Modern Sewciety Podcast

Yesterday was one of those rough days that made me question my ability to keep three children alive much less accomplish anything professionally ever again, so the fact that Stephanie of Modern Sewciety aired my interview on her podcast added a little sunshine to my day, proof that I *can* do things when I don’t have a newborn, a sick kid and a sick husband. Just maybe not at this particular moment.

I’m honored to have been featured this week on Modern Sewciety Podcase Episode 24, I mean come what blogger doesn’t love to talk about herself? I talk about my patterns and designing fabrics and a bunch of other stuff, so if you care to listen to our interview it’s HERE along with a lovely interview of Julia of My Rainboots are Red (my segment is after hers, around the 18 minute mark). And check out Stephanie’s podcast gallery page for the lineup of other awesome folks she’s interviewed so far for some more some great listening material while you sew or get stuck under a sleeping newborn. Stephanie will also be giving away a bundle of Lotus Pond from Cloud 9 this week, so if you’re feeling lucky you should follow her so you can jump on that opportunity when it comes. (Lotus Pond is my newest fabric line that is IN SHOPS as of THIS WEEK!!!)

Thanks for featuring me Stephanie!

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Garment Sewing Weekend with April Rhodes!

***UPDATE January 7, 2014: this workshop is now full! If you’d like to be put on a waiting list, please send us an email (contact info here)***

I’m excited to announce that we’ve settled on a weekend in February for our next sewing studio workshop!!! Due to the fact that I have a baby on the way, this will be the last one I offer for a while. Come to Ann Arbor and cosy up in my studio away from the cold weather for a fun weekend of sewing, February 8 and 9, 2014! I’m also thrilled to announce that I’ve invited April Rhodes to lead the workshop with me; April is the creator of the Staple Dress and the Date Night Dress and is such a fun and sweet individual…you will love her. She also has a NEW pattern, just out last week, The Riding Peplum or Party Dress, and her next pattern, the Popover Poncho is due out soon as well.

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images via, copyright April Rhodes, used with permission

The workshop will be held during the day on Saturday and Sunday, Feb 8 and 9, 2014, with the option to stay and sew at the studio on Saturday evening included. The focus of the workshop will be garment sewing, so April and I will present throughout the workshop on a variety of techniques needed to complete our women’s garment sewing patterns. Participants choose and bring along their own patterns and projects, so if you want to sew a Date Night Dress or a Popover Poncho, or a Washi Dress with a collar or a Josephine Tunic, we’ll be here to help you out! But I’ve emphasized this with past participants and I’ll say it again: it’s YOUR weekend, so if you have another pattern or project (such as a children’s garment or a quilt) that you want to work on, that is totally fine, don’t feel like you need to bring one of ours (or even a women’s garment pattern, for that matter)! This is a relaxed, no-pressure kind of event. We’ll be sure to offer plenty of assistance on your projects and time for you to sew, no matter what you want to work on.

Cost for the two-day workshop will be $250. To reserve your spot or request an information sheet about the weekend, please fill out the form HERE (update: form no longer live)! You can see a recap of the November Studio Sewing Retreat over at this post, and an informational post about that weekend here (though the schedule will be slightly different, since this one will be all-day Saturday and Sunday instead of Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon).

Please be aware that spots went FAST last time, and we only have room for 10 participants, so if you’re going to put this on your Christmas list, do it now! Hope you can join us, it’s going to be really fun!!!

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Made By Rae studio sewing retreat!

**UPDATE 9/30: We are full!! Thanks everyone for your interest!! **

I want to share a crazy little idea I’ve had bouncing around in my brain for a while now. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a little weekend sewing retreat at my studio in Ann Arbor?? I think this would be so great. So I’ll tell you what I’m thinking and if enough people are interested we’ll make it happen.

The concept is this: A weekend of sewing in the studio; you bring your machine and projects and sew whatever you want — Washi Dresses, quilts, kids’ clothes, whatever — all weekend long. I will be on hand throughout the weekend to answer questions and teach mini-presentations based on whatever comes up (shirring lessons? dart how-tos? seam finishes?). If there’s a need, I will do individual Washi bodice fittings. I’ve asked Karen LePage (one of the most experienced and capable seamstresses I know) to help teach/fit/present as well, so there will be two of us available to help everyone out. We’d make sure to have plenty of free sewing time so that if you wanted to duck out for coffee or a shopping trip to Pink Castle Fabrics, stay as late as you want in the studio, or even wake up early and start sewing at the break of dawn, you can do that.

