Stormy weather!

I am nothing if not an optimist…and I love Florida! Can hardly believe I am sitting in the lanai and actually have power! The wind has been blowing incredibly – and the rain has been blowing sideways, straight down, and backwards. But here I am!

We’ve had a crazy few days, but are very fortunate to have come through Isaac so well. In fact, my cohabitants are a bit happy about all this…

Old mr. toad and all his brood (quite large now after some seven years of hanging out behind the air conditioner) love a good swim. He hopped in just after I took this pic.

And my alligator is all smiles when he gets drenched. What a cutie, gifted by my son and his wife some years ago, rare!

My thoughts are with all those impacted by the storm…Coco

Fall Storyboard – jackets & cardi’s!

Everything in me is saying ‘change, change – just around the corner…’.  In spite of volumes of rain, the grass and trees look dry, and the birds and lizards are definitely not amorous. Slow, lazy, yes, but beat. It must be coming up to fall…

I just updated the Coco’s Loft Website – which you can also reach from the blog. It is my very self-indulgent personal version of PInterest before there was such a thing. They are such copycats.

Just a couple notes:

The beautiful Akasha quilted coat, I am so excited. It is reversible, I have the fabric. Getting the pattern was the hardest part, as it is limited in print. Got it!

The other long coat, from Loes Hinse – I am torn between purple and picante linen.

The traditional blanket coat, upper right hand corner, will be very untraditional in chenille! I had a Ralph Lauren navy blue chenille blazer that I wore to nubs. Perfect fabric for our light winter.

And the knit cardi’s and Cynthia Rowley jacket are just fun. I have the leopard print already, a knit fleece, very lightweight. Would you believe 2 fleece throws from ACMoore, on sale? Should work out great.

Sorry for so much text without a picture…Coco!

Simplicity 1806 So ruffled blouse…

Blouse fabric, ACMoore minibolt calico
Pants, Vogue 8584 loose fitting pants, Holly Lobby calico

I’ve worn this blouse so many times on the blog – and promised a review.    So it is time! This is one of the funniest patterns I’ve ever sewn. And I guess that needs explanation 🙂

The variations are just great. I particularly like the one with the three ruffles in the front (View A) and the one with the flounce on the side (View B).

A major attraction of this top: the princess-style seams. So much easier for my bustline. No darts to move or fuss with. And as it turns out, I did not make any seam adjustments at all.

I started with View A, three ruffles. Piece of cake! until I read the italicized print in front of the very first step : ‘trim 5/8″ off the neckline and armhole allowances’. hmmm. Didn’t I just cut out this pattern? OK. Perhaps the additional trims are because the pattern is drafted for sleeves and so on. So I trimmed and sewed.

And ended up with a neckline that just stood up and saluted me! Really really did. It was not too low – it was just too out there! I’m not sure you can even see it in this photo, but when I had it on, it did not conform to me at all. Just stood up and said ‘ hi there’.

I was sooo dismayed, I almost threw the pattern away!! But slept on it. And decided to run 1/8″ elastic thru the neckline binding. Ah. Worked great. In fact, it was perfect, because it brought the blouse into my thump thump hollow chest.  The first photo shows how nicely it turned out 🙂

      A BTW: I pretty much do all my armhole and neckline bindings so that they are turned
      to the outside, not the inside. I like the extra visual ‘weight’ on the bodice  – and the control
      I get on the topstitching.  I am reminded of  ‘no wire hangers!’….for me it is ‘no armhole
      puckers!’  LOL

So I moved on…to View B. Which only requires one to ‘trim 5/8″ from the armholes’, but not the neckline. Alrighty. And this view has neckline facings, not bindings. Oh my. This view is so very pretty, sewed up like a dream, and I made no adjustments at all! Love it!

Blouse fabric, JoAnns white dot on dot cotton
Pants, Vogue 8584 loose fitting pants, JoAnns calico
Now that I’ve gotten used to the pattern, and we’ve come to an understanding, I’ve sewn it half a dozen times! And I just got it in to sew for my daughter as well. She is an attorney, I think the three ruffles in a muted blue/grey stripe shirting will be gorgeous under a suit jacket.
A couple more versions…
Blouse fabric, ACMoore minibolt cotton
Pants, McCalls 6291, JoAnns weavers cloth

Blouse fabric, Tonga Batik City Abstract, cotton
Skirt, Coldwater Creek

And I have the side flounce View B already cut out and ready to sew in soft peach broadcloth. Because the side flounce shows both sides of the fabric, broadcloth, yarn-dyed or similar fabrics are good choices for this view.

