Bubble pocket shorts and ruffled skirts…

Did that title make you wonder what’s up? These are the cutest shorts I’ve ever seen. And they’re not for me, they’re for my almost-3-year old grand-niece ūüôā ¬†I came across the pattern one night at Elegance and Elephants, and just had to get it.

I made the size 4 in a mid-weight cotton jersey knit from Fabric  Mart. The pattern suggests wovens, but the knit worked fine. And I like the idea of knit shorts for little ones, so comfy.

Just a few little changes:

I used 3/4″ elastic in the waistband instead of 1″. Seems more reasonable for such a small garment and body.

The pattern suggests cutting the waist elastic so that it finishes 1.5″ shorter than the child’s actual waist measurement.

I checked with mom: J.’s waist is 19.5″, but her rtw size 4 shorts have a waist of 20.5″. ¬†hmmm. A lightbulb – I found a great resource on the web, ¬†childrens size chart. It has everything – all sizes, all kinds of garments, for boys and girls. And it confirmed that the waist on a size 4 is 20.5″. I compromised at 20″.

The pattern suggests sewing the cuff on as a band, as one would sew a neckband. However, that would leave a kind of bulky seam on the inside. 
Instead, I sewed the cuff to the outside, right sides together. Then I folded it to the inside, and stitched in the ditch on the outside along the seam line. The inside is nice and flat and smooth.
All the seams are sewn with an elastic stitch, then serged. These little shorts will hold up to lots of play!

Since I had so much fun with the shorts, I went looking for a little skirt pattern. And look what I found! This adorable ruffled skirt is free as an online tutorial from Tanya Whelan at Grand Revival Design.

It’s made with four bands of fabric of varying lengths and widths, and is super-easy to cut out and sew. What a nice tutorial – good illustrations and instructions.

Fabric measurements are given for size 5-6. I reworked the numbers for size 4 with a length of 8.5″ (above the knee). My numbers assume .5″ seams, 1.5″ waistband allowance, .5″ hem allowances, and 3/4″ elastic:
1 @ 4.5″ x 25″ Tier 1 band and waistband
1 @ 4.0″ x 44″ Tier 1 ruffle¬†
1 @ 2.5″ x 25″ Tier 2 band
1 @ 5.5″ x 44″ Tier 2 ruffle

It doesn’t take much to think of ways to use this skirt pattern – applied ruffles, lace trims – oh, my ūüôā
So cute. I used fabrics I have in the loft, not terribly girly (although the green in the skirt is a pretty lime green, not sage the way it looks here). I’ll ask J. what she might like for her next shorts and skirt. Birthday in June!

Ciao! Coco

Knit Maxi Skirt a la Coco

I’ve been so inspired by sewists who draft their own great looking knit maxi skirts – I love all the variations by Autie at iCandy Homemade, ¬†Lizzie at Cotton and Curls has a cute skirt with an elastic band waist, and Miriam at¬†Mad Mim has a great tutorial that includes both flared and gathered versions. Just to name a few!
Having read and sketched and calculated – a lot – I realized that a flared maxi skirt is basically the same shape as the skirt on the knit maxi dress I just finished, Kwik Sew 3703…and measuring against the pattern ¬†tissue proved it. Good fortune!

My Kwik Sew 3703 is already modified to be super long to the floor, not ankle length.¬†Since I know that I wear my maxi skirts at 42″ from my waist, I traced a skirt pattern using the lower 45″ of the dress pattern.

The extra 3″ are for the waist seam and hem allowance.

For the waist, I used a yoga style band, which is simply a rectangle, folded wrong sides together, and applied to the top of the skirt. Both Autie and Miriam, in the links above, have great guides on making a yoga style waist band.
I used 2 1/2 yards of 60″ wide fabric. The flare in the skirt and the need to match stripes kept me from overlapping my pattern pieces in any way. But I did get a tee shirt out of the remnants!
This skirt is super comfy to wear! Can you tell the humidity is about 100% in these pics? But I promise the skirt really is comfortable. It’s a medium weight cotton jersey from Fabric Mart, with about 20% 1-way stretch. And it sews like a dream. I did everything on the serger except the hem, which is turned up, folded under, and topstitched.
Love the colors in the stripe…
which mirror many of the Pantone Spring 2013 colors in an interesting and non-floral way. Totally not by design! I just noticed this a couple days ago when Pattern Review announced its Colors of Spring contest ūüôā
First of many, this was fun and I feel like Columbus. Do you make ‘your own’ skirts?¬†
Ciao! Coco

Kwik Sew 3914 Pleated Skirt – CurlyPops Skirt Sew-Along!

Knit top, Motto
Skirt, Khaki Weavers Cloth, JoAnns
Sandals, Chinese Laundry


I first saw this pattern in March, when BMV Club started announcing their plans for offering Kwik Sew – it was showcased on several of their email newsletters. Something about it just said Coco!

When CurlyPops hosted her ‘Make it in May’ Skirt Sew-Along, this pattern was my absolute first choice, and the sew-along¬†got me going. I really enjoy a sew-along. Before I started my blog, I had no idea how much fun I was missing.¬†I love the pics and camaraderie,¬†enjoy reading the blog posts, and¬†find so many fellow bloggers this way.

Back to the skirt! I think all the fun and style¬†are in the long¬†version (natch…).¬†The pleats (ten on the front, ten on the back)¬†and curved side seams are beautifully balanced by the yoke. While the skirt has a drawstring, the gathers and ease are conservative –¬† just enough for comfortable entrance and exit. This leaves a nice waist finish for tucked-in tops. The drawstring casing is a bit different¬† – it is finished on top of the yoke, rather than on the inside. A small change but it adds a bit of detail interest¬†to the skirt top edge.

Does the pattern run large? Have been thinking about this.¬†I have a 30″ waist, 38 1/2″ hips (low end of the Medium scale), sewed a Medium, and have a slightly large fit. I will probably sew a Small next time, being careful with the yoke measurements.

I enjoyed sewing the skirt! It was not difficult, but it had interesting elements that kept me involved. The pattern provided good instructions, particularly in managing the very long curves in the hem. The curves are prepped with both staystitching and ease stitching Рwith these and lots of pins, I did not have any fabric drag problems when I turned and topstitched the hem.

Often when I’m sewing, I think about what attractions a pattern might have for¬†sewists at different skill levels. This pattern is a good opportunity to learn/practice a number of¬†basic skills: drawstring and casing, curved hems, slit side seams,¬†attached yoke, and flat¬†pleats.

And I think the short version with the straight hem would be really cute and fresh to make and wear!

I did make two adjustments:
(1) Added 2″ to the length, to make it a true ankle length for me.
(2) Added pockets in the side seams – of course! I put the pockets right up at the top of the skirt side seam, since the yoke provided¬†drop from the waist. Also, I left the seam allowance on the pocket at 5/8″ on purpose, to weight it a bit.

To me it is just such an unexpected and¬†good-looking skirt! And fun to wear and style…

Jacket, Motto
Sandals, Dr. Scholls

For these last two you have to imagine that¬†I have on my brown suede boots! I took them out but honestly…it was soooo hot by the end of this photo session that I just couldn’t do it ūüôā But boots would look great!

Jacket, Sunset Cove



Lemonade, fan…Bye! Coco