Bye, bye, bag patterns!

made by rae bag sale

When I first started selling PDF sewing patterns back in 2009, I focused on making bags, purses, and children’s patterns as I built up my pattern drafting and grading skills. Over the past several years, I’ve focused more on sewing clothing rather than making bags and I’ve noticed many of you doing the same. So we decided it’s time to say goodbye to three classic Made By Rae sewing patterns, the Lickety Split Bag, the Showoff Bag, and the Bonsai Bag.

These three bag patterns have been favorites of mine and much beloved by many of you, but in an effort to pare down my pattern offerings and consolidate the shop, I’ve decided to retire them. So I’m offering them from now until the end of July 2018 at a discount.

Save 20% on each pattern on its own, or save 30% when you buy all three. Get them before they’re gone for good (midnight July 31st)!

Just in case you missed the Bag Era here at Made by Rae, here’s a quick run-down of the patterns:

The Lickety Split is a versatile, reversible tote that is super quick and easy to sew. The pockets are super-handy for keys, phones, or water bottles, and the adjustable tie strap allows you to get the perfect length. I always loved tying the top to strollers and bike handles.

buy now: Lickety Split Bag

bonsai bag PDF

The Bonsai Bag is a fully-lined bag, perfect for framing a favorite fabric with that pleated outer panel and optional trim! Features include tied handles and decorative rings. An inner pocket and a magnetic snap or zipper closure make stashing your stuff a breeze!

buy now: Bonsai Bag

Showoff Bag: This roomy bag is a great way to show off a fun fabric print! Fully lined with a pocket for your phone or keys, the pleated design gives you plenty of room for a textbook, laptop or a change of clothes.

buy now: Showoff Bag

SHOP THE BAG SALE NOW

Jess Makes: Cleo skirt with side zipper

Here’s a modified version of the Cleo Skirt that I’ve been wearing a ton lately. Instead of using elastic, I gathered the back skirt to fit into a flat waistband, and added an invisible side zipper. The great news is that adding a zipper doesn’t even interfere with the View A pocket!

Here’s a  how-to:

  • Cut out Front Skirt, Back skirt, and View A pockets according to pattern.
  • Cut out *two* Front Waistbands out of fabric (no back waistband)
  • Cut two Front Waistbands out of interfacing
  • Press and interface BOTH waistband pieces as directed for the front waistband in Step 1 of pattern
  • Attach and sew View A pockets as directed in Step 2
  • Choose which side you want your zipper on, then only sew the side seam of the *opposite* side.
  • Gather front and back skirts as directed in Step 4
  • Prepare waistband as directed in Step 5, but only sew together at one side. Try it on by putting it around your waist and pinning it together 1/2″ from the ends to make sure it will fit (adjust length if necessary)
  • Attach the skirt to the waistband, matching side seams and adjusting skirt gathers to fit the front and back waistbands. Your skirt should look like this:

  • *TRY YOUR SKIRT ON* at this point, you’ll want to make sure the waistband fits you just right, and that it stays where you want it on your waist. Safety pin the open side of the waistband 1/2″ from the edge. Adjust your seam allowance if necessary!
  • Now you’ll install a zipper. I used an 8″ invisible zipper and just followed the package directions. I placed the top of my zipper at the fold in the waistband, with the 1/2″ of zipper tape extending past the fold. Here’s a good tutorial if you need a little guidance.
  • Once the zipper is installed, you can sew the rest of the side seam.
  • To finish the waistband, follow the directions in Steps 7-8; you can sew the whole waistband down at one time here because you don’t need to add elastic! Hand stitch the waistband for a tidy finish at the zipper.
  • Hem skirt as directed, and you’re done!

This version of Cleo has a couple of other modifications: it’s a mashup of the View B length with View A pockets, and the skirt is a good bit more full than the pattern calls for.

First, I cut out my pockets so that I could use almost all the rest of the fabric for the skirt. Instead of folding the fabric in half and cutting pockets out of two layers, I just cut them out separately, end to end, along one selvage of the fabric.

For the front and back skirt pieces, I followed the View B length of the pattern pieces, but made them each the full width of the fabric that remained after cutting out the pockets. (This rayon is 54″ wide, so the finished width of this skirt is well over 90″!)


I’ve had this Anna Maria Horner rayon stashed away for quite some time now (as evidenced by its total unavailability on the internet), and I’m so glad I finally got around to making a Cleo Skirt with it. Sometimes the simplest design is the best use for a lovely bold print like this; and rayon is simply delicious for a Cleo. Let us know if you try it yourself!

Use the tags #cleoskirt #raemademedoit and #madebyrae to share your creations on Instagram. We’d love to see them!

Pink and white striped Isla

Made By Rae Isla Dress / PDF pattern

I’m a mother of three and reliable coffee spiller, so I’m not sure why my recent knit sewing streak has included three dresses (see also: Exhibit A / Exhibit B) that are basically white? I guess I just love wearing white, even if it’s hard to keep clean. We use lots of Oxy and stain stick over here.

This striped Isla dress is a spin-off of the other one (shown below) that I made as a sample for my Creativebug Isla class, which is white with navy stripes — fabric from LaMercerie — and which I very nearly absconded with after trying it on when we were finished shooting. Still kicking myself for not buying enough of that fabric to make a second one, really. I love a wider stripe — there’s so many striped knits, but there’s something pretty lovely about putting some space between those stripes, don’t you think?

