Jess’ Bianca Dress with Contrast Facing

Made By Rae Bianca Dress

Made By Rae Bianca Dress

One of my patterns that never really got its time in the spotlight is Bianca, which launched just months after Hugo was born three years ago. It’s a lovely pattern for summer sewing, and this dress version from Jess that features the facings on the outside and contrast hem has always been one of my favorites.  Bianca also can be made as a top, and is best suited to fabrics with drape or a looser weave, like this Nani Iro double gauze (a collection from a few years back). The contrasting facings and hem bands are Kaffe Fassett shot cottons purchased from Hawthorne Threads.

The Bianca PDF pattern includes tips for how to make the facing visible the way Jess did for this version, and she added the contrast hem bands for a fun variation.

Made By Rae Bianca Dress

Here’s how to add the hem bands:

  • The finished hem band on this dress is 3″ tall. For the same proportions as shown here, remove 2.5″ from the hem of  both the front and back pattern pieces. Bianca has a slightly curved hem, but it’s way easier to add a contrast band if the hem is a straight line, so measure 2.5″ up from the bottom edges of each pattern piece, connect those with a straight edge, and slice along that line.
  • For the hem bands, cut two rectangles out of contrast fabric that are 7″ tall, one as wide as the front and one as wide as the back.
  • For Step 6 in the pattern sewing instructions, choose option B to sew side vents, and sew the seam allowances as directed for a “Clean Finish.”
  • Fold each hem band in half lengthwise with right sides together and sew along the short ends of each hem band with a 1/2″ seam.
  • Trim the corners, turn each band right side out, and use a point turner to push out the corners. Press.
  • Pin hem bands to front and back hems of the dress with raw edges together (two layers of hem band, one layer of dress), and sew together with a 1/2″ seam. Finish these edges with a serger or zigzag stitch.
  • Press seam allowances up (toward dress) and top stitch 1/4″ above the seam you just sewed to hold the seam allowance in place.

Made By Rae Bianca Dress

Alternate instructions: View B of the Beatrix Pattern has detailed instructions to attach hem bands in a slightly different way, so you can refer to those steps if you have Beatrix in your pattern library.

Made By Rae Bianca Dress

Made By Rae Bianca Dress

Posted in Bianca
8 Comments

Bianca Top with poms

I went on a pom-pom purchasing binge at Purl about a month ago and this is the first garment I have managed to emblazon with my newly-acquired trims since then. There will be more OH YES THERE WILL BE MORE. I love it, despite the obvious impracticalities (will the baby eat my shirt? how will I wash this?).

Array

I have always harbored a love of pom-poms. I would even argue I loved them BEFORE they made their recent resurgence in popularity *looks smug.* As evidence, see my pom-pom scarf, this bonsai bag, and this pom-pom cowl for Clementine. This is the first time I have experimented with pom-poms this large on a piece of clothing rather than an accessory, however.

Array

During this top’s construction, I solicited opinions via Instagram as to whether or not I should also add pom-poms to the armhole. Some felt it was very chic ala Frida Kahlo. Others mentioned a slight resemblance to a mariachi outfit. In the end, it seemed there was a pretty solid 50/50 division on opinions, so I decided against it.

Array

I made the top using my Bianca pattern (Bianca is available as a PDF sewing pattern here) and a lovely off-white swiss dot, which is fairly easy to find, so it’s a nice garment fabric if you usually have trouble finding solid fabrics for garments. It has a drape similar to the Free Spirit voiles, but is lighter and less silky, making it an incredibly comfortable top. I chose to use the elastic shirring rather than an elastic casing (the Bianca pattern has options for both), and attached the facings to the outside of the garment after basting the pom-poms to the edges.

Array

So. Would you wear pom-poms?

Posted in Bianca
10 Comments

Bianca Tester Roundup

Array

Now that my newest pattern, Bianca is out in the world, I want to take a minute to say a big THANKS!!! to the patient and prolific ladies who tested the design during production.

