SO Dolly Clackett


How many times have we swooned over Roisin‘s dreamy dresses? Luckily, SOMEONE (namely Sarah of Rhinestones and Telephones) decided it’s time for the blogoddesses to channel their inner Dolly Clackett and frockify ourselves accordingly. It’s also a celebration of Roisin’s upcoming nuptials next month, but somehow I think anyone reading this post is aware of that happy fact.

Fortunately, I already had the perfect pattern/fabric marriage of my own picked out. The fabric is a slightly stretchy and substantial cotton from my first trip to Mood last March during a major sewista meetup, and the pattern has been made by our muse once or twice or more.

As luck and sloth would have it, I never made the thing, so the combo was still waiting for me when Roisin Fest was announced. It was so meant to be.

When I opened the pattern, I was seriously stoked. FOUR PIECES (if you don’t make the bow). That’s music to my lazy sewist ears. There are actually more pieces to cut when you include the lining, but to know you only have to fiddle with four pieces… I was crying with happiness already. I cut somewhere between a 20 and 22, fudged a bit of an FBA, and loved how the muslin turned out. So did David Hasselhoff, as it happens.

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Hasselhoff appearance courtesy of Google+ and their brilliant April Fool’s Day joke of Hoffsome-ing our photos.

Was happy enough with the muslin to go ahead and cut into the Precious, and was a super good girl and pressed when appropriate, was careful sewing the darts, etc. etc. I forgot how much I love a lined bodice. Looks so sharp.

The only thing I don’t absolutely adore about this print is that the Eiffel Towers are upside down in relationship to the rest of the repeat. However, inverted Eiffel bewbs are amusing.

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I had a finished product just in time to go to an event at my friend’s store in Asbury Park, Backward Glances (where I also got the accessories for my shift), which happens to sell retro clothes and accessories. She has petticoats in varying lengths and had a perfect one in pink. LOVE.

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Spring finally happened in New Jersey, so it’s proper photo shoot time.







It’s been an absolute pleasure to check out everyone’s work in the Sew Dolly Clackett Flickr group. Wowza!! If by chance you haven’t visited lately, go immediately.

Thank you, Sarah, and congratulations to Roisin and Nic!

Yours in twirly girliness,

How Could Cuckoo Not Make a Coco. Or Five.


Anyone know of a Coco intervention group?  Clearly I have a problem.  But you all keep making such incredible versions!!  I had to buy it and try it. 

It started with a sort of wearable muslin, with some previously-uninspiring periwinkle jersey knit.  I opted for the funnel neck, which I adore. Ended up loving it so much that I wore it to work the next day, still only basted at the side seams and defiantly unhemmed.


Love that fancy neck!!


I promise I pressed this before the shoot.  The sleeves buckled under the stress of trying to get the tripod set up and find an okay spot on the patio.  Scenic, huh?

I instantly made a second dress, in the open neck version, out of a ponte knit from the wonderful Fabric Mart, and took advantage of a FREEZING but beautiful spring day down the Jersey Shore. 


I have INSANE eyes in this, but I love how my hair and dress look.  On a day this windy, you take what you can get!!


Oh yeah, and I ran into Elvis. 


Somewhere in the middle of this dress-fest, I decided to make a top, out of this fabulous fox fabric from Girl Charlee.  I had already ordered the fabric before discovering this post by the adorable College Seamstress (, but I blatantly stole the idea of what to do with said fabric from Elizabeth, with her kind permission of course.  I only ordered a yard for some reason, so I had to improvise with red sleeves.  I love the look and how well the red matches, but it does look pajama-y.  Not that that will stop me from wearing it anywhere and everywhere.Image

I also am in the process of making a cute white (yes, WHITE.  Ahhh) Coco top for the summer, but it’s only basted and not photo-worthy, and this post is already picture-heavy enough.  Plus, I still have ONE MORE dress to document.

