Josephine Sewing Pattern is here!

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I’m so excited to announce the release of my Josephine Sewing Pattern! We’ve been working hard to get this pattern ready and I hope you’ll enjoy sewing it up! One of my favorite things about Josephine is the pleats on the front; I think it creates a really sophisticated look even though they are really very easy to sew! The three views included in the pattern are:

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View A -  a tunic version with a wider sleeve, narrow belt, and elasticized cuff (blogged here)

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View B – a blouse version with a cuffed bracelet-length sleeve and an elastic casing in the back for a very flattering fit (blogged here)

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View C – a sleeveless blouse with a center front slit and side vents (blogged here)

Of course the options that come with each view are interchangeable so you can customize your Josephine to make many different variations!

This pattern is a great project for the confident beginner sewist who is ready to add some skills and variety to their garment-sewing repertoire. The instructions and diagrams are thorough, easy to follow, and full of hints and tips. We’ve also included a special “Seam Finishes Appendix” in this pattern with instructions for my favorite seam finishes as well!

Sizes Included

This pattern comes in a range of six women’s sizes, from XS through XXL, with two bodice pieces included for each size: one has an A/B cup bust dart, and the other has a C/D cup bust dart. I’m hoping this will allow for a great fit for many shapes and sizes!! Refer to the charts below to find your size, and choose to make the A/B or C/D depending on your bra cup size.

Materials List

  • Woven fabric (see yardage chart below for amounts)
  • 1/2 yard 1/4″ elastic (View A, elastic cuff option only)
  • 1/2 yard 3/8″ elastic (View B only)
  • Coordinating thread

Recommended fabrics: woven cotton and linen blend fabrics such as voile, rayon challis, shot cotton, shirting, double gauze, lawn, and broadcloth. You may want to check out my post on garment fabrics here.

See more!
Josephine has been featured previously on on my blog in the following posts:

Fall Pattern Preview: Josephine!
Josephine in Yellow Double Gauze
Pale Pink Josephine Top
My (handmade) maternity style
Am giant festive candy cane (made with the Josephine pattern + the pointed cap sleeve from my Washi Expansion Pack)

(Please note: Josephine isn’t intended to be a maternity sewing pattern, but the last two posts linked here show that I found it quite comfortable as a maternity top during the 1st and 2nd trimester)

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

Josephine with partial tucksJosephine with partial tucksJosephine with partial tucksJosephine with partial tucksJosephine with partial tucksJosephine Blouse (sleeveless)

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KCW: Twirl Skirt and Tee for Clementine

This week is Kids Clothes Week so despite the fact that we moved to a new house  a couple days ago, I wanted to post at least a couple of the things I finished up for Clementine last week, this pink Flashback Tee and a twirly skirt with pockets:

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Truth be told, I am unsure of whether I should participate in KCW anymore — the challenge seems more appropriate for the stay-at-home mama who needs to scrape together an hour each night to sew by the light of Netflix to get some cool stuff made for her kids than me, who feels like a total poser with my fancy pants sewing studio and my work hours during which I could conceivably sew sew sew all the fun cute things for my kids all the live-long-day if I wanted to (though in reality that is not how it goes down). I even have Tashina and Karen assisting me at the studio so it’s hard to even keep track of who sewed WHAT around here anymore.

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For instance, I think Tashina probably sewed a few shoulder/side seams on this tee, and I’m pretty sure she did the skirt gathering stitches and put the elastic in the waistband too. So does it count? I’m probably just being totally angst-y and stupid about it, I just feel like I should be up front about the fact that when you see something from me in the KCW pool, there’s a chance I didn’t completely construct it myself. Anyway, despite being unsure of whether or not it’s “cheating” for me to sew along (oh! did I mention that Made by Rae sponsors KCW? Sooo there’s that too), I still try to plan out a few things to make for my kids every time KCW rolls around.

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Let’s talk about the outfit, shall we? The Flashback Tee was made with Robert Kaufman Laguna jersey (a quick search of my sponsors shows Pink Castle carries it as of this writing and Fabric Stash has some nice knit solids that might be similar) which is a fantastic jersey that’s quite affordable and has a nice recovery (which means it springs back to its original shape nicely after you stretch it). The skirt was made using my “Made-To-Measure Skirt” method, which is from class I teach here in Ann Arbor (sorry no pattern/tute yet), and was made with Liberty Lifestyle fabric, which is Liberty’s “quilting cotton.” I love this print.

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Clementine loves twirling in her new skirt!

