Tag Archives: Nautical

Coco top with a yoke

Hello all!  I am in that place where my blogging is not keeping up with my sewing (or even my life ) at the moment.  I might (a big might) write another one about that as there were some sewing adventures & some compulsory fabric purchasing (shortened to ‘CFP’ & defined as unavoidable weakness when in proximity to fabric.  I suffer from this a lot & it is virtual as well as a tangible condition.  I suspect I might not be alone ).

Coco top with a yoke

But for now I am going to rewind a few months to show something I made as a gift (hence no pics of me wearing it, much to your relief as I haven’t got my hair in order today).

This is a Coco top & I added a yoke to it both in the bodice and at the sleeve tops.

Coco top with a yoke

It ‘s not that hard to add a yoke – you just need to be clear about where you want it to sit (I suggest that a horizontal seam right across the fullest part of your bust is not necessarily the best place 😉 )  And you could stop there, but I wanted the tops of the sleeves to mirror the yoke on the bodice.  So once I had drawn my bodice yoke line, I then needed to align the sleeves as if they were sewn in to work out where to continue the yoke line in the sleeve pattern.  Tempting as it might be to just slice through your original pattern you need to make copies of the bodice & sleeves because you need to add seam allowances to the horizontal seams.  But then you end up with a pattern to use again.  Reward for your new pattern drafting !

Coco top with a yoke

The fabric is some soft mid weight jersey in a cream/ green stripe that I had bought with this very intention a bit too long ago to expect it to still be in stock.  I can’t even remember where the cream ponte came from.

I have been having a lot of success using clear elastic on turned over necklines in knits like this.  I was reminded of it when this helpful tutorial was published by Maria Denmark on adding invisible elastic to knit necklines

Clear elastic attached to wrong side of neckline

Clear elastic attached to wrong side of neckline

It involves two passes at the neckline, sewing the elastic to the wrong side before folding (with an all important steam of the iron in between) to finish the neckline.

Sewing from the right side to finish the neckline with a folded edge, elastic sandwiched in the middle

Sewing from the right side to finish the neckline with a folded edge, elastic sandwiched in the middle

I find it gives a better level of stability to the neckline (as I sit here in a teeshirt I made that has a boatneck & gapes dreadfully).

coco topAnd to finish these adorable nautical buttons- no more left now.  Thanks Zoe, who sent them to me all those months years ago.  They are from Textile Garden – whilst having a quick roam amongst some stunners, I came across some anchor-readys, there may be more if you look harder… .


Ultimate Coco weekending

Over the bank holiday weekend I was in Cornwall.  I know.  I get there a bit, don’t I?  Well it helps when your family lives there.   So, as usual, I kept back some recent makes in order to make the most of the scenery down there, & the availability of a tame photographer.  These photos are all taken by my Mum with my new to me DSLR.  It’s extremely exciting – but I feel so ignorant as well.  But, starting simple – the presets are already making me squeal with joy.

This weekend (rather a long weekend- I was there for five days) was only going to be casual- but not overly warm – and my newly made Coco top (my fourth now) was the ideal wear – not only due to its long sleeves & slightly heavier cotton fabric, but also due to its seasiding nature (oh yeah!  can’t resist some themes here!!).

Ultimate CocoThe fabric is genuine Breton fabric bought from Brittany, so kindly organised for me by my IG friend La Mouette Au Sec.  It’s a kind of cotton interlock (I think that is how you describe it), & has a real Breton shirtness about it.  I chose burgundy, as I have never had a burgundy Breton before, & believe me, in my time I have had a ton of Bretons, but only ever navy striped.

Ultimate Coco

I departed from the true spirit of the Breton shirt however, clearly using Tilly’s Coco Top pattern for all apart from the elbow patches.  For these I stole the size & shape from the Deer & Doe Plantain top.  The fabric is a cute ditsy jersey (no longer available) from Clothkits that I have since made another top out of – but more of that another time.

