Sparkly New Pattern Shop!!

I introduced my new blog design yesterday, so it’s time to show off the NEW SHOP! I’m extra-pleased (and sidenote: can we talk about the word “chuffed” for a moment? I’ve been seeing my UK friends using that one all over the place, and it means “pleased,” right? I love that word!!!) with how the shop turned out. It was the main focus of the web overhaul; in other words, the blog makeover was a happy extra, but the real beef of this project was the shop…and I’m so thrilled with how it turned out!!!

new shop!!

SO. Here are some features of the new shop that I think you will love:

1 // Helllooooo Fancy Front Page! You can get to the blog with the “latest post” section. New PDF patterns are just below the nifty slideshow (woo hoo!) and if you’re searching for women’s, children’s, freebies, accessories, it’s all easy to find on the sidebar. You can also search by difficulty on the sidebar.

2 // Each pattern has its own page with multiple photos and tons of information. The little colored buttons indicate the difficulty of a pattern.

new shop!

3 // The three blue tabs contain some useful stuff:

  • The DESCRIPTION tab gives an overview of the pattern and its features + a reminder that it is DIGITAL (you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t realize this)
  • The MATERIALS tab has a materials list, and links to the size, yardage, and finished measurement charts
  • The MORE tab has a list of the related blog posts so you can see more examples and read more about the pattern on my blog!

new shop!

4 // You can also find the pattern’s photo pool gallery with user-submitted projects at the bottom of the pattern page. Fun for seeing what everyone else is making!

Dropdown Menu

5 // For products that have more than one size available (like Flashback Tee and Geranium), you can select the size you want (or both!) from the drop-down menu.

Charlie PDF Bundle

6 // Bundles — like the Charlie Bundle and the Washi Bundle have their own listings.

7 // Many will be happy to know that we now take credit card payments in addition to Paypal!

I’m sure there are more features that I’m forgetting, but at least that gives you a little tour! Do you like it??

One decision that I made (pretty early in this project) was to keep the BLOG at the main made-by-rae.com URL, and put the SHOP at shop.made-by-rae.com. It has become pretty standard when you sell anything on the internet to put your shop at the main URL and then put the blog off to the side, but I didn’t want to do this. My blog is the heart and soul of what I do and I want that to show. Maybe that’s a poor business decision on my part, but…the patterns are great but they’re just a way to support my true passion which is sewing for myself and my kids. Having a business can be — quite frankly — a bit of a drag (all that bookkeeping! quarterly taxes! expense/income analysis! accounting fees!! NEED I SAY MORE?), so while I do almost constantly dream about new patterns to put in the shop, I still spend plenty of time gazing at my fabric stash and sketching new things to sew. All this to say…I decided to keep the blog at made-by-rae.com instead of sidelining it…probably didn’t need a whole paragraph to say that but…OH WELL! Thanks for stopping by to see my new shop!

I want to give a HUGE thank you to Aeolidia, and especially Christine and Shoshanna for me to helping execute what I’m sure was a much more ambitious project than anyone anticipated. The folks at Aeolidia were kind, patient (I did go and have a baby about halfway into the project, so that slowed things down considerably), and a true pleasure to work with. I highly recommend them if you are interested in taking a website/blog/shop to the next level. I also really need to thank my lovely coworkers Jessica and Elli for all of the hard work they put into updating the new blog and shop as well!

Finally…you can find me on: InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

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Shiny New Blog!!!

I’ve spent a great deal of time lately pondering blogs, how blogging has changed, and what the future of blogging might look like. It’s hard to remember, but when I started reading blogs back in 2006, blog photos were tiny and the focus was on writing and journaling rather than on design. Naturally blogs — especially sewing and DIY blogs — have evolved to focus on the visual and design aspect, which I love, but I do miss the everyday blatherings that used to typify blog posts. People felt more free I think to just ramble on about their day, which felt more personal. But as average reader attention span has decreased and more and more readers are using Instagram and Facebook to keep up with their favorite bloggers, blogs in general have changed.

As of this month I have been blogging here at Made By Rae for seven years. SEVEN. YEARS!!! Elliot was just a wee six months old (as Hugo is right now) and I was just starting to emerge out of the baby haze. After my previous job as a physics teacher, motherhood felt rather unstructured and haphazard. This blog was a fun way to chart my accomplishments, a place to keep track of the things I had managed to create, a way to feel productive, and most importantly, connect with other creative people. What started as just a simple journal of projects has now morphed into something much, much bigger.

