Posts Tagged coco dress

Weaning Myself Off Coco

I know I’m a bit addicted to making this dress but I have loads of stretch fabrics in my stash and it only takes a mo.  Also, this one is for my youngest, not me, and as she refuses to model and it doesn’t fit me I had a good excuse to use the mannequin.  I have decided that I’m not totally happy with the way the neck is just turned over on this pattern because it does seem to stretch out a bit as you work on it so, if I make any more in future, I think I’m going to make a neckband as in the Lady Skater dress.  This one does actually lay flatter on the neck when it is on a real life person but the mannequin is a little under-endowed in the bosom department so she’s not filling it out adequately.  Honest!

Tartan Coco Dress

I hope you are suitably impressed that I have tackled the tartan again.  I made absolutely no attempt to match it this time because I am a stingy, penny pincher who only wanted to buy one metre and was determined to get the dress out of it come what may and I had to do all sorts of tricksy layouts and cutting to achieve it.  So, all things considered, I don’t think it looks too out of whack.

Anyway, I must get back to more challenging things with zips and buttons – I feel a bit lazy and my overlocker and I have become inseparable (until it becomes unthreaded and then we have to have words – and they’re not polite ones).

By way of a change I thought I’d make another couple of sewing boxes as my last one was recently packaged up and sent  off to the States. Hexagon Sewing Box - French MercerieI’ve started to make two at once because some of the steps involved need a few hours drying time before I can continue and it seems to make sense.  Also, I only make them occasionally and when the mood takes me so at least I end up with two to tide me over until the next time I get sewing box withdrawal symptoms – an actual psychological condition I believe.

I have been cutting out the card shapes today.  When I bought the kit for this a squillion years ago, it came with pre-cut card shapes which was a luxury.  Now I have to cut my own and it is a bit of a pain.  At the moment I have some 3mm card for the exterior which makes for a very good, strong box but I feel I need some sort of power tool to get through it.  I used a Stanley knife in the end as my rotary cutter gave up the ghost and had to be passed over each line about ten times before even making an impression.

Hexagon Sewing Box Construction

These are the pieces for two boxes.  The same will have to be cut in fabrics and wadding but I shouldn’t need the Stanley knife for that.

I’ve chosen the fabric – unless I change my mind again before the cutting stage – and this one will be good for those who like a cup of tea with their sewing.  Hopefully I have enough left of the little buttons fabric for the interior as I used it for my last box so I might have to swap that one for something different.

Teacups Fabric

This one is a linen blend fabric which I actually bought to make a lampshade and then changed my mind.  The little scissor fabric will make a nice interior I think.

Hexagon Sewing Box Tialys

Actually, now that I’m looking at the photos, I think I might swap the interiors round and have the scissors with the teacups and the buttons with the birds and music.

What do you think?


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In somewhat of a coincidence, seeing as my last post was about dogs and teeth, my most recent finished garment that I have got around to photographing, is in a dogtooth check.  You couldn’t make it up.


This is another short sleeved Coco dress which I made from a metre of 3.99 jersey I found on Ebay and so the fact that it’s not my favourite of all time, bothers me not at all because it took me a couple of hours from start to finish and, at that price, I can wear it to flit about the house in and be comfy.

There are several reasons it’s not my favourite and one clue is in the above photo where I have hacked the style of the neckline – which should be flat – because, once again, I overestimated my size and made it too big.  Then I had to do all sorts of taking ins and faffing abouts to get it to fit me and I ended up changing the shape somewhat.  I call them ‘design features’ though others might call them ‘mistakes’.


Also, I think the dogtooth check is one of those fabrics that, from a distance, will just look dull and boring and ‘beige’.  Maybe it calls for a belt?

I have cut myself off at the knees as they are not yet tanned and, in fact, looked bluish in this photo so I have spared you the sight.

So, leaving dogs, teeth and doggy dodgy checks behind, I decided make a bag in a bright and cheerful linen mix fabric.

