Ruby with poms

I realize my need to add pom poms to things I make is becoming borderline obsessive. I haven’t found a support group yet, so it is going to be ADD POMS TO ALL THE THINGS YEEHAW until someone stages an intervention. Just so you know.

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Latest Pom Victim: this white double gauze Ruby top (pattern: Ruby Dress and Top).

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The fabric is a solid white double gauze that I picked up at Pink Castle here in Ann Arbor. Every time I make a piece of clothing with solid fabric I wonder why I don’t do it more. Solid pieces are the connector blocks in my handmade wardrobe. I’ve just made a chambray tank that is serving a similar purpose that I’ll post soon. Solid fabrics may be less exciting to look at than crazy prints, but they sure are practical.

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As for adding poms to this Ruby, since the weave was pretty loose, I opted to stitch the trim on by hand after I lined the yoke.

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By the way, this top is another piece of my Spring/Summer Handmade Wardrobe that I posted about here. Stay tuned for more!

PS. Want to see everything I’ve ever made that has pom poms on it? You got it.

Bonsai Bag / Bianca with poms / Geranium with poms / Clementine Geranium with poms / Pom Pom scarf (that’s even a tutorial!) / Pom pom scarf for Clementine / shorts with pom poms / Orange Washi with poms

Loominous Ruby and the sad tale of a jumpsuit gone awry

Loominous Ruby Top

You may remember that earlier this year I made a pair of Luna Pants from this very same fabric. One day by chance I folded those pants on top of a pair of dark skinny jeans and fell in love with the combination of the green with the denim and realized “I think I need a top from that fabric too.”

Loominous Ruby Top

Considering how ridiculously comfortable the pants were, it was a no-brainer to buy more fabric (Loominous by Anna Maria Horner) to make a simple summer top. And considering Ruby is possibly the quickest and easiest of all of my women’s patterns to make, that was a no-brainer too.

Loominous Ruby Top

This top was part of my Spring/Summer Handmade Wardrobe planning sketch (I blogged about that here), so now I can cross that one off the to-sew list.

Loominous Ruby Top

At some point in the process — I don’t exactly remember when — it occurred to me that these two things (top, pants) could be combined to make a faux jumpsuit without the obvious disadvantages of a real jumpsuit (I am referring, of course, to the difficulties one might encounter trying to use the restroom, among other things). Once the thought was there, it was impossible not to act on it. Photographic evidence:

Loominous Faux Jumpsuit

I’m not sure why it never occurred to me that I would look like a giant green leprechaun. And the glasses and the shoes really did not help at ALL…geez. Perhaps with a different color (black?) things would have been different, but I think it is safe to say that I Will Not Be Caught Dead wearing this ensemble out of the house.

I thought you would get a kick out of the photo, though.

Beatrix with invisible zipper

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Here’s another Beatrix hack, this one much better than the last (oh wait, you forgot about that post already? Me too.). Reasons why it is better: First, voile. Much easier to sew with. Second, the print looks like someone took a brush and painted directly on it (it is from the Palos Verdes collection by A Creative Mint for Cloud9, the company I also design for); I also bought the triangle print from the same collection because I love that hand-painted look so much. Brilliant. Third: much better fit.

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SASSY HANDS! Sorry, this pic was too corny not to include.

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The hem on this version is 1″ longer than the actual pattern, making it read more “tunic” than “top” when combined with the fact that this size (L) is now also a bit too big for me. I’m now more of a medium, thanks to the slow meltaway of poundage that accompanies toddler-chasing and starvation due to the fact that he won’t sit at the table for more than five minutes at a time.

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I added a lining to this top because voile tends to be somewhat sheer especially in lighter prints. While I was at it, I decided I might add an invisible zip instead of the buttons in the back, which turned out to be completely pointless since Beatrix is a pullover style top and doesn’t require a closure of any kind (and that includes buttons, which seems to confuse some people, since the pattern has a button placket is in back, but I assure you that it really isn’t necessary to unbutton it to get it on or off; it’s really just for show). And even though the zipper ended up being unnecessary, it’s never bad for me to get more practice adding an invisible zip. I designed all of my patterns without zippers because I’m not that skilled at putting them in (as evidenced by this close-up pic of the zipper installation). It’s a vicious cycle I tell you.

