Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Amare Dress, Rinnovato!

Designed by Nicoletta Ercole for Diane Lane, Under the Tuscan Sun
The Amare is the perfect choice for love Italian style no matter where you are.
Scott Kline Photography
Andretti Winery
The Heroine, the Plot and the Dress:  It's time for some rejuvenation.  You've fixed the plumbing, waved arrivederci to the crazy contractors and, seen to the tidying up.  It's time for a new dress.  Our Heroine has chosen a dress in a soft creamy white with a fluid tea length half-circle skirt and simple fitted cut-on-the-bias surplice bodice with just a hint of kimono sleeve.  Knowing accessorizing is key, she has paired this dress with a cinching black suede belt.  Perfect for an al fresco rendezvous with a handsome gigolo.  Even if it doesn't pan out the way one hoped.  No tears for our girl, though.  In the end, with this dress, love will find our Heroine.

Give your love life the embellishment it deserves and make yourself an Amare dress. You never know when Love will come knocking and take you out for a Chianti.


Read this, it's important
When your PayPal transaction is complete and while still in PayPal you must click on the "Return to Savage Coco Patterns" link located just below the PayPal Total line - this opens the .pdf of your pattern.  Your pattern is not e-mailed to you.  You should make your purchase on a desk top, not a tablet or iPad. 

PDF Pattern:  The PDF comes in one file, 26 pages, 4 pattern pieces
Instructions:  See Assembly Instructions below 

Size Chart

Extra Large
Yardage 60” W
Knit or Woven

3 5/8
3 5/8
3 7/8
Includes all seam allowances of 5/8"  
Does not include layout but pieces are marked "Place on Fold", etc.
Professionally graded by Pattern Works International, LLC
Oh, that lovely bias rolled surplice neckline

Pattern Notes & Skill Level:  Surplice bias cut bodice, tea length half-circle skirt with optional left-side invisible zipper. Advanced beginner and above.  Pattern includes all seam allowances of 5/8."  Does not include layout but pieces are marked "Place on Fold", etc. Instructions follow for both knit and wovens.

Suggested Fabrics:  Knits or Wovens.  Choose a stable knit such as Ponte, Ponte di Roma; wovens with good drape and body, Faille, Challis or Crepe.  Anything swingy and swishy but do consider opting for a wrinkle-resistant fabric. This is a lot of dress to iron.

Notions: 1 3/8ths button, Sullivan's Fabric Stiffener or a good starch. 1 12-14" invisible zipper if using, fusible bias tape and/or fusible yardage to reinforce zipper and stress points, 3/8" clear elastic for the waistline if using a knit.  Optional: Machine embroidery thread, a roll of Washable Wonder Tape is useful, 4-1" squares of organza.

Assembly Instructions
1. Print and assemble pattern.

2. Layout all pieces, transfer all markings. The bodice front is cut on the folded bias (thus creating a self-facing), so you will need to allow for cutting piece #1 twice.

3. Give the four bodice/neck corners a little square of fusible or organza on the inside to reinforce the corner at the dot and stay stitch with a 1.5 stitch, pivoting at dot.

4. Mark bodice buttonhole on inside left-side bodice facing only and button placement on inside right-side facing only and give both a square of good stabilizer on the inside of the facing to reinforce the stress points.

Top Tip: After cutting and before construction, if your fabric is slippery - apply some spray starch or Sullivan's Fabric Stabilizer to any areas that may be challenging such as the sleeve hem edges, zipper area and skirt hem, to aid in any machine basting and hem stitching. Ditto for the back darts. Your fabric really will run through your machine a lot easier.  Spray on, let air or iron dry; re-apply as much needed.

5. Make darts in bodice back and press towards side seams.

Top Tip: Try one-thread darts. One-thread darts make for a lovely, unpuckered finish, especially darts with a longer slender dart point, such as used on this pattern. The video below may help you. The Tutorialist can be a bit of a fumble fingers but you'll get the idea.


6.  If using a knit go to Step 10.  If using a woven and for a clean finished interior, do the following: open up the bias front bodice/facing and stitch a 5/8ths basting line on the inside bodice shoulder seam only and press to the inside.  

7.  Keeping the front open, on the inside bias bodice seam allowance (#1), stitch a 5/8ths basting line along the long straight edge and press to the wrong side towards center front along basting line. If using, apply Washable Wonder Tape to just inside the basting stitch line but do not remove the backing yet.

8.  While keeping the bias bodice piece open, stitch bodice front (#1) to side bodice (#2), matching notches and press seam towards center front, clipping if necessary.

