Wow – a tale of detergents!


Not my usual post. But I bought Arm and Hammer Sensitive Scent pods on a buy one/get one a few months ago. And I started to notice that my clothing smelled like I had just run a marathon!! It was driving me crazy and into the shower more than once a day. I finally figured out it might be my new detergent.


I’m back to All Free & Clear liquid, not pods, no smell, and I’ll never ever use anything else.


Of course, all my garments went back through the laundry, so compulsive, yes πŸ™‚ Has this ever happened to you?

Ciao! Coco

Biting the bullet…they don’t work


A change of season always encourages me to look at my closet…

This fall is particularly difficult. I’ve made so many linen dresses and various pants this year. But, in honesty, I cannot wear linen or linen blends on my torso. Such sensitive skin. I actually break out, rash, yuck…

Plus, I have a few items that are in colors that just don’t appeal to me. Fuschia, magenta, beige – not my favorite palette. I prefer quieter, deeper colors now.

Time to get down to it. End game:

Linen blends are gone, along with a couple hacci and other knit cardigans that just itch me like crazy. I need room for fall and winter knits – maxis, cardigans, and pants that I will enjoy. BTW – I did rescue 3 long-sleeve cotton tunics, re-made with short sleeves, to wear with my knit pants. Good change, since I’ve hardly worn them with a longer sleeve.

Do you do this or am I the only nutsy person here?!




Buttons and buttonholes


I’m working on my True Bias Yari jumpsuit, and this morning hit a critical point. Buttons!


And buttonholes. I think the buttons are a focus for this pattern, and how well they work to purpose is critical. I decided to use 6 buttons, instead of 5. I never feel locked-in by button placements suggestions. What matters is how it works on me πŸ™‚


After I decided on my button (which will be revealed with the post on the finished garment), I moved on to the buttonholes themselves.

I always put together a test piece, built exactly like the area in which I’ll put a buttonhole. Outside, interfacing, facing, edge-stitching, the whole ball of wax. For this garment, which I’m sewing in Essex linen, I decided on a rounded-end buttonhole, with a wider stitch (1) to add a little chunkiness (appearance) and (2) to protect the inherent loose weave of the linen (utility). At the same time, I tested the presser foot pressure (released for linen) and the upper thread tension (also released).


When I first starting using my Juki HZL F600, I ignored the optional footplate of the buttonhole presser foot. No more! It really helps the fabric glide, any fabric, and is a terrific option.


Last note on this: I never clip my threads on a buttonhole. Instead I take the front threads to the back and weave everything into the back buttonhole stitching. I just think loose, cut threads on the outside ruin a buttonhole. Finishing them only takes a little time.


Next up: the jumpsuit! Hope everyone enjoys a lovely weekend, Coco

Knits – Finishing an extended shoulder

on emile
Fabric: cotton/lycra jersey from Fabric Mart

It’s almost summertime, and I’ve been sewing sleeveless dresses – but with an extended shoulder. I like the look and coverage that the little bit of added fabric provides. Since I’m doing it sooo much, and because I’m terribly picky about details, here’s my approach.

To give credit where it’s due, I learned this from V9275, the tunic top. I’ve sewn it several times, Β and I love how the armhole is finished:

Screen Shot 2018-04-28 at 5.13.24 PM

My example is my modified version of M6559, sewn 4 times this spring. I just love wearing these dresses around the house, and with a topper, out and about.

Fabric: ITY from Cali Fabrics

Have you ever sewn a short kimono or cap sleeve, and simply run out of fabric and ease to turn the hem at the top of the side seam? Aaargh…Here’s a rescue approach.

  • My pattern draft has a 5/8″ hem allowance for the armhole hem and a funky extension to where it meets the side seam. The Vogue pattern uses the same approach.I mark my seams, and then serge all the way around the armhole after I’ve joined the shoulders:


  • The markings are important, because I stitch the ‘wing’ on my sewing maching, and then clip to the pivot where the armhole and side seam meet.

sew and pivot

  • Next step, I sew the side seam. I serge mine, and I turn the armhole seam allowance out of the way at the top (see, that clip is really needed).

side seam

  • A little trimming and pressing,

trimmed pivot


  • And look how nice the armhole hem allowance looks!

trimmed and ready

  • I topstitch the hem very close to the edge, working from the inside,

ready to stitch

And I love the finish.


I hope this is useful, maybe it will save someone from under-arm-seam-crunch frustration!

Bye for now – Coco

McCalls 6559 Spring floral


Spring is definitely here! All the palms and trees are blooming (pollen season), and the birds appear to be having lots of fun πŸ™‚ In the same spirit, I picked up this pretty ITY from Fabric Mart for a spring dress. OK, another spring dress!


I don’t sew or wear a lot of blue. In my closet I have a cobalt jacket and my recent pink/blue tropical dress. However, I’m coming around to the notion that some blues are really pretty with white hair.

Note: I’m working with my camera and Gimp software to learn how to remove color casts, such as yellow, from my pics. My hair is so white, I think it’s impacting all the hues in my photos. I’ll get there!

I love this dress pattern, especially with the extended shoulder that I added this spring.

M6559 lines-side

That little bit of extra coverage on my upper arm makes a big difference to me.


Sewing notes:

  • ITY is stretchy! I staystitched the neckline, front and back, and used strips of tricot knit fusible on the shoulders, to tame it.

strips and neckline

  • I used self-fabric binding on the neckline, 1 1/2″ wide strips cut across the horizontal of the fabric.


finished binding

  • And to prevent irritation from the shoulder seam, I pressed it to the back and topstitched it. Now it’s really stable!

finished shoulder

  • All of the detail sewing – shoulders, sleeves, neckline – was done on the sewing machine. But I simply serged the long seams. That felt really good…


About ITY knit: I love the vibrance of color on this fabric. It doesn’t fade, and it takes a lot of wear. Also, although it may seem unnecessary, it benefits from lots of pressing during the sewing process. Actually, I press every seam or detail that I sew, over and over again, to sink the threads and allow the fabric to recover. Speaking of which, ITY will drop – I always hang an ITY garment for a day or so before I hem it, whether it’s a dress, top, or pants. The best thing – you can just fold it up on the shelf or in a drawer or in a suitcase. It doesn’t wrinkle!

Parting shot: I think buying stuff from Wawak is more fun than buying makeup and nail polish!

Yes, there’s a red jacket in my future, and what a find – a 6″ metal ruler. All the markings on my plastic one are long gone, but I find a 6″ ruler to be indispensable when I’m sewing. Also, check out those buttons. They’re 5/8″ Toronto horn buttons, and they fit perfectly over a #4 snap on fleece jackets. A nice button can be hard to find, and Wawak has a great selection.


Ciao! Coco