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Lining a top is not as complicated as it sounds; you make a second garment out of a lining fabric (I used a solid white lawn), and then figure out how best to attach it. I attached the lining at the neckline first, added the zip ala Colette’s invisible zip tutorial, folded the ends of the sleeves up over the lining inside to hem the sleeves (closeup pic here), and left the hem unattached (closeup pic here).

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So there you go: another Beatrix for my spring wardrobe!

Posted in Beatrix
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Lace Beatrix with gold buttons

lace beatrix / made by rae

lace beatrix / made by rae

I’m always up for a good pattern hack, I think it might even be programmed into my DNA. I’m insanely jealous of the person who can roll out ten dresses assembly-line style that differ only by their fabric and have an instant wardrobe, because that kind of focus and self-discipline has always eluded me. Most of the time my process consists of 40% dreaming/planning, 10% hacking the pattern, and 50% of the time trying to save/hack the hack because it didn’t work out. If I thought too much about how much wasted time that represents I would probably start to cry, but every so often the skies open and the angels sing and the dress or top or whatever in my head that I’ve been dreaming about materializes exactly the way I had hoped (note to self: that intermittent reinforcement is probably fueling that pattern of behavior). This was definitely not one of those perfect moments, but I still ended up with something pretty cute. I especially like the gold buttons in the back on this Beatrix hack:
lace beatrix / made by rae lace beatrix / made by rae

This lace top was intended to be a cropped, lined version of Beatrix, which is usually hip-length and unlined. View B of the pattern (view card here) has a straight line at the hem where the hem bands attach, and I was hoping if I cut the top along that line it would produce a cute boxy effect. The lining (an off-white voile) was a no-brainer because of the lace, and voile is pretty stable so I expected it to provide a nice shape. Despite stay-stitching and serging all the lace edges before sewing it together, the lace stretched more than expected, which resulted in a wider neckline than I wanted and a larger fit overall which wasn’t as flattering as I’d hoped, so the proportions aren’t quite what I expected. I took measures to try and work on it some more — I added a line of top-stitching around the neck to help it lay flat, hemmed up a little more from the bottom and took in the side seams — and it’s definitely better, now. In the pics below where my arms are akimbo (I think I get bonus points for using that word) you can maybe see that the fit looks a little broad yet at the top.

lace beatrix / made by rae

lace beatrix / made by rae

Maybe it will grow on me the more I wear it? It’s not quite the fantastic wow-I-want-to-wear-this-everywhere thing I had envisioned, but that’s OK, I still like it. And my second experiment with Beatrix (Part II) was much better, so stay tuned!!

Posted in Beatrix
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Made this: Teal Beatrix

teal beatrix back

teal beatrix front

Not much to say about this one except HEY LOOK I MADE THIS BEATRIX and YES IT’S A BIT OUT OF SEASON but WON’T IT BE LOVELY WHEN SPRING COMES AND I CAN WEAR IT? There’s something wintery about the color though, and anyway, the shorter the sleeve, the easier it is to layer a sweater over it. If the 40-degree days we’ve been having in Michigan this week are any indication, this will be seasonally appropriate by late February. Time to make myself a swimsuit?

teal beatrix 1

teal beatrix 2

Oh wait! I do have more to say about this top. I started this version (which is View A of the pattern, see handy view card below that Elli made) late last spring with the idea that it would coordinate with the View B I made out of this same voile fabric in a different color (blogged here) so that I could have a matchy-matchy photograph for the cover, see? But then, well…this one just didn’t get finished on time (it even ended up in that end-of-summer WIP post) and my Grand Plans never came to Fruition. Story of my life.

Beatrix / Made By Rae

The Beatrix Sewing Pattern can be purchased in my shop; the fabric is a lovely Anna Maria Horner voile that unfortunately is now out of print.

Posted in Beatrix
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Fall clothes for Hugo

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I made a few more things for Hugo to wear this fall (and soon winter). You’d think he would have enough hand-me-downs from his brother and sister to deter me from sewing more but…nooope. I just can’t help myself. His clothes are so small and cute. I realized after I took the photos that they coordinate in a way. Accidental color scheme. I’m not sure I’d mix and match them together into outfits though Mr Rae would probably beg to differ, but they all looked nice together so I thought I’d put them all in one post.

top left: a Charlie Tunic, size 18-24 mo in double gauze from Cotton and Steel (yes, that’s fabric left over from my Luna Pants whee!). Facings on the inside, curved hem like the gingham one.

bottom left: a Flashback Tee, size 18-24 mo in a striped knit purchased years ago from Organic Cotton Plus back when it was Near Sea Naturals

top right: a pair of drawstring sweatpants (made up the pattern) in mod fleece by Birch Fabrics from Fabricworm

bottom right: Parsley Pants, size 3, shortened so that the inseams measure 11 inches. This was an experiment to see if I could get the Parsley Pants to fit Hugo, since his hip measurement with diaper on is about 23 inches (previous experiments had found the size 2 was a bit too tight). Turns out the size 3 fits a cloth-diapered 20 month old pretty well. I still think Big Butt Baby Pants fit better, but you can see in the photos below that it’s not bad.

