Snake top by Melissa

Melissa's snake top

Melissa's snake top

When Melissa started working for me about a year and a half ago as a studio assistant, she didn’t know how to sew. It may surprise you, but most of the work of running a small pattern business doesn’t involve sewing. There’s organizing and editing photos, categorizing expenses, printing pattern pieces, taping pattern pieces, cutting fabric, pressing, and plenty of other things to keep an assistant busy, so as far as the sewing goes, I can pretty much manage it by myself. Melissa really wanted to learn how to sew, though, so I’ve been teaching her basics like threading the machine and doing basic stitches. Last semester I decided it would be fun to have her come in a bit early once a week (she usually works a few hours a week, between her classes), so she could work on sewing something fun to wear. The result was this top that she cut and sewed herself, with some coaching and help from me, of course. We picked Astoria from Seamwork to start with.

Melissa's snake top

I showed her how to add 2″ to the length of the bodice (you may remember from my Astoria pencil top that it’s a cropped length, and Melissa is even taller than I am), and I think it was the perfect amount. She picked the long sleeve rather than the 3/4 length, and now I think I need one with long sleeves too. We also flipped the neckband to the inside again, as you can see below.

Melissa's snake top

I love how the snake print from Sidewalk (this print is called “Off the Trail”) looks with her white jeans. So awesome, right? I love how these photos turned out. This girl can rock anything.

Melissa's snake top

I especially love this candid shot I got of her when she was picking music on my iPad at the beginning of the shoot. That red matches the snakes perfectly.

Melissa's snake top

I’m excited to see what she sews up next!! So fun!

I think I might make a tee for Hugo with this print next. What would you make with these snakes??

Flamingo Robe

flamingo robe / made by rae

Hello! Happy New Year! I ended up taking a bit of a blogging/screen break for the past couple of weeks, which was really quite nice because it gave me more time for reading (finished Everyone Brave is Forgiven last night, so good!!), board games with kids, friends, and family (PANDEMIC!!! SO good!), and some drawing and painting (maybe more fabric designs this year…who knows?), among other things. I really feel like it gave me a lovely break, like I have a bit more mental space now or something. I didn’t completely cut off, just kept my phone off/away/silent more than the usual. I know it’s all the rage to “quit” your phone and that’s fantastic too, but I also don’t think that’s completely necessary. Everything in moderation and all that.

flamingo robe / made by rae

I don’t generally do “Christmas sewing.” Ever since I nearly suffered a mental break one year I’ve managed to lower my sewing expectations for Christmas year by year so that the past few years I’ve ended up with nothing on my “Christmas-to-sew” list, which is liberating. Of course then two weeks before Christmas this year I started working on a kimono-style robe using my new Sidewalk flamingo print and realized halfway through that it would make a fantastic present for my sister Kricket, whose name I had drawn for our sibling gift exchange. So I guess I did do some Christmas sewing, though I personally think if you don’t realize you are doing Christmas sewing it really shouldn’t count.

flamingo robe / made by rae

Alas I cannot provide you with a pattern for this robe (a common request when I posted a pic of it — above — on Instagram), as I made up the pattern based on a tracing of another robe I own that is similar in overall shape. Maybe some of you have kimono-style robe patterns you could recommend in comments? You can see (from the clip on the shoulder) that the robe was still a WIP when I took this photo. I later added pockets, and I had to tear out, redesign, and resew the neckline facing in the back a few times until I got the shoulder right.

flamingo robe / made by rae

Closeup detail. Eagle-eyed readers will notice that I managed to keep part of the selvage with my name on it visible in the sleeve seam. A signature of sorts. This pic probably conveys the true color of the background best, though the flamingos look darker here than they are in real life.

flamingo robe / made by rae

And the finished robe!

flamingo robe / made by rae

Kricket seemed v. pleased with it when she opened it up on Christmas Day, so I feel this was a job well done. But also a bit of remorse for not keeping it for myself. But not really. But maybe a little bit.

flamingo robe / made by rae

If you’ve got a hankering to sew up some Sidewalk knit of your own, you can head over to my blog post about where to find Sidewalk knits, or check out the shop finder on the Cloud9 website. Sidewalk is shipping now and is perfect for a cosy winter sewing project! Please share your pics with me if you sew something with Sidewalk! The #sidewalkfabrics tag is useful on social media.

