Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Butterick 5533 Knit Jacket

In the spirit of my epic run of posts this holiday - the Butterick 5533 jacket. Another of my favorite patterns.

I haven't see this sewn a lot, but I jumped on it a couple years ago because I just love the back detail. I'm a sucker for swing cuts and details coming and going...

I used the front of View A, and the pockets and back of View B. And so far, I haven't put on any buttons - that decision is still up in the air.

I thought the front was a bit plain, so I drafted it in two pieces, split across the upper bodice, and topstitched the seam to accent it a bit. If you squint, you'll see it...

On the pic below you can also see the two-part sleeve. Such a nice design detail. I didn't do the curved/faced hem on this sleeve, mostly because I think it would weigh down the fabric and not sit well.

This fabric is 12 oz. stretch denim from Girl Charlee - 63% cotton, 33% poly, and 4% spandex. It has 4-way stretch and curled like crazy on the edges when I was sewing it! I expected it to be more denim-like than it is. It's definitely woven, but it feels and sews like a knit.

And here's a version of the jacket that I made in 2013! It was gifted and never blogged. It's done in poly fleece (JoAnns), with cotton trims and facings (Kaffe Fassett Roman Glass from Westminster Fabrics). It has the same gathered back, but I added the hood from Burda See & Sew 5807, a hooded cape pattern. So cozy. And the hood fit without any alterations to the neckline! I'm sure I'll do another one with this variation.

This is the vented and faced sleeve from the pattern. Beautiful.

Sewing Notes:
  • All the suggested fabrics are wovens, like corduroy, tweed, lightweight denim, etc. But both my versions are knits - I just went down one size to a 12, and the fit is great.
  • Those back gathers. There's just way too much fabric in them as drafted, knit or woven. On the denim knit, I removed 2" from the center back, and on the fleece, which is much thicker, I removed 4".
  • A caution: the sleeves are narrow and, if you're tall, they might be short. 
The jacket is unlined, which I like for Florida, but that presents a couple finishing 'opportunities'.
  •  I drafted a back neck facing for the grey knit - I cannot stand to turn under the upper collar edge on un-banded collars. The faced hood on the fleece version served to finish the neckline, no facing needed.
  •  And I faced the back yoke on both versions. It was kind of like sewing a squid...

Buttons? No buttons? I pinned some on this afternoon, and I think I'll add them.

I've thought a lot about this pattern and how it might be used. Maybe as a cropped swing jacket in french terry, with some gathers under the front yokes, a hood, a separating zipper - it has so many possibilities.


This is my last post of 2015! Thank you for spending so much time with me this year, for sharing your life, and for enriching mine. I hope you and all your loved ones enjoy a happy, healthy, safe, and fulfilling new year.

Bye for now - Coco

Monday, December 28, 2015

Twosies - Walking on sunshine...


I've been indulging in some favorite patterns this month. And 2 of my favorite colors - marigold and orange. Given my color preferences, I sure live in the right place.

This is the Dixie DIY Ballet Dress, first made last year in a small stripe. Love love the neckline and sleeves.

As with my first one, the bodice and sleeves are the only parts I used from the pattern. For the skirt I used a rectangle, cut across the fabric width and 43" long. This fabric, a cotton jersey from Girl Charlee, is very soft and drapes nicely, so the rectangle approach works great. If I were using a heavier knit, like a ponte di roma, I think I'd use the original skirt.

I'm hoping the color will hold for at least a year. When it starts to fade, I'll have to buy some more and cut this dress into PJ tops. I also have 3 yards of fleece in this exact color! purchased from JoAnns Black Friday sale. No idea what I'll make with all that fleece, but I'll think of something :-)


A late-breaking favorite this year has been the Jalie Cocoon Cardigan. My first (not counting two muslins) was done in a fairly heavy ponte de roma from Fabric Mart. This Girl Charlee ponte de roma is much lighter but still stable enough to work well with this cocoon. 

This is a very typical outfit for me - harem pants, scout tee, cardi. And if I go out, sandals...

Great pattern, my favorite cardi ever!

So, today I'm going to finish up my grandson's Christmas gifts and actually wrap things ahead of my trip on Friday. I've found that with little ones, quantity really matters!

