Batch Sewing and a Coco Dress


After returning from Michigan a month or so ago, I was anxious to start sewing again.  I came back with lots of good fabric from my travels and, since I’m trying to up my sewing game, I decided to try out a different method for getting ready to use that fabric.  Normally I have one or two or even three projects that I’m working on at the same time, but this time, I decided to move several projects through the pipeline together so that I could test out some patterns in preparation for using my “nice” fabric.

I made a big list of all the projects I wanted and needed to do in the near future, and then wrote down the steps I needed to take.  Once I taped those up on my wall and determined which projects could happen now and which would have to wait a bit, I decided to prep all my patterns.  For me, this means tracing out my size and cutting out my traced pattern.  I usually fall into one size at the bust, and a larger size at the waist and hips, so tracing also tends to mean blending two different sizes for tops.  I also want to begin to understand how to fit pants, so I did some research and took a guess at what was needed to make my McCall’s 6848 shorts pattern fit better, and I added those modifications to my already traced pattern.

Once all the tracing, blending, and changing was done on the paper patterns, I cut all my garments out.  I decided to test these patterns out with wearable muslins before making up the winners in my final fabric.  It’s hard for me to take the time to make a muslin, but if I tell myself it’s a wearable muslin, it helps.  Even if I hate the pattern and end up giving the muslin away, it helps somehow.

Then it was on to sewing!  Figuring out what to sew first really showed me:  I love sewing with knits.   Sewing knits is my “low-hanging fruit”–the type of sewing that feels easy and fast.  There’s no seam finishing, no real fitting.  The fabric is forgiving (at least the t-shirt type knits and stable jerseys I was using).  I never understood when I first started sewing why people would make t-shirts when they could buy them so cheaply, but now I get it.  Aside from the allure of making something unique, it’s a quick win that keeps you excited and the other projects moving forward.  That’s why my first three makes from the list were two t-shirts and a knit dress.

After all that wordy build-up, maybe you’d like to see my finished Coco dress!


I won this pattern during Me Made May ’15 by entering a contest on the blog ‘So, Zo…What do you know?’  The prize was a pattern of your choice by Tilly and the Buttons, and a really cool tote bag with the words “DIY Dressmaker” on it.  I feel cool every time I carry it.  🙂




I tried out the dress version because…well…because I bought some fabric I would never have bought if I’d had the patience to order a swatch, and I want to use it up while also testing out this pattern.  I thought I had a good idea of what “ponte” fabric was like, so when I saw this go on sale, I ordered it with visions of cool stretchy pants in my mind.  When I got it, it was…polyester-y.  I do not love “polyester-y”.  It was my fault, though.  The site made no misrepresentations as to what the fabric was.  That taught me to be more patient and order a swatch!

When I bought my cool, reversible striped fabric at Haberman Fabric last month, I thought the t-shirt version of this pattern might be a good match for it.  So, I made the dress version thinking I would get a feel for how the pattern fit in the bust and waist section, and I could use up this fabric on a ’60’s style dress that would be a good fit for the mod-looking fabric.




This was a great pattern to work with.  It was easy to put together, and I really like the finished product.  I think the best compliment I got was when someone mistook it for a vintage dress, partly because of the fabric!  Really, though, that compliment belongs to Tilly.  This dress has such a great ’60’s look (well, my idea of the ’60’s anyway–feel free to correct me if you lived it).  It has the wide roll collar and cute cuffs as well as that A-line shift dress thing going on.  I also like where the shoulder seams hit my shoulders.  It’s the perfect spot for me.  It’s very comfortable to wear (partly due to the softness of the fabric, actually).  This pattern did make me realize that I like my A-line dresses and skirts a little longer, despite the fact that a pencil skirt feels comfortable to me at this length.  I think it’s because with an A-line, I can’t always feel the back of the dress or skirt against my legs, and it makes me worry that things are getting exposed back there!


Here’s what happens when a bee decides he wants to hang out with you while you are shooting pictures.  Or this is how I think people danced in the ’60’s.  You pick.  😉

So, the Coco dress is a win.  Thanks, Tilly!  (Can I just say that she is really nice, too?  I wrote to thank her for the pattern and she wrote back and was so sweet.  You gained a fan, Tilly!)  Her site is great for beginner and more advanced sewists.  She has clear pictures and instructions, a book, etc., etc.  You should check it out if you haven’t already.  The Coco goes back into the pile to be made in other editions.  It’s definitely a contender for the reversible striped fabric I mentioned!

Lastly, a little technical note.  I’m going to start posting my pictures to Flickr instead of keeping them stored in my WordPress media library (I ran out of room and didn’t want to pay for more!).  If you find that a picture is not showing up, please leave me a comment and let me know (there should be seven pictures in this post).  This is new for me and I think I have it figured out, but we’ll see if I’m right or not.  Hopefully I’ve got it because figuring all this out is eating up my sewing time!!!

That’s all for now!  See you next week!



6 responses »

  1. I love Tilly’s site – she’s basically the reason I managed to learn to sew! Her book has some great stuff in it as well, even for more advanced people! Love the fabric of your Coco, I want one too now!


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