil marks and refreshes the fabric.
  • The waistband is a bit narrow for my favorite belts. I added 1/2” to width of waistband pattern – mine finishes at 1 3/4” wide instead of 1 1/2” wide.
  • Caution: in the absence of guidance from the instructions regarding interfacing, follow your experience! I.e., interface the front fly extensions, fly shield (variously called a shield or a placket, how confusing), and the entire width of the waistband. And be sure to reinforce the bias cut edge of the pocket lining with a strip of interfacing or twill tape.
  • I made the recommended 5 belt loops, but I also made a slightly narrower additional loop. I always put this helper loop on my belted pants. It sits to the left of the fly and serves to secure the end of the belt – I’m just not into flapping belts…

Picture time!

Saraste shirt, from Named Patterns, post here

And after all that, the fit, notes, and so on, here is how I plan to wear these cuties…

Fabric-Store Noa shirt in Kaufman Brussels washer linen
Republique du Chiffon Gerard manteau in STOF France Zoya Multicolore canvas

Happy New Year to all! Ciao, Coco

ByHandLondon Jackie trousers – the muslin

For me, irresistible…From By Hand London, a classic trouser.

I only discovered this pattern because Victoria Smith made them and shared on Instagram! I love her pants. I messaged Victoria about her experience, how she chose a size, and so on. A link to her IGram posts...

Going into the project, I was very aware of the volume created by the front pleats and wide legs. So I decided to choose my size based on my waist, the anchor of it all. I drafted the US 8/UK 12 size, waist 32″. I intend to belt these, and my relaxed waist is 31.5″, so it seemed a logical choice. The pattern is very generous with finished measurements info, including front and back crotch length. And the size I chose was spot on for both. Some time ago, I went to great lengths and much angst to determine my front and back crotch lengths. And having done so, find the measurements to be invaluable when sewing any pant pattern. Hint…do it.

Moving on, time for some pics:

A muslin is a must for pants. I used 118″ Fabri-Quilt Cotton Sateen for mine, found on Amazon. Actually, it was a good choice – the fabric has much more drape than cotton muslin, and they cost about the same.


  • I really like to use a cut-on fly extension on both sides of a pant front. It accomodates the fly shield more readily than one without it. So I only drafted the needed pattern, on the left below..
  • Construction. The instruction set has you construct the front and back, sew them together, and then insert the zipper/fly. What nonsense.
  • I constructed the fronts and inserted the zipper. Then I sewed the back darts and then put back and front together.
  • About the zipper. Even twisting my mind, I could not comprehend the instruction set, and I fell back on my favorite zipper tutorial from ClosetCorePatterns. Recommended!
  • The pockets… I have to constrain myself. I’ve never seen a pocket bag that went from side seam to under the zipper extension. Kind of like a tummy firmer. I did change the pocket! The shadow of the new pocket is well-hidden behind the front pleats.
Original on left, new on right.
  • The fly shield is narrow, so I added 5/8″ to the width. It is not ‘finished’ in the pic, but you get the idea.

I am really happy with the result! And have a beautiful fabric in the wings, from The Fabric-Store. They have incredible sales, available through their email alerts. And beautiful patterns that embrace linen/linen blends.

Next post on the trousers will be the finished version, I’m delighted to be so immersed in this interesting project. Bye for now! 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