Marble Dyed Isla Top

Isla Peplum

This marble-dyed fabric is fun, isn’t it? This is another Isla top that I wear all the time, even though it was meant to just be a studio sample. We wanted to test if the Isla pattern could be sewn entirely on a sewing machine instead of a serger, and it turned out great! The stitch I prefer to use when sewing knits on with my machine is a zig zag stitch, and I usually set the length a little longer (3-4 mm) and the width pretty narrow (1-1.5 mm). I don’t have an exact number for these because it helps to try it on a sample and play around with the width and length a bit. Every fabric can be a little different.

Isla Peplum

This particular fabric is a rayon jersey that I bought online at a shop that I found on Instagram (unfortunately I haven’t had great luck with the fabrics from that shop so I can’t recommend it), and since I didn’t realize when I purchased it that I should hang dry rayon jersey, it’s since gotten a bit pilly (read more about rayon jersey care via this post). But it’s not too bad for a sample.

made by rae | tie dye Isla top

You can see from these photos if you look carefully, especially at the second one, that this top has some bunching under the arm. I really didn’t notice the issue in my first few Isla samples — they were rayon jersey and therefore super-stretchy — but when we sent the pattern to testers, everyone’s photos came back with big wrinkles at the armpit and the comments were that it felt too tight. So we widened the armholes as a result. I love how testing really helps eliminate problems from a pattern. Anyway, I think it’s kind of fun to hear about the process, hopefully you do too!

Isla can be made as a dress or as a top and is available in my pattern shop.

Posted in isla, knits
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Monaluna Flashback with skirt

It’s Friday, friends. And what a week. Let’s talk about something fun, like this cheerful knit top I made for Clementine!

Monaluna Flashback with skirt

I started with my Flashback Skinny Tee pattern in a size 7/8 (how is she so big? WAAAAAH *weeps into coffee cup*), cut off the bodice halfway between the armpit and the hem and added a gathered skirt to the bottom. I made the skirt twice as wide as the bodice and about 11″ tall. Everything else is exactly the same as the original Flashback pattern (cuffs, neckband, fit, etc). I’ve made Flashbacks with skirts before (here and here), but as dresses instead of a top.

Monaluna Flashback with skirt

This awesome fabric is a Monaluna knit in Groovy Lotus and I love how it has a very Scandinavian-esque vibe, kind of like something you would find in Hanna Andersson. I’ve always loved the feel and modern designs of Monaluna fabrics (owner Jennifer Moore is a friend and so lovely), so I almost can’t believe this was the first time I sewed with one of the knits. Verdict? Nice and soft, nice amount of stretch, yet still very easy to work with. Love that it’s 100% organic, too! So nice that I went out and bought a bunch more from her shop last month when she had a knits sale (hint: get on the shop email list!).

Monaluna Flashback with skirt

Monaluna Flashback with skirt

And here is my little goofball illustrating her favorite poses:

 

Monaluna Flashback with skirt

Some serious walk-off fodder here.

Monaluna Flashback with skirt

And…cross-eyed. That’s my little lady.

Monaluna Flashback with skirt

Have a wonderful and relaxing weekend, everyone!

Sidewalk Astoria Top

Sidewalk knit Astoria top

Here’s something I whipped up the other day: an Astoria top from Seamwork magazine in the art class print from Sidewalk. I think it works (as do many of the prints in this collection) as a “grown up” print, don’t you? This is probably hard to believe, but I always try to design fabrics meant for women’s apparel, but the collections always end up reading “kid” more than “grown up” once they’re done. I keep trying though. I swear the collection I am working on right now is more serious, just you wait!! Anyway, I love these little pencils so much and it’s really fun to make them into something I can wear.

