Yellow Stripe Tops

Today, a pair of spring tops, one for me…

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Yeah, pouty face.

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and one for Clementine.

spring top 2013 - 27 Please do not pin or use this picture of Clementine without permission. Thanks!

I KNOW.

My top was made with the Staple Dress pattern by my friend April. If you haven’t heard of it yet you are crazy, because it is blowing up the Internets!!! I shortened it from a dress to a top by cutting it off about 11-12″ below the shirring line on the pattern (I think). I love how easy this pattern is: it literally comes together in five minutes, and then you spend another bit of time binding the arms and neck and shirring it — and then it’s done. Super fast and fun sew!!

Clementine’s top is a mini-Staple top that I drew up freehand. Other than being a bit big around the neck, it’s pretty cute. Love the mini-version, and Clementine clearly does, too; she’s worn it almost every day since I made it. Both tops were made with a really lightweight knit that I think I got from the Fabric Fairy. It is pretty sheer, and I love the fluorescent yellow stripes.

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I did not heed April’s (sound) advice in the pattern instructions to try it on before shirring and cinch the waist to figure out where the shirring should really go; as a result I ended up putting in two lines and then taking one out later. I still want to try the dress with a hi/lo hem, and I have a few yards of navy rayon waiting to become a Staple Dress. Can’t wait!!!

Camp Stitchalot May 2013

I also had to show you this picture of Melody and April and Katy all wearing their Staple Dresses at Camp Stitchalot (you can read my post about it here). April made Melody’s dress for Quilt Market to feature Melody’s new fabric line, Ruby Star Polka Dot. The combination of the dress and the arrows is AMAZEBALLS. Both April and Katy’s dresses were made with Anna Maria Horner’s Field Study fabrics. This is the first dress Katy ever made…so proud of that girl!! They all look amazing, don’t you think?

One last behind-the-scenes picture of me combing Clementine’s hair (which she HATES) while she was holding the camera remote and firing away.

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Fanfare!

It’s time for shameless promotion of my new fabric line, you guys! I’m so excited that I finally get to show it off!! Yaaaaaaaaay!!! *kermit arms*

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All organic. All flannels. Super soft. Super lovely. Coming in August, but it’s already being ordered by shops, so tell your favorite shops all about it, m’kay? You can head over to the Cloud 9 website to see the whole line on the Fanfare page (you get closeups of the prints if you click on any of the images). You’ll also get a better idea of the true colors, which are looking a bit bright in the top image.

There are three colorways (aqua, gold, and pink) that each have a fox print, a pennant print, and an elephant print. Additionally, there are two confetti prints, one pink-and-yellow, one blue-and-yellow, AND there will also be a solid white flannel, which I love — it will be so fun to have a pure white flannel for backings, bias tape finishing, contrast cuffs, and so on. I love the simplicity of these designs, and I think they will lend themselves well to so many things!

The fabrics are currently in their color-correction phase; the mill sends samples called “strikeoffs” so you can check that the colors are correct…it usually takes a few tries to get it juuust right. It’s amazing to me (as someone who can usually churn out a digital sewing pattern in a couple of months) how much longer the production cycle is for fabrics. A bit like writing a book I guess, with a longer wait time between the initial design phase and the actual product. Good for learning patience, Rae.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed seeing this preview! You can see all of the colors and designs over on the Cloud 9 website. I am so thrilled and honored to have had the opportunity to work with Michelle and Gina over at Cloud 9; they’ve both been so great. And I can’t wait to sew with these flannels!!!

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Spring Top Sewalong

Hi, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and, if you’re in the States, a wonderful holiday, as well! Our family had a lovely vacation week last week in North Carolina with my parents and seesters and brothers-in-law. Elliot and Clementine are the only two grandchildren, and they certainly love having the attention of that many grownups. We had a nice week on the beach, had great weather, and I got to relax and unwind after a busy weekend at Quilt Market in Portland the weekend before. I can’t wait to show you some pictures from Quilt Market!

I’m wrapping up the Spring Top Sewalong this week, so today I wanted to show you a bunch of lovely tops from the sewalong photo group that caught my eye. Aren’t these great?? There are even more fantastic tops in the pool.

