Shorts with pom poms

shorts with pompoms / made by rae

Started these last year as part of a larger Pants-Shorts Experiment (an experiment that included two pairs of shorts, a fitted cropped ankle pant, and a pair of flared corduroy pants, none of which ever got photographed or blogged, but also, I might add, eventually produced the Luna Pants pattern, so it wasn’t entirely in vain). I was torn about whether or not to add the pom poms. On the one hand I had seen a handful of very cute shorts featuring pom pom trim on Pinterest and I am a huge fan of poms for any occasion so count me in. BUT. When your thighs don’t have extra space between them (I think it goes without saying that mine don’t), the idea of a row of pom poms betwixt one’s legs becomes a more interesting concept. My sister Elli suggested there might be chafing. I decided to go for it. I finished these in time to bring them to Palm Springs, but the weather just wasn’t warm enough that weekend to wear them, so beyond trying them on, I really haven’t had a chance to take them for a spin. I’m waiting for warmer weather. Will report back. Does this seem like a bad idea to you?

PS. Fabric = Field Study voile by Anna Maria Horner

Posted in for Rae
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Holiday Skirt

bespoke double gauze skirt with pleats

I can’t believe that it took me this long to post this skirt to the blog. I actually sewed and wore this skirt for a completely different holiday this year (though I think it would be entirely appropriate for New Year’s Eve): Valentine’s Day. Which also happens to be my anniversary. There are pros and cons to having the Valentine’s Day anniversary, trust me. One of the pros is that I can sew myself a red skirt for my anniversary date night and I will match nearly everyone else at the restaurant. Or is that a con? I’m not sure.

The fabric is a lovely Bespoke double gauze from Cotton and Steel that I purchased from Fancy Tiger (a sponsor of this blog) earlier this year. Words can’t describe how awesome and bright this red is. The fabric actually seems to glow on its own, as if it had it’s own internal source of energy. Skirt fusion? I know that isn’t really possible.

bespoke double gauze skirt with pleats

After wearing the skirt out for one evening, however, I decided there was far too much fabric in the back. The elastic waistband was producing a poofy effect that I was not happy with. So I tore out an entire side seam in order to fix it, which included un-sewing a serged lining and inseam pockets, which was a total pain in the ass (one of the cons of designing a ridiculously complicated fold-over pleat skirt that is also lined), and the short version of the story is that it took me a long time to fix. If I’m honest, there’s still a safety pin holding the elastic in place on one side. Let’s move on. Now it’s fixed and isn’t that what matters.

bespoke double gauze skirt with pleats

bespoke double gauze skirt with pleats

The front waistband is folded over, box-pleated, and then stitched down for a flat-front effect. The lining inside hides the folded edges. Now I’m realizing I should have taken a picture of that because it was an architectural triumph. The back is just gathered with elastic, and also has a folded edge at the top; I think this is what is referred to as a “paper bag waist” though I’ve never understood why, and now, typing this, I’m not even sure if that’s even right.

bespoke double gauze skirt with pleats

I used the tiny bit of light the sun gave us this December to shoot these photos, so they’re super low-res and they feel a bit dark, just like this season feels to me. Which is why I treasure the bits of light that come here and there this time of year, when the days are short and cold: when the sun peeks out of the clouds for a moment, having my kids home (and playing nicely together for five minutes, even) for winter break, celebrating the birthday of Christ, and the hope of the New Year.

And of course, knowing that you, dear readers, care enough to stop by and read for a few minutes, buy a pattern to sew something beautiful for yourself or someone else, or leave a kind comment is a source of great light, and joy, and encouragement to me. Thank you for being here, and for your support. I cherish this space because of you.

Happy New Year!

 

Bespoke Double Gauze Pearl Dress

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This lovely double gauze has been sitting on my shelf for months while ideas for what it would eventually become percolated through my brain. I purchased it in a double-gauze-buying-binge from Fancy Tiger (a fantastic shop that also sponsors my blog!) earlier this year. I loved this stripe print so much (see: this top and these pants) that I decided I wanted to try it in this red/peach/blue colorway. Last week I suddenly pounced on it and it was all cut-it-out one night and sew-the-placket the next afternoon and then there were a few days of sewing french seams that felt like forever and then the hemming and it was done. It’s so satisfying (and rare) when it all falls together in a few days and I can walk away with something that looks great and fits nicely. Having a good trusty pattern that you can jump in with that doesn’t require fitting is half the battle to be sure: this one is the Pearl Dress by Green Bee Patterns (also one of my blog sponsors!! look at me with the sponsor mentions today), again, I am really enjoying making these. I added the henley placket option this time and while I think it might be a bit tricky for the beginner, even with double gauze it really wasn’t too bad.

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Double gauze is just dreamy (and the Cotton and Steel double gauze seems to be especially soft). I’ve said this so many times before, but wearing double gauze is like wearing pajamas. It might also even look like I’m wearing pajamas but I really couldn’t care it’s so comfortable. And personally I like the slightly rumpled look it gains as its worn; I was careful to steam this one before taking photos and not wear it around like I usually do. I got a comment recently from someone on a social media platform which will remain unnamed pointing out the wrinkles in my photos and asking if I ever press my garments when I sew them which of course I do, I press like a maniac while I’m sewing. I really don’t mind constructive critique when it’s kindly delivered, but this commenter also couldn’t resist mentioning that “many of us have been discussing the rumpled nature of your garments” which then made me feel like I was back in middle school and “they” were all over on the other side of the playground, talking smack about me. Believe it or not though, it was a good thing to hear, because the truth is that 100% cotton clothing does get wrinkly, and yes, I could stand to pay a little more attention to that in my photos, so it’s all good. I just need to photograph things before I start wearing them all over the place which will require some self control. Hey, upping my professional game a little bit can’t be a bad move.

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Let’s talk about the french seams (shown above). I realized right away that it would be necessary to do some major seam finishing on this thing because raw edges on double gauze fray something fierce. My go-to option is to use a serger to finish seams, because it’s fast, but somehow I got it into my head that french seams would be better (read my Super Seams post for a few other favorite seam finishes). Which they are, but I’m gonna be straight with you, with double gauze they were a total bitch to sew. French seams on set-in sleeves, for instance. French seams on inseam pockets. And the trimming of all those little tiny threads every time. I persevered and now I LOVE it, but there were moments, let me tell you. Thank goodness for Jane Eyre on Neflix.

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Anyway, I don’t want to scare anyone off double gauze — if you mind your seam finishes and cut carefully it’s actually quite wonderful to sew with, despite how the name might sound (am I right that the word “gauze” freaks people out?), and once sewn it is wonderfully forgiving, fit-wise, as well. IP information In fact, the loose weave creates a more generous fit so you could easily go down a size; my double gauze garments usually fit larger and looser than identically-cut garments in more stable fabrics (voile, lawn, for example). It’s also breathable for summer and layers well for fall, all in all I highly recommend sewing with double gauze (it’s one of my Five Favorite Fabrics, in fact). As you can see in the photo above, I’ll probably be wearing it with skinny jeans quite a bit this fall, and I can picture this with a big chunky sweater. Bring it, fall!!

By the way, you can find all kinds of double gauze fabrics at the following links from my fantastic sponsors: Jones and Vandermeer (a brand-new-to-me sponsor with all kinds of great apparel fabrics, welcome!!) /  Fancy Tiger  / Fabricworm / Fiddlehead Artisan Supply

and the Pearl Dress sewing pattern can be found at Green Bee Patterns, of course!

Posted in for Rae
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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)!

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!!

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.

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!

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!!!

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.