I think P. , who's almost 7, will have fun leaving post-it notes on the fridge. And squirting Archie the pup and anything else that moves. Of course he probably already has a squirt gun, I've given him several. But undoubtedly he needs more for water wars in the pool.

A bigger gift is a stationary box with personalized note cards. Yes, I'm encouraging good manners, but I also hope he gets into letter writing. He's a very organized little guy - I think he'll enjoy this. I created the design on Avery's site, super easy.

Parting shot:
I got such helpful tips in response to my Christmas Eve attempt to capture the full moon. So - I put a little work into it and went back out on Christmas night. Ta da! I got some great pics of the moon. Thank you!

Bye for now - Coco

Saturday, December 26, 2015

It's a jungle out there...

 Freak out! I was sitting on my porch with a cup of coffee earlier today, gazing across the garden - and noticed something strange about one of the plants near the porch door. It kind of looked like a leaf on this samosa euphorbia was rolled inwards. Upon inspection - the biggest, fattest, and most unusual caterpillar I've had in this garden!

This fella, apparently intent on eating the whole thing, is the larvae of  erinnyis ello – the Ello Sphinx Moth.

Fully mature, he has a wing span of 2 15/16 to 3 5/16 inches. I've seen only one sphinx moth in this garden, years ago and at night. I'm really careful not to put caterpillar host plants in my garden - they're just too destructive. Nothing I have is a particular lure for this moth. However - this is Florida, he has lots to eat elsewhere in the neighborhood, and he found his way here. I inspected all my plants and found no siblings...and I'm thinking of pulling up my neighbor's poinsettia plants one dark night. This moth loves them.

The black spot on his back is a fake eye that he flashes to intimidate predators such as myself.  With the eye and the markings on his head and back, he tries to look like a small cobra!

That's my hand behind him. Big big bug.

So, back in the safety of the house, I've been working on a new knitting project - I'm making socks! The caterpillar might not intimidate me, but double point knitting needles sure do.  But so many people make such beautiful and funky socks. I need some.

A little research on Ravelry, and  I found 'Marie's Basic Sock Pattern' - perfect for a beginner. And check it out! It's so easy to please me...I like this awful yarn :-)

I just don't think this caterpillar has redeeming qualities, but I admit I enjoyed reading about him.

Ciao! Coco

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Full Moon for Christmas!

A rare full moon for Christmas - so of course I was outside last night trying to capture the event and maybe snag Santa flying across the moon.

I always struggle with night photos with my Canon Powershot. In this case, ambient light from the street lamps, plus the ever present glow from the city, kept me from getting a clear shot of the moon.

Never one to give up, I went out early this morning to try for a pic in the western sky. The moon had already set! Tonight I'll go out later and try again.

But my early Christmas morning stroll was so pleasant - it was about 76 degrees, breezy, and very quiet. I love mornings.


I'll be wrapping gifts soon, so here's a look at a year-long project for Ashley and David. I researched our family, my side and their father's, on and created ancestry books for them.

The book is divided into two sections, by family (my last name is Starnes). 

All artwork is pen and ink, by me...

And has family trees, relationship charts, immigration dates and places, old photos, and odds and ends. About 100 pages of goodies! I used 'MyHeritage', a free family tree maker, for most of the charts and trees. Its reporting tools are much better than those of Another plus - it can be downloaded and used offline. 

'A Christmas Story' is playing nonstop on my telly - of course! Wishing you a fun day - Coco

Thursday, December 24, 2015

More Christmas - and still blogging!

It's a fact, I miss blog reads at Christmas. I spend Christmas alone, and then go visit my DD, DSL, DS, and DGS ( gosh what a lot of daughter, my son-in-law, my son, and my grandson) during the week after Christmas and up through New Years Day. It's what we've done for years, ever since the kids moved on, had their own homes, got married,  and etc.

So I love reading blog posts around Christmas!

 My contribution (first of several) to any of you who share this blog reading deficit.

This afternoon I sewed up some special gifts for Ashley and Darrin. And their kitties Nikita and Callisto. I LOVE these kitties. I stay with them a couple times during the year when Ashley and Darrin are traveling. And it is such a pleasure. I would love a couple cats, but I'm allergic. Callisto and Nikita are tortoiseshell cats, sisters and amazing.

