Monday, November 23, 2015

Before the year ends - my MOB dress

We're having one of those perfect south Florida winter days. Low temps, low humidity, lots of wind, and incredible blue skies with white clouds. I have the house open for some very welcome fresh air. And I was inspired to take some pics outside. No bugs...

So - before the year ends. What I actually wore to my daughter's wedding in February of this year. About time, right? It was perfect, perfect - I loved wearing this dress for her wedding. I felt so pretty. And it was just the right complement to her venue.

In no particular order...

Ciao! Coco

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Simplicity 2031 - knit kimono maxi

Well, it didn't take me long to sew this pattern for myself! I really enjoyed sewing the version I recently made for Ashley. And drafting my size was easy peasy, because I take a shortcut on the skirts of maxi dresses - I simply cut out a rectangle to the length I need. So I only needed the bodice patterns.

It's so nicely drafted. My only change was to add 3.5" to the sleeves on this version. No FBA, no length addition on the bodice, no raising of the neckline or narrowing of the shoulder. (A quick note - my bust is almost 4" smaller around and 2" higher since my surgery in August. So I've gone down from size 14 to 12, in Big 4 patterns. And they fit without adjustments. Happy!)

This fabric is pretty funky. It's a crushed poly ITY that I picked up from Fashion Fabrics Club a couple years ago. I expected the print to be smaller, and it has taunted me from my stash ever since. This is a big print! and needs something that can carry it. The good part - no way did I try to match it up. I think the vertical repeat must be about 36".

Once I started working with it, I got another surprise. I picked up the back bodice to staystitch the neckline and found a hole. I didn't cause this! So I carefully inspected all my pieces and, thankfully, no more holes. In my leftover pieces, I found a line of holes from selvedge to selvedge. Thank goodness I missed them and had enough to cut a new back.

In the back of my mind - is this dress going to rot in place? Actually I think it was probably mechanical damage from fabrication because the holes are identical in shape and size.

The pattern calls for elastic in the bodice/skirt seam, and I included it in Ashley's dress. But once I put this on, I decided not to use it. Ashley's is only pinned in, so we can remove it from hers as well if she likes it the same way.

It drapes beautifully in ITY, and I love the sleeves.

I'm wearing a short cami-style undergarment, which just peeks out in the neckline. I don't usually mention under things or RTW here, but I really like these - Fruit of the Loom Seamless Strappy Sports Bra (although they don't have compression and or feel like a sports bra). Sold in a pack of 3 for about $26, they're available from lots of places online. I got mine from HerRoom, which is my favorite place to shop for seamless lingerie.

On another topic, the holidays will soon be here! so I've been thinking about what I can make for family. Ashley has requested fingerless mittens to wear while gaming on the computer - fun for me because I've probably knitted 25 pairs and used to sell them at craft fairs. And True Bias just came through with the men's Hudson pants. Yesterday I downloaded the men's and mini versions - I love to make my son and grandson matching garments. Last year I made them camo board shorts and loop bracelets. I'll be shopping JoAnns tomorrow for fabric and yarn. My JAs is a great store with wonderful fabrics and lots of very nice and helpful people.


Thank you so much for all the kind comments and wishes on my last two posts. You're the best - Coco

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sewing for the girl...

They don't grow up or leave home or exit your heart. Children...

I love this pic with my daughter - she was ten, I was 34. That expression on her face is her signature look even now. Happy girl, girlish, and fun. And my best friend.

Ashley is 43 now and has a planned surgery at the end of the month. Of the female order, menopause issues. She's anticipating a two week leave from work and recovery at home, and of course I'm going over to lend a hand in the first days after she leaves the hospital. And to give Darrin company also. This is hard for him as well - they are so very close.

(Of course Ashley and I talked about including her plans in this post. She feels very strongly that women need to listen to their bodies and prioritize their health needs. So she's happy to be a second voice here. Thank you, love).

I was thinking about what I could make that would be helpful to her. And a robe came to mind immediately. Do you have this hospital memory - they get you up and out to walk the halls, pushing your IV stand with your gown flapping open in the back. Well, got that covered! I found this lovely pattern, Butterick 5544 Rachel Wallis robe and gown. (Club BMV has it in both envelope and download, but I'm impatient and downloaded it from Sewing Patterns).

Pretty! and easily transformed to a button front robe with roomy patch pockets.

This fun flannel is from JoAnns, and yes, it's mosaic skulls. She'll love it.

The front of original pattern is slightly overlapped and closed with two inside buttons along the skirt/bodice seam. I redrafted it to have a faced button placket. And I simply echoed the placket in the turn of the skirt facing.

On the inside...

All the seams are finished and felled for maximum comfort, and because flannel becomes somewhat fragile with repeated laundering. I don't want a seam to pull out.

I want one! which means I'll make myself one before long. Hers is so soft and easy to wear.

Still thinking of Ashley, I also sewed a muslin of Simplicity 2031. I hope it's a wearable muslin, because the crinkled gauze knit is really cute. I found the pattern by chance, on Honey Pie's blog. She mentioned that it looks like a popular dress sold by Torrid - one of Ashley's fav stores!  And I downloaded it from Sewing Patterns as well. I think it's a sleeper. It has no reviews on Pattern Review, and Honey Pie's pics are the only ones I've found. Now that I've sewn it - it's so pretty and easy to sew, definitely repeatable.

