McCalls 6203 Bats in the attic

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Good Monday morning! I was up double-O-early today, that full moon just wanted some attention. Beautiful moon…

2013With fresh coffee in hand, I finally got together some pics of my latest knit tops. These were sewn with a purpose, which is not something I can say about most things I sew! I wanted some tops that I can tuck into my jeans. Just that. But not tee shirts or blouses. It sounds easy, but I spent hours looking at patterns online, and finally remembered this top that I made in 2013, during my batwing period. OK, it was also my zebra period…

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I remember buying this pattern as a leap of faith, because the envelope pics are really really bad. But the line art, no embellishments, is quite good. And it makes a great top.

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I really like the deep ballet neck. It’s feminine and sort of elevates the vibe of a pair of jeans. BTW – I love jeans. I don’t sew them, I buy them. I could never ever get this fit in a pair that I made myself. The ones here all from Coldwater Creek and are old, just the way jeans should be 🙂 And it’s really gratifying that these fit again…

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Fabric: rayon/spandex medium weight jersey, Fabric.com

Of course I made a white top as well.

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Fabric: cotton/modal lightweight jersey, Girl Charlee

A few sewing notes:

  • I sewed a straight size Medium, View C.
  • Since the pattern is tunic length, I shortened it by 4″ for this tuck-able top.
  • And I used self-fabric binding for the neckline. The pattern has a double-layer, raw edge affair for the neckline, which is a bit much for me.

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Parting shot: I was messing around in the garden the other day and found this hoya carnosa blossom almost hidden from view. Hoyas bloom exuberantly in the sun, but at the expense of their foliage. I moved my two baskets into the shade a couple years ago, and I really enjoy their deep shiny foliage and occasional blossom.

Hoya Sep 1 2017

Bye for now – Coco

The essential kit

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Ah, sewing… My first year on Instagram (@cocos.loft), and I’m participating in @sewphotohop. Tomorrow’s theme is ‘the essential kit’. And one photo just won’t do. I tried, but, no. I need it all.

So a cruise through my sewing lifeline…

The first pic is of a multi-drawer thingie that I got at JoAnns. And it refects my fastidious side. I cannot abide the idea of dust collecting on my thread. The same reason I keep my fabric stash in covered bins. My serger thread is in a similar article, also from JoAnns.

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I love the tote in the pic, from Thirty One and gifted by Ashley.

The wonderful thing about these little storage chests is that I have lots of spaces for my office supplies, sewing machine needles, various machine parts, presser feet, and sewing manuals.

OK, I didn’t move anything around when I went into the loft to take these pics. And I’m really fortunate to have an entire room for the loft. My ironing board and garment rack are permanent! and I love them both. I got the rack online ages ago and cannot find it now.

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And little things that make a difference. Because I have two tables, I keep helpers at hand for both… this one is by my serger, the one by my sewing machine is similar, except that it includes a comb and lipstick!

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At my sewing machine, my very favorite pin cushion, me-made, that lets me separate my pins and fits so well in front of my machine. At hand, my seam ripper, nippers, and 4″ needle, which is my poker stick when I’m sewing. Also, I love love my focused lamp from IKEA (this thing is only about $10 from IKEA – get one!!!).

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I use so many pens and markers. I have lots of chalks in a separate dish, but don’t very often make broad strokes on my fabric in the loft (on my cutting board, downstairs, yes, and I use a yardstick and curves as needed!). In my Rockettes mug from my trip to NYC with Ashley, Christmas a few years ago: Frixion pens, chalk quilters pens, pencils, Sharpies, a couple sable hair brushes to clean the machine…and a nail files. Ah, vanity.

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A wonderful way to keep my needles at hand – a magnetic that clings to the base of the lamp on my sewing desk. My sewing needles, a double-eye needle for finishing off serger threads, and an assortment of self-threading needles for sinking threads as I sew. I also put my presser-feet-in-play on the lamp base, walking foot, straight stitch foot, 1/4″ foot…whatever I’m using. These tend to just reside there. With my pencil sharpener for my chalk pencils and my jewelers loupe for work on my stamp collection.

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And here’s an essential – a small TV (my printer is beside it but not in the pic). I love to sew with a good movie or something I’ve recorded. Unseen in the pics, the TV sits on a 10′ span of bookshelves – sewing books, pics, my international stamp collection, and lots of small storage boxes for things like embroidery thread, buttons, zippers, bias tape, metal piggy-banks and colored pencils (I collect them, seriously, from museums), lots of fun things.

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And that’s it – a walk through the loft, the essentials.

Bye for now! Coco

Flamingo Gardenia Dress

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A few weeks ago, I posted my pineapples Cali Faye Gardenia Dress (here), which I love, and I mentioned I needed one in flamingos. I was being serious! A little searching, and I found this cute flamingo cotton knit on Girl Charlee.

Here’s a look at the pattern (which I’ve been making since 2014). Sorry, there’s not a single pic of the line art anywhere, but the Cali Faye site has more examples (here).

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Without the line art, with only black fabric examples, it’s difficult to see the beautiful little sweetheart yoke on the front bodice. When I first sewed this pattern, the yoke kind of scared me, because it might be a beastie to sew in a knit fabric. But, it’s not. Just be sure to follow the guidelines for for the fabric: ‘Sturdy, one directional stretch knits with no more than 25% stretch and with a full 100% recovery work best for this project’.

