Spring Top Roundup

To tuck or not to tuck? Two versions of two very lovely tops from our Spring Top Sewalong pool. I adore them both…both ways!
to tuck or not

Top: (left) my-spring-top-4, (right) my-spring-top-2,

Bottom: (left) New Look 6808, (right) New Look 6808 tucked in

And some more lovely and cheerful tops for spring…

spring top blouses
Top: (left) Emerald Tunic, (right) Peter Pan Blouse,

Bottom: (left) Lisette Portfolio, (right) squaretop

spring tops 3
Top: (left) Sheer square top, (right) Simplicity 2922,

Bottom: (left) purple jersey top, (right) Striped Dolman

Spring Top Sewalong is going on now! Keep adding your own photos to the Spring Top Sewalong 2013 Flickr Pool!

Deer and Doe PlantainDeer and Doe Plantain TeePlantain TeeRenfrew in wool double knitRaglan T-ShirtBess Top - title image with textNautical!Bess Top V2 - wearing, looking down 2_edited-1Bess Top V2 - frontBess Top V2 - pleat detailFinished Wiksten TovaOrange Gingham button up

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Parsley Pants Sewing Pattern is here!

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So excited to announce that the Parsley Pants pattern is finally here!

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Description

The Parsley Pants pattern is a basic pant made with just one pattern piece, making them so ridiculously easy and quick to sew! The basic version features an elastic waistband, but even the extras (flat front, pintucks, pouch pockets, box pleat pockets, kneepads and the tuxedo stripe) take very little time to add. You’ll be amazed at how quickly these come together!

The pattern instructions and illustrations are thorough and easy to follow, thanks to the amazing job my sister Elli did on the layout (Click here for a peek at the instructions).

Size Range
The pattern comes in kids’ sizes 2-10 and is intended for children who are out of diapers, though I did design them with a bit more room for diapers in sizes 2 and 3. Cloth diapers might be a bit tight, though, as my goal was to keep the fit trim enough that they would look great both as a pajama pant and as an everyday pant. By the way, if you’re sewing for diapered babes, you should definitely check out my Big Butt Baby Pant pattern!

Adjusting fit
The main pattern piece can be easily cut along the tuxedo stripe line and spread apart for children who need a bit more room in the hip, or taken in along the same line for skinny kids. I’ll try to post a tutorial on this soon!

See more
The Parsley Pants have been seen previously on my blog in the following posts:
Coming soon…Parsley Pants (this post talks more about the pattern if you’re looking for more information)

Here’s a quick look at some more versions of the Parsley Pant I’ve made recently! First up, a yellow plaid pair for Elliot with a flat front and kneepads…

Parsley Pants

A green pair for Elliot with pouch pockets and kneepads (by the way, I named the pants “Parsley” because I LOVE GREEN PANTS!)…

Parsley Pants

Parsley Pants

Parsley Pants

A pajama pant (this is the easiest version of Parsley, a full elastic-waist pant) as part of a set along with a Charlie Tunic pajama top for Clementine…

little letter pajamas

And a few more pairs, not yet blogged, that you can see in this pic:

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As usual, this pattern is BRAND NEW, so if you find any mistakes or have any issues, please email me!

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Thanks to Elli and all of my testers who provided awesome feedback to make this pattern the best it could possibly be. You can see their versions in the Parsley Pant Photo Pool:

darth vader halloweendarth vader halloweenfanfare elephant pajamasfanfare elephant pajamasfanfare elephant pajamasparsley pants 003parsley pants 002Red corduroy ParsleysRed corduroy Parsleysshamrock parsley pantsshamrock pantsparsley shorts hands in pockets

I can’t wait to see all of the great versions of the Parsley Pants you guys make!

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Spring Top Sewalong…what to make?

I cannot believe this. It is SNOWING outside my window right now. What what WHAAAAAT? The Spring Top Sewalong was supposed to end last week (at least according to this post), but honestly now, with real spring weather proving so elusive and my general reticence to don and photograph my own spring tops (can you blame me? it is so cold outside!!), I’ve decided that this year’s sewalong is just going to have to be extended until we can get some REAL SPRING. Is that okay with everyone?