Fabric from Fabric Mart
Such a nice sleeve. So many cut-on kimono sleeves are overdone. This one is pretty and falls about halfway down the upper arm.

Because Ashley is 5'9", I added 1.5" to the bodice front and back length. On my Emile, which is my height, it looks like the elastic casing hits on the waistline. But on Lizzy, Ashley's dress form, it is higher, as intended.

Such a long rambling post.


My thoughts are with all those touched by the events unfolding in France and Belgium. Bye for now, Coco

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Where have I been!

Well, busy. This is the first of 2 posts I'm doing this weekend. And this one is to encourage you to acknowledge and embrace your health and wellness needs.

If you read my blog regularly - or you're new here - I have scleroderma. It's a progressive autoimmune disease that has its way with me. And to ice the cake, I have osteopenia and degenerative bone disease. So I might walk funny or with a cane. Which doesn't show in my blog pics :-)

I just counted my medical appointments/ER visits since my last hospital admission in October, 1014. Thirty-five!

Well, 35 is a big number. I see 5 departments at Cleveland Clinic Hospital here in Weston. They're wonderful, supportive, and encouraging. And they make me come back, which is really important.

My point - and it leads into my next blog post: take care of yourself. If you're not well, don't diminish or put aside your concerns. See someone. Get help. And encourage the people you love to do the same.

I'm in it for the long haul. Why not?! Best as ever, Coco

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

McCalls 6600 Shirtdress Tunic - in jersey knit!

 An experiment! Having sewn M6600 as a tunic-length shirt, I was really curious to see if it could be done in a knit jersey. I remember seeing a gal in the post office a couple years ago - she was wearing a loose white jersey shirt over deep indigo blue jeans. It looked so fresh and pretty. I've been thinking it about it since, and decided this week to try something similar.

I've had this beige eyelet crinkle jersey for a while, got it from Fabric Mart. The color is awful. From the online picture, at left, I thought it would be kind of deep cream, but it's a yucky pinky buff, or something like that. In real life, it looks like the pics on this post. So dreary. And perfect for a muslin, since I'm not attached to it :-)

It's poly/rayon/lycra jersey, and it has only horizontal stretch. That, at least, was in my favor and suited what I wanted to do.

Have you noticed that most eyelet fabrics are really like a monochrome check? The eyelets have to be lined up both vertically and horizontally. Since stubborn is my middle name when it comes to sewing, and because this shirt had some potential, I spent a couple hours just placing my pattern and cutting this out. Yes, I'm patting myself on the back - everything lines up really well.

And sewing the fabric was surprisingly easy. I was unsure of how the collar and button plackets would behave, but they came out really pretty. I used bias-cut lawn for all my interfacings, instead of fusible knit. The woven fabric provided just the right amount of weight and form to prevent drooping in the collar and bands.

And the buttonholes went in without a hitch. My backup plan for the closures was to use pearl snaps, but my test buttonholes were very reassuring, so I went for it.

I treated the back yoke a little differently, compared to my woven version. On the latter, I didn't use the yoke facing, since it wasn't needed structurally. On this knit version, I did use it. It really stabilizes the back and shoulders.

The other change I made for this one is the cuff treatment. Instead of closing the sleeve with a placket and button cuff, I attached the cuff as a band, just stretching it to fit the sleeve as one does with a ribbed cuff. Worked great.

When I look past the color, I really like this shirt. 

So - help me please! Has anyone been successful dying poly/rayon/lycra? If so, what product did you use? My research has been discouraging - most of what I've read says that the lycra won't take color well. I'm going to dye it regardless! so thanks in advance.

Parting shots: one of my lizard buddies in the bird bath...

Bye for now - Coco

Thursday, October 22, 2015

McCalls 6600 Shirtdress - but a little different

We've had 3 or 4 days of beautiful weather - wind, low humidity, and bright blue skies. So I ventured outside late this afternoon to take some pics. Photos outside are so much clearer than those taken inside, at least with my little camera. Plus it's fun to mess around in the garden. Not a mosquito in sight, which means they'll soon be gone for the season. Back to the Everglades!

And with the promise of cooler weather just around the corner, I find I'm in the mood for something with a shirtdress vibe. A shirtdress just feels like fall, even here in Florida. So I pulled out this little pattern from McCalls, which I've never sewn. I checked my files - I can hardly believe I bought it in February, 2013! Gosh time flies...

I decided to make it into more of a over-sized shirt than a short dress, because I wanted to make something that I'll really wear. I'm too conscious of the scleroderma on my legs to really enjoy something short. The change was a simple matter of taking 6.5" off the hem.

Vogue 9114 Kathryn Brenne pants in white target cloth - and shoes for a change!

And I extended the button placket all the way down. This was also an easy alteration, literally an extension of the placket and facing down the full length of the front.

If you squint, you can see that I added a second pocket on the lower left side, it's the same pattern as the chest pocket. It's really just for fun.

I love that the back pleat is deep enough to be obvious. 

It's also a little hard to see that this Theory shirting fabric has a very small jacquard weave. It's 100% cotton and sewed like a dream. It became softer and softer as I worked with it and reminds me of how linen gets when it's been laundered many times.

I really enjoyed sewing this. Very pleasant. And I've already done a second one in striped chambray - I'll wear it with something soon.

The weekend is almost here - I hope yours is nice and includes some sewing :-)

Bye for now,  Coco