Coco elbow


How I love the Coco top – I can whip one up in less than 2 hours start to finish. It’s an overlocker make for me, with just the neck & hems that use either my regular zig zag or coverstitch respectively.

Ultimate Coco

But what about the natty trews? Way hey!  They are another pair of Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It – this time using a stretch denim.  Oh my but these are comfy.  I have to say that Ultimates are unusually comfortable for a fitted pair of trousers even without any lycra content, but when you add lycra, wow.  Super comfy almost like jeggings (I guess, never having worn any, but they must come close).

Ultimate Coco

Once again I made the Ultimates with a regular lapped zipper – my haberdashery’s invisible zips are ludicrously expensive compared to a 30p regular 8″ zip and in such limited colours too.  I like using lapped zippers so much, it’s so much more predictably finished than an invisible zipper too.

Ultimate zip

I am so addicted to this pattern- it’s another really simple make, once you are confident you know what you’re doing with the fit.  So I’ve got three pairs (& a pair of tester shorts) – but my Twitter friend @Ali_Goddard has 8 pairs!  Yes – she has fallen for Ultimate Trousers bad- but in a good way, clearly.  And that’s just for summer!!

Ultimate Coco

So this is my seasiding outfit for late summer.  I am still verging on Ultimates being my OWOP, but I would need to make a pair for work, & I am not sure I have the time (with other more pressing deadlines to meet).  And I know I need to decide like real soon, as it starts later this week!

Coco party

Tell you what, if I was on hols Coco would be my OWOP pattern – look- I took all four with me to Cornwall, & they all got worn!

As well as the one you’ve just seen there is:

Turquoise Merino CocoSpotty Coco and the nautical Coco Dress

Red cigarette pants for multiple personalities

Ok dudes, I have been aching to show off these red trousers, (I think I’d like to call them “cigarette pants”, I hope they qualify) but the thing is, as well as having my aforementioned distractions from sewing/ blogging & even picture taking they are so successful I am wearing them all the time and that means they’re always scruffy…

Well nearly all the non-work time.   The photos I have taken show them creased & almost covered in pink velour piggy fluffs & sewing threads had I not found the anti cat hair lint roller in time.  So why didn’t I iron them – sorry – what kind of miracle worker do you think I am?  It was all I could do to grab a scant hour in my lunch time to lark around in front of the camera …..see pic below to witness them ironed, just to prove that they do get pressed occasionally….

So I made red trousers and they are now nearly perfect for the current un-summer seasonality we are having – as long as I wear thick socks inside the house (cos I get cold feet!).  But all my pics are outside (apart from the one above) so you won’t catch sight of them, no fear.

These trousers, if you cast your mind way back, are made using the Built By Wendy Sew U trouser (pants) pattern.  I had made it before, but not in fabric with stretch.  This red is such an awesome colour & I’d originally thought of making Clovers, but have been too scarred (or scared) to give that another go.

All the construction was straight forward.  I had issues with the behind fitting, the “under buttock” crease feeling like some kind of arse-sling.  But exposing my concern to the internet allowed some dear commenters to talk sense into me & just live with it.  Afterall, we sewsters I think are more prone to spotting flaws in fit because we think we have it in our power to fix it & make it perfect.  Well, in the case of these trousers, there is nothing I can do to remedy, it’s not that bad, plus being behind me means that I don’t see it.  ha ha ha!

Now you’ll see in the photos that there are creases – but they are generally from wear, not really ill fitting creases, you know the “whiskers” we need to look out for when making trousers.  Boy this fabric creases so easily, despite the lycra, so I have given up ironing it every time I wear them.

The pockets are patchwork, but by the time I cut the legs to the required hem length I think I had more than enough for pockets in the wastage.  I’ve my Ginger Makes anchor as a nod to my nautical wardrobe.  The button is a clear vintage starry one that kind of stood out as the best choice from my button jar.  I also used ribbon on the waistband facing, but never feel I have got the use of this right….whenever I topstitch in the ditch from the right side the stitching line on the facing never follows a perfect course matching the facing’s edge …..