What a nice summer blouse this turned out to be. It’s easy to sew, just has a few quirks.  Love it.

Ciao! Coco

Burda 7200 Maxi Dress – Take me on a sea cruise!

This dress has so much history! I need a sea cruise just to recover from the experience.

First, I bought the pattern, Burda 7200, because View A, the long version, just looks so svelte and sexy!

And second, I was fully aware that the long version should be done in a knit – and I have been avoiding sewing knit fabric for a looonng time. This pattern seemed good incentive to revitalize my knit sewing skills.

This is not exactly the svelte and sexy look I was after! but I do love the dress. It is done in a cotton jersey from Girl Charlee. What a cute print! Nautical and tropical and so fresh. And it feels wonderful.

Zoris, CVS
Of course I had to choose stripes for my first foray back into knits! Managed them pretty well, only the one side drifts down a bit 🙂
I sewed a size 14, it worked very well. While there is a lot of volume in the gathered parts of the dress, the neckline, armhole, back, and bust really do rely on using a correct size.
Are you as wary as I was about sewing jersey knit? Here is what I learned along the way, maybe it will help you too!
Seams: I started with a 5/8″ seam, which I hand-basted together.  I sewed the seam using a narrow zigzag stitch (length 2.0, width 2.0) with reduced tension on the upper thread. Then I pressed the seam, trimmed it, and serged the edges together to finish.

Neck and armhole detail: There are lots of gathers, curves and topstitching in these areas – I knew I needed to use a straight stitch. Used length of 2.5 and again, released tension on the upper thread.

The ‘collar’ has fusible interfacing. This sent me off on a google search…what to use for a lightweight knit? I get so frustrated when I read things like ‘a fusible weft interfacing will work well….’. So here is what I used, and it worked great!

Hem: Fear not! I always look for a simple approach 🙂 So I zigzagged the hem, letting the entire stitch be on the fabric. And pressed it flat to sink the stitches.
Then I applied 1/2″ Steam-a-Seam to the the hem edge, on top of the zigzag. I turned the hem up and topstitched using a length of 3.0 and released upper thread tension. This worked great!
Here you can see the zigzag and topstitching on the inside….
And the outside of the same area…

And the product itself:

So color me happy 🙂
Hasta luego! Coco

Simplicity 2443 Cynthia Rowley Vest – to the Max!

Polo, J Jill
Jeans, Motto
Sandals, Born

I just love this vest and jacket! Such a perfect peplum and length. 
I actually bought a 6 1/2″ yds piece  white corded cotton from FFC so that I could sew this…but have not done it yet! I decided to mull over the pattern (picture me mulling over pattern) and then do a muslin first. ‘Cause the corded cotton was expensive!
I am so stingy. I had a little over a yard of Kona cotton in black. I love Kona cotton. It is 4.3 oz. per yard and has a wondrous hand and slight sheen. Perfect for lightly structured garments, bags, purses, kid’s things – and this vest. And I liked having it in my stash soooo much that I very reluctantly sacrificed it to this project!

A back view first then what I did!
Pants, Vogue 8584 Loose Fitting Pants
Fabric, Calico, Holly Lobby
I think Cynthia got the peplum just right – sassy.
Skirt, Kwik Sew 3914 Pleated Skirt
Sandals, Chinese Laundry
 I redrafted her lovely vest to be a vest/blouse combo, by making a few very easy alterations. I just do not like necklines above my collarbones! I like scoop or v-neck bodices – I think they are so much more flattering and so pretty to style. 
Here is the front pattern with my drafting marks to (1) create a buttoned vest/blouse, rather than one that meets and ties at the front center,  and (2) restyle the front neck to a v-neckline suitable to a buttoned blouse or vest.  (I am gritting my teeth, but not inclined to fight this…I cannot get this photo to rotate!)
  • I used the existing cutting line as my new seam line. This left fabric to the outside of center front.
  • Then I added a 5/8″ seam line to the new front edge.
  • I used another pattern (BurdaStyle 2011/09#128) to determine the start point and angle of my new neckline.
My newly redrafted front piece on top of the original pattern:
More pics! I just love it! And will be sewing it with the beautiful sleeves that comes with the pattern and as a sleeveless blouse in many cherished fabrics.
Model, Emile

The gathers in the center back are from my having made a 1 1/4″ broad back adjustment in the upper back and simply gathering the fabric into the peplum. Worked very well.

 Happy! Coco