Hello!

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It feels like weeks since I posted. I’ve tried so many times to sit down at the computer to pound out a blog post, and it just hasn’t happened. Too many other things going on. For one, The Little Dude is getting more active every day. I’m going to have to either embrace a patchwork work schedule for the foreseeable future, or else figure out some childcare pretty soon. I realized the other day that by this age, I already had Clementine at a babysitter two mornings a week. It’s hard though…when you’re on your last baby, you want to soak up every moment. And as I typed out those words, I realized that was totally an insult to Clementine, like saying “hey, middle kid: not as important!! Go chill with the babysitter!!!” SORRY CLEMENTINE. Ack. Hee.

Anyway, you can see from these pictures that Hugo is growing like a little weed. Sitting in a high chair!?! Dropping toys!?!! It’s killing me.

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Another reason I haven’t been writing blog posts lately is that all my computer time has been spent working on my next fabric collection for Cloud9. YAY!!! I’m super excited about this one you guys. Not sure when I will be able to show you anything but I’ll be sure to dish as soon as I can! Before that I was working on launching a new shop for the sewing patterns (you’ll have to click over to see it if you haven’t already!) and if you’re here on the blog you can see some new colors and fonts and and we rearranged some stuff over here too so it’s nice and shiny and new. The blog has been buggy as hell since we launched but pretty soon I’ll give you the tour. And then there’s a secret sewing project I’m working on. Plus we just got proofs to review from the printer because I’m putting Geranium into print. OK, so I’m busy…I guess I have an excuse. But my blog…see, it seems to me like my blog is the machine that keeps everything else moving, and it’s the place online where I want to be present, more than any other, so to neglect it feels a little strange.

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And then: my grandmother passed away last week after a very long life (96 years), so my family gathered last weekend for her funeral and burial, to celebrate her life. It was sad to say goodbye to her, but I had a nice time with my family, reminiscing about Grandma and what a character she was. We lost my Grandpa just a year and a half ago — he was 99 — so it felt a bit like a replay. We were all just there, together, but this time it was for her, if that makes sense. I could write about Grandma for pages (and maybe sometime I will), but for now just processing the fact that she is gone seems like it’s enough.

OK, that’s the latest. Gotta go. xoxo

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Bianca Top with poms

I went on a pom-pom purchasing binge at Purl about a month ago and this is the first garment I have managed to emblazon with my newly-acquired trims since then. There will be more OH YES THERE WILL BE MORE. I love it, despite the obvious impracticalities (will the baby eat my shirt? how will I wash this?).

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I have always harbored a love of pom-poms. I would even argue I loved them BEFORE they made their recent resurgence in popularity *looks smug.* As evidence, see my pom-pom scarf, this bonsai bag, and this pom-pom cowl for Clementine. This is the first time I have experimented with pom-poms this large on a piece of clothing rather than an accessory, however.

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During this top’s construction, I solicited opinions via Instagram as to whether or not I should also add pom-poms to the armhole. Some felt it was very chic ala Frida Kahlo. Others mentioned a slight resemblance to a mariachi outfit. In the end, it seemed there was a pretty solid 50/50 division on opinions, so I decided against it.

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I made the top using my Bianca pattern (Bianca is available as a PDF sewing pattern here) and a lovely off-white swiss dot, which is fairly easy to find, so it’s a nice garment fabric if you usually have trouble finding solid fabrics for garments. It has a drape similar to the Free Spirit voiles, but is lighter and less silky, making it an incredibly comfortable top. I chose to use the elastic shirring rather than an elastic casing (the Bianca pattern has options for both), and attached the facings to the outside of the garment after basting the pom-poms to the edges.

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So. Would you wear pom-poms?

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Fanfare Flannels 2014 are here!

Fanfare 2014

I’m so happy to report that my line for Cloud9 Fabrics, Fanfare Flannels, has been reprinted this year! It’s already in stores, and folks are already making tons of adorable stuff out of it. This year’s edition features a few new colors in the same beloved foxes and elephants, plus some coordinating solids. All in scrumptiously soft organic flannel.

Now would you like to see some projects?

