Thursday, February 28, 2013

It's my birthday!

Poppies Africa, Coco '11

For me the new year begins on my birthday (there is nothing personal about January 1).

I love my birthday. When I was working, I always, for over 30 years, took off my birthday. I love it.

And now I am 65!

What I am doing today, self-indulgence.

  • I bought 3 frozen ice cream cones, the ones with a waffle cone and chocolate and nuts on top. Plan to eat at least two before midnight.
  • I have 3 favorite drinks: kir, blackberry sour, and campari & soda. I bought blackberry brandy, to be mixed with Crystal Light lemonade, for a quasi-blackberry sour.
  • I ordered 8 Partylite Iced Snowberries Scent Plus Melts on EBay. I have some in my warmer now, and I love knowing I have more coming. My very favorite ever.
  • I am cruising fabric sites and will order something grand before day's end. Promise :-)

Meanwhile, the weather is cool, my garden got much needed rain yesterday, and my family has sent me love.

What a very nice birthday.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Vogue 8859 - Marcy Tilton Skinny Pants

As promised! Skinny pants from Marcy Tilton...

Do not be misled by the skinny model. I've sewn three pairs of these now, and none of them have the cigarette look of the photo at right!
The fun is in the detail...the front is actually cut in one piece and seamed in any of a variety of ways at the knee. The back is cut in 3 pieces - yoke, upper leg, and lower leg. Interesting!

And really lost in my matte jersey cheetah print :-)

What a great fit! Piecing the back leg gives a perfect line - a bit tapered from hip to knee, then straight down to the ankle. No bunching behind the knee. 

I left off the back pocket - it would never be seen. No way am I wearing a short or tucked top with these! 

A couple notes on sewing: I cut a size 16, because the fit through the hips and waist is very close. Ever notice how panty hose slowly pull down from the waist and the crotch creeps towards the knees? Well, that's what I wanted to avoid!

Here is a close-up of the knee detail on my muslin, which I wore for the pics on my first peasant blouse. (I had to lighten the pic so bring out the seams - but even so, this is a horrible horrible shiny ponti knit that serves knit muslin duty). 

I found all 3 knee options to be very difficult to manage and not really all that pretty. On this first pair I sewed two 1/8" seams, facing outward, from edge to edge, on the right side of the fabric. When the pants are on, the seams kind of poke out and  cause a  bag above the kneecap. Strange...

Of course I fixed that! After carefully measuring my leg ( front and back,waist to knee, knee to ankle), I cut the front leg into two pieces at the knee.  

The front and back knee seams are trimmed, turned up, and topstitched. I like the result - my pants are comfy, have a bit of detail, and look very finished.

I'll be making more - they feel like leggings, but I can make them! 

Bye for now! Coco

Friday, February 22, 2013

Simplicity 3786 - A Peasant Blouse

After my Ramble last week through peasant blouse looks, I was so ready to cut some fabric! Especially since I've been doing a lot of fooling around this month, and not much sewing. Well, to be honest, I did sew early in the month - two real wadders that will never visit this blog! What a downer! 

But I feel better now :-) 

Simplicity 3786 is now a favorite - it has so many looks. I used it for my much-loved orange and gold tunic last fall, and I turned to it again for this peasant blouse. This time my starting point was Version D, which has a pintucked bodice, a small gather in the back, and unique two-piece sleeves.

I had already altered my tissue for a couple adjustments when I sewed my first version: I moved the bust apex down 2 inches and added 1 3/4" to the bottom hem (I'm a bit over 5'7" and cut a size 14). The bodice has princess seams, so moving the curve for the apex fix was not difficult.

Pretty pintucks, only 1/4" wide. They were the most challenging part of the construction - my fabric wanted to slide away from the needle when I stitched over a dot or embroidery. I sewed them veery slowly!

And such nice sleeves! I like the slight off-shoulder look and the proportion of the upper and lower sleeve. The length is perfect for me and the wristband, which is plain, no elastic, is roomy without gaping.

I put together the sleeves entirely, including finishing, before inserting them in the blouse. 

The gather in the back, just above the waistline, is a 6" long attached casing, through which a small elastic is drawn. It's a nice little touch and gives just a hint of shaping to the back view. The upper back is wide and works really well for me -  but you might want to measure and adjust this piece so that your armscye stays where it should be.

My fabric was sort of a lucky find - I'm not usually drawn to dotted swiss fabric. But I decided to give it a try when I found this Maggy London dotted swiss at Fabric Mart (online). It is sooo soft, much like a gauze, and has flocked dots and delicate flower embroidery.  