Sidewalk knit Astoria top

Sidewalk knit Astoria top

I made a size medium of the Astoria pattern and made just a couple of small changes. First, I removed the curve in the side seam which I imagine is meant to accommodate those whose busts achieve the dimensions set forth in the measurement chart for the size medium bust (mine does not). Furthermore, I ended up flipping the entire neckband to the inside of the top and stitching it down after finding that it wasn’t sitting quite as flat as I’d hoped (this is a result I think of using a 100% cotton knit; if you had a lycra knit, you probably wouldn’t have this issue). Overall, it fits quite well considering the cowboy approach I took (no muslin, serger for everything but the sleeve hems and neckline). If I make this again, I might add some length; it’s definitely a cropped top and lands right at my natural waist, so I really can’t raise my arms in this outfit without showing off my midsection. But I think as long as I wear this with high-waisted pants (which unfortunately these awesome red cords are not), it will be fine.

Sidewalk knit Astoria top

I love Seamwork magazine, and this was my first attempt at one of their patterns. I own a few Colette patterns and love the designs that Sarai and her team produce, but the Colette aesthetic has always been a bit fancier than my chase-the-toddler-at-the-park wardrobe demands. So when they launched Seamwork magazine and included a new line of patterns with the subscription (two patterns are free with every issue) that are simpler and a bit more casual than their Colette patterns, it was right up my alley, since as you probably know I tend toward fairly simple garment designs.

Sidewalk knit Astoria top

I still balk a little as a pattern designer at the low price ($6/month for a Seamwork subscription, which means the patterns are all $3 each), because I worry sometimes that stuff like this can make it tougher for my own patterns to sell, but I think that the adage “you get what you pay for” is applicable in many cases. The entire Seamwork magazine is so beautifully presented, the articles are wonderful, and the photographs are amazing, but overall my impression is that the patterns can be hit or miss. Which really is fine with me as a subscriber, since I’m already getting a fantastic magazine with top-notch articles. You can’t expect to get awesome every time when you are getting two new patterns every month for $6. Maybe they do compete on some level with my patterns for the customer who responds to low pricing, but I’ve come to realize that I need to be catering to the person who will value the time and attention I give my patterns, and is happy to pay more for that value. If it takes me six months to make each pattern and then charge next to nothing for them, I really don’t know how I could have a sustainable business. I hope this doesn’t come off as a diss to Seamwork — that’s not how I mean it — but I do think that it’s important to talk about value and quality and how it relates to pricing. Seamwork is just taking a different approach with the subscription model.

Sidewalk knit Astoria top

Anyway, the Astoria top has been, as they’ve put it, one of their “fan favorites,” and I would agree: it’s easy and quick to sew, and doesn’t require much fitting or fussiness. And as you can see, it’s great for showing off Sidewalk!

Sidewalk is my newest fabric collection for Cloud9 fabrics. It is printed on 100% organic knit interlock and will be shipping soon to a fabric shop near you!

Sewing with knits

sewing with knits

As I get ready to launch my Isla sewing pattern for knits, I thought it would be nice to point you to some knit sewing resources here on my blog! You can find a list of everything mentioned in this post on my Knits Page.

First, I would highly recommend taking a look at the KNITerviews (that’s a link to the intro post, and a full list of posts can be found here). In those interviews, I asked bloggers about their experiences and tips for sewing with knits. I can’t believe how many people have told me that they learned how to sew with knits using the KNITerviews!

Second, check out the Trace and Make T-Shirt and Leggings class I taught in my Sewing for Little Ones course on Creativebug (affiliate links). If you like learning from videos, I think you’ll love this class. Making clothes for kids is gratifying because they come together so quickly, and it’s great practice to learn skills without using up adult-sized quantities of fabric! The class introduces the following beginner knit skills: sewing a basic seam, different types of knit fabrics, and how to measure the amount of stretch.

I also did a few supplementary blog posts under the category Stretch Yourself: Sewing with Knits in which I dispensed some of my own knit sewing wisdom. There’s a few posts there that you might find helpful, including a tutorial series on Knit Necklines (two binding techniques + adding a neckband), and a post with Tips for Hemming Knits that many people have found useful.