This is a pattern I bought from UHandbags and it does indeed look quite professional as she promised it would.


The resin handles have something to do with that as well as the super duper foam fusible interfacing she suggests (and sells) which makes the bag firm but still satisfyingly squidgy at the same time.

The tiny seam allowance – 0.5cm – worries me a little but I guess that is to minimise bulky seams as there are two layers of fabric a layer of medium weight interlining and a layer of the foam too.  So you just have go be careful there.  Also, the thicker the ‘sandwich’ when you poke it into the frame, the better, as it gives those tiny screws something to bite into.


I actually used a linen blend for the exterior and a quilting cotton for the interior and I did have to beef up the edges a bit to get them to stay in the frame.  Next time I will use thicker fabric for the exterior and use something like the linen blend for the interior (as was actually suggested in the pattern) and I think this will make it all more manageable and easier to achieve the best possible finish.

Resin Handle Handbag


It’s a good size bag although, I must admit, the frame doesn’t open quite as wide as I had hoped  but then I do like to have a good old rummage around in my handbag which means I like to get practically my whole arm in.  This is not necessarily a good thing as all sorts of stuff ends up in the furthest corners of my handbags never to be found again so this might force me to be a little neater.

I am going to send this over to the U.K. for Mlle. Tialys the elder to take to work for a week and let’s see how it holds up on the London Underground, the tram, holding her lunch and generally being ‘used’ for a week or two.  If it passes the endurance test, I’ll be making more because I really love the way it looks.

What do you think? Do you like?

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A Bronte Top, A Finished Quilt and Another Coco

I’m off across the border to Spain for a few days  so I’ve been trying to get a few projects finished.  We’re going to a theme park – I feel the nausea rising already and that’s only thinking about the winding roads we will take to get there – then we are going to see a performance by the Cirque du Soleil featuring lots of very bendy people and then, on the way back, we will visit Salvador Dali’s house now a museum.  Plus, we will go food shopping before we re-cross the border which sounds bizarre but Spain is much cheaper than France for lots of things and quite a few French people regularly drive down there to stock up on olive oil, washing powder and other groceries.  I have heard a rumour (thanks Jan F.) that cottage cheese is available and, even though I was never a particular fan, the fact that I can no longer get it makes me want some.  I am hoping (in vain I suppose) for real, fresh cream.

Anyway, here is the finished quilt that I made for the nicest and best yoga teacher in the world – you may quibble but I don’t know yours – and, although she looks vaguely bemused in this photo, I think she likes it.

French General Hexagon QuiltShe seemed even more chuffed, however, with the quilt label I put on.  I found an image with some yoga-type words and added her name and mine plus the date.  I printed it out on transfer paper and put it on some plain fabric then attached it to the corner of the quilt.  (note: My surname isn’t really blurred but I did it in editing in case anybody felt like stalking me and sending me hate mail, especially after my anti-cyclist rant the other week!)

Quilt Label

After I forgot to add a couple of inches to the length of my colour block Coco dress, I decided to spare the world too much of my knees and Mlle. Tialys the elder wore it back to the U.K. after her visit here a few weeks ago.  I do not expect to see it again.  However, I had already bought some more knit fabric to make another version and, this time, I did remember to lengthen it but, being disorganised as I can sometimes be, I hadn’t made a note of the measurements I used from my last pattern hack so, this time, the colour block at the top comes down lower.  I think I prefer the first version but at least this one is a keeper for me.

Coco Colour Block DressWhen I saw the Bronte top pattern from indie designer Jennifer Lauren, I quite fancied having a go because anything that makes t-shirts a bit more exciting has got to be worth a try.  This pattern is supposed to have a slightly vintage look in that the back actually overlaps the front forming an attractive and original neckline and having no shoulder seams.  It can be done all in one colour  but I think the detail is worth emphasizing so used some coordinating knit fabric I happened to have.

