Simplicity 3786 Pintucked Tunic – like sherbert between courses…

There’s nothing like a known quantity, to recover from a frustrating sewing project! 

After squandering my lovely white lawn on the Style Arc Daisy Tunic, I was practically hugging my black lawn to my chest, protecting it from sewing hazards created by Coco. My provisional plan had been to sew a Daisy in black lawn as well, rounding out a little gap in my closet. But no, no, no.

And flipping through my patterns, I found this one. Head smack. I made it in white embroidered cotton eyelet 3 years ago, and it’s on its last legs. So soft, practically falling apart from wear. I love it. Wish (there goes a penny) I had used my white lawn to make another.

For this version, I chose view D, with a modified sleeve and neckline. 

Bunches of pintucks, 5 on each side of center front, and only 1/8″ wide. I seldom use tracing paper, but it saved my sanity on this one. I traced the pintuck fold lines and pressed them before I stitched them. Having a presser foot with a 1/8″ mark really helps!

Some of the sewing pics are lightened to show the details

I used a white chalk to place the back casing … thus ensuring that I had white chalk all over this blouse by the time I was done. But, hey, white shows up really well on black!

As with my first version, I opted out of the mandarin collar. Instead, I applied a long (40″ x 1 3/4″) bias binding around the neckline, leaving 14″ hanging on each side.

And I decided to do a mid-length gathered sleeve. This was really easy – I just lengthened the upper sleeve from the pattern (about 18″ from the center of the sleeve cap) and gathered it into a narrow cuff. The cuff is 10″ in diameter – it doesn’t catch on my arm or bug me.

Parting shot:
I’ve had a list of small house projects hanging around my kitchen counter for months. Progress this week – a trip to Home Depot. Just because I bought all this stuff doesn’t mean I’m actually getting anything done – it’s all marinating on my kitchen table.

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And all of this is such a blessing. I’m so grateful.
Remembering September 11, 2001 – Coco

Simplicity 5314 – my TNT robe…

Oh gosh, it’s been a little chilly here in Florida! I know a lot of you are laughing now – but 40 degrees F. is on the cool side for the sub-tropics. Time for a new robe, one of my favorite sewing projects. In the last four years, I’ve made 3 for my daughter, one for my grandson, one for Mom, and 4 for my greedy self.

I keep several kimono-style robes on a hook in the bathroom, a hooded purple fleece robe from Long Tall Sally in the bedroom (my splurge robe), and a long black one, made in 2013, near the front door.

The black one, which I fashioned after the iconic Calvin Klein knit robe, is for answering the door, getting the mail, putting out the trash bins. I want my neighbors to think I dress like this all the time, instead of in mismatched pj’s and knee socks.

A note: I collect knee socks. All kinds of patterns and stripes. I find them irresistible.

Back to the robe: My TNT kimono pattern is Simplicity 5314, a unisex collection of PJ bottoms and robes. These are great basic patterns and include sizes S through the rare XXXL. At 5’7″ and size 10-12 in Big 4 patterns, I wear the Small.

The one thing I always change on the robe is the pockets. I use great big patch pockets instead of the smaller inseam variety in the pattern.

Fabric – Calla Green Cozy Flannel, JoAnns

I start the pocket with a 10″ x 9″ rectangle, and end up with something around 8″ square. And I attach the outside edge of the pocket in the side seam, about 3.5″ below the belt loop.

Basted and ready to be topstitched.

If I attach the pocket with a single line of topstitching, I run a notch of reinforcement stitches in the upper corner.

Which reminds me of a question asked often on PR – should hidden seam allowances be finished? My vote: yes. For instance, flannel is very loosely woven and ravels in an instant with handling. If left unfinished, the insides of these pockets wouldn’t hold up well with use and laundering. So I serged all the inside edges of the pockets before I sewed them. Takes about 5 seconds.

The big reveal – yes, I have legs, but they’re not often seen given my penchant for maxi’s and pants 🙂

I had just enough left-over fabric to make a pair of PJ shorts, also in size Small. I love them! The fit is great, and they’re super easy and fast to make.