Hugo’s Pencil Shirt and Fleece Parsley Pants

Flashback tee + parsley pants for Hugo

Here’s my little monster in a few new things I’ve made for him recently: a Flashback Tee in Sidewalk interlock and some fleece Parsley Pants. It could hardly have escaped anyone’s notice that now we both own knit pencil tops (here’s mine)…which means a pretty awesome photo shoot needs to happen soon. Twinsies with a toddler, YEAH!

Flashback tee + parsley pants for Hugo

CHEESE.

Flashback tee + parsley pants for Hugo

I love making Parsley Pants in fleece since it adds a bit of stretch and makes them super cosy to wear. I made two pairs for him: the blue pair he’s wearing in these pics, and a green pair which are a lovely quality Mill End fleece and therefore even more cosy. The green ones I accidentally pressed with the iron on the cotton setting (oops!) and melted, so I had to put in a separate waistband. Which actually looks really cute, though it’s more work.

Flashback tee + parsley pants for Hugo

Flashback tee + parsley pants for Hugo

I’ve been adding elastic to the cuff (like I did with these Big Butt Baby pants awww tiny baby Hugo alert!!) because I think it’s cute when they’re cinched in at the ankle. I also added some tags — gifted to me from past sponsor Custom Labels 4U — to the waistbands and neckband of the tee. I don’t know why I didn’t start doing this sooner; it’s so helpful to know the size of handmade stuff, and I love having my logo tag in there too. I did previously use a handful of size labels I bought from an Etsy shop (you can see them in this post ACK another adorable Hugo post!!!); those were also great but weren’t woven and so those ended up curling up after washing which made them harder to read. Super handy though, no matter what you do.

Flashback Sidewalk Hugo tee - labels

New clothes for Hugo

My one complaint with these tags is that Hugo does have pretty sensitive skin and the edges of the logo tags are a bit scratchy (I don’t notice this with the size tags), so I think next time I’ll try putting them on the outside instead of inside the garment; maybe at a side seam or something.

Flashback tee + parsley pants for Hugo

He is perpetually sick and rosy-cheeked these days, poor babe. I love love love this age so much — he is saying the most ridiculously adorable things to us, every day, but I also hate how he is sick all of the time. It can be so trying. I had terrible sleep last night because he slept in our bed all night and was up coughing at regular intervals.

Since I took these pics a couple of weeks ago, I painted the wall behind him with chalkboard paint (so fun!! here’s a peek) and cut his hair (which you can see in this post). And, my Sidewalk knit fabric is now in shops! Here’s a list of Sidewalk stockists if you want to pick up some for yourself. Be sure to add the #sidewalkfabric hashtag if you post pics to social media because I would really love to see what you’re sewing for yourself with these knits!

Where to buy Sidewalk knits

Sidewalk Knits by Rae Hoekstra

I’m so excited to announce that my new collection for Cloud9 Fabrics is now shipping to retail shops. Sidewalk is a line of twelve designs printed on 100% organic cotton interlock knit.

I previewed the line in June with this post, and have since shared quite a few other projects made out of Sidewalk; check out all those posts here on the blog and find more on Instagram under the tag #sidewalkfabric.

Wondering where to get your hands on your favorite prints? Here’s a list of places to start shopping:

Brick & Mortar (US)
Crafthouse (Lincoln, NE)
Fabricate (Boulder, CO)
Fancy Tiger Crafts (Denver, CO) (also online)
Gather Here (Cambridge, MA) (also online)
Harts Fabrics (Santa Cruz, CA) (also online)
Janie Lou Quilts (Kirkwood, MO) (also online)
Michael Levine, Inc (Los Angeles, CA) (also online)
Modern Domestic (Portland, OR) (also online)
Modern Makers (Kansas City, MO)
Oklahoma Quilt Works (Oklahoma City, OK) (also online)
Pennington Quiltworks (Pennington, NJ) (also online)
The Cloth Pocket (Austin, TX) (also online)

Online (US)
Fabricworm
A&A Cotton Creations
Hawthorne Threads
Imagine Gnats
JAQ’s Fabrics
Jones & Vandermeer
Peek-a-boo
Raspberry Creek Fabric
Truly Bella

Canada
Fabric Spot (shop online)
Spool of Thread (Vancouver, BC)

UK & Europe
Bizzy and Boo Fabrics
The Village Haberdashery (London)
M is for Make
Dawanda (Germany)

Cloud9 has a handy tool on their site that you can use to find out which retailers stock specific fabric collections! You can find the list of shops that carry Sidewalk HERE. International readers: find more shops in the UK and Europe HERE.

