Voile Beatrix with contrast bands

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My latest pattern project as you may already know is the Beatrix blouse (first blogged here); it’s no secret we’ve been working on it for some time and I’m hoping to release it soon. This was a version I made of Beatrix last fall that had some “extras” added: the contrast bands at the sleeves, the hem, and in place of  the button plackets in the back. We’re calling this “View B” for the pattern. The construction is more involved, but it’s the same basic pattern, just amped up with more pieces.

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The contrast bands really add some fun options to Beatrix, which is already a versatile pattern. Even though this gold voile version has all three bands added, I’ve used the same fabric here for contrast by simply turning the fabric sideways. You could also use a totally different contrasting fabric for a big statement. Sara, one of our testers, made this version which she posted on Instagram last week and I love how the two contrasting colors look. You could just as easily add just contrast button bands and skip the sleeve bands and hem bands, like I’ve done with this version.

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It’s a little hard to see it in these photos, but the hem band breaks at the side seams. I like how that looks plus it leaves a little more room for the hips. Are you getting excited for this pattern? I certainly am! I’ll post a few more Beatrix blouses over the next couple weeks; we’re getting closer and closer to the pattern launch!

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Geranium Dress Sewing Pattern is now in print!

Just wanted to let everyone know that the Geranium Dress Sewing Pattern is finally in print! I know there are many people out there who really prefer the printed pattern over the PDF patterns so we’re slowly working on moving a few more of the patterns over to print. The print thing started as a “let’s see what happens if we print this!” experiment with the Washi Dress sewing pattern, but it’s turned out to be a pretty good source of income. I’ve seen other pattern designers move away from print because of the high overhead but it seems to be working out for us pretty well. Turns out that having the Made By Rae brand in hundreds of shops around the world is good for business, even if we make a lot less on each pattern sale. And it allows those shops to make money off of our patterns, so it’s a double win.

print geranium bottom front

We decided to start out by printing the original size range (0-5T) because that’s been the most popular range, but if you need the pattern for 6-12 year-olds, you can get the digital pattern in my online shop. I love seeing Clementine and Phoebe smiling at me from the front of the pattern:

print geranium full front

There is a full-sized, one-sided pattern sheet, so you can either trace or GASP! cut your pieces out (I really do not recommend cutting into your pattern pages — see this post for an overview of my sewing process). Don’t the instructions look pretty all laid out on one sheet?

print geranium instructions

If you would like to own your very own copy of the Geranium Dress (sizes 0-5T) print pattern, CLICK HERE to see our list of stockists.

We also take wholesale orders from brick & mortar shops and webstores who are interested in carrying the pattern, so if you own or work at a shop, visit our wholesale page to sign up for an account.

print geranium full back

print geranium back

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Kitty Geranium Dress with sleeves

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One of the most common pattern-related questions I get over email is “is it possible to add a sleeve to the Geranium Dress?” The pattern has been such a huge hit so it’s only natural that people would want to add a sleeve when the weather gets cooler. I have made the dress with a sleeve a few times before (in fact, one of the earliest “Geraniums” I made featured a sleeve); usually I use the Charlie Tunic‘s sleeve and just gather the sleeve cap. This year I finally got around to fiddling around with a sleeve that is fitted; this takes a bit more work than a gathered sleeve because the sleeve cap has to be drafted to fit the armhole and you have to play around to get the right amount of ease, whereas a gathered sleeve just gets gathered to fit (super easy). Anyway, this is the result of our fitted experiment. I love it. The kitty fabric is part of Lizzy House’s recent Catnap line.

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I’ll be completely honest, this sleeve isn’t ready to distribute in any meaningful way; it’s not even graded yet, and I’m not sure how to put it out there once it is. I really dislike multi-sized stuff being given away for free online; I think it devalues the work it takes to make something multi-sized, so my current thinking is that we could maybe make an expansion pack for Geranium, something like the Washi XP. Maybe some collar and sleeve options, and I have another idea for the pattern that I think would be really fun that I’m testing out right now. Anyway, I’ve got plenty of other projects on my plate right now (the Moon Pants Pattern is currently being tested, and the pattern pieces are ready for this new women’s pattern in the works), so my guess is that there probably wouldn’t be anything concrete until next fall at the earliest.

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Please don’t pin or reuse photos of Clementine where she’s looking into the camera; I’ve put a bunch of cropped and side shots in this post that you can feel free to pin. Too complicated? Check out the ones I’ve already pinned right here on Pinterest. THANKS!

