Lotus Pond is Here!

(see the Pin here)

Folks! It’s finally here! My new collection for Cloud9 Fabrics started shipping to fabric stores all over just a couple of weeks ago. Lotus Pond is made up of 12 prints in quilting cotton, and hooo boy am I ever in love with it. One of the things that makes me so happy to work with Cloud9 is that all of their fabrics are certified organic. All of them!

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I am super duper thrilled with how Lotus Pond turned out!! The colors are so vibrant, and the cotton is lovely and soft and smooth. As you know, I’m more of a garment sewist than a quilter, and I’m very happy to report that this quilting cotton serves very well for garments, especially children’s wear. It’s light enough for warm weather tops or dresses, but I think it’ll be sturdy enough to whip up a few shoulder bags or purses.

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Stay tuned over the next couple weeks…I have a LOTUS POND EXTRAVAGANZA in the works, so you can see how a bunch of my blogging buddies have been inspired by the frogs and lily pads and snails!!!

If you’ve already snatched up some Lotus Pond of your own, please JOIN US! and share your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #lotuspondfabric or in the Lotus Pond Flickr Pool!

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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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Lotus Pond!!!

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Am SO GEEKED about my new fabric line for Cloud9, Lotus Pond! The strike-offs (test fabrics to check colors) came the other day in the mail and I am really really happy with how these came out.

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We’ve got some small tweaks to make to the color yet, but I’m really happy with how close these are to what I had imagined. I can’t stop putting them in rainbow order. DORK.

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And rearranging them to see which prints go with which…

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I think these large scale florals are really stunning.

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And here’s just a small glimpse at the color-picking process; this fall I sent Michelle at Cloud 9 some paper printouts of what I had in mind, since the colors we see on a monitor can vary widely from screen to screen. She sent back little swatches of fabric so I could pick the ones I thought were closest. Then the colors and prints go to the mill, and after a little wait…strikeoffs! Fun fun!

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Lotus Pond will be printed on organic cotton and is due to hit stores this spring. I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s here!

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Sneak peek at Lotus Pond

It’s time for a peek at my new spring collection for Cloud 9 Fabrics, Lotus Pond!!! Woot Woot!! *Kermit arms*

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This line will be printed on organic quilting cottons (so not flannels, like my first line, Fanfare), and I’m really geeked about how this turned out. I wanted to do something completely different from Fanfare, since it wasn’t intended to be a kid’s flannel line, so I went in a totally different direction. Flowers, lily pads, snails, butterflies. Inspired by my summers growing up in the midwest. With plenty of color thrown in of course.

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When I say “peek,” you can see that this is literally just a peek at the buyer’s boards from Quilt Market a few weeks ago, so the colors need a bit of tweaking yet, and of course they will be on fabric, not cardboard printouts. We don’t have prints on actual fabric yet, but that will come. This is a first stage. Like I said before, designing fabric is an exercise in patience for me. Heh.

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Despite the fact that there are tons of flowers and butterflies and such, I also wanted to make sure that a few of the prints would work as “boy” prints as well…so we have some cute snails and frogs that I think would be adorable as a little boy’s shirt, baby pants, or pillowcases.  I even think the green diamond print would make the awesomest button-down shirt for a boy!!

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Lotus Pond arrives in shops next spring. Do ya like it?

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Fanfare Flannels are here!


My line of flannels for Cloud9 Fabrics is finally here! It’s hitting shops this week, so you can pick some lovely organic flannel loveliness up for yourself. I’m so excited to be able to start sewing with it!!!

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Here’s a list of stores (both online and brick-and-mortar) where you can find Fanfare:

Alewives
Aurora Sewing Center
Bolt Fabric Boutique
CityCraft
DelRay Fabrics
Drygoods Design
Fabricate
Fabricworm
Fabric Spot — Online shop in Canada!
Fancy Tiger Crafts
Fat Quarter Shop
Fiddlehead Artisan Supply
Five Eighth Seams
Hawthorne Threads
Honey Be Good
M is for make
Masons Cottage
Modern Domestic
Nido
Owl and Drum
Pink Castle Fabrics
Rock Paper Scissors
Sew Modern
Sew to Speak
Stitched
The Village Haberdashery

If you represent a shop that carries Fanfare but is not on this list, please email me (see the contact link at the top of this page) with your website and we’ll add you!

We’ll have a little blog tour soon to show off what some of my blogging friends are making out of Fanfare.  It’s sure to be inspirational; stay tuned!

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My top five fabrics for clothing

I think about fabric a lot–probably more than is healthy or normal. I love how nice fabric looks and feels, and I love sewing clothes with it that I can wear over and over. I like looking at fabric just sitting on my shelf. It’s true, I am a hopeless FABRIC NERD.

fabric top five

When it comes to sewing clothing, I’ve tried just about every kind of fabric you can imagine; silk, rayon, knits, chambray, tulle, corduroy, you name it, I’ve tried it. The fabric I have the most experience with (hands down) is definitely quilting cotton, which I have tried on many occasions to beat into submission to produce clothing, with some successes and some failures (more on that later). But like many, I find myself drifting towards a special few types of fabric when it comes to sewing for myself. The following five types are my personal favorites, the ones I buy over and over, for things like the Washi Dress, clothes for Clementine, and blouses/top-type things. I’m ignoring the ginormous fabric category known as “quilting cottons” for now, partly because I think they really deserve a post of their own, and also because, though they do sew up nicely into certain kinds of garments, I still find myself, well, preferring these five instead when it comes to sewing tops and dresses.

