Style Arc Anais Dress

I am struggling to overcome the drab drab grey of this garment, so please bear with me!

I actually find the Anais pattern to be very appealing. The sleeves, the hemline, the vibe, just something…

And I thought it would make a cozy flannel house dress. Some notes:

  • I sewed size 10, which is a nice fit.
  • Irritating – the pattern has 3/8″ seam allowances, which is ridiculous for a woven fabric. I drafted my pattern with 1/2″ SA’s, thereby doubling the time needed to draw each piece. But worth it, as I didn’t lose any seam allowances while handling and sewing the garment. Cut edges on flannel will ravel, pull, and fluff …
  • The wide cuff is very comfortable and is a nice design feature.
  • I changed the shape of the pocket to be wider and fuller, using a favorite pocket from a BurdaStyle dress. I’ve never seen anything like the Anais version, kind of like a broken peanut!

  • And I topstitched the pocket to the front. I cannot stand a pocket flapping around in a dress!
  • The deeply curved hi-lo hemline is another great feature, although hemming it was not easy! In the end, I serged the edges, folded once, and topstitched.
  • Which brings me to the collar, which I don’t like at all. It’s so unremarkable, I think it just gets lost.

So, here’s what I’m thinking. I plan to do another, but (1) in a better color and fabric, (2) with some variation of patch pockets instead of the in-seam version, (3) with hem facings, and (4) with the collar from Simplicity 7051.

As for this version, well, I messed with a tunic length, then salvaged all those lovely buttons and binned the whole thing. I’m happy not to see grey flannel for a while!!

Ciao! Coco

Patricia Rose in Dissonant Disposition

I just love the name of this fabric from Mood – a little dissonance is good for the soul.

Style Arc’s Patricia Rose has become my favorite dress for woven fabric variations this year. A look at the line drawing:

Drafting notes, my basics for this pattern:

  • I drafted the back to be two pieces, matching it to the front bodice.
  • I’ve never used the front pleat. Instead I drafted a gathered skirt for both the front and the back.
  • I love the bust dart from the armscye. It’s amazing for a small-busted person. The base of the bodice is wide enough to work for a full bust, but I brought it in a bit for my own frame.
  • I’ve sewn all of my Patricia Rose dresses without sleeves. During my first fitting, I trimmed the armscye to be higher on my shoulder and deeper at the base. And I drafted armhole facings.

So – this dress. I decided to do a midi length, mostly because I have lots and lots of maxi’s.

I kept the fold at the bodice, and as seen in other versions I’ve done, I continued the fold across the back of the bodice.

More pics (I finally got off my lazy bum and took photos, the dress was finished a couple weeks ago)!

This dress is lovely to wear. Since I often need a cardi for my cold old bones, I made a Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan, short version, in mustard Fabric Merchants cotton stretch jersey from It is 100% cotton, love love, and has 15% mechanical stretch. BTW, I’ve moved to size XL in my Blackwoods – it is a narrow silhouette, and I like the additional fullness.

Parting shot: I was up super early, sleepy pics on the porch:

Next up, a boyfriend jacket in khaki cotton sateen. So lush, I’m in love with this fabric collection:

Ciao! Coco

Patricia Rose in Gatti Colorati

There are two things going on here! First, I’m trying to overcome my lethargy of the last 15 months by taking pics and posting. And it does help my sense of well-being. Second, I am in love with the stretch cotton sateen designer collections at Mood Fabrics! This fabric is Gatti Colorati, how charming…

It”s not lightweight, in fact has a bit of structure, but is perfect for ‘controlled’ silhouettes, e.g., pants, jackets, and dresses.

On to the dress! I started with the Style Arc Patricia Rose.

And I added several design elements. Starting with the bodice, I ditched the fold at the bottom of the bodice and used a plain seam edge to attach the skirt. (BTW, ages ago I modified my Patricia Rose back to mirror the front. The original is one piece, mine is two).

I modified the skirt by adding a ruffle. And large patch pockets across the side seams!

I just love this, it’s fun and funky and so easy to wear.