When we have drafts of pattern pieces and instructions ready for testing, you wouldn’t believe the flurry of email, photos, and spreadsheets that ensues! It’s pretty fun, but it takes a lot of work! Thank you, ladies, for all your time and helpful feedback! Now for a sampling from our testers’ photos:

Ashley’s top looks rad with or without a cardigan:

Array

Brooke blogged about her Nani Iro double gauze Bianca right here.

Array

Kelly sewed up two Biancas in no time flat. Isn’t the contrast lacy facing pretty on the top one?

Array

Array

And here’s Jenn of A Jennuine Life in her Bianca!

Array

If you still need the Bianca pattern, you can find it HERE!

This looks great on so many figures, and we already have a few photos in the Bianca Sewing Pattern Flickr photo pool and on Instagram, under the hashtag #biancapattern. Please add your own photos so we can all admire!

Bianca Dress-1Bianca dress-2Made by Rae Bianca Pattern. Fabric is a nylon sarong I got in 2012 while on Midway Island in a gift shop. Wish I had bees wiser in my travels when I was young and got more pieces like this!Made by Rae Bianca pattern in Cotton and Steel Bespoke.Bianca dress in Amy Butler Violette2016-04-03 15.03.252016-04-03 15.08.17Bianca Maxi 1-1Bianca top, pattern from Made-by-Rae.Bianca Dress blue 1Bianca Dress 1Bianca Dress 2

Bianca Sewing Pattern is Here!

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

BUY NOW

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).

Array

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!

Array

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.

Bianca - Finished Measurements Chart - UPDATED

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.

BUY NOW

 

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 Dress-1Bianca dress-2Made by Rae Bianca Pattern. Fabric is a nylon sarong I got in 2012 while on Midway Island in a gift shop. Wish I had bees wiser in my travels when I was young and got more pieces like this!Made by Rae Bianca pattern in Cotton and Steel Bespoke.Bianca dress in Amy Butler Violette2016-04-03 15.03.25

Two Bianca Dresses

Two dresses for you today from my almost-ready-to-release newer-than-new sewing pattern, Bianca!!! This pattern will come in both a top and a dress length, and I’ve blogged about the top version already but now it’s time to show you a few dresses now that I’m not pregnant and can actually wear them. The first one was made with a drapey white linen, harvested from a beautiful old linen tablecloth of my grandmother’s that had holes in a few places and was unusable. She always it on the table for Sunday dinners along with her white china dishes that had silver around the edges. It was so elegant. This dress is a fun and definitely more casual way to give the fabric a new life. I don’t know, do I strike you as the fine china type?

Array

Array

I like it with a colored belt; it breaks up all the white. The belt also helps mask the fact that the elastic lines on both these dresses are a bit high on me because it was made according to my pre-baby measurements (read: pre-nursing boobs). One of the things I think is really clever about this pattern — if I do say so myself HAH — is that the front facing (which starts at the neckline and ends at the elastic lines) can be adjusted to be longer or shorter for larger or smaller busts or longer or shorter torsos. The idea being that this pattern is most flattering when the elastic hits you at the right spot, which is different for everyone, right? So I’ve written a section showing how to measure yourself and adjust that pattern piece to your own measurements.

Array

Array

Like Ruby, this dress is really more of a “mini-dress” — there’s something about the proportion of the top part of the dress that just looks better to me with a shorter skirt. Plus, since I wear leggings or skinny jeans most of the time, shorter dresses make more sense, but it would be super easy just to lengthen the hem if you wanted something longer. I’m also pretty sure that the floral version I’m wearing below is the length we ended up going with, rather than the length shown above, which as you can see is a wee bit scandalous on my 5’9 frame. I’m sure Mr Rae would think it’s fantastic. Helloooo, date night!