I’ve just been through a ginormous web overhaul with the help of the web design firm Aeolidia (this is actually the second overhaul I’ve ever done; the first was in 2011 when I hired a local design firm here in Ann Arbor to help turn my Blogger site into a WordPress site — you can see the launch post and pics of that here if you like). It had been a few years since I had done a redesign, and in addition to a new shop (which I’ll give you a tour of very soon), I wanted to give the blog a makeover as well, to spruce it up a bit. I was getting sick of the old aqua nav bar and wanted a bit of a change. I also had a project carousel on the old blog that wasn’t going to work with the latest version of WordPress, and I’m not even sure anyone was using that thing anyway. 

shiny new blog!!!


So even though it’s been up and running for a few weeks now already, I wanted to show it off and point out a few things about my SHINY NEW BLOG that I think you might like:

1 // Ok first of all, doesn’t it look pretty?? New, more pastel colors! Cute little graphics! Fancy fonts!!!

2 // We’ve added links to the shop in the upper right hand side of the blog so it’s easy to find the patterns (including the free ones) in the PATTERN SHOP

3 // There are two new nifty newsletter sign up forms on the sidebar. Entering your email address into the box that says “Subscribe to posts by email” will actually deliver an email to your inbox whenever I post a new blog entry! You can even read entire posts right there in your email, and it looks just like it does here on the blog. The newsletter is less frequent and usually contains news about new patterns, sales, new fabrics, and other updates from me.

4 // I’ve added a section for TOPICS, where you can find the various topics I’ve covered in post series like Knits, Celebrate the BOY, and Spring Top Sewalongs. Leave comments if you have questions or ideas for what else you’d like to see in the topics section!

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5 // The “favorite posts” section on the sidebar shows the most popular posts on this blog, which might make it easier for you to find the most popular freebies and tutorials on Made By Rae.

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6 // The TUTORIALS page is very similar to what I had before and it’s always been one of the most popular places for blog visitors!

7 // I’ve also still got the archives section set up on the sidebar near the bottom of the page so that you can see every post I’ve ever written, should you have the urge to go back and peruse the archives.

8 // The FABRICS page is pretty cool; you can see all the posts I’ve written about each line of fabrics, as well as go to the stockist lists on the Cloud9 website if you want to find out where to buy each line.

9 // The Rae Made Me Do It photo pool has a special little spot down at the foot of the page — I just LOVE seeing all the projects you’ve made with the patterns and tutorials.

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Anyway, that’s a quick tour of the blog! I want to give a HUGE thank you to Aeolidia, and especially Christine and Shoshanna for me to helping execute what I’m sure was a much more ambitious project than anyone anticipated. The folks at Aeolidia were kind, patient (I did go and have a baby about halfway into the project, so that slowed things down considerably), and a true pleasure to work with. I highly recommend them if you are interested in taking a website/blog/shop to the next level. I also really need to thank my lovely coworkers Jessica and Elli for all of the hard work they put into updating the new blog and shop as well!

And getting back to the topic of reader attention…if you’ve read this far, I give you a gold star for defying the norm. GO YOU and your ABOVE AVERAGE ATTENTION SPAN!!! Since you’re obviously a top-notch blog reader, I’d love to have your feedback on my blog. Do you think the blog is a dying platform? What do you think about the changing internet? Are you still a “blog person?” Or do you prefer to get your updates from other places online?

Speaking of which…you can also find me on: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Heh!

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Josephine Blouse with release tucks

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Sooooooo it turns out that not much of my extensive handmade wardrobe from BEFORE I had Hugo is fitting so great right now. Much of that clothing is either not nursing-friendly, or it’s just a wee bit tight around the armpits from the fact that I am ahem just a little more well-endowed than normal. This means I’ve had to make some new tops and dresses just to have more to choose from when I look into the closet in the morning. Fun fun!! (and um please pardon the phone pics…this sewing mama is finding the full shoot to be a bit challenging with a wee one right now)

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This Josephine blouse is super comfortable because it’s made with some nice flowy Field Study rayon (the same rayon as I used for the sleeved Ruby top I made in this post), AND because instead of sewing the pleats (ok technically “tucks”) all the way down the front, I only sewed them part-way to make the blouse more roomy around the waist and hem. I really recommend trying it this way if you have the pattern, because it’s such a fun way to mix it up a bit. Do you like it this way or do you prefer it with the pleats sewn all the way down?

