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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Summer is for Josephines and Rubies

Some hot and steamy days are ahead of us, so I wanted to share some of my favorite summery renditions of my Josephine and Ruby patterns.

Even though we released the Josephine Tunic & Blouse when hot weather was the furthest thing from my mind, View C has instructions to make a sleeveless top with side vents. Jaime from Fancy Tiger Crafts made a gorgeous version out of Cloud9 Fabrics’ Palos Verdes Voile.

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Terri at Fa Sew La has made a bunch of Josephines already! Here’s her sleeveless one:

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As the mercury rises, I’ve rekindled my love for the Ruby Dress & Top pattern. It sews up so quickly, and it’s versatile: wear it with shorts or a skirt, or enjoy it on its own as a light, breezy dress.

Sarah made this bright and cheery dress and blogged about it here.

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I love the bold prints paired with solid yokes on all of these:

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Above, Top Left: I Sew You Sew’s Ruby top with a Washi Expansion Pack [shortened] sleeve!
Top Right: Meagan blogged about her top here, and put a nice curved Wiksten Tank hem on it. Nice mashup!

Bottom Left: Spencer’s dress
Bottom Right: Katie’s dress

Have you made any summery Rubies or Josephines? Share them with us on Instagram with hashtags #rubydress and #josephinepattern, or in their Flickr photo pools!

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Ruby

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Ruby Sparkles

posted by jess

Well, Summer arrived the other day. And my hair said, “We’re thinking big.” I should have prepared myself, because when I posted this photo on IG, my hairdresser later texted me, “Wow Nice texture! I’m sure that will be a lot of fun throughout the humid season.” I’m strategically not letting you see the right-hand side of my head in these photos, because it has a different hairdo.

Whoops, I didn’t hijack Rae’s blog to talk about my hair though; I actually wanted to do some show and tell from my own Spring Top Sewing. I just finished my favorite Ruby to date, and I thought I’d share the mods I made.

I cut out the fabric for the top and didn’t change the length at all. You can hardly tell, but I put an elastic in the hem. I sewed the hem exactly as indicated in the pattern, but left a 1″ opening to thread a 1/4″ elastic through the entire hem. I held it in place with a safety pin to try it on, then sewed the elastic ends together before finishing off the hem. I have a couple of store-bought tops that have the really loose elastic in the hem, and I like how it gives the top a little bit more shape on me.

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Instead of sewing gathers in the back, I made a box pleat.

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I followed Rae’s yoke lining video tutorials, and used bias binding for the exposed portion of the armholes.

Instead of turning the bias binding to the outside of the garment like Rae did here, I sewed the bias tape to the outside of the armhole, then folded it all the way in before topstitching (Rae did that on this version).

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Finally, a word about the fabric. For the yoke, I used Kaffe Fasset Shot Cottons (colorway lipstick for the outer, and apricot for the lining). The main fabric for the top is a score from the covered Bazaar in Istanbul. There is some really gaudy stuff there, let me tell you. This print is less visually stimulating than a lot of what I saw there, believe it or not. It’s a simple black background with fuchsia, peach, and pink fireworks, upon which gold and pink roses have been superimposed. Then they glued on some sequin-like sparkles for good measure. Honestly, I don’t usually wear much in the way of shiny/sparkly, but I think the solid yoke contrast helps calm things down a bit, and this top is crazy comfy. I think I’ll be wearing this a lot!

Spring Top Sewalong 2014 is underway! Read more here; and add your photos to the Flickr Pool!

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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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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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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 Dress (version rhino)Ruby Dress (version rhino)Meadow Ruby TopMeadow Ruby TopMeadow Ruby Top100_9197100_9195Ruby Dress (version 1)Ruby Dress (version 1)Ruby Top - July 4thRuby Top - July 4thThe Ruby top I made about 2 months ago using art gallery's meadowStuck on haunted mansion so I thought I'd post the pic of my revised #rubytop! Love it! #madebyrae #alexanderhenryRubyWhales4


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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.

$16 – Ruby Dress & Top – sizes XS-XXL

Buy Now

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. The digital eBook including pattern and instructions will be sent to your Paypal email address (please do not request that we forward to a different address. Thanks!) via instant download link as soon as payment is received.

Please read my download/printing instructions if you have never purchased an instant download pattern from me before. Thanks!

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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 Dress (version rhino)Ruby Dress (version rhino)Meadow Ruby TopMeadow Ruby TopMeadow Ruby Top100_9197

$16 – Ruby Dress and Top – women’s sizes XS – XXL

Buy Now

Please read my download/printing instructions if you have never purchased an instant download pattern from me before. Thanks!

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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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