Hot! The “Cockatoo on Driftwood” Outfit

The Facts
Fabric: Grey stretch sateen $7?, aqua mystery fabric $2
Pattern: McCall’s 5591 and Sorbetto
Year: 2007 and 2011
Notions: 7″ zipper $2
Time to complete: ~5 hours (skirt: 6 episodes of Party Down, top: 2 eps of Mad Men)
First worn: The skirt, to work a few weeks ago; the top, to work last week.
Wear again? Yeah, I guess.
Total price: $11
The grey fabric has been in my stash for over a year and I can’t remember what I originally paid. I made shorts out of it last summer and I didn’t know what to do with the rest – I didn’t know what I was going to do with it when I bought it! The aqua fabric I bought at WalMart during the one time I’ve stepped in there…ever. They had two huge shelves of fabric for around $1.50/yard. A lot of it was on bolts for other things, or said “unknown clearance fabric; unknown fiber”. Helpful. I didn’t pick up that much because I was scared, but I did decide this was nice for some reason.

When the Pantone challenge came up I looked at the palette and thought “Cockatoo” and “Driftwood” would be an ok combo – but what to sew?! I wear a lot of black/grey/other dark colors so the skirt fits pretty seamlessly into my wardrobe but I keep noticing weird/slightly off things in my finishing which I’m not happy about. I was worried the aqua top was going to look juvenile, but it actually looks ok depending on the styling. I used the famous Sleeves for Sorbetto, and made facings for the neck instead of bias tape. The center pleat gets a bit lost with this pattern.

The top two pics are from my second set of photos for this outfit. Originally I took a few snaps at home but I was in a terrible mood so I only made tired and stern faces like this…

The only challenge I’ve skipped so far was “Accessorize” because I was super intimidated right out of the gate. But I should have made this top back then, because it fits so well with this necklace my mother-in-law got me for Christmas 2010 (from Etsy). But of course my mind was blank at the time. C’est la vie. Here’s a close-up of the fabric. I didn’t know how to describe the detail.



Liz has been sewing since April 2011 but has been crafty all her life. Her full-time job is as a museum curator at a smallish institution, where her DIY skills often come in handy. Liz likes to sew while watching TV, which she uses to measure the amount of time it takes to finish.


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  1. Hey Liz, the fabric for the top is really cool, looks like a seersucker fabric from the photo. That skirt is great also, it will go with so many things. Reminds me I have a pleated skirt pattern in my stash I should break out. Happy sewing.

    • I guess it could be seersucker, it has the wrinkles but it also has a bit of embroidery (I guess) as well. I *love* pleated skirts I have another one planned for next week!

  2. I agree with Krista, the blouse fabric is very pretty. I think it looks like seersucker too. Nice one

    • Thanks, Trish! I think it could be a seersucker, but with some embroidery too? It didn’t give me any trouble so that’s always good!

  3. The sorbetto is such a great pattern – lovely in the blue. The skirt is great – I like the wide waistband and pleats.

    • I love this skirt pattern. I have plans to use it a few more times. Both patterns are basic but that means they’re also versatile!

  4. Great colour combo, that skirt looks tricky, loving the pockets, casual chic, well done on those pleats too.

    • Thanks! It’s not that tricky. The pattern has really great directions. The only trouble is the bands at the pockets can be bulky as there are 5 or 6 layers of fabric to sew through! And I have trouble ironing it because I don’t have a board, just a mat. Other than that it’s a breeze!

  5. Great color combo! I can see that top pairing nicely with other pieces like pants and shorts. Your skirt is cute too. Love the pleats.

    • Thanks, Barbara! I really like it but I always seem to fall into the colorful-top-with-black-pants monotony and feel boring. I’m trying to branch the wardrobe out a bit more.

  6. Love the top, that colour is great on you. And the skirt is fabulous too.

  7. I’m liking the Cockatoo-Driftwood pairing and the minimalist chic you’ve got going here, especially with the necklace. Sorbetto is the best and you can’t go wrong with a pleated skirt either.

    • Thanks, Lee! Sorbetto is the best, and I love how ubiquitous it’s become. I think nearly every sewing blogger I know has made at least one – and beautifully!