Gemma in Zephyr rayon

Zephyr Gemma Tank

Here’s another Gemma tank I’ve been wearing this summer! This one is made with Zephyr rayon (in colorway gust midnight) from Cotton + Steel, designed by my friend Rashida Coleman-Hale. Rashida can really do no wrong when it comes to me, I just think all of her designs are amazing. This one looks like it was brushed right onto the fabric. Fun. Also fun with turquoise flats, right? Bonus points for you if you can name the other post where I wore the turquoise flats without googling.

Gemma Tank

made by rae gemma in zephyr

My original vision for this tank was that I would wear it to a wedding this spring with the highlighter yellow pleated skirt, shown below (that I did not make, by the way. It’s from JCrew; I have my limits, people). It didn’t end up happening because it was so cold the day of the wedding that I wore the skirt with a cashmere sweater instead; but here’s some pics of the outfit anyway. Oh well!

made by rae gemma in zephyr

I find rayon challis to be surprisingly easy to finish with bias binding (see also: this rayon Washi maxi dress, whose binding also came out splendidly, if I do say so myself). It lays flat and behaves quite nicely compared to some other substrates, some of which can be downright tricky. *Coughs* Double gauze, I am looking at you.

made by rae gemma in zephyr

Rayon is quite flowy and comfortable to wear, making it a great choice for Gemma!

made by rae gemma in zephyr

Pattern coming soon! Yes, I am being a terrible tease.

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Gemma Yardage and Fabric Recommendations

made by rae | gemma tank sewig pattern

The Gemma Tank sewing pattern is coming so very soon! Here are a couple of peeks at it:
Chambray Gemma Tank
Coming Soon … Gemma Tank

Many of you have asked me about the yardage so you can get ready to sew Gemma; here’s what you’ll need:
made by rae | gemma yardage chart
Note that these yardage estimates are intentionally generous to allow for space between pattern pieces and estimated fabric shrinkage, plus, in the case of the sizes where the pattern front and back can be placed side by side across the width of the fabric, we added an extra 1/4 yard for the bias strips. It is entirely possible that you could get away with using less fabric (in some cases, as little as 1 yard!!!) if you get creative with your cutting layouts! I just want to be careful because some fabrics shrink a lot width-wise, so it’s best to be conservative on the yardage, especially when something takes as little fabric as this tank does!

Recommended Fabrics: lightweight woven fabrics such as voile, rayon challis, shot cotton, shirting, double gauze, lawn, broadcloth, silk, viscose, and chambray.

Optional: This pattern has instructions to cut your own bias strips for the binding, but if you prefer to use prepared bias tape, you’ll need about 2.5 yards of 1/4″ double fold bias tape. If you prefer a hidden binding, get the single fold variety.

One more thing that I’m very excited to announce: Gemma will come in NINE sizes! We’ve added an XXS, and now there are three plus-sizes. You’ll see that size XXL isn’t on this chart, so if that has been your go-to Made By Rae size, I’d recommend trying Size 1.Made By Rae | Presto Pattern size chart

Just like my Beatrix and Josephine patterns, there are two different front bodice pattern pieces to fit either A/B or C/D cup sizes, and the pattern has clear guidelines for choosing your size. So don’t worry if you don’t fit exactly into one of the sizes in the chart (for instance, if your bust puts you in a larger size than the rest of your measurements); you’ll have help once you’ve taken your measurements and you have the pattern in front of you!

Any questions? I’d be happy to answer them. I hope you found this post helpful!

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Chambray Gemma Tank

made by rae gingham gemma

I’m so thrilled with the response to the Gemma preview last week!! It’s really fun to know that so many of you are excited to make this tank. I always worry when I put something out there that no one will like it…or think it’s too basic…or…you name it. Introducing a new pattern can be hard, and I wish I could say I don’t care what anyone thinks but that’s not true, so it was really nice to have such an encouraging response. I think this pattern is going to be super versatile for everyone and I can’t wait to show you all the things I’ve been doing with it.

made by rae gingham gemma

As we get ready to launch the pattern (if you could see behind the scenes, we are smoothing lines, checking yardage, adding labels to pattern pieces, double checking darts and seam lengths, and writing shop listings!!! It’s BUSY!), I want to show you some more of the Gemma tanks I’ve been making.