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By some awesome coincidence, the skirt also happens to match a pair of tights I bought from Boden last year, so this outfit totally goes together in a way most of her hand-picked outfits never do. Chances of her wearing all three together ever again after these photos were taken? Probably zero. But at least she has two new pieces that I know she will wear, even if she never wears them all together again.

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Ruby with a washi sleeve

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One of the most common questions I got when the Ruby Dress pattern came out this summer was “can you add a sleeve to it?” It was hard for me to say “not yet!” but I knew that we had two new gathered sleeves coming out in both the Washi Expansion Pack and the Josephine pattern (we’re working on it!) that would work nicely with Ruby. I finally had a chance to test the Washi XP sleeve out on this Ruby top (fabric is Anna Maria Horner’s Field Study rayon challis) and it worked great!

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I love a gathered sleeve because the generous fit means it’s comfortable, and it’s easy to sew because it will fit just about any armhole. Because I love to mix and match when I sew for myself, rather than making the same thing over and over (hence Washi XP), it made sense to design a sleeve that will be interchangeable with all of my patterns. At some point I would like to make an ungathered, fitted sleeve too, but I really prefer the gathered sleeve right now. Anyway, this is one step closer to my dream of creating a portfolio of women’s patterns that all work well together so you can make endless variations.

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So you can see that I took these photos a while back, when I was about 12 weeks pregnant…not much of a belly to show for myself there yet! (Now? There’s no hiding it)

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To add a Washi XP sleeve to Ruby (and this will work with the Josephine sleeve as well), you simply sew the entire dress or top together up to the side seam step, then gather the top of the sleeve between the marks and sew it to the armhole. Once the sleeve is attached, you can finish the side seams and hem the dress and sleeve, and you’re done. Pretty simple! It’s a bit more difficult to add a sleeve AND a lining for the Ruby yoke, but it can be done. If you really want to try this, you might want to email me first so I can send you a little step-by-step.

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By the way, probably the second most common question I get about the Ruby is “can it be made with knits?” We added knits to the list of recommended fabrics for the main part of the Ruby, but not the yoke, with the idea that the yoke really shouldn’t be made from knits unless it’s a super-stable (non-stretchy) knit. It makes sense right? If your yoke stretches out, the whole top is going to look kinda saggy. So the answer is, yes, Ruby can be made with knit fabrics, but shoot for less stretchy knits like interlock or jerseys with less stretch to avoid getting a saggy yoke and armhole.

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Washi Dress Expansion Pack is Here!

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When the original Washi Dress Sewing Pattern was released over a year ago in August 2012, I was blown away by the response to the pattern. BLOWN. AWAY. Washi was the first women’s pattern I ever released, with the idea that I wanted to produce a flattering dress pattern for women that would work with cottons and not just apparel fabrics. I had no idea so many people would like it. I still sometimes have to pinch myself over how many of you have purchased the pattern, how many Washis have been made and are being worn out there, and how great it looks on so many different figures! I really have to give you, dear readers, credit for pushing me to put it out there in the first place. Your feedback and encouragement fueled my decision to go for it, and this is really going to sound cheesy, but I don’t think I would have done it without you.

When I started making variations on Washi last year that included sleeves and collars and bows and linings (see below for a roundup of all of them), you asked for those too. The patterns I work on have always been driven by reader demand — I mean, why spend time working on anything other than the ones you guys are crazy about? — so I’m happy to finally be able to say that the long-awaited Washi Expansion Pack is NOW AVAILABLE as a separate add-on so you can create so many more great options with your original pattern!!! Woot woot! *does Kermit Arms*

The Washi Expansion Pack is a PDF SUPPLEMENT to the original Washi Dress pattern (which is currently available in six women’s sizes, in both PDF and print) and will allow you to make a number of new Washi variations using a combination of original pattern pieces and new expansion pack pattern pieces.

PLEASE READ THIS: This pack is not a stand-alone pattern, in other words, you will need both the expansion pack AND the original pattern to be able to create the looks included. You can also purchase them together HERE.

We’ve divided all of the new variation possibilities up into three views, all of which can be made as either a dress or tunic. Of course they can be combined as well; for instance, if you wanted the sleeve from View B and a big bow from View A. Here are the basic views included in the Expansion Pack:

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View A: A sleeveless variation with a big bow; this view features an easy back elastic casing for those who would prefer to skip the shirring in the original pattern.

In addition to the base yardage for the original Washi Dress (see size and yardage charts on the Washi Page), you will need:
• 1/2 yard additional yardage for the large bow pieces and armhole bias strips
• 1/2 yard of 1″- or 1.25″-wide elastic for back

For this view, I recommend that you select a fabric with a bit of structure, such as quilting cotton, a linen blend, or cotton voile/lawn. High-drape fabrics such as silk or rayon may produce a more shapeless result around the neckline, since the bow folds over itself around the neck to form a collar.

