Happy Mardi Gras!!!


Trying something a little different and going the microblogging route, since I have so little to bring to the table in terms of sewing technique. I learned that word “microblog” when I decided to Google what the heck Tumblr is. I still don’t know, even though I have a Tumblr account.

Anyway here’s my Mardi Gras skirt, made a year or two ago out of some mega-fun Mardi mask fabric. There’s a full post about it here somewhere (here it is). I finished off the ensemble with some killer Naughty Monkey shoes and my favorite new socks. And beads of course.


Hope everyone is celebrating your Carnival, etc., celebrations today, or at least surviving winter. I actually have a new item or two to macro-blog. Will do so when the inspiration strikes. In the meantime, keep making and posting pretty things, you lovelies.

Happy Stitching,


Weddings and Funerals


Hey all.  Having fun in 2015 yet?

2014 was definitely not my best year, but I’m moving forward and hoping to get some inspiration in all facets of my life.  I did, interestingly enough, attend exactly four weddings and a funeral in 2014, and wore the same dress to the first three weddings and the same dress to the last wedding and the funeral.  When I like a me-made, I REALLY like a me-made.  Plus the no overlap of wedding attendees helped.  Posting pics just for documentation.  As sewing blog photos go, they utterly suck.  Here’s a full-length view of the beloved dress, McCalls 6559, stitched sometime during Me-Made-May 2014.  I can’t recommend this pattern highly enough.  Super easy, and the funner the print, the better!!  It’s made of an ITY knit and I just adore it, obviously.


Here’s me with my mother-in-law (brief rundown–I’m not married, but my boyfriend’s family have married me so there you go.  Keeps it simple.) at wedding #1 in New Jersey


And wedding #2 in Ohio, with the beautiful brides.

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Third wedding, in West Virginia, Lenny-less as in #2, so still stuck with selfies.  The bride has only been my friend for 40 years, and we managed not to get a photo together.  Utter fail!

IMG_1736 I do love this shot, and it has annoyingly been my Facebook profile picture since June.  Sorry for the lack of variety, FB friends.

Wedding 4 was in late September back here in New Jersey, and I couldn’t get away with the maxi again because it was a family wedding and way too many people saw it in May.  The wedding photographer caught this sweet moment, and as much as I hate this angle (Could I BE any wider?), it’s a nice shot of the boy and myself, with my beautiful angelic friend (and mother of the groom) Pam smiling in the background.


The dress is my other favorite pattern, the full-wrap Vogue 8379.  I will be making at least a few more of these before the end of winter/spring.

Dudettes, seriously, if you enjoy easy knits but somehow don’t have these patterns, your life is not complete.  Use my handy links and order them next time there’s a BMV sale.

Let’s end with the weddings, shall we?  I try to avoid the maudlin in my social media.  I’ll just say that it’s been kind of an awful couple of months, and I’ve already had a funeral in 2015.

Moving forward.

I’ll be bahhhhhhk, sooner than later.  Maybe with a belated Jungle, uh, February frock.  Thanks to my new followers who are keeping the sewing faith even though I haven’t posted in ages.  You are so very appreciated, along with the lovelies who have checked in on me (You know who you are, Nothy 😉 )  and my extraordinarily crafty Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook friends.


I Pledge Allegiance To Me-Made-May


Less than 48 hours until I’m on Flickr lurking sewists from all across the planet. Well, lurking more than usual. Oh, how I love this time of year. Me-Made-May has always meant a lot to me, as it was one of the first social events in which I participated as a less than three-month-old baby seamstress in 2012. The encouragement and inspiration during the challenge, not to mention Zoe’s fun and fearless leadership, kept my newfound sewing enthusiasm at a high level, and I got to know so many lovely blogoddesses and their unique styles.

Me-Made-May 2012

Me-Made-May 2013

By my second year, I was able to challenge myself by wearing a complete me-made ensemble every day with no outfit repeats. While I was happy to stick with that pledge, those parameters occasionally prevented me from wearing beloved separates that didn’t have a me-made ‘partner’ as it were. This year my pledge is to wear virtually all new-to-you garments, either made since last Me-Made-May or previously un-MMM-ed due to weather or the separates issue.