Top Tip:  Clip your seam in an alternating sequence to eliminate any clip show-through on light colored fabrics. This little trick really does work - try it!

9.  Keeping the bodice front open and the neckline curve free, stitch a French seam on the bodice front to bodice back (#3) at shoulders only from reinforced corner dot to sleeve edge and press towards the front. Clip just to corner dot stay stitching.

10. Open up the bodice back neckline extensions and sew together. It makes a shallow V shape. Trim seam to 1/4" and press open.  If using a woven,  go to Step 11.  If using a knit, go to Step 13 and make the buttonhole.

11. With the bias bodice opened up, baste 5/8ths on inside back neckline seam of the extension, and press under 5/8ths from dot to dot, clipping where necessary, including the stay stitched inside corners.

12. With the bias bodice still opened up, sew the outside back neckline seam to bodice back neck, trim, clip and press up into neckline. Now bring the entire inside bodice shoulder/neckline over, enclosing the neckline seam, the short shoulder extension and the side-front seam. Slipstitch or stitch-in-the-ditch the back neck and shoulder extension. Pin-baste the folded over inside bodice just 1/8th to 1/16ths over the seam line that runs from the shoulder to the waist seam allowance to hide it. Check the fit and buttonhole placement. Make adjustments if needed.

13. For wovens, remove pin-basting and for both woven and knits, open up the bodices and make a 3/8" buttonhole on left front outside bodice only - the button hole does not go through both layers.  Do not cut open yet.  Trim away excess stabilizer. The buttonhole goes on the left and button on the right as you will push the button through the buttonhole into the left bodice (instead of pulling it through). This way there won't be any button show-through on the outside of the finished garment or see a buttonhole on the interior either.

Top Tip:  Try using machine embroidery thread and a fine #9 needle for a smoother stitch when making such a small buttonhole. It works a treat.  If you've got some, use a scrap of stiff stabilizer on the underside of the buttonhole.

14.   If using a knit, fold the bias bodices Front (#1) along the bias fold line, press and if desired, baste together along side front seam and back neck, inside the seam allowance.  Sew Side Front bodice(s) (#2) to bias Fronts (#1).  For a clean finish, serge the seam.  Press and top stitch if desired.  Sew Back (#3) to Fronts at shoulders and back neck, clipping and pivoting at pivot points.  For a clean finish, serge the seam.  Have a canolli. Go to Step 15.

If using a woven, replace front facing alongside front seam.  If using Wonder Tape, remove the backing now and press down along side front seam. Turn bodice to right side and stitch-in-the-ditch the side front seam from the shoulder to the waist, catching the inside facing at the same time. Your bodice neckline interior now has lovely finish to it, with no raw edges. Stop and have a cannoli. Admire your beautiful work.

15. Press and bring bodice right front over left front, matching notches.   Baste fronts together just inside waist seam line.

16. If using a knit, and omitting a zipper, go to Step 19.  If using a woven, sew skirt front to bodice front and skirt back to bodice back at waistline, leaving side seams unsewn. Depending on your fabric, you may need to give the skirt waist seam allowance a few clips within the seam allowance to flatten out its curve to meet the straight edge of the bodice waist seam allowance. Grade seam, clip and press waistline seam up. 

17. On left side seam give the zipper opening a strip of lightweight interfacing or fusible tape.  Insert an invisible zipper on left side of dress.

18. Reinforce side seams at underarm between two dots using a smaller stitch at this is a stress point.  Finish sewing both side seams, from the hemline up. Sewing from the hemline up supports the skirt pieces and aids in keeping the bias portions of the skirt from stretching during construction, thus reducing the possibility of wavy side seams on the skirt.  Trim and clip bodice side seam curves, using the alternate clipping method above. 

19.  If using a knit, omitting a zipper and if using a serger, baste bodice side seams only, do not serge yet, and check the fit. 

Top Tip:  Use Wash- A-Way Basting Thread when basting a seam in knits prior to serging, to check the fit of your garment or if there is an interim step prior to serging the seam.  It presses well with a dry iron.  It's really a terrific little notion to have around.  You will need a bobbin wound with it as well or you'll end up with long threads wrapped around your washer's agitator. Trust me on this.

Very handy for the sewing room
With regular thread and using a straight stitch, reinforce both side seams at underarm between two dots using a 1.5 stitch.  Clip into seam allowance at dot just under the sleeve opening - to but not through so you can roll the sleeve hem.  Once clipped and reinforced, sew/serge bodice side seams.

