Saturday, 3 May 2014

Two Striped Cocos and a Thrifted, Upcycled One


Coco No.1 is a long sleeved, dark blue and cream striped organic cotton.



Coco No.2 is a three-quarter sleeved, cream and chocolate brown striped organic cotton.

I made two small alterations - taking half the seam allowance for a few inches under the arms to allow for my full bust, and a small triangle out of the front split and an even smaller triangle out of the back split. This means my side splits over lap, front over back, to give a neater and straighter outline. Here is the first shirt before I figured out the alteration. I felt it stuck out a bit too much, but for anyone with more hip this would be a gift.


These are easy to do alterations that I will apply to any future Cocos. The look I'm going for is the classic Breton style top - not too fitted through the arms and body and fairly straight. The pattern does indent at the waist just the perfect amount to suggest a waist, while still being fairly true to the iconic original.

I had already bought these fabrics for Breton style tops before Tilly released her pattern intending to use a pattern from my stash, but since Tilly's was drafted specifically for use with firmer jersey it was a better choice (my original pattern called for a lot of stretch). They are made from organic cotton that sews almost like a woven, from an American seller on Etsy. I won't be ordering fabric from America again, as the import taxes cost almost as much as the fabric (which I naively hadn't expected). I will be sticking with European/UK sellers from here on out!

These tops hide a secret, too. The underarms look like this:


I had to piece the sleeves under the armpit as the fabric width shrunk so much upon washing and drying :( These fabrics are no longer for sale so no-one else should have the same problem, and fortunately the piecing affects neither the appearance or wearing comfort as they are completely invisible to everyone else.


Coco No. 3 is a navy blue cotton jersey with lace inset and 'bracelet' length sleeves - chosen purely because that was what the sleeve length worked out to be re-using old sleeves (see below). Ditto hem length which could do with being a little longer.

I made it from an old thrifted cowl neck top which had a back lace inset (the jersey body had started to develop holes), and a thrifted (but new with tag)  polo neck top (very large size). I had to pretty much use the latter as a source of fabric except the sleeves, which I reshaped at the top and set-in after sewing the side seams (different to the pattern method).


2 old tops = one new Coco. Sorry no ironing had happened at this point!

I couldn't use the instructions on Tilly's blog for the lace inset - as this was a refashion I only had a certain amount of materials, but I'm quite happy with how it worked out. After all, the total cost of this top was only £3! Following the unexpectedly expensive striped organic jersey and holiday expenses, it was the right time for a bargain make.  

I'm glad I can tick another Basic off my list and can finally re-purpose the two misshapen thrifted t-shirts that were my only long sleeved tops (one for night time and one for a cleaning rag I think). All my long sleeved t-shirts are now me-made - admittedly I have only three - but it is still a lovely feeling. The blue ones are also part of my Colette Wardrobe Architect project  - they are just what I need for fit, style and versatility.

As you can tell I have embraced this pattern as a TNT. These are in heavy rotation and I think it's very likely I will make more when needed.

Happy sewing!

Til next time,

Philippa x

12 comments:

  1. All really great everyday tops! You know those will all be in heavy rotation. You might have convinced me I really need the Coco pattern. It seems to have a such a nice shape on everyone who has made it. Such a great basic.

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  2. These are great. I love the refashioned one. And what a bargain for £3!. I can't wait to get back to my "normal" size, so I can start making some Cocos and join in the fun!

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  3. Nice tops Philippa. Great refashion of the two tops, I really like the color!

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  4. Great tops - so wearable and versatile. I love a breton top! ( I agree about those awful import taxes. ) You are tempting me to buy a Coco pattern. :) x

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    1. I'm going to say do it! So easy to put together and you know these will get a lot of use in our unpredictable weather!!

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  5. I love all three tops, they look great on you!
    I also wanted to order some fabric from America (why di they have all the nicer fabric over there??!!), but I know I should pay for import taxes, and shipping is just outrageous, so I'm refraining.... not for long, though, I've just won a couple of gift cards from two American shops, they should cover for the shipping and taxes, at least! :)

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    1. Thank you! You are so lucky to have won those gift cards. I exist in a constant state of envy at the choice in America of both fabric and notions!

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  6. Your Cocos are tremendously flattering - they look they grew on you! Oddly enough, I seem to only be able to find organic cotton stripes from UK sellers! How is that possible?

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    1. I do love them (the tops more than the dress, for me). There seems to be a reasonable selection of organic striped jersey in the UK but (of course) it wasn't what I wanted. I wanted navy and cream (not white!) and a certain weight for wearing spring/autumn/winter. The UK jerseys are quite stretchy as a rule and this jersey is just like the Breton tops you see here in the shops, less stretch and more structure. I couldn't find anything that weight here, hence the long distance ordering, but despite the fabric being perfect in every other respect it shrank so dreadfully when washed it was still a bit of a disappointment. C'est la vie. What I really want is a UK equivalent of the shop you went to with all that secondhand fabric. Now that's my idea of fabric supply heaven!

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    2. Ah, I see - I think I was searching for striped double-knit, which I *think* is that sturdier fabric used for breton tops. It does seem like a controlled commodity! Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I think about my second-hand fabric store - how did I get so lucky? I've got my fingers crossed that they will thrive!

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  7. Awesome tops! I love that you were able to whip of 3 of them from the same pattern, yet they look different :D I'm partial to blue, so that one is my favorite ;-) but they are all great.
    That stinks with the import costs :( But they turned out lovely and I enjoyed your pictures

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  8. Ah! Your underarm piecing is genius :-) Well done! These are lovely.

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