An aside, having chosen a paragraph block on WordPress and not being able to edit the text without changing modes, clicking all over the place, gritting my teeth, I truly think WordPress has gone overboard with its ‘upgrades’. It takes me 5 clicks to insert an image. Silly, but I do like WordPress as my blog tool. Sigh.

Onward, my latest discovery with wax prints. I really love the large prints and vibrant colors. But I was dismayed by the stiffness of the fabric, even after a pre-wash (I buy cotton wax prints, the alternative is polyester, not something I would enjoy in a dress). The substrate is a fairly rough cotton weave, similar to Kona but heavier and denserFro. When I bought my first yardage, I washed it in cold water because of all the dye. And it came out of the wash just like it went in – no loss of color and still stiff.

Solution: a couple more launders, warm water, fabric softener. These dresses are getting much softer with each iteration! In the future, and wax prints are definitely in my future, I will launder more aggressively, at least three times before using the yardage. As with linen 🙂

From the House of Mami Wata

I hope this finds you well, perhaps feeling more energy, and, of course, loved. Bye for now, Coco

Working on a summer dress inspiration

After working on summer dress patterns that are repeats for me, I felt in need of a challenge and a change. I found this delightful dress on Pinterest, and, zoom, I was off on a fun project.

My first step was to source fabric – I knew I wanted something light, voile or challis, with a similar pattern.

Totally tired of struggling with the wily ways of rayon challis, I found Telio Verona Cotton Rayon Voile Dot Black/Ecru on From sewing other Verona voiles, I knew that the cotton content would work in my favor. Basically, it prevents extreme shrinkage and loss of shape. It’s really friendly fabric 🙂

The plan: a maxi with a two-tier skirt and a collared button-front bodice.

My starting point: a mash-up of the Style Arc Patricia Rose bodice (I love the fit and design of the bodice) and the Named Saraste blouse. The latter has a collar stand, a fairly narrow collar, and fits me well through the neck and shoulders (my original Saraste post is here).

Several readers have asked how to do a hack, would I do a video of the steps. Well, it’s an adventure, and, no, I’m not doing a video! I’m shy. But here are the basics for this bodice:

I aligned the Saraste and Patricia Rose at the center front and shoulder. And repeated for the back, center back and shoulder. An important checkpoint was the resulting length of the shoulder seams.

And I used the button front, collar stand, and collar from the Saraste.

Because this fabric is so light, I drafted facings for the front and back necklines. I wanted support for the collar – no flopping open, please. The facings, collar, collar stand, and the button band are interfaced with sew-in woven interfacing (Pellon SF7850, which I source online at JoAnn). I purposely did not use a fusible interfacing – fusibles freeze the fabric and can cause a major hiccough during construction with a light, loosely woven fabric (read that as ‘pieces don’t fit one another and the drape is gone).

After all that, I took the plunge and cut my fabrics. That sounds simple! but I had to cut the left bodice 2 times to get the center print-matching where I wanted it. The first one was a disappointment, because I was using mirror image tissue pieces. Missed the match by a hair, but I knew it would spoil the dress for me. Ahh…the second one was perfect.

This morning, after a week of work, I completed the bodice. Whew – but it was a blast.

I’m looking forward to working on the skirt, even though it means gathering yards of voile!

Bye for now – Coco

Ankara print maxi

The delight of working a large print and my favorite maxi silhouette…

I spent 5 days just thinking about this beautiful Ankara print from the House of Mami Wata. Then I laid the fabric across my living room floor and thought some more. I love large prints, they work so well with my love of maxi dresses. But balancing the dominant elements of a print can be a real challenge.

I started with the bodice from the Style Arc Patricia Rose dress. I love this bodice – it has a wonderful fitting dart in the front armscye, unusual but great for a small bust. And I used the skirt from the Patrica Rose as well. It has just the right small bit of gathering at the top and an angle down to the hem for swish. This is a great pattern by itself but wonderful for variations.

I only use the pattern without sleeves. So long ago I drafted armhole facings, which I sew with a 1/2″ seam allowance to the bodice.