Now, these trousers are not only super comfy with that 3% granny lycra, but they are such a hot colour.  This colour, this burning red, has to be the equivalent of my black.  In my book, red is the new black.  Just look at what it can be paired with, & that’s not including a couple of things in the wash.  Red is awesome!!!

I tell you these trousers can match any mood….. lookee, is this me on a relatively normal day?

(well, judging my my footwear, yep, those turquoise Hush pups are my go-to pair).  OK So they look pretty ace with heels then.  But I wish someone had told me I wasn’t modelling a pig head hood…

But they are also great play trousers too.  Wear them with canvas shoes & they become holiday wear …. Hoorah!  The first & key element of my nautical wardrobe.

The hat? OK, so it used to belong to my boy when he was considerably smaller than I am now.  But I like it!  Note the back shot looks fine, no butt truss when moving around!

Have you ever felt that it is the shoes that determine the outfit?  Here is another pair that are great with these red trews – I got them in a vintage shop in Manchester.  They are lush.  But with these trousers they bring out the bad girl in me.

The one who runs & skulks from the camera.

The sulky girl who if she had belt loops would hook her thumbs in them & jut out a hip as she chewed on gum.

 That girl who you just wish would get down from there!

Where next with adventures in trouserland?  Well I bought Pants for Real People plus I have a Palmer/Pletsch pattern that I bought yonks ago – they can work in perfect harmony together.  When the next pair comes I will try to follow their advice.  Plus, rumour has it that there is a most adorable pattern coming from Sewaholic that I might just have to snaffle up….

Hey ho sailor & a tribute

Remember this ?

I had intended for this to fill an anticipated Me Made March hole in my wardrobe.  However it has sat on the back of a chair for weeks.  Not only am I unable to find the “right” buttons, I couldn’t face the flounce & what to do with it.  But, thankfully a fresh breeze blew through the house bringing with it energy, inspiration & commitment to finish what I’d started.  I took Magpie Mimi’s advice & unpicked the ruffle, de-gathered it & reattached it as an experiment.   It seemed much better.

I didn’t lose the bottom striped edging by keeping the unflounced flounce.

I still haven’t decided upon buttons, so am still sitting on the fence, using a brooch.

Ooh, totally OTT going for the nautical look!



It’s actually far more dressy than I had envisaged when I was planning it.  Although it’s made out of cheap mid weight cotton jersey it’s quite solid – more of a jacket than a cardigan.  The sleeves are double thickness so no hem, & have quite a bit of weight to them.  So, although I will think very carefully where I wear it, I will wear it.  And carry on thinking about buttons.  Maybe.  The brooch seems an ideal half way house.

But, look what happened when I was taking some photos.  I thought it would be interesting to show another aspect of the garden.  There is some exciting refashioning going on.  My exceedingly practical & lovely man is demolishing structures previously deemed to be in someone’s idea of good taste, only to replace them with some of our own (that in the future someone else will want to demolish – maybe).  The following 3 pictures make me laugh – it’s not for yet more poses of me that I’m posting them.  Check out what he is doing in the background of these pictures taken on a 3 shot self timer !

Yes, there is a reason I have the same stunning Euphorbia as my preferred backdrop.  But look at the next photos …ignore me looking like an idiot …

And caught again on camera!

He he he!  Dear Gary had no idea he’d be caught staring!

Yes, when we he cut down some weedy spindly trees a whole load of footballs fell out of them.  If you are interested in the garden excitement this very very clever fellow is building us a brick oven for the garden.  We shall have many evenings of garden pizza, slow roasted tomatoes, trays of baked free range chicken & more, all congregated around the warmth of our very own oven.  Magic.

And something else that made me laugh – my practical partner’s response to bringing in the washing when it rained: (now there should be a picture of the rotary washing line, collapsed with clothes still pegged to it- but it has got irretrievably eaten.  You’ll have to take my word for it)

Hoorah for practical people!!