Isla Dress Class / Creativebug

The sample looks super cute on Ayrika though, no? SO CUTE!!!

As mentioned in my last post, with striped fabric you do have to modify the way you cut out the bodice, slightly; the bodice is usually curved at the bottom to allow for the bust, but it’s pretty easy to modify the bottom edge for stripes, as I demonstrate in the video. And for the skirt on this dress, I cut the fabric on the cross-grain so that the stripes would be vertical (again, something I demonstrate in the class, just in case you need a bit of hand-holding!)

Adjusting Isla for stripes

One of the great things about a basic knit dress is that it goes with freaking everything, from jean jackets to cardigans. Here are my favorite ways to wear it:

Made By Rae Isla Dress / PDF pattern

Made By Rae Isla Dress / PDF pattern

Made By Rae Isla Dress / PDF pattern

Finally, a note about the fabric: I found this in the sale section at Stone Mountain and Daughter, so I don’t exactly know what this is but I suspect that it is a rayon or bamboo jersey. Rayon knits are usually pretty thin, super stretchy, and have a certain weight to them. I normally cut the Isla bodice a little longer for my height (I’m a couple inches taller than what I drafted the pattern for, 5’6”), but not when I use rayon jersey, since the weight of the skirt usually pulls the bodice down, making it longer, on its own.

My Isla class is now available on Creativebug, or you can find the PDF pattern in my shop!!

Posted in isla
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My Isla Dress Class on Creativebug!

Hey hey! Today my Isla Dress & Top launches as an online class on Creativebug, woot woot! Isla is the third and final women’s garment that I’m launching with Creativebug this year, joining my Gemma tank and the Cleo skirt as part of the “Sewing Essentials” series.

For those of you unfamiliar with Creativebug, it’s a subscription-based site that creates online workshops with all kinds of designers and creators (knitting, sewing, painting, weaving, baking, etc). I’m continuously amazed at how seamlessly they edit down my hours of blah blah into a cohesive class, not to mention the quality of the video and attention to detail.


Unlike Gemma or Cleo, Isla is designed for knit fabrics, and I cover some knit sewing basics in the class. If you need more information on the materials you’ll need for Isla, check out my Isla page, and if you’re intimidated by knit fabric, here are some recommendations with links to shops to get you started.The class includes the downloadable print-at-home pattern in nine women’s sizes (XXS – XL and plus sizes 1-3).

As an added bonus in this class, I cover sewing Isla with striped fabric, since so many knit fabrics feature stripes. I show how to make some bodice adjustments for striped fabrics (the bottom of the bodice is normally curved to accommodate the bust) and demonstrate how to cut the skirt on the cross-grain for some fun horizontal/vertical stripe play, as shown in the white and navy-striped dress sample (modeled here by Ayrika, who works at Creativebug!).

As you can see from the photos, Isla can be made into a dress or a top, and has a gathered peplum or skirt, depending on which one you choose. The skirt is gathered and attached with elastic thread using a technique called shirring, so if you’re unfamiliar with that technique (or want to know where to find elastic thread), check out my shirring tutorial here.

If you prefer, you can also skip the shirring altogether and use a traditional gathering technique, though I do recommend attaching the skirt using a serger to avoid stretching out the waist seam if you take this approach.

You can follow this link or click on any of the photos in this post to see the class outline, watch the class preview, and sign up. Creativebug is a subscription-based website, so you get access to all of the classes with your subscription, and you can start with a free trial if you’re not already signed up.

I hope you enjoy this class!!! It’s been really fun to see how many of you have enjoyed the classes so far. Remember to post what you’re making online too!

Double Gauze boat shorts and Charlie tunic

Hugo Double Gauze Charlie Tunic

As you’ve probably noticed from my posts this week, I’ve got shorts on the brain. That’s mainly because Hugo and Elliot wear nothing but shorts all the time now that it feels like the tropics here. I’ve also had at least three people ask me in the past week if you could turn Luna Pants into shorts (the answer: YES!) so I’ve also been thinking about how best to share a quick how-to on that too.

Hugo Double Gauze Charlie Tunic

This little pair of shorts has really held up remarkably well for being a) white and b) double gauze. They’re size 3 Parsley Pants that I shortened (<- tutorial there) and we’re on our second summer of them fitting Hugo. Also on my list of future things to post about: double gauze. The name is so intimidating but it’s such a comfy fabric to wear and really not that hard to sew!!

Double Gauze boat shorts

The Charlie tunic (which I modified slightly with a curved hem) is now too small, but these two really made a cute combo while they both still fit.

Hugo Double Gauze Charlie Tunic

Hugo Double Gauze Charlie Tunic

Most of Hugo’s clothing this summer is handmade hand-me-downs from when Elliot and Clementine were four and I made a ridiculous amount of their clothing (esp. for Celebrate the BOY, summer edition, which probably no one even remembers anymore, but also these helicopter pajamas, and these red pants of Clem’s got shortened into shorts too). It’s been a real joy to pull those out and reminisce about little four-year-old Elliot or Clementine wearing them. WAAAH they grow up so FAST!

Hugo Double Gauze Charlie Tunic

Interestingly, I do find the handmade stuff is standing up better than the store bought stuff, not only because I think I make it last better, but also because the handmade stuff seems more timeless. The (small amount of) store-bought stuff we bought for Elliot when he was this age already looks somewhat dated.

Are you sewing shorts this summer? For you or for kiddos?