Here, fishy fishy fishy!

Finished this week: A pair of summer tops for me and Elliot…too bad it’s already fall!

For Elliot I modified the basic boy’s collared shirt with a placket and mandarin collar (here’s the you-can-do-it tutorial), and added two pockets low down; I know it looks a little odd but this way he can stash his matchbox cars in there.

And here’s mine:

(I tried to do a cute mother-son photo shoot but most of the pictures are of him squirming out of my arms…)

I spent a couple of naps messing around tension, stitch length, and how tight to wind the elastic thread on the bobbin and I think I finally figured out the shirring thing! Hooray! Victory is mine!!! This has got to be the easiest top in the universe, it’s basically a tube of fabric that you shirr (is that a verb?) for about 8 inches down (or so) and then plop a pair of ties onto. I serged the bottom and top with a rolled hem so the most time-consuming thing about the whole deal was pulling out the extra shirring; I originally did about 10 inches which was too much. The Mendocino Sundress pattern came from Heather Ross, as did the fabric. This is the Mendocino line which you’ve seen on this blog before (click on the Heather Ross label at the bottom of this post to see more). I shortened the pattern so it’s a top, not a sundress.


I think it makes a great post-partum top, and doesn’t everyone have a little flab around the mid-section they’d like to hide? I would imagine this looks good as a maternity top too.
The funny thing about the shirred top is when it’s off, it’s actually narrower than the toddler shirt:


And here’s my little man showing his off for the neighborhood:

Bonsai! Rae’s New Fall Bag.

Here’s my newest bag. I’m calling it the “Bonsai Bag”*


I’m really digging orange right now, and these colors really get me in the mood for fall. The ties even look like little leaves. Since it’s pretty much felt like autumn all summer long here in the Midwest, I’m not experiencing the usual shock to the system, round of denial and all the wishing that summer would last just a little longer. No way man. Fall, bring it on! Stop messin with me already.

I’m really interested in your feedback on this bag. I can’t tell if it works or if it’s too much. I tend to go over the top with stuff, and I’m aware that the orange poms might qualify as Too Much. But I saw a bag in an Anthro catalog with pom-poms around the top a while back (not there any more) and ever since then I’ve wanted to make a bag with them. Does it help to know that I also wanted to put orange poms around the neckline of the unicorn top, but restrained myself? I’m not sure.


This fabric (Good Folks fabric by the lovely Anna Maria Horner) lent itself perfectly to a little hand embroidery (you can just see the orange stitches in the pic above). I already have plans for another one; I’m imagining so many options for the center panel — maybe some more embroidery on a solid background (birds? trees? an owl?), quilting, applique, or another showcase fabric? It makes my brain hurt thinking about what you could do with this if you had one of those fancy embroidering sewing machines (I don’t). And instead of the pom-poms, maybe some ric-rac or a ruffle…

I can see this with metal hardware too…maybe those silver rectangle thingies?

I really like the size of this one; it’s pretty large so it holds lots of stuff. I made it with a magnetic snap but I think it would work better with a recessed zipper. I took pictures while I made it, so I’ll put this out there like I usually do: if there’s enough interest in this I can make a pattern available. Meanwhile I’m on to bigger projects. I really really need to finish Elliot’s quilt before it starts to cool off outside.

*the name was my seester Elli’s idea. It makes no sense but I like it. And I love that it reminds me of that ridiculous show Banzai! which was completely insane but the Mr Shake Hands Man segment still makes me laugh when I think about it….

Real Women wear Unicorns

Thanks for the encouragement over the baby outfit — it was nice to know I’m not the only one who couldn’t hack the pattern (though now I’m living in constant fear that the great AB herself will stumble across the post and read it and have her feelings hurt…mortifying). I’m going to try and mess with the waistband and neckline a little to see if I can get it to fit as a 6-12 month or 12-18 month sized top. The bloomers I fear are a loss, but I’m sure someone I know will procreate again soon and odds are decent (49%, I believe) that effort will produce a girl.

A few weeks ago, bolstered by having Mr Rae home and the fact that my belly was no longer ginormous (although a bit woobly and second trimester-esque), I pulled together this unicorn top with some of the Far Far Away from my stash. It’s McCall’s 5388, a fave here at Made By Rae and this version (View D) was even easier as I decided not to add the sleeves, bringing the number of pieces I had to cut down to a wee four. Also, this may seem a bit counterintuitive, but fall is coming, and sleeveless looks better under cardigans. I used bias tape (that bright orange they carry at JoAnn happens to match this colorway perfectly) and lace to finish the armholes, and I took out the usual 1 inch from the center of the yoke, as it is notoriously wide.


I decided to pintuck and pleat rather than gather the front, so I alternated pintucks with pleats from the center. Each pintuck was 1/8″ and each pleat was 1/2.” This was a little tricky with the double gauze fabric, but it turned out pretty well.

I love the idea of making a smocked sundress like this one out of this fabric too (yes I sortof stole the name for this post from that pic)…oh, woe is me, if only I could figure out how to smock properly! One of these days I will beat my machine into submission and then it will be victorious smocking! smocking! smocking! all the way I tell you.


: : closeup of neckline and pleat details : :


: : someone may have gotten a wee bit crabby during this photoshoot…good thing her pants matched : :