Jennifer Lauren T-ShirtI really like it and, if you don’t look too closely, it turned out well although I have a little more of the trim showing on one side of the neck than the other. Tant pis!  Must try harder next time.  Anyway, it’s another thing I might have to give away, because it is a little tighter than I would normally wear my t-shirts.  I wasn’t sure which size to do and, the designer does warn it is a tight fitting style, but the waist and hips corresponding to my bust size were too big for me so I figured, it’s jersey, it’ll stretch and normally, I think it would, but this grey knit is quite a heavy one and the stretch is limited.  Next time, I’ll make it in a lighter, softer knit because I’ve now cut the pattern out for the smaller size and I don’t fancy printing it out all over again!

Bronte Top Jennifer Lauren

Definitely one I’ll make again – paying more attention to the trim next time.  The pattern has a long sleeved option too and I’m wondering about the possibility of doing a pattern hack and making it into a dress with fitted bodice and slightly swirly skirt.  Get me and my fancy ideas!

Huge Hydrangea Heads

 Just to prove I do venture outside sometimes, this gorgeous hydrangea with dinner plate sized heads flowers away in a neglected corner of our garden.

Hydrangea Head

What I especially like about it is you only have to cut one head to fill a vase which is all apropos of nothing in particular but does remind me that tomorrow is the  anniversary of the day when the French cut their King’s head off and duffed up all the posh people.   So, yet another public holiday with some fireworks in the evening to celebrate the fact they now have a president instead despite the fact they all seem to hate the present holder of the title so, if I were him, I’d keep one eye open at night.

Hasta la vista!

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Another Coco Before Clearing the Decks

I just finished another Coco dress.  I bought this coral coloured jersey which was the perfect weight for this dress but I felt was a little bright to make the whole dress in.  So I decided to pair it with this grey jersey and have a go at making a colour block version.  I love it but, unfortunately, forgot to lengthen it this time so I will get a consensus of opinion from family and blunt  honest friends and, if they think it’s too short for me, I’ll have to hand it over to one of the Madamoiselles.  I think you can usually get away with things a little shorter in the summer with bare legs and flats but we’ll see.

Colour Block Coco Dress

(The ombré effect here is due to bad lighting rather than the fabric and my paintwork morphing into different shades)

Only a couple of days to go until the Lladybird and Tangled Threads’ Outfit Along starts so I wanted to finish up some projects I had on the go and start with a clean (ish) slate.

As I explained here this Outfit Along comprises a dress (or skirt) and a cardigan to go with it.  The suggested pattern for the dress is Simplicity 1803 which I already have and had bought the fabric for some time ago and the cardigan is the new one from Andi Satterlund called Myrna.

Simplicity 1803

I’m going to make the one in the bottom right hand corner with the short sleeves and button embellishments.

myrna cardigan2

Here’s the cardi I’m going to make.

There are lots of gorgeous fabric and yarn choices going on and I’ve been watching the Ravelry thread to see what people are choosing.  However, much as I like the bright, patterned fabrics, I’m taking into consideration my lifestyle, location, age, wearing opportunities and going with something a bit more ‘sensible’ or let’s use the word ‘classic’ as it sounds slightly less boring.

OAL fabric and yarn 001

So, these are my fabric and yarn choices.  What do you think?  Be quick and tell me if you don’t think they’d work as I start the day after tomorrow!

I’m sure I will have time to do plenty of other things at the the same time – we have until the end of July after all – and the dress shouldn’t take me long but I only knit in the evenings so the cardigan is likely to be the thing in danger of not being finished so no more knitting projects until afterward.

I just had time to finish off this cute baby jacket which will, eventually, be in my shop as I have lots of plans for more hand knit baby wear but I’ve got to complete a few more yet before I put them in the shop.

Knitted Baby Jacket

I’m frantically sewing up a knitted jacket for myself – don’t you just hate the sewing up part of knitting? – then that will be out of the way and I can cut out and cast on.