Finally, I wrote a few posts about shopping for knits online and my favorite knit fabrics, though you may find that some of the links in the second one are a bit out of date. I’ll try to post a few more of my favorite knit fabrics soon!!!

PS. Did you get this month’s issue of Seamwork? It has a great article on how to fit knit garments, for those of you who want to advance your knit-fitting skills!!

Posted in knits
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Creativebug Outfit for Hugo

Sewing for little ones set / Creativebug + Made By Rae

I have always felt that the two most essential garments in a child’s wardrobe are a basic pair of pants and a tee shirt. It was on this premise that I designed my two children’s patterns, the Flashback Tee for knits and the Parsley Pants for woven fabrics, and it’s also the reason that my Sewing for Little Ones series on Creativebug begins with how to make basic pants and ends with how to make a Trace-and-Make tee.  I love being able to whip up a tee and pants for my own kiddos; it’s such a fun and gratifying thing to sew an easy outfit in an afternoon (also: Elliot, at 9, still prefers my “soft pants” to store-bought).

Sewing for little ones set / Creativebug + Made By Rae

I made this little outfit for Hugo when I was writing my outlines for the Creativebug classes, and as you can see, the result is completely wearable and cute. I used the dog print from my Small World corduroy fabric line for the pants, and that soft yellow knit (I swear this is the PERFECT shade of yellow) is from Cloud9’s knit solids collection. Cloud9 provided ALL of the fabrics I used to teach the classes, by the way; I’m partial to their fabrics, as you probably already know.

Sewing for little ones set / Creativebug + Made By Rae

The first class, Sew Beginner Pants, takes you from start to finish on a basic pair of pants. I love the utility of pants, how simple they are (one pattern piece!), that it is a gender-neutral clothing item, and how quickly they can be sewn. It walks you through setting up your sewing machine for the first time, cutting out the pieces, and sewing them together. The video allows you to sew along and learn all those little tips and tricks you’d learn if you could take one of my classes in person. I also figured out a way to sneak seam finishing into this class because though pants can be sewn lickety-quick, if you want them to last through multiple wears and washings, seam finishing is essential. The class also includes a printable download with two sizes of the Parsley Pant pattern, a newborn size and a toddler size. The larger size is labeled size 3, and I also included a size 2 hemming line (and I’ve got them hemmed up even further for these pics of Hugo, since he’s not quite in a size 2 length-wise). And of course, if you needed more sizes you could use the same instructions for any size of my Parsley Pants pattern. Here’s the class description:

Begin your foray into sewing for little ones with Raes Parsley Pants pattern. Rae shows you how to work with multi-sized patterns and covers tricky techniques like sewing curves and adding an elastic waistband. This pattern is practical and simple, and you will get the satisfaction of seeing an entire garment come together in just a couple of hours. Start building your basic garment construction skills with this class.

Learn How To:

  • Set up your sewing machine
  • Select size and cut out your pattern
  • Sew curved seams
  • Add an elastic waistband and ribbon tag
  • Finish hems

Sewing for little ones set / Creativebug + Made By Rae

The tee was made as a sample for the Trace and Make Knits class, the third and final class in the series. “Trace and Make” means you start with a piece of clothing that fits your child, and you trace it to make a pattern from the garment so you can make even more (sidenote: I do this to make clothes for my kids to wear, but never for a pattern I intend design and sell). In this particular class, I demonstrate how to trace and construct not only a tee but a pair of leggings as well, another essential item for children. The class also includes an introduction to knit fabric and sewing with knits, and shows you how to sew the tee and leggings from start to finish…I mean, for the price of the subscription, I can’t even… Let’s put it this way: all of this content would be a $100 workshop if I offered it locally, you know? Not to mention, the principles of tracing, making, and constructing tees and leggings are exactly the same for kids as they are for men, or women, so I personally think this class has a HUGE value and I’m so glad that I can point folks who are interested in sewing with knits to it! Here’s the class description:

Tracing and making is a great way to learn about clothing construction. In this final part, Rae shows you how to trace a favorite t-shirt and pair of leggings to create your own patterns, which you can use to construct custom garments. You will also learn all about working with knit fabrics—a staple fabric for kids. This class rounds out the wardrobe nicely, teaching you more skills like working with shoulders and sleeves and how to add a double-fold neckline.

