Lace Easter Dress

Lace Easter Dress

It’s not unusual for me to get really excited about sewing something, do most of the work, hit a hurdle of some sort, and then quit the project altogether. That almost happened with this dress which I started at the end of last summer. I started with my Gemma pattern, which I lengthened and cut in two layers (lace and white jersey knit) and managed to sew together at the neckline, armholes, and side seams. Then I decided it needed a waistband and that’s where the project stalled.

Lace Easter Dress

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, when I picked it up again, added the waistband — when you have two layers this is as simple as sewing two lines of stitches and threading elastic between them — and hemmed it. I make that sound quicker than it actually was; it took me a few tries to get the waistband location right, but now I have a lovely dress for spring! Whyeeeeee did I wait so long to finish it?!? Sometimes I scratch my head at my own self. But at least it’s finished, and damn if it felt good to cross this project off the WIP list.

Lace Easter Dress

I find most of my lace here in Michigan at Field’s fabrics, which is a West Michigan chain that carries both quilting and apparel fabric. I think I bought at least three other laces, so look for more handmade lace clothing in my future.

Lace Easter Dress

Flashback Tee for Hugo

Flashback Tee for Hugo

Hey! This little monster turned three last week. THREE! Can you believe it?

He’s such a hoot. This really is the cutest age, I swear. I feel like I’m constantly writing down the hilarious things he says. And he’s still small enough that he’ll wear all the clothes I make for him (unlike his older siblings, who naturally have their own opinions, sometimes strong, about the things I sew for them. Ahem, CLEMENTINE. *coughs*). He definitely has his favorites though, and this Flashback Tee is one of his current favorites.

Flashback Tee for Hugo

I’m sure it helps that this rib knit is crazy soft. I made this tee from the leftovers from this tank dress, so yes, that means we can be (and are often) outfit twins. I never manage to snap a pic on the days we’re both wearing them at the same time, though. You’d think I was busy or something…hahah.

Flashback Tee for Hugo

Flashback Tee for Hugo

Flashback Tee for Hugo

Josephine with Tassel Ties

Josephine Top with Tassel Ties

Josephine Top with Tassel Ties

How long have you been reading this blog? Long enough to remember how much I love a good bit of pattern improv? Maybe you love it too! The desire to mix it up (constantly) is really what drives me to create patterns that are not only distinct, but work well as blank templates. I just love a pattern I can make over and over again yet never end up with the same thing twice. At first glance the Josephine Sewing Pattern might not seem like a great blank template, being limited in some ways by the pleating detail on the front which lends it a very distinct look and feel, but as soon as you lose the tucks on the front it turns into an entirely different animal.

Josephine Top with Tassel Ties

Josephine Top with Tassel Ties

For this blouse, I dropped the hemline in the center to create a shirt-tail hem, like Beatrix or Gemma, extended the bias binding to create ties and added tassels, and gathered the neckline instead of pleating the bodice. The result is a silhouette with more ease (3″ more, in fact) than the original pattern and an overall look that’s quite on-trend, especially in this dreamy Loominous fabric designed by Anna Maria Horner.

Josephine Top with Tassel Ties

Josephine Top with Tassel Ties

Here’s how to modify the Josephine Pattern to get this version!

How-to: Josephine with Tassel Ties

  • Cut out the A/B bodice using the View C cutting lines (unless you are extremely busty you won’t need the C/D bodice. Skipping the tucks creates additional ease, so even if you’re pretty large-busted, there will be enough ease in the pattern that you won’t need the larger cup size. Check the finished measurement chart and then add 3″ to the FM for bust if you’re not sure!).
  • Drop the center of the hem a few inches when cutting out the pattern to create a shirt-tail shape. Draw an S shape with chalk before cutting, remembering that the hem line needs to intersect center front and sides at a right angle.
  • Gather the neckline edge along the pleated areas with elastic thread (see my shirring tutorial) or with basting stitches. I also gathered a couple inches in the back as well. See photo below:

Josephine Top with Tassel Ties

  • Follow the instructions for View C, but add the sleeves as if you were making View B. I also used elastic thread to gather the sleeve caps and ends of the sleeves…it’s just SO. QUICK. !!!

Josephine Top with Tassel Ties

Josephine Top with Tassel Ties

  • After sewing the center seam, press and fold under, then stitch down the edges of the center front extension, since the edges won’t get enclosed by the tucks like they usually are.
  • When binding the neckline, extend the bias binding past the center front edges to create ties, then stitch it shut and add a couple tassels to the ends (I like Liesl’s tassel tutorial over at Creativebug. I used DMC embroidery floss for these)

And that’s it! Wear and enjoy!

