Josephine in Yellow Double Gauze

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I know many of you are focused on “kid sewing” this week (you can check out the Kid’s Clothes Week blog for all the fun), and I did manage to finish a couple of matching pajama sets for my kids yesterday using some cute Fanfare fox flannel! But because my blogging always runs a week or two behind my sewing, instead of cute kiddos today, you get another lovely top for ME.

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This is a Josephine top, made with the same yellow double gauze that I used for Clementine’s birthday dress. I absolutely adore this shade of yellow, and I still have another yard of the fabric left so you’ll probably see at least one more thing made out of it. Double gauze is a soft, double layered loose-weave cotton fabric and I’ve sewn many things with double gauze (you can see some in this post on my favorite garment fabrics) because I love how soft it is. This double gauze is made by Lecien, but Kokka is the most widely available manufacturer of printed double gauzes that I know of. This pattern is one of two women’s patterns I’m working on for fall; the other is the Washi Expansion Pack which I’ve been showing examples of for the past week or so. I previewed the tunic view with a wider sleeve in this preview post a few weeks ago.

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The cleverest thing about this pattern (if I do say so myself) is that the end of the darts are hidden behind the first pleat, which makes them uber-easy to sew. The Washi Dress has an angled dart that can be difficult to sew without little puckers at the end (I know, I know, I need to do a tutorial on that!!!), but this one, this one is practically foolproof I tell you. Those of you who are well-endowed in the bust area will also be happy to know that we are making a bodice piece that has a large bust dart (for C/D cups) as well that will be interchangeable with the smaller A/B bodice you see here on me.

The other thing that’s different about the top view is the small elastic casing that you can see in the photo above. This is optional — you might want to omit it if you planned on tucking the top in, for example — but I think it produces a nice flattering fit for wearing it untucked.

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The Josephine Sewing Pattern is coming soon…right after the Washi XP. Can’t wait!!

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Another Washi Dress with a big bow

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I think the title pretty much sums it up. This is a Washi Dress that I made last winter, but I just added sleeves to it last week (it had a ruffle around the armhole that was really not working, just trust me on this one). I like the deeper colors of this striped voile for fall, and adding a sleeve makes it even more fall-esque. Perfect for leggings and boots with a big gray cable knit sweater (note to self: purchase gray cable knit sweater). This voile is part of Anna Maria Horner’s Innocent Crush fabric line.

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This bow is in fact even wider than the bow that will come with the soon-to-be-released Washi Expansion Pack (more details on that in this post); the voile was so lightweight that I thought I’d push the limit a bit and see how wide I could get away with. The result is very fun, if you like a big bow. Do you think this is TOO big for a big bow? I don’t think we have quite reached that point yet, but then again I’m always one for a big statement. For contrast, see this post for the “standard” big bow width I chose for the expansion pack.

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I’ll be heading out to Texas at the end of this week for Quilt Market and a visit to my sister Elli of course, so now it’s time to decide which of my Washi Dresses to pack. Or figure what else I should try and make last-minute before I go! Should be fun.

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Bird Dress with pointed collar and sleeve

After the response to yesterday’s pink Washi top (wow!!) I’m not sure I can follow it up with anything better, but hopefully you’ll love this dress as much as I do!

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One of my favorite prints from the recently-released Waterfront Park line from Violet Craft was this elegantly simple bird print. My friend April gifted me with this fabric when I visited Sew to Speak in Columbus this summer so I’m happy I got a chance to make something fantastic with it!!

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This dress is the Washi Dress of course, with the addition of a pointed collar and a new sleeve, both of which will be pattern pieces included in the new Washi Expansion Pack (which I talked about more in yesterday’s post).

I love the pointed Peter Pan collars that seem to be everywhere lately. I wanted a small sleeve that would really go well with the pointed collar, and the answer is clearly a pointed sleeve. I also know that many of you loved the Hello Pilgrim dress that I posted a long time ago, and I feel like this pointed sleeve would also look really fantastic with a big bow and recreate that look quite nicely. My first version of this dress had both a black collar AND black sleeves, but it was crazy I tell you. I tried it on for Mr Rae and my first thought was “this is way too Minnie Mouse, isn’t it?” and he was like, “yup.” I still think making a version where the collar and the sleeves are the same fabric would be great, it just didn’t work this time.

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The collar is easily finished with a bodice lining, so instead of using shirring in the back on this one, I used the bottom of the lining in the back to create an elastic casing, which I think will be really nice for those of you who fear shirring with elastic thread. I used elastic in the back of the Motif Madness Dress and the Time for Tea dress, and it works really nicely.

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What do you think? Do you like the pointed collars? I’m including both curved and pointed Peter Pan collars in the Washi Expansion pack, so that should be really fun!! Can’t wait until it’s ready!

