Pear shirt for Hugo

Pear shirt for Hugo

I’ve been experimenting with a few new knit fabrics since Isla (my first women’s knit pattern) was launched a few months ago. Knits can be so different and I wanted to have some (new) good ones to recommend. I’d been eyeing Alison Glass’ solid jersey for Andover for awhile, so I bought a few different colors from Alison’s shop. These have a relatively low amount of stretch (reminds me of those “beefy Ts” we used to wear in the 90s); I first made an Isla top out of the navy color and it came out a bit on the tight side, although it was really cute. Next I decided to try something less fitted, so I used the brighter blue and lime to make a more loose-fitting raglan-style turtleneck top for Hugo, and that worked out even better!

Alison glass knits

I really like how the bright blue and lime hues looked together, so I thought it would be cute to add a little pear detail to the front. Karen was sweet enough to hand-stitch it on for me at the last Sew Ann Arbor sewing night we had at the studio. Isn’t it sweet?

Pear shirt for Hugo / made by rae

Pear shirt for Hugo

I got him to sit and pose for some rather nice photos (above), but the ones I love the most of him in this shirt are the ones shown below…they’re not as “clean,” but they capture more of our life at home…a bit of the daily mess, Clementine’s supercape (similar to the one I made Elliot, scroll down in that post), a red “Hugo” name tag someone (probably Clementine) stuck on him, as if we would forget his name. And the expression here is just priceless to me.

Pear shirt for Hugo / made by rae

Pear shirt for Hugo / made by rae

Also, this one is great:

Pear shirt for Hugo / made by rae

Anyway, I do love the AG knits; definitely recommend, and do keep in mind that you want to use them on projects that have more ease built in, so they don’t turn out too tight.

Hope you’re having a lovely week!

Flamingo Robe

flamingo robe / made by rae

Hello! Happy New Year! I ended up taking a bit of a blogging/screen break for the past couple of weeks, which was really quite nice because it gave me more time for reading (finished Everyone Brave is Forgiven last night, so good!!), board games with kids, friends, and family (PANDEMIC!!! SO good!), and some drawing and painting (maybe more fabric designs this year…who knows?), among other things. I really feel like it gave me a lovely break, like I have a bit more mental space now or something. I didn’t completely cut off, just kept my phone off/away/silent more than the usual. I know it’s all the rage to “quit” your phone and that’s fantastic too, but I also don’t think that’s completely necessary. Everything in moderation and all that.

flamingo robe / made by rae

I don’t generally do “Christmas sewing.” Ever since I nearly suffered a mental break one year I’ve managed to lower my sewing expectations for Christmas year by year so that the past few years I’ve ended up with nothing on my “Christmas-to-sew” list, which is liberating. Of course then two weeks before Christmas this year I started working on a kimono-style robe using my new Sidewalk flamingo print and realized halfway through that it would make a fantastic present for my sister Kricket, whose name I had drawn for our sibling gift exchange. So I guess I did do some Christmas sewing, though I personally think if you don’t realize you are doing Christmas sewing it really shouldn’t count.

flamingo robe / made by rae

Alas I cannot provide you with a pattern for this robe (a common request when I posted a pic of it — above — on Instagram), as I made up the pattern based on a tracing of another robe I own that is similar in overall shape. Maybe some of you have kimono-style robe patterns you could recommend in comments? You can see (from the clip on the shoulder) that the robe was still a WIP when I took this photo. I later added pockets, and I had to tear out, redesign, and resew the neckline facing in the back a few times until I got the shoulder right.

flamingo robe / made by rae

Closeup detail. Eagle-eyed readers will notice that I managed to keep part of the selvage with my name on it visible in the sleeve seam. A signature of sorts. This pic probably conveys the true color of the background best, though the flamingos look darker here than they are in real life.

flamingo robe / made by rae

And the finished robe!

flamingo robe / made by rae

Kricket seemed v. pleased with it when she opened it up on Christmas Day, so I feel this was a job well done. But also a bit of remorse for not keeping it for myself. But not really. But maybe a little bit.

flamingo robe / made by rae

If you’ve got a hankering to sew up some Sidewalk knit of your own, you can head over to my blog post about where to find Sidewalk knits, or check out the shop finder on the Cloud9 website. Sidewalk is shipping now and is perfect for a cosy winter sewing project! Please share your pics with me if you sew something with Sidewalk! The #sidewalkfabrics tag is useful on social media.

Hugo’s Pencil Shirt and Fleece Parsley Pants

Flashback tee + parsley pants for Hugo

Here’s my little monster in a few new things I’ve made for him recently: a Flashback Tee in Sidewalk interlock and some fleece Parsley Pants. It could hardly have escaped anyone’s notice that now we both own knit pencil tops (here’s mine)…which means a pretty awesome photo shoot needs to happen soon. Twinsies with a toddler, YEAH!

Flashback tee + parsley pants for Hugo

CHEESE.

Flashback tee + parsley pants for Hugo

I love making Parsley Pants in fleece since it adds a bit of stretch and makes them super cosy to wear. I made two pairs for him: the blue pair he’s wearing in these pics, and a green pair which are a lovely quality Mill End fleece and therefore even more cosy. The green ones I accidentally pressed with the iron on the cotton setting (oops!) and melted, so I had to put in a separate waistband. Which actually looks really cute, though it’s more work.

