Cleo skirt is coming soon!

Black and Grey Silk Cleo

The Cleo skirt pattern is nearly ready! This week, we’re putting the finishing touches on the layout, getting the yardage charts ready to share, working on the shop listing, and formatting the copy shop files. I’m hoping to have it ready to launch next week.

Black silk Cleo Skirt

One of my points of inspiration for this particular Cleo skirt was this image of a colorblocked black and grey skirt that I stumbled upon via Pinterest a few years back, though I really need a black henley to complete the look. Mental note: sew self black henley.

Black and Grey Silk Cleo

However, with this bow blouse from Target and my new 90’s-style glasses I think this look (which I sported for Christmas 2016) is still pretty great slash hilarious. I feel like a fancy librarian. And I mean that with much love, as my mom and littlest sister are both librarians. Mental note: take photo shushing the camera.

Black and Grey Silk Cleo

The silky fabric is a silk-cotton blend (read: machine washable, yay!!) by Robert Kaufman called “Radiance.” I bought some last year from Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, who have a fantastic selection of Radiance in numerous colors (disclaimer: Fiddlehead is a former sponsor of this blog) and I absolutely loved the fabric. Nichole at Robert Kaufman was kind enough to send us even more of it last spring when we started developing Cleo (and then subsequently put it on hold for other projects. Ahem). So, I’m excited to finally be able to show it off in my (almost-here-coming-soon) new pattern, as well as alert you to its existence, in case you’ve not stumbled across it before. Personally I find solid apparel fabrics really difficult to sift through online, so I always appreciate knowing what other people recommend. It’s light, super soft, drapey, and the reverse side is a more matte silk, which could also be really fun to sew for something with a less fancy effect.

Black and Grey Silk Cleo

Here it is in a more summery ensemble. Also slightly less wrinkly. It works best to steam rather than iron this fabric and I probably should have done more before taking these photos.

Black silk Cleo Skirt

This version of the Cleo pattern is “View A” and features cut-out pockets (sewn in with what I feel is a rather clever construction technique) and a contrast hem band. View B is longer, has inseam pockets, and was first introduced in this post.

Black silk Cleo Skirt

For those of you getting excited for this pattern, I’ll share yardage and fabric recommendations for Cleo here on the blog, soon!

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Snake top by Melissa

Melissa's snake top

Melissa's snake top

When Melissa started working for me about a year and a half ago as a studio assistant, she didn’t know how to sew. It may surprise you, but most of the work of running a small pattern business doesn’t involve sewing. There’s organizing and editing photos, categorizing expenses, printing pattern pieces, taping pattern pieces, cutting fabric, pressing, and plenty of other things to keep an assistant busy, so as far as the sewing goes, I can pretty much manage it by myself. Melissa really wanted to learn how to sew, though, so I’ve been teaching her basics like threading the machine and doing basic stitches. Last semester I decided it would be fun to have her come in a bit early once a week (she usually works a few hours a week, between her classes), so she could work on sewing something fun to wear. The result was this top that she cut and sewed herself, with some coaching and help from me, of course. We picked Astoria from Seamwork to start with.

Melissa's snake top

I showed her how to add 2″ to the length of the bodice (you may remember from my Astoria pencil top that it’s a cropped length, and Melissa is even taller than I am), and I think it was the perfect amount. She picked the long sleeve rather than the 3/4 length, and now I think I need one with long sleeves too. We also flipped the neckband to the inside again, as you can see below.

Melissa's snake top

I love how the snake print from Sidewalk (this print is called “Off the Trail”) looks with her white jeans. So awesome, right? I love how these photos turned out. This girl can rock anything.

Melissa's snake top

I especially love this candid shot I got of her when she was picking music on my iPad at the beginning of the shoot. That red matches the snakes perfectly.

Melissa's snake top

I’m excited to see what she sews up next!! So fun!

I think I might make a tee for Hugo with this print next. What would you make with these snakes??

Pear shirt for Hugo

Pear shirt for Hugo

I’ve been experimenting with a few new knit fabrics since Isla (my first women’s knit pattern) was launched a few months ago. Knits can be so different and I wanted to have some (new) good ones to recommend. I’d been eyeing Alison Glass’ solid jersey for Andover for awhile, so I bought a few different colors from Alison’s shop. These have a relatively low amount of stretch (reminds me of those “beefy Ts” we used to wear in the 90s); I first made an Isla top out of the navy color and it came out a bit on the tight side, although it was really cute. Next I decided to try something less fitted, so I used the brighter blue and lime to make a more loose-fitting raglan-style turtleneck top for Hugo, and that worked out even better!