Parting shot: I’m still knitting socks (soon to be blogged). A peek at the only two matching socks so far. Tube socks of course!

Ciao! Coco

Holiday dress and other curiosities…

OK, bear with me – it has red in it, and it’s the season, so it’s a holiday dress! 

Actually, this is another of those hard-to-use fabrics that has been in my stash for ages. And it’s an ITY knit to boot. Silky, smooth, and slippery. After I made my first Simplicity 2031 maxi dress in the black and white abstract print ITY, my confidence level went up. So I gave this a go.

Unlike the abstract print, this one was a bit of a beast to place and cut. It has so many shapes and patterns going on…but I love it.

As with my first version, I sewed the size 12, with about 4.5″ additional length in the sleeve.

I like the longer sleeve length for myself, but it’s beautiful at its original length. Ashley loves hers that way. And once my arms are ‘presentable’ I might well remove the extra length from both of mine.

A little tip. If you decide to do this in a knit – the pattern suggests woven fabrics, but, hey, that’s their opinion. All three of the ones I’ve sewn are in a knit fabric.

It’s a good idea to reinforce the first 5″ of the upper sleeve seam, neckline out across the shoulder, to stabilize it. I used a lightening/elastic stitch to sew the seam. And then I sewed a 5″ long piece of 1/4″ twill tape inside the seam allowance as below.

And serged/cut the seam allowance at 3/8″ to finish, from neckline to the end of the sleeve. A steam press to turn the SA to the back, and I felled the entire seam.

The result is a stabilized shoulder and a very comfortable finish on the inside.

Now – those other curiosities.

(1) I just noticed how much red I have in my hair. I just used a new hair dye called ‘high-lift brown’. Not sure what that’s all about but it’s weird! Call it holiday hair. I would love natural, light red hair. Failing that, I’m going to try some other color. No, not blue, as least not for now. Well, maybe a blue streak?

(2) I upgraded to Windows 10 on my laptop back when it came out. And it is a nightmare. I’ve been using Chrome as my web browser. and it just putters along under Windows 10. And Windows 10 is like Big Brother – do this, not that, use this, sorry you can’t use that.  I’ve done everything I can to fix it (gosh, I have a B.S. computer science, I should be able to do something about it…). But I’m done with it. I’m on Firefox at the moment,  but I’m thinking I’ll treat myself to a MAC laptop for Christmas. I have an iMac, which does not fit on my lap! but it’s a great computer. Fast, clean, edgy. And I have Firefox on it already. So –  I think I’m done with having a Windows laptop.

I just can’t stand the imposed aggravation! It’s like having Windows police in my living room!

End of rant. Ciao! Coco

Simplicity 2031 – knit kimono maxi

Well, it didn’t take me long to sew this pattern for myself! I really enjoyed sewing the version I recently made for Ashley. And drafting my size was easy peasy, because I take a shortcut on the skirts of maxi dresses – I simply cut out a rectangle to the length I need. So I only needed the bodice patterns.

It’s so nicely drafted. My only change was to add 3.5″ to the sleeves on this version. No FBA, no length addition on the bodice, no raising of the neckline or narrowing of the shoulder. (A quick note – my bust is almost 4″ smaller around and 2″ higher since my surgery in August. So I’ve gone down from size 14 to 12, in Big 4 patterns. And they fit without adjustments. Happy!)

This fabric is pretty funky. It’s a crushed poly ITY that I picked up from Fashion Fabrics Club a couple years ago. I expected the print to be smaller, and it has taunted me from my stash ever since. This is a big print! and needs something that can carry it. The good part – no way did I try to match it up. I think the vertical repeat must be about 36″.

Once I started working with it, I got another surprise. I picked up the back bodice to staystitch the neckline and found a hole. I didn’t cause this! So I carefully inspected all my pieces and, thankfully, no more holes. In my leftover pieces, I found a line of holes from selvedge to selvedge. Thank goodness I missed them and had enough to cut a new back.

In the back of my mind – is this dress going to rot in place? Actually I think it was probably mechanical damage from fabrication because the holes are identical in shape and size.

