Beatrixalong Day 1: Measure and Print

Welcome to the first official day of my #Beatrixalong! So excited to have you here (stalking the sewalong, or maybe even joining us)! I can’t wait to share some of the things about this pattern that make it unique and super fun to sew.

If you’re just joining us, we’re sewing my newest pattern, Beatrix. Take a look at this post for an intro and for preparation guidance, and for a timeline for the sewalong. Remember: you can always work at your own pace. We’ll take it slow, but feel free to take it even slower, catch up later, or work ahead if you just need to get sewing!!

Beatrixalong

Today we’re going to:

  • choose your size
  • print out your pattern pieces, and
  • tape your pattern pieces together

Let’s choose your size!

First, we need to take some good measurements so we can figure out what size you need. Whaaaat??? Notice I didn’t say “Hey just go ahead and choose the size you usually wear!” I want to make sure we understand something here: you NEED to measure yourself before you sew. Your measurements are numbers and yes, they might evoke negative feelings for you (they do for me; I’m still nearly 15 pounds heavier than before I had Hugo), but it’s time to turn that thinking around. Whether you’re 15 pounds, 50 pounds, or 5 pounds over the weight you’d like to be, that doesn’t change the fact that your clothes need to fit. Measuring will allow you to make something that fits you (in fact, it’s technically a custom-fit garment), and when that happens you will look GOOD. Well-fitting clothes are flattering and empowering. If you try and stuff yourself into the size you want to be, you will look like a sausage. So measure to Empower, ladies!!!

A few measuring tips:

  • If possible, measure in the morning; by the end of the day, gravity has taken its toll on your body and you are not only shorter, but wider.
  • Wear your best-fitting (and ideally, supportive) undergarments when measuring. This is SO IMPORTANT!
  • Have someone help you take these measurements. When your arms are relaxed at your sides instead of trying to hold up the tape measure, you’ll get a more accurate measurement.
  • Do not pull the tape measure as tight as it will go. The tape measure should fit as loosely around your body as possible without falling down.

Start with your upper bust. Place the tape measure around your torso, right under your armpits and over the top of your bust. The tape measure should form a loop that is more or less parallel to the floor, but if it’s angled up a little in the front to clear the top of your bust, that is fine. Write this measurement down.

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Now measure your bust. Place the tape measure around the fullest part of your bust. Write this measurement down.

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The bust and upper bust are not only the numbers we will use to select your SIZE, but decide whether you need the A/B or C/D front bodice. Subtract your upper bust from your bust measurement. If there is more than 2″ of difference, use your Upper Bust measurement to select your size from the Size Chart, and use the C/D front bodice. If there is 2″ or less difference, use your Bust measurement to select your size from the Size Chart, and use the A/B front bodice. Note: Both the Size Chart and Finished Measurements for Beatrix can be found here (click and then scroll down).

Example 1: Your upper bust is 38″ and your bust is 43.” That puts you in both sizes XL (for upper bust) and XXL (for bust) on the size chart. You would pick XL because we’re using the Upper Bust to select your size, and you will use the C/D bodice because there’s more than 2″ difference between your bust and upper bust.

Example 2: Your upper bust is 38″ and your bust is 38.” That puts you in both sizes XL (for upper bust) and L (for bust) on the size chart. You would select L because we’re using your Bust to select your size, and you will use the A/B bodcie because there’s less than 2″ difference between your bust and upper bust.

Example 3: Your upper bust is 38″ and your bust is 40.” That puts you in size XL on the size chart. You’d probably be fine with the A/B front bodice, but you could also try the C/D bodice if you like; it will have more ease but since you’re at the lower end of size XL, you might not need it. Keep reading for more help deciding…

Now we’re going to measure your waist and hip and compare them to the Size Chart and Finished Measurements to make sure we’ve got the right size. For your waist, place the tape measure around the smallest part of your waist, and write this measurement down. It’s important to note that this measurement is usually taken WELL ABOVE THE BELLY BUTTON, and that unless you wear high-waisted pants, this is not where the waistband of your pants are. Most pant waistbands sit at the “low waist” which is different than the “natural waist” that you are measuring right now.