Kids’ Clothes Week (KCW) is also going on right now, so if you need to take a break from the top sewing to sew for your littles, go right ahead. It doesn’t mean you can’t keep adding your photos to the pool or dreaming about new spring tops, right? And if you’re still stuck on what to make for yourself for the sewalong, let’s take a look at some of the new women’s patterns on my radar this year. All are from great indie pattern designers, and I think they would make fantastic spring tops!

First, the Archer Shirt from Grainline Studio is a classic button-up style shirt that would look great in all kinds of fabrics. The Archer Sew-along just wrapped up last week and is a great resource if you want to make your own Archer. Check out the Tiny Pocket tank and the Scout woven tee patterns as well!

Grainline

This year my friend Meg over at Sew Liberated has released a really exciting pattern collection that includes the new Esme Top (and skinny jeans!!). The Schoolhouse Tunic is another popular favorite that has made regular appearances in the Spring Top Sewalong pool in past years and is another great choice.

SewLiberated

Jamie Christina has a new Hi Lo raglan tee pattern that looks super comfortable for those who are looking for a casual, wear-with-jeans pattern, and it has a hoodie option! The Sol Hoodie would also be perfect for layering this spring, and I think the Miz Mozelle dress would look great as a top.

JamieChristina

The new spring release from Colette Patterns is Laurel, a shift dress with lots of fun variations in both blouse and dress styles. I love how the back darts create a beautifully tailored fit, and the gathered cuff sleeve is definitely my favorite. Colette has a number of other blouse patterns as well (such as Violet and Jasmine), so be sure to make a thorough perusal through the separates section while you’re over there.

Collette

The Briar Top pattern from Megan Nielsen is another favorite this spring; I’ve been seeing tons of Briars in the sewalong pool this year already! I’ve also always thought that the Darling Ranges dress would be so cute in blouse form, and Banksia is another popular favorite from Megan. Note to those who are preggers: Megan also has a great maternity pattern collection!!!

MeganNielsenPatterns

Finally, another dear friend, April Rhodes of Sew to Speak, makes her pattern debut with the beautifully simple and elegant Staple Dress for women. I’ve already printed out my copy and am scheming about ways to turn it into a blouse, and a dress is in my plans, as well. This is a great choice for any sewist; easy construction and forgiving design make for an instant-gratification sewing project!

STAPLE-1

OK. So realistically, there’s no way I will be able to make each and every one of these this spring, but I’m hoping I’ve inspired some of you so I can live vicariously through you instead! Did I miss one of your favorites? Definitely tell me about it in the comments!

For more spring top awesomeness, see what everyone has been making in the Spring Top Sewalong 2013 Flickr Pool!

Deer and Doe PlantainDeer and Doe Plantain TeePlantain TeeRenfrew in wool double knitRaglan T-ShirtBess Top - title image with textNautical!Bess Top V2 - wearing, looking down 2_edited-1Bess Top V2 - frontBess Top V2 - pleat detailFinished Wiksten TovaOrange Gingham button up

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Coming soon…Parsley Pants!

I want to talk a little bit today about the new pant pattern I’ve been working on. Introducing Parsley Pants!

emmy lizzy's velveteen pants

{Shown above: quite possibly my all-time favorite version of the pants in velveteen, via emmmylizzzy’s Instagram}

Emily also happens to be one of the testers for this pattern, and is a guestie today over at the Kids Clothes Week blog with a post showing all seven pairs of the Parsley Pants she’s made. SEVEN. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to get that kind of endorsement on something I’ve been working so hard on.

The pattern will soon be available on the Parsley Page and will come in kids’ sizes 2-10. I’m not exactly sure, but if you’ve got a slim kid in the 11-12 size range, you may find that a bit of length added to the size 10 will work too.

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The thought process behind this pattern: I love sewing pants for my kids, but I’ve always had to “hack” other pant patterns to get what I wanted. So I went back to the drawing board and drafted a new pant pattern from scratch, and I’ve been tweaking it over the last few months to get the fit just right.

