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.

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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.

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Striped Double Gauze Outfit for Stylo

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I want to walk you through each of the four Cotton + Steel outfits I designed for the latest issue of Stylo in a bit more detail here on the blog, starting with this one:

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The garments in this outfit were made with Bespoke Double Gauze, part of the Fall 2014 Cotton+Steel lineup that will be in shops early next year. I was looking for something new and different to feature my patterns in the Stylo spread, so when I contacted Melody Miller to ask about using Cotton+Steel garment fabrics for the shoot, I was thrilled to hear they were going to have a line of double gauzes. I believe I have mentioned in the past that wearing double gauze is like wearing pajamas. I selected a couple of quilting cotton fabrics for the shoot as well, but the double gauzes are definitely the main attraction here, and I love how they worked with my patterns.

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Charlie Tunic with handstitching

I’d never made a Charlie Tunic out of double gauze before, but now I’m wondering if I’ll ever sew it out of anything else. Making this one made me fall in love all over again with the Charlie pattern. It’s so comfortable and cute, especially when sewn out of a fabric so soft and easy to wear. Since I designed the pattern a few years ago, I’ve noticed that I’ve started streamlining the construction a bit by using just one button loop, skipping the side vents, and flattening the bottom of the front placket which makes for a more minimal, modern look. In addition, this version features the neckline placket on the inside instead of the outside, so the Purl Cotton stitches which hold the edges of the placket in place became the visual interest of this piece.

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Moon Pants

I originally intended just to make a few pairs of Parsley Pants to coordinate with everything, because that pattern is just so gosh-darned versatile. But as soon as I had the double gauze in hand, I wanted to design something more dramatic, less practical, and so the these harem pants were born. I’m so excited about how these turned out, and how much Clementine loves them — they are super comfortable and roomy. I made two versions of these pants for the shoot; the other one has a separate cuff and a pocket shaped like a crescent moon (I’ll show you those soon!!), so that’s where the name “Moon Pants” came from. For those of you who love to hack patterns, I’m not gonna lie, you could definitely hack Parsley or any other basic pant pattern for that matter to create this style by adding width, cuffs or elastic casings. But I’m starting to realize the value of offering a new pattern ready-made, and so I’m planning this for my next children’s pattern release. I’ve realized that many people (including myself, often) just don’t have the time or patience to figure out modifications for everything, so I hope there will be people who will appreciate this new pattern.

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Headband

This headband was a rectangle of double gauze, sewed together along one long side and then turned right-side out. Then I tucked the ends in and pleated them around a strip of fold-over elastic, which I top-stitched in place. Voila, new headband to match! I have to say, it makes me want to cry a little at how BIG Clementine looks with her hair pulled back. Waaaaaaah!! Where is my little baby girl!??!

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OK! That’s it for this outfit — feel free to post any questions you might have to comments and I’ll try to answer them all. You can see the entire spread, complete with the other outfits I designed, in Stylo Issue 3 (my spread starts on page 99)!! Thank you so much to Tashina and Karen for their help sewing up these looks, and to Jess and Celina for their amazing work on this issue!

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STYLO 3 is here!

Have you heard of Stylo?

Stylo is a new fashion-forward online eMagazine centered around children’s sewing patterns and style. Comprised of gorgeous spreads and compiled by Jessica Abbott and Celina Bailey, it’s become THE place to showcase your work if you’re a sewing blogger. So I’m really excited that I was able to contribute to the third issue, which just launched today! If you want to see the previous two issues, you can access them here.

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For me, there’s something really nifty about the online magazine format (as opposed to a blog): the photographs are bigger, brighter, and everything packs a bigger punch. So when I had the opportunity to sew some Made By Rae samples in the new Fall 2014 Cotton and Steel lines a couple of months ago, I though that Stylo would be the perfect place to show off the designs online!

I want to talk about each of the garments individually — they were so fun to make and photograph, and I even designed a NEW children’s garment for the spread that I’m SUPER excited to introduce — but first, I really just want you to click over and enjoy the spreads! So much work and talent went into this issue, and you really need to take a look. Click here to see Stylo3!

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Ruby Dress in chambray and voile

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I needed some new photos for the print cover of the Ruby Dress Sewing Pattern so I had Karen whip up this chambray and voile version last week at the studio. I have been hoarding this fabric forever and ever so it’s fun to have finally turned it into something wearable.

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Ruby will be the next women’s pattern of mine to go into print. It’s true that I already have some great photos of Ruby — this Leah Duncan Tule/grey chambray version was a big hit — but it seems a bit misleading to use that one for the paper pattern cover because it shows the yoke with a lining rather than the default bias-bound neck and armholes. The lining technique IS covered in my video series for adding a yoke lining, but the instructions were a bit too complicated to put into a pattern meant for beginners; it’s really better seen than read. So I guess the question is: is it OK to put a lined version on the cover, if we have to send people to the website to see the videos? I don’t know. The second question is: will this version (made with gorgeous Anna Maria Horner voile and indigo union chambray) SELL the dress as well as the original dress? I hope so. What do you think?

