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

The Maxi Dress Sew-Along…Quatrefoils and lawn

My first dress for the Maxi Dress sew-along, sponsored by That’s Sew Amy. It’s my version of the BurdaStyle Tiered Maxi Dress, the same pattern and changes that I used for my pink Valentines dress in February –  back when it was cool in Florida, and the mosquitoes stayed in the Everglades.

There will be no more photo shoots in the garden until the weather breaks. We’re supposed to have thunderstorms this afternoon, and my fingers are crossed. The temps drop about 15 degrees with a good rain.

I’ve been living in my pink dress, and it finally occurred to me that I could make another one. I’ve had 5 yards of this cotton lawn in my stash for months, and I just didn’t think about it. I so seldom wear blue. But I love it! Cool and light.

I have one more maxi planned before the sew-along ends in mid-July.The fabric is here and laundered, and the pattern (McCalls 7080) is on its way. It’ll be a nice project for my visit with the kitties while Ashley and Darrin are at Comic-Con.

Notes from the garden…
Two days ago a red parakeet visited the birdbath for a drink and a wash. Beautiful, and unusual in my yard. I usually see the parakeets and parrots in the early evening – they fly in flocks to their ‘home’ trees. No picture…the one I took through the porch screen looks like a screen.
Last week, this giant swallowtail spent 14 hours in the guava tree. He was about 4″ across. 

And then there’s Mr. Cuban Knight Anole, Jr. He’s noticeable and long at about 12″ from his nose to tip of his tail, but he’s a juvenile – he will reach almost 20″ by next year. He’s very active in the guava, and fun to watch.

What a show off!

Bye for now, Coco

Jungle January! BurdaStyle 05/2010 #113 Tiered Maxi Dress

I love Jungle January! And missed it last year, life was just going in other directions back then. I was determined to get in a growl or roar this year.

And things worked out like a charm. I’ve been attracted to this tiered maxi dress from BurdaStyle for a couple years. It’s so feminine and a little bohemian. Definitely perfect for Florida almost year ’round.

The drawback for me has been the bodice. It’s not my style and wouldn’t work for me either! I need lingerie with straps.  But the vertical darts on the pattern seemed a good idea. I pored through my stash and came up with McCalls 6554, a Fashion Star sundress pattern. Bonus: both vertical and side darts!

A quick muslin and just a few changes to the McCalls pattern:

– I slit both bodice pieces just above the front side dart and dropped the bottom piece by 1″. This took care of my FBA and vertical dart adjustments. 
– To compensate, I removed that 1″ from the bottom edge. 
– I taped some drafting paper inside the front neckline and redrew it to a rounded neckline. 
– I didn’t sew the back darts or use a zipper, and I straightened the side seams just a tad.

This little bodice is going to be a TNT for me. The fit is great. I’ve already sewn it in ITY knit fabric, and used it in a muslin for my Mother of the Bride dress.

The same pattern worked for both the woven and the knit. Serendipitous.
It’s hard to see the print on this wonderful polyester broadcloth from, so here’s a closeup:
Jungle Safari Cheetah Rose Burgundy

It came in two more colorways, both of which I purchased – wish I had more of all three.

Jungle Safari Gold & Green Flowers
Jungle Safari Amber & Rose Flowers
I wear cardi’s a lot and love how this dress looks with a sweater. And it feels good – it was windy and  ‘only’ 70 degrees during this photo shoot. Yes, I was chilly!
Back in the house and into my jungle jammies…

Ciao! Coco

August Garment of the Month – Playsuit plan…

August, and time to think about my Garment of the Month. Since it is so wet and hot and buggy and generally awful outside, I think I’ll just stretch my already bent mind and sew something really challenging! A playsuit jumpsuit…
Got to stay on trend, right? More than that, I really like jumpsuits. They remind me of the 80’s, when I wore them a lot. Well, as much as my budget allowed – the long ones, with buckles and cargo pockets and zippers, done in cottons and khakis, could be expensive! 
In the last two years I’ve managed to collect four jumpsuit patterns, and I’ve even put a few on my Pinterest board. I just haven’t sewn one.
I finally settled on this pattern from Salme. I really like the off-shoulder ‘cap’ sleeve, pockets, and belted waist. It also looks a little more finished than many of the patterns coming out from the Big 4 this summer.

And I found this cute calico fabric, Domestic Bliss, from eQuilter. It’s about as close as I’ll come to sewing a ‘sewing theme’ fabric – something I’ve always wanted to do, but this is the first print I’ve liked.

In case you’re wondering, no, I won’t be doing shorts! I like long jumpsuits, so I’ll be doing my usual redrafting thing. But I think it’s going to be a fun project.
Bye for now! Coco

Still celebrating – my Fourth of July dress!

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – with Alexander Henry lovelies! What a way to celebrate. This dress was meant to be my July garment of the month, but I was out of commission until mid-month. No problem – it’ll be great for any of our patriotic holidays.

Obviously I love Butterick 5881, the Katherine Tilton layered dress. This is my third dress version (one and two), and I’ve done a tunic from the top layer as well.

Waiting in the loft is another version for fall, done in a knit. It’s already sewn and is really different.

None of mine look quite like the original pattern! I’ve never done one with the pieced top layer. I spent hours redrafting a one-piece top layer when I first got the pattern – I just like it better.

The trick with this version was figuring out where to put the print. Ummm. I think I did pretty well!

Little details: I’ve not used the placket on the front or shirring on the back. To replace the latter, I’ve centered a contrast patch with 3 lines of inserted elastic.

The underdress is white poly/cotton broadcloth, with the attached skirt in contrast fabric. I’m so sorry I don’t have a pic of the underdress, but it’s cut just like the leopard spot dress (version two referenced above). These opposing hems are so interesting and kind of sassy.

This pattern really is such fun to wear!
Hoping everyone enjoys a nice weekend – Bye for now! Coco