Deborah at Whipstitch made these adorable shirts for two of her kiddos.Love this photo and these precious Sketchbook Shirts by @whipstitchier!! #fanfareflannels @cloud9fabrics @oliverands Part of this week's Fanfare Extravaganza!!!

Here’s Jessica from A Little Gray with her daughter in their cozy City Gym Shorts (that’s a free pattern, people!):
How fun are these City Gym Shorts by @alittlegressica!? Made with #fanfareflannels @cloud9fabrics @purlsoho Part of this week's Fanfare Extravaganza!!!

Kristin over at Skirt As Top made her little boy a sleep sack:
Check out this adorable sleep sack by @skirtastop! Too cute! #fanfareflannels @cloud9fabrics Part of this week's Fanfare Extravaganza!!!

And Terri at Fa Sew La made her boys some super fun Parsley Pants to romp around in!
Check out Fa Sew La's adorable parlsey pants in Fanfare Flannels!

If you’ve made anything out of Fanfare, we’d love to see your projects in the Fanfare Photo Pool on Flickr. Meanwhile, we’ll keep posting some more links over the next few days for a little Fanfare 2014 Extravaganza!!

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Welcome to the world little Penelope!

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We (as in, Hugo and myself, we come as a package deal now that he has decided not to take a bottle…waaaah!!! But that is another topic for another time) are back after a few weeks of vacation. Or sort of vacation. First, we went to Texas. I flew out last-minute last week to go help my sister Elli and her husband Joe with her newly hatched and unexpectedly early Penelope Wren!!! See my cute new little niece??? Sidenote for those who are just joining: Elli works as Chief Officer of Pattern Production (COPP, yes I just made that title up) here at Made By Rae. You can see more posts about her here and here.

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She is such a cute little button.

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Penelope was born four weeks early and weighed 5 pounds 5 oz so there were some concerns with jaundice for the first week and now she has some reflux issues, but otherwise she has been healthy and fine. She eats like a champ and is gaining weight swimmingly. The birth was smooth (and drug-free, go Elli!!!) — it helped that Elli was in labor denial and wrote off her contractions as intense Braxton-Hicks for the better part of a day. One just doesn’t expect to be a month early, so that was understandable, but then it was kind of intense when she finally realized she was having a baby roughly an hour before she had the baby. Penelope is Elli and Joe’s first baby so they’ve had the usual crash-course in sleepless nights and paranoia, but they are settling in and are already fantastic parents.

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Elli and Penelope!

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I thought Hugo was small, but then I picked up Penelope and nearly threw her at the ceiling because she was so light by comparison. I’m now of the opinion that he’s a bit of a chunk. A cute little chunk.

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So then, after Texas, we came back and our family went and stayed at a beach house on Lake Michigan for a week. That was last week. It was so ridiculously cold for a week at the beach in August; usually in Michigan it is so oppressively hot and humid that the Lake is just the ticket. I found our rental on Craigslist and it had some issues but overall it was beautiful and gorgeous and brand new and the perfect thing to get our family together for a nice stay-in-one-place vacation. You can see some pics from the lake in my Instagram feed, @madebyrae. It’s really nice to be back home now though.

PS. Please don’t pin or use photos of Penelope, thanks!

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Ruby Dress in chambray and voile

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I needed some new photos for the print cover of the Ruby Dress Sewing Pattern so I had Karen whip up this chambray and voile version last week at the studio. I have been hoarding this fabric forever and ever so it’s fun to have finally turned it into something wearable.

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Ruby will be the next women’s pattern of mine to go into print. It’s true that I already have some great photos of Ruby — this Leah Duncan Tule/grey chambray version was a big hit — but it seems a bit misleading to use that one for the paper pattern cover because it shows the yoke with a lining rather than the default bias-bound neck and armholes. The lining technique IS covered in my video series for adding a yoke lining, but the instructions were a bit too complicated to put into a pattern meant for beginners; it’s really better seen than read. So I guess the question is: is it OK to put a lined version on the cover, if we have to send people to the website to see the videos? I don’t know. The second question is: will this version (made with gorgeous Anna Maria Horner voile and indigo union chambray) SELL the dress as well as the original dress? I hope so. What do you think?

