Saturday, January 30, 2016

Jungle January final makes...

And we come to the end of Jungle January...

I picked up loads of animal print fabrics over the year 2015, and I still haven't sewn all of them. Here are a couple things that I did finish, both in patterns I've blogged before.

What would the month be without a version of my TNT Jalie Cocoon cardigan. Love this thing.

It's a snakeskin print - a Maggy London jacquard double knit from Fabric Mart. Nice. I've been watching for more of this fabric. It's smooth like a ponte de roma, just a little heftier. And a breeze to sew in this pattern.

I was cruising QVC recently, looking at cardigans for ideas, and found this one from Halston for $65, and identical to the Jalie version. Which means I have $325 worth of cardigans in my closet...

More bottoms, this time in McCalls 6291 elastic-waist cargo pants. Another favorite that I've used to make both pants and shorts.


This crazy stretch denim is also from Fabric Mart, and it's one of the strangest fabrics I've sewn. The blue spots feel almost rubbery, kind of like puffy fabric paint (yes, I used a bunch of it when I was on my painted tee shirt journey).

I tested it with the iron, and decided not to push it! I didn't want blue goo all over my iron sole plate, so I used a calico pressing cloth.



On this pair I used one cargo pocket, no flap, but buttoned down, on each lower leg. I know they're lost in this print, but they're cute in real life. I also added 5 belt carriers, and then decided not to use them. The fabric is a little heavy with all those blue things, and the carriers made the waistband very stiff. My seam ripper got a real workout removing the waistband and carriers, I probably need a new ripper now.

The black slouchy turtleneck I'm wearing is Kwik Sew 4069. Andrea, this is for you :-) and thank you for pointing out that black is a good color for me! I've enjoyed this top.

The pattern is very simple and has two collar variations, folded or standing turtle. A caution: measure your neck, try on the collar, and modify it as needed, before you sew it on. I took 3.5" off the width of my standing collar for an almost-snug fit.

Thanks again, Anne, for a fun January. And I'm off to watch the replay of the Australian Open women's final...great stuff.

Ciao! Coco

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

New Look 6323 Tunic full of giraffes...

I'm covered in little giraffes! When I got this border print ITY from Fabric Mart last year, I thought the giraffes were bigger. But I think they're adorable as they are. It's just taken me a while to find a pattern that would work - the print on the 6" wide border runs vertically, and the main print runs horizontally. Head spin...

New Look 6323 is perfect. It's very similar to the Butterick 5954 tunic that I've made 5 times. But this one has a gathered back option that I just love.

Honestly, I had kind of forgotten I had it. I made it once last year in interlock jersey, and the fit in size 14 was really bad. Much too large. Plus I really disliked the color of the fabric, and it was donated.

This go 'round I used the size 12 - and it's a great fit. I have the pattern in a download file, so I reprinted it and drafted the new size.

How about those sleeves! I used the border down the center of the sleeves and on the neckline binding. I had to do something to break up the herd running all over the tunic. It just took a little redrafting of the sleeve (I kept the original instead of cutting it apart):

From the sleeve - the giraffes really are nice, they have a good attitude. I know the colors look black, white, and coral, but that's really a deep navy. So I'm wearing my indigo jeans and Rocket Dog flip-flops :-)


Now that I've rediscovered this pattern, I've already sewn it again, in solid black rayon jersey. Which I won't show here - black is impossible to photograph.

The back detail is also hard to capture, but it looks great in real life.

I love Jungle January! Ciao - Coco

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Vogue 9114 - Jungle January cheetah pants...

I guess I was born liking animal's my mom in 1955, in zebra stripe pants that she made. She modeled in her twenties and was so lovely. What a figure she had! I wish she had kept her portfolio - we found only a few photos after she passed away.


My 'abstract cheetah print' pants are not as, hmmm, sexy as my mom's, but they are super fun to wear. I used Kathryn Brenne's V9114 pattern once again, my third pair. 

It's really hard to see any details in the pics, because the spots just take over. In real life, the design elements are easier to see. The pocket is once again from V8712, Marcy Tilton's ankle pants. I love it, because the pocket bag stays in place - no reaching or jamming of hands to straighten out the pocket. It installs just like a regular side seam pocket, once the half moon detail is sewn.

The fabric is cotton sateen from Fabric Mart. I think it looks like leopard spots...

And here are the wonderful upside down leg cuffs, all prepped for attachment. I used solid broadcloth lining on the cuffs and pockets because the cream areas of the main fabric are just light enough to allow show-through.  Peeking from the bottom casing is the 1/4" elastic that I used instead of fabric ties. I find the elastic to be an easy-to-wear, no hassle alternative.

My first post of these pants has lots of construction and sewing notes.

Originally I added black cords to the ends of the cuff to mimic fabric ties. Then I cut them off! They were just a little much with all this animal stuff going on...