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The other change I made was to use the bias binding at the neck to close the center front slit so that it’s a bit like a keyhole (just not rounded). I decided to do this after I noticed that when you use rayon, that front slit flops around a bit. Which can be a great look, I just thought this was kindof cute too.

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Josephine with sleeves is of course a great blouse for fall, but I like pairing the sleeveless versions I’ve made with sweaters to make it last even longer into the cool season. I bought this sweater for myself for my birthday a few weeks ago:

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You can see other fun versions of Josephine in our Josephine photo pool:

Josephine with partial tucksJosephine with partial tucksJosephine with partial tucksJosephine with partial tucksJosephine with partial tucksJosephine Blouse (sleeveless)

Or search for the #josephineblouse or #josephinepattern on Instagram!

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Hello!

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It feels like weeks since I posted. I’ve tried so many times to sit down at the computer to pound out a blog post, and it just hasn’t happened. Too many other things going on. For one, The Little Dude is getting more active every day. I’m going to have to either embrace a patchwork work schedule for the foreseeable future, or else figure out some childcare pretty soon. I realized the other day that by this age, I already had Clementine at a babysitter two mornings a week. It’s hard though…when you’re on your last baby, you want to soak up every moment. And as I typed out those words, I realized that was totally an insult to Clementine, like saying “hey, middle kid: not as important!! Go chill with the babysitter!!!” SORRY CLEMENTINE. Ack. Hee.

Anyway, you can see from these pictures that Hugo is growing like a little weed. Sitting in a high chair!?! Dropping toys!?!! It’s killing me.

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Another reason I haven’t been writing blog posts lately is that all my computer time has been spent working on my next fabric collection for Cloud9. YAY!!! I’m super excited about this one you guys. Not sure when I will be able to show you anything but I’ll be sure to dish as soon as I can! Before that I was working on launching a new shop for the sewing patterns (you’ll have to click over to see it if you haven’t already!) and if you’re here on the blog you can see some new colors and fonts and and we rearranged some stuff over here too so it’s nice and shiny and new. The blog has been buggy as hell since we launched but pretty soon I’ll give you the tour. And then there’s a secret sewing project I’m working on. Plus we just got proofs to review from the printer because I’m putting Geranium into print. OK, so I’m busy…I guess I have an excuse. But my blog…see, it seems to me like my blog is the machine that keeps everything else moving, and it’s the place online where I want to be present, more than any other, so to neglect it feels a little strange.

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And then: my grandmother passed away last week after a very long life (96 years), so my family gathered last weekend for her funeral and burial, to celebrate her life. It was sad to say goodbye to her, but I had a nice time with my family, reminiscing about Grandma and what a character she was. We lost my Grandpa just a year and a half ago — he was 99 — so it felt a bit like a replay. We were all just there, together, but this time it was for her, if that makes sense. I could write about Grandma for pages (and maybe sometime I will), but for now just processing the fact that she is gone seems like it’s enough.

OK, that’s the latest. Gotta go. xoxo

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Bianca Top with poms

I went on a pom-pom purchasing binge at Purl about a month ago and this is the first garment I have managed to emblazon with my newly-acquired trims since then. There will be more OH YES THERE WILL BE MORE. I love it, despite the obvious impracticalities (will the baby eat my shirt? how will I wash this?).

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I have always harbored a love of pom-poms. I would even argue I loved them BEFORE they made their recent resurgence in popularity *looks smug.* As evidence, see my pom-pom scarf, this bonsai bag, and this pom-pom cowl for Clementine. This is the first time I have experimented with pom-poms this large on a piece of clothing rather than an accessory, however.

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During this top’s construction, I solicited opinions via Instagram as to whether or not I should also add pom-poms to the armhole. Some felt it was very chic ala Frida Kahlo. Others mentioned a slight resemblance to a mariachi outfit. In the end, it seemed there was a pretty solid 50/50 division on opinions, so I decided against it.

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I made the top using my Bianca pattern (Bianca is available as a PDF sewing pattern here) and a lovely off-white swiss dot, which is fairly easy to find, so it’s a nice garment fabric if you usually have trouble finding solid fabrics for garments. It has a drape similar to the Free Spirit voiles, but is lighter and less silky, making it an incredibly comfortable top. I chose to use the elastic shirring rather than an elastic casing (the Bianca pattern has options for both), and attached the facings to the outside of the garment after basting the pom-poms to the edges.

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So. Would you wear pom-poms?

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