Friday, December 28, 2012

Checking in...Christmas was wonderful!

The best part was being with my children and their loved ones. Precious times.

Gifts for the Loft! The wall hanging is handmade from a scrapping kit (my daughter is incredibly talented, scrapping and paper arts). And the tote is from Thirty-One - I was so touched, tears.

Note to self: I must stop eating candy from my stocking ... well, maybe slow down, not stop :-)

And I have a little gift money (thank you all, dear children), so I've been doing some online shopping. From Girl Charlee, my favorite store for knits, these are all 100% cotton jersey:

Abstract Collage Burnout

Golden Hibiscus Outlines

Ethnic Sunburst Circles
Interesting mix! 

I really do have a tunic on the sewing table, using this mid-weight cotton calico from Holly Lobby. It's so pretty,  very soft, and has gold metallic on the fans and medallions.

I'm pretty sure the tunic will be a mix of several patterns. Something with 3/4 sleeves, a raised wrap-front waist, and length enough for leggings. 

Hope you are having a nice week and are able to find your way back to a little sewing as well.

Ciao! Coco

Saturday, December 15, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award - thank you!

What a nice surprise! On Wednesday, Sarah, of Goodbye Valentino, nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award / Very Inspiring Blogger Award. My regard for Sarah, her Southern charm, elegance, elan, and of course, her sewing ability and sense of style, is limitless. 

Sarah, thank you for such a wonderful compliment.

The rules of this award are:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Add The One Lovely Blog Award / The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.
  3. Share 7 things about yourself.
  4. Pass the award to 10 nominees.
  5. Include this set of rules.
  6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blogs.
And here we go - seven things about me!

One - I read primarily non-fiction but do have favorite fiction authors - Michael Ondaatje, Annie Proulx, Graham Greene, John Le Carre, Patrick O'Brien, and yes, Jane Austen.

Two - I am a true Pisces, born February 28, fish through and through. And I surround myself with my sign.

  Three - I am addicted to coffee. I love coffee. Coffee is the elixir of life. Coffee please!!

Four - OK, here is the bombshell - my hair is completely grey (read that as white) and has been for years. I had black hair, and black hair turns white, not grey. Like my dad's, my hair went white early, starting in my thirties. Yes, I do my own hair :-) but not with a permanent dye - and from time to time I get lazy.

Five - I have been drawing since I was little. And continue to do pen and ink drawings, and more recently, digitized art using a computer pen tablet...

Six - Not so surprising, I'm fluent in Spanish! but French was my first second language. I began studying French when I was in the fourth grade, and it was my minor in college. It is easy to keep my Spanish where I live, but to keep my French going, I've been reading more and more blogs by French sewists. What fun and what incredible styles.

Seven - For twenty-five years, I pretty much lived in a business suit! Beginning in 1978, I worked in Latin America, where the dress code was always a bit formal. Suit styles changed over the years...






I would like to nominate these lovely bloggers because they keep me coming back. I enjoy their stories and picture,s and I miss them when they go quiet for a while! I hope you will enjoy reading them as well. 

Fancy That - Nikki, a mom and homemaker in Colorado, has more energy and creativity than I could use up in a lifetime! And sews incredibly pretty garments for herself and her children as well. I so enjoy reading about her experience as a homeschooler for the first time this year, her children's accomplishments, and her own. Her love for her family and her lifestyle, and the support she feels from them, all come through so clearly. A joyful blog.

Valerie's Own Sewing Blog - From the day I found Valerie's blog, I have been a dedicated reader. From Sydney, Australia, she has such a clear vision of what she likes, her style, and what she wants around her. And has such a wonderful feel for color and prints, I want her fabric stash!

moonthirty - A Texan, Susan sews beautiful casual wear and extraordinary accessories (check out her bags and totes!) A crocheter, she has taken up knitting - her recent go with knitting socks almost has me buying sock yarn. Let's see - Susan also bakes, scraps, crafts...a fun read. 

Sheilaz-CTK - A self-styled corporate gal, crafter, and sewista, Sheila really does do it all. And she sews some prodigiously challenging projects! I really enjoy all the pics and detail effort that Sheila puts into her blog. Every post is so interesting. And every garment has something unique about it. 