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Now measure your hip. This should be around the widest part of your booty, below your hip bones. Write this number down.

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The reason I’ve asked you to take these last two measurements is to check them against the size you’ve selected (see: Size Chart and Finished Measurements for Beatrix, click and scroll down). If they land in the range for your size, great. You’re all set. But if they’re both outside of the range for the size you’ve already picked out, especially your hip, you may need to either take the pattern in a bit (I’ll talk about this tomorrow) or let it out.

But before you panic, take a look at the Finished Measurement Chart (link above). I designed Beatrix to have a decent amount of ease (extra room), especially in the C/D bodice, so as long as you have at least 2-3″ of ease around the waist and hip, you should be just fine. If it’s a LOT more than 2-3″ extra, you might want to take the sides in below the bust. The point is: you want to choose your size based on your upper bust and bust so you get a nice fit through the bust and shoulders, but still check the waist and hip against the size you choose. The waist and hips are much easier to add/subtract as we go!!!

Next, let’s print and assemble your pattern pieces!

Using the printing guide on Page 1 of your pattern, print just the pages you need for the bodice (either A/B or C/D) you’ve selected. VERY IMPORTANT: CHECK THE SCALE MARKS ALONG THE SIDE TO MAKE SURE YOU’VE PRINTED AT 100%. Now use a scissors or paper cutter/trimmer to take off the print margins on the top and left sides of your printouts:

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Now place the pages together (there’s an assembly diagram on page 5) so that the circles in the corners line up nicely. If you go from left to right and top to bottom, like you’re reading a book, each page you set down will cover up the print margin from the previous page:

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Finally, tape it all together, making sure the edges stay straight!

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OK, let’s review today’s assignment:

1. Measure yourself and choose a size
2. Print out and assemble your pattern pieces

And here’s your extra credit assignment:
3. Post a photo (crappy phone pics are fine) to Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr showing me hard evidence you’ve done something from today’s sewalong post with the tag #beatrixalong. If you blog about it, post a link in comments.
4. Extra Extra Credit: Have you picked out your fabric yet? Post a photo!

Go to Day 2

Remember, you can sign up to receive my blog posts via email here so you won’t miss any of the sewalong posts!

Days for Girls

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Today is my mom’s birthday. In addition to being smart and beautiful, she also happens to sew. Despite my supreme obstinance as a child, she also managed to teach me to sew, so obviously I appreciate what was I’m sure an admirable effort on her part.

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(my mom, sporting an awesome handmade dress, above. we can discuss my dad’s bow tie or why she matches the curtains some other time)

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Lately, my mom has been using her sewing skills to sew for an international non-profit organization called Days for Girls that provides girls with handmade, reusable feminine hygiene kits so they can go to school instead of staying home when they’re having their periods. Without access to feminine supplies, girls in impoverished communities are missing significant portions (the estimate is about 5 lost days per month) of their education each year; the overall goal is to break the cycle of poverty by providing supplies and education to girls in over 75 countries around the world so they can stay in school. If you want to read more about what they do and how they do it, the Days for Girls website is quite informative.

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Mom’s been working toward her goal of making 63 reusable shields by her 63rd birthday (today!) to send along with her church group to El Salvador. As you can see, at the time of these photos she was making good progress. These shields will get snaps so they’ll stay put and then go in a kit along with a bunch of other stuff including panties and reusable pads that fit inside the shields. Pretty nifty right?

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I’m super proud of my mom for getting involved in such an awesome cause. Days for Girls can always use more volunteers, fabric, or funds, so if you’re interested getting involved, either by sewing for or donating fabric, you can get in touch with your local chapter. There’s quite an impressive number of volunteer chapters around the world (my mom’s one of the Snohomish, WA team leaders *looks proud*). You can also donate directly to Days for Girls or sign up for their newsletter if you like.

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Happy Birthday, Mumsy!!!