Alison glass knits

I really like how the bright blue and lime hues looked together, so I thought it would be cute to add a little pear detail to the front. Karen was sweet enough to hand-stitch it on for me at the last Sew Ann Arbor sewing night we had at the studio. Isn’t it sweet?

Pear shirt for Hugo / made by rae

Pear shirt for Hugo

I got him to sit and pose for some rather nice photos (above), but the ones I love the most of him in this shirt are the ones shown below…they’re not as “clean,” but they capture more of our life at home…a bit of the daily mess, Clementine’s supercape (similar to the one I made Elliot, scroll down in that post), a red “Hugo” name tag someone (probably Clementine) stuck on him, as if we would forget his name. And the expression here is just priceless to me.

Pear shirt for Hugo / made by rae

Pear shirt for Hugo / made by rae

Also, this one is great:

Pear shirt for Hugo / made by rae

Anyway, I do love the AG knits; definitely recommend, and do keep in mind that you want to use them on projects that have more ease built in, so they don’t turn out too tight.

Hope you’re having a lovely week!

Flamingo Robe

flamingo robe / made by rae

Hello! Happy New Year! I ended up taking a bit of a blogging/screen break for the past couple of weeks, which was really quite nice because it gave me more time for reading (finished Everyone Brave is Forgiven last night, so good!!), board games with kids, friends, and family (PANDEMIC!!! SO good!), and some drawing and painting (maybe more fabric designs this year…who knows?), among other things. I really feel like it gave me a lovely break, like I have a bit more mental space now or something. I didn’t completely cut off, just kept my phone off/away/silent more than the usual. I know it’s all the rage to “quit” your phone and that’s fantastic too, but I also don’t think that’s completely necessary. Everything in moderation and all that.

flamingo robe / made by rae

I don’t generally do “Christmas sewing.” Ever since I nearly suffered a mental break one year I’ve managed to lower my sewing expectations for Christmas year by year so that the past few years I’ve ended up with nothing on my “Christmas-to-sew” list, which is liberating. Of course then two weeks before Christmas this year I started working on a kimono-style robe using my new Sidewalk flamingo print and realized halfway through that it would make a fantastic present for my sister Kricket, whose name I had drawn for our sibling gift exchange. So I guess I did do some Christmas sewing, though I personally think if you don’t realize you are doing Christmas sewing it really shouldn’t count.

flamingo robe / made by rae

Alas I cannot provide you with a pattern for this robe (a common request when I posted a pic of it — above — on Instagram), as I made up the pattern based on a tracing of another robe I own that is similar in overall shape. Maybe some of you have kimono-style robe patterns you could recommend in comments? You can see (from the clip on the shoulder) that the robe was still a WIP when I took this photo. I later added pockets, and I had to tear out, redesign, and resew the neckline facing in the back a few times until I got the shoulder right.

flamingo robe / made by rae

Closeup detail. Eagle-eyed readers will notice that I managed to keep part of the selvage with my name on it visible in the sleeve seam. A signature of sorts. This pic probably conveys the true color of the background best, though the flamingos look darker here than they are in real life.

flamingo robe / made by rae

And the finished robe!

flamingo robe / made by rae

Kricket seemed v. pleased with it when she opened it up on Christmas Day, so I feel this was a job well done. But also a bit of remorse for not keeping it for myself. But not really. But maybe a little bit.

flamingo robe / made by rae

If you’ve got a hankering to sew up some Sidewalk knit of your own, you can head over to my blog post about where to find Sidewalk knits, or check out the shop finder on the Cloud9 website. Sidewalk is shipping now and is perfect for a cosy winter sewing project! Please share your pics with me if you sew something with Sidewalk! The #sidewalkfabrics tag is useful on social media.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas with mom and dad

Just popping in to wish you all a Merry Christmas!!! My parents are here in Michigan from Seattle and the kids are soaking up all of the extra attention from both sets of grandparents. Lots of good food, champagne cocktails, games, cookies and movies so far (the French film “Blind Date” is cute and fun and on Netflix, if you don’t mind subtitles). No box wine yet. Hugo’s cough is getting better. They all woke up at 6:30 this morning. We are hanging out in West Michigan for a few days and then home for the New Year. May your holidays be merry and bright!

Love,
Rae

PS. Happy Hanukkah, too!