Simplicity 8640 Handkerchief hem dress

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Looking sassy for a reason! I fell in love with this pattern the moment I saw a post on Instagram by my friend Valerie. Here’s a copy, and here’s her post. I unabashedly called her an enabler because I ordered the pattern and some fabric within 30 minutes. A happy shout-out, thanks, Val.

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The pattern, which I think is from last year:

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So cute for summer (and all year here in Florida).

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Fabric: Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen Blend in Brick, from Fancy Tiger Crafts

Sewing notes:

  • I sewed a straight size 12, based on my 34″ bust. I noticed on other reviews that the bodice tended to be a little tight across the girls, which informed my size decision.
  • Not sure of what length I wanted, I cut the shorter length plus 1 5/8″. For reference, I’m now 5′ 6 1/2″ (yes, I was taller in the past, actually 5′ 81/2″ in my prime :-).
  • Following Val’s lead, I used a short sleeve. I found a perfect match in McCalls 7597. It matches the sleeve from this pattern down to the notches and marks! My only change was to add 3/8″ to the length of the sleeve.

Notes on finishing:

  • I serged my front and back seam allowances and topstitched them on each side of the seam. The pattern would have you press the SA to one side first. Well, that’s off-center, plus, with this approach, the topstitching echoes the topstitching on the facing.

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  • That curved 5/8″ hem . First, there’s no crying in sewing. I angled out my side seam for the last 5/8″, to give me enough ease to turn the hem inside a pretty tight curve. I ran a line of stitching 5/8″ from the raw edge and pressed it up. It was easy to turn a narrow hem after that.

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 Ta da 🙂

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  • The pocket. Well, the pattern pocket is lined, with a gathered front. As did many before me, I only used the lining pattern. Not wanting to add additional weight, I also drafted my pocket to have a cut-on facing. This is easy to do! and I’m really happy with the result.

One more pic (I love this hem), and I’m off to work on a white linen blouse.

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Ciao! Coco

 

Simplicity 1946 Robe – needed!

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Truth time! My three robes were in awful shape, serviceable but not great. Not especially inspiring or fun to wear!

So I’ve been working on new ones. This is a great pattern, I mean, a great pattern. It’s so easy to sew and so predictable.

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I used this family pattern to make robes for my son and grandson, and, yes, cushions for my daughter’s cats! Now it’s ‘me’ time.

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Fortunately, I was able to cut my own version in size Medium from the original tissue. So I destroyed any future large versions. The children’s draft is intact…

My son and grandson love their robes.

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I really like this pattern because it’s so uncomplicated. No attached front band, big pockets, and an easy fit.

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I was feeling pretty brave with my choice of fabric. This is a denim/white cotton and tencel sweater knit from Sol Angeles (purchased at Fabric.com). It’s beautiful, so soft.

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And chunky. I serged all my edges before sewing! I had snow in the loft…and all over me. I kept shaking myself when I left the room, otherwise I would have had white fluff everywhere. Kind of reminded me of sewing plush fleece, but it didn’t make me rub my nose or sneeze.

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Sewing notes:

  • I sewed a straight size Medium. The only change I made was to narrow the sleeve a  bit toward the bottom.
  • Lots of serging and topstitching going on. I topstitched, per the pattern, around the front/neck facings. And because my seams were so thick, again about 3/8″ from the edge. It’s really a matter of working with fabric, no topstitching police out there…
  • I used 1 1/4″ hems on the sleeves and bottom edge, both with 2 lines of topstitching to keep them nice and flat.
  • Big change: I lined the pockets in white cotton broadcloth. It stabilized the pocket for that ‘cram my hands in’ moment and prevents the pocket fabric from stretching out from use.
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More pics…

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It’s so comfortable!

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Next up – well, I sewed the same pattern in gold French terry, and I sewed a ‘spa’ robe in white French terry, different pattern, it’s pretty nice. The latter has been used so much that it’s in the laundry.

New projects – wrap front culottes from Burda, and the Allie Olson Highlands maxi dress. My living room is a mess with drafting paper and things to be taped! Which is fine, happy mess. My dining room is a quasi-art studio, paper, rulers, and pens everywhere. I think it’s good for me to chill and not be so picky about things. It’s my space  🙂

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Other stuff. I got an oil change this morning (much delayed) and bopped into the nearby Orchard Supply Company for scotch tape. I love that place, it just smells so good. I came away with marigold and zinnia seeds, to be planted tomorrow. We’ll see. My target spot has sprouted peanut plants and some unknown plant, it’s fun to see what the squirrels and birds gift me.

I hope everyone has a nice, calm, and enjoyable weekend – Coco

 

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