This awesome psychedelic print from Girl Charlee was so cute I couldn’t decide whether to buy it in black or blue so I bought both.  They’re almost identical.  I mean, truly.  There was no reason to buy both but I did anyway.  I’m calling it my Mad Men spectating dress since I didn’t get anything made in time for Julia Bobbin’s third annual Mad Men extravaganza.  I’m wearing it while drinking martinis and looking at your Mad Men Makes.

Speaking of martinis, here’s me immediately after making this puppy, makin dranks for my honey. 


Today was decidedly less windy and cruel, so we went a’ridin’ in the new make.  I’m going to pose like this always from now on, because it makes me look thin.


Green legs rule.



Ahh, sunshine!!!!

Thanks for indulging me in this Coco photo fest.  I just love being one of the poster children.  And thanks as always for reading, commenting, etc. 

Major sewing hugs

Wrap, Mama, Wrap


I’ve been wanting to make a real DVF-wannabe wrap forEVer, but just never have yet. I’ve made a few fauxs that I quite like, and a crapola one a couple of years ago that I hated (A broadcloth wrap. Really? I was too much of a newbie to know to stop when I realized it wasn’t knit! And had ugly built-in pleats!).

Only problem with the fauxs is that if you don’t sew the bodice well, you are forever stuck with a possibly permanent peek-a-boo neckline.


Whoopsy. Good thing this was vacation and not the office.

So anyway, now you can’t throw a rock without hitting a blogoddess in a wrap dress, especially in light of its 40th anniversary and its prominence in the movie “American Hustle”; but they’re all so beautiful and flattering. And with a tied wrap you can go from mega modest to full Amy Adams. Love it.

I finally paired a REAL knit wrap dress pattern, Vogue 8379, with some appropriate fabric (yet another onion skin knit–I must have hit that sale HARD) and realized there were no instructions. I’m sure I lost them since I have a bad habit of taking pattern instructions to bed (which is really stupid because it just makes me excited and I can’t sleep). It was super easy to put together sans instructions, especially when I took a cue from the beautiful Aleah from no time to sew and left off the collar.

When I finished this happy little garment it was of course still mid-winter and required much layering. It was meant to be a second Jungle January garment, but unfortunately I am in New Jersey and not a nice sultry jungle.

Meh. Wrap with turtleneck not hot.

It took a few months to get to wear it outside, at a lake in Pennsylvania with my new best friend, my tripod. This was March 23 mind you. Looks like January for crying out loud!

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Passes the modesty test:
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I have no idea what this pose is. Just having too much tripod fun I imagine.

Here’s a little Band for ya, but you can sing Wrap Mama Wrap instead of Rag Mama Rag. Levon would have been fine with that I’m sure.

Peace, love, and much happy spring sewing!! And make a wrap dress. You’ll like it. It’s good for you.

Can’t be sad when you’re wearing mad rad plaid


This winter has been relentless, as we all know, so I really needed more leg coverage, and was dying to cheer myself up with the plaid in my stash. Time for some MORE Colette Clovers, since clearly I’d rather make pants than lose weight and actually fit into the perfectly decent trousers already in my wardrobe. One pair was made out of this brilliantly loud pink on black, shown here during the first fitting after being painstakingly cut and matched


I have worn these bad boys shamelessly all winter. Here they are in action captured with my new tripod against the snowy Lake Quinn, PA background.




The other print is more subtle but I love the colors.


DSC_0975LOVE these paired with my nummy Renfrew top.

Bum fit is good.

Warmin’ up by the fire.

After all this fun and frivolity, it’s time for Honesty Corner. I almost wanted to title this post “It’s The Fabric, Stupid”, because realistically these trousers have sort of been nothing but trouble. Both fabrics are super cheap and flimsy, and stick viciously to tights and socks, so they’re always bunched around the calf. Plus they stretch out in the course of the day so only look decent in the morning. I also didn’t finish the edges very well so the pink and black ones are falling apart (I had to Photoshop out one of the rips!) It’s definitely not the pattern because my first two Clovers are a dream and have none of these issues.

