Monday, October 8, 2018

Tilly and the Buttons - Coco dress

This dress has been in the plans for a long time. Pretty much ever since it came out.

Like many others, I love everything about the Coco dress: the silhouette, the versatility -- everything about it. Especially the silhouette. Nothing looks better on me than an A-line silhouette.

A few months ago, I decided to buckle down and make a test version of the Coco dress out of a knit I had in my stash. This test fabric stretches but has virtually no recovery and easily gets holes in it from the needle. I was worried about attempting even a test garment out of it, because I had made a top from this fabric before, and I got lots of holes in the fabric along the seams, and especially at the top stitching -- neither ball point nor stretch needles worked. Thanks to a helpful suggestion on, a Microtex needle finally worked.  AND with the Microtex needle, the test Coco dress turned out to be a VERY wearable toile! Love it when that happens! I made a size 4, which turned out to be bigger than what I needed, but it's totally wearable and I get a ton of use out of it: I wear it multiple times a week. The only thing I changed was: I decided to put the funnel neck seam at center back. I also realized that the dress looked better on me sans pockets.

In the picture, I still have the pockets on (excuse the loose serger threads which when the photo was taken hadn't been tucked in). I later removed the pockets and moved the buttons to the sleeve cuffs.

The sewing process of the Coco dress was such a pleasure! I find that some patterns are not drafted as accurately as they could be. This is definitely NOT the case with the Coco dress: the Coco goes together so easily. All seams match PERFECTLY. Sewing the Coco dress is like sewing meditation. It just makes me so happy to have found Tilly and the Buttons' patterns: Tilly's instructions and patterns bring me such joy. I made a test of the Delphine skirt (from her first book Love at First Stitch): wow! Now, I just look forward to seeing new patterns from Tilly. Tilly's patterns can be assembled with such ease. I love that sewing her patterns is stress free! Thank you, Tilly and the Buttons!

I decided I would make a smaller size of the Coco dress next time.

Now....  I often think to myself that I would love to wear more dresses. However, in the winter especially, I almost exclusively wear pants, because I am always cold. So I decided that this would change now that I know the Coco dress.

I bought a nice red no-pill fleece for my fleece Coco, and I followed the same directions; put the funnel neck seam at center back, omitted the pockets, and put teal buttons on the funnel neck and on the sleeves. I did use a narrower seam allowance on the side and under the sleeves for the fleece version. This dress feels like I am wearing a blanket, except it looks more stylish. :)

My sewing machine was not quite as thrilled as I was about sewing layers and layers of fleece, so I decided to give it a break and not bother with top stitching close to the funnel neck. The sewn and serged seam allowances seem to be heavy enough to stay together and turned down where they should be.

I plan to make black fleece pants to go with my fleece dress for extra cold winter days.

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress
Size: 4, then 3
Fabric: cotton knit, then fleece
Things I learned: 
* I thought I was a size 4 in Tilly and the Buttons' sizing, but even for the fleece, I found, I could go down to a 3. For a lighter knit, I might even try a 2 next time.
* I put the funnel neck seam at center back.
* The pockets don't look as good on me as the plain version.
* The Coco dress easily lends itself to decorations on the funnel neck and sleeves.
* For the Fleece version, I used a serged 1/4 inch seam allowance for the sides and underarm seams. This gave me a little extra room to put a T-shirt and pants under it for the winter.

I even made a dark red fleece Coco with white buttons for my Mom, with black fleece pants, so she will stay nice and toasty, too, this winter. (More about the fleece pants in another post.)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Simplicity 1903 - View B

Today, I made Simplicity 1903 view B. The pattern is by Whimsy Couture. The patterns is so well drafted, it went together so easily.

I cut a few corners by using a serger to finish edges: the ruffles are serged and turned under, same as the internal edge of the elastic+tie casing. I also serged the exposed seam allowances on the inside.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Living in "Style In An Instant" dress all summer

At first I thought that the short version of the Style In An Instant dress would not look good on me, given that I am fairly short, but I have found it quite comfortable to wear, and it has been my most worn dress this summer.

I wear it with a cardigan and capri leggings if it's cold.

"Style In An Instant" dresses -- long dress

When I don't have much time to sew, this is my go-to project to get at least a tiny little bit of sewing accomplished:

  • All I need is my bust measurement, add 2 inches, and I know the length of shirred fabric I need. I get my fabric for this from JoAnn; it's called Style In An Instant. I tend to choose the cotton versions, not the rayons, because the cottons don't wrinkle as much.
  • And since I don't wear strapless dresses and tops, I also buy or find some rick rack in my stash to complement the dress. Easy peasy straps in an instant. :) I do seal the ends of the rick rack straps with a little heat.
  • Before I start sewing, I serge the edges of the fabric so they don't ravel.
  • If I have time, I prewash the fabric.
  • The entire sewing is accomplished by a single seam in the back. I sometimes hem the skirt part if the selvages aren't particularly nice. The additional hem also gives the skirt more body, and I find that the skirt doesn't wrinkle as much in the wash if there is a hem.  

Pattern: None, just bust measurement + 2 inches.
Fabric: Style In An Instant shirred fabric form JoAnn, rick rack (I tend to like the wider ones).
Things I learned: Do take your time to finish the edges securely, because you don't want the shirring to come undone in the wash or as you wear it.

Please excuse the wrinkles in the picture; it just came out of the wash (and this one has no hem)...

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Another 30-minute blankie

My blog has been a bit neglected... (ehem) for a few years... And even though sometimes I feel that I hardly made anything, it doesn't mean that I have not been sewing. So it's time to document the things I made. :)

Here is another 30-minute blankie. The first one was in blue.