What are YOU going to make with Sidewalk? I can’t wait to see your projects!!

Buggy Neenah Turtleneck

Bug Neenah Turtleneck

New knit turtleneck! New glasses! I thought it would be fun to try one of my new Sidewalk knits in a grown up turtleneck. I used another Seamwork pattern, Neenah, which is a dress pattern, and shortened it at the waist to make it a top instead of a dress (inspired by Katie’s post). This “Bug’s Life” print definitely reads “kid” but I love it. I am not beneath wearing kid prints. See also: my pencil Astoria top.

Bug Neenah Turtleneck

I made the neckband wider (2″) to accommodate both my very large head and the fact that this fabric is interlock and therefore less thin/stretchy than other knits you might normally use for this pattern. I actually think it would have looked better with the narrower turtleneck, but I’m not sure I could have handled all of that fabric close around my neck. Am somewhat claustrophobic and never liked turtlenecks as a child for that reason.

Sidewalk knits / neenah turtleneck / made by rae

Given that we are fully into snowy weather here in Michigan, I have been wearing the heck out of this thing. I do love the medium thickness of interlock for warmth and of course Cloud9’s knits are super soft and lovely. And, I’m very excited to finally be able to say that Sidewalk is now shipping to shops. I just this morning saw it pop up in Annie’s Instagram feed, for those of you who are in the UK, and I’m sure more shops will follow soon. I’ll post a list of the shops carrying Sidewalk soon so you know where to find it!

neenah turtleneck / sidewalk knits / made by rae

Sidewalk Flashback Tees

Here’s a little more Sidewalk cuteness for you today! These Flashback Tees are all samples that Jess sewed up for last spring’s Quilt Market. As with the two Isla samples I posted last week, the designs were printed on Spoonflower fabric so we would have samples in time for the show, which means that they are a little different from the final prints. I think the most noticeable difference in color is that the samples have a more citron yellow, while the final prints definitely have a more sunny yellow. The sample fabric also ended up being less stretchy and soft than the Cloud9 interlock, so they worked nicely for photographs even if they won’t end up being worn.

Sidewalk Flashback tee

Hugo is wearing the Flashback Skinny Tee in size 2T in the “Bus Stop” print with “Art Class” collar and cuffs. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to include a bus print in this knit collection for Hugo. He gets excited and yells, “Oh!! BUS!!” whenever he sees buses drive by.

Sidewalk knits

Made by Rae Sidewalk knits for Cloud9 Fabrics (Fall 2016)

This Flashback is made with the “Red Rover” print with cuffs and collar in “Off the Trail,” a print that features cute little snakes. It’s a little crazy with the snakes as contrast, but oh well. Red Rover originated as a print in my Small World corduroy collection, and has been so popular that Cloud9 also released it on cotton laminate this fall (raincoats, anyone?) and now it’s making its reprise on interlock for Sidewalk with black instead of blue as the secondary color. Made by Rae Sidewalk knits for Cloud9 Fabrics (Fall 2016)

The “Bug’s Life” print in white and green makes for a pretty cute little shirt, too! I think this would be perfect for a pair of pajamas!

Flashback Skinny Tee in Sidewalk Knits

Sidewalk is my new line of interlock knits for Cloud9 Fabrics. It will be be shipping to retail shops soon!

Sidewalk Astoria Top

Sidewalk knit Astoria top

Here’s something I whipped up the other day: an Astoria top from Seamwork magazine in the art class print from Sidewalk. I think it works (as do many of the prints in this collection) as a “grown up” print, don’t you? This is probably hard to believe, but I always try to design fabrics meant for women’s apparel, but the collections always end up reading “kid” more than “grown up” once they’re done. I keep trying though. I swear the collection I am working on right now is more serious, just you wait!! Anyway, I love these little pencils so much and it’s really fun to make them into something I can wear.