Even with these issues, I’m WAY glad I made these. I can always use the experience with Clover construction, and having them in my pant rotation got me through this shitty winter, even with the bagginess and other quirks. Plus, I plaid-matched like a pro, if I do say so myself!

In other plaid heaven, check out these lovelies:

The goddess Goodbye Valentino and her brilliant refashion AND a fab peplum top

Scads of plaids and other goodies from Meg

Aleksandra’s brilliant Archers

And this amazing guy I spotted while on vacation in Rouen, France.

Happy Happy Sewing. Hope for Spring!!

Swingin’ in my Shift


Hey Y’all

Happy almost Super Bowl to us fools in the USA. I have decent numbers in the office football pool so I will be occasionally paying attention between commercials.

I finished my Shift Dress Sewalong creation in a timely manner, I’m happy to say, thanks to Lauren’s amazing tutorials every step of the way, particularly her dart tute. It seems simple, but was impossible for me to visualize. Goodness knows what would have been going on in my midsection without her guidance. I cut a 22-ish, and fudged my own FBA, which seems to have worked out decently. Was happy with my Swedish tracing paper muslin, so I went for it. The fabric is a baby pink and white double knit polyester that I found on the eBay a while back. This was PERFECT for the dress. A little knit give, which is always appreciated, a little bit warm for this wretched never-relenting winter, and a lot easy to work with.

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I’m actually getting ready to start a new project (Renfrew dress, anyone?) out of a — I can’t even say it — solid brown jersey, so I’m going to try to keep the writing portion of this post short and sweet. By the way, I literally can’t make a dress out of a non-print (even this dress had two colors). Everyone send your support, please. I’m telling myself I can accessorize the crap out of it and it’ll all be alright. Plus it’s extra soft and scrumptious. ANYWAY, no more blathering on about construction, just pics, coz let’s be real, that’s what we’re here for…

My honey posed me next to our Block Island sticker. He’s funny that way. We can only dream of the Block right now, but if you ever have the chance, definitely go there. It’s off of Point Judith, Rhode Island, and you can get there from Montauk, Long Island as well.

It was ALMOST warm enough for a top-down ride today. Yeah, my Miata is kind of special-looking. We hit a huge deer going about 75mph a few years ago. Can’t believe this thing is still going strong.

Scenic shot of my parking lot. Time to talk about accessories. I definitely felt like white, especially in the hosiery department. Luckily I was going to visit my friend’s really cool store in Asbury Park, Backward Glances, all kitschy coolness, and she had exactly what I pictured and more. These are white fishnets, y’all! Also, white go-go earrings, which I will wear constantly, and this perfect necklace. Okay, commerical over. :)

I tried to tweak this pic to make it less washed-out, but this is the best I could do. I still like the shot so I’m keeping it anyway.
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I hope some more of you gals crank out some shifts soon. It was a tremendously fun sewalong, and I can definitely see myself making more in different fabrics and for all seasons. Stay tuned to the Flickr group.

Take care and happy groovy sewing!!

Sew Bossying Myself In Jungle January


Hooray for our fearless leader and jungle guide, Anne, who not only runs Wearable Wednesday flawlessly every week, is on her second year as the ultimate Jungle goddess, but was also a fabulous Sew Bossy employee. How does she do it all so well?

When I ordered this Butterick 5815 for Ms. Jungle, I guess I liked it so much that I ordered one for me too, plus mayyyybe a few extra yards of this bright and shiny wonderfulness to keep for myself as well. I think it was labeled as crepe de chine, which goes to show you I still don’t know my fabrics, coz to me it’s all slippery and crazy like a charmeuse.

