Gingham Pearl Dress

gingham pearl shift

Earlier this spring I spent a lovely weekend at Camp Stitchalot teaching garment sewing and fitting to about twenty awesome ladies along with Christine Haynes, Alexia Abegg, and Karen LePage, three of the best co-teachers I could ask for. It was an absolute treat to watch these ladies teach, not to mention how fun it was to meet, sew, and hang out with the rest of the retreat participants. The weekend focused on garment-making so we chose the Pearl Shift from Green Bee Patterns (the pattern company owned by Alexia and her mom Michelle, also a sponsor of this blog!), because we felt it would be a great template for anyone interested in sewing clothes for themselves. And by that I mean that it seemed simple enough to construct in a weekend (not fussy), yet features many of the things you often find in a typical women’s sewing pattern (bust darts, a set-in sleeve, etc). Anyway, to prep for the weekend we all set about making Pearl Shifts for ourselves, and this was one of the first versions I made, and is still one of my favorites. I always get compliments when I wear it out of the house!

Gingham Pearl Dress

I found the navy gingham at Purl Soho after Erin posted about it on Instagram and immediately purchased it in three colors, including the navy. I included the zipper, though one of the great things about this pattern is that it can also be made sans zipper as a pullover dress. The other thing that’s a wee bit different (that you probably wouldn’t even notice, but I’m pointing it out anyway just in case there are any eagle-eyed readers out there) is that I made facings for the neckline; the pattern includes a bias trim instead which is just as lovely. Oh! And I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention that there are options on the pattern for a henley neckline, a scallop boatneck neckline, and two sleeve lengths. Awesome!

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You can purchase the Pearl Dress from Green Bee Patterns either in digital format (now!) or print format (preorder, ships in a few weeks)!

Sparkly tote with piping

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Look, a fun tote! This is what I take with me every time I leave the house lately. The outside is Ruby Star Sparkle canvas by Melody Miller; I believe this was the last line she designed for Kokka before founding Cotton and Steel, and just in case you can’t see from the photos, it does have metallic ink across the top band so it’s ever-so-slightly-sparkly. 

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Melody gave me a few fabric samples from that line at Camp Stitchalot two whole years ago and I’m embarrassed it took me this long to make something with this. Once I actually started it, it was really easy. I didn’t use a pattern; it’s just a bunch of rectangles sewn together. 

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It ended up quite long and narrow, so I always end up fishing around in the bottom of it for my keys and wallet. I guess I wanted to finish it more than I wanted to add pockets, but at least I had the good sense to add a magnetic snap (here’s my magnetic snap tutorial, if you’re interested). It’s also the perfect size for my laptop, which was a happy accident. 

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To make it a little more exciting than a plain tote bag, I added some pink piping, because piping makes anything look 100% better, in my opinion.  I have a piping tutorial, if you’re interested. The lovely gold lining is a linen I found at Bolt in Portland when I was there for Quilt Market a few springs ago.

 

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Men’s Shirt with a Color Map Surprise!

Pantone Negroni / made by rae

I made this Negroni shirt for my brother-in-law for Christmas. Ross is an architect and as such, a designer who has a great appreciation and understanding of color. Once when he was looking around my workspace he spied a big Spoonflower fabric color chart that was on the wall and mentioned that it would be neat to have an entire shirt out of it. When I ran this idea past my sister Kricket (his wife) a couple of months before Christmas, she suggested kindly that it might be nice just to have color chart ACCENTS rather than the whole garment. I still think a shirt made entirely of color swatches and corresponding hex codes would be really awesome, but if Kricket didn’t want to be seen in public with him when he was wearing it then that would make said shirt considerably less practical.

Pantone Negroni / made by rae

I don’t usually make a habit of sewing dress shirts for all the male members of my family for Christmas because that would be crazy and insane, but this year — and for the past couple of years — we’ve been picking names instead which makes giving gifts less stressful, and this year I had Ross’ name. I’ve found year by year that my list of things to sew before Christmas gets shorter and shorter, which I attribute to my getting wiser and wiser with age. One year (I forget which, having largely blocked it out due to the trauma associated with the memory) shortly after I had Elliot, the Hoekstra family decided to have an entirely Handmade Christmas, which ended up being ridiculously stressful. I tried to sew amazing one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone and ended up nearly suffering a nervous breakdown. I still love the idea in theory, but have since realized that kind of gift giving requires one to start making in May or June, and not, shall we say, in December, as I am apt to do, being a Procrastinator with a capital P.