I tried to get a shot of the final cuff. No ties and tacked to the pant leg with a black button. Squint please...

With Kathryn Brenne's jacket, V9135...

I didn't try to do any pattern matching on these britches! Fortunately the faint pattern repeat down the front and backs of the pants legs worked out...

And out in my jungle. We have wonderful sunshine and cool breezes today, after a couple weeks of rain. I'm not complaining - I love rain - but it is a pretty day. Eventually I'll have the patio and walkway pressure-cleaned, a yearly maintenance requirement after the rainy season ends. I always notice it in my photos, a good reminder.

I hope you're enjoying a nice weekend. Ciao! Coco

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

McCalls 6987 Ruffle-hem Tunic

Here's something that's kind of fun and off-beat - the McCalls 6987 ruffle-hem tunic. It received some pretty negative comments when it was released last year. But I like it! It has a bit of Lagenlook about it, if one just looks past the pics on the pattern envelope. The line art is better:

I went with View A, the conservative choice, for this first version - but I was really tempted by the hi-low  hem of View B. How about keeping that hemline, but making it a little shorter to go over pants or leggings...

This interesting abstract rayon challis is from Girl Charlee's Black Friday sale last November. It's the first time I've purchased challis from them - it's really nice and has just the right amount of drape for this pattern.

For the photo shoot, I paired the tunic with Harem Pants (Pattern Emporium). But I think it would look great with my white Kathryn Brenne ankle pants. I'll be trying that combo on its first adventure out of the house.

Sewing notes:

- Sewed the size 12.

- Did not use the neckline binding pattern. Instead I used a length of 1.75" wide bias fabric cut from black broadcloth and applied it freehand.

- Inserted the sleeves flat, rather than set-in, and sewed the underarm and bodice sides in one continuous seam. So much easier! particularly with challis. BTW the sleeve fits beautifully. The sleeve cap is just eased in - it's not gathered and bunchy. I like it.

The ruched sleeve detail is so pretty, but the pattern and I parted ways on this point. The instructions would have you stretch and stitch 1/4" elastic in place on the inside of the sleeve. Why work so hard? I gathered the ruching line with a basting stitch, and fixed it in place on the inside with 1/4" twill tape. Easy peasy.

And I love the ruffle - ruffles and I get along very nicely. But IMHO, it's a bit too full. So I trimmed off 15" to make it one and a half times the length of the tunic edge - a lesson from my Mom when I first started sewing. The next step was to fold it lengthwise and trim up the top and bottom edges with my rotary cutter. Challis slips off grain very easily - this quick fix gave me uniform width and clean edges on the ruffle. And the confidence to hem it before I attached it to the tunic!

I wish the photos could do it justice - it's very swingy, light, and comfortable. Different and a little funky.

I have an animal print from the savannah on the sewing machine right now - I'm off to tame it.

Ciao! Coco

Saturday, January 9, 2016

New Look 6340 Easy Dress - Jungle January!

I love Jungle January, hosted by Pretty Grievances. It's now in it's 4th year. Thanks Anne!

I'm a real enthusiast, so I decided to photograph my first dress outside at night. Hoping for some alligator eyes or a night creature.

All I got was mosquitoes. Back in the house...
Early this morning I tried this again. Much better. No alligators but no mosquitoes either. This is the New Look 6340 Easy Dress, taken to a maxi length. It's the same pattern I used to make a couple tunics last year.

And done in a very lightweight rayon/poly/spandex ponte de roma from Girl Charlee. It's extremely soft and comfortable, not at all hot - I think I'll be able to wear it fall and winter down here.

I got a little surprise while sewing this. I was rockin' and rollin' - made the pockets and ties, ran gathering stitches around the sleeve caps, sewed the shoulder seams, and attached the facing...then turned back the facing to find this little white spot near the front neckline...

Tried to pick it off - but no, it's not lint. It's a misprint, and it repeats further down the dress. This is why I have permanent Micro pens!


It's hard to see the details on this print, so a couple pics on Emile.

Topstitching around the neckline and on the back facing.

A few sewing notes:
  • Made view D in size 12, and had just the right amount of ease for this knit fabric. I added 20" to make it maxi length and cured the lines of the skirt from waist to hemline.
  • I altered the sleeve just slightly, to get a nice elbow-length sleeve. I made it 15" long from the shoulder notch to the unfinished bottom edge, and dropped the sleeve edges straight down from the armhole, i.e., removed the shaping.
  • Inserted the sleeves flat, rather than set-in, and sewed the underarm and dress sides in one continuous seam. 
  • To make the ties, I cut 2" x 31" strips vertically with the grainline to diminish stretching.
  • And turned the ties with the Dritz Quick Turn tool, and a chopstick!

Parting shot: the fellas love their Christmas gift of Hudson pants, and my son wants more in other colors. I'm so complimented!

I'm back to the jungle, bye for now! Coco