The pattern calls for elastic in the bodice/skirt seam, and I included it in Ashley’s dress. But once I put this on, I decided not to use it. Ashley’s is only pinned in, so we can remove it from hers as well if she likes it the same way.

It drapes beautifully in ITY, and I love the sleeves.

I’m wearing a short cami-style undergarment, which just peeks out in the neckline. I don’t usually mention under things or RTW here, but I really like these – Fruit of the Loom Seamless Strappy Sports Bra (although they don’t have compression and or feel like a sports bra). Sold in a pack of 3 for about $26, they’re available from lots of places online. I got mine from HerRoom, which is my favorite place to shop for seamless lingerie.

On another topic, the holidays will soon be here! so I’ve been thinking about what I can make for family. Ashley has requested fingerless mittens to wear while gaming on the computer – fun for me because I’ve probably knitted 25 pairs and used to sell them at craft fairs. And True Bias just came through with the men’s Hudson pants. Yesterday I downloaded the men’s and mini versions – I love to make my son and grandson matching garments. Last year I made them camo board shorts and loop bracelets. I’ll be shopping JoAnns tomorrow for fabric and yarn. My JAs is a great store with wonderful fabrics and lots of very nice and helpful people.

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Thank you so much for all the kind comments and wishes on my last two posts. You’re the best – Coco

Sewing for the girl…

They don’t grow up or leave home or exit your heart. Children…

I love this pic with my daughter – she was ten, I was 34. That expression on her face is her signature look even now. Happy girl, girlish, and fun. And my best friend.

Ashley is 43 now and has a planned surgery at the end of the month. Of the female order, menopause issues. She’s anticipating a two week leave from work and recovery at home, and of course I’m going over to lend a hand in the first days after she leaves the hospital. And to give Darrin company also. This is hard for him as well – they are so very close.

(Of course Ashley and I talked about including her plans in this post. She feels very strongly that women need to listen to their bodies and prioritize their health needs. So she’s happy to be a second voice here. Thank you, love).

I was thinking about what I could make that would be helpful to her. And a robe came to mind immediately. Do you have this hospital memory – they get you up and out to walk the halls, pushing your IV stand with your gown flapping open in the back. Well, got that covered! I found this lovely pattern, Butterick 5544 Rachel Wallis robe and gown. (Club BMV has it in both envelope and download, but I’m impatient and downloaded it from Sewing Patterns).

Pretty! and easily transformed to a button front robe with roomy patch pockets.

This fun flannel is from JoAnns, and yes, it’s mosaic skulls. She’ll love it.

The front of original pattern is slightly overlapped and closed with two inside buttons along the skirt/bodice seam. I redrafted it to have a faced button placket. And I simply echoed the placket in the turn of the skirt facing.

On the inside…

All the seams are finished and felled for maximum comfort, and because flannel becomes somewhat fragile with repeated laundering. I don’t want a seam to pull out.

I want one! which means I’ll make myself one before long. Hers is so soft and easy to wear.

Still thinking of Ashley, I also sewed a muslin of Simplicity 2031. I hope it’s a wearable muslin, because the crinkled gauze knit is really cute. I found the pattern by chance, on Honey Pie’s blog. She mentioned that it looks like a popular dress sold by Torrid – one of Ashley’s fav stores!  And I downloaded it from Sewing Patterns as well. I think it’s a sleeper. It has no reviews on Pattern Review, and Honey Pie’s pics are the only ones I’ve found. Now that I’ve sewn it – it’s so pretty and easy to sew, definitely repeatable.

Fabric from Fabric Mart

Such a nice sleeve. So many cut-on kimono sleeves are overdone. This one is pretty and falls about halfway down the upper arm.

Because Ashley is 5’9″, I added 1.5″ to the bodice front and back length. On my Emile, which is my height, it looks like the elastic casing hits on the waistline. But on Lizzy, Ashley’s dress form, it is higher, as intended.

Such a long rambling post.

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My thoughts are with all those touched by the events unfolding in France and Belgium. Bye for now, Coco