Two Islas in Sidewalk

Sidewalk knits

I thought you might enjoy seeing these Isla tops that Jess sewed up for the Quilt Market booth last spring! These two prints are called Fancy Steps and Lawn Ornament, and are both part of my new collection for Cloud9 Fabrics, Sidewalk, which will be printed entirely on knit fabric. I’m very excited about this.

Sidewalk knits

We had a whole section of the Cloud 9 booth dedicated to Sidewalk at the spring show, and we thought it would be fun to show off a couple of the prints with some women’s tops, since the whole line reads “kid” in general, but I think can work for the imaginative or young-at-heart adult.

Sidewalk knits

The sample fabric ended up not being the real Cloud 9 knit; we had to rush order the prints from Spoonflower because we hadn’t even gone through a round of strike-offs yet (those are the samples from the mill that they use to check colors), so there really wasn’t any “real fabric” ready for sample sewing. But Michelle and Gina were so excited about the collection that they wanted to preview it at Market anyway. As a result, these sample tops are a bit stiff and not quite the right colors, a combination of the digital printing, not prewashing the fabrics because we didn’t want them to fade, and the fact that this particular interlock had a pretty low degree of stretch. But that’s how that goes. I do think it’s interesting that many of the clothing samples at Quilt Market are simply not wearable at all, period.

Sidewalk knits

Sidewalk is coming to a shop near you in November. For more peeks at this line, including a look at the Quilt Market booth, check out the sidewalk fabric tag on Instagram.

The Isla sewing pattern can be sewn as either a dress or a top, and is available now in my shop!

My kids’ Halloween costumes from years past

I try not to have to sew Halloween costumes. I already have so many things on my to-sew list that the possibility of putting time and effort into something that might only get worn once or twice puts me off costume sewing, though there have been a handful of exceptions. It’s not that I don’t understand the appeal of making Halloween costumes, and sometimes I really enjoy it, it’s just that I usually try to get away with as little effort as possible. This year, as I attempt once again to cajole my children into wearing last year’s costume, a hand-me-down costume, or come up with a relatively easy idea, I thought I’d take a walk down memory lane and show you photos from Halloween in past years, starting with last year, 2015:


Elliot was a mad scientist, Clementine was Elsa, and Hugo was a cow. Elliot’s costume was SO easy; we ordered the kid-sized lab coat and goggles online and bought kitchen gloves and hair gel from the pharmacy. Yes, that is his real hair.


Clementine’s Elsa dress was nearly a year old; I had made it for her for Christmas 2013 (blogged here), and I think we’ve gotten more mileage out of that costume than any other costume I’ve made. The cow costume you will see again, keep reading…


Halloween 2014: Lobster, Tinkerbell, and Green Video Game Character I can’t remember the name of. Zoltan? Does that sound right? I didn’t manage to get all of them in costume in one photo at the same time that year.


The two things that were handmade in 2014 were Elliot’s head-gear and Clementine’s tights, both from the same bright green knit fabric. So that was convenient.

Halloween 2013: Harry Potter and Princess.

Halloween 2013

I was pregnant with Hugo in 2013 so I remember putting even less than the usual amount of effort into Halloween. I think that was the year Elliot wanted to be an Ent, so I purchased a ridiculous amount of brown and green felt only to give up and let my mother in law pull Elliot’s costume together at the last minute. The princess dress was ordered online. That costume has held up really well, by the way, if you’re looking for quality princess-wear.

Halloween 2012: Rainbow Cloud and Sonic (blogged here)
rainbow cloud and sonic

That rainbow represents many hours of loving toil, and then she almost didn’t wear it. I’d rather not talk about it. Much love to my dear friend Karen who came through with the handmade (and decade-old) Sonic costume for E. He loved it.

Halloween 2011: Spiderman and Cow (Clementine’s cow costume blogged here, and here.)
Halloween 2011

Halloween 2010: Spiderman and Cow (That’s right, two years in a row, same costumes. *High fives the sky*)
Halloween 2010

Halloween 2009: Fish costume and Fireman. And me as lobster. That is an odd theme (Firefighting Under the Sea?).

The fireman costume was convenient because it was his raincoat that year. So had only to cajole him into putting on the hat and his yellow rainboots (not pictured). This was Clementine’s first Halloween. Don’t worry, you’ll see the Fish Costume again.

Halloween 2008: Toad (and Mario and Luigi)


I made Mario and Luigi outfits for myself and Mr Rae, and a little mushroom hat and white pants so Elliot could be Toad for a Halloween party. This was before Elliot could comprehend Trick-or-Treating. No Clementine this year. That may perhaps explain the lack of alcohol in our hands.


Halloween Toad 2008

Halloween 2007: Fish.

Elliot is a fish

2007 Halloween

Halloween 2007

And just for kicks, here’s Hugo wearing the fish costume, too. Sadly, he didn’t fit into at Halloween, so we mailed it to his cousin Penelopeanut instead.

not Halloween 2014

Did you enjoy that walk down (Halloween) Memory Lane? I certainly did. So tell me, what do you have planned for Halloween costumes this year? I always like getting good costume ideas. Do you like to make costumes for Halloween or do you prefer to buy them instead?

Posted in holidays

Mint Stripe Isla Dress

Mint striped Isla Dress

Here’s a fun dress version of my Isla Sewing Pattern that I made while we were testing the pattern! This fabric is a super-stretchy striped cotton lycra jersey — very similar to the fabric used for my Aztec Isla Top — that I purchased on the cheap, and like that top, is now pretty pilly from washing. Le Sigh. Note to self: wash inside out and line dry! Or better yet, buy better quality knits!!!

