Friday, July 29, 2016

McCalls 6291 Not-so-short shorts...

Oh boy, did I ever need some shorts! 

Have you noticed how hot it is in the States this summer? I say that every year. But it's truly hot and humid now in Florida, and these new shorts will be in rotation for at least 4 more months.

I stayed with my favorite shorts pattern, McCalls 6291 (original post is here). I've made the pants several times as well, here and here. They're all just so comfortable and always look nice. Big plus features: front pleats, an elastic waist, and nice deep pockets.

The shorts have only one modification, to lengthen them and widen the legs - a very easy change. And I didn't use the cargo pockets, although I think they would be cute on khaki or denim.

I pulled up my shirt just to show the pleats and pockets. And actually, these shorts look great with a tucked-in shirt. But I know I won't do it - having the shirt loose is so comfy and cool. 

Not stopping with one pair, I made them in white as well. 

Both shirts are modified Grainline Studio Alder's, blogged here

A few sewing notes:

  • Sewed size Medium.
  • The fabric for both is 55/45 linen/rayon blend from JoAnns (Sew Classic Linen Look Solid), prepped with 3 passes thru the washer and dryer before I used it. This fabric is a favorite with me - I've used probably 8 times for pants and shorts.
  • I used a 2" hem, just because I love the look of a deep hem. 
  • The finished outseam is 21", and the inseam is 9.5". Walking shorts!
  • The finished waistband is about  wide, with 1" wide knit elastic. Finishing touches: topstitching 1/4" from the top edge, one row of triple-stitch zig-zag to keep the elastic from rolling,

  • And lots of serging to ensure a nice clean finish on the inside...

Parting shot from the garden this morning: Here's a little orange Julia (Dryas iulia), a true Floridian, but perhaps seen in south Texas. Her wingspan is about 3", and she only lives about 2 weeks as a butterfly - but she spends that time zipping around. She's known as a fast flyer...

 Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable weekend! Coco

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Gathered Sundress and small projects...

I'm home from Ft. Myers and almost unpacked. Once upon a time, when I was travelling for work so very much, I would have been unpacked, laundry in progress, within 30 minutes of hitting the door.

But not now...retirement is relaxing. I finally realized that there are no in-my-space-police looking to see if everything is picked up and put away!

And here is my major sewing project while I was away. It's a variation of the Pattern Runway Gathered Sundress, done in pretty much the same combo as my first version in June, 2014. I used the skirt from the pattern, and added an easy pull-on bodice and raised waistband (no zippers around here).

I love the pockets on this skirt - they're the real reason I bought the pattern in the first place.

Pattern Runway Gathered Sundress

Pretty cute - but I don't care for the dress, now that it's done. The fabric just doesn't hang and drape the way I'd like when I'm wearing it. It's Art Gallery Prism Elements Collection Garnet Cotton, purchased from Craftsy. And it's described by them as poplin, which it definitely is not. 

It's actually quilting cotton, the sheeting type, and it's very crisp, probably more so because of the red color drench. I love the print and color, and I really wanted this dress to work. Sigh. But I'll re-cut the skirt for capri pants or shorts. 

Other sewing was successful, although a bit more on the domestic side. 

I've grown tired of my colored pillowcase, made a couple years ago, and feeling lazy, I've been pricing them online. Have you seen how much a pillowcase costs?!! Ummm - I could outfit a child for camp for the cost of 6 pillowcases. 

Not. I picked up a lovely twin size flat sheet at Targets, 100% cotton, 300 TC, with a 'peached' finish. Soft and only $9! After I undid the hems (easy peasy, since they were done with a single-needle chain stitch), I had plenty of fabric for 6 cases with nice deep headers. Yay! 

Parting shots:

Callisto - huntress

Ashley with her sling bag at the San Diego Comic Con
 And new head gear from the Con...

Wonder Woman...

Ciao! Coco

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

San Diego Comic Con time...

Ashley and Darrin are off to San Diego! We were all up at 3:00 this morning (which delighted the kitties, they always think we do it just for them) and at the airport by 4:00. I imagine they're in Atlanta by now, waiting for the flight west. They'll be in San Diego at 9:30 local time and will hook up with the 3 friends who do this trek with them every year. All of them are hard-core pop culture lovers - one of them, Mike Schiffbauer, is actually a well-known costume artist/maker and will be on the Cosplay panel again this year. Awesome stuff.

I'll be watching the specials on TV, you never know when you'll see someone you love!

As usual, I made themed gifts for their trip - this year it's the Walking Dead! I found some incredible fabric by Robert Kirkman for Springs Creative Products Group. If you can't live without it, it's still available on

For Darrin, some knock-em dead PJ bottoms...