The other thing I think is clever about this pattern is that the area right below the facing is flat instead of gathered, which flattens out your belly visually, but then the rest of the waist is gathered and cinched in, which is quite flattering. You can see that effect especially in this lovely floral rayon version:

Array

Array

Array

You can see the original Bianca Top at this post and Jess’ lovely Nani Iro Bianca (which has contrast facings on the outside) right here. UPDATE: you can buy the Bianca Sewing Pattern HERE!

buy now2

 

Posted in Bianca
16 Comments

Meet Jess and her awesome Nani Iro Bianca

Hi everyone! It’s Rae, popping in for a moment to introduce you to Jessica, who works here at Made By Rae Enterprises. She calls herself an assistant but if you saw how many hats she wears on a daily basis (answering emails, coordinating testing for patterns, putting together blog posts, sending print pattern orders, sewing samples, communicating with sponsors, running giveaways, and it goes on…), you’d see she’s more like a Director of Operations. In addition to being an all-around indispensable individual, she also happens to be my cousin and loves to sew and knit as well; the crafty gene runs strong in our family. Can you see the resemblance? As you can imagine, when Elli, Jess and I get together, it’s pretty obvious we’re family (incidentally, Karen and Tashina, who work at the studio here in Ann Arbor, are NOT related to me; we’re not a family-only operation…hee).

Anyway, Jess has spent the last few weeks coordinating testing for the new spring pattern, Bianca (you can see the original Bianca top that I posted last summer here), and when she made this lovely dress version (the pattern will come in two lengths, a dress and a top), I asked if she’d share it on the blog and she said yes. So, here’s Jess and her awesome Bianca:

IMG_9269

Hello, dear Raeders! So happy to be here to share my Bianca dress. Let’s start with the awesome fabric. This is Nani Iro double gauze Colorful Pocho in the colorway Berry Field.  I ordered it online from Purl Soho last fall, and it’s a hard to come by anywhere online now. It was a print from last summer, so let’s cross our fingers for more! The contrast fabric is Kaffe Fassett’s Shot Cotton in apricot. I love the shot cottons so much. Every time I order fabric, I choose a couple of the colors and grab a few yards. They’re super duper soft, and the contrasting thread colors in the warp/weave of the fabric give the fabric a shimmery depth. Hawthorne Threads has the biggest  selection of colors, but I’ve gotten it from Pink Chalk too.

IMG_9306

The default view for Bianca is to sew it with the facings on the inside (like in Rae’s Tomato Rayon top), but tips are included for outside facings, as I’ve chosen to do on this version. I love that you can see how the garment is constructed with the facing on the outside like this.

IMG_9291

The waist shaping comes from the elastic that runs from one edge of the front facing, around the back, to the other edge of the facing. The pattern will have options either to sew two lines of shirring or an elastic casing (I chose the elastic casing for this one).

IMG_9274

The contrast facing at the bottom hem is my own modification…hmmm, maybe we’ll give you a tutorial on that sometime? It helped me straighten out the hem, and added a little bit of length because I used every last inch of my double gauze for this dress.

IMG_9280

So lovely to meet you all. Can’t wait to share more Bianca with you soon!

Posted in Bianca
18 Comments

Tomato Rayon Top, for me

A couple of weeks ago when I posted my favorite fabrics for clothing, I mentioned that one of them was rayon challis. Today I wanted to show you a top I made with one of Anna Maria Horner’s Field Study rayon challis prints.

Array

UPDATE: This pattern is now available as the Bianca Pattern

I designed this top pattern for myself a couple of years ago and have used it twice since then to make two other variations that you might remember: the first version was this Liberty Top, and the second one was this pink voile tunic. It definitely satisfies my criteria for an awesome pattern — flattering fit, no zippers, easy to sew…so it’s no surprise I keep coming back to it. I already have another one in my head to sew up soon!

