Happy Birthday, Dear Washi

happy birthday washi Day 1

Just a quick reminder that today is the day to enter the Happy Washi Birthday giveaway over on Instagram; just post a pic of you wearing your Washi and tag it #happywashibirthday!! I’m wearing mine (see slightly nerdy pic, above)…are you?? Also: If you’re playing along with the Wear Your Washi contest, today is Day 1. Otherwise, just post your pics with the tag #wearyourwashi just for fun. Check out this blog post for all the details!

PS. Want to have a chance to win a print Washi pattern of your very own but don’t have a Washi to flaunt yet in order to do so? Don’t fret, we’ve got a giveaway planned for you on the blog, soon. Stay tuned!!

Beatrixalong Roundup

Remember the Beatrixalong? A few weeks ago I hosted a sewalong to welcome my newest pattern, Beatrix, into the world, and a bunch of you participated and made some awesome tops!

Let’s take a look at some photos from those of you who sewed along on Instagram and Flickr. It was really exciting to see all these Beatrixes coming to life!

beatrixalongin progress
[above: top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right]

And it was even more fun to see them materialize into finished tops…

beatrixalong finished
[above: top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right]

And then the most fun of course was seeing them modeled by their makers:

beatrixalong worn
[above: top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right]

beatrixalong finished 2
[above: top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right]

This is just a handful of the sewalong photos; you can see even more on Instagram (#Beatrixalong) or in the Beatrix photo pool. Thanks to everyone who participated!

If you want to make your own Beatrix, you can get your pattern here. All of the Beatrixalong posts are now on their own page, so if you’re still working you can access them any time you like for tips and tricks and all sorts of detailed photos showing you how to make your own Beatrix!

I always love to see what you’re making with my patterns, so please post your Beatrixes on Flickr in the Rae Made Me Do It pool or the Beatrix Sewing Pattern Pool, or on Instagram / Facebook / Twitter with the following tags: #beatrixpattern, #raemademedoit, or #madebyrae!

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!



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

Get ready to parrrrtay.


Can you believe that Washi is three years old?? Whaaaaat. How is that even possible? The Washi Dress was my very first garment pattern for women, and when I released it back in August 2012 I was so nervous I almost threw up. I was so worried no one would like it. I never in a million years anticipated how well it would be received, or that it would still be such a hit to this day. The response to Washi was so encouraging and gave me confidence to work on other women’s patterns, and now look at the collection we’ve gotBianca, Ruby, Josephine, Beatrix, and even a Washi Expansion Pack (aka “Washi XP,” a companion pattern with bows and collars and linings and more)! Sometimes I have to pinch myself, it’s kinda crazy.

It’s clear you guys love Washi. So to celebrate three years of this pattern, next week I’m throwing Washi a birthday party on Instagram. The party will start on Monday, August 10. The party will have two three parts:

Wear your Washi

I’m adding this after-post because I realized that many of you may have a Washi but a) might not be interested in entering the giveaway/contest (see below) or b) prefer not to post on a deadline. So if you just want to help celebrate, wear your Washi any time you like and post it with the hashtag #wearyourwashi! I’d love to see everyone’s wonderful Washi creations!!

The Happy Washi Birthday Giveaway

Next Monday, August 10, wear your favorite handmade Washi dress or tunic and post ONE picture on Instagram with the hashtag #happywashibirthday. I’ll randomly pick one of the photos; the winner will receive a printed copy of the Washi Dress pattern and a printed copy of the Geranium Dress pattern. **Note: All photos posted on Instagram before Midnight EDT on August 10, 2015, will be considered.**

Won’t it be fun to see how many people wear their Washi dresses on the The Same Day? So pull those Washis out of your closet (or finish up that one that’s been waiting for a hem) and get ready!!!

The Wear Your Washi Contest

Since there’s no denying that there’s still a little Washi madness going around, I thought it would be fun to see how many days in a row people can wear a different Washi dress or tunic they’ve made. I know many of you have made at least two or three. Some of you Crazy People have even made more. So let’s have a Wear-Your-Washi contest! This is similar to a dance-off, so to participate you must not only START on Monday (August 10th) but you must also wear and post one different Washi DAILY on Instagram until you run out of Washis. No repeats, no skipping days, and please make sure you show the WHOLE garment in your photo. All of your Washis must be made and worn by you.