Sew/serge skirt side seams from the bottom up.  Sew skirt to bodice at waist seam.  You can and may wish to serge on some 3/8" elastic to help support the weight of the skirt.  Cut elastic 1" less than your waist measurement.

The Tutorialist's knit Amare with 3/8" elastic serged into the waist seam

20. To hem sleeves, (use more Sullivan's or starch if needed) run a basting stitch at 1/4" from sleeve selvage around sleeve opening, then again at 5/8". Clip sleeve hem curve if needed to the 1/4" basting, turn under along 1/4" basting line and press. Turn under again along 5/8ths basting, clipping to dot at underarm.  Washable Wonder Tape works, well, wonders on this step.

Machine hem sleeve, bar tacking or back-tacking a few times straight across at the underarm to reinforce the stress point.

21.  Double-check button/buttonhole placement. Sew on button and open buttonhole.

22. To hem the dress, try dress on and mark hem length.  Run a machine basting stitch at this marking around the entire hemline. Then two more times at 1/2" intervals down from the hem basting. 

Let dress hang on a dress form or hanger for 24 hours for the bias in the skirt to "drop and stop."  Try on and recheck hem and re-mark if/as needed.  Trim any excess on hem if/as needed, turn hem up on lowest/first basting line, press, turn up again and machine hem dress.

Top Tip:  SewkeysE double-sided fusible stay tape is the easiest, most marvelous product to make your hem stay put while running it through your machine, including cover-stitch machines.  It's near invisible, won't gum up your needle and it's very, very easy to use.   Just press on, peal off the tape, fold up your hem and give it a light press.  If using on a curve, such as the Amare's hemline, clip the tape at 1" intervals in the same manner you would clip a seam curve - almost but not though the width of the tape.  It will "bend" to your will!  Do yourself a favor and get some here, Emma Seabrooke.com.

Pamela from Pamela's Patterns demonstrates how to properly apply stay tapes to shoulders, necklines and hems for professional knit finishes.  Watch Pamela make it all clear at 4:22.

Finishing Touches: Let's keep things in place and add a waist-stay.  A waist-stay will help keep the dress at your waist, support the weight of the full skirt and reduce stress on the zipper. It also makes for a lovely interior finish.  If using a woven, Petersham or grosgrain ribbon works well.  If using a knit and did not add elastic in Step 19, you can it now - add 3/8" elastic 1" less than your waist measurement on the seam allowance with a zig zag stitch.

For wovens, place the stay on the upward facing waist seam allowance, keeping about 1" free on either side of the non-zipper seam and about 1½" free on either side of the zipper. Stitch the ribbon to the waist seam, placing the edge of the ribbon just inside the seam allowance.  Press the ribbon up and covering the wait seam. Add hook and eye.


Lookit that, isn't it lovely?

Complete the Look:  When it comes to love and accessorizing, our Heroine has a tendency think a bit in Black and White. She has paired her creamy Amare dress with a 2" wide black suede belt with self-covered buckle, black strappy sandals, and a slouchy black leather satchel. Her jewelry is a simple small-gauge chain choker and small hoop earrings. And just in case, she's grabbed her little black Trench as one never knows when will be left out in the cold, as it were. . .

So give your love life the embellishment it deserves and make yourself an Amare dress. You never know when Love will come knocking and take you out for a Chianti.

SavageCoco Patterns©

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Presto! Popover Top

SavageCoco Patterns© 


The Presto!

Designed specifically for ITY knits for the wash and wearability your daily life can really use.

 ITY knits come in all colors and patterns, so make more than one and get on with your life.

Good bye wash day blues!

Fully graded in Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large,all in one pattern purchase!

V-neck collar, double-front for modesty with the option of a double-back for same and the always comfy 3/4 sleeve.  Sews up quickly on the serger, but can be made on a zig-zag machine, too.  Can be made in heavier knits for winter, lighter knits for summer. Excellent choice for sheerer knits.
For its ease and comfort, you're gonna love the Presto! 

All sizes with instructions in one PDF format. 
Just $4.99 through Pay Pal and baby, it's all yours!

So get rockin' and get your Presto! 

Extra Large
54”-60” W

1 ½
1 ½
1 ½
1 5/8 
Includes instructions and all seam allowances of 3/8" and 1/2" hems.  
Does not include layout but pieces are marked "Place on Fold", etc.
Professionally graded by Pattern Works International, LLC

Read this, it's important
When your PayPal transaction is complete and while still in PayPal you must click on the "Return to Savage Coco Patternslink located just below the PayPal Total line - this opens the .pdf of your pattern.  Your pattern is not e-mailed to you.  
You should make your purchase on a desk top, not a tablet or iPad or you may not be able to print it.