STS 2013 Roundup 2

TOP Left, Middle, Right; BOTTOM Left, Right

Nicole blogged about that cool striped tee (Bottom Right) here.

STS 2013 Roundup 4

Left, Right Top (way to self-draft your pattern, Becca!), Right Bottom

STS 2013 Roundup 1

TOP Left, Right; BOTTOM Left, Right.

STS 2013 Roundup 3

TOP Left, Middle (Teresa blogged about it here), Right; BOTTOM Left, Right

(That’s Kristin modeling her free pattern found here).

You’ll see even more fantastic tops 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

I have one more of my own tops to blog yet too…so I’ll post that soon!

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Green Lawn Pleated Top

I guess it’s all about the clothes for me this week! Here’s another one of my Spring Tops, as part of my ongoing Spring Top Sewalong. The sewalong will wrap up soon (on Monday), so if you’re still thinking about it, now’s the time!

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This top was made with a lovely lightweight green lawn I found at Mood in NYC last fall. It’s based on the same pattern as another pleated top I posted last fall, but without the elastic shirring and with an added band at the bottom.

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I wore it last week for four days straight. Not because I love it so much that I couldn’t wear anything else (though I do like it!!! A LOT!!), but actually just because I kept putting it on in the morning, thinking I would find time to take pictures in it, but then never did. Mr Rae was probably starting to wonder.

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Works nicely with the red moccasins that I both love and hate because they always turn my feet and socks bright red. I ruined a white skirt last week by accidentally leaving the skirt sitting on top of the shoes. BAH. I like the combination of red and green together, even if it might be a little Christmasy. Anyway, do you guys know how to sew pleats? It’s so ridiculously easy!! I’ll have to show you how sometime.

Want to join in? Spring Top Sewalong is almost over, so add your tops to the pool! See this post for guidelines.

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Flying Cranes Skirt for Quilt Market

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Thanks for all the love on my arrow dress, you guys!!! I’m so glad you liked it. Here’s another garment I made to wear around in Portland for Quilt Market, a skirt with pockets from my friend Rashida Coleman-Hale’s Tsuru line for Cloud9 that’s out right now. If you saw all of my Tsuru Geranium Dress posts a couple months ago, so you already know how much I love this line of fabric. Now you’ll get to see all of the fun stuff I’m making for myself with the yardage Cloud9 sent me as a thank-you for that collaboration. This one features the “1000 Cranes” print that has been so popular.

Flying Cranes skirt

I made a similar skirt earlier this year in a gorgeous floral print by Liesl Gibson (who I got to see again at Quilt Market this year!! LOVE Liesl; she is such an amazing person). I loved that skirt so much I needed to make another one! This one is less full, as you can see below, but still pretty swingy. It’s such a simple design and is so comfortable that I can tell I’m going to be wearing both skirts a ton this summer with tank tops and sandals. The pockets are, in my opinion, what makes this skirt a win. I *heart* pockets so much. The pale pink band on the bottom was a later addition; it was a bit short to begin with, and my legs take up roughly 2/3 of my total height…so it needed a little more length at the bottom in order to be decent.

Flying Cranes skirt

I really didn’t intend for the boots and kneesocks to be a part of the ensemble, but it was cold in Michigan a couple days ago when I took these pictures, and I had put on the kneesocks to keep warm, and I put on the boots to take out the trash, and…voila, awesome outfit. So I wore it with kneesocks in Portland this weekend, because it was actually rather cool. Fun, fun!!

Flying Cranes skirt

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Arrow Dress for Quilt Market

I just arrived in Portland today for Quilt Market! Quilt Market is a trade show for the quilting and sewing industry to show off new fabric lines and products to shop owners and press. In addition to seeing The Fabrics (one of my favorite reasons to go!), I get to meet tons of great people who are all passionate about sewing. This may be strange for me to say as someone whose business is almost entirely online, but there is still absolutely NO replacement for meeting people face-to-face and talking shop in person. I have gotten invaluable advice, feedback and information at each Quilt Market I have attended, and this has really helped me grow my leetle business (which feels less and less “leetle” every day, actually). The other fun thing about Quilt Market this time around is that Cloud9 will be previewing Fanfare, my new line of flannels (coming in August), which I am BEYOND thrilled about, AND all of the Tsuru Geranium Dresses are here on display as well. Yay!!!