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Anyway, now I have a beautiful summer dress and some new photos to boot — my sister Elli just had a baby a month earlier than expected (more on that hopefully soon!!!) so things are moving a little slower than usual in the pattern production department, but that’s fine. It’s a Baby Year over here, and I think that is pretty fantastic.

You can purchase the Ruby Dress Sewing Pattern (in a PDF version!) right here.

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Let’s hear it for plaid

I’ve been noticing some fun plaid projects in the Flickr photo pools lately, so I wanted to share some of my faves with you!

I lurrrve this super summery Bianca Dress that Spencer made for herself:

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And check out Emily’s sweet Washi Tunic with sleeves!

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Here’s a great Washi Dress with sleeves by Trina:

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There are a few lucky kiddos playing in plaid these days too. Buzzmills blogged here about these amazing Parsley Pants

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Here’s a festive Fourth of July Geranium Dress:

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What have you been sewing these days? Have you come across any plaids you just couldn’t resist? We’d love to see your Made By Rae inspired projects in the Rae Made Me Do It Flickr Pool!

Charlie tunic, from pattern by Made by Rae. Size 5T.2 Foxy Charlie DressesCharlie Dress in yellow fanfare fox flannelCharlie Dress in yellow fanfare fox flannelCharlie Dress in yellow fanfare fox flannelCharlie Dress in yellow fanfare fox flannel

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Little Romper Thingy for the Drool Machine

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This was a spur-of-the-moment project (inspired by this little romper on Pinterest).  As with the dress in the last post, sometimes when I wing it it works, sometimes it’s a disaster, and sometimes it just needs some tweaking.

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please feel free to pin this romper but don’t pin any photos of Hugo — thanks!

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I drew the pattern for this free-hand-style and cut and sewed most of it in less than an hour. The only step that took a bit more time was adding the snap placket to the inside of the legs.

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This fit is a wee bit wide in the neck — he’s showin’ a little baby shoulder — and could use a little tweaking. Next time I’ll just make the neck smaller and narrower and add more length to make more room for his cloth diapers. The yellow striped knit was left over from this Flashback Tee I made for Clementine last fall — that’s the great thing about baby sewing projects, they take almost no fabric so it’s not a huge investment if it doesn’t work out. Wouldn’t a little micro-pocket look cute too?

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I’m completely helpless when it comes to editing photos of Hugo. I can’t delete any. Even looking at this post I realize there are roughly four shots that all probably look the same to everyone else, but to me are so nuanced in expression they all needed to be included.

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Gold Dot Knit Dress

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I should have considered the fact that this shade of nudey-beige is NOT the most flattering shade on me before buying yards and yards of this dotted knit last spring, but I was drawn like a magpie to those gold dots and I just couldn’t resist. In fact I broke a number of my own “rules for buying knits,” as it ended up being more sheer than expected (I didn’t request a swatch), and it was pretty cheap, which seemed great until I realized I was starting to get a pilly knit dress. Why oh why did I think it would be different this time? Two words: GOLD DOTS.

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I also should have remembered that I’m at least a whole size larger than I was last summer when I decided to add a longer skirt to the same pattern I used for the Strawberry Peplum Top. As a result, I now have a really cute dress that is waaaay too tight on the top half. But it has GOLD DOTS!! Even with a tank top underneath it shows EVERY line of my bra, which you can see in the last picture of this post, and is pretty embarrassing. I keep wearing it though. Despite the pilling and sheerness and the fact that this project was probably Not A Win. I think we all know why.

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On the plus side, the pink scarf (JCrew, two seasons ago) does two things for this dress: it covers up some of the sheerness and tightness, and it adds some delicious color to the ensemble.

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I love the aqua flower necklace (found locally at a gift shop in Kerrytown) with it too, but I need to figure out a solution to the “skin-tight” problem if I’m going to wear this without the scarf in public, as you can see above. One possible solution is to just wear the baby in a carrier over it, like I did to a wedding a couple weeks ago. After all, babies make great accessories.

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