So there’s really not much to say about the construction. It’s an easy pattern, but of course my shoulders are way too poofy, and I’m afraid to mess with them too much because I don’t want to pick the fabric more than I need to. I’m just going to go with my usual I Meant To Do That attitude, and hide the poofiness with my hair. The sleeves on this thing are to die for, all flowy and feminine. I highly recommend this pattern for its ease and loveliness. It can be a top, a tunic, or a dress. Yay versatility.

Okay… pics, coz that’s what Jungle January is allll about! I could whine about it being winter and being stuck with shitty indoor photos, but–oh, I just did. A thousand pardons for the dodgy photo quality. Maybe by some miracle it’ll get above freezing and I’ll get some outdoor shots.

Butterick 5815

Butterick 5815

Of course my beautiful jungle cat/accessory Teddy had to get involved.

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And I had to go out on a mini date at Fruity Yogurt so I could actually wear it somewhere

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In its fully jungle-y accessorized state:

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Have a wonderful remainder of Jungle January, and definitely check out Anne’s version of this pattern. Her pics are a zillion times better than mine, and her shoulders infinitely less poofy.

Hugs to all you wild thangs out there!!

Bonus, semi-professional jungle-at-work photo. Wish you could see the purple tights better:

Sewingalong in 2014


Happy New Year, lovelies!

Just a quick note to draw you into my world. There are a few irresistible sewalongs that I’m jumping into and just want to spread the word. Actually there are a lot of great sewalongs, but these are the most Cuckoo-worthy (That’s a compliment, by the way).

Lauren at Rosie Wednesday is hosting a totally groovy shift dress sewalong with this adorable pattern.


Here’s the post:

Now I get to shop my stash for the perfect fabric, and can live out my fantasy of being a Monkees-era goddess. Those girls were the cutest.

Inspiring episode of gorgeousness if you have 25 minutes to spare:

Naturally I’m leaping into Jungle January. Major duh. This is my life!!

A post to whet your respective appetites:

And our intrepid host Anne has ALREADY made something:

I’m still loving these end of year Top 5 lists. I’m not organized enough to make such a compilation, but I may soon do a mega post of my unblogged creations of 2013. I sewed more than I thought this year, including some fun, easy knit frocks highlighted in my last post (shameless plug in case you were too busy baking cookies for Santa to see it). I can tell already that 2014 is going to be a mega year for Sewcialists!

Keep up the beautiful work and please sew along–There’s room for everyone!! And PLEASE feel free to share any cool sewalongs that I in my usual state of obliviousness may have missed!

Happy Sewy New Year

I made a Vogue 1250! And other palate cleansers


After realizing during Me-Made-May’13 that I sort of have enough clothes (how annoyingly practical of me), not to mention having been given a huge pile of castoffs from a dear friend while on my Ohio road trip, I’m pretty set wardrobewise. Doesn’t mean I’m quitting sewing or that my imaginary queue isn’t ridiculous, but I simply haven’t been motivated to crank stuff out unless it’s easy or I’m just drooling over a fabric or pattern. At some point perhaps I’ll have an epiphany and want to improve my skills and/or actually participate in the Craftsy classes I keep purchasing, but for now something has to really grab me.

Enter Vogue 1250, which seems to have conquered the sewing world a few years back. It really is the whole package–gorgeous, easy, and flattering. Yay! Came together in one evening, and that was totally taking my time and fiddling endlessly with steps that an experienced sewist wouldn’t blink at. I made it out of an “onion skin” knit from, from the same sale as the fabric used in last post’s Vogue 8685. Such a cool material, not as frighteningly immodestly sheer as it may initially look. It felt refreshing on a disgusting, stifling wait for the subway in New York.

Sweaty subterranean me.

Did I mention it’s flattering? I am nowhere near fighting weight, nor am I trying to be (going through some hedonistic early-40s eating frenzy), but I felt kinda seksi in this thing.


Here is a more recent shot, from a cruise on the Seine with one of my besties. LOVE the crew on our boat, the MS Bizet.


