I should Coco

I'm sure there's a more imaginative title available to me for this post, but hey, sometimes you just have to go with what you're given right?


Which is exactly what I did with this dress. It's a modified Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress, a million different versions of which are currently blowing up my blog and twitter feed thanks both to its popularity and the fact that today Tilly's hosting a virtual party for us all to wear our new outfits. How kind! I'm bringing rum punch with nachos and dip.


The Coco pattern is aimed at complete beginners to sewing with knits, and so seemed right up my ignorant alley. It's really easy to sew, and my first version of this is the first thing I've ever put together from start (tracing out the pattern) to finish (or would be finish if I hadn't been completely defeated by my twin needle) in one day. Apart from being Knit Sewing Genius for Dummies, it also seems to be open to endless modifications. It's actually pretty inspiring to see all the different ways in which people - and often other newbie sewers like me - have made this pattern totally their own. Long live the creativity of the handmade wardrobe! I am so glad I've finally jumped on this bandwagon.


But of course, I had to make it just that little bit harder on myself. Ain't nothing worth doing that isn't at least a little bit of a challenge... So. I decided from the start that the original flared silhouette wasn't quite my thing, and once I saw Rachel's gorgeous version I knew that it would be possible to modify it into a more fitted shift shape. I did this with the help of a jersey skirt already in my wardrobe and a french curve. I also made it sleeveless by, well, not adding the sleeves (durr) and then making the armhole smaller by tapering down a size at the shoulder seam from neckline to armhole. The first one I made one size down from my measurements' recommended size of 4/3/3, but it still had way more ease than I generally like. Luckily, I had enough of this lovely indigo cotton double knit jersey picked up in a local shop to make this second, smaller version. I'm still deciding what to do with number one - keep it a shift but just take it in a bit, or cut it and convert it into a Coco top with sleeves? And of course there will inevitably be a striped Breton top version of this in my future as well, once I find the right fabric. For this one I think I ended up taking it down to size 2 at neckline and bodice (gotta keep that neckline large enough to fit my fro through! Big hair problems, you guys) and a size 1 at the waist and hips, and it's still a pretty comfortably relaxed fit.

Inspired by this pin I decided it had to have massive tan patch pockets, so when I found this tan tie-dye stretch faux suede on sale at Minerva Crafts I knew it was a match made it heaven. (I used the cuff bit of the pattern to cut out my pockets, since the given pockets were too small for the effect I wanted.) Tan tie-dye polyester stretch faux suede: not something I ever imagined saying, far less bringing willingly into my wardrobe - I mean, that shit melts under the iron, bless the extremely synthetic fabrics of the world - but I couldn't resist. Look how fabulously 70s that is! Add in the funnel neck and my fro and I'm a walking time machine. Bring on the Donna Summer and plastic platform heels!


Obligatory awkward pose. Somebody tell me that posing for these shots will eventually get easier? Anyway, the dress could probably use a bit of a swayback/big bootay adjustment, but I have to admit I couldn't be bothered to try to work out how to do that, and I'm not sure it's entirely necessary on such an easy-fitting garment. One lesson at a time, and getting my head around figuring out how to attach the walking foot to my machine (who knew there was so much mechanics involved in sewing?), trying out various stretch stitches, and driving myself utterly, bloody mental with the twin needle was more than enough for this project.


Incidentally, the pattern doesn't really call for any of those things, but once I knew they existed in the world I had to give them a go. Learning by doing! But if anyone has any tips for successfully using a twin needle (especially with a Janome 7025 machine) I would be beyond grateful. I tried all the tips I could find online about threading the machine, or adjusting tension, presser foot pressure, and stitch length, but no matter what combination of things I tried there were still skipped stitches and broken threads. I like the ease of sewing with knits, and I'm trying to learn to finish the things I sew as professionally as possible, so it really irritated me not to be able to twin needle hem this. (Oh hiiiiiii! deeply annoying perfectionist personality trait! Nice to see you showing yourself.) So no proud photos of the innards of this dress, but I reckon it'll hold together well enough to let me lounge the heck out of it all summer long. Which is all that really matters, after all.


I deviated somewhat, but hey, it is a party after all! I can't wait to see all the other versions, or to sew up many multiples of my own. Soundtrack: Donna Summer I Feel Love. #sewingcoco

12 comments:

  1. This looks cute! I'm super jealous of the sunshine in your photos- send some my way! Re: the twin needle, were you using a stretch twin needle? Maybe the fabric is too stretchy for a universal and that's causing the skipped stitches. Using a fusible tape on the hem could help with that, too, making it a little more stable (that's worked for me before).

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    1. *STRETCH* twin needles! I didn't even know they existed! This must be my rookie error - thank you!

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  2. You are the cutest! I love how chic this looks. As for the twin needle, I've had great success before using a combination of a stretch twin needle and Stitch Witchery. It helps stabilize the hem and makes stitching go really smoothly and just works a dream.

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    1. Again, stretch twin needles! You learn something new every day. And I've never heard of Stitch Witchery but it sounds amazing. Thank you for the tips!

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  3. Great Coco.

    SSB. https://facebook.com/sassysewingbees

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  4. I love your coco - those pockets are brilliant & I love that you've made it more fitted. I've been lucky & not had any problems with my twin needles so far but I think they might be stretch ones too. And I Should Coco - thanks for the reminder of a happy teenage summer in 95' going to music festivals for the first time & listening to Brit pop!

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    1. You're very welcome for the reminder - this dress is bringing back all sorts of back-in-the-day memories for me. :) Also, stretch twin needles are clearly where it's at. I've ordered some and we'll see how I get on with them!

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  5. Congrats on finishing a finishing a garment in the space of a day (a feat I have yet to accomplish) and such a sassy little frock to boot - love it. No, the posing doesn't get any easier - at least not for me. I'm lucky to have a veeery patient photographer who shoots so many photos I at least get a few that look semi decent!

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    1. I need to coach my husband! He's normally great at taking lovely photos of me, but he finds the headlessness a bit weird. (To be fair, it is weird!) It's good to know it'll always feel awkward though. ;)

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  6. I am a bit late in seeing your post, but I love it! I think it's the first sleeveless coco I've seen, and it looks great. I like the improved fit as well - I haven't been overly taken with the loose fit of it, but this makes me want to try it!

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    1. Thank you! Yeah, just take it down a size or two and then it works perfectly for those of us who prefer a closer fitting silhouette. I have a work version made up one size larger than this one, which is also great.

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Who, me?

Who, me?
Hi, I'm Ellebougies. I'm brand new to this sewing lark, but boy am I ENTHUSIASTIC. I also enjoy knitting things. One day I'll stop whinging about the weather.

Work in progress

Work in progress

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