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View B: A sweet version with sleeves and little bow!

In addition to the base yardage for the original Washi Dress (see size and yardage charts on the Washi Page), you will need:
• 3/4 yard additional yardage for sleeves, bow facings and bow
• 1/4 yard (or small piece) lightweight fusible interfacing
• 2/3 yard 1/4″-wide elastic for sleeves (if you want a casing)
• elastic thread for shirring the sleeves (if you want your sleeves shirred at the cuff) and back

For this view, lightweight or high-drape fabrics such as silk, voile, lawn, 100% linen, or rayon work well, because of the gathered sleeve and skirt on this version. Fabrics with more structure won’t gather as nicely and will “stand up” more at the sleeve cap. If you do choose to make this version with a structured fabric, you may want to reduce the width of the sleeve by 1⁄2″ to 1″ at the fold to prevent the sleeve cap from looking too full at the top.

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View C: A Peter Pan collar version with optional pointed sleeves and two great collars to choose from. This view also includes pattern pieces and detailed instructions for a bodice lining (you can see videos on this technique here as well)!

In addition to the base yardage for the original Washi Dress (see size and yardage charts on the Washi Page), you will need:
• 1/2 yard additional yardage for collar and optional pointed cap sleeves
• 1 yard fabric for bodice linings (or less; size M and smaller may be able to fit the pieces side-by-side on 1/2 yard)
• 1/2 yard lightweight fusible interfacing
• 1/2 yard 1″ or 1.25″-wide elastic for back

For this view, I recommend that you select a medium weight fabric with a bit of structure for the collar, such as quilting cotton, a linen blend, or poplin. Lightweight or high-drape fabrics such as silk, voile, lawn, 100% linen, or rayon may make it harder to get a nicely shaped collar. The collar is designed to roll a bit at the neckline, rather than sit completely flat against the dress, so structure helps.

The 49-page Expansion Pack eBook Includes:

  • full-sized pattern pieces for linings, bows, collars, and two different sleeves, as well as an adapted bodice piece (with different armholes for sleeveless or sleeves, and a new front center seam that could potentially be adapted for nursing!)
  • 26 pages of rock solid full-color instructions along with plenty of tips and hints
  • a special two-page “Seam Finishes Appendix” with instructions for my favorite seam finishes

One of the best things this pattern pack has to offer is clear, step-by-step instructions on how to add all of these new features to your Washi Dress. While the original pattern was intended for confident beginners, it’s safe to say that the techniques in the expansion pack are intermediate to advanced, but I think you’ll find enough here to help hold your hand through the entire process. And of course, you know how to reach me if you ever need to email with a question!

OK, are you ready for Washi XP?!?!

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Washi Dress Expansion Pack PDF (does not include original pattern)

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And now for more Washi XP inspiration!

I’ve featured all of the variations available in this expansion pack in the past on my blog along with a few others that are similar. Here are the versions I’ve made, along with a few notes, so you can make each one for yourself:

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Top Row:
Pale Pink Linen Top – this features the curved peterpan collar of View C, with the addition of an extra pleat in the bodice (pleat not included in the expansion pack).
Time for Tea Dress – View C from the expansion pack, with curved collar and no sleeve.
Liberty Tie Top – a tunic featuring the big bow and bias bound armholes from View A. The bow piece has been shortened just to tie in a knot.

Middle Row:
Tsuru Washi with a Bow – View A from the expansion pack
Hello Pilgrim! – this dress pre-dated the Washi Dress, but a similar look may be achieved by using a shortened big bow from View A and the cap sleeve from the original Washi Dress pattern, or the pointed cap sleeves of View C in the expansion pack.
Ruby Star Washi Dress – this was the first Washi Dress I made with sleeves; this link provides a tutorial with a free pattern piece for a full sleeve; please note that the sleeve in View B of the Expansion Pack is narrower and has a more tailored fit than the sleeve I used for my Ruby Star Washi.

Bottom Row:
Another Washi Dress with a Big Bow – features the big bow of View A and the sleeves from View B in a dress version.
Pink Washi Top with a Little Bow – View B from the expansion pack
Bird Dress with Pointed Collar and Sleeve – View C from the expansion pack, with pointed collar and sleeve.

Be sure to check out all of the lovely Washi Dresses in the Flickr pool, and add your own photos too!

Made by Rae - Washi TunicWashi Dress 1Washi Dress 1Washi, London CallingWashi DressWashi Dress

I hope you will enjoy this new expansion pack and have a ton of fun with it! I hope to do a tutorial specific to the collar (View C) very soon, but let me know if you have other Washi-XP-related requests. Enjoy!!!