While I’m talking about easy knits to make you cute and happy, I highly recommend McCalls 6559, which, along with the “perfect knit dress” McCalls 5974, YOU SHOULD JUST HAVE ALREADY. I’m so glad that I finally stopped resisting the maxi dress thing, because this is mega fun and comfortable. I made it in May, but didn’t get around to wearing it until June 1, so it just missed my Me-Made-May Flickr extravaganza. The fabric is a thin jersey knit, and it has served me well this year–the beach, Block Island, Newport Jazz Festival, even boring old work.

Here is Dress At Work, taken while helping my guy set up scaffolding for a sound gig. Fun fun.


And here I am at the Pacific Ocean for the first time in 30 years, on a trip to one of my new favorite places, San Francisco.


And exploring wine country, at the beautiful Artesa Vineyards


While I’m raving about easy knit dresses with a maximum of three pieces, here’s another fun one, McCalls 6240, heretofore known as the Spider-Man Kiss Dress because I managed to cut the pieces with the print upside down. Only I could eff up a three piece dress. Anyway, you’ve all no doubt been commissioned/cajoled/whined at to make someone a dress. I just go “Okay” and promptly ignore them. But for some reason the two times I’ve worn this dress I’ve been downright ordered to make it for friends, even down to the color and fabric they want. These bitches were adamant. It’s just that fun and frivolous. Who knew that a one-armed dress would cause such excitement?

Finally got a few pics of it, at my boyfriend’s gig at our wonderful local joint the other night. I absolutely love it with the Bah Humbug hat and those hot green tights. :) It definitely passed the dancing test too. Beyond dreamy and flowy.



I should end on that holiday theme, but I have to throw one more in here. The Famous Lady Skater dress from Kitschycoo ( Just too many of you were making gorgeous versions of it, so I impulsively ordered it online one day at work, printed it as soon as I got home, and whipped that puppy up that evening. Just adore the thing. Great for traveling. My pics are crummy so far, but here are a few. If by chance you haven’t been caught in the trance of this thing, please reconsider.



So I guess for someone who doesn’t ‘need’ new clothes, I’m not doing too badly. ;)

Anyone else have tried-and-true palate cleanser for those bumpy uninspired times?

Have very happy holidays everyone! Speaking of holidays and the end of 2013, I’m really enjoying everyone’s Top and Bottom 5′s. Love you gals and your endless creativity!!!


Slightly Selfless


Anyone who knows me would absolutely never use the word selfless to describe me, and I’m totally okay with that. However, occasionally I do feel compelled to use my newfound ‘skills’ for the greater good; and I have amassed a little arsenal of go-to quickie gift tutorials that I’m more than happy to share with you.

Six Pocket Bag


You’ve no doubt seen this puppy on Pinterest. Sadly, I’m very rarely on Pinterest (don’t have the bandwidth at work, don’t have the time at home), but even I have caught this little number and been enchanted by it. It’s FREE, kids, brought to you by the folks at Better Homes & Gardens. It’s easy, cute, perfect for two or three complementing and/or contrasting fabrics, easy to size up or down. Etc! The finished product made with the BHG dimensions is small-ish, but the six pockets are all big enough for an iDevice of your choice, as the photo advertises. I have made it in the original size through a decent beach/gym appropriate size, and a few sizes in between.

Here’s my most recent make, with a matching guitar for the photo because Lenny is awesome and thinks of everything.


Here’s a detail of the groovy fabrics.

And a totally accidental side seam pattern matching. Squee!

Here’s one I sized up for my cutie patootie aunt in Florida, made out of a quilting cotton with a print of the college from which we both graduated, our beloved Marshall University.