Outfit Along






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Warm Coco

Having made Tilly’s Coco dress for my daughter, I decided to make the funnel neck version  for me with some double knit jersey I got when I was over in the U.K.  However, it is quite thick fabric and, although it seems just the right thickness and stability for the style,  I won’t be able to wear it much before it gets too hot here.

So, I wore it the other day and took some photos but the light was soooo terrible that I didn’t get any good ones.  I thought I’d better put them on though in case I don’t get around to wearing it again until the autumn.

I know, I know, I’ve cut my head off again but this is the best photo of the actual dress so I’ve used it.

Coco Dress

 Next time, I will make the sleeves a couple of inches shorter as these are supposed to be three- quarter length.

Hmm.  I’m doing some sort of hip thrust forward movement here, thus blurring the photo a bit and making it easier to see the seam of my tights.  It makes it look as though there is bunching round the waist but there isn’t (see above!).  Also, my boots look like wellies – which they aren’t – but, apart from that, you get the general idea.   I think this fabric would also have worked well as the tunic top version which has little side slits.

Coco Dress

  I used the overlocker to make the dress, though it isn’t necessary, and then a twin needle to do the hem.  I lengthened it by a couple of inches so it would be knee length on me as the original pattern is quite short.

warmcoco (3)

An ‘action’ shot, as I like to call my blurred photographs.

Overall, a quick and easy dress to make which is really comfortable to wear and quick to pull on.  I will make some more, short sleeve versions in a slightly finer stretch knit for the warmer weather.

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Get In The Queue

I am getting to the state where I have so many projects in mind that I can’t remember what yarn or fabric I bought for which project.  Partly, that is due to a bit of a spend up at the Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia a week or so ago where I was as tempted by the stands selling wool as by those selling  fabric and divided myself, and my money,  between the two – well, it was only fair.  I found the Olympia venue much more manageable than the Alexandra Palace show I went to in October last year which was almost too huge and overwhelming and, as a result, I didn’t spend quite so much there as I did here.

London Olympia

Anyway, I sort of had projects in mind for fabrics as I want to make another Coco dress not for my daughter this time, but for me.  Having already made one in a finer jersey, I chose a double knit jersey this time in a shade of blue I have heard referred to as ‘airforce blue’  – so it is sort of bluey, grey –  which I found at the expo for £7.99 a metre which I didn’t think was bad.  At the risk of looking like one of the crew on the bridge of the Star Ship Enterprise, I am doing the funnel neck version with 3/4 length sleeves and I need to hurry up because, when the sun comes out here now, it’s quite hot so I won’t have long to wear it.  I would have finished it by now but my Mum came back from the U.K. with me for a week and I went on a knitting fest with her as it is more sociable than disappearing to the sewing room – although I did manage a couple of trips up there when she dozed off watching her soaps.

On the same stand where I found the double knit jersey they were selling loads of lovely Liberty tana lawn for £14 per metre and I haven’t seen so many different designs available in one place for ages so I had to indulge.

This will be sweet for a little girl’s outfit  –  bless all those little musical kitties –


and this one is Liberty’s Matilda Tulip design in a mustard and charcoal colourway which I fancy for a summery blouse or something.  If I make just a simple one it would go well with jeans I think.  (Just realised I have shown the mustard and navy together as if to prove my point.)


I’ve had an antique Singer sewing machine for a while now and keep meaning to do something with it in terms of renovating it a bit and perhaps actually using it.  Mr. Tialys had taken it all to pieces for me and I had the sewing machine on a shelf in my workroom but I kept brushing past the stand in the shed on my way out to the garden and decided to do something with it.  The wooden table part was a bit yukky so I thought I’d give it a couple of coats of chalk paint and decorate it with an image of a pair of antique scissors.  I might do a bit more distressing but this is as far as I’ve got at the moment.  A lot of the decals on the machine are worn but I don’t think my fine painting skills are up to restoring those.  After a bit of research, I discovered this machine was made in Scotland in 1906.  The belt is missing from the treadle mechanism so I will have to search for a replacement online but, apart from that, I think it should work O.K.  There is also a large wooden cover for the machine – you can see the fittings for it on the top – and also a drawer – but I can’t decide whether to leave those in the original wood or paint them to match the top.  I don’t normally like painting over lovely wood but this isn’t that great quality so I will give it some thought.