Flashback tee + parsley pants for Hugo

Flashback tee + parsley pants for Hugo

I’ve been adding elastic to the cuff (like I did with these Big Butt Baby pants awww tiny baby Hugo alert!!) because I think it’s cute when they’re cinched in at the ankle. I also added some tags — gifted to me from past sponsor Custom Labels 4U — to the waistbands and neckband of the tee. I don’t know why I didn’t start doing this sooner; it’s so helpful to know the size of handmade stuff, and I love having my logo tag in there too. I did previously use a handful of size labels I bought from an Etsy shop (you can see them in this post ACK another adorable Hugo post!!!); those were also great but weren’t woven and so those ended up curling up after washing which made them harder to read. Super handy though, no matter what you do.

Flashback Sidewalk Hugo tee - labels

New clothes for Hugo

My one complaint with these tags is that Hugo does have pretty sensitive skin and the edges of the logo tags are a bit scratchy (I don’t notice this with the size tags), so I think next time I’ll try putting them on the outside instead of inside the garment; maybe at a side seam or something.

Flashback tee + parsley pants for Hugo

He is perpetually sick and rosy-cheeked these days, poor babe. I love love love this age so much — he is saying the most ridiculously adorable things to us, every day, but I also hate how he is sick all of the time. It can be so trying. I had terrible sleep last night because he slept in our bed all night and was up coughing at regular intervals.

Since I took these pics a couple of weeks ago, I painted the wall behind him with chalkboard paint (so fun!! here’s a peek) and cut his hair (which you can see in this post). And, my Sidewalk knit fabric is now in shops! Here’s a list of Sidewalk stockists if you want to pick up some for yourself. Be sure to add the #sidewalkfabric hashtag if you post pics to social media because I would really love to see what you’re sewing for yourself with these knits!

Lace Holiday Dress

Lace Holiday Dress

Look! I sewed myself a dress for the endless number of fancy holiday soirees/parties I’ve been invited to!! KIDDING. So much kidding. My holidays are so low-key these days, what with it being impossible to find a babysitter on New Year’s Eve, and the fact that most of the family get-togethers I go to involve ordering pizza and drinking box wine and chasing around a toddler. So…not a lot of fanciness in my future. Womp-womp, toddler mama, so lame. It doesn’t matter though, I am happy with this dress, and I swear, I will find somewhere to wear it out. I love it with this wooden scissor pendant (below) that Wendy sent me, though there’s something kind of fun and funky about putting bright yellow (above) with it too, don’t you think?

Lace holiday dress

The thing that makes me swoon about this dress is not the design, which is fairly straightforward (I mixed up some patterns, including Isla, the Washi sleeve, and used the neckline from Astoria), but the natural-toned stunning stretch lace fabric.  I impulse-bought 2 yards of it from Anita at Sew to Speak quite a while back, so it’s not available anywhere anymore as far as I know. It took me a long time to figure out what to make with it owing to its sheerness (I’m wearing it with a full length nude slip in these pics), but I finally took the plunge and went for it. Stashbusting, yeah!

Lace holiday dress

This fabric was not easy to sew with, I’m not gonna lie. I used my serger to finish all of the edges before sewing them together so they wouldn’t ravel, and even then I had to go back and darn a few spots where the fabric started to come apart. I finished the neckline with fold-over elastic, and used the lowest ruffle on the bottom edge of the fabric as the hem for the skirt and sleeves so I wouldn’t need to hem it.

Lace holiday dress

Anyway, here’s hoping for some fun date nights soon so I can wear this baby out!

Full disclosure: MIY Collection/Wendy Ward and Sew to Speak are both past sponsors of this blog. I think they are awesome and would not have mentioned them in this post if I thought otherwise!! 

Buggy Neenah Turtleneck

Bug Neenah Turtleneck

New knit turtleneck! New glasses! I thought it would be fun to try one of my new Sidewalk knits in a grown up turtleneck. I used another Seamwork pattern, Neenah, which is a dress pattern, and shortened it at the waist to make it a top instead of a dress (inspired by Katie’s post). This “Bug’s Life” print definitely reads “kid” but I love it. I am not beneath wearing kid prints. See also: my pencil Astoria top.

Bug Neenah Turtleneck

I made the neckband wider (2″) to accommodate both my very large head and the fact that this fabric is interlock and therefore less thin/stretchy than other knits you might normally use for this pattern. I actually think it would have looked better with the narrower turtleneck, but I’m not sure I could have handled all of that fabric close around my neck. Am somewhat claustrophobic and never liked turtlenecks as a child for that reason.

Sidewalk knits / neenah turtleneck / made by rae

Given that we are fully into snowy weather here in Michigan, I have been wearing the heck out of this thing. I do love the medium thickness of interlock for warmth and of course Cloud9’s knits are super soft and lovely. And, I’m very excited to finally be able to say that Sidewalk is now shipping to shops. I just this morning saw it pop up in Annie’s Instagram feed, for those of you who are in the UK, and I’m sure more shops will follow soon. I’ll post a list of the shops carrying Sidewalk soon so you know where to find it!

neenah turtleneck / sidewalk knits / made by rae

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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