WHEN: The weekend of November 15, 16, and 17, 2013 (Fri-Sun)

EAT/SLEEP/TRANSPORT: It will be your responsibility to cover most meals and arrange lodging and transportation. There is plenty of reasonable hotel lodging in the area that I can help you find if need be. Everyone is welcome to join me for dinner on Friday (this meal will be covered in the cost of the event) and Saturday night. I’ll be hitting a couple of my favorite restaurants (Jolly Pumpkin and Frita Batidos are the two I have in mind), both of which have fantastic food. But if you’d rather go have a fancy white tablecloth dinner over at Gratzi, or eat every meal at the Cupcake Station, that’s perfectly fine too. There are so many amazing restaurants, lunch spots, and coffee shops all within walking distance of my studio — I’ll be sure to have plenty of menus and recommendations up on the studio bulletin board.

TIMES: The whole thing would run from Friday late afternoon to Sunday early afternoon, so people with Real Jobs wouldn’t have to take much time off. I’ll send out a rough itinerary of the weekend to those who are interested so you can get a good idea for the schedule before you actually put down a deposit, but the idea would be that Karen and I will be around Friday evening, during the day Saturday, and from Sunday until 2 pm. I can also have the studio open Friday and Saturday night for those who want to stay later and sew.

WHERE: Made By Rae sewing studio in downtown Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor is about 30 minutes from the Detroit Metro Airport)

Machine rentals: Brenda at Pink Castle has generously offered to rent her Janome or Bernette machines for the very reasonable cost of $20 for the weekend to anyone who would prefer not to travel with their machine. Let me know if you need this!

RSVP: If you are interested in participating in what is sure to be a SERIOUSLY FUN weekend, please follow this link to sign up to register. If you sign up, I’ll send you more information and an invoice for a deposit to hold your spot. I have space for about 10 or 11 people (maybe we can squeeze 12?), so space is very limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis. We will only run the event if we have at least eight participants, so please tell your friends!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

Hope you can come! It’s going to be fun, fun fun!!!

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Sew to Speak Shop Visit

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I had a fantastic trip down to Ohio last week to visit Sew to Speak, which is an absolutely adorable fabric store in Columbus, about three hours south of Ann Arbor. I’ve been wanting to make the trip ever since my friend April (of Staple Dress fame) invited me last spring. April works at the shop, which her mom, Anita, owns (Anita, pictured in the first photo, is fantastic, too!). April had downplayed the shop a bit and had told me it was pretty small — which is totally April; she is so humble and sweet —  so I was completely unprepared for how much amazingness was contained in this one place!

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While the shop is certainly not HUGE, it’s not tiny either; in fact, I think it’s fair to say that it’s the perfect size. It features a nice little space for classes in the back and enough fabric, patterns, trims, tools, and notions to satisfy both quilters and garment sewists.

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I gave a presentation on Wednesday evening on garment sewing as part of an open house and trunk show, and I took all of my Washi Dresses along. People seemed to really enjoy looking through (and hearing about) all of the variations of the pattern that I brought along. I also brought my Ruby Dress and my Ruby Top and a couple other new designs.

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On Thursday morning I taught a Washi Techniques Workshop, and that was really fun (I’m also offering this class again in Ann Arbor in about a month if you’re interested)! The ladies who signed up were all fantastic, and they all made a ton of progress on their dresses.

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I want to mention something from my talk on Wednesday night that I think is really important. Although I have built a business primarily online, I think it is so important to introduce shops like Sew to Speak to readers so that you can support them, too. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the online sewing community: the people, the patterns, the blogs, the resources, and all of the lovely online shops. I have many great friendships online despite never meeting in real life. But there is simply no replacement for getting together face-to-face, meeting people who love to sew, and making friends who share your interests and passions. Furthermore, shops like Sew to Speak offer REAL places to meet REAL people, learn, and take classes — and allow you to look at and touch fabric before you buy it. It is important to support these shops because they are the pillars of our sewing community. It is worth it to pay MSRP for fabric from these shops rather than searching for the lowest price on Etsy. It is worth it to buy sewing books and patterns full price at these shops, rather than scouring Amazon or discount shops for the lowest price. Keeping these shops in business adds value to our communities, both online and locally. *hopping off the ol’ soapbox now*

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If you ever have a chance to visit Columbus, make sure you add Sew to Speak to your list of stops. By the way, Sew to Speak always takes phone orders (click through to the shop for that number). Thanks so much for having me, Anita and April!!! And thanks to everyone who came out to say “hi!” or take my class. It was a great turnout, and I had a fantastic time!