I do realize that one pant pattern can’t be and do *everything*…but that hasn’t stopped me from trying. Essentially, the Parsley Pant is a two-piece pant, so there’s just one main pattern piece. This makes cutting and sewing the pants really super quick. The most basic version of this pattern, therefore, is an easy full-elastic waist pant, perfect for lounge or pajama pants.

{Nursery Versery pajama pants. Note that because I didn’t love the fit in the crotch here, it has since been adjusted}

But I didn’t want the pant to stop there. I wanted to add enough “extras” to the pattern to make it fun to customize and easy to transform, something I’ve realized has become a common thread among many of my patterns (like Flashback and Geranium, for example, that people are making so many amazing variations of).

So Parsley comes with tons of options: instructions for making flat-front pants (shown above), a finished hem line to make it easy to upcycle other pairs of pants into Parsleys, kneepads (classic ovals are included, but why not make heart-shaped ones with this tutorial? Or rectangular ones like the brown pair I made for Elliot during Celebrate the BOY with my Kneepads 3 Ways tutorial?), tuxedo stripes, pouch pockets (shown on Emily’s velveteen version), pintucks, and box pleat pockets (as seen previously on the Saffron Pants).

{Saffron Pants}

Anyway, I’m really happy with the feedback we got from our testers last week, and this week Elli and I are putting the finishing touches on some last-minute fit adjustments that I hope will make the Parsley Pants even better. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it takes a ton of work to make a pattern simple and easy enough that it becomes a default, an essential part of your pattern collection; but it’s a kind of work that I find thrilling and really gratifying. I think we’ve achieved it, I think you’ll love it, and I’m really excited that it’s almost ready to go!

Stay tuned for the pattern, or if you want you can sign up for my newsletter on the sidebar to get a little email alert when it’s ready.

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Exciting things on the Rae-dar

RAE-dar? You like that? Eh?? Oh, you are in for a world of Rae puns, you guys. You won’t even know what happened. Besides, the only other name that seemed appropriate for this post was “Hey, here’s what’s happening!” and this seemed so much better.

The point is, so many exciting things are going on that I can hardly keep up with all of them (besides the Spring Top Sewalong, which is supposed to wrap up this week — durrr…ummmm…can I have an extension? — and my new children’s pant pattern that Elli and I have been toiling on relentlessly for the past couple months to get JUST right), so in no particular order…

Exciting thing #1: Last week Cloud 9 gave a very exciting little preview of my upcoming fabric line on the Cloud 9 Facebook Page! The line is called “Fanfare,” is due out late summer or early fall, and will be printed on organic FLANNEL!  So excited about the flannels. Featuring adorable foxes and elephants, this will be perfect for cozy nursery items and kids’ clothing. And hello, FOX PAJAMAS FOR ME? I think YES.

Exciting Thing #2: Check out my “Trip to Quilt Market” article in Love Quilting & Patchwork, a new magazine from the same people who brought us MollieMakes!

Love how they put together this spread for my "top stands" @carolynfriedlander @missletterm @annamariahorner (from spring 2013 love quilting and patchwork magazine)

For the article, I picked my top three booths from Quilt Market Fall 2012, pontificated on color trends (hint: blue) and divulged other secret and scandalous information (just kidding on that last part. It sounded cool when I typed it, though).

Here's my article! @iheartlinen @missletterm @justabitfrayed have cameos too :)

So excited to finally get my hands on this magazine...featuring so many friends (like @alexiastitches! @imagingermonkey! @jenib320!), as well as a quilt market interview with yours truly!

Love Quilting &  Patchwork has a page on Facebook here where you can see what they’re up to;  I honestly thought this was going to be just another quilting magazine, but it is TOTALLY GREAT. So many articles about modern quilting, sewing, and fabric…I love it. Print copies are sold out online, but I’ve heard that you might be able to find it at Barnes and Noble here and there, or if you have an iPad or iPhone, you can download the CrossStitcher Magazine app and purchase the digital copy of the Love Quilting & Patchwork magazine for $5.99 in the “for sale” section of the app.