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Pink Washi top with a little bow

It’s time for me to start blogging about some of the clothes I’ve been making for me!! A bit of a backup over here; seems like the sewing is happening faster than the blogging over here these days. That’s good though…I like to sew, if you hadn’t noticed.

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First up is this Washi top, which has been completely transformed to the point that it doesn’t even resemble the original Washi Dress much, does it? I think the main difference is that it’s made with rayon, a fabric which behaves SO differently from quilting cotton or voile that it gives the pattern a whole new look. I talk about rayons more in this post, and I’ve been sewing with cotton rayon a ton lately (here and here)…it’s becoming one of my absolute favorite fabrics to sew with.

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As you can see I also added a sleeve (which I shirred at the ends, see this post for a shirring tutorial), gathered the skirt instead of pleating it, and added this fetching little bow. Eagle-eyed readers will noticed that this sleeve is *not* the same as the free Washi sleeve (found here); while it’s still gathered and similar in length, I made a new, more tailored pattern piece for this one, since I was hearing the words “Little House on the Prairie” and “pilgrim” associated with the other fuller one. Not that that is a bad thing; just thought I would try to make a new sleeve that was more tailored and flattering.

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I know I’ve been hinting at a Washi Expansion pattern pack for a long time now, but I promise you that it is truly in the works right now, full steam, along with Josephine (that received such an enthusiastic response a few weeks ago, thank you!!!). The expansion pack will most definitely include this sleeve, a big bow (see this post), bodice lining pattern pieces and instructions, another short sleeve (will post about that one soon), and a couple of Peter Pan collars in both curved and pointed styles. If you like *this* little bow, I will seriously consider adding these pattern pieces as well. What do you think?

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The Washi Expansion Pack is shaping up to be quite a big project over here, but I’m really excited about it because it will allow someone to really make a TON of fun washi variations using the basic Washi pattern as a building block. That is exactly the kind of sewing I love to do, and I know many of you love to sew that way too! Can’t wait to show you even more of my latest variations!!!

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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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Green maxi skirt with pockets

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Check out my new green maxi skirt! It’s basically a long variation of two other shorter skirts I made with pockets this year (this one and this one). I wanted to see what would happen if I used a more flowy fabric instead of the quilting cotton. And it’s DEFINITELY flowy. And full. I feel like a giant green goddess when I wear it. But it’s very summery and comfortable.

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I found this fabric in the shirting section at Haberman Fabrics here in Michigan. It seems lighter than a shirting, though; I think it probably falls into the voile or lawn category (I talk more about garment fabrics in this post). I love that it has a silky sheen to it and it’s very lightweight…one of those fabrics that you just have to feel. It’s lovely.

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As far as the pattern goes, more than a few people have already asked me if I can turn this skirt into a pattern or a tutorial of some sort, but I’m struggling with that a bit because it’s made-to-measure, so there really aren’t any pattern pieces. It’s basically four rectangles (six if you make it with pockets, eight if you make it with the contrast band at the bottom), so it’s far easier just to figure out how big those rectangles are based on your measurements and cut them out with a rotary cutter and ruler rather than waste time and paper taping together giant rectangular pattern pieces. So is it a pattern? Ummm? Right now it’s a set of instructions and diagrams and a worksheet. So it’s almost a pattern, just without any pattern pieces. A printable tutorial? Anyway, for now it’s just a class I’m teaching in person (this Thursday at Pink Castle, woot!!), until I figure a way to make it into something more widely available. Your thoughts are welcomed.

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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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Striped Maxi Dress

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  • I cut and sewed this dress yesterday. It was on my Summer Sew list and I figured I’d better get moving.
  • Knit garments can be made really quickly when you own a serger. This dress has four seams, so it was like lightning.
  • I love it when things you’ve been putting off take almost no time to throw together.
  • I’ve never felt the maxi dress was much of a friend to the sewing mama…it really makes a poor effort to hide the post-partum belly, bearing in mind that my “baby” has just turned four, ahem. And then, horizontal stripes…
  • You better believe I am sucking it in for these pictures. Big time.
  • More info on the knit I used in this post.
  • I tried to line the stripes up, I really did. I swear there is some rule in the universe that if Rae Tries to Line Up Stripes They Will Not Line Up and when Rae Doesn’t Try They Will Magically Align.
  • Also let’s just ignore the fact that I cut the back with the stripes in the opposite order than in the front.
  • This pattern was taken from the Alabama Chanin Studio Sewing and Design book, though I did not sew anything here by hand, and I eliminated the front and back seams by placing that edge of the pattern along the fold.
  • Jamie Christina also has a fantastic maxi pattern if you’re looking for one.
  • We are going to a Great Wolf Lodgey place this weekend with Mr Rae’s family. I have never been to one before. I think it will be fun. I will be sporting my new maxi dress with pride.
  • What’s on your summer sew list yet? It’s time to get moving on it before it’s too late!

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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.

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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!

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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.)

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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!

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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?

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