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One thing that’s been really fun is making things to wear on the floor when I go. Almost exactly a year ago I was stitching up the very first Washi Dress in Rashida‘s awesome washi tape fabric the night before I left for my first ever Quilt Market. It wasn’t until I wore the dress to a Quilt Market event last spring and got so much positive feedback from everyone that I realized that maybe I should try to do a women’s pattern. When I got home, I started working like crazy on it. That’s where I was a year ago, pre-Washi-hype. It amazes me sometimes to think about that, in retrospect. It’s a little crazy, actually, how much has happened in a year, and I have to tell you that I feel nothing but gratefulness to all of you guys, for how you received that pattern and helped make it a success.

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The Washi Dress is a pretty hard act to follow, but I did make a few new things to wear to Quilt Market this year, including this cute little dress that I wanted to show you today. Melody brought some samples from her new line for Kokka, Ruby Star Polka Dot, to Camp Stitchalot a couple weeks ago, and I ended up swiping a little over a half a yard of this awesome arrow print. I’ve been dying over this design (and, if we must be truthful, the whole line) ever since I first saw Melody’s sneak peeks on her Instagram. It’s debuting at this Market, so don’t worry…you will see tons of pictures of this in my Instagram feed. I’m also completely in love with the ridiculously awesome Staple Dress April made for Melody from the blue version of this print, too. Maybe Melody will wear them at the same time, and we can be twinsies. !!!

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Anyway, when I realized I had just enough fabric to cut it down the middle and make a little dress out of it, I was suddenly crazy-inspired to design something super simple that would really show off the print. I wanted the lace yoke to be see-through, so I didn’t line it, just bound all the edges with off white voile. There are no closures, so it just pulls on over my head, but it’s roomy enough that it works. I hope this does the print justice. I also left the selvage visible at the bottom on purpose so that people could see Melody’s name and the name of the line, and I la-la-LOVE how that looks! That idea was totally a brainchild of my Michigan homegirls at the last local meetup, where I started working on it. You guys are awesome for suggesting that I leave it;  I’m so glad I did!

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This is way more leg than I will ever probably show with this dress, ACK. Hot-cha-cha, you guys {*a little embarrassed*}. I think I will be wearing it with skinny jeans underneath instead. What do you think? Do you love this print as much as I do?

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Camp Stitchalot

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The weekend before last I had the privilege to teach at Camp Stitchalot, a sewing retreat here in Michigan that is hosted by my friend Brenda over at Pink Castle Fabrics. I finally got my photos uploaded and labeled today so you can experience the fun and awesomeness vicariously through my photostream.

I was thrilled that Katy Jones, Melody Miller, and Rashida Coleman-Hale were also “counselors” for the weekend. We had so much fun together, and it was great to get to know these incredibly talented ladies a bit more.

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Katy (pictured above), who is just as hilarious and endearing in real life as on her blog, has already written a couple of posts about Camp that are really great — so if you want to get a sense for what the weekend was like, you should really read her posts here, and here. She really summed it up for me with these words:

“Camp is all about hanging out with like minded people and not feeling like a nerd for wanting to sew non-stop for 3 days.” – Katy Jones

It’s so true. It was amazing how much sewing 30 people produced in three days. The thing that really made this weekend so amazing and fun was hanging out with so many different, fantastic people: women of all ages, sewing abilities, and interests. We had so much fun together. The sewing is great, but the experience of making new friends, talking, and laughing together is rather more important.

You can peruse my photos in the gallery below; if you click through to each one there’s more information. You can also view my whole Camp Stitchalot set together.

Registration is also open now for Camp Stitchalot August 2013, so you if can, don’t pass up this opportunity to sew, sew, sew your heart out this summer! The counselor lineup is amazing for that session, as well (geared more toward quilting rather than general sewing this time around), and there are sure to be even more fun weekends ahead from Pink Castle.