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Kricket’s Ruby Dress

Thanks so much everyone for your congratulations on our fun news!! We are excited. Yes we are. And thanks to my seester Elli for posting it, even though it meant that some people thought *she* was preggers, thanks to a poorly captioned Instagram pic I posted that also posted to Facebook and confused some relatives. OY. SOOORRY Elli!! I’m lucky she has to love me, right?

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Today I want to show you a new Ruby Dress I made for my little seester Kricket for her birthday about a month ago. Kricket loved the original Ruby Dress I had made for myself last spring and was threatening to steal it out of my closet, so I made a copycat version out of the blue arrow print so she could have one of her very own. She is modeling it in the photo above (photo by her husband Ross). And here’s a few closer shots of it on me, so you can see more detail on the dress and analyze photos for evidence of baby bumpage (though, you won’t see much here, because these were taken over a month ago):

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The fabric is one of my favorite prints from Melody Miller’s Ruby Star Polka Dot line, which can still be found in shops here and there if you look for it. And the pattern of course is my very own Ruby Dress sewing pattern.

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Fall Pattern Preview: Josephine!

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Introducing Josephine, a new sewing pattern coming later this fall!

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I’m so. excited. to show you this first fall pattern preview — it’s kind of in the early stages yet but I just couldn’t wait to show you these photos. I love the pleats. I love the sleeves. And this rayon fabric is divine.

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Josephine will have both a top and tunic view (this is the tunic length). As you can see it can be worn as a mini-dress as well as with jeans or leggings, and the top will be slightly longer than hip length. The belt will be included, along with two different width sleeves.

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Do you love it? I love it. Can’t wait.

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Ruby Tester Roundup

Now that my Ruby Dress & Top pattern is out, I want to say a big THANK YOU to the people who tested the pattern before we released it to the masses! This group of gifted ladies sewed up a batch of Rubies with impressive speed: we emailed them the test pattern on a Friday morning, and by Sunday evening, they’d started sending photos and feedback. Wow!

It’s essential to see how the pattern works up in different sizes, how it works for different body types. Getting feedback about the instructions and fit helps us make sure all the pattern pieces are just right in each size, so we really appreciate the hard work these ladies put into testing Ruby out for us.

Venus made hers out of Kaffe Fasset shot cotton; that fabric is perfect.

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Photo via flickr.

Kelly blogged about her dress here.

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photo via flickr

I love Ruby with a belt! These two belted versions from Rachel and Caila look fab:

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Above: Left, Right

Brooke blogged about her top here.

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photo via flickr

Jess’s big sister stole one of her Rubies, and you can read about it here. Love the belt she made too!!

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photo via flickr

Clover made these two lovely versions:

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Above Left: Ruby Dress, Right: Ruby Pattern Test

I love Jenn‘s choice of color combos for her dress and top:

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Above: Left, Right.

Elaine (she blogs over at Dashasel Sews) made a dress first, and then decided she like the top version! I love seeing the two side by side.

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If you still need the Ruby Dress & Top pattern, you can find it HERE! This pattern sews up so very quickly, and we already have a few photos in the Ruby Flickr photo pool. Please add your own so we can all admire!

Ruby FrontRuby BackRuby TopRuby TopRuby Top with lined yokeChambray and Voile Ruby DressChambray and Voile Ruby DressChambray and Voile Ruby DressChambray and Voile Ruby DressRuby Dress (version rhino)Ruby Dress (version rhino)Meadow Ruby TopMeadow Ruby TopMeadow Ruby Top


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Ruby Dress & Top Pattern is here!

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The Ruby Dress and Top Sewing Pattern is a great project for the beginner sewist who wants to give garment sewing a try! The pattern features a contrast yoke and gathers for a comfortable and flattering fit without the need for bust darts, zippers, or closures. The armholes and neckline are bias-bound for an easy finish. Six women’s sizes (XS-XXL) in two lengths are included; the dress falls above the knee, while the top ends right at the hip.

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This pattern is delivered via instant download as a 23-page PDF eBook which features full-color photographs and diagrams, step by step instructions, and plenty of tips and hints. We’ve also included a special “Seam Finishes Appendix” in this pattern with instructions for my favorite seam finishes, as well. All pattern pieces are full-sized pattern and include seam allowances.

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Sizes Included
This pattern comes in a range of six women’s sizes, from XS through XXL.  Please refer to the charts below to find your size.  The Upper Bust and Bust measurements are the most important for getting the right fit. For more guidance on that, see the “Adjusting Fit” section below.

