Monthly Archives: March 2014

Cuckoo for Coco

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The new Coco pattern from Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the Buttons has been popping up all over the internet.  I immediately thought it was adorable.  It was so basic, though,  I questioned whether it was worth purchasing.  As I saw more examples I realized it’s actually a perfect transitional piece and one that’s extremely wearable.  It’s longer and more polished than a t-shirt and can be worn year round.

I bought the pattern for the funnel neck which I think is a super cute retro look without being costumey.  When I went to make my versions, though, I was hesitant.  I was worried my fabric wasn’t quite right – too thick and wouldn’t hold a press.  It would look like I had a short, misshapen turtleneck.  Now that I’ve seen more versions online, I think I’ll try one with some navy ponte I have.

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My first version was made from a gray ponte from Joann.  This fabric is a poly/rayon blend.  It’s soft and comfortable with just a teeny bit of stretch.  It barely wrinkles and is extremely easy to sew, though I fear it will pill in an instant.  I used a triple straight stitch for the neckline and finishing the sleeves and hem. I sewed the sleeve and side seams on the serger. I made a size 4 throughout.

IMG_4579_edited-1web You can see it was a little too small through the high hip and rides up.  Or maybe I need a swayback adjustment?

IMG_4590_edited-1web Me in the middle of a turn and Ollie in the middle of squawking at me. We’re having all kinds of fun over here.

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My second version was made of a striped ponte from Fabricmart.  It has a slightly different texture and is thinner.   I sewed a size 4 through the bust, sleeves and waist then graded out to a size 5 to the hip.  This fabric has a bit more stretch so it turned out a bit too big.  It’s mostly fine from the front but looks a little like a tent from the side. With this fabric I should have stayed with the size 4.  I still have the pooling at the lower back so that area must need some sort of swayback adjustment. I used the triple straight stitch for the side split but used a double needle for the neckline, hem and sleeves.

IMG_4444_edited-1web IMG_4443_edited-1web Triple straight stitch on gray, double needle on striped.

Sewing the top is a snap.  If you’re creative with folding you could probably squeeze it out of less than 2 yards, depending on your size.  In fact, I messed up the stripe matching and neckline (the triple straight stitch looked like crap on the striped fabric) so I scrapped my first try and cut new front and back pieces and still had fabric left over.

I definitely recommend the pattern, especially for beginners.  I’m sure for more experienced sewers there are less expensive options but since I’ll have used it at least 3 times, I’ve gotten good use out of it.

Vogue 8379

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I’ve always loved the Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dresses and have been seeing lots of versions at various stores lately, probably due to the 40th anniversary of this iconic style. In truth, it has never been out of style.  You’ve got to admire a design with that kind of staying power.  I’ve read reviews of several total knock-off DVF inspired patterns  and decided to try Vogue 8379

A friend of mine organized a charity fundraiser with a Kentucky Derby theme.  Since it was in March, I didn’t think I’d want to wear a summery dress.  Knowing I could always use a wrap dress or two on hand in my closet, I decided to make my first version out of a more sedate fabric I bought on sale (hello, $6 dress!) with the intention of making a version out of a fun floral for the party.  Life got in the way and I only had time to make the first version.  Other than the fascinator, I ended up being boringly dressed compared to the other party-goers which was a bummer.  I was surprised at how fancy people were. It was a fun event for a great cause which is what matters though!

My dapper husband and lovely sister in law!

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Anyway, on to the dress.  Occasion aside, it’s a great dress.  I’ve had some aggravating sewing fails the past couple months which I didn’t post so this was a satisfying project.

The fabric is ITY and very stretchy.  The pattern is drafted with 2” of ease which I don’t understand in a knit pattern.  I based my size off the finished garment measurement which was at least one size below what the size chart recommends.  I was nervous because it needed to be fitted but not skin tight.  ITY, in particular, can be thin and show white in the fibers when the fabric and print is pulled too tight.  I measured out the finished bust diameter on the fabric and wrapped it around me.  This really helped to confirm my size.  Every fabric has its own stretch and that was a good double check.

I made version B with the collars and cuffs.  I may try another with a more narrow skirt but I have to say I like the movement of the wider version.  Photo below taken after turning.  Whee!

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Adjustments:

  • Graded to a larger size in the waist and hips.
  • I shortened the skirt length by 2 inches at the shorten line.  To true up the grainline, I ended up losing 1” on the back pattern piece and 1.5” on the front pattern piece for a total of 5 inches of width.
  • Next time I will add back about an inch so I can have just a little more length and a deeper hem.
  • As noted in so many reviews, the bodice is really short.  I’m short-waisted so I didn’t lengthen it but it was borderline short even on me.
  • Constructed with a combination of my sewing machine using a triple straight stitch and my serger.  I don’t have a lot of control with my serger so the collar, facing, and sleeve head were done on the sewing machine.  All the rest of the seams were on the serger.  I should have done the cuff on the sewing machine too – they ended up looking stretched out and wonky.
  • Sewed the sleeves in flat. Sleeve seam and side sewed on serger.
  • The facings pop out easily.  I tacked them at the waist and shoulders which helped but wasn’t enough.  I put a couple squares of stitch witchery between the fabric layers which solved the problem.  Stitch witchery has no stretch so I applied them in small pieces, almost like big glue dots.

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I highly recommend this pattern and will definitely make more!