I, Shelley of Cuckoo Chanel, pledge to complete Me-Made-May’14. I endeavor to wear and document at least one me-made garment per day, previously unworn during a Me-Made-May challenge.

Be on the lookout for me. I’m shelshel on Flickr and @shelleyhesson on Instagram. Please join me in this celebration of pattern enabling and fabric drooling. Thanks again, Zoe!

Ahhhhlisalex, AKA Sew Dolly Clackett Dress #2

Ahhhhlisalex, AKA Sew Dolly Clackett Dress #2

Shall we list the ways that Sew Dolly Clackett has enhanced our lives?

1. A Flickr group to stalk relentlessly
2. Discovering new blogoddesses through said Flickr group
3. An excuse to celebrate–as though we need one
4. Getting past previous hurdles and coming out looking fabulous

So yes, all that and more. Who knew that one sewing event could do so much?

I’ll try to keep the bla bla bla short. I’ve been wanting to make a successful Elisalex by those impossibly well-dressed and well-tressed ladies at By Hand London for over a year now. My first and only Mood trip (so far) was heavily focused on finding the perfect fabric to make that tulip pop. Thing is, I overthought and underthought this dress every step of the way.

I did okay with the muslin, following the impeccably written FBA post by Elisalex herself. Twas looking good

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Then it all went pear-shaped. Literally.


Don’t ask. I won’t even post a pic of the original muslin, out of this crazy faille (insert fail/faille pun here).

I was so focused on having the fabric be sturdy enough to be a tulip that I didn’t concentrate enough on making the bodice look good. I overlengthened the waist in my crazy bastardization of the FBA, so it never looked right once I attached the skirt. The back was all saggy, etc. etc. I had given up.

Then I started witnessing all of these happy cotton Sew Dolly Clackett creations, and I did a facepalm. Why didn’t I ever just try a cotton version and work it out that way first? If the tulip didn’t ‘bloom’, I could always try the recommendation of using fusible interfacing on the skirt. I chose this crazy print in my stash called Olivia’s Holiday, by Westminster Fibers, and tried out the new theory.


Look how happy I was last night when I started having breakthroughs with the fit. And by the way, the skirt was NEVER a problem, in any of my attempts. The pattern design is so good that the shape just happens.

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This morning my actual tulips congratulated me by opening just in time for some Earth Day shots. Thank goodness I bought an iPhone tripod attachment because the man was sound asleep.

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This is just a hands-on-hips kinda dress. I love the whimsy of it. The tulip shape is a riot.

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My only true regret about making a second dress is that I’m wearing the same pink shoes as in my first Dolly Clackett dress. May the shoe gods forgive me for not splashing out for some new ones. I did throw in a little variety later though. Scroll on…

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I promise the back bodice fits, or at least better than in any previous version. I was in a hurry, and mortified imagining my neighbors peeking out their windows at my narcissism. And I know we’re supposed to celebrate our lumps, but back fat doesn’t help in any fitted dress.

Grabbed the now-awake boyfriend for a lunch break photo shoot, and here’s some more frivolity.





Just had to twirl and scream with glee. Good weather, time with my honey, and a new dress


Had to celebrate even more by taking Elisalex out to dinner. Look how irritatingly well it matches this jacket.
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From the bottom of my heart, I thank Sarah (Check out her Lilly Laurel) for dreaming up and running this whole thing. I know it’s been a lot of work, but you have created something phenomenal. Thank you Roisin, for being the muse to SO many in the blogging community. Thank you, crazy women in the Flickr pool, for being so beautiful. There are over 430 photos in the group at this moment. How jaw-droppingly wonderful. Have fun judging, Roisin!


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 (http://thecollegeseamstress.blogspot.com/2014/03/coco-what-does-fox-say.html), 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 fabric.com 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.