Josephine Top with Tassel Ties

Please let me know if you try this version of Josephine. I’d love to see how yours turns out!

For even more Josephine variations, check out the Josephine page. You might also like this version with with release tucks, or this one with release tucks and sleeves!

Cleo Skirt Inspiration

I really enjoy cruising around on Pinterest on a Saturday morning with a cup of coffee. Lately, I’ve been collecting some skirt images that have me really excited to sew the Cleo Skirt. Here are 25 skirts from my Lovely Skirts board to give you some ideas and inspiration!

Cleo Skirt Inspiration

I definitely need to find some palm print fabric (1), STAT. I love the two floral prints in flowy rayon and longer length here (2 & 5). Solids are a great skirt option too; I love the pale hues of that pale pink (3) and off white skirt (7), and that bright yellow skirt (6) is so cute with a striped knit tee and belt. That navy skirt (4) is so elegant with heels and a clutch. How about two bright solids for View A of the pattern (8)? And a lovely skirt in bias-cut checks (9).
Inspiration for Cleo

That gingham skirt (10) at the top was the inspiration for my own gingham version of Cleo. Some lovely dark green print mixing happening here (11). More great polka-dotted skirts (13 & 17) and a fantastic floral print (16). How do you feel about electric yellow (14)? I love it! And that color-blocked silk version (15) inspired my Black Silk Cleo.
Cleo Skirt Inspiration

Some more great solid (18,19,20,23), checked (22) and dotted (25) skirts; so cute paired with striped tees or tights! That bright abstract print version (24) with the tucked in shirt, gold accessories, and gorgeous bun is giving me serious style envy. And while the mini-skirt here (21) is definitely shorter than something I would wear personally, I still love the combination of abstract floral print with a striped tee.

All images via my lovely skirts Pinterest board

Need to sew a skirt right now? You can find the Cleo Skirt pattern in my shop!

Posted in Cleo
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Loominous Cleo Skirt

Loominous Cleo Skirt / made by rae

Loominous Cleo Skirt / made by rae

Another Cleo Skirt for me! This fabric…GAH…just…love. With a black tee and boots, it’s a great outfit for winter (I wear black leggings underneath).

Loominous Cleo Skirt / made by rae

Back view:

Loominous Cleo Skirt / made by rae

Side view:

Loominous Cleo Skirt / made by rae

Loominous Cleo Skirt / made by rae

Fabric: Loominous II by Anna Maria Horner

Pattern: Cleo skirt, Views A + B combined

How to: Cut the View A skirt but use the View B length line at the bottom (I also added 2 more inches to the length for my 5’8″ height). Add pockets and construct as if you were making View A, but omit hem bands and then hem up as if it were View B. I also chose to fold up a smaller hem allowance to make the skirt 3″ longer than the pattern intended.

Loominous Cleo Skirt / made by rae

I think the photo above gives you an idea of how this fabric moves; it’s really light (loosely woven = great drape) and a similar weight and behavior to shot cotton, if you’re familiar with that. Wore this outfit for a date night with Mr Rae last weekend. Woot woot!

Loominous Cleo Skirt / made by rae

You can make your own with the Cleo Skirt pattern, now available in my shop!

Posted in Cleo
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Cleo Skirt in rayon

Rayon cleo skirt

The type of fabric you choose for a sewing project can really transform it. Here’s an example: I made this lovely Cleo Skirt with rayon, and it’s quite different than the gingham one I posted the other day. The gathers stand away from the waistband less, and the rayon fabric (this is a Cotton + Steel rayon, designed by Sarah Watts, that I’ve been hoarding for awhile) drapes and hangs much more closely to the body. If you don’t love the extra volume that a full skirt adds to your waist and hips, using a drapey fabric like rayon is a nice option. Personally I’m pretty banana-shaped (thank you to Deborah for informing me of this additional body shape), I don’t mind the extra volume as it gives me more shape, but I also love how this one skims the body, and the flowy fabric is of course also very silky and comfortable to wear.

Rayon cleo skirt

Rayon cleo skirt

Rayon cleo skirt

Rayon cleo skirt

I think the deep colors in the print make this skirt look more wintery than some of my other skirts. With black tights, a sweater, and boots, it’s perfect for the cold weather.

Rayon cleo skirt

The Cleo Skirt is now available in my shop!! You can see all of the Cleo skirts I’ve made on my Cleo page.

PS. Check out this awesome rayon skirt that Amelia made! Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous?!?