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Anyway, now I have a beautiful summer dress and some new photos to boot — my sister Elli just had a baby a month earlier than expected (more on that hopefully soon!!!) so things are moving a little slower than usual in the pattern production department, but that’s fine. It’s a Baby Year over here, and I think that is pretty fantastic.

You can purchase the Ruby Dress Sewing Pattern (in a PDF version!) right here.

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Fanfare for Baby!

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Fanfare for Baby Hugo!

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Pants: Big Butt Baby Pants in Fanfare flannel + yellow Shot Cotton. Perfect for his cute little cloth diaper bum.

Crib Sheet: made using Dana’s Crib Sheet Tutorial (I had to modify the dimensions a bit because the flannel shrinks down to about 41″ wide)

Changing Pad Cover: this is a FREE printable tutorial that I put together last summer, available from the Cloud9 website!

Nursery Prints: by Ingela Arrhenius; I found them here. Wall color is Sherwin Williams Waterfall.

Fun news: Fanfare is being REPRINTED in MORE COLORS and will be available later this summer! You can sneak a peek here, and I’ll post pics of my new samples soon!!!

More pics of the baby. I can’t resist.

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Fanfare for Baby Hugo!

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Summer is for Josephines and Rubies

Some hot and steamy days are ahead of us, so I wanted to share some of my favorite summery renditions of my Josephine and Ruby patterns.

Even though we released the Josephine Tunic & Blouse when hot weather was the furthest thing from my mind, View C has instructions to make a sleeveless top with side vents. Jaime from Fancy Tiger Crafts made a gorgeous version out of Cloud9 Fabrics’ Palos Verdes Voile.

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Terri at Fa Sew La has made a bunch of Josephines already! Here’s her sleeveless one:

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As the mercury rises, I’ve rekindled my love for the Ruby Dress & Top pattern. It sews up so quickly, and it’s versatile: wear it with shorts or a skirt, or enjoy it on its own as a light, breezy dress.

Sarah made this bright and cheery dress and blogged about it here.

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I love the bold prints paired with solid yokes on all of these:

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Above, Top Left: I Sew You Sew’s Ruby top with a Washi Expansion Pack [shortened] sleeve!
Top Right: Meagan blogged about her top here, and put a nice curved Wiksten Tank hem on it. Nice mashup!

Bottom Left: Spencer’s dress
Bottom Right: Katie’s dress

Have you made any summery Rubies or Josephines? Share them with us on Instagram with hashtags #rubydress and #josephinepattern, or in their Flickr photo pools!

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Josephine Blouse, Made by Rae patternJosephine with partial tucksJosephine with partial tucksJosephine with partial tucksJosephine with partial tucksJosephine with partial tucks


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Ruby FrontRuby BackRuby TopRuby TopRuby Top with lined yokeChambray and Voile Ruby Dress


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Pink Dotted Geranium for Clementine

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Other people might be fooled by your doll-like appearance, your proclivity towards pink. But I know the truth, Clementine: you are a tough little nut and every ounce as stubborn as your mother. Delicate would not be a word I would use to describe you. Strong, silly, fierce, smart, mischievious. Then also: adorable, affectionate, and sweet. An interesting combination that keeps us on our toes.

Pink and Gold Geranium

You draw ninjas instead of princesses. Another recent drawing that comes to mind featured a bomb. And a person cut in half on the ground.

Pink and Gold Geranium

You have a spider-sense for locating lost objects, which comes in handy given the fact that I am a complete space cadet. When something’s missing, we ask “Hey Clementine! Where’s Hugo’s pacifier??”

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You have the most hilarious expressions and faces. Cross-eyes, silly smiles, teeth over the bottom lip. The fact that you can’t say your “R’s” yet makes it even cuter.

pink and gold Geranium

Despite your many tantrums and screaming fits (what IS it about this age??), you also know how to snuggle like nobody’s business. You can’t stop giving Hugo cuddles and kisses. And when you crawl in bed with us in the middle of the night after a bad dream and fall asleep next to Daddy, you look like an absolute angel. You know, as long as you’re asleep.

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Dress: Geranium Dress Sewing Pattern, with a velvet ribbon added at the bottom of the bodice
Fabric: Michael Miller Pearlized Dots, purchased at Pink Castle

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Made By Rae Geranium Dress

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Bianca Sewing Pattern is Here!

Introducing my newest sewing pattern: Bianca! Yaaaaaaaaay!!! *does Kermit arms*

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This breezy top or dress is a great project for the beginner or the more experienced sewist looking for a quick warm-weather sew! The Bianca pattern features a notched neckline and a flattering gathered waist in six sizes (XS–XXL) and two lengths (top or dress).