Exciting thing #3: Also just announced: the Briar Rose line from Windham designed by MY FRIEND HEATHER ROSS!!! I am so crazy for these awesome summery prints, four of which will be printed on JERSEY!!! SO excited about the jersey. So excited about Heather’s new designs. And SO excited that Briar Rose is being showcased on the Briar Rose Rainbow Quilt designed by moi (remember Clementine’s Rainbow Quilt?). It will be available as a free pattern from Windham in July to promote the line. Yaaaay!!

briar rose catalog

briar rose swatches

pics via

Is that enough excitement for one post? I think so! More on my new pattern and spring tops, soon.

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Checking in with the Spring Top Sewalong!

I’m really excited about the tops and photos that are already in the Spring Top Sewalong photo group — totally great! Here are just a few faves, finished and in progress:

spring top 1
Top Left: Wiksten Tova by SewCaroline, Right: Wiksten Tank,

Bottom Left: Bird Top, Right: McCall’s M6612

spring top 2 (progress)
Top Left: Spring top, Right: Collar drafting

Bottom Left: Work in progress.., Right: Laurel top – the inside!

springtop 3
Top Left: Lisette Portfolio Tunic, Right: Casual lady,

Bottom Left: Split-Back Tank, Right: Coral Briar

springtop 4
Top Left: Washi Tunic Heirloom, Right: Floral Shirt,

Bottom Left: spring top, Right: banksia top – wearing, close up

And this is just a taste of all of the great things happening in the pool! For more Spring Top photos and info, check out the links on the sidebar.

I’m going to really make some progress on my spring tops this weekend, I can feel it!!

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How to stay sane on the train

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(With a 3 and 6 year old)
(cross-country)
(for 3 days and 2 nights)

We had a ton of fun on our train trip to San Francisco last week! If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter (@madebyrae) you probably saw a few pictures from our trip already! We spent one day traveling to Chicago from Ann Arbor, one night in Chicago, three more days (and two nights) on the train, four nights in San Francisco and then flew home. It’s important, I think, to think of your train trip not in comparison to flying (it’s not cheaper, or faster, for sure), but more as a portion of the trip. It’s a great way to spend time with your family and enjoy travel at a slower pace. Here are a few tips from me should you ever decide to take a family train trip.

Coloring pages

To say that you will do a lot of coloring on this trip is a vast understatement. Jan Brett (my mom’s favorite activity site for coloring pages and games) and Mr Printables (my fave!) are both great.


Snacks

Take a bag of snacks along. Pull them out at intervals. If your kids don’t usually have pre-packaged snacks at home, this will be even more novel.

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Get a sleeping car, or two if you can.

Coaching it cross-country is definitely cheaper, but is far less comfortable and fun. Our two cars had a door between them that opened, so it was a suite (see our suite on the Amtrak website) . Each room had a fold down bunk bed and a “couch” that converted to a lower bunk, plus a sink, and shower/toilet (very small, but very nice when littles need to go).

Explore the train.

Exploring your sleeping car alone should take you NO LESS THAN ONE HOUR. There are nightlights, a bathroom, a fold-down bunkbed, and pop-up tables. Make it last. If you burn though that in a half hour you are in trouble. If you can save the rest of the train for day 2, even better.

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Bring small, portable games

These will buy you less time than you think. But if they’re new, and you pull one out each day as a surprise after breakfast, you will thank yourself when the time comes. We had travel bingo and a magnetic story game.

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Books

If I have to tell you this, you really are a novice. Tin-Tin books are light, thin, and take a long time to read. Bonus: the 6 year old will love it.

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Look outside

Play I-spy!

The route that our train, the California Zephyr, took was really stunning. Even the parts of America that are relatively flat were pretty awesome. We crossed the Mississippi the first evening, and there were many canyons, rivers, and mountains along the way. My favorite part (which I should have taken more pictures of!!!) was going through California between the mountains and Sacramento. This is just about the only time of year when northern California is green and not brown, so it was a real treat to go this time of year!