Sidewalk knit Astoria top

Sidewalk knit Astoria top

I made a size medium of the Astoria pattern and made just a couple of small changes. First, I removed the curve in the side seam which I imagine is meant to accommodate those whose busts achieve the dimensions set forth in the measurement chart for the size medium bust (mine does not). Furthermore, I ended up flipping the entire neckband to the inside of the top and stitching it down after finding that it wasn’t sitting quite as flat as I’d hoped (this is a result I think of using a 100% cotton knit; if you had a lycra knit, you probably wouldn’t have this issue). Overall, it fits quite well considering the cowboy approach I took (no muslin, serger for everything but the sleeve hems and neckline). If I make this again, I might add some length; it’s definitely a cropped top and lands right at my natural waist, so I really can’t raise my arms in this outfit without showing off my midsection. But I think as long as I wear this with high-waisted pants (which unfortunately these awesome red cords are not), it will be fine.

Sidewalk knit Astoria top

I love Seamwork magazine, and this was my first attempt at one of their patterns. I own a few Colette patterns and love the designs that Sarai and her team produce, but the Colette aesthetic has always been a bit fancier than my chase-the-toddler-at-the-park wardrobe demands. So when they launched Seamwork magazine and included a new line of patterns with the subscription (two patterns are free with every issue) that are simpler and a bit more casual than their Colette patterns, it was right up my alley, since as you probably know I tend toward fairly simple garment designs.

Sidewalk knit Astoria top

I still balk a little as a pattern designer at the low price ($6/month for a Seamwork subscription, which means the patterns are all $3 each), because I worry sometimes that stuff like this can make it tougher for my own patterns to sell, but I think that the adage “you get what you pay for” is applicable in many cases. The entire Seamwork magazine is so beautifully presented, the articles are wonderful, and the photographs are amazing, but overall my impression is that the patterns can be hit or miss. Which really is fine with me as a subscriber, since I’m already getting a fantastic magazine with top-notch articles. You can’t expect to get awesome every time when you are getting two new patterns every month for $6. Maybe they do compete on some level with my patterns for the customer who responds to low pricing, but I’ve come to realize that I need to be catering to the person who will value the time and attention I give my patterns, and is happy to pay more for that value. If it takes me six months to make each pattern and then charge next to nothing for them, I really don’t know how I could have a sustainable business. I hope this doesn’t come off as a diss to Seamwork — that’s not how I mean it — but I do think that it’s important to talk about value and quality and how it relates to pricing. Seamwork is just taking a different approach with the subscription model.

Sidewalk knit Astoria top

Anyway, the Astoria top has been, as they’ve put it, one of their “fan favorites,” and I would agree: it’s easy and quick to sew, and doesn’t require much fitting or fussiness. And as you can see, it’s great for showing off Sidewalk!

Sidewalk is my newest fabric collection for Cloud9 fabrics. It is printed on 100% organic knit interlock and will be shipping soon to a fabric shop near you!

Two Islas in Sidewalk

Sidewalk knits

I thought you might enjoy seeing these Isla tops that Jess sewed up for the Quilt Market booth last spring! These two prints are called Fancy Steps and Lawn Ornament, and are both part of my new collection for Cloud9 Fabrics, Sidewalk, which will be printed entirely on knit fabric. I’m very excited about this.

Sidewalk knits

We had a whole section of the Cloud 9 booth dedicated to Sidewalk at the spring show, and we thought it would be fun to show off a couple of the prints with some women’s tops, since the whole line reads “kid” in general, but I think can work for the imaginative or young-at-heart adult.

Sidewalk knits

The sample fabric ended up not being the real Cloud 9 knit; we had to rush order the prints from Spoonflower because we hadn’t even gone through a round of strike-offs yet (those are the samples from the mill that they use to check colors), so there really wasn’t any “real fabric” ready for sample sewing. But Michelle and Gina were so excited about the collection that they wanted to preview it at Market anyway. As a result, these sample tops are a bit stiff and not quite the right colors, a combination of the digital printing, not prewashing the fabrics because we didn’t want them to fade, and the fact that this particular interlock had a pretty low degree of stretch. But that’s how that goes. I do think it’s interesting that many of the clothing samples at Quilt Market are simply not wearable at all, period.

