Iquana moment

Not seen in my yard before, a green iquana! This little foot long gorrobito was in the process of eating a guava whole!

I was lucky to get these photos – holding the camera over my head and snapping! He froze for just a moment, swallowed, and was gone!

He’ll be back. I know the iquanas are not loved by all, but isn’t he beautiful?


Butterick 5736 – the Red, White, and Blue!

To all my friends in the US, Happy Fourth of July!

And to all my international friends,
thank you for joining in the celebration!

I made a top especially for the occasion! It has been waiting patiently for its showcase day…

This cute pattern is Butterick 5736 See and Sew. The red version caught my eye, not just the color, but also the pleated folds above the hem. A little something different. (I am not at all interested in the wrap style…it doesn’t even look nice in the envelope cover pic!)

I sewed the pattern in a very fresh cotton from ACMoore, one of my favorite minibolts once again. Almost but not quite a ditsy print, it is a calico and sewed like a dream. Being a mid-weight and fairly tightly woven, it really does not wrinkle or ravel. I just love calico.

All my photos are a bit under-lit. Mr. sun is nowhere to be seen, it’s just me and the mosquitoes here. So brave, I took these on the trot, believe me!

I did make a few alterations to the pattern 🙂

  • I redrafted the neckline from a boatneck into a scoop-neck! The original neckline felt very close to my face, a bit stifling. And I think a woman’s chest is one of her best features. So – changed it, love it. At center front, the neckline was lowered 3 1/4 ” as a result.
  • After measuring the length from the shoulder to the gathering line below the bust, I added 1″ to the bottom of the bodice. I did not want the elastic to grab me and pull-up at this feature of the tunic.
  • No darts, so no bust apex concerns. Also plenty of room in the back bodice.
  • And last, I made a sloping shoulder adjustment on my right side.

 I made one more set of changes in how I cut and sewed the skirt pieces  – they help with the formation of the elastic casing (and I do this all the time):

  • I cut the upper edge of the skirt pieces with a 1″ seam allowance.
  • Then serged the upper skirt edges.
  • When I sewed the skirt to the bodice, I kept the bodice seam allowance at 5/8″, the skirt at 1″.

The bodice seam allowance is subsequently trimmed and the skirt allowance is pressed up towards the bodice. It is turned in and stitched to form the casing for the elastic.

  • The serged edge prevents ravelling. And makes it very easy to turn in the edge of the seam allowance!
  • And the extra width of the seam makes forming the casing soooo much easier.

I think it is adorable! Can see this top in many fabrics, with leggings and boots and turtlenecks and scarfs…versatile. The folds at the bottom really have my interest and will appear before long on something else from the loft.

Ciao! Coco

More vrroooom – a new sewing machine!

From Amazon at a very decent price! 

Even the box is exciting…for the designer in me…professional features…


Lest anyone think I’m nuts to be buying a fourth machine (I have my Janome 8002D serger, IKEA SY, and my current little workhorse, my Brother CP6500), I really do have good reasons for this purchase…


All of this is already in the loft, just waiting for my attention. But I just cannot stitch knits on my CP6500. It does not have an adjustable pressure foot for starters. Did I consider getting a coverstitch machine instead? Not really, because the PC420 comes with features and accessories I really wanted:

A larger harp for machine quilting…much needed! I am inspired by Svetlana at s.o.t.a.k. handmade –  she does her beautiful quilting on her machine and has shared some techniques with me. I’ve been doing all of my quilting by hand, but want to try something new. The link is to her spools quilt – striking!

And a wider sewing bed…

Terrible photos…good thing the new machine has two LED lights 🙂 Other features that come with the machine/in the box:

  • hard cover
  • 294 stitches including gothic, script, and outline fonts
  • decorative stitches can be combined, mirrored, and resized, density is adjustable – and can be saved as a custom stitch 
  • backlit LCD screen
  • pressure foot knee lifter
  • programmable custom stitch setting
  • adjustable pressure foot and feed dogs
  • manual and automatic thread cutters
  • 13 pressure feet!

I am very very excited to have this new girl. Today I am finishing a dress on my CP6500, will clean it very well, pat it, and put on its dust cover.
Then off to practice on old tee shirts – while I think about which dress first! Coco

Strawberry guavas!

I feel so fortunate to have beaten my resident squirrel to some of the strawberry guavas this year!
 He really does own the tree.

These pictures are from early this morning. Perhaps Chukka Chukka was still sleeping…

Or the abundance of fruit this year is simply beyond even his greedy little appetite!

As I type I can hear him in the tree munching away. Such good company. 
Coco and Chukka Chukka

Burda 7659 Pleated Dress in summer green

I have been waiting for days for a break in the rain so that I could take
pics of this summer dress! I love the rain, drought is such an awful alternative, rain rain, stay, please… However. Today Mr. Sun came out to play for a bit in between showers, and I was outside in a flash. I was ready! Shoes, belt, camera, action – and what action. So windy I thought I would lose my tripod. I am holding my dress in the back in most of these photos!

Cute dress! Just looks swingy, sassy, summertime fresh. My fabric is a very pretty grass green cotton from ACMoore – it almost smells like cut grass.
Not seen in the drawings, pockets are included in the side seams. The pattern calls for a back zipper, which I did not include. If you are comfortable pulling a dress over your head and wiggling your arms through, you will not need one. The neckline is not the issue – it is the bust area, which has little ease.
I enjoyed sewing this dress. It is by Burda, so instructions are minimal, with no notches or extraneous markings on the tissue. In fact, none, other than grainline, pocket placement, and pleats lines. They did provide very good techniques for sewing and finishing the box pleats – which will make this pattern approachable by a less experienced sewist.
The curved bodice is lovely, almost a surplice. It and the pleats work together to form-fit the bust. Not mentioned in the instructions, but a good idea – I ease stitched the sewing line on the bodice, then turned and pressed it. This is a tight curve, and I did have to pull up the thread a bit while making the turn.
I ran out of my main fabric, so I used a piece from Heather Bailey’s Pop Garden collection to line the bodice and upper pockets. In the pic you can see my pocket trick: I only mark the upper placement of the pocket on the garment front. Everything else is pin-fitted based on that mark before I start sewing the pockets. As a result my pockets match up when I sew my side seams!

It is really getting windy here…
 I sewed a size 12 based on Burda sizing. Adjustments I made:
  • Sewed a 1/4″ center back seam to adjust for my broad back. 
  • Lowered both shoulders 3/8″ to (1) lower the bust apex and (2) manage my hollow chest 🙂
  • Did a sloping shoulder adjustment on my right side.
  • Sewed the sideseams at 3/8″ beginning at the upper edge for 5 1/2″, then ‘cured’ the seam out to 5/8″ at the pocket. 
  • Drafted armhole facings instead of using the suggested folded band facing. The pattern approach would have put 8 layers of fabric at some seams – I could only imagine what that would look like when it was topstitiched!
Last alteration – I added 1 1/2″ to the hemline. At 5’7″, just needed to do it.
Sandals, Jasmin NY

 I moved under the gazebo to do a little styling because I kept taking picture of leaves covering my face in the other part of the yard! But it is still touch and go!  

I enjoyed the fresh air and wind – we had more rain soon after, but it was lovely!
Ciao! Coco