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Washi Maxi with bias binding

washi maxi dress with bias binding

It feels like it’s been a very long time since I sewed my last Washi Dress. Truth is, I’ve been avoiding it because I don’t fit into my other pre-baby Washis yet (why YES it HAS been well over a year since I had Hugo, let’s discuss that some other time THANKS!!!). I finally found time and made a new muslin to check my new (slightly bigger, ahem) size and then went ahead and made this maxi in a lovely rayon challis from the Field Study collection by Anna Maria Horner. I finished it up at Camp Stitchalot about a month ago (I’d love to talk about that sometime soon because that was GREAT FUN) and now I’m not sure I will ever find a more comfortable dress. Ever. Two people at Camp asked me if it was made out of knit so it must look comfortable as well. It feels and moves like butter.

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You may remember the first maxi-length Washi Dress I made; that one was fully lined so the assembly was a wee bit more involved, and I wrote a rough tutorial at the time that is not exactly easy to follow, though surprisingly many others have succeeded in making a successful replica. This time around though, I made the maxi out of three pieces (front bodice, front skirt, back) and some bias tape cut from the scraps and I almost fell over and died when I realized how easy this was. So I’ll just give you a quick how-to; basically you construct the dress in the same way as the pattern with the following changes:

Longer skirt w/ slit: Slash and spread the front skirt to the length you’d like as shown in the section on “adding length” in the Fit Guide at the beginning of the pattern. I used a tape measure to find the distance from just below my bust to the floor, and then added a couple inches for seam and hem allowance. My front skirt ended up 45″ tall (I am 5’9″). I left off the pockets because I was short on yardage (see below), but that’s up to you. Slash and spread the Back by the exact same amount along the tunic cutting line. Add a 14″ slit to the side seams. Longer if you want to make it more sexay. You know the drill.

Wider neckline: Scoop out a little more from the neckline and top of the armholes. I cut the bottom of the neckline 1″ lower, and the sides of the neckline 1/2″ wider. I also shaved 1/2″ off the outside of the armholes at the shoulders and tapered that down to the sleeve marks; sleeveless looks better if you narrow the shoulders, I think.

Gathered skirt: I gathered the front skirt between the two outermost pleat marks instead of pleating the skirt. I find this works nicely with rayon because even when gathered rayon has zero stand.

Bias finish rather than facings: Use 1.5″ wide bias strips to finish the armholes and neckline. I attach the bias to the outside of the garment first, flip to the inside, and then topstitch from the outside (this is the technique I have illustrated in great detail in the Ruby Dress, so if you have that pattern, use it for reference).

As far as the amount of fabric, I used 2 yards of 54″ wide rayon challis which I probably shouldn’t admit to since it took some Tetris-Master-like skills to wrangle this dress from such limited yardage so I’m don’t recommend that; do yourself a favor and buy at least 2 1/2-3 yards of 54″ wide fabric if you plan to try this yourself at home.

Anyway, I heartily recommend this version as the new Summer Dress of 2015, perfect for poolside and date nights. I have plans to make about 10 more of these. If you need the Washi Dress Pattern to get started, you can find it in my pattern shop. Oh!! I almost forgot: Jess made a rayon Washi maxi with a boatneck that you absolutely must see — it’s gorgeous!

Are you ready for a Beatrixalong?

Beatrixalong

The Beatrix Sewalong is now underway!
If this is your first time landing here, it’s not too late to join in. We’re taking a full eight days to sew Beatrix, and I’ll put links to each new post here as we move through the week. For this sewalong, I’m making a short-sleeved View A as shown in the image above. This is the simplest version of the pattern (View B has more pieces) so it’s a great place to start if you’re new to garment sewing, and the short sleeve is perfect for summer!

Here’s the Beatrixalong schedule:
I’ve mapped this out so you can work slowly, taking about 30-60 minutes each day.

Introduction – Gather your materials (today’s post, scroll down)
Day 1: Friday, July 10 Measure and Print
Day 2: Saturday, July 11
Trace pattern and Make a muslin
Day 3: Sunday, July 12
– Cut and prep
Day 4: Monday, July 13
Sew darts, shoulders seams, and side seams
Day 5: Tuesday, July 14
– Sleeves
Day 6: Wednesday, July 15 –
 Prep and attach facings
Day 7: Thursday, July 16 –
Hemming and button placket finishing
Day 8: Friday, July 17
Buttonholes and buttons

Ready to join me? Here’s what you need to get started:

Get the pattern: Here it is in my pattern shop! Download and save it to your computer. No need to print yet — I’ll discuss this on Day 1!

