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!

Sewing Superstars: Hungie Gungie

I’ve been so inspired by so many awesome sewing enthusiasts making great stuff with my patterns lately, so I’m bringing back my Sewing Superstars series this fall (Learn more about this fun series HERE)! Today it’s twice the fun, because we’re featuring Erin and Caroline, the sister duo who hail from the corner of the internet called Hungie Gungie. I cannot remember how long I’ve been following their blog, but it’s been a really long time. I think I may have discovered them during one of the Spring Top Sewalongs, but it’s really hard to remember back that far. Suffice it to say that their work has been wowing me for years (even if I do have a really hard time telling them apart in photographs, hee!). You can read more about them on their about page.

hungie 4
above: top left / top right / bottom left / bottom right

hungie geranium duo
above: left / right

Erin and Caroline have sewn prolifically for themselves and their kids for years, and their photos and posts are entertaining, candid, and down to earth. They clearly have a lot of fun together, and I’m thrilled they’ve chosen to work with so many of my patterns both for themselves and for their kids. Their fabric choices are colorful and fun and their creations perfectly embody what I hope my patterns are for everyone: versatile, comfortable staples for everyday wear. If you browse around on Hungie Gungie, you’ll see that almost every garment they make has some little modification or personal touch. Those details are so fun. Another thing I’ve always loved about their blog is that they keep it real, including sharing with readers that Wes, Caroline’s little guy, had neuroblastoma a couple of years ago, and updates on how he was doing. He’s doing great now and is in remission, by the way!

The Made By Rae sewing patterns in this post are: WashiSpring Ruffle Top free tutorial (wow, haven’t thought about that in awhile!), RubyBeatrix, and Geranium Dress

You can follow Erin and Caroline online:
Hungie Gungie blogFacebook, Erin’s InstagramCaroline’s Instagram,  Flickr, and #hungiegungie

See even more MBR patterns and projects at these links:
Flickr: Geranium Sewing Pattern Pool / Rae Made Me Do It Pool
Instagram: #beatrixpattern#washidress#geraniumdress / #rubypattern#raemademedoit / #madebyrae.

It inspires me so much to see what you are making with my patterns! Please feel free add your own photos to the photo pool(s) or tag your pics with #raemademedoit or #madebyrae so I can see what you’re making. I’m excited to feature more Sewing Superstars here soon!

Blush Crush

Luna Pants / Pink Rayon

Words can’t express how in love I am with these pants. I made them with my Luna Pants pattern and a flowy pink rayon twill and they are wicked comfy. Hashtag secret pajamas. I bought the rayon from Indiesew earlier this year but it is now sadly out of stock. Allie stocks such delightful fabrics that I can hardly resist buying at least some yardage every time she releases a new fabric collection. When I made these pants a few weeks ago it was still “summer” in Ann Arbor, so I took some photos with my Gemma tank and Ruby top (and the worst haircut I have probably ever had). Now it’s cooled off quite a bit so I’m wearing them with a camel colored wool cardigan instead (see my post Blush + Bronze for an ode to my current favorite color combination). And obviously NOT SANDALS. You get the idea.

Luna Pants / Pink Rayon

Luna Pants / Pink Rayon

Hmm what else is there to say about these…I just love how fabric choice can completely transform a pattern. In this case, the flowy rayon dresses them up so that I could easily see wearing these out with a silk top for dinner and/or a date. I was definitely inspired by a couple of the photos on my Luna Inspiration boards, though for some reason all of the flowy-rayon-type pants in that post are paired with heels. You will never see me wearing Lunas with heels. You will probably never see me wearing heels, period; that just seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Hooray for being uncoordinated and awkward and therefore fully flat-footed at all times!!!

Luna Pants / Pink Rayon

You can find the Luna pattern in my shop, and I highly recommend trying it with some rayon if you can find it!

Luna Pants / Pink Rayon

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!

My kids’ Halloween costumes from years past

I try not to have to sew Halloween costumes. I already have so many things on my to-sew list that the possibility of putting time and effort into something that might only get worn once or twice puts me off costume sewing, though there have been a handful of exceptions. It’s not that I don’t understand the appeal of making Halloween costumes, and sometimes I really enjoy it, it’s just that I usually try to get away with as little effort as possible. This year, as I attempt once again to cajole my children into wearing last year’s costume, a hand-me-down costume, or come up with a relatively easy idea, I thought I’d take a walk down memory lane and show you photos from Halloween in past years, starting with last year, 2015:


Elliot was a mad scientist, Clementine was Elsa, and Hugo was a cow. Elliot’s costume was SO easy; we ordered the kid-sized lab coat and goggles online and bought kitchen gloves and hair gel from the pharmacy. Yes, that is his real hair.


Clementine’s Elsa dress was nearly a year old; I had made it for her for Christmas 2013 (blogged here), and I think we’ve gotten more mileage out of that costume than any other costume I’ve made. The cow costume you will see again, keep reading…


Halloween 2014: Lobster, Tinkerbell, and Green Video Game Character I can’t remember the name of. Zoltan? Does that sound right? I didn’t manage to get all of them in costume in one photo at the same time that year.


The two things that were handmade in 2014 were Elliot’s head-gear and Clementine’s tights, both from the same bright green knit fabric. So that was convenient.

Halloween 2013: Harry Potter and Princess.

Halloween 2013

I was pregnant with Hugo in 2013 so I remember putting even less than the usual amount of effort into Halloween. I think that was the year Elliot wanted to be an Ent, so I purchased a ridiculous amount of brown and green felt only to give up and let my mother in law pull Elliot’s costume together at the last minute. The princess dress was ordered online. That costume has held up really well, by the way, if you’re looking for quality princess-wear.

Halloween 2012: Rainbow Cloud and Sonic (blogged here)
rainbow cloud and sonic

That rainbow represents many hours of loving toil, and then she almost didn’t wear it. I’d rather not talk about it. Much love to my dear friend Karen who came through with the handmade (and decade-old) Sonic costume for E. He loved it.

Halloween 2011: Spiderman and Cow (Clementine’s cow costume blogged here, and here.)
Halloween 2011

Halloween 2010: Spiderman and Cow (That’s right, two years in a row, same costumes. *High fives the sky*)
Halloween 2010

Halloween 2009: Fish costume and Fireman. And me as lobster. That is an odd theme (Firefighting Under the Sea?).

The fireman costume was convenient because it was his raincoat that year. So had only to cajole him into putting on the hat and his yellow rainboots (not pictured). This was Clementine’s first Halloween. Don’t worry, you’ll see the Fish Costume again.

Halloween 2008: Toad (and Mario and Luigi)


I made Mario and Luigi outfits for myself and Mr Rae, and a little mushroom hat and white pants so Elliot could be Toad for a Halloween party. This was before Elliot could comprehend Trick-or-Treating. No Clementine this year. That may perhaps explain the lack of alcohol in our hands.


Halloween Toad 2008

Halloween 2007: Fish.

Elliot is a fish

2007 Halloween

Halloween 2007

And just for kicks, here’s Hugo wearing the fish costume, too. Sadly, he didn’t fit into at Halloween, so we mailed it to his cousin Penelopeanut instead.

not Halloween 2014

Did you enjoy that walk down (Halloween) Memory Lane? I certainly did. So tell me, what do you have planned for Halloween costumes this year? I always like getting good costume ideas. Do you like to make costumes for Halloween or do you prefer to buy them instead?

Posted in holidays