Learn How To:
· Work with knit fabrics
· Select a tee and leggings to trace
· Trace tee and leggings for pattern
· Create a pattern on Swedish tracing paper
· Construct a tee-shirt shoulder seam, sleeve seam and double-fold neckline
· Add tags to tee and leggings
· Insert elastic waistband in leggings

Sewing for little ones set / Creativebug + Made By Rae

I have even more to say about the second class (“Sew a Beginner Dress”) yet, but I’ll save that for a later post. I couldn’t be more thrilled with how these classes turned out and I really hope that you will subscribe and watch them if you haven’t already. I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to offer video somehow, to make an extra instructional resource available for people who wanted to try my sewing patterns but maybe needed a little more support (and I’ve done a handful of campy how-to videos for a few of my sewing patterns), but but holy sh*t is it ever hard to film, edit, and publish video on your own. I’m still a little gobsmacked at how adeptly the editors whittled down an entire week’s worth of shooting into these three thorough yet concise classes that can each be watched from start to finish in one sitting (and, Bonus Miracle: manage not to make me look like a total idiot!). I can’t say this without sounding like a total fan-girl, but it was such an honor to have had the opportunity to partner with Creativebug on this thing and I’m proud to be able to put my name on such a high-quality project.

You can sign up for free and take my classes by clicking on this image:

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Note: all Creativebug links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small amount if you subscribe via one of my links.

Knit Dresses for Clementine

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Two new quick knit dresses for the little stinker (actually three but one didn’t get finished): One a slightly larger version of this Flashback Dress (there’s a rough tutorial at that link on converting the Flashback Tee into a dress):

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She just got a haircut last week, which I think turned out rather well. After discussing her plans to “keep it long” and “just get a tiny trim” in the car before we arrived at the salon, I was rather floored to hear her announce to the hairdresser that she wanted it all chopped off. Whaaaat. OK! Sure!!! I tried not to sound too enthusiastic lest she change her mind since I actually love it short — it’s SO much easier to take care of and somehow always manages to look chic no matter what she does or doesn’t do to it, as opposed to long hair, which always ends up looking unkempt and ragamuffinesque, like she might actually be a street urchin or something.\

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When I see little girls running around with beautifully coiffed heads, or perfectly placed pigtails or braids, I always wonder how that came about. In our house a hairstyle that intricate would need to involve either ear-piercing shrieks or a large tranquilizer dart.

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And here is the other dress, which is basically a Flashback Tee, cut a few inches below the armpit and with a gathered rectangle sewed to the bottom (EASY!). Similar to this Flower Garden dress, does anyone remember that post? She was soooo cute back then!!!

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OK, fabric. The white knit is a Birch Organic knit which I purchased at Sew to Speak in Columbus (I have their # on speed-dial) but can also be found at Fabricworm, a sponsor of this blog (ack they have it on sale right now!!). The knit is a medium weight, thicker, with a nice amount of stretch to it. I will say that I love the Birch knits, but the more ink they have on them, the stiffer they feel (both before and after washing), so the prints with the lighter backgrounds tend to feel nicer to me. Love this party print!! SOOO cute!

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The pink print is from Girl Charlee (another blog sponsor) which is a large online shop specializing in knits. This one is called a “cotton jersey blend,” is fairly lightweight, and has a great deal of stretch — so much so that you can see the armpits on this dress are sagging from the weight of the skirt. It is SUPER soft, though since I paid very little for this knit I do worry about pilling on it, as it seems to have a fair amount of lycra. Lycra content can usually be seen as little tiny white threads on the surface of a knit, which can sometimes snag and pill as a knit is worn). So we will see; it hasn’t been worn much yet. Clementine LOOOOOVEEESS this dress and has professed her undying love for the print on a number of occasions already. The fact that she has worn the dress three times since I finished it on Friday even though it has pizza sauce on it is solid evidence of this.