Sidewalk knits

Sidewalk is coming to a shop near you in November. For more peeks at this line, including a look at the Quilt Market booth, check out the sidewalk fabric tag on Instagram.

The Isla sewing pattern can be sewn as either a dress or a top, and is available now in my shop!

New fabric preview: Sidewalk!

Maybe no one else noticed, but I took a break from designing fabric last year. A baby/toddler in your life can do that. But by fall, I was starting to feel a strong desire to sketch and design again, and it was really wonderful. I forget sometimes with everything else going on how much I love that. Anyway, those designs resulted in my next line of fabric for Cloud9 Fabrics, Sidewalk, which previewed at spring Quilt Market a couple weeks ago. I’m excited to introduce it to you!

Array

Most exciting for me is the fact that Sidewalk will be printed on organic interlock knit! I’ve long been fan of sewing with knits; you may remember that I ran a couple of series of posts on this blog (the KNITerviews and KNITS: Stretch Yourself!) dedicated entirely to knit sewing. It just makes sense to me to learn how to sew with knits, considering much of the clothing we wear is made with knit fabric (t-shirts, leggings, dresses, skirts) and it’s one of the most comfortable types of fabrics to wear. Here’s a few of the cute samples Jess sewed for the Sidewalk display at Quilt Market!

Made by Rae Sidewalk knits for Cloud9 Fabrics (Fall 2016)

Knits have been traditionally been difficult to find and purchase online, where you can’t predict true color or weight, most knits are solid or striped, and the types and behaviors (amount of stretch, recovery) vary widely. So I’m thrilled that Cloud9 decided to introduce interlock knits into their fabric lineup. I’m also happy that other manufacturers have been following a similar trend; the more a company prints on a predictable knit substrate, the more familiar and comfortable we as customers will feel purchasing and sewing with knits (I’m looking at you, Windham; I’d like to see more knits on the Briar Rose jersey please)!

Sidewalk knits

[Just Hatched Leggings, a free pattern + tutorial from my blog!]

I first got a chance to try out the new Cloud9 knit substrate last fall (I used it for all of the samples in my Creativebug class, Sewing for Little Ones: Trace and Make Tee and Leggings) with their first house-designed line of knit solids and simple prints, and am happy to say that the weight and stretch are fantastic and they are super soft and high-quality (read: no pilling!!) to boot. I couldn’t be happier to have these designs printed with Cloud9.

Made by Rae Sidewalk knits for Cloud9 Fabrics (Fall 2016)

Sidewalk is an ode to school days, riding the bus, and walking to school. I have fond and vivid memories from my childhood of traveling home from school, past well-manicured lawns and through woods on warm afternoons when I could take my time and day dream a bit. I think my own kids could use a little more free-range time in their day, you know? Cut grass, warm sunshine, and chasing grasshoppers. First, two prints featuring little pairs of shoes, “Fancy Steps:”

fancy steps

fancy steps

Another favorite, “Lawn Ornament.” I love the recent flamingo trend. Clementine is on board with this one because it’s got pink. No surprise there, right?

lawn ornament

lawn ornament

Here’s another print that comes in two colors, “Art Class.” I love the colored pencils.

art class

art class

A fun floral (lots of people are telling me this reminds me of the floral print from Lotus Pond!) with a dark teal background:
prize garden

Some snakes and bugs! I’m always designing for my boys. I think these would make the best pajamas!!

off the trail

bug's life

bug's life

I’m quite fond of these buses, too. Hugo is going through a strong pro-bus phase right now at age 2, so this one was drawn with him in mind.

bus stop

And finally, I really wanted to bring back the most popular print from Small World, “Red Rover.” This print is a bit smaller in scale than the original corduroy print from Small World, and the red is more orangey-red, and the blue has been changed to black. I think it will be great for knits! (PS Red Rover is also being printed on cotton laminate — perfect for raincoats and beach bags — as well!)

red rover

That’s the line, all 12 prints! Which print is your favorite? Are you excited to sew with these?

Sidewalk ships this fall, so look for it in shops in October 2016. Please help me spread the word about this line by pinning any of the images in this post! I hope you enjoyed this preview!