And for Ashley, a sling cute is this!

Inside - with a chain link motif of course

The kitties and I have the house to ourselves for a week. There will lots of sewing and knitting going on, two things they really enjoy. Even though I didn't bring my serger, which is Nikita's favorite machine. I guess she'll have to content herself with rearranging my SM thread every night and knocking all my little things on the floor.

Parting shot:  that crazy buck full moon, taken Monday night. I only got one mosquito buzz in my ear, not bad for this time of year.

Ciao! Coco

Friday, July 15, 2016

Grainline Studio Willow Tank Top...

Grainline Studio and a new pattern - for me, it's an equation for sewing happiness. I really enjoy Jen Beeman's designs and drafting, and her prices are reasonable.

I admit I hesitated to buy it. It's a very simple design, one that I can duplicate easily from other patterns I have.  E.g., the Grainline Scout tee -just add a little swing and bust darts.  But, the Willow already has all that, and I do like owning all things Grainline.

Since I really don't mind the trimming and taping, I got the PDF version. OK, once I decide to try a pattern, I'm also impatient. PDF patterns are so fast! I'm a frequent customer at Sewing Patterns for just that reason - they have an incredible selection of Big 4 and Indie patterns in PDF format.

Back to the Willow - I only wanted the top, which is an easy 15-page tape-up.

Three rows taped, almost done...
Just a few sewing notes:
  • I cut the size 10, my usual Grainline size.
  • I wanted a cropped top to wear with summer pants and shorts, so I followed Jen's tutorial for cropping the pattern. I shortened mine by 3.5".
  • The front neckline on this pattern is fairly high - I lowered it by 1/2".
  • The front and back meet at a rather square-ish angle, not the easiest place to apply a bias binding. So I also trimmed the back neckline just enough to relax the curve in this area.
  • The armholes were a little high  and tight on me - I trimmed 1/2" at the bottom of the  armholes, gradually decreased about midway up the front and back edges.  
  • The fun stuff - Cotton lawn is pretty sheer, so I added a little detailing with center front and back seams. They're pressed open and topstitched about 3/8" away from the seam.
Fabric - Robert Kaufman Cambridge lawn, purchased at Craftsy.

This is a nice little top, versatile, easy to modify...

Pants - V9114  Kathryn Brenne pants in cheetah stretch sateen.

Parting shot - How about a spiny-backed orb weaver. I have lots of these in the yard - their webs are usually stretched between the wall of the house and a tree. Very wide webs, easily 4' - 5' across. I don't mind them, but I really don't like to get them in my hair!

She's so pretty (gender is easy to determine - the males have grey abdomens and short, humped spines). AKA the clown-face spider and Florida crab spider...

Gasteracantha cancriformis

I wrote this post last night, and today is once again framed by a horrific and inhumane act, this time in Nice, France. My thoughts are with everyone impacted by this unspeakable crime and terrible loss. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Beating the heat...

Summertime...and we're well into the rainy season. The humidity was 94% when I took these pics. That's really muggy, almost raining, and it does rain off and on every day. We get little storms that come and go in 30 minutes, like this one that came in off the ocean. It's great for the garden, and I don't mind getting caught in a shower - I'm pretty drip-dry.

So - summer sewing. And this year it's sleeveless for the first time in over 2 years. This is very exciting for me - it means the inflammation in my arms is diminishing. Any chronic disorder takes an emotional toll, as many of you know, and small victories really matter. For me this is huge!

Good reason to pull out this cotton shirting that I've been hoarding for several months. It's one of my very favorite tropical prints, and I wanted to use it for something I can really enjoy.

Fabric - Hibiscus Lily Tropical Shirting, JoAnns

The pattern is a mash-up that I've been using for a while: a cropped bodice with bust darts, a raised waistband, and a gathered skirt. My pattern is drafted for use with sleeves, but reshaping them was easy once I had the bodice sewn together. I use a very scientific method of standing in front of the mirror with tailor's chalk and marking some trim lines. Several times, because it's better to take off too little than too much!

Looking back, I think I could have used the Tiny Pocket Tee from Grainline Studio as a starting point - it's a basic tank style with bust darts.

The fun part is big ole patch pockets, centered across the side seams. I love them! they're right there - a natural place for my hands to go. No dangling inside pocket. And I don't think they look at all frumpy on this print.

I have these little drugstore sun hats in just about every color :-) They're perfect for short hair.

And I did get chased inside by the rain.

Parting thought...

I hope everyone has a wonderful, safe week - Coco