Here are some pictures of my Hugo-boogo wearing them. It’s getting harder to get him to stand still for the camera, but I figured out how to stand him up on our entryway bench so he can’t run away mwuah hah hah. I also may have resorted to mini-marshmallow bribery the likes of which this blog has seen before (many times, as you may well already know).

fall outfits for hugo

fall outfits for hugo

fall outfits for hugo

flashback tee

fall outfits for hugo

fall outfits for hugo

fall outfits for hugo

fall outfits for hugo

I always enjoy seeing my children wearing things I’ve sewn for them. Over the years this blog has given me an additional treasure: a collection of really nice photos of them that I love to look through and enjoy. It really doesn’t matter to me now what they were wearing in the photos, I just love looking at their little faces. It amazes me how much they’ve grown. I’m just so glad that I had a reason not only to take pictures of them on a regular basis, but an excuse to buy a good camera and learn how to use it. Crappy phone pics can capture the memories too, but there’s something special about these.

And I’m so glad that you, dear readers, can enjoy them too. Have a happy weekend!!!

fall outfits for hugo

Gingham Charlie for Hugo

gingham charlie (front view)

With the onset of cooler fall weather, I’m suddenly motivated to unload the bits of summer clothing I made for the kids onto the blog before they’re completely out of season. First up, this little gingham Charlie Tunic for Hugo.

gingham charlie tunic

I made a few minor edits to the pattern, including cutting the neckline facings on the bias so that they contrast a bit with the body of the shirt and adding a curved hem (I just trim away about 1″ at the side seams for this). I also shortened the sleeve by a few inches and skipped the sleeve facings.

gingham charlie tunic

This pattern is a pretty old pattern (“old” being relative of course, in this case relative to the age of the Internet). I have dreams of updating it when I have a little more time. For starters I kinda feel like I should change the name. There are at least three children’s patterns (including one that just came out last year!!) called Charlie. Second, the curved hem is nice, and I don’t think anyone actually uses the little side vent thingies I designed the first one with (you can see those in this Charlie Tunic post with leeetle Elliot). Third, I think the dress and top should just come as one pattern instead of having the dress option be an add-on…right now you have to tape extra things together to make the dress (ooh! ooh! Cute Charlie Dress post!)…anyway.

gingham charlie tunic

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Hugo is now 18 months old and as you can see here, he is getting into EVERYTHING. Exhibit A: the stereo cabinet.
gingham charlie tunic

Curious George (Hugo calls him “Judge”) saves the day.

gingham charlie tunic

gingham charlie tunic

The fabric is navy Kokka Gingham from Purl Soho, and you can find the pattern and variations in my shop: Charlie Tunic Pattern / Charlie Dress Add-On / Charlie Pattern Pack (dress and tunic bundle)

 

Posted in charlie
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Picking a cover for Ruby

I thought it would be fun to show you something that Elli is working on these days, a little behind-the-scenes post of sorts. We took a break from new pattern production this summer after Beatrix (honestly we all just needed to step away, that one was really intense), and I wanted to work on putting a few more of our women’s patterns into print before we started on something new. Ruby seemed like a great candidate because it would make the perfect beginner garment sewing class, and we’ve noticed that the shops that carry my print patterns often use them for sewing classes.

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It takes quite a bit of work to turn a digital pattern into a print pattern because not only do the instructions have to be laid out differently, we also need a cover for the pattern. A few years ago I hired Lauren Dahl to create a cover for the Washi Dress pattern, so Elli (who does all of our graphics work now; she also happens to be my sister) used the layout Lauren created for Washi to make something similar for Ruby.