Posted in Cleo
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Liberty Cleo Skirt

Liberty Cleo skirt / made by rae

Every time I make another Cleo skirt I think it’s my favorite. This Cleo is my favorite. It doesn’t hurt that I splurged and bought some Liberty lawn for this one. La la love.

Liberty Cleo Skirt

I love how light and airy lawn is, and I love how the back gathers in this fabric.
Liberty Cleo skirt / made by rae

Liberty Cleo skirt / made by rae

And the front…

Liberty Cleo skirt / made by rae

Liberty Cleo skirt / made by rae

and the side…

Liberty Cleo Skirt

I can’t wait until it’s warm enough for lace-up flats!

This skirt is View b of my Cleo skirt pattern for women, which is now available in my shop! Read more about Cleo and see all the other versions I’ve made over on the Cleo page.

Posted in Cleo
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Cleo Sewing Pattern is HERE!

cleo postcard 800 px
I’m excited to announce that the Cleo sewing pattern is here!

BUY NOW

Cleo is a gathered skirt with just the right amount of fullness. It features a flat front waistband with an elastic back waistband to make it both comfortable to wear and insanely easy to get a great fit. You’ll love Cleo because it’s flattering and comfortable without the the need to fuss with fitted waistbands or zippers.

This pattern comes in nine women’s sizes (XXS-XL and plus sizes 1-3), and includes a full sheet of hints and tips to find just the right fit for you. See the size chart here.

The Cleo sewing pattern includes two views: View A has a curved cutout-style pocket and a contrasting double-folded hem, while View B has hidden inseam pockets and a longer length. In addition, the pattern pieces are arranged to make it easy to mix and match features (view a pockets with view b length, for example).

Cleo Skirt views A&B

A note about length
I intentionally designed Cleo for a shorter person than me (I’m 5’8) so that someone who is 5’5 or 5’6 could sew this skirt without having to make length adjustments. In addition, we tested Cleo with testers of varying heights (5’1-5’9), and included a page in the instructions that clearly explains how to lengthen and shorten the skirt pattern; you’ll find it’s incredibly easy to do. I encourage you to play around with length — one of my favorite Cleo skirts is a maxi version I made years ago.

Skill level: intermediate
Whether you are a confident beginner or an experienced sewist, I think you’ll find that Cleo is an easy and satisfying sewing project. Here are the skills used in the pattern:

  • gathering
  • sewing straight and curved seams
  • sewing an elastic waistband
  • hemming

Cleo is currently available as a digital sewing pattern in my shop. Your download link will include print-at-home pattern pieces as well as copy shop files (in both A0 and US formats), just like the rest of my women’s digital patterns!

I’ve put together a Cleo page where you can find all of the blog posts and resources related to this pattern, plus all the charts for sizes, finished measurements, and yardage.

BUY NOW

I’d love to see what you make with this pattern! Please use the hashtags #cleoskirt#madebyrae, or #raemademedoit on Instagram and Twitter to share your photos, or post pictures of your finished skirts to the Rae Made Me Do It pool in Flickr and see what others have made! I also have a Made by Rae group on Facebook now, so if you’d like to be a part of the sewing community there, please request to join!

Posted in Cleo
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Gingham Cleo Skirt

Gingham Cleo skirt

Another Cleo Skirt today! This is View B of the pattern, which features the longer length and inseam pockets, sewn up in a lovely Carolina 1″ gingham. This skirt (like my last Cleo posted) was also inspired by an image on Pinterest; this one…I’m excited at how closely inspiration met reality in this skirt!

Gingham Cleo skirt

Carolina gingham is a quilting weight fabric, so it’s heavier than something like lawn or rayon, and it doesn’t have much drape. You can see how this plays out in the way that the skirt stands out from the body, especially in the back, which you can see in the photo below. I’ll be honest: in this fabric I don’t super duper love it in the back, but that’s easily solved with the addition of a cute cardigan, or wearing it with a tee untucked in the back.

Gingham Cleo skirt

Gingham Cleo skirt

I’ve been trying for the past two years (and for the most part, successfully) to photograph everything I sew on a hanger against a white wall. I keep all of these shots in a “Made” folder in Photos labeled by year. Throughout each year I can look back at everything I’ve sewn. It’s fun to see the finished projects for each year all in one place!

Gingham Cleo skirt

I think this gingham version will be lovely for summer walks and playground jaunts with Hugo; I’m very glad I had the good sense to include a longer version of the pattern for this very reason. Spring will be here sooner than you think!

Get your Cleo Skirt pattern now!

Posted in Cleo
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