New knit maxi dress

Hey look I made a new maxi dress! This is technically my first “make” for 2016.

dyedmaxi

This dress is great but the thing that really makes you go WOW is the fabric, which I found at a Field’s (a local fabric chain) in West Michigan. It’s a cotton baby rib that has been dyed, and it wasn’t super great fabric because it was full of little holes which I had to try and (sometimes unsuccessfully) cut around in order to cut out this dress, but I still love it anyway. The pattern is something I made up (I made a similar one before, but that pattern needed so much tweaking I started over this time). It could be a candidate for an upcoming Presto pattern, we’ll see. I have so many ideas it’s hard to decide what should really happen and what should not. I’ve worn this with a sweater and leggings and boots, but it was perfect in Palm Springs a couple weekends ago, too.

maxi dress / made by rae

maxi dress / made by rae

These pics are not up to my usual standards but at least you can get a general idea of how it fits. The first pic is cracking me up. Caption should be: “why oh why is it still February?” Seriously, when will I have natural light so I can take better photos again? I used a filter because the color of the dress comes through a little truer than it did originally in the photos; in real life it is a dark salmon pink, almost a clay color, if that makes sense. The dyed areas are a deep navy blue. It’s really beautiful in person. Looked good with my gold toes in Palm Springs too.

dyedmaxidress

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Weekend in Palm Springs

palm springs weekend / made by rae palm springs weekend / made by rae

I spent this past weekend in Palm Springs, and it was so, so fun!! It’s going to be tricky to try and encapsulate the weekend with a blog post, but I’m going to try. Heather Ross has been hosting sewing workshops at the Ace Hotel for years now, and this year it finally worked out for me to attend. I’ve been a participant in two previous Heather Ross Weekend Sewing workshops, one in Vermont, and one in New York, as well as Heather’s Fabric Design workshop, but this was the first one I’ve attended in Palm Springs, this time my mom joined me, which made it even more fun.

palm springs weekend / made by rae palm springs weekend / made by rae palm springs weekend / made by rae

What I love about Heather’s workshops as opposed to most of the sewing-related travel I do is that it’s always completely unstressful and relaxed. She does such a great job organizing everything and finding great places to stay and great food, so you just sit back and have fun. This time there weren’t any sewing machines; all of the “crafts” we did were by hand. Anna Joyce taught indigo dye methods:
palm springs weekend / made by rae palm springs weekend / made by rae

Mom brought one-sies along for her grandkids. Smart, eh?palm springs weekend / made by rae

Anna Maria Horner taught hand-painted embroidery (that’s my design, bottom left):

palm springs weekend / made by rae palm springs weekend / made by rae

and Annabel Wrigley taught macrame! Which was harder than I thought it would be, but once I got the hang of it, very fun! palm springs weekend / made by rae

The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs is pretty great. Outdoor fireplaces, rooms that look like beach houses, pools, bohemian decor, fantastic food. And it was warm…at least warmer than Michigan, so it was a great place to get away this time of year. I guess I didn’t realize that Palm Springs is basically in the middle of the desert (for some reason I had always thought it was on the ocean…not that I ever looked it up), so it was drier than I expected, but really beautiful. We had a gorgeous view of the mountains right from the workshop area where we spent most of the weekend. The sky was all pink at sunset the first night I was there, and turned everything such a lovely warm color. Such a beautiful place.

palm springs weekend / made by rae palm springs weekend / made by rae palm springs weekend / made by rae

The best thing about these weekends away by far is hanging out with everyone. The crafting is great but I suspect it’s just an excuse to get people together. I am only sorry the weekend was too short to get to know everyone — or even everyone’s name — better. It was really fun that Allie of IndieSew and her sister Whitney (top right) were there, and Erin of SewBon (bottom right), another blogger I follow online. Mari (top left) even brought one of the Charlie Dresses that I had sewn and donated years ago to a charity auction (she had placed the winning bid, and her daughter wears them now!!!); it was so fun to see it again and know that it ended up where it’s worn and loved.

palm springs weekend / made by rae

palm springs weekend / made by rae

palm springs weekend / made by rae

Needless to say, it was a great time and I would go again in a heartbeat. On my way back home, I had a connection in Phoenix where the mountains and the sky were just amazing. It looked like a painting. Need to go to Phoenix someday, too…

palm springs weekend / made by rae

If you’re interested I did a Periscope broadcast on Tuesday with my friend Karen and I talked a lot about the weekend; if you missed it live you can still watch it right here if you’d like!

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Posted in travel
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Hugo’s Nursery

clementine curtains / hugo's nursery

I made new curtains for Hugo’s nursery recently using the clementine print from my baby wale cord line for Cloud9, Small World. This gives me an excuse to show you Hugo’s room before I go and totally change it up. I’m itching to get him out of that crib, and the plan is to bring Clementine into that room now that he’s no longer waking up during the night. Well, he does, but he usually just fusses a bit and goes right back to sleep. Both Elliot and Clementine were already out of their cribs by his age (22 months).