Pantone Negroni / made by rae

Pantone Negroni / made by rae

Back ’round to the topic at hand. Without anything else on the to-do list, I found that whipping up this shirt before Christmas was quite fun. It took me a few evenings put together to finish the entire thing (and yes, I was sewing on buttons the morning of our gift exchange, so sue me), but when it was complete I felt quite proud. The recipient seemed quite pleased and I hope it proves as wearable as it is attractive.

Pantone Negroni / made by rae

The Negroni sewing pattern by Colette Patterns is one of my favorites for men (and as far as I’m concerned, still one of the only good indie men’s sewing patterns). I’ve made it many times for Mr. Rae and find it to be a relatively quick and easy project each time. It does not have a collar stand so it is definitely more of a casual shirt than dress shirt, but Mr. Rae prefers that anyway. The herringbone Chambray Union is from Robert Kauffman and has just the right amount of stretch to be comfortable. The buttons came from hmmm I don’t remember, I’ll have to look that up if anyone is interested. Procuring the color chart fabric could be a bit of a challenge; I had this chart printed up at Spoonflower but I have no idea where I got the original image from, which also means it probably wasn’t a legal use (oops). Spoonflower does have a nice color map though that could do quite nicely. For the inside of the cuffs, yoke, and undercollar, you need less than a yard anyway.

These days it seems easier and easier to find fun fabrics that I want to turn into men’s shirts. I have a nice pile of prints waiting to turn into more Negronis for Mr Rae or dressy-ish shirts for Hugo and Elliot, but alas my free sewing time is pretty scarce these days. Maybe someone will start a men’s dress shirt cutting service for sewists — you pick a fabric and they cut out the pieces in the size you need and mail them to you. Wouldn’t that be nice??

Pantone Negroni / made by rae

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Sleeping Beauty Super Tote

Hey look I made a Super Tote! This ultra-popular pattern is from Anna of Noodlehead and turns out it’s the perfect size for a me-bag-slash-diaper-bag. When I saw this version that Gail made I knew I wanted to try a version with the piping and bust out some Heather Ross Far Far Away sleeping beauty canvas I’ve been hoarding forever. Well, since 2009, which in Blog Years is forever. You know it’s only a matter of time until they reprint this line, and I still have a huge pile of it sitting around begging to be made into something. So: Super Tote! And: it matches my rain boots! That was a happy coincidence, since I’m not usually a huge purple fan. But for some reason when I was pregnant last year I went through a purple phase.

Super Tote Far Far Away canvas by madebyrae

My only regret with this project was I wish I had added the (recommended) stiffer interfacing. I used quilt batting for all of the layers but I wasn’t sure I wanted to use fusible interfacing on my precious Far Far Away canvas so I skipped it. Looking back I think it would have made the bag stand up and look a little sharper, but that’s OK. Next time.

Super Tote Far Far Away canvas by madebyrae

It took me a long long time to make this only because I kept setting it aside for higher-priority projects. That’s one drawback of being a pattern designer is that I end up with next to no time to make anyone else’s patterns. Wah-wah. On the other hand, I kind of suck at making other people’s stuff anyway because I usually end up hacking it or “improving” on it because I always try to change something (that is more a testament to my personality than the quality of the pattern in question, by the way). The fact that I did NOT change anything about the Super Tote pattern is a testament to it’s fineness. Especially fine: this nice zipper closure at the top:

Super Tote Far Far Away canvas by madebyrae

I’ll be taking this tote with me to Austin next week; our whole family is headed to Texas to visit my new niece in Waco and then head over to Austin so I can make a stop at QuiltCon on Saturday (you can find me at the Stitch Lab booth on Saturday afternoon around 3pm if you want to stop by and say hi!) and teach a Buttercup Bag workshop at Stitch Lab on Friday that is SOLD OUT, wooot I am super excited! (But: there are spots open in a couple of Stitch Lab fabric printing and screen printing workshops yet next weekend, so check those out if you’re going to be in the area).

Super Tote Far Far Away canvas by madebyrae

So, since it’s our first time in Austin and we have three kids in tow, I would really love some suggestions for places to go and eat while we’re there. Mr Rae will be on the town with all three kids for a couple of days while I’m at QuiltCon so he ESPECIALLY appreciates any advice you can give!!

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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! UPDATE: Josephine is now available

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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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