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.


Pattern Emporium Sweet Cheeks Sweater

Time for a new pattern! Yes, this is way out of season, but I was very eager to give this a go. And I love it.

I do feel uneasy about the name – Sweet Cheeks. But I’ll overlook it – I just hope no one asks me its name.

Sewing notes:

  • My fabric is a brushed French terry from It’s a light sweatshirt knit, and it’s very easy to sew.
  • I sewed size 10, and I drafted my tissue with 1/2″ seam allowances, instead of the included 1/4″. I just cannot imagine sewing most knits with such a scant SA.
  • My version is the high neckline and cropped length, with an additional 2″ in length. The pattern is generous with its length choices, mine falls between the cropped and hip lines.
  • I added 1 5/8″ to the length of the sleeve – it’s pretty short, plus I like my sleeves to cover my wrist bone.
  • I cut my front and back bottom band to the width of the back band, and I opted not to slit the band at the sides.
  • I found the neckband to be too narrow for a nice finish. It was also too long and had a ‘stand up’ look to it. I removed my first neckband, aargh, and cut a new one that is 3″ wide and 1″ shorter than the pattern. To compare:

Original neckband
New neckband

A nod and thank you to Katie Kennedy, @kak513, who has sewn a bunch of these sweaters and was so helpful in discussing the neckband and length options with me. You can check out her beautiful tops on Minerva and Instagram.

IMHO this pattern is a winner, a fun pullover for cool weather! Perfect over pants and leggings. It’s easy to sew and has meticulous directions. I didn’t print the instructions because it is a volume and has billions of examples sewn by an apparent legion of testers. Go for it!

Bye for now – Coco

Two Ermine blouses – two sizes

The Fibre Mood Ermine blouse is one of my favorites this year. My daughter saw my first one in January, and so began a journey.

For my girl:

She will be here for a visit in August, so I purchased a relatively inexpensive challis for her muslin. I say relatively – prices for fabric are somewhat amazing these days. No matter…

I drafted size 18-20 on the top, down to size 22 – 24 at our target hem, and elongated the entire bodice to her preferred blouse length. The Ermine is drafted to glide to a something some inches below one’s waist. For DD, I moved the side seam out to work with her hip at a 31″ CB measurement. Not a tunic length for her, but her usual blouse CB length. She is tall:-)

Fabric: Telio Viscose Voile Floral Print Black/Multi,

She has 6 kitties, so this fabric, with its playful cats, is appealing.

The sleeve on the Ermine goes from a gathered cap to a wrist length. Which works fine for me in a size Medium. But Ashley has a 7.5″ wrist, versus the 12″ width of the sleeve at the wrist in her size! Crazy. Wave that around in the breeze. So I drafted the size 20 sleeve in the Fibre Mood Norma blouse, which is ‘puffed’ at a high bracelet length. I have enough yardage to draft another set of sleeves if this doesn’t work.

Another Ermine, this one for me, in a playful navy and white rayon poplin voile. It took a bit of single layer cutting to do the upper bodice, and then I could not come up with a ‘plain’ button band for the front. I thought about finding a solid for the band, and then I decided not to obsess! This will have white buttons, and I’ll love it.

Fabric: Telio Pandora Rayon Poplin Leaves Navy,

An aside: the New Look 6689 flared leggings, mentioned on my Instagram account, were a disaster. The flare is indiscernible, the rise is a mess. I won’t be keeping this pattern! A day later, and I’m going to try this again, I do get stubborn!

Up next – my stash is empty, but I just ordered a pure white linen/rayon woven to make some britches to go with the Ermine above. Meanwhile, I’m re-reading all of Patrick O’Brien’s seafaring books and binge-watching Seinfeld. Among other things 🙂

Bye for now – Coco

Fibre Mood Norma Blouse

Coming up to periscope depth – yes, I’m still here! I’ve been in such a slump. After almost 2 1/2 years of lockdown, forced and then chosen, I’m hoping to regain my footing. I know lots of you can relate. My son and I were talking yesterday, sitting on the front porch, watching the world go by, and he asked if I am ready to return to in-person church services. And I think I am, especially since he’ll go with me. All good…

And so much for that! Check out this beautiful little blouse, the Norma from Fibre Mood.

I love the neckline and puffed sleeve. It’s much like the Anna Allen Anthea blouse , but has a much softer neckline.

I began my photo session outside, but, wow, so hot, over 90 degrees – I quickly retreated to the porch.

Pants: full length Tessuti Margo pants in Kaufman Sevenberry Nara Homespun Patchwork

Sewing Notes – it may seem like a lot, but I made a lot of the drafting decisions before I drew my tissue:

  • I drafted size 8, extending the seam allowance to 1/2″. I don’t do 3/8″ SAs on woven fabrics!
  • Raised the neckline by 1″.
  • Lengthened the bodice 1 1/4″.
  • Redrew the sides to forgo the shaping and to add width to the bodice below the armscye. The result is somewhat A-lined, with a finished bottom width of 41″ and a straight hemline.
  • Used a 1 1/4″ hem allowance to add structure to the base of the blouse, rather than use the double-fold narrow hem of the pattern.
  • Neckline facings are included, but I added 1/4″ to the width to match the width of the hem allowance when topstitched.
  • Shortened the sleeve by 1 1/2″. The original is pretty long.
  • Added 1/4″ to the unfinished width of the cuff pattern. I like the wider cuff, it doesn’t get lost under the sleeve gathers.
  • I also spread out the sleeve cap gathering to avoid the bunching at the top and the funky forward sleeve drape that it would cause (the Anthea blouse has the same bunched up sleeve head, I just think it’s too much). I learned this the hard way and had to remove and re-insert the first sleeve.
Fabric: Kaufman Brussels washer linen