Each entry photo must also include the following info in the photo description in order to be in the running (feel free to include other info as well, but this is a MUST):

  • the DATE
  • the DAY (of the contest, to help me keep track)
  • the hastag #wearyourwashicontest

Example: “Aug 10 /  Day 1 / #wearyourwashicontest”

The contest starts on Monday, August 10th, and will run until the last Washi-Wearer runs out of Washis to wear (so when the last person — who started on Day 1 and posted daily — posts their final photo). That person will be the Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. If there is a tie, I’ll figure out some way to break the tie. I reserve the right to use my own judgement and discretion when determining a winner for this contest. I reserve the right to declare the contest over early and select a winner from the remaining contenders. I reserve the right to choose more than one winner. If it gets too crazy, I reserve the right to pull the fire alarm, call the cops, and slip out the bathroom window. I don’t even know what this is gonna look like, but I think it could be really fun.

What is the prize, please?

WHAT? You don’t think that Enormous Honor and Privilege that comes with winning is prize enough?? I’m sure we can all agree that alone would be pretty awesome. But OK, you’re right, it would probably be even more fun with a little prize. I’ll happily send the contest winner a sewing-related grab-bag of goodies which may or may not include some printed patterns and some of my fabric.

Details, Schmetails

Yes, your first (August 10th) post for the #wearyourwashicontest should be the same post as #happywashibirthday if you want to participate in both the contest and the giveaway, so include both hashtags if you like.

Yes, Washi Expansion Pack versions of Washi count for the contest and giveaway

If you’ve hacked the pattern, it needs to resemble the original design enough to be recognized as a “Washi.” I love a pattern hack as much (if not more) as the next gal, but please don’t include pattern hacks that no longer resemble Washi. I know that’s a bit of a grey area; please feel free to check with me if you’re not sure!

Yes, both the contest and the giveaway are open to contestants outside of the United States. We will ship prizes internationally if necessary.

All garments must be finished and not “in progress.” That means hems, facings, bindings, people.

Your photos must be on public profiles so we can see them.

Please keep things light and cheery! This is meant to be GOOD FUN!

The giveaway and contest winners will be determined at Rae’s discretion and contacted to provide a postal address. Void where prohibited by law.

OK, any more questions? If you need any clarifying details, please post in the comments or shoot me an email. I’m trying to keep this really chill, so while I do not want to get caught up in all the details, I want to make sure it’s also clear.

Please TELL YOUR FRIENDS and get those Washis ready!!!

Bust Dart Adjustment: How to shorten or lengthen a dart

Jess is here today to show you how to adjust the length of a bust dart if it’s too long or too short. When we put together a (pretty comprehensive, I might add) list of common pattern adjustment tutorials for the Beatrixalong Muslin post (day 2), we couldn’t find one showing how to lengthen or shorten a dart. Whaaat. Anyway, Jess has had to do this adjustment on her Beatrixes, so she took a few pics to show you just how easy it is. Here’s Jess:

This is the easiest bust dart adjustment EVER! In these photos, I’m wearing my Beatrix muslin with dots representing where the dart ended before the adjustment (closer to the middle) and after the adjustment (closer to the sides).

With the darts sewn as they were in the pattern, they ended pretty much exactly on the bust apex.

dart shorten

The darts are at a good height, and the size is right, though, so the only thing I wanted to do was shorten the dart by an inch. Generally, you want the dart to point in the direction of your bust apex, but ending 1/2″ – 1″ short of the apex. (Rae adds: typically the 1″ is for bigger busts, 1/2″ for smaller busts)

dart adjustment

Here’s the Front Bodice pattern piece from Beatrix, traced in my size. All I had to do was make a new point on the dart’s center line one inch away from the original point, then re-draw the dart legs using a straight edge, and starting at the same points on the side so they’re the same length and they don’t change the side seam.

dart shorten

If you need to lengthen the dart, simply extend the center line by the amount you need, and re-draw the dart legs exactly the same way.

dart shorten


See how easy? For additional pattern modifications, be sure to check out our awesome list of links in this post. You can find all of the Beatrixalong posts by clicking here.