Get your Presto! Popover Top now, Baby!


If you experience any difficulties with your purchase, please notify Savage Coco at Savagecoco0@gmail.com

Wanda the Wonder Model shows us a size Medium, in a soft acrylic knit.
She loves it on chillier days.

Have you made a Presto!?  
Send Wanda a pic and she'll post it in the Gallery!

SavageCoco Patterns©
All Rights Reserved

Monday, April 8, 2013

Serendipity Skirt

That's reason enough to twirl about in a fab circle skirt!
Do leave a "Merci Madame" in Comments below with your city (just for fun).  Enjoy!
A Serendipity Skirt!
In the mood to be a commoner for a day? You're going to need the right clothes. A stylish and swishy circle skirt would be just the thing. The full skirt makes climbing out of windows quick and easy. And you'll be cool all day as you run amok amongst the hoi polloi. And look great, too, because you never who you'll meet with a camera. Like say, a Really Handsome Newsman. 

The Film, the Plot and the Skirt:  A girl, the Big City and way too many royal duties.  Not to mention way too constricting clothes for such a hot climate.  Our Heroine decides to duck her duties, don a classic circle skirt with side-front inseam pockets and matching cinch belt and make a dash for it out the window.  An excellent choice for climbing, running, jumping on the back of trucks and riding about Rome on a Vespa.  The skirt has lots of swing, swish and sass.  All the better to keep cool while seeing how the other half lives.

A note about the designer and our Heroine: One felt the other was too skinny with a too long neck. So the first one barked out some orders to the work room staff to draft up blousey, gathered, pleated things requiring neck scarves etc., etc., etc. adnauseum in a vain attempt to balance things out. The other one felt differently and let it be ever so diplomatically known. Obviously, our Heroine already had an inkling of what was to come in her years ahead fashion-wise. Know thyself and you'll always be well dressed. 

Tutorial Sample in Muslin
Size Medium, 30" waist, 30" hem length.

Pattern Notes & Skill Level:  Four panel unlined circle skirt with in-seam side-front pockets, invisible zipper up through the waistband, bias faced hem and self belt.  This pattern is a DRAFT Work-In-Progress, size Medium on a 5'4" model, 30" waist. Skirt hem length is based upon your desired finished length but the pattern was drafted at a 30" finished hem length from the natural waist. Skill level assumes intermediate sewing construction knowledge, how-to insert an invisible zipper with guard and a bias faced hem. Pattern layout included, grain lines are marked on the pattern.

Suggested Fabrics:  Anything swingy, swishy, near any weight woven, 60" wide.  Only stable knits are recommended.

Yardage Needed:  4yrds., 60 " wide, folded crosswise, selvages meeting in the middle.

Notions:  1 7-9" invisible zipper, 1 5/8ths button, 3/8" fusible bias tape and/or fusible yardage to reinforce zipper, waistline and pocket seams and waistband.  6 1/2 yrds  2 1/2" wide bias either from fashion fabric or contrast.  A very clear tutorial on continuous bias can be found over at Strikes My Fancy.  Your square is 25" x 25".  Instructions from the University of Kentucky are provided as well, nearer the end of these instructions.
 Cutting Layout

4 yrds. 60" wide, folded on the cross grain, folded to meet in the middle.  

Assembly Instructions 
1.  This .pdf pattern has 6 pattern pieces, and uses 30 sheets of 8 1/2" x 11" paper to print.  Pieces 1, 2, and 3 are nested within one another and are delineated by a green dashed line for #1, a red dotted line for #2, and a solid blue line for 3 and all other pieces to preserves file space and negate the need for an extra-large pattern assembly space.  You will need to print pages 7 thru 23 three times. 
2.  Layout all pieces, transfer all markings.  You will need a 25" x 25" square to make the continuous bias, as marked in the layout above in a dotted line on the under layer, so be sure not to cut through it.
3.  Give the waistline, zipper opening and all pocket openings on both the pockets and skirt (that makes 8 openings total) a strip of lightweight interfacing or 3/8ths fusible bias. 3/8ths fusible bias was used on the skirt waistline seams to keep the curved waist selvedges from stretching during construction.