I pre-laundered it in the machine with another yardage of plain cotton, then dried them together on low as well. No loose embroidery or lost dots or wrinkles. Having fallen in love with it, from now on I'll wash it inside-out in a lingerie bag :-) 

Because the fabric is a bit delicate and semi-sheer, I used french seams everywhere except the sleeve and armhole seams, which are trimmed and overlocked.

 hmmm...didn't I change anything? well, yes. The pattern has a mandarin collar - and I wanted something softer and more in line with a peasant blouse. This turned out to be much easier than sewing a mandarin collar! I cut a 1 1/2" x 46" bias strip, which binds the neckline and hangs down about 16" on each side of the bodice.

I'm happy with this peasant blouse - back on track, mojo working...

Oops, I forgot to mention the pants. They are Marci Tilton's skinny pants - next blog post! They are great....

Ciao! Coco

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ramble - Peasant Blouse Inspiration!

I love the ease and femininity of a peasant blouse. Looks so good and fresh over jeans or leggings, or as a beach/pool cover-up - or take it long for a maxi! For inspiration, I've looked at a lot of fashions...but all of the following are from the Sundance Catalog! So pretty...

Rosalie Tunic Rayon Georgette $198
Fringe, embroidery & tucks!

Arabella Tunic - Rayon $138
Border print & elbow length gathered sleeve!

Blue Floral Delphine Tunic - Rayon $148 
Pretty gathered sleeve sleeve cuffs!

Embroidered Morning Glory Tunic - yarn-dyed cotton $128
Feminine beachy look!

Glints Of Shine Tunic - Cotton voile $98
Love these dropped gathered sleeves & bib effect!
The shine is from metallic thread used in the bib...

Just Divine Tunic - Rayon/Silk Velvet $148
Loose kimono sleeves & gathered peplum - Simply lux!

Lovissa Lace Tunic - Rayon $128
Great peplum, dropped back hem & deep gathered cuffs!

Horizons Ombre Tunic - Poly/Spandex Mesh Knit $128
Bloused dropped waist & long elasticized sleeves!

Morgan Tunic - Cotton Voile $88
Dropped gathered sleeve & another bib look!

Moonlit Melange Tunic - Silk chiffon and lace $138
Romantic layers everywhere!

Redefined White Tunic - Cotton $88
Lace bib & flared cuffs!


I've picked up a couple patterns to use on my peasant blouse journey - not all at once, I'll be doing them all through the year! And for much much less than RTW! 

The first, Butterick 5854, has just about every sleeve element I need. I love the skirt variations! 

Butterick 5854

The second pattern, Neue Mode 23119, is a classic peasant top! and I'll be careful to measure the pattern everywhere...Neue Mode runs so big on me.

Neue Mode 23119

Hope you enjoyed this Ramble - it was fun to do!

Bye for now! Coco

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Grainline Studios Scout Tee - jungle drums...

Indigo jeans - Motto
Black zoris - CVS

The beasties are still in my garden...Scout Woven Tee in a jaguar cotton print from Holly Lobby!  This is my first go at this much-loved pattern. And I am on the bandwagon - it's great!
I managed to get two pics before I got chased inside by the's the second...

This is such an easy sew, I did not change a thing (not at all like me! but it fit...sewed a medium, did an adjustment for my right sloping shoulder - but that's not the pattern's fault!) Oh boy, no darts...a true tee shirt.

And the rains came. And I love rain during our dry season, so no complaint from me.

Ha - wet hair! But wanted to share this great pattern and print before valentines push jungle beasts aside :-)

Ciao! and more Scouts to come...Coco

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ramble - Bird Design Fabrics!

Here's a fun ramble through some of my favorite bird design fabrics! They are so appealing - hope you like them, too!

 Mod designs. I love the crisp, fresh appearance...

Menagerie Sherbert Twill 7 oz Cotton

Urban Zoologie Owls Kona Cotton

Urban Zoologie Peeps Kona Cotton

Tweet Tweet Cotton 

June Song Cotton

From the Korakuen Collection - beautiful, unique, reminiscent of block prints...

Korakuen Collection Kora 04 Blue

Korakuen Collection Kora 04 Red

Alexander Henry - print designer supreme!

Starling Cotton Pima Poplin

Spotted Owl Green Tea

Regent Peacock Gold and Blue Cotton

 Regent Peacock Black and Teal Cotton

My favorite bird design from AHenry...

Brazilia Cotton

Inspired...Ciao! Coco

p.s. these are all from They have the largest selection of AHenry fabrics I've ever encountered (216 as I write) and designers that are new to me!