So the kitties win this cuddle beds.

I looked up cat bed patterns online, and even looked at them at retailers. Here's what I decided. Nobody makes them the way I can!

No channel stuffing - 22 x 25. The center of the bed is quilted.

I drafted a pattern about 22" x  25" - an oval that would included 4" bunkers all round, with an eventual bed of about 14" x 17".

My plush blanket fabric is from  A.C.Moore! They usually have these 50" x 70" blankets hanging around the sewing crafts area, and they did not let me down. I got 2 leopard print blankets for about $8 each. And picked up a bag of fiberfill to go with.

So - the construction. This fabric is very forgiving - it has much more stretch across the horizontal than fleece. So I just cut out my pattern, serged it right sides together (to diminish the fluff factor in the loft), and then sewed just inside the serging, for strength. Leaving a 5" opening for the fabric turn...

I turned the bed right side out, and stitched 4" inside to form the rim of the bed - but I once again I left a 5" opening to that I could work some polyfill inside the bed.

Stuffing in 1/2 of the outside channel - you can see it starting to form the rim of the bed.

As you can see in the photo above, I machine quilted the bottom of the bed. At about 4" x 4", just enough to combat the kitty dough kneading. Then I closed that entry way with machine stitching.

And  I stuffed the rims! I wear a size 7 glove, so the 4" channel worked well for me. Do  you know your glove size? I was raised with gloves, an entire wardrobe of gloves, so I know my size. Anyway, I have fairly large hands, width wise, and very long fingers. So, size 7. And a 4" wide channel.

Stuffed rim/channels!

I packed the channels pretty firmly so the kitties can cuddle up to them. How much stuffing did it take?

I used 32 oz. of fiberfill, 16 oz. each,  to stuff the channels on these kitty beds, and small (about 14" x 17" ) ovals of low-loft quilt batting, on the inside area that I quilted, the bottom of the kitty bed.

You could just stuff the bottom of the bed with about 8 oz. of fiberfill, if you prefer. Or just sew in a piece of flannel or something soft instead. I always have quilt batting hanging around, and it's really easy to use for this project. In truth, I robbed from a quilt in progress for this project! and will have to replace it.

Fun stuff - I'm happy! The kitties will really like these, and what makes them happy makes Ashley and Darrin happy.

Great kitty beds. I have lots of leftover fabric, at minimum I'll make some 5" long playthings with catnip involved to go with. I'm also thinking I'll make Archie, David and P.'s french bulldog, a couch blanket. Archie always comes up on the sofa when I'm napping, and curls behind my knees. I think he would love a soft blanky.

It's Christmas Eve - Ciao! Coco

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy, merry, joyful

Peaceful, fulfilling, loving...

My dear blogger friends,

Wishing you and all your loved ones the joy, gifts, and blessings of this wonderful season.

As always - Coco

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Iron maxi dress...

I'm laughing as I write - I have never encountered such difficult, tough, iron-strong fabric! No needle would pierce it. Not a ballpoint, microtex, universal, or jersey needle. I ended up sewing this with a denim needle! Yes, it's an ITY knit. But it's extremely close-woven and hard as nails...

I just love this dress. The print is beautiful and has all my colors and a bit of a bohemian vibe. I made it way back in January as a muslin for my MOB dress. And now that year-end is upon us, I thought I should write about it.

It was so hard to sew that I used a more forgiving black rayon knit for the neck binding. My attempts to use the ITY just spat at me. And no hems! By the time I got to the hem point of construction, I gave up and gave in. I just cut the hem and sleeves where I wanted them.

When I took these pics this morning, I had just gotten home from a visit with my dentist. So I'm wearing earrings and, wow, my glasses, both for the first time here on my blog! I have nice jewelry, and I used to load up every day. But being home so much, and with such sensitive skin, I've fallen out of the habit. I think that, in the new year, I'll do something about that!

 More pics...

On other fronts, holiday projects continue. I love all the things on my dining room table awaiting some wrapping and notes. Hope you have such wonderful things going on in your space as well.

Bye for now! Coco