This one is made with a chambray and has the scoop neckline (the pattern will have two neckline options, scoop and jewel, which is higher). I purchased this chambray at IndieSew; it’s similar to the Union chambrays from Robert Kaufman, but doesn’t have quite as much stretch as those. Chambray is a great fabric choice for this tank, especially if you can find a lightweight one with a bit of stretch. I really do recommend the RK Union Chambrays if you’re looking for something similar. Chambray matches absolutely everything, and it’s on the mark with the all-denim-all-the-time trend that seems to be happening right now.

made by rae gingham gemma

I wasn’t super careful with the neckline binding, so it ended up a little wobbly along the neck  — see how it looks like it’s rotating a bit along the seam? That twisting is caused when the front of the binding isn’t even with the back of the binding, and it’s easy to avoid if you pin carefully as you go. I’ll be sure to show you how I like to attach bias binding to make it look flat and beautiful, soon!! There are a number of other fun things you could do with a basic solid tank, including a contrast solid binding, or even a binding with a print, wouldn’t that be fun?

One thing we did change about the pattern after this tank was sewn was that I decided I wanted the armholes to be bigger, which narrowed the straps a bit and also opened up the armholes to make it more comfortable. I’ll post pics of that soon.

made by rae gingham gemma

More tanks and a pattern, coming soon!!

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Coming soon…Gemma Tank!

coming soon: gemma tank

It’s high summer and what could be more perfect for the hot weather than a lightweight cotton tank? I’ve been making tons of these tanks for my wardrobe this spring and summer, so it’s time for a new pattern! I’m happy to announce that the Gemma sewing pattern will be ready soon.

Gemma Tank Sewing Pattern / made by rae

My goal was to create something simple based on the basic block I used to make Beatrix and Josephine, with the goal of getting the same great fit (or better!) in a pattern that is quicker and easier to sew and takes less yardage. I also wanted something that would teach the basics of women’s garment sewing (bust darts, curved hem, bias binding) that I could use eventually for teaching a basic bodice-fitting sewing class, locally in Ann Arbor or maybe even online. So I took some of the things I loved from those patterns and played around even more with the fit — personally I think the fit is even better than before — and the result is Gemma!

Gemma Tank Sewing Pattern / made by rae

Gemma has two neckline options, a shirttail hem, and bias-bound arms and neck. I love that you can tuck it in or wear it out — and Gemma again includes two front bodice pattern pieces for A/B and C/D cup sizes (just like Beatrix and Josephine). Gemma is easy and quick to sew, so it was the perfect choice to be my next Presto pattern (in a nutshell, my Presto patterns are simpler and cheaper, but feel free to click that link for more details).  The neckline shown on the pink tank is the scoop (lower) neckline. I made this pink tank using Alison Glass’ Handcrafted cotton (I purchase her fabrics directly from her shop), and the navy Liberty of London pencil print came from Dry Goods Design.

Gemma Tank Sewing Pattern / made by rae

And here’s the jewel (higher) neckline, with the hem tucked in:

Gemma Tank Sewing Pattern / made by rae

and left untucked:

Gemma Tank Sewing Pattern / made by rae

So what do you think? Are you excited about Gemma? I think the options are endless!

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At the lake

Lake Michigan, July 2016

Lake Michigan, July 2016

Lake Michigan, July 2016

Lake Michigan, July 2016

Lake Michigan, July 2016

Lake Michigan, July 2016

Lake Michigan, July 2016

My sisters and I are at a cottage on Lake Michigan this week with our families. It’s turned out to be a lovely week, weather-wise, which in Michigan can be a bit of a gamble, so the kids have been down at the beach every day, sometimes multiple times. Our cottage is not fantastic, but it’s not horrible if you think of it more like camping than staying in a beach house. It’s rustic. It’s not a huge surprise we end up with something less than perfect, though, as we usually wait too long to book our rentals. This year we have a dishwasher that doesn’t work, a tub that won’t drain, and two ticks found in one baby’s bedroom. Maybe one of these years we’ll get lucky and find the Perfect Beach Rental that we want to keep coming back to year after year. Right?

Anyway, the weather is good, so we are spending quite a bit of time reading outside or down at the beach. Marvelous, beautiful Lake Michigan. It amazes me how instantly entertained my children are with the beach. I’m biased since I grew up near this lake, but you really can’t beat it: fresh water, clean sand, cool breezes, waves, and gorgeous sunsets. It’s a good place to get away.

I’ll be back next week to introduce you to my new favorite sewing pattern!