Mint striped Isla Dress

Since this dress was sewn, I changed the bodice pattern pieces a bit so that they’re contoured at the bottom instead of straight (to accommodate busts), so the curve at the waistband would now cause the stripes to intersect with the skirt at an angle if you tried making it with a stripe. One of those situations where I had a tradeoff when making the pattern. I will post how to cut the pattern if you’re using striped fabric soon, but in a nutshell, you need to straighten out the bottom of the bodice pattern pieces, and then line the bottom edge up carefully along the stripes. Another small difference with this version is that I used a narrower band for the arms and neckline: I cut the arm and neckbands 1.5″ wide instead of the 2″ wide bands that the pattern includes.

Mint striped Isla Dress

Looks pretty cute with my Dansko clogs!

mint striped Isla Dress / made by rae

This dress definitely reads more “spring” than fall, but I am a big aqua fan so I will wear this any time of year. I think with some leggings, boots, and a big chunky cardigan, I can make it work!

You can see more versions of Isla over on my Isla Page, or purchase the Isla sewing pattern in my shop!

Posted in isla

Aztec Isla Top

Isla Sewing Pattern

Isla Sewing Pattern

This Isla is one of my favorites. Shhhh don’t tell my other Islas! It was meant to just be a whip-it-up-quick sample (read: don’t look too closely) to check the original pattern before we started working on grading it almost a year ago, but I’ve ended up wearing it quite a bit because it’s just ridiculously comfortable. The fabric is a lightweight lycra jersey with some with 4-way stretch that I purchased from Girl Charlee last year (full disclosure: Girl Charlee is a past sponsor of this blog), so it’s super stretchy and swingy. Knit fabrics with lycra or synthetic content can be a little harder to sew with than more stable knits like interlocks, but they are definitely very forgiving when it comes to fit. Unfortunately, this print is no longer available, but I think the other cotton lycra fabrics from Girl Charlee would probably behave similarly.

My big mistake with this top is that I threw it in the dryer, so it’s pilled up a bit, which fortunately you can’t really see because of the black background. You can prevent pilling in knits that have synthetic content by washing them inside out on gentle cycle and then line drying them. I honestly did not know about the line-dry thing until very recently when I read this fantastic article on IndieSew (full disclosure: IndieSew carries my sewing patterns) that not only talks about caring for rayon jersey (scroll down to the bottom), but also has a great section about how the quality and type of the knit affects the fit of the garment. This is a must-read if you gravitate toward stretchy knits.

Isla Peplum

I pretty much nailed the neckband. See how smug I look in the photo below?

Isla Sewing Pattern

The Isla Sewing Pattern comes with both a top and a dress option, and is now available in my shop!

Posted in isla
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Isla Sewing Pattern is HERE!

Isla Sewing Pattern from made by rae

You guys! My newest pattern, Isla, is here!! Isla is designed for knit fabrics and has a fitted bodice with a gathered skirt attached at the natural waist to make either a dress (like my Observer Dress) or a peplum top (like my Strawberry and Yellow Striped peplum tops). As you can see, I’ve been sewing this design for years, so I’m excited to add this pattern for knits to the pattern collection!


Skills for Isla
I know that sewing knits can make some of you nervous, so I want to assure you that the construction for Isla is not complicated. Sewing this garment requires basic knit-sewing skills, with some fun and clever techniques thrown in. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Basic knit seams: Shoulders and side seams can be sewn with a regular sewing machine set to stretch stitch or zigzag, or with a serger.
  • Neck and armbands: The scoop neckline and armholes are finished with folded bands that come together amazingly quickly. I’ve never shared this technique on the blog before, and I think you’ll love how easy it is and how great it looks.
  • Gathering knits: Elastic thread is used to gather and attach the skirt to the bodice with a technique called shirring. If you’ve never done this before, you can check out my helpful Shirring Tutorial for some photos and tips, OR you can use alternate techniques for gathering. Allie at Indiesew has shared two super tutorials for gathering knits: the floss method and the elastic method that you should definitely check out if your machine refuses to shirr!
  • Hemming: hemming is the final step, so check out some great tips in my hemming knits post!

And that’s it! I think you’ll find that sewing Isla is achievable even if you are relatively new to knit sewing! But if you’d like a nice easy project to practice your knit skills, why not try my free Knit Baby Leggings first? or check out my Knits Page for more knit sewing info!

Isla joins the Luna Pants and Gemma Tank in my “Presto Patterns” collection. The idea behind Presto patterns is that they are simple and easy to make, drafted and tested with the same level of care as the rest of my patterns, but include more abbreviated instructions (read more about Presto patterns in this post). This also means that you get the Isla pattern at the bargain Presto price!!

Isla Dress and Top

Isla is available as a PDF sewing pattern, which includes print-at-home pages as well as copy shop files (in both A0 and US formats), just like the rest of my women’s digital patterns!

More Info
I’ve put together an Isla Page where you can find all of the blog posts and resources pertaining to Isla. In the Isla shop listing, you’ll find additional photos, plus all the charts for sizes, finished measurements, and yardage.

Share with us!
I’d love to see what you make with the Isla Pattern! Please use the hashtags #islapattern#madebyrae, or #raemademedoit on Instagram and Twitter to share your photos, or post pictures of your finished tops and dresses to the Rae Made Me Do It pool in Flickr and see what others have made! I also have a Made by Rae group on Facebook now, so if you’d like to join and be a part of the sewing community there, please request to join!