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Fall Classes in Ann Arbor

I’m getting ready to head down to Columbus to Sew to Speak tomorrow for a very fun couple of Washi-filled days and I’m so excited!! If you missed the info on that, you can check out this post. I also wanted to let you know about a couple of upcoming classes I’ll be teaching at Pink Castle Fabrics this fall here in Ann Arbor!

By the way, you can take a look at all of Pink Castle’s classes HERE. (you’ll need to click on the ‘info’ button by each listing to learn more about it), or sign up for their local newsletter right HERE.

Thursday, September 12th, 6:30-9:30 pm
Made-to-Measure Skirt Workshop (Skirt 101)

Flying Cranes skirt

Description: In this class you will make a gathered skirt based on your measurements (I blogged about this skirt here and here). The skirt features a flat-front waistband with elastic in the back, gathers, and optional pockets. If time allows we will cover how to add a contrast band to the bottom of the skirt.

More info HERE.

Thursday, October 10th, 6-10 pm
Washi Techniques Workshop

printed Washi Cover

Description: This workshop is designed to offer time to work on the Washi Dress with Rae’s assistance. Rae will also cover many of the sewing techniques needed to complete the Washi Dress. Possible topics are: sewing a smooth dart, shirring with elastic thread, adding facings, seam and armhole finishing, and hemming. These techniques are commonly used in many other women’s (and even children’s) clothing patterns as well! More info HERE

ALSO, if you’re in the area, be sure to join me for the monthly (free!) Southeast Michigan Crafty Meetups (SEMI). We meet at Pink Castle on the first Thursday of each month, and our next meetup will be next Thursday, September 5, 2013 from 7-10 PM. Mark your calendars! If you can join us, you can just comment on our Facebook Page to let us know you’re coming!

If you’re interested in renting a sewing machine so you don’t have to lug yours along, Brenda has new Janome machines available for rent for the very low rate of $5 per evening. Let us know on the FB page if you want us to get one ready for you.

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Columbus, here I come!

For those of you in Ohio, I’ll be making a visit to Sew To Speak in Columbus on August 28 and 29 (SOON!) as part of my continuing Fabric Shop World Tour. Okay, I’m kidding about the world tour (a little), but I LOVE to visit fabric shops around the country, and Sew to Speak will be my next stop!

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They have a great selection of fabrics, and of course I’m super excited to see my friend April again, as well as meet up with other friends. I’ll be teaching a Washi Dress Techniques Workshop on Thursday morning as well as presenting a fun Washi trunk show on Wednesday night.

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If you live in or near Columbus, please stop by and say hello!! Here’s the info (from the Sew To Speak blog):

Sewing Garments with MADE BY RAE!!

Wednesday Aug. 28, 6 – 9PM

Come and meet Rae Hoekstra: designer, pattern maker, world famous sewing blogger, and all around lovely lady. Rae will begin the evening with a meet and greet, followed by a presentation and Washi Dress trunk show. Rae will walk you through how she conceives and alters a basic pattern to make many different variations using her many samples of the popular Washi Dress as illustration. She’ll also share some of the things she’s learned along the way about choosing fabrics, taking measurements, and using patterns (both printed and digital PDFs). You’ll be inspired to sew up a closet full of handmade clothing of your own!

Washi with Rae

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Rae’s Washi Dress Techniques Workshop

Thursday, Aug 29, 9AM – Noon.

This workshop is designed to offer time to work on the Washi Dress with Rae’s assistance. Rae will also cover many of the sewing techniques needed to complete the Washi Dress. Possible topics are: sewing a smooth dart, shirring with elastic thread, adding facings, seam and armhole finishing, and hemming. These techniques are commonly used in many other women’s (and even children’s) clothing patterns as well! Please note that due to time limitations, we will not be able to sew an entire dress from start to finish; however, Rae will be available to assist you and answer questions specific to your dress.