You may notice that these fabrics aren’t necessarily the most traditional garment fabrics, but most of them are pretty widely available. I think the reason for this is that, like many of yours, most of my fabric purchases come mainly from the same online shops that typically sell quilting fabrics. I’ve also noticed that many of the garment fabrics that I grew up sewing with became pretty scarce when sewing went out for a spell (the Dark Years, when it was NOT COOL to sew your own clothing, so the only people who were sewing garments were the ladies making patchwork vests? Remember that? *shudders*). Obviously garment fabrics are still widely used by the ready-to-wear clothing industry, but they’re much harder to find by the yard in great variety unless you’re pretty savvy online or have access to shops like Mood or Britex in the bigger cities.

1. Double Gauze

This fabric is a double layer of gauze stitched together with tiny stitches to hold it in place and keep the two layers from sliding around. It has a loose weave and breathes well, making it really nice for summer dresses. And did I mention how soft it is? SO SOFT. My Aqua Washi is what I wear on days when I want to feel like I’m in my pajamas all day. No joke. One small downside: the loose weave can make it slightly more difficult to sew.

double gauze quad
Top: aqua WASHI dress, far far away top
Bottom: shirred sunsuit, princess and the pea dress

2. Voile / Lawn

I’m grouping these two types together because they are so similar in weight and behavior. Also: I understand that the “voiles” on the market now from Anna Maria Horner and Free Spirit and soon from Cloud 9 (KOI by Rashida Coleman-Hale will be the first collection to include voiles) are actually not true voiles, which are more loosely woven and sheer, but are indeed lawns passing for the fancier French-sounding substrate. (But since this is The Internet, as LeVar Burton would say–don’t take my word for it.) Why do I love these so much? Lawn/voile is really easy to sew as it is quite stable and doesn’t wobble around a ton like, say, silks or knits, but is still soft and floaty and lightweight enough to feel really comfortable. One small downside: it can be sheer, especially in lighter colors, so lining is often a must.

lawn voile quad
Top: green pleated top, pink maxi WASHI dress
Bottom: Liberty tie neck top, yellow voile top with white ric rac

3. Knits

It should come as no surprise to you that knits are high on the list of my favorites, since I’ve now posted two series of posts about knits (see them here). It just makes sense: if you are the type of person who loves to throw on a t-shirt every day (I am), why wouldn’t you sew with the fabric you wear the most? For kids, this is a no-brainer. My kids wear Flashback Tees almost every day.

knits quad
Top: Nani Iro knit top, whale tee for C
Bottom: teal knit top, fox tee for E

4. Rayon Challis

Rayon is what we were all sewing with back in the nineties. Now it’s baaaack, but it’s even better. This year, the highly-anticipated cotton rayon challis fabrics designed by Anna Maria Horner hit the market, and they are TO DIE FOR. If you haven’t already read Anna Maria’s fantastic posts about rayon challis, please read this onethis one and this one right now. I’ve sewn one top with it so far (not yet blogged), and I’m hooked. Drapey, silky, easy to sew, doesn’t fray a ton, washes like cotton…is this my Dream Fabric?? Maybe. My biggest problem with rayons currently is that the print selection is really pretty small. I also get the feeling that fabric shops that sell mainly quilting cotton as their bread and butter are hesitant to carry it, making it trickier to find online and in person. And so far, most of the prints on rayon recently have been — though lovely — a bit large for clothing; I think the smaller prints lend themselves better to garment sewing. Hello, manufacturers? Let’s see some more (small-scale) prints on rayon challis!!!

5. Cotton-linen sheeting

Finally, the lightweight cotton-linen blend fabrics called “sheetings” from Kokka of Japan are another of my favorite fabrics; they have a similar weight to quilting cottons, but I find them to be nicer and a bit drapier (is that even a word? I don’t know). Not quite as soft as the double gauzes or voiles, but I’ve really enjoyed wearing the clothes I’ve made with them, and you can’t beat the amazing prints from Melody Miller and Heather Ross printed on them in the past couple of years.

sheeting quad
Top: Charlie Dress for C, Green Snow White top
Bottom: Arrow Dress for Quilt Market, Ruby Star Washi Dress

Note: You can find most, if not all, of these fabrics in online fabric shops, including those that sponsor this blog; for those who are unfamiliar with shopping for fabric online, check out this post I wrote about shopping for knits online or this one: Rae’s Big List of Fabric Shops).

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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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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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Exhibit 2: Foxy Skirt

This week, as part of my personal countdown to KCWC, I’m throwing pictures at the blog of things I’ve made for the kids this year that never got blogged. It’s my own little challenge, to try and “clean out the virtual closet” before I go and make more clothes for them next week. I’ll even show you some of the new kids patterns I’ve been working on. Fun Fun!

Foxy Skirt

This skirt was made with a fat quarter of cotton sateen fabric from Spoonflower that I designed (previously blogged about here) and some white linen for the band at the bottom and the elastic casing. The top is a flashback tee, upcycled from one of Mr Rae’s old shirts.

Foxy Skirt

She’s already so much bigger than when I took this photo earlier this year…waaah!

Foxy Skirt

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