Coco Banana // Tilly & the Buttons Coco Top Review

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When I was about 8, I had a friend who had a “Copabanana” phase. This means she sang that one line from Barry Manilow’s Copacabana – “At the Copa, Copacabana” over and over again, but as “Copabanana” instead of “Copacabana”. Clearly it was annoying enough to scar me for life, because I still accidentally sing the wrong lyrics today. So when I sewed up a yellow Coco Top last December, the natural choice of name was “Cocobanana”. #sorrynotsorry

I’ve briefly mentioned in an earlier post how fast and easy the Coco pattern is to sew up, but I never in a million years dreamed that I would be able to sew it from cutting to pressing in 4 hours and still find that I had done a decent job on finishing the hems. As some of you would have seen on my instagram, I rushed out this baby in a single afternoon between sitting for an exam paper and hightailing it to the airport to catch a flight to Hong Kong.

 

 

But let’s start from the very beginning shall we? I first saw the Coco when I became interested in sewing early last year and discovered the existence of sewing patterns (you’d be surprised how many people think all homemade garments are drafted by the sewists themselves!). Being very much a pear-shaped lady I didn’t think the A-line shape of the top would work for me as I felt it would accentuate my already ginormous hips, much in the way peplum tops do. Even after sewing it up in my size and trying it on (with the jeggings above), I wasn’t convinced it wasn’t a good match for my body shape. It was only after getting a second (and third!) opinion that I decided to leave it as it was and test it out on my Hong Kong trip.

And how I loved it on that trip. I loved how fitted the top is – the armholes are a good fit and the sleeves are slim and makes my very un-toned arms look thinner than they actually are. Even the bust area needed no SBA! The only thing that I might change is to take a wedge out of the neckline as it tends to gape a bit (would that be a narrow shoulder adjustment? I’m not sure of the terminology).

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In terms of outfit combinations, I knew it was a keeper when I tucked it into a pleated skirt I had and it looked like a great basic fitted/ structured tee that wasn’t too boxy for my liking. While I do still have misgivings about pairing my Cocobanana with jeans, after reviewing the photos above I feel it just about passes the shorts-matching test. I’m pretty sure this pattern is going be one of those that keeps on giving – and I haven’t even made up the dress version yet!

On to construction – like I mentioned above, the top came together in no time at all. The instructions were clear, helped along with Tilly’s sew-along on her blog, and I loved that the sleeves were sewed in flat, it’s SO much easier for beginners. Since the recommended fabrics are low-stretch knit fabrics, like ponte knit, that means it sews up more or less like woven fabric – none of the pesky problems that come with lighter weight jerseys, hurray!

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As for alterations, I sewed a size 2, grading out to size 3 at the waist and hips. It was the first time I tried any sort of alteration on paper before sewing up my muslin and I found this pattern really easy to grade and to blend between sizes. In addition, I referred to Tilly’s tutorial to create this summery short sleeved version of the top.

Like I said before, I would most definitely recommend this pattern to anyone, even a complete beginner! I really don’t think it matters that this pattern is for knit fabrics, the instructions are so clear that it shouldn’t be a problem at all.

Christmas Pyjamas for the Tropics // Margot Pyjamas Pattern Review

Continuing with Merry Making 2014, today’s post is a brief pattern review and hack of Tilly and the Button’s Margot Pyjamas from her book, “Love at First Stitch“.

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If the multitude of blog posts on Christmas pyjamas (or pajamas in this context) that have sprung up over the last few weeks are any indication, it would seem that Christmas pyjamas are a big thing in the States.  Though we don’t have that practice over here, I can totally see the appeal of it – if presentable sleepwear means more time bumming around in my jammies, then I’m down for implementing this new tradition in my household!

With this in mind, I whipped up this pair of Margot pyjama shorts in anticipation of an upcoming family stay-cation at the Hard Rock Hotel in Sentosa, Singapore. … I may or may not also have been motivated by the prospect of getting to photograph my brand new shorts in a luxurious hotel room and bed, as opposed to my orange bedroom walls and comically colourful $10 cartoon sheets. (Also a big thank you to my sister and cousin Joelynn for helping with the photos!)

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My pattern of choice was Tilly’s Margot pyjamas from her book, Love at First Stitch, but in shorts rather than trouser form. If there’s one thing warm humid nights in the tropics don’t need, it’s long pyjama pants! It was a quick and easy make, especially as they weren’t meant to be fitted and I omitted pockets; it must have taken me at most an hour from cutting to hemming.

Margot Pyjamas as pictured in Love at First Stitch

If I could remake this pattern again, I would definitely go with a different fabric – I found that this one creased terribly once it was sat on. I would also shorten the pattern a tad bit more as I found this make a little too long! I ended up cuffing the shorts at the hem, if you can tell from the mismatching vertical stripes (I couldn’t be fussed to match the print properly… it’s meant to be pyjamas after all).

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All in all I love this pattern, and will definitely be making it up again soon. I would highly recommend using the Margot pattern if you’re thinking of making matching Christmas PJs for the entire family – imagine how cute that would be!! If you’re leaning towards a full pyjama top and bottom set, I would suggest pairing it with Megan Nielsen’s Eucalypt Tank pattern – I’ve actually got a tank dress made from the same fabric as these Margot pyjama shorts and they look adorable paired together.

Do you have a tradition of getting new pyjamas on Christmas day? If anyone knows the history behind it, do let me know in the comments below!