Workshop space is limited so call or come in to sign up. (click here for the shop website; the phone number is on the right side of the page)

In addition to this, Rae has offered some time on Wednesday for those of you who would like a private fitting. Call us at the shop to find out more and to schedule appointments.

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Hope you can come!

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New space

studio swatches

YOU GUYS! I got a new studio space in downtown Ann Arbor!! I moved all my stuff in last Friday and have been gradually getting everything unpacked and put back together. How fun is this?? So let me give you the big tour: when you first walk in, you see this room (pardon the squalor…still unpacking!):

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And then off of the big front room there are two smaller rooms, one where my sewing machines will live (last pic in this post), and the other where the computer-blogging-fabric design-photography stuff will live:

rae computer room

It is a bit weird to see my name on the door. I keep thinking, “IS THIS TOTALLY CRAZY?” but the thing is, nearly every successful endeavor I’ve had in my career as a professional blogger/designer-person has been rooted in some decision or idea that was totally spontaneous, and if “crazy” means I move forward, then I’m going to just take the leap and go for it. By contrast, it seems like when I premeditate or overthink things they always seem to backfire on me. Crazy is a good route for me, I think.

So what am I going to do here? I don’t exactly know. I was thinking maybe I could hire an intern or something to press and fold all my fabric (KIDDING. Sort of)…but I need to really sit down and make a thorough list of things I need done to see if I could truly keep one person busy working for me here (Elli and Jess work remotely in Texas and Missouri, so waaaah, they won’t be able to work with me unless they move, hint HINT). Karen‘s already promised she’ll come and work here with me occasionally, so maybe I can get her to sew for me. And of course my Ann Arbor friends are welcome to stop by!!!

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I have dreams of it being a place where I could have sewing socials or even teach the occasional sewing lesson, maybe even a class…I don’t know, maybe host small events of some sort. But all that takes quite a lot of work, and because I’m already planning on teaching a few sewing classes at Pink Castle Fabrics at their NEW location here in Ann Arbor this year, the stuff I do here would be in addition to that. For now I’m happy having this be my work space.

Anyway, this is the “before” post. I’ll make sure to show you more photos once I get it all souped up. Do you have any fun ideas for my little studio space? And who’s up for coming to visit me in Ann Arbor?

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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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Camp Stitchalot

I am excited to announce that I am going to be teaching at a fun weekend sewing retreat this spring and I would love for you to come !!

Camp Stitchalot will be held the weekend of May 3-5, 2013 right here in Michigan (about an hour west of Ann Arbor, just north of Jackson). The retreat is hosted by my friend Brenda of Pink Castle Fabrics, who has also lined up designers Melody Miller (you’ve seen me drool over her Quilt Market booths here and here), Rashida Coleman-Hale (designer of the famous washi tape fabric…hellooo?)  and quilting extraordinaire Katy Jones as “counselors” as well! We are taking our jobs very seriously. I for one plan to hand out badges. I’m so excited this is going to be the MOST FUN EVER in one weekend!!!

You can read more about the weekend here on Pink Castle’s website, and register of course. Because it is going to be THE MOST FUN EVER!  There are twin rooms and queen rooms available; all rooms are shared but you may purchase two queen spots if you’d prefer a room to yourself. There’s also the option of coming on Thursday, May 2, if you’d like an extra day of sewing time; a bunch of folks will be hanging around on Thursday too so that’s sure to be fun.

The weekend is designed to be a relaxed bring-your-machine bring-your-projects getaway for you to sew your socks off and meet other fun people who also love to sew. Brunch and dinners are included in the (very reasonable) cost; you can definitely bring snacks and drinks to share as well. Melody, Rashida, Katy and I will also be offering classes, but if you’d rather just sew your own projects that is perfectly fine too; there’s no pressure to participate if you aren’t interested in the project. I’ll be showing how to make the amazingly versatile Lickety Split Bag; Melody and Rashida will be showing us how to make a circle skirt made to measure and talking fabric design (woot!), and Katy will be showing us how to make an adorable clasp pouch. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Extra bonus: I think I can safely say that Michigan is at its most beautiful in May. You really should come and see this lovely state if you’ve never been here before!

See the full weekend schedule and register here.

Hope you can make it! Yippee!!!

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