Vintage Singer Sewing Machine 1906

After a bit of research, I discovered this machine was made in Scotland in 1906.  The belt is missing from the treadle mechanism so I will have to search for a replacement online but, apart from that, I think it should work O.K.  There is also a large wooden cover for the machine – you can see the fittings for it on the top – and also a drawer – but I can’t decide whether to leave those in the original wood or paint them to match the stand.  I don’t normally like painting over lovely wood but this isn’t that great quality so I will give it some thought.

vintage sewing machine

The ‘spooky’ thing was that, after I had had a little play with this yesterday, I looked in the T.V. Listings mag I get Mr. T. to bring over from the U.K. with him, and noticed that tonight’s Great British Sewing Bee episode will feature some of these vintage machines.  Apparently the contestants will be presented with a 1930s pattern and they will be making a coat.  I’ve never made a coat – let alone from a vintage pattern – so it will be really interesting to see what they do although I don’t think they will be cruel enough to make them sew the coat on a treadle machine.  Will they?

Have you got an antique or vintage sewing machine?  Do you use it or is it décor only?  If you use it, what do you use it for?  Just asking as I’m interested.

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Coco Tokyo

Taking a break from knitting socks and wrangling dogs, I ran up this Coco dress yesterday which would have been a very quick job but for the fact that my overlocker had to be re-threaded and , not having had it that long, this was a traumatic experience for me as I am absolute pants at following diagrams and couldn’t work out where the lower looper thread needed to go for about an hour.  Or was it the upper looper.  Who knows? – I’ve done it now and next time I will be much more careful when changing over the thread spools

Anyway, this pattern from Tilly and the Buttons is a nice, easy pattern which goes together quickly especially, but not necessarily if you have an overlocker ( preferably threaded!).  Also, a nice, easy style to wear with a couple of variations such as a funnel neck which I might do for myself.   You can also make a tunic length top with the slash neck or funnel neck and either long or 3/4 length sleeves.   I made this Japanese themed version for my daughter who is mad on all things from Japan (but especially manga) and I apologise for the mannequin rather than a live model but she is shy and I’m not sure Kanji symbols would do much for me.

Coco Dress - Short SleevesNot my finest hour really but it’s wearable.  The neck lays flatter than that on a real model but I’m not sure I am that happy with the construction as it is just turned over and top stitched.  I might try a band next time as I find that gives the neck a little more structure.  Madamoiselle Tialys decided she wanted short sleeves – after I’d cut the 3/4 ones out and, actually, I think that was a good decision with this fabric as the design looked a bit overpowering with longer sleeves.  I left a bit too much hem too so the top stitching is a bit higher than I’d normally do it but, next time……

Coco DressI took the mannequin outside to take the air and for a bit of March sunshine – nobody can say I’m not good to my staff.    I notice the sunshine made the fabric look a bit more pinky than it really is – top picture is more accurate.  I’m going to order some slightly less stretchy knit for my one and make it with the funnel neck and 3/4 length sleeves and, as I’ve tried the Japanese one on (even though no photographic evidence exists), I know exactly what size to cut for myself.

I am off to the U.K. tomorrow to help my Mum clear cupboards, wardrobes, drawers etc. of 40 odd years of tut in preparation for her perhaps downsizing now that she is on her own.  I’m not really looking forward to it but it has to be done and I will fortify myself with lots of Marks & Spencer ‘Dinners for Two’ especially as they come with a bottle of wine and Mum doesn’t like wine – shame.  Also, on Thursday or Friday, I will have a day off  from decluttering and go up to Olympia for the Knitting and Stitching Show.  I am taking a suitcase instead of the usual cabin bag – not that I’m intending to buy anything but it’s best to be prepared 🙂



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