Sertyan's Sewing Corner - Sertyan is a working mom in Kotakinabalu, Malaysia, who sews beautiful, fresh, and smart clothes for her workplace. So many pretty and colorful sheath dresses - it takes a special figure, and petite Sertyan just looks stunning in hers!

stitching on the edge - Like so many bloggers, Adrienne is both a sewist and a knitter. And I like every single thing she has sewn! I also enjoy the sewing tips that Adrienne includes in her posts, I'm always ready to learn something new (or be reminded of something I used to know and use!). 

Sewing in Style - Jenny just has a wonderful sense of humor that comes through all her posts - in addition to some really awesome sewing! She lives in Cleveland, Ohio, but takes us lots of places in her blog, really a good read.  

Interrupted Sutures - I just love reading Janine's posts. Always a nice ramble through a story of sewing or finding something or using something or looking at something. Relaxing, enjoyable. Oh, and she has a beautiful quiet garden full of bloom.

four square walls -  Andrea, a Kentuckian moved to Philly, sews a beautiful assortment of smart and trendy dresses, tops, skirts, and accessories. And includes lots of indie pattern designers in her wardrobe. Her Darling Ranges dress is hands down my very favorite of all that I've seen.

Mary Sews - A fellow Floridian, Mary is always surprising me with something new - a recipe, something from the garden, another worktable takeover attempt by her DH. A favorite.

And thank you, dear readers, you are such good company and friends, 

Ciao! Coco

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Vogue 1177 Anna Sui Dress & Slip

This really is fun. When I finished my Loes Hinse duster, I realized I wanted more - more detail sewing that is!   It is so enjoyable to work with many pieces and finishes and to see a garment come together. Even better, to modify a pattern and see one's own ideas come forward. 

Anna Sui designs do not always suit me, sometimes they seem a little unpurposed (ok, young, clubby, girly...) but that is surely not a deterrent. I like the basics of some of her designs, and I'm perfectly happy to modify a bit. And her Vogue patterns work very very well.

This dress (or tunic as I made it) has sooo many elements. Reading the pattern is like shopping a candy store. And that is just the dress. I did not even unfold the included slip pattern (a classic slip, cut on the bias. Totally icing on the cake for me, as I did not have this pattern in my inventory).

My fabric is a 55/45 linen/rayon blend from Fashion Fabrics Club. In the online description, the picture, and actually the fabric itself when it arrived, it was dusty purple! After three prewashes of the fabric - definitely blue! But very nice, slubby, and soft, without any sheen from the rayon content.

Elements I modified:
  • The pattern uses 1/4" pleats to gather the fabric in the upper sleeve, and in the front and back bodice below the yoke. I pinned these pleats on one bodice front and formed a square with two rulers around my bust apex. Voila! A perfect cupping of my breast. Not. 

  • Simple fix. I replaced the pleats with gathers spread across a greater width. Here you can see the gathers on the bodice front and upper sleeve...

  • The waist casing and drawstring tie definitely would not work in my fabric, it would be too heavy. I made the casing into a waistband by working with my hip measurement plus some ease. And took 3" out of the back casing, and 1 1/2" out of each front casing.
  • The original skirt was too full for the reduced waistband. I narrowed the skirt pieces so that they were  about  1 1/2  times the width of the band. Just enough to achieve a soft gather that would not flounce out too much.

    Isn't this double fold detail above the hem beautiful?

  • Since I wanted a long tunic, not a dress, I shortened the skirt by 2". I am 5"7" - this dress was short before I lopped it :-)
  • And I made a simple closed band for the sleeve cuff. The pattern comes with a lapped and buttoned cuff.  

On Emile, the inside of the tunic. The pattern has really pretty construction details. And I had a bit of fun here. The waistband facing and hem binding are Tonga Batik City Abstract.

Curiosity led me to a search on the web for this dress in Anna Sui pret-a-porter. Found it, 2010, in silk for $571!!

Perfect Florida winter-wear. Loving this. 

Bye! Coco

Friday, December 7, 2012

Discount days...