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You can see we narrowed it down to two candidates for the cover sample. I made the yellow Ruby top out of some double gauze and lace I had left over from other projects (the yellow double gauze was from this Josephine, and the lace was from this lace top). I’ve worn the top a few times this summer but I made it mainly thinking it might make a good cover photo for the print pattern. Here it is on the hanger:

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And on me:

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The other candidate for the cover shots was this Ruby Dress (if you follow that link you’ll see I’ve been thinking about the cover of this pattern for over a year). Here it is on the hanger:

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And on me:

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Jess and Elli and I spent a little time discussing which one of these shots was better for the cover. If we chose the yellow top cover, the lace might scare people away if they thought they could only use lace for the yoke (any fabric will do!) or were worried about it being see-through, but on the other hand, the solid yellow is really pretty universally appealing whereas the red feather print might be more of a personal taste thing. The red dress cover is my favorite photo of the two, but we were worried that the point on the bottom of the skirt might look too A-line; the dress hangs a little straighter normally and we didn’t want to give the wrong impression about its shape. So we zoomed in a little for the cover draft you see above, but then you can’t tell how long it is.

What do you think? Which is your favorite? Can you believe we spend so much time talking about such tiny details?? Sometimes I think I overthink this stuff way too much. Anyway, we’re sending the proofs to the printer this week so you’ll know which one we chose soon!!!

How to make a Beatrix View A with the View B button placket

beatrix how to view a+b
One of my favorite ways to make the Beatrix Top is actually a pattern hack. You may recall that the pattern includes a View A (which I like to call the “shirttail version”) and a View B (which we call the “banded version”).

It’s super duper easy to create this hybrid of the two views, and the Original Beatrix and Let’s have a (Beatrix) party tops are both examples of this. In fact we almost included this version in the pattern but decided against it because a) the pattern instructions were already getting pretty long with the two views and we were behind deadline, and b) it’s just so easy to show with a photo tutorial, so we decided to go with the tutorial. Which I then delegated. TO JESS. Heh. So, in this post, Jess will show you how to make Beatrix with the shirttail hem and sleeves from View A, plus a contrasting button placket borrowed from View B, like this:
front back beatrix

 

Hi folks! Jess here. I was making this Beatrix anyway, so I made myself useful and took some photos in the process! Here goes.

First, cut out and prepare your pattern pieces. Follow the cutting instructions for View A (page 6) with ONE EXCEPTION: cut your Back Bodice pieces along the vertical “Cut here for banded bodice (View B)” line.

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Also cut two Button Plackets out of a contrast fabric (these are the only View B pieces you’ll need). Transfer markings as instructed for View A (page 6), and attach interfacing to Front Facing and Back Facings (page 8). Now fold and press Button Plackets, then attach interfacing (page 8).

Here’s what you should have:

  • one front bodice (darts marked)
  • two back bodices cut on the View B line, and two button plackets (folded, pressed, and interfaced)
  • front and back facings (with interfacing)
  • two sleeves (short sleeves pictured, marked Left and Right with fold line marked)

Beatrix tute 1

Beatrix tute 2

Now, sew button plackets to back bodice pieces: With raw edges at center back and right sides facing, pin each button placket to its corresponding back bodice (if your fabric has a directional print, make sure it’s pointing the right way up). Sew button plackets to back bodices with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

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Press seam allowances away from the bodice, toward the plackets:
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Proceed as for View A. From here, you get to follow all of the directions exactly as written for View A, starting with Step 1 on page 9. Here are some photos for reference:

In Step 9, fold the button placket to the right side and stitch down 1/4″ from the top along the folded portion:
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Stitch along the bottom of the folded portion and all the way around the curved hem with a 1/2″ seam allowance:

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Attach facings using a 1/4″ seam allowance:
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Step 11: Pin “in the ditch” from the right side, catching the folded edge of the placket on the inside of the garment. I use fabric clips to hold my curved hem in place (and I forgot to take a picture before I sewed the hem, whoops!)
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Note the directions of the pins: you’ll be sewing DOWN the left side of the back and UP the right side, so pin accordingly.
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Here’s that finished seam at the top and bottom:
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Now all you have to do is add buttonholes, sew on buttons (see page 20 for Very Detailed Instructions), and put your top on!

Beatrix View A with View B Button band

Beatrix View A with View B Button band

Beatrix View A with View B Button band

I LOVE my new Beatrix! I made this top out of Chambray Union in Indigo (our sponsor, Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, has it in stock), with a Palos Verdes Voile button band. And those are vintage carved flower buttons made out of shell, so they’re shiny and a little hard to photograph (here’s a close-up) … but oh so pretty!