Great pattern, fun and easy to sew. I have white Brussels washer linen ready to be cut for a second version:-)

Ciao! Coco

Fibre Mood Tilda dress variations

Fuzzy photo time – apology! I’ve been working on this dress for what feels like ages. I started with an inspiration dress and blouse, and landed on the Fibre Mood Tilda because of all the possibilities. My targets:

and the Tilda, with planned changes:

Being wary of the curves, I did an entire muslin, with and without a sleeve. And worked it until it fit.

OK, I think this is really blah on me. And it will be shortened to blouse length and worn with white summer pants.

Nonetheless, some sewing notes:

  • The fabric is a Telio rayon/cotton 50/50 blend. The cotton adds just enough structure to make this a dream to sew. From by way of Amazon.
  • My dress is a meld of sizes 12 – 14.! Because the pdf file is layered, this is fairly easy to do.
  • I printed my pattern without the offered seam allowances, which vary from 3/8″ to 1/4″, and I added a 1/2″ SA everywhere. I never never ever use a SA of less than 1/2″ on woven fabrics because raveled edges are such a hazard.
  • I left off the collar and faced the entire neckline (the pattern suggests bias binding on the neckline). IMHO a facing is essential to anchor a garment built in lightweight fabric.
  • And I totally cheated by stitching down the closed front placket in line with the button placement, to prevent those unsightly gaps that can happen when one is seated. My buttons are sewn through the facings, not a buttonhole in sight!

In the end, I think I have a decent blouse pattern and a perfect template for a lovely v-neckline. And I’m off to work on my jigsaw puzzle. This dress was exhausting and remains an object for contemplation in the closet for now.

Ciao! Coco

Hot Patterns Trilogy Dress Part 2 – the muslin

Here we go, proof of the pudding! I admit i get a kick out of doing muslins. I think it’s because I get to write all over them in ink!

I sewed my muslin of the Trilogy in an inexpensive double gauze. I’ve been planning to venture into the world of double gauze for a while – so many sewing sites are ‘wild’ about it for summer garments.

Before I move on to the pattern, here’s a look at the fabric post-laundry, before and after a thorough pressing: And it’s rather nice – soft and easy to sew(I used a walking foot). In white, it is also sheer. I can understand, though, why it is a popular fabric for swaddling blankets.

On to the pattern and muslin. In short, the muslin has been binned. I’ll just touch on a few points:

  • I sewed size 12 based on the HP size chart and my full hip measurement.
  • My worst moment: when I realized that the pleat in the front shoulder line is very, very deep. Two and 3/8″ deep in fact. I was expecting a soft dart-like pleat. Just to be sure that my fabric had not ‘grown’, I verified the shoulder seam against the pattern tissue – perfect match. To me the pleats resemble a tabard.
  • The armhole is very deep, wide, and fly-away, The shoulder seam is 10″ long and not the softly curved shoulder line in the pattern envelope art.

BTW, I drafted my pattern with 1/2″ seam allowances. The pattern comes with 3/8″ SAs, which make me uncomfortable with most woven fabrics. And I curved my back hemlines to match the front, just a personal preference. The pic below is before hemming..

I’m not really fussing, but I am disappointed by how how poorly the actual pattern aligned with my expectation. Lesson learned…

Whew – I’m going to sew only my favorite patterns for the rest of the year! This and my un-snuggly robe are quite enough experimentation for now 🙂

Ciao! Coco

Hot Patterns Trilogy Dress Part I – the jigsaw

Summer is coming, and I’m on a quest for midi dresses, comfortable, stylish, drapey… I’ve been looking at the Trilogy pattern for years, and I finally decided to try it. Hot Patterns have a way of discontinuing their patterns, so better now than later!

The jigsaw: the pattern has 3 lengths – ‘top’, tunic and dress. Rather than build a PDF file with separate outlines for the 3 versions, they built a jigsaw. Top + add-on = tunic or Top + add-on = dress.. Which I really appreciate, since the approach saves paper and ink, not to speak of tape!

But gritting my teeth, it’s time to whine:

  • The PDF file is not size-layered. In this day and age, this is just plain silly.
  • Hot Patterns has a no-trim approach to their PDF files. Nice. But I cannot, no matter what my printer setting, get the entire page to print. My printer does not handle a borderless print. Even on a4 paper, some details would be missing. I spent about an hour and lots of printout trials trying to overcome this weirdness. I caved, and I just assumed the path of any empty spaces between pages.
  • More aggravation: how to put this tjigsaw together. There is nothing in the pattern file, which includes the instructions, to provide a clue. I found the answer in a remote corner of a file called Trilogy Arch E.pdf. I copied just this bit and printed. Here you go, pure gold, remember me…

CUT THESE INSTRUCTIONS OUT AND KEEP THEM…How about if Hot Patterns just put this graph in the instructions!!!

Exhausted. This is not my first go-round with Hot Patterns, but we’ll see where this goes. Part II, coming soon, the muslin! Why am I feeling so forgiving and complacent about something on which I’ve spent and entire day? 🙂 Coco