Get ready to parrrrtay.


Can you believe that Washi is three years old?? Whaaaaat. How is that even possible? The Washi Dress was my very first garment pattern for women, and when I released it back in August 2012 I was so nervous I almost threw up. I was so worried no one would like it. I never in a million years anticipated how well it would be received, or that it would still be such a hit to this day. The response to Washi was so encouraging and gave me confidence to work on other women’s patterns, and now look at the collection we’ve gotBianca, Ruby, Josephine, Beatrix, and even a Washi Expansion Pack (aka “Washi XP,” a companion pattern with bows and collars and linings and more)! Sometimes I have to pinch myself, it’s kinda crazy.

It’s clear you guys love Washi. So to celebrate three years of this pattern, next week I’m throwing Washi a birthday party on Instagram. The party will start on Monday, August 10. The party will have two parts:

The Happy Washi Birthday Giveaway

Next Monday, August 10, wear your favorite handmade Washi dress or tunic and post ONE picture on Instagram with the hashtag #happywashibirthday. I’ll randomly pick one of the photos; the winner will receive a printed copy of the Washi Dress pattern and a printed copy of the Geranium Dress pattern.

Won’t it be fun to see how many people wear their Washi dresses on the The Same Day? So pull those Washis out of your closet (or finish up that one that’s been waiting for a hem) and get ready!!!

The Wear Your Washi Contest

Since there’s no denying that there’s still a little Washi madness going around, I thought it would be fun to see how many days in a row people can wear a different Washi dress or tunic they’ve made. I know many of you have made at least two or three. Some of you Crazy People have even made more. So let’s have a Wear-Your-Washi contest! This is similar to a dance-off, so to participate you must not only START on Monday (August 10th) but you must also wear and post one different Washi DAILY on Instagram until you run out of Washis. No repeats, no skipping days, and please make sure you show the WHOLE garment in your photo. All of your Washis must be made and worn by you.

Each entry photo must also include the following info in the photo description in order to be in the running (feel free to include other info as well, but this is a MUST):

  • the DATE
  • the DAY (of the contest, to help me keep track)
  • the hastag #wearyourwashicontest

Example: “Aug 10 /  Day 1 / #wearyourwashicontest”

The contest starts on Monday, August 10th, and will run until the last Washi-Wearer runs out of Washis to wear (so when the last person — who started on Day 1 and posted daily — posts their final photo). That person will be the Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. If there is a tie, I’ll figure out some way to break the tie. I reserve the right to use my own judgement and discretion when determining a winner for this contest. I reserve the right to declare the contest over early and select a winner from the remaining contenders. I reserve the right to choose more than one winner. If it gets too crazy, I reserve the right to pull the fire alarm, call the cops, and slip out the bathroom window. I don’t even know what this is gonna look like, but I think it could be really fun.

What is the prize, please?

WHAT? You don’t think that Enormous Honor and Privilege that comes with winning is prize enough?? I’m sure we can all agree that alone would be pretty awesome. But OK, you’re right, it would probably be even more fun with a little prize. I’ll happily send the contest winner a sewing-related grab-bag of goodies which may or may not include some printed patterns and some of my fabric.

Details, Schmetails

Yes, your first (August 10th) post for the #wearyourwashicontest should be the same post as #happywashibirthday if you want to participate in both the contest and the giveaway, so include both hashtags if you like.

Yes, Washi Expansion Pack versions of Washi count for the contest and giveaway

If you’ve hacked the pattern, it needs to resemble the original design enough to be recognized as a “Washi.” I love a pattern hack as much (if not more) as the next gal, but please don’t include pattern hacks that no longer resemble Washi. I know that’s a bit of a grey area; please feel free to check with me if you’re not sure!

Yes, both the contest and the giveaway are open to contestants outside of the United States. We will ship prizes internationally if necessary.

All garments must be finished and not “in progress.” That means hems, facings, bindings, people.

Your photos must be on public profiles so we can see them.

Please keep things light and cheery! This is meant to be GOOD FUN!

The giveaway and contest winners will be determined at Rae’s discretion and contacted to provide a postal address. Void where prohibited by law.

OK, any more questions? If you need any clarifying details, please post in the comments or shoot me an email. I’m trying to keep this really chill, so while I do not want to get caught up in all the details, I want to make sure it’s also clear.

Please TELL YOUR FRIENDS and get those Washis ready!!!

Bust Dart Adjustment: How to shorten or lengthen a dart

Jess is here today to show you how to adjust the length of a bust dart if it’s too long or too short. When we put together a (pretty comprehensive, I might add) list of common pattern adjustment tutorials for the Beatrixalong Muslin post (day 2), we couldn’t find one showing how to lengthen or shorten a dart. Whaaat. Anyway, Jess has had to do this adjustment on her Beatrixes, so she took a few pics to show you just how easy it is. Here’s Jess:

This is the easiest bust dart adjustment EVER! In these photos, I’m wearing my Beatrix muslin with dots representing where the dart ended before the adjustment (closer to the middle) and after the adjustment (closer to the sides).

With the darts sewn as they were in the pattern, they ended pretty much exactly on the bust apex.

dart shorten

The darts are at a good height, and the size is right, though, so the only thing I wanted to do was shorten the dart by an inch. Generally, you want the dart to point in the direction of your bust apex, but ending 1/2″ – 1″ short of the apex. (Rae adds: typically the 1″ is for bigger busts, 1/2″ for smaller busts)

dart adjustment

Here’s the Front Bodice pattern piece from Beatrix, traced in my size. All I had to do was make a new point on the dart’s center line one inch away from the original point, then re-draw the dart legs using a straight edge, and starting at the same points on the side so they’re the same length and they don’t change the side seam.

dart shorten

If you need to lengthen the dart, simply extend the center line by the amount you need, and re-draw the dart legs exactly the same way.

dart shorten


See how easy? For additional pattern modifications, be sure to check out our awesome list of links in this post. You can find all of the Beatrixalong posts by clicking here.