Here’s the first one I made, in April of 2012, along with a few other TNT crafty gifts, the Perfect Wallet and Sew Spoiled Cosmetic Case (oh yeah, and a tissue holder I learned to make in my introductory sewing class :) )


Sew Spoiled Cosmetic Case


Thank you, Sew Mama Sew!! I have made a jillion of these. It’s a perfect scrap-buster!! There are two in the Pez photo, one out of each print, and I have also made it in–among other fabrics–fuchsia zebra-print satin and a cotton Hello Kitty print.

Perfect Wallet


This pattern from Pattern Pile covers all of the bases–large cash pockets, zippered coin compartment, and credit card slots. I just love it!

I'm even working on an Elvis one. ;)

Little Girl’s Shirred Dress Tutorial

This was a gift for my great-niece. I had some perfect fabric and wanted to teach myself shirring, and wasn’t sure she would love the romper I made her (I was right :( ). This took about two seconds to make, a credit to the wonderful Spoonflower blog and her highly descriptive tutorial. Also helped that the child in the tutorial is my niece’s size, so I didn’t even have to measure, just used the exact dimensions given in the tutorial.

She even wore it for a newspaper article featuring her mommy. Sorry, but I’m so proud of the first non-blog internet appearance of one of my items


Here she is when I first gave it to her, along with another go-to crafty gift, her Dora purse, aka the Simple Reversible Tote Bag, which you can just see in the background


Which leads me to

Simple Reversible Tote Bag


Last Christmas I found myself in a state of regret for not having produced more handmade goodies. Thank goodness I found this tutorial, and was able to crank out a few totes for the little girls in the family. I have virtually no finished product photos other than the 1/8 of a Dora purse in the shirred dress picture above, but it is a fun and simple prezzie, great for medium-sized scraps.

Oh here’s one of my favorite ballerina, Serena, with her new ballerina purse at Christmas. Oops, I should have put something in it.


Okay, that's enough for now. I truly hope that these tutorials are as helpful to you as they have been to me, especially with the holidays fast approaching. Happiest of sewing and giving to you! And PLEASE, feel free to share any CrafTNTs in comments below. I’m sure they’ll be greatly appreciated!!!


Sometimes the Boss is Right


My boss is too lenient. She sent me two patterns from which to choose in my Sew Bossy package (Unless I’m supposed to make both—uh oh…). One is McCall’s 6320, a one-shoulder number that I shied away from because I had very recently made a one-shoulder knit frock, McCall’s 6240 (post coming very soon), so part of my teeny mind was thinking been there, done that. I started to make the other pattern, McCall’s 6394 and just couldn’t get into it. Please don’t dock my pay, Anne.

Luckily I had only cut into the lining chosen for the 6394 and didn’t waste any of the fabric, which is utterly scrumptious and 100% me and my desired color palette, all soft with a smidge of give. Absolute fabric heaven.

Cue the angel harps


I finally revisited the 6320 and realized it’s quite a dreamy pattern. I was careful and did some actual fitting with my new best friend Swedish tracing paper (post pending), but then kept second guessing myself and cut the lining a bit larger than the paper muslin, and then the fashion fabric yet a pinch larger than that. Added to the fact that the fabric already has some stretch, this led to a slightly too large finished product. Yep, as always, even with an easy pattern and nice workable fabric, I am my own worst sewing enemy and made matters more difficult than they needed to be.

But just look at these pleats and pocket. Sigh (if I do sigh so myself)


I powered through my mistakes, and although it’s not exactly clingily form-fitting, I’m extremely happy with the comfort and look of this dress.

Here is my happily completed assignment, almost three months to the day after the lovely Anne finished hers. Definitely check our her gorgeousness. And while we’re at it, check out the adorable Kat over at Petticoats and Peplums, who absolutely slayed this pattern for Frocktails. She’s so cute I could squoosh her.



Feelin’ sassy from the back:


And one more. See how happy I am when I listen to my boss?

Hope all of you other Sew Bossy pairs are having a blast. This was certainly worth it for me. Big hugs and props to the ultimate blogoddess at Pretty Grievances!!!