3a.  Interface one waistband - this will be the outer waistband - and run a 5/8ths basting stitch along one long edge.  The uninterfaced waistband piece will be the inner waistband.  On the inner waistband, give it a shot or two of starch or stiffener prior to construction, then mark and/or baste a 3/8ths seam allowance on both short ends and a 5/8ths seam allowance basting stitch along one entire long edge. Press the 5/8ths long edge under to the wrong side.
4.  Sew pockets (#4) to skirt front (#1) and skirt side fronts (#2).  Press seams towards pockets and understitch.  
Understiching the pockets helps keep them from rolling out when you pull your hands out of your pockets.
5.  Sew skirt front to skirt side fronts by first matching pocket openings and stitching down 1 1/2" from waistline.  Then sew skirt front to skirt sides along and around pockets, down to hemline.  This is shown in blue thread below.

6.  Press pockets towards front and baste along waistline.  Also shown in blue thread at the waistline below. 

7.  Sew skirt back (#3) to skirt sides, leaving about 12" open on desired side for zipper.  The Tutorialist chose the right side. 
8.  Sew outer waistband (#5) to skirt.  Clip seam and press towards waistband.  

9.  Insert zipper in skirt side seam up and through waistband.  Put the zipper tap stop just a smidge below the 5/8ths basting, about 1/8th".

10.  Stop and have a cookie.  Admire your fabulous work.

11.  Make zipper guard.  The Tutorialist chose to make a keyhole buttonhole closure because she wanted to try something on her new machine and Show Off. 

12.  Add zipper guard to zipper tape of skirt back so the button extension faces the front, and is 1/4" down from waistband upper seam.
Facing forward

Folded over to face back

There's the 1/4" down from waistband upper seam.

13.  To sew the inner waistband to outer waistband, start by sewing the short ends first.  Wrong side to wrong side, place the 3/8ths" mark of each inner waistband short end at the raw edge of the outer waistband - 1/4" will hang over and be trimmed after you've checked your work and fit.  Stitch 1/4" away from the zipper teeth.

14.  Roll the inner waistband over towards the outer waistband, with the zipper teeth exactly in the roll fold and stitch the long edge of the waistbands together.  The Tutorialist likes to sew this step just a few inches on each end first, about 3", then stop and check her work before finishing up sewing the rest of the waistband. 

Here's a video showing the "roll and stitch" of the long edge of the waistband. 


14.  Press top of waistband seam towards inner waistband and understitch, stopping and starting 2" from zipper.  Trim waistband seam allowances, clip waist seam allowances and press up into waistband.

15.  Sew waistband closed in preferred method - by hand or "stitch-in-the-ditch."
16.  Mark hem on skirt.  Hang skirt on a skirt hanger or dress form and let hang for 24 hours for the bias to "drop & stop."

17.  Try skirt on and re-check hem markings.  Adjust as needed.  Now take a break and watch  Audrey and Edith. 

18.  Make the continuous bias.  You need 6 1/2 yrds. of 2 1/2" wide continuous bias.  The University of Kentucky instructions are below and very handy to have in your sewing notes for future reference.  Thanks, Tuckers!
19.  Run a 1/4" basting stitch along one short selvedge and one long (the entire length) selvedge.  Press under both along basting line.  The long edge of the bias is the inside hemming edge.  It is important when pressing to give this edge an inside curve, thus making the un-basted edge an outside curve.  The unbasted edge is the selvedge you will sew to the skirt, right-side to right-side.  If you've pressed your bias correctly, you will have a slight curve to it that will match the same curve of the skirt hem.

Here's a visual of pressing the bias . . .


1/4" Basting before being pressed under

1/4" pressed to wrong side of short end

20.  Sew bias to skirt hem, right side to right side.  To begin the bias, pin the pressed under short end in place and begin sewing.  Once you have completed the circumference of the skirt/bias, continue over then past where you began.  An inch or two past where you began should do it.  This is for when you turn the bias to the inside, you will have a enclosed beginning/end.

21.  Press seam allowance, then press the seam only again towards the bias, being careful not to press out the curve of the bias.  Pressing the seam in the direction of the skirt towards the bias, but not the bias itself should avoid losing the curve you've pressed. in.

20.  Understitch the bias.  Your bias will turn to the inside very nicely.  Press and pin hem.

21.  Have a cocktail and admire your fabulousness.

22.  Hem in desired method.  The Tutorialist decided on a single needle machined hem.  The double needle trial was nice too.

Complete the Look:

Don your Serendipity Skirt and give it a twirl.  Better yet, pair it with your favorite summer sandals and an intrepid spirit and you'll be ready to go sight seeing in your own home town. While a Vespa of one's own always makes for some zippy accessorizing, perhaps you're more a cinch belt Heroine.  Will you be brave enough for a new hairdo?  A new lipstick will get you camera ready. One never knows what kind of Handsome Stranger you'll meet, so make this Serendipity Skirt and Be Ready!


Savage Coco