Sparkly tote with piping


Look, a fun tote! This is what I take with me every time I leave the house lately. The outside is Ruby Star Sparkle canvas by Melody Miller; I believe this was the last line she designed for Kokka before founding Cotton and Steel, and just in case you can’t see from the photos, it does have metallic ink across the top band so it’s ever-so-slightly-sparkly. 


Melody gave me a few fabric samples from that line at Camp Stitchalot two whole years ago and I’m embarrassed it took me this long to make something with this. Once I actually started it, it was really easy. I didn’t use a pattern; it’s just a bunch of rectangles sewn together. 


It ended up quite long and narrow, so I always end up fishing around in the bottom of it for my keys and wallet. I guess I wanted to finish it more than I wanted to add pockets, but at least I had the good sense to add a magnetic snap (here’s my magnetic snap tutorial, if you’re interested). It’s also the perfect size for my laptop, which was a happy accident. 


To make it a little more exciting than a plain tote bag, I added some pink piping, because piping makes anything look 100% better, in my opinion.  I have a piping tutorial, if you’re interested. The lovely gold lining is a linen I found at Bolt in Portland when I was there for Quilt Market a few springs ago.


Posted in bags

Lion Shorts for the boys


I’ve been trying to keep up with this hot summer weather by making shorts for the kiddos. With three children I’m starting to realize that making handmade clothing for each kid each season is not a realistic task, but that doesn’t prevent me from trying. One way to maximize the use of my time is to cut two pairs of shorts out of one fabric. It’s cute when my kids match, but it’s more about not wasting fabric and working quickly than anything else. I made these shorts from the Moon Pants Pattern (for Elliot) and the Big Butt Baby Pants pattern (for Hugo). I turned the pant pattern into shorts using my Turn Pants into Shorts tutorial, which is so, so easy. Seriously.

The fabric is one of my favorite prints designed by Sarah Watts for her very first Cotton and Steel collection. I love those lions! Mr Rae commented that this print would also be great as a wallpaper, and I completely agree. I can totally see it in a kids’ room or a fun entryway wall, can’t you?

Lion Shorts by Rae

I got a few photos of both boys wearing them at the same time, which was a minor miracle, although Hugo wasn’t exactly in the best mood. He managed though. Elliot meanwhile was showing off his now nearly toothless smile. He has been missing those two middle top teeth for what feels like half a year and I’m starting to wonder if the new teeth will ever come in. Is this normal??

Hugo doesn’t like grass. Just like his sister when she was little.

Lion Shorts by Rae

He likes the swing better.

We got this swing from Hearthsong for the kids to replace one the cheapy plastic one that came with the house when we bought it last year, and it’s great. They make even bigger ones that could have also been pretty fun, but I’m not sure our poor tree would have been able to support all of the neighbor kids on one swing so it’s probably best we stuck with the smaller size. It’s really easy to put Hugo on it by himself without worrying that he’ll fall off. Or he can sit in one of the kids’ laps, which he loves. The kids love it too, as you can see!


Beatrixalong Day 8: Buttons and Buttonholes

We did it!!! It’s the eighth and final day of #Beatrixalong!!

If you’re just joining us, we’re sewing with my newest pattern, Beatrix.  You can find the introductory post here with basic info and a timeline for the sewalong. And here are Day 1Day 2Day 3, Day 4, Day 5Day 6, and Day 7 if you want to go back and see what we’ve done already. I’ll keep all these posts live, so you can always come back for a refresher!


Today is Button Day:

  • Mark and sew buttonholes
  • Mark and sew buttons

Mark Buttonholes

Use the button template provided to mark the buttonhole locations on the left button placket. I usually use a disappearing fabric pen with a hard enough tip to poke through the paper to mark the center dots. You could also use a hole punch to make a hole in the center of each button on the template.

Beatrixalong Day 8

Beatrixalong Day 8

Center your buttons over the buttonhole markings and mark just above and below each button. You can draw a straight line between these two marks if you need a guide for sewing (not pictured).

Beatrixalong Day 8

Practice a buttonhole.

I can’t stress this enough. On a scrap of the same fabric as your real-live Beatrix, do a test run. Haul out your sewing machine manual if you need a refresher on the settings, and once you have a buttonhole, check to see if your button fits through it!

Beatrixalong Day 8

Sew your actual buttonholes

Sew each buttonhole on your Beatrix. Use a needle to pull any threads through to the inside of the garment, then tie them in a knot and trim the threads

Beatrixalong Day 8

Carefully cut open each buttonhole with a seam ripper or small scissors. Be very careful!! This works best with a sharp seam ripper.

Beatrixalong Day 8

Beatrixalong Day 8

Beatrixalong Day 8

After you have completed the buttonholes, line up the left placket directly over the right placket and use a marking pen to mark the button locations through the center of each buttonhole so that they will be perfectly aligned.

Beatrixalong Day 8

Sew on the buttons

Beatrixalong Day 8

And look, it’s finished!

Beatrixalong Day 8

Oh heeyyyyyy there, Beatrix!

Beatrixalong Day 8

Beatrixalong Day 8

OK, let’s review today’s assignment:

  1. Mark buttonholes
  2. Sew buttonholes and cut open
  3. Mark buttons on other side
  4. Sew buttons on

And here’s your extra credit assignment:
5. You did it! Put your Beatrix on and strut around!

6. Post a photo (crappy phone pics are fine) to Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr showing me hard evidence you’ve done something from today’s sewalong post with the tag #beatrixalong. If you blog about it, post a link in comments.

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