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Variations include a choice of elastic casing or shirring at the waist, options for either closed side seams or side vents, and tips for sewing your Bianca with contrasting facings on the outside of the garment (as in the photo below). A section on simple pattern adjustments will help you to achieve the perfect customized fit!

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The instructions and diagrams are thorough, easy to follow, and full of hints and tips. We’ve also included a 1-page summary of the instructions, or “cheat sheet” if you will, so you don’t need to print out the entire pattern, and a special “Seam Finishes Appendix” with instructions for my favorite seam finishes so your Bianca will be beautiful both inside and out!

Sizes Included
This pattern comes in a range of six women’s sizes, from XS through XXL. Refer to the charts below to find your size.

Materials List

  • Woven or knit fabric (see recommendations and yardage chart below).
  • For elastic at waist (choose one): 1 yard 1/4″- or 3/8″-wide elastic for elastic casing OR elastic thread for shirring
  • 1/3 yard lightweight or featherweight fusible interfacing, recommended for fabrics with a lot of drape (rayon challis), stretch (knits), or a loose weave (linen, shot cotton, double gauze)
  • Coordinating thread

Recommended woven fabrics: lightweight cotton and linen blends such as voile, rayon challis, shot cotton, shirting, double gauze, lawn, and broadcloth. Bianca is especially flattering when made with fabrics that have a nice drape!

Recommended knit fabrics: choose a stable knit such as interlock or jersey with less than 30% stretch. [Note: To check stretch, cut a 10″ long strip of knit, cutting across the width of the fabric (this is the direction of most stretch) and stretch it as far as it will comfortably stretch. A knit with 30% or less stretch will stretch to no more than 13″ total]

You may want to check out my post on garment fabrics here.

See more!

You’ll find a helpful shirring tutorial HERE.

Bianca has been featured previously on on my blog in the following posts:

Tomato Rayon Top, for me
Pink Voile Tunic, for me was a precursor to Bianca, way back from 2011! It has similar construction, but the neckline is different, and the drawstrings have been replaced by elastic in Bianca.
Meet Jess and her awesome Nani Iro Bianca (here you can see the garment with the contrast outer facing)
Two Bianca Dresses
Rae’s Spring Top: Liberty Tunic with Ties is another precursor to Bianca. This top is slightly longer than the current pattern, it has a contrast outer facing, and it has ties instead of elastic or shirring.

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I’d love to see what people are making with the Bianca Pattern! Please post pictures of your finished Bianca Tops and Dresses to the Bianca Sewing Pattern Pool on Flickr!

Bianca Top with Pom-pomsBianca Top with Pom-pomsBianca Top with Pom-pomsBianca Top with Pom-pomsBianca Maxi dress 1Bianca Maxi dress 2

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Ruby Sparkles

posted by jess

Well, Summer arrived the other day. And my hair said, “We’re thinking big.” I should have prepared myself, because when I posted this photo on IG, my hairdresser later texted me, “Wow Nice texture! I’m sure that will be a lot of fun throughout the humid season.” I’m strategically not letting you see the right-hand side of my head in these photos, because it has a different hairdo.

Whoops, I didn’t hijack Rae’s blog to talk about my hair though; I actually wanted to do some show and tell from my own Spring Top Sewing. I just finished my favorite Ruby to date, and I thought I’d share the mods I made.

I cut out the fabric for the top and didn’t change the length at all. You can hardly tell, but I put an elastic in the hem. I sewed the hem exactly as indicated in the pattern, but left a 1″ opening to thread a 1/4″ elastic through the entire hem. I held it in place with a safety pin to try it on, then sewed the elastic ends together before finishing off the hem. I have a couple of store-bought tops that have the really loose elastic in the hem, and I like how it gives the top a little bit more shape on me.

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Instead of sewing gathers in the back, I made a box pleat.

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I followed Rae’s yoke lining video tutorials, and used bias binding for the exposed portion of the armholes.

Instead of turning the bias binding to the outside of the garment like Rae did here, I sewed the bias tape to the outside of the armhole, then folded it all the way in before topstitching (Rae did that on this version).

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Finally, a word about the fabric. For the yoke, I used Kaffe Fasset Shot Cottons (colorway lipstick for the outer, and apricot for the lining). The main fabric for the top is a score from the covered Bazaar in Istanbul. There is some really gaudy stuff there, let me tell you. This print is less visually stimulating than a lot of what I saw there, believe it or not. It’s a simple black background with fuchsia, peach, and pink fireworks, upon which gold and pink roses have been superimposed. Then they glued on some sequin-like sparkles for good measure. Honestly, I don’t usually wear much in the way of shiny/sparkly, but I think the solid yoke contrast helps calm things down a bit, and this top is crazy comfy. I think I’ll be wearing this a lot!

Spring Top Sewalong 2014 is underway! Read more here; and add your photos to the Flickr Pool!

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