Gather your materials: fabric, lightweight fusible interfacing, six buttons (1/2″ or 3/8″ are a nice size), and some thread. You can see the suggested fabrics, materials list, and yardage chart (look at View A, short-sleeve, for the yardage needed for this one) by going to the Beatrix shop page and clicking on the “materials” tab.

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Just a quick note about fabric selection: If this is your first time making a Beatrix top, I’d recommend not only making a muslin before you cut into any lovely apparel fabric (I’ll talk about making a muslin on Day 2), but also starting with fabric that isn’t your most very favorite and best. Even when I’m confident about what size I need in a pattern, I like to make my first version of that pattern with fabric I’m not completely in love with, just in case it doesn’t come out exactly as planned. I posted a couple of years ago about My Top Five Fabrics for Clothing if you’d like to explore your options.

Gather your equipment: You’ll need a sewing shears, sewing machine and needles, pins (I also like wonder clips), a seam ripper, a fabric marking pen or chalk, iron and ironing board for the actual sewing part. For cutting, I like to use a rotary cutter, ruler, and mat, but you can definitely get by with just your shears. You’ll also need a measuring tape, paper-friendly scissors (or trimmer) and tape to assemble the pattern, and a pencil and tracing paper to trace your pattern pieces.

Get your space ready: replace your needle, thread your machine (bonus points if you clean it out too), and clear a cutting space. Set up your iron and ironing board close by. If there’s any way to keep this space cleared out for a few days so you can sew from start to finish, even better.Made By Rae prepare your sewing space

Wash your fabric: If you plan to wash and dry your finished top, you’ll need to wash and dry your fabric before you start. Use a serger or zig-zag stitch along the cut edges of your fabric to prevent it from fraying during washing!

Read the pattern instructions: It’s always a good idea to give the instructions a good read-through before you get started!Made By Rae Beatrix sewing pattern

There’s no need to print out your pattern pages yet; I’m going to discuss how to print and assemble your pattern pages once we figure out what size you need.

Sign up to receive my blog posts via email: You can use this handy signup form to get all my blog updates directly in your inbox. You can also sign up for notifications anytime by using the little form at the top right of the blog. (Please note: if you’re joining us after the sewalong ends, please follow along using the links above!)

If you’re sewing along with me, please take photos as you go and post them to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using the hashtag #beatrixalong! I will do my best to respond to your comments, questions, and posts.

Go to Day 1

Beatrix is Here!

I’m so pleased to introduce my newest sewing pattern, Beatrix!! I’m over the moon about this new pattern, and I’m so happy to share it with you.

Made By Rae Beatrix Sewing Pattern

BUY NOW

Beatrix is a button-back pullover with a simple silhouette that is both comfortable and flattering. With two views that offer different sleeve lengths, button placket options, and a shirttail or banded hem, this is a truly versatile pattern for woven fabrics.

Beatrix is available in six women’s sizes (XS-XXL), and comes with separate front bodice pieces for A/B cup and C/D cup sizes so you can choose the one that works best for you.

I’ve put together a Beatrix Page where you can find all of the blog posts and related tutorials (coming soon!) for Beatrix. There are additional photos of Beatrix in the shop. You’ll find all the charts for sizes, finished measurements, and yardage in the shop listing too. Beatrix uses a couple of techniques that might be a little intimidating to a beginner (a set-in sleeve and buttonholes), so I’m hoping to do a sewalong for Beatrix soon so you can see additional photos and tips to help you along. Stay tuned!!!

I’d love to see what you make with the Beatrix Pattern! Please post pictures of your finished Beatrix Tops and Dresses to the Beatrix Sewing Pattern Pool on Flickr and use the hashtags #beatrixpattern#madebyrae, or #raemademedoit on Instagram and Twitter to share your photos and see what others have made!

kopykat beatrixhemwith cardiimageimageBeatrix to be.

Posted in Beatrix
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