Paper Theory Olya shirt in Swiss dot

Getting shirty – in the new and best sense of the word! I’ve been on an Olya journey, prompted by being so tired of the summer heat and really really tired of my summer wardrobe. I’m tempted to sweep my much-worn dresses out the door!

I first sewed this in early 2019, a muslin and two versions in challis (here). Immediately after, I was distracted by my plans to move house and all that entailed. And the pattern has been aging in my stash ever since. It’s a lovely design:

This Olya is a gem – it’s sewn in Swiss dot lawn, a wonderful transition to fall (if it ever gets here…).

Sewing notes:

  • My first versions were size 8, but for this version I decided to draft a size 10. I’m so happy I did! It has more of a boyfriend shirt appeal, something I love over pants.
  • An aside, the pants in all these pics are Tessuti Margot pants, sewn in Kaufman 6.5 Oz Washed Bleach Indigo, lengthened and given front, back, and cargo pockets!
  • Sewing Swiss dot is kind of difficult, because all those little dots make squares that have to be considered and matched. Read that as needing a lot of single layer cutting…
  • As before, I bound the sleeve placket instead of doing a more structured one. Given such a light fabric, I think a two-piece placket would overwhelm the cuff area of the sleeve.

  • Interfacing – I used Pellon 950F Shirtailor interfacing in the collar and cuffs, and Pellon PLFB36 ultra lightweight interfacing in the button bands. Both are non-woven and fusible.
  • I added 2″ to the length of the front and back bodice.
  • No pockets! (1) they are really tricky and (2) I think they would look like giant pasties in this sheer fabric!
  • This shirt has the most beautifully drafted collar I’ve ever sewn 🙂

To close – I will always remember Queen Elizabeth as a most extraordinary woman – timeless in her example of kindness, steadfastness, dedication to service, prudence, adaptivity, leadership, and faith. My thoughts are with everyone touched by her passing.


New Look 6352 variation – new dress

Deep summer…and a new dress aspiration. I am decidedly tired of ruffles and gathers, I’m looking for something more flattering to my, yes, youthful silhouette. So I’ve been drafting and sewing and tossing a bit 🙂

I went searching for a maxi dress with ‘willowy’ lines, something that would work in a soft material. Bingo.

Actually, I’ve been looking at this pattern for years, really years, since it’s in my stash, and finally decided to give it a try.

I have the original envelope, and, rather than cut it, I drafted my pattern to keep the original intact. I altered my draft to have the neckline and armscye of the Tessuti Lisa dress. I have broad, square shoulders, and I like the way the Lisa dress accentuates that.

So the Lisa dress bodice is my main change. I sewed this in a lovely random polka dot challis from, Telio Devon Rayon Poplin Print Floating Dot Black/White, nice. Pics!

This is actually the first thing I’ve made since spring that I really embrace. I look over the many things I’ve sewn and tossed. What is this!! I’m trying to get my mind in a good place, I read a lot – 11 books in the last 3 weeks or so – and continue to study the difference between and applicability of differential and integral calculus. In addition to slogging my way through Sir Winston’s books on WWII. The included preponderance of exchanged letters can be daunting.

A happy face, nonetheless. I am letting my wiry white hair grow, a challenge by itself, but when I can do a fun bun, well, there you go.

Ciao! Coco

Tessuti Lisa dress in voile


With summer approaching, I cannot resist another Lisa dress, this time in Telio rayon/cotton voile from Actually, several of my long Lisas have been in this fabric. It is a delight to sew and wear. The combo of rayon and cotton makes a wonderful voile..

The Lisa pattern (the side light is the inspiration for the longer, ruffled versions I’ve made, 4 of them!):

A change-up – this dress is the original pattern, length, etc. Sewing notes

  • I sew the size small in this pattern.for the original version, 3 yd @ 54w (add a yard for a ruffle).
  • As before I used a facing on the neckline. I think it makes a world of difference in how the dress looks, hangs, and wears.

And topstitched:

  • My serger obsession – I always practice and adjust both my serger and my sewing machine before any project. A skewed serge can destroy the lines of a garment.

  • How to hem – if you do a double-fold narrow hems on voile or challis, they are likely to turn up and fly or fold to the inside, keeping you awake at night. This hem is serged and turned up 3/4″, and I know from other garments that it will behave.

Pics! I had to change the battery in my Xenova camera remote thingie to get things going. Having done that, I feel totally empowered…

Awesome – I was wearing something else all day, to an appointment for a DEXA scan, to the grocery – but I changed into this dress for photos. Think I’ll just go with this, incredibly comfortable, and I feel pretty 🙂

Ciao! Coco

Tessuti Silva Jacket

I’m late to the party! The Tessuti Silva Jacket has been around since 2014, but I only recently took notice. The latter because I’ve been looking for a summer jacket as an alternative to my usual cotton knit cardigans. Yes, I get cold. Stores, pharmacy, clinic, I freeze!

The jacket has very simple lines and a nice silhouette. And some spice – frayed edges on everything:

Surely nothing frays so well as linen, so I chose Robert Kaufman Brussels washer linen. It’s a linen/rayon blend, and I wear it a lot. BTW, I can’t wear 100% linen – the loose fibers actually hurt my skin. Bet I’m not the only one with this issue.

I had to start with black, right? But I’ve lightened some of the photos further along in this post.