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Cute fantail too…

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This dress is so easy to wear, it’s forgiving of just about everything. And it fulfills my flamingo dream. I do think I made this one just a little too long…easily fixed.

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A few sewing notes:

  • My 2017 versions are all size Medium.
  • I dropped the front bodice edge by 3/4″ at center front, and redrew the curved edge. As noted in my 2014 post (here), the higher seam would be great for a baby bump, but I like it a bit lower for myself.
  • The side seam of the bodice is plenty long enough to handle a bust dart if one is preferred.
  • It’s easy to draw the front bodice without the yoke, and doing so would accommodate all those lovely knits that have more stretch to them. I suggest cutting the two pieces from original design in scrap fabric, sewing and pressing the yoke seam, then using the constructed bodice to draft a new pattern piece. E.g., and please ignore my masking tape. It has nothing to do with the drafting, I just didn’t have any clear tape at hand.

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Bopping along, I decided to reuse a Dixie DIY Ballet Dress that I made way back in early 2016, in a favorite cotton/spandex jersey, also from Girl Charlee. It has been way too big for me since January, and I’ve missed wearing it. In a lightbulb moment this week, I reshaped the bodice, cut a new skirt, and, ta da, another Gardenia!

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Of course, it doesn’t have the front yoke feature, since I didn’t take the Ballet Dress completely apart. But it’s so cute!

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It’s also a little shorter than my flamingo version – I like this length better.

Taking one’s own photos tends to generate some weird pics. Like this one, caused by a thread caught on my foot. I have threads everywhere in my house, despite my extraordinary brilliant and incomparable housekeeping…

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Ciao! Coco

Vogue 9253 Deep-V Kimono Dress muslin

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OK, work with me! My funky muslin, of a pattern that’s had a lot of air time lately – that Red Carpet Ready Vogue 9253. And since it’s muslin time, no makeup or hairdo, so head shots are limited 🙂

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Initially, I passed on this. I’ve been doing a lot of kimono-style dresses this summer, and the ones I’m sewing are very similar – except for that neckline. However, when I saw the McCalls-sponsored sewing challenge for the pattern, I picked it up. And I also got 6 yards of fabric for it.

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Nothing is hemmed in these pics…

That was the extent of my participation in the sewing challenge, but I’m grateful for all the reviews and pics it generated . They were so helpful – you can take a look with tag #V9253 on Instagram and Facebook.

I got thrown off schedule by my fabric. I thought it was cotton shirting. Apparently I don’t read every word of a fabric description, or I read the words to suit my purpose! This is polyester charmeuse – could there be anything worse to sew (or wear in Florida, for that matter). I didn’t touch it for a couple weeks, but finally decided to use it for a muslin.

SA prepAwful. The fabric ravels for no reason. More if it’s touched! This dress got tossed twice, just because fun was leaving the room.

Every single cut edge had to be serged before I could start sewing. I don’t mind that part – I was just afraid of losing my seam allowances before I got it all secured.

Back to the pattern. After my online research, and working with the pattern tissue itself, I decided on two changes:

1 – The deep V-neck is simply not something I’d wear. So I re-drafted it, using other V-neck dresses as a guide.

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2 – The waistline and tie look pretty in the envelope pictures, and in pictures on the Vogue site. However – I noticed on other versions that, in the front, the tie tends to end up several inches below the bodice seam. That would really bug me, because IMHO, the dress looks too short in the torso. (If you love it, please don’t be offended!) Anyway, I dropped the bodice, front and back, by a couple inches, which is not unusual for me. And I removed the front rise, so the tie could fall naturally on top of the seam.

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These changes actually work very pretty well for me. The neckline is comfortable, although I think I’d like it about 1″ lower, and the tie falls easily over the slightly raised waist (I’m using an Obi-ish belt that I keep in the loft for fittings. From V8807).

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I did a few more tweaks – adjusted various pleats and darts, and reshaped the skirt to fit my bodice, little stuff that took hours 🙂

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Conquered this! and I don’t know if I’ll ever sew it again. Maybe.

Ciao – Coco

Style Arc Adeline Dress – Final Thoughts

line artAs I hinted in my post about the Style Arc Adeline Dress, I do have some lingering thoughts on the drafting and design – stride, and so on. Well, here we go.

Before I start, to all you Adeline lovers out there, please remember that this is my experience, and it’s totally based on me!

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I really did like my first version (post here) – but, this particular combo of greens is really becoming for me. I should use it more often.

My second version is in a lovely fabric by Tim Coffey, from his Poppy collection. I love poppies! so I was really happy to find this fabric at JoAnns.

My dress…

Not so much love. Take a look.

But it’s not for me. Not in the house, not to the grocery, just not anywhere.

Not to stray, and addressing my initial concerns, I did modify the pattern to add a little width at the bottom – the stride was a little tight. I added 1/2″ at the hemline seam, front and back, trued up to somewhere below the hip. This comes to a total addition of 2″ at the hem. And it is very helpful in walking and sitting. Of course I had to modify the hem facing bands as well. If you do this, I suggest drawing your new hem bands directly off your fabric. There are some bodacious curves and angles at play…

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So – I think I’ve laid this pattern to rest for myself, aside from perhaps raiding the neckline and hemline when I get rambunctious.

My fabric – green and blue – will be reused! I love them both.

Ciao! Coco