Array

But let’s talk about the rayon challis. One of the reasons I love wearing this top is because the fabric is SO. FREAKING. AMAZING. I love how it flows, is easy to sew with, and washes nicely. It’s silky without being slippery, lightweight without being sheer. LOVE IT. In fact, I just ordered a bunch more from Anna Maria’s shop the other day so I can make more out of it. It’s just a great garment fabric for blouses and dresses.

One thing I want to mention about sewing my own clothes is that it always seems to be a bit of a process; if I want to end up wearing the things I make, I often have to tear out, redo, or edit. They don’t just magically materialize — but that’s part of the fun for me, the fact that it’s a bit of a puzzle to solve. Here’s a photo of the original length of this top, so maybe you can see what I’m talking about. (I actually made this top for the Spring Top Sewalong back in April, but then disliked the length, so it’s been sitting on a shelf for a couple of months.)

Array

As soon as I saw that picture, I could see it was too long. It’s not terrible, just not great. Have you ever looked at a photo of yourself and realized something looked unflattering on you? I just felt like it wasn’t hitting in the right place. So I shortened it and now…much better!

Array

I guess sometimes it can be frustrating not to have something come out perfectly the first time…but maybe that’s just a personal thing. Do you like to edit? Or do you prefer when things sew up exactly as planned?

Pink Voile Tunic, for me

Array


Array


Array

Another project started in New York at the Heather Ross workshop, made with Anna Maria Horner’s Little Folks voile (also used for this Pierrot top for Clementine) and a variation of this basic pattern, just a very simple design I came up with that I’m starting to grow very attached to.

Array

UPDATE: This top was a prototype for the Bianca Pattern

I wanted some little pintucks to play with the plaid a little bit (maybe this isn’t technically “plaid”…but you still get what I’m talking about?), it breaks up the pattern just enough to be interesting without being too distracting.

Array

I can’t think of anything else to say about this tunic. Which is odd because normally I just blather on and on until I realize I’ve been puttering away at the same post for 3 hours and have to cut myself off.

Consider this a (brief) respite.

Rae’s Spring Top: Liberty Tunic with ties

Every year for the Spring Top Sewalong I sew along too. I don’t enter my tops obviously but I get to show them off on the blog and add them to the pool. Here’s my first top:

UPDATE: This top was a prototype for the Bianca Pattern

It’s made with a basic white poplin which is very smooth and a bit of Liberty of London peacock feather print which I bought at Haberman Fabrics. I love teal and peacocks, so I will admit to you that I probably would have made an entire top out of the feather print were it not for the crazy price tag. And actually I am a little glad I didn’t because once I got this home I realized that the rows of feathers slope downward across the grain slightly (they’re not straight; you can tell in the pictures that they droop to the left). And it’s not diagonal enough to look purposeful, so I’m not sure what’s up with that. You’d think for $44/yard they could make sure the design ran straight across the fabric?!? I guess not.

 

My main goal this year for myself was to keep it simple. Last year I had such ambitious plans for my spring tops I just about killed myself trying to execute them and the results were not exactly great (the clown top springs most readily to mind). So this year I decided to make a pattern that didn’t require sleeves, a trend which seems to be pretty popular right now. In other words, the top is comprised of two main pieces (front and back), along with a few other embellishments (in this case there’s a placket and some ties).  And I’ll mention it plainly since I always get this question: this is my own, hand-drawn, not-available pattern.

I find I really like empire waisted tops, but wanted this one to be slimming in front (read: not maternity-esque). The ties begin at the side of the placket which creates a flat portion in the center of the top which I think looks nice, rather than being gathered or baggy. It also (unfortunately) creates that little crease at the bottom of the placket but I don’t mind that too much.

sometimes windblown is sexy. most of the time it’s just funny.

The only thing that I would like to add to this top yet is pockets. I love pockets!

Don’t forget to VOTE every day this week for your favorite tops! You can access the current vote from the left sidebar of my blog! And have you seen our awesome prizes here and here? Fun!