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Velveteen Parsley Pants

Last week it got up to 80 degrees, and we pulled out the kiddie pool one afternoon…and I started making shorts for the kids. I was a little disappointed because I had just finished these velveteen Parsley Pants for Clementine during Kids’ Clothes Week and had figured I’d get at least a couple of weeks of wear out of them before we had to put them away for fall. But (thanks, Michigan!) now it’s cold again. I had to pull all my plants inside last night, and there is a freeze warning out again tonight. So it’s appropriate that Clementine has been wearing these for the past three days straight.

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Wouldn’t you wear them every day, if you had a pair of pants this awesome? These were inspired by my friend Emily’s velveteen pair for her daughter Phoebe (first pic in this post).

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A genius stroke with the pattern matching across the back seam, if I do say so myself. Not on purpose, of course. I can only pattern-match when I’m NOT trying.

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I made a flat-front waistband and pouch pockets (both are options in the pattern) with a double gauze lining. Even though it looks like I might have used piping around the edges of the pockets, I actually just cut the linings a bit larger than the pocket and rolled them outward around the edges. The results are okay…this is really “cheater piping,” but it looks pretty good.

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Though she wore it once with the pink shirt (a puff-sleeved Flashback tee, tutorial here), here is the actual ensemble we’ve been privy to here at our house for the past three days. I’m going to make her throw these in the wash tonight. And that yellow striped shirt? I made that too (more on that, soon)!

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Sheer lace top

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Another one of my spring tops for you today, this one in off-white lace.

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I have to say, I die a little of embarrassment whenever I show my face on this blog. I know I probably come off as a sort of person with narcissistic and attention-seeking tendencies (I mean, give me a break, you kind of have to be to be a blogger, no?), and though that may be partially true, for some reason it seems weird knowing that you’re all looking right at me and I can’t see you back. I get self-conscious and I feel like I have to say something about facial expressions that are awkward and strange (like in this post), or my thighs, or whatever distracting thing I feel the need to comment on — that you probably wouldn’t even notice otherwise. Sometimes I get around that problem by cropping my head out of a shot, just to focus less on me and more on the garment (Exhibit A, below). But it’s hard to be the headless blogger all the time, especially when the composition works better with a head. So I guess I just have to be okay with posting cheesy pictures from time to time. Anyway, enough about self-consciousness; more about the top!!!

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This top was completely inspired by this lace top I stumbled across on Pinterest. I fell in love with the photo and couldn’t stop thinking about finding some lace to try to recreate it. I think I got the overall look down but now there is the issue of “who wears this? and WHERE?” — which I didn’t really think through completely before I started. The outfit with the gold earrings and the pink pencil skirt, for instance, reads more “ladies who lunch” than “Rae about town” or “Rae carting child to karate” or even “Rae on a date” or “Rae goes to church,” so when am I going to wear it? I don’t exactly yet know. Suggestions???

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One other (pretty major) problem of wearability still exists with this top, as the ladies who witnessed its first donnage last week at our latest local sewing meetup will attest: I cannot get this top to stop busting open at the snaps. This was obviously due to a gross underestimation of how strong my chest is. JUST KIDDING. I blame the clear snaps that I picked up at a nearby sewing superstore, which, though nearly invisible and therefore seemingly perfect for a white top, won’t stay shut worth a damn. I cannot comprehend why one would need snaps that don’t close. Maybe to dress a mannequin? A corpse? Neither one is on my agenda, at least for the near future.

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This beautiful lace fabric came from the remnants floor at Britex during our recent family trip to San Francisco and the pattern is my own, something I drew up based on my measurements using a pattern-making book. The edges were trimmed with a strip of white voile cut on the bias, which worked out quite nicely, methinks. This lace was slightly stretchy but much easier to sew than the stretch lace I used for the Angel Top, so it went together quite quickly. Oh, if only it would stay on.

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This is top #2 of five that I’m planning to post this year as part of my Spring Top Sewalong! You can join in by sewing something for yourself and posting it to our friendly photo pool! More info can be found here. We’ve extended the sewalong until Monday, May 27th, so you have just a couple more weeks to sew along!

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