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Adjusting Fit
We recommend that you choose your size based on the Upper Bust and Bust measurements in the Size Chart above. Once you’ve selected a size, compare your hip measurement to the Finished Measurement chart to make sure you will have enough ease in the hips. The recommended minimum ease is four inches, and some people prefer more than that. If you want to add more width/ease to the dress, you have a few options:

  • slide the pattern piece for the front (and/or back) of the dress away from the fold of the fabric when cutting it out to add more width (this will also add width in the bust area). For every 1/2″ you slide the pattern away from the fold, you’ll add 1″ to the overall width.
  • substitute a larger size for the lower part of the dress (this will also add width in the upper bust and bust area)
  • add a bit more width at the sides of the dress when you’re cutting out or tracing your pattern (this will keep the bust/upper bust the same). For every 1/2″ you add to each pattern piece, you’ll add 1″ to the overall width, due to the fold.

Adding length
The Ruby Dress is a pretty short dress, falling just above the knee on the average woman, and a bit higher on those of us who are taller (I’m 5’8″). I love the length on this dress because I think with this style it’s most flattering if you show a little leg or wear it with skinny jeans or leggings (in which case, higher is better). You’ll also find that if you wear Ruby with a belt, it will land even higher up on the leg. But for those of you would like to add more length to the dress, you can easily do so by simply extending the bottom hem of the dress downward when you’re cutting it out. Remember that this will affect your yardage (for every 4″ in length you add, you’ll need 1/4 yard more fabric).

Materials Needed
For the most flattering fit, we recommend lighter fabrics with drape such as linen and rayon challis for the main body of the dress/top. Try experimenting with cotton prints, eyelet, or even lace for the yoke.

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Here’s my latest finished version!!

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A note about this version of the dress
I want to point something out about this version that is a bit different than the actual pattern, just to make sure there are no mix-ups: I used a different technique to finish the yoke with this particular dress, so instead of binding the armholes and neckline with bias tape (as the pattern shows), I lined the yoke so that it has two layers instead of one. It’s a nice way to finish the yoke, but it’s a bit more advanced and I didn’t want it to intimidate anyone, so I’ve made a video similar to the one for lining the Washi Dress. Click on the photo here to go straight to the page:

How to Sew a Ruby Dress with a lined yoke

See more!
The Ruby Dress & Top have been featured previously on on my blog in the following posts:
Arrow Dress for Quilt Market
Introducing the Ruby Top
Ruby Tester Roundup
Ruby Dress Yoke Lining Video Tutorials

I’d love it if you’d post pictures of your finished Ruby Dresses and Tops to the Ruby Dress & Top Photo Pool on Flickr!

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

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Unfinished Ruby Dress

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I’m doing something today that I don’t usually do: posting pictures of an unfinished sewing project. Couldn’t help it: I was so excited about how it looked when I tried it on that I had to snap a few pictures. In fact, all of the seams on this dress were basted, so it’s reeeeally unfinished. The fabric on the main part of the dress is Tule by Leah Duncan (which I posted about here), and the yoke is a grey chambray, I think by Robert Kaufman. LOVE how these two fabrics look together! The pattern, just in case you missed this post, is my coming-soon Ruby Dress and Top Sewing Pattern.

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I like to baste things together when I want to test out a pattern but I’m not sure it will fit — it goes ten times faster if you baste all of the seams, and then if you want to tear it apart and substitute a different-size pattern piece, or take out the side seams or something, it’s super easy. In this case we changed the pattern pieces a bit post-testing to take out a bunch of extra ease because many of the testers found it too baggy. I wasn’t sure it would still go on over my hips, but it was fine!

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Anyway…”Unfinished Ruby” is probably a good theme for this week. We’ve been working so hard on the pattern, but it’s just not finished yet. Elli’s been putting the finishing touches on the pattern pieces and instructions, and I finally picked a color scheme for the PDF layout this morning (which seems so dumb, but for some reason this time around I was really hung up on the style). It’s nearly ready. I feel like I keep saying that, though. Oh well. It’s not worth stressing out about, it will be ready when it’s ready. We’re a meticulous crew around here! We like to make sure everything is just right!!!

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The pattern is a nice, easy beginner pattern. No bust darts, just some gathering, simple seams. I shot some video yesterday to show how to make the dress with a lined yoke for those who will want to try a slightly more intermediate construction method than the pattern calls for (the pattern has a bias tape finish for the armholes and neckline). I’m guessing many people will like the lining method a lot. So we’re getting there. I hope you’re excited!! Thanks for your patience if you’ve been waiting.

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