Flashback Dress for ClementineFlashback Dress for Clementine

Finally: the sherpa vest is from Mini Boden. I love that thing. Warm enough for cool days, and super cute. I bet you could make one, but this mama has her hands full of handmade clothing projects as it is.

Little Romper Thingy for the Drool Machine

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This was a spur-of-the-moment project (inspired by this little romper on Pinterest).  As with the dress in the last post, sometimes when I wing it it works, sometimes it’s a disaster, and sometimes it just needs some tweaking.

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please feel free to pin this romper but don’t pin any photos of Hugo — thanks!

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I drew the pattern for this free-hand-style and cut and sewed most of it in less than an hour. The only step that took a bit more time was adding the snap placket to the inside of the legs.

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This fit is a wee bit wide in the neck — he’s showin’ a little baby shoulder — and could use a little tweaking. Next time I’ll just make the neck smaller and narrower and add more length to make more room for his cloth diapers. The yellow striped knit was left over from this Flashback Tee I made for Clementine last fall — that’s the great thing about baby sewing projects, they take almost no fabric so it’s not a huge investment if it doesn’t work out. Wouldn’t a little micro-pocket look cute too?

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I’m completely helpless when it comes to editing photos of Hugo. I can’t delete any. Even looking at this post I realize there are roughly four shots that all probably look the same to everyone else, but to me are so nuanced in expression they all needed to be included.

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Gold Dot Knit Dress

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I should have considered the fact that this shade of nudey-beige is NOT the most flattering shade on me before buying yards and yards of this dotted knit last spring, but I was drawn like a magpie to those gold dots and I just couldn’t resist. In fact I broke a number of my own “rules for buying knits,” as it ended up being more sheer than expected (I didn’t request a swatch), and it was pretty cheap, which seemed great until I realized I was starting to get a pilly knit dress. Why oh why did I think it would be different this time? Two words: GOLD DOTS.

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I also should have remembered that I’m at least a whole size larger than I was last summer when I decided to add a longer skirt to the same pattern I used for the Strawberry Peplum Top. As a result, I now have a really cute dress that is waaaay too tight on the top half. But it has GOLD DOTS!! Even with a tank top underneath it shows EVERY line of my bra, which you can see in the last picture of this post, and is pretty embarrassing. I keep wearing it though. Despite the pilling and sheerness and the fact that this project was probably Not A Win. I think we all know why.

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On the plus side, the pink scarf (JCrew, two seasons ago) does two things for this dress: it covers up some of the sheerness and tightness, and it adds some delicious color to the ensemble.

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I love the aqua flower necklace (found locally at a gift shop in Kerrytown) with it too, but I need to figure out a solution to the “skin-tight” problem if I’m going to wear this without the scarf in public, as you can see above. One possible solution is to just wear the baby in a carrier over it, like I did to a wedding a couple weeks ago. After all, babies make great accessories.

Rapunzel Outfit for C

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I went on a bit of a Lillestof buying binge a couple months ago; one purchase was the Ninja print for E that I posted about last week, and I also picked up this absolutely adorable Rapunzel print for C from Simplifi along with a few other prints. I think with busy prints it’s best to use a simple pattern, so I decided to make a couple of short-sleeved Flashback Dresses.

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Please feel free to pin any of the cropped photos in this post, but please do not pin or reuse photos that include Clementine’s face. Thanks!

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The Flashback Skinny Tee Pattern comes in sizes 0-5 AND 6-14. I also used my tutorial for short-sleeves, and the tutorial for turning it into a dress.

I used the Go To Leggings pattern for the leggings that my friend Andrea sent over years ago (thank you Andrea!!!) and they are fantastic. I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to finally make them, but I’m so glad I did; the fit is excellent and leggings are SO easy to make! They are a little long on C because she’s tall so I went up a size, but she can just grow into them.

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