Plus, dare I say it? I want to start potty training as soon as possible. Clementine had basically potty-trained herself by this age and Elliot was trained when he was 2 1/2. I’m not one of those Pullups parents. I made it through two children without ever purchasing a single Pullup. So we’ll see how this goes. Pulling my hair out in a year, most likely. Some of you are already thinking oh dear she has no idea how much harder it will be with that third child. Or will it be easier? I have no idea. At any rate, the potty is ready and waiting (not pictured).

Here’s a bunch of pics!

clementine curtains / hugo's nurseryclementine curtains / hugo's nurseryclementine curtains / hugo's nurseryclementine curtains / hugo's nurseryclementine curtains / hugo's nurseryclementine curtains / hugo's nursery

I’m already excited about making this room into a boy/girl shared room, I think it will be cute, even if Clementine insists on taking all of her Frozen posters with her. Stay tuned.

Details: Rug from Dwell Studio / Wall Prints from the Kid Who (they’re Ingela Arrhenius) / Side table from IKEA / Rocking chair from Sprout / Hugo’s outfit blogged here.

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Posted in at home
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Made this: Teal Beatrix

Teal Beatrix / made by rae

Teal Beatrix / made by rae

Not much to say about this one except HEY LOOK I MADE THIS BEATRIX and YES IT’S A BIT OUT OF SEASON but WON’T IT BE LOVELY WHEN SPRING COMES AND I CAN WEAR IT? There’s something wintery about the color though, and anyway, the shorter the sleeve, the easier it is to layer a sweater over it. If the 40-degree days we’ve been having in Michigan this week are any indication, this will be seasonally appropriate by late February. Time to make myself a swimsuit?

Teal Beatrix / made by rae

Teal Beatrix / made by rae

Oh wait! I do have more to say about this top. I started this version (which is View A of the pattern, see handy view card below that Elli made) late last spring with the idea that it would coordinate with the View B I made out of this same voile fabric in a different color (blogged here) so that I could have a matchy-matchy photograph for the cover, see? But then, well…this one just didn’t get finished on time (it even ended up in that end-of-summer WIP post) and my Grand Plans never came to Fruition. Story of my life.

Beatrix - View Card

The Beatrix Sewing Pattern can be purchased in my shop; the fabric is a lovely Anna Maria Horner voile that unfortunately is now out of print.

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Made in 2015

made by rae in 2015
At the beginning of last year I had a ridiculously long list of things I wanted to sew. I also had a baby who was less than a year old who was still nursing, but he had just started daycare part-time so I could smell freedom on the horizon. There’s something about having next to no time for yourself that makes the brain go nearly crazy with ideas, am I right? He was sick a lot from day care, I was driving back and forth to nurse him during the day so I didn’t get much done, and I still couldn’t figure out how I was going to make this 3-kids thing work, so I was frustrated. Instead of throwing myself into despair (OK…so that’s not exactly true, I wrote a long rambling blog post entitled “The Struggle is Real” which I never had the guts to post because I was afraid it might come off as too self-pitying), I put all the ideas for sewing projects onto a piece of paper and hung it up on a door in my studio.

made by rae in 2015

As the year progressed, I found moments to sew, so I started a second list, entitled “2015 Makes,” and hung it up next to the “Ideas for Sewing in 2015” list (see the pic at the bottom of this post?) so I could chart my progress. In previous years my blog has been the primary way that I log my projects, but after years of blogging I think I’ve finally realized that it will always be impossible to get *everything* on the blog and it isn’t going to get any easier with a toddler (and honestly, last year I still was grappling with whether or not it was still really worth it to blog, with Instagram and Facebook and all — but my thoughts on that will have to wait for a different time).

made by rae in 2015

I also started photographing some of the finished projects against a plain wall since getting pictures of worn clothing on my kids and myself is also something I have to be more realistic about; it’s just tough to do. I didn’t get pictures of everything on my “Made in 2015” list, but it still gives me a sense of accomplishment. You might recognize some of the things in these photos, I only found time to blog some of them so some of them you’ve never seen before. And while it would have been nice if I could have written “I made this!” posts about all of these things, I’m OK with how it all went down; this has been a year about letting go for me. I also want to make sure you know that other hands helped make some of this stuff as well (Karen and Tashina), so that’s something else to consider when looking at these projects.

made by rae in 2015

In addition to sewing and blogging some things I made, I managed to launch three patterns this year; Moon Pants for kids; and Beatrix and Luna Pants for women. We even had a sewalong for Beatrix. All of this would not have been possible without the stellar team that backs me up: Elli, Jess, Karen, and Tashina (who has just launched her own jewelry business!!) and Tashina’s replacement, Melissa. Their hard work behind the scenes has allowed me the privilege of staying home with Hugo three days a week while still keeping the MBR machine running. Nobody can do it all, least of all me, and I’m so grateful to have these awesome people to have my back.

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I’m also grateful for all of you who have read, commented, and supported my shop and business this past year. Thank you so much for reading! Feel free to leave a comment if you want details on anything pictured here; I’m happy to answer or point you toward the right post if applicable.

Here’s to another year (and a new list) of sewing! Oh, and here are a few previous year-in-review posts if you’re interested: 2012 / 2013 / 2014

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