Shareable fun (can't blog my holiday gift projects...). Yesterday was Senior's Discount Day at JoAnn's. I've never gone before, but decided to fight the crowds for 20% off my purchase. Crowds? Ummm. Apparently I am one of only a handful of  women and men over the age of 60 in Broward County, Florida, who sew and shop at JoAnn's. It was really kind of nice. The store was empty!

From the Red Tag table, a beautiful slubbed and flecked grey polyester/linen knit. I've already washed and dried it. Yes, I put it in the dryer, because it said line dry, and I won't line dry it for the pre-wash. If it is going to be difficult, I want to know before I put in hours of love! It emerged feeling wonderful, very soft. And it has no twist at all. I was really leery because it is poly, but quality won out. It is straight, selvage to selvage.

I have a  new pattern in mind for this knit. Love the simple lines and the surprise keyhole back.

Butterick 5837

The green and black plaid is homespun. I was looking for exactly this fabric! a bright green plaid  done with black, not navy, so that I can coordinate it with black leggings. I got the last of the bolt, so others may have had the same thing in mind. Another new pattern:

McCalls 5925

And the seam roll is something I've been wanting for ages. I have a ham, do not know why I've taken so long to get the seam roll. I grit my teeth every time I am faced with a sleeve or pants leg. Now solved.

Did you notice the grid in the background? Love it! A 39" x 72" cutting board that folds up to 39" x 14", so it will slip into the pantry. It fits my dining table beautifully. Oops...there I go borrowing the entire house for my sewing again. But it is really nice and for only $9 - what a deal, what a steal.

I've been busy! In the middle of all this, we have those wonderful pattern sales online. Who could resist $.99 and $1.99 sales? Not me. Some of these patterns have great elements, even if I don't use the pattern as it comes. More new to the stash...

Butterick 5528

Butterick 5744 

McCalls 6203

Vogue 8668 OOP

Vogue 8771

Vogue 8827

I'm back to my holiday gift projects, but am keeping a lookout for post-season selfish sewing :-)

Ciao! Coco

Thursday, November 29, 2012

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch...

Hmmm. Like I did not already know that! I don't often share a wadder, but I earned this one!

I was really excited to find this great wrap jacket with a belt. No buttons or toggles or zip. Patch pockets  and designed for fleece! Jingle bells! I thought this would be perfect for my Mom.

Meet Neue Mode 22314...

There is absolutely nothing quick or easy about this pattern! Beginning with the download, tape, mark, and trace time. Neue Mode patterns do NOT come with seam allowances ("to allow for better fitting...").

And then there are the wonderful instructions. Seven or eight of them. Things like "attach the collar" and "sew the seams". At the very end there are instructions for attaching the lining to the hem, with two illustrations - and the jacket is unlined!!

The worst part: After hours of sewing and fitting and finishing, the thing was just too big. Even though I sewed a size down from my measurements. So I cut it up redrafted the sides and reset the sleeves - which made it really funky.

At which point I called in my sewing consultants. They were horrified. Gave them egg nog.

 I knew some of this going in, I've sewn Neue Mode before. But I seem to have lost all memory of past experiences in my excitement over this pattern. And remember, I have seasonal jolliness, so I'm an easy target right now!

The pattern is in the bin, but I 'm salvaging the fabric :-)

Ho ho! Coco

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy chaos has begun...the holidays!

I hardly know what to do next - I have projects all over the house and just love the way it feels.

The Anna Sui dress made its way downstairs and got buttons today. It's ready for a photo shoot, but it's currently taking up a chair...

I am redrafting a jacket on the living room floor because my worktable in the sewing room is covered with a pattern...

Wonderful new fabric arrived (last week) and made it from the box to the chair with the dress - not even close to the laundry!

And half my sofa is pins, miscellaneous, and a Regular Guy Beanie in progress (great pattern on Ravelry!)

I did have a Vogue blouse, 2 Grainline blouses, and a knit Vogue dress hanging on the back of the door to the garage, also pending a photo shoot. Finally just put them in my closet. Yea me!

All this is downstairs and I am laughing at myself because I'm usually so fussy about picking up things.

But not now. For now I'm just enjoying the fun of this joyous season.

Ciao! Coco