I did a muslin in Kona cotton. Bad choice, because the Kona’s body and lack of drape hid the issues I had when I sewed my first linen version. The latter was a miserable fail…

  • It would not stay put on my shoulders, falling either forward or backward.
  • The neckline edges, with no facings, were shapeless.
  • The top corners just flopped around, which totally destroyed the lines of the front edges.

After throwing the bad-boy version and the pattern in the bin, I did my usual: I rescued the pattern and made notes on how to modify it. Because I like the jacket.


  • I sewed size 12, which fits me with no changes. (I’m 5’8″, 34″/30″/39″).
  • As a preference, I added 5 1/2″ to the length of the sleeve. The 3/4 length sleeve felt a little stuffy.

And those notes:

  • Since I was unhappy with the neckline drafting, I re-drew it using the Grainline Tamarack jacket pattern. The Tamarack’s neckline is basically the same as the Silva’s, but it’s higher all around.
  • To add support, I drafted facings for the entire neckline and the front edges. The front facing design is one that is common in women’s garments. These are cut at 2 3/4″ wide and interfaced with woven poly/cotton broadcloth.

Inside view:

I admit, this is the first time I’ve done a frayed edge finish, and it was rather fun. Tessuti’s instructions for this are quite good. Here’s a look before washing:

A quick launder, and all the edges are frayed!

Styled with an Ogden cami

The last step in this project was to clean not only my machines, but also my entire sewing room! Maybe even my house – linen makes such a mess 🙂

Ciao! Coco

Tessuti Lisa dress variation – dots

Spring! and time for another Tessuti Lisa dress, absolutely one of my favorite patterns. This version is inspired by a charming dress I found on Pinterest:

Sewing notes:

  • Size small.
  • Not wanting to match prints at the center front, I simply cut it on the fold – no button band.
  • Lowered the neckline and raised the armscye (it’s pretty low).
  • Cut a facing for the neckline instead of binding it.
  • Added patch pockets on the front skirt (in-seam pockets waving around in the skirt make me crazy).
  • Used the original hemline with a 12″ ruffle.
  • 3yd @ @55w, in cute over-sized dots! It’s Telio Verona Cotton Rayon Voile Dot Black/Ecru from

It was so hot and bright in the back yard! but I already had my makeup on and tripod ready by the time I realized I would have to squint a lot. So a couple pics under the mandarin orange tree. Ahhh…so much better.

And that’s a wrap!

Ciao! Coco

Tessuti Margot and Sinclair Cachet

What fun…britches and a tee!

I’m totally immersed in sewing for warm weather. Believe it or not, I was cold taking these pics. It was in the low 70’s (I know, some of you are laughing), but I’m a Floridian. We get cold when the temps fall below 75…

Great combo. First the pants, the fun Tessuti Margo Pants. I bypassed the ties and added 3″, then turned the pants to an ankle length.

I added pockets, outlined below:

My topper is a variation of the Sinclair Cachet Tee. Easy changes – I dropped the sides to remove curves and cropped it! This can be done with a yard of fabric…

A note on the pants fabric. This is stretch cotton sateen from Mood Fabrics. The interesting bits:

  • Sateen is a unique cotton weave, but similar to its satin namesake – weft threads are floated over warp threads in a four-over-one-under pattern.
  • While the back is a dense warp/weft, the front has a bit of diagonal pattern. As with satin, the latter encourages the bias mechanical stretch of the fabric.
  • The elastane in stretch cotton sateen is incorporated in the weft, giving the fabric some horizontal stretch.
  • Just by nature of being cotton, the fabric has some heft. This and the elastane make it perfect for structured dress, jackets, and pants. It doesn’t wrinkle! yet has a nicely contained drape.
  • It goes through the laundry like a breeze, just a smidgen of shrinkage. As always, I laundered the yardage before I laid out the pattern 🙂
  • Bottom line for the sewist: Use a walking foot and be prepared to control raveling. These are very thin, tightly twisted and woven yarns. Beyond that, just enjoy. And check out the stretch cotton sateen fabrics at Mood, they have an incredible selection.

On the sewing table, a sunflower Blackwood cardi, the color is unexpected and definitely uplifting!

Bye for now – Coco

Tessuti Margot Pants

I’m in love with these pants! and I owe mine to Angela at ‘Collected Yarns’. I recently came across a pic she posted on IG, and I immediately ordered the pattern. Subsequent research yielded no reviews of the pattern, so I knew I was in for some fun.

I think the ankle ties are great – a bit eccentric, a little funky 🙂

Fabric: Kaufman Essex linen in natural, Top: Ogden cami in Kaufman Brussels Washer linen, also

Sewing notes:

  • I thought the sizing was tricky. A sizing chart is provided, but it doesn’t indicate if the measurements are one’s bod or the finished garment. In the end, after measuring several sizes on the pattern, I drafted the size Small.
  • My major adjustments were to the crotch and rise. I know I need a 27″ crotch (back 15.5″, front 11.5″), and I routinely flatten the back crotch to match my flat backside and avoid bunching in that area. BTW, the waistline is very scooped, high in the back and low in the front. My changes leveled it, and it sits at my natural waistline.
  • I’m 5’7 1/2″ tall and the length is perfect on me. The size Small has a 36″ outseam, so I recommend caution before cutting the ankle tie detail!
  • The pattern has no pockets! so I added single-layer pockets to the fronts. They’re sewn into the waist and side seams, and are super easy to do. (I’m not fond of in-seam pockets on pants…).


I hope this finds you well and looking forward to a nice weekend.

Bye for now – Coco