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Mochi Geranium Dress for Stylo

Mochi geranium dress

This is the third in a series of posts detailing the outfits I made using Cotton and Steel fabrics for Stylo Magazine last fall (see the previous posts here and here). This outfit features a Geranium Dress made with a cotton from Rashida Coleman-Hale’s new Mochi line, the Moon Pants made with Bespoke double gauze (previously seen in this post), and a gold pom-pom headband. Both Mochi and Bespoke are Cotton and Steel lines currently available in fabric shops.

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For me to even consider doing such a large project within the first year of having a baby, I knew I would need to do a significant amount of planning. So I’d like to talk about what it takes to get a project like this off the ground. If I didn’t know anything about the project I might have guessed that the photoshoot itself probably took the most work, but I personally think the shoot is the easiest and most fun part. It’s the planning that can really kill ya, in my opinion.

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Perhaps it will surprise you to know that this project began last summer (or maybe not?). Here’s a brief timeline for the project:

June: Discuss with Stylo possible contribution to Fall issue
July: Correspond with Cotton and Steel to ask about possible collaboration
August: Cotton and Steel sends Fall 2014 samples, select and photograph samples, plan fabric/garment combinations
September: Fabric arrives, commence actual SEWING (six garments, three headbands), photo shoot, Edit photos, deliver photos to Stylo
November 3: Stylo Issue 3 release

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I decided to do the spread because I knew it would be a great way to promote my children’s sewing patterns in a highly visual way, while at the same time producing a cohesive set of clothing samples that could then be used later to promote the patterns in other ways. I love the way that a magazine, digital or print, can really produce a stunning visual presentation, and Jess and Celina do it really well with Stylo. The next question was: which fabrics? Initially I thought I might use Lotus Pond, but as the magazine was set to release in late fall, the summery cotton prints would have been amazing but a bit out of season. My next thought was Cotton and Steel, because they’ve made an attempt to create cohesive collections that are printed not just on quilting fabrics, but on other garment-friendly fabrics as well, making it easy to create outfits for children that coordinate (a pair of canvas pants worn with a cotton gauze shirt, for instance). That is something I’m pretty sure is unique to Cotton and Steel, by the way; no other company that I know of does that, though most fabric companies do offer unique lines on their various substrates.

Mochi Geranium Dress

I initially asked Melody Miller, the founding designer of Cotton and Steel, about using their Spring 2014 fabrics, but at that point they already had samples for their Fall fabrics so she suggested that I might like to try those instead, which were to include one of my very favorite fabrics, DOUBLE GAUZE (EEK!). It was definitely hard to keep the whole thing on the hush-hush until the fabrics debuted at Fall Quilt Market. Another bonus: because the deadline for the magazine was nearly a month before Quilt Market, the samples could also be used for the Cotton and Steel booth.

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One more thing: I did very little of the sewing for this project. Karen and my assistant Tashina did most of it. I did some of the cutting (that double gauze can be tricky!) and I did some of the sewing and all of the hand-stitching for the Charlie Tunic (see this post), but mostly I just hovered at the studio with a baby on my hip.

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Anyway, the dress is Clementine’s favorite of all of the things we made for this project; she even wore it for school picture day (and it would have shown up in the photo if she had taken off the sweater she wore over it *facepalm*). I also want to highlight a couple of the other accessories because she really enjoyed those as well: the gold tattoos were designed by Rifle Paper company for Tattly, and the sparkly TOMS I found at Bivouac in downtown Ann Arbor by my studio. Both were instant hits with my girl who is pretty fond of sparkly things.

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Bespoke Double Gauze Blouse

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Here’s a blouse I made last fall out of the new Bespoke double gauze for Cotton and Steel which is in shops right now. I originally intended to make another Geranium Dress out of this double gauze for the Stylo photoshoot, but after first making the striped Moon Pants I decided I absolutely had to make something for myself with the remainder. It was definitely a spur of the moment decision based on the fact that I love this stripe so much. That bronze color is yum and the print is brilliant. And honestly I already had so many garments for the Stylo shoot that I figured it wouldn’t matter if I made myself a little something.

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The decision to use the selvages for the button placket was not only aesthetic, it was also practical. I didn’t have much fabric left (I had to do a little patching of one of the back bodice pieces to make everything fit, actually) so cutting the backs right along the edge made sense. It’s a little tricky getting a selvage to lay nicely due to the thicker weave along the edge but I think we managed it.

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The pattern is something I’ve been working on for the last half year probably. Will it ever be released? Only time will tell. Le Sigh.

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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.

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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!

Here are the posts I’ve done with more details about the outfits I made for Stylo 3:

Striped Double Gauze C+S Outfit
Pierrot and Moon Pants for Stylo
Mochi Geranium Dress for Stylo

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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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