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Pillows!

There are lots of pillows in your room. Hello, pillow pile!

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Dining Car

The dining car is pretty cool. Eat your meals in the dining car. You make reservations for dinner, and breakfast and lunch are first come, first served, with a waiting list when they get full. Bring coloring stuff along here too, as there may be a bit of a wait between ordering and food. The food is not superb. You will manage for a couple of days.

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Observation Car

Wait until Day 3 to let them know that this even exists, if possible. Bring coloring along.

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Take pictures

I asked for an Instax mini for Christmas and the kids really loved taking pictures with it when they pointed out something interesting that they had seen. You can burn through film pretty fast though, so saying “If you see something really interesting, tell me so you can take a picture!” as a requirement to use the camera may be wise.

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I think everyone should travel on a train at some point. The cross-country routes here in the US are a really beautiful way to see the country, no matter which route you take.

Any tips that I missed here that I should know about? Do tell!!!

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Final Pair

Happy Monday! Time for my last post with the gorgeous Geranium Dresses made with Tsuru from Cloud 9! [Part I / Part II / Part III]

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These two were having a great time by the time the photoshoot ended, so I’m really fond of how these photos turned out. The “Of a Feather” print on the flutter-sleeved dress is truly gorgeous; I really like how it looks like a completely different design in this navy colorway (the ivory version is in this post). And the “Blossom Festival” border print is another completely stunning print. I think this would make a beautiful skirt for me too!

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Karen cut the skirt sideways so that the border would fall along the hem of the dress. I love that she made it super long too! Gorgeous.

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Doesn’t Phoebe look like a little angel? I know what her mother will say to that.

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Hugs!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed our wonderful little Tsuru-Geranium collection! So much fun to make this project happen. Special thanks to Karen for sewing up the dresses, to Michelle at Cloud 9 for the initial concept and asking me to do this in the first place, and to Rashida for creative input and designing such amazing fabrics! Here’s one last shot the whole collection on my sewing room wall:

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Now these little gems are all getting packed up and shipped off to Cloud 9 to get ready for Quilt Market!

Tsuru is widely available in shops now. To see all of the Tsuru fabrics, head over to Cloud 9. And to see all of the pictures in this series, you can see them in this set:

What do you think? Did I save the best for last? Which one was your favorite?

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Taking flight

Tsuru cranes - 28

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More Tsuru - 18

It’s time for more Tsuru on the blog today (see Part I and Part II if you haven’t already)! Today’s Geranium Dresses are sophisticated, yet fun: a flutter-sleeve dress with a notched neckline, and a sleeveless dress with piping. Both use navy as their unifying color, in keeping with the entire Tsuru line. I love this shot of Phoebe in the 1000 Cranes dress. Isn’t that gorgeous?

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More Tsuru - 19

I wanted to put Elliot in something from the line as well, and he always looks striking in navy, so he’s joining us in the photos today! Karen offered to throw together a little button-up shirt for him with piping since Cloud 9 had sent more of the “And old lace…” prints than we needed for the dresses. I also wanted to give this blender print a chance to sing on its own. If you look carefully, the “lace” is actually three cranes arranged in a lace-like array. I love the piping on this shirt: the little bird tracks from the ivory “Making Tracks” print work perfectly as trim, and you already know how much I love piping. There is nothing that can’t be improved by piping.

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The “Making Tracks” print is also used as piping and a contrast band on the ivory dress (below) to bring out the lovely “Of A Feather” print. If you look carefully, you can see the cute little bird tracks. And I love this feather print! It’s one of those prints that feels more “even” from far away, but when you see it up close you really appreciate the detail. I hope I’ve been able to communicate the beauty of it here, even though it’s not as eye-grabbing as the cranes. Some close-ups so you can see the piping a little better:

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Tsuru is widely available in shops right now. The fabrics used for the dresses in this post are these four variations on the crane theme (see the entire collection here on the Cloud 9 website):

tsuru group 2

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Just two more dresses to go, and then you’ll have seen the whole collection!

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