I cut the bodice first…

And then the skirt….

I did not want to do the original pattern fold in the bodice, mostly because fancy folds so not launder well – I do not want to press my clothes, I just want to take them from the dryer to the closet. So I planned to use a bodice-to-skirt band instead. OK, after all that time of fabric draped across my living room floor, I was there! Print balanced between band bodice and skirt.

I ‘ve sewn 5 or 6 really nice garments this year, as yet not on the blog. I just struggle to put things on and take pics. You? Meanwhile, all the best, as always I hope you are well and loved,


Style Arc Elani and Barb

Happy days. The roof is complete, no more leaks, my hair is cut! and I am finally feeling some sew-jo 🙂

I haven’t posted a pic of myself in so long that this is almost a reveal. Behind the scenes, I’ve been looking for a woven tunic top with some fun detail. Enter the Style Arc Elani tunic:

It’s not a new release, in fact I have notes in my Evernote files about this top going back a couple years – about how I could modify the Adeline dress for an Elani. In fact, reasonable, but more on that below.

My britches a the Style Arc Barb pants in poly bengaline. And the rumples are my approach to linen – wash, dry, wear.

This is so cute!

Sewing notes:

  • My fabric is a linen/rayon blend, 55%/45%, from I laundered it twice, once before cutting, and once after construction. I drew all over this top with pencil while I was sewing it.
  • I drafted the size 10, my usual size for a Style Arc top.
  • I do not know why SA uses 1/4″ neckline seam allowances, but I drew mine at 3/8″, to match the remainder of the pattern and to make me comfortable with using linen.
  • From sewing the Adeline, I knew the neckline would gap. So I sewed the front with a 3/8″ seam allowance, serged and topstitched. In fact, the additional detail keeps this top from resembling a scrub top… And I adjusted the neckline and hem facings to match.
  • The pattern has sleeve facings, with a suggestion for turning them in a narrow cuff. Not liking short sleeve cuffs, I just turned the sleeve with a 1″ hem.
  • A big, actually major, disappointment. The pockets. The Style Arc drawings suggest a unique pocket. Well, no. The included pocket is the usual kidney bean version, which I used. But I was not happy to find this anomaly in the actual pattern. And I’ve sent an email to Style Arc about this, requesting a pattern re-draft. Hmmm. I will, of course, share any response.
  • The instructions are the usual sparse and kind of weird Style Arc notes, but I do think a beginner sewist could do this with a little forethought and examination of the pattern.
  • BTW, the first 4 times I typed ‘sewist’, WordPress changed it to ‘sexist’.

So, some fun. I’ve read a lot of reviews that compare the Elani top to the Adeline dress. And it’s true, the pattern is exactly the same down to the hemline. I’ve added measurements in the pics below, in the event you would like to modify your Adeline.

Crocs meet gator …

Bye for now! Coco

Still here, just wandering a bit

Ok, I’ve not been very successful in the sewing department for a few weeks. It seems that I bin two out of every three things I make! I really don’t mind, all that sewing and fussing has kept me occupied.

However – lately I’ve turned to my stamp collection as solace. Nice days, no TV, no music – just me, stamps, Scotts catalogs, and albums. Stamp hinges all over the place. I’ve been collecting since 1979, international stamps through 1959. Lovely way to spend time 🙂

Today, in honor of Election Day, I cleared my table and did some cutting – two pairs of black bengaline Style Arc Barb pants. This is hands-down my favorite pant pattern with this fabric, and these are pairs 2 and 3. Side note, back in the day, traveling overseas for work or fun, I just took 2 pairs of Bengaline pants with me (vintage Liz Claiborne). Indestructible and no wrinkles, easy to clean, perfect with any suit jacket or top.

Some time ago I purchased 5 yards of Bengaline from Fabric Genie = 3 pairs of pants in total (first pair here, with sewing notes).

I will be busy, with the benefit of guaranteed success, for a while. I just need to rethread the serger with black thread:-)

I hope everyone is well, safe, at peace, and loved. Coco