Fanciful top with bell sleeves

made by rae fanciful top

I sewed a fun top out of one of the prints from my newest line of fabrics, Fanciful for Cloud9 (I introduced the collection on the blog here if you want a look at the entire line). Since the line is quilting cotton and I don’t typically love using quilting cotton for garments, I thought it was worth having a quick discussion about that. 

There are some patterns that can work quite well with quilting cottons, if you know what to look for and expect. Generally, patterns that don’t require too much drape (so they have a bit of structure), and patterns that don’t require too much stretch. Second, not all quilting cottons are equal. I find that some companies have thicker quilting cottons that aren’t suitable for most garments at all. Cloud9’s quilting cotton tends to be lighter than most (Art Gallery is another company that has a fairly light and almost silky quilting substrate), so I don’t mind wearing garments out of them, given the right pattern. Of my patterns, these work pretty well with quilting cotton:

I want to be clear, however: while I think you can make lovely garments with quilting cotton, I definitely prefer other fabrics (check out my favorite apparel fabrics post for some ideas); quilting is obviously what this fabric is intended for. 

So why did I make this top? Partly, I just can’t help myself — I was inspired by this beautiful print and wanted to see it in a bell-sleeved top. And because the bell-sleeves are rather structured and the top is somewhat tailored, it’s actually quite comfortable! Will I wear it alllll the time? Probably not, but I could see myself wearing it out for dinner or on a date. Would I love this even more in a more flow-y fabric? Definitely. It’s still fun for me to see my designs sewed up into a garment…because garment sewing is my happy place. 

A few pattern notes

I used the same pattern pieces (from my Beatrix pattern) and bell sleeve as for this white bell-sleeved blouse, but this time used facings at the neckline instead of lining. Also handy if you want to recreate this look:

And now for some pics of me in my top!

made by rae fanciful top
made by rae fanciful top
made by rae fanciful top

PS. I love it with the off-white silk noil Cleo skirt I sewed earlier this year!

Fanciful fabric is here!

made by rae for cloud9 - fanciful fabric

I’m so excited to announce that my latest line of fabrics, Fanciful, is now in shops!! Fanciful is printed on quilting cotton that is 100% organic from Cloud9 Fabrics.

Here’s a glance at all 10 prints in the collection:

Fanciful is my fifth fabric collection and is an homage to blooms and blossoms. You may remember that my previous fabric collections were designed primarily for children, but I wanted to do something a little more grown up this time around, and this collection was inspired by my late grandmother, Grace, who loved flowers of all kinds. She loved dressing up in bright floral prints, owned a rather impressive collection of floral teacups and teapots, and had a staggering number of artificial flower arrangements. She loved all of her children and grandchildren so much, and I miss her dearly. She died four years ago last week, so it seems like an entirely appropriate time for Fanciful to launch.

made by rae fanciful fabric

Fanciful is now available at many shops around the world. You can use the shop finder for US shops on the Cloud 9 website:

FIND A SHOP

I’ve already made a couple of things from Fanciful (sneak peeks above), and have some more ideas up my bell sleeve (sorry, I couldn’t help it). What would you make with these prints?

I’m always thrilled to see photos of your projects with my fabric pop up on social media! If you make something, please share it with the tag #fanciful_fabric. If you work at a shop that carries this line, post a pic and tag it on Instagram so we can share!

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Peach button up shirt for Elliot

We had family pics a few weeks ago, and, feeling inspired, I started making shirts for the boys ahead of time. This peach shirt for Elliot was one of them. Because I generally want everyone to coordinate (but not match) in family pics so that the clothing won’t distract the eye but rather fade into the background, I went with this lovely soft shot cotton in a pale peach hue. I made sure he approved the fabric ahead of time so that it had a chance of being worn again.

He didn’t end up wearing this shirt for the pics (which is fine!), but I love how it turned out anyway. I think the color is amazing with his hair. 


on the dock at our cottage last week

I’ve been wanting to design some boys’ sewing patterns for a while, but other projects have always gotten in the way. With this shirt, I wanted to keep the pattern as simple as possible yet still make it distinct and easy to get on and off. First, there’s no collar, an addition to most “dressier” boys’ patterns that ends up being a bit time-consuming; instead, I used bias binding. Second, no button placket or sleeve facing pieces; the cuffs and plackets are all built into the main pieces. And yet, there are still details like pockets and shoulder epaulets that make it look professional.

I’m not going to promise this will turn into a sewing pattern, but I am interested in knowing if there’s interest for a boys’ summer pattern capsule. Let me know if you think this is something you would like to see developed, or if you think there are already enough patterns for boys’ shirts out there!

One last note: the shorts are also handmade; I used my Parsley Pants pattern (shortened to a 4″ inseam) and added square patch pockets to the sides. 

lately

Clementine at the lake

hello, friends!!! It’s been awhile.

I unplugged most of last week with my family at a cottage in Northern Michigan on Glen Lake near Sleeping Bear Dunes. It was lovely. Not entirely relaxing, exactly, as taking 3 kiddos on vacation is never really…relaxing 😬…but still. That area of Michigan is breathtakingly beautiful. We did bunches of hiking and sight-seeing, and I stole enough moments reading books, handstitching, working on puzzles, and sitting by the fire at night to make it feel like a vacation.

Staying off my phone and computer was probably the biggest factor toward making it feel like a real vacation. On two other trips this summer — a knitting and hiking retreat in Colorado on my own, and then in Montreal with Mr. Rae — I posted on Instagram through the trips. I SO love to share bits and pieces when I travel — the beautiful sights, the new places — and I love seeing other people post when they travel too; it’s so inspiring! But it’s also hard to be completely in the moment and relaxed if there’s a little voice in the back of your brain constantly saying “ooh that would be fun to share!” It feels like a bit of a mental drain, and I find Instagram especially to be particularly draining. I don’t know if it’s my personality or if I just need to find a groove, but sometimes I find even putting up one post to be overwhelming. And sometimes not. So all that to say, stepping away was good for me.

This week the kids are back in school (yay for post-Labor-Day school starts!!), so I’m planning our fall projects here at MBR and getting back into the work routine. Hugo is going to preschool five days a week now, so that’s a shift from our previous 3-day schedule. I’m not sure I’ll work full time yet, though. I have thoughts on that, maybe I’ll write more about that later.

Anyway, here are a few more things I wanted to share with you…

Due to an overwhelming response on Instagram, these pants are going to be the next pattern I start working on. Stay tuned.

We added new PDF copyshop files to some of the children’s patterns in the shop! Parsley Pants, Moon Pants, and all of the Geranium patterns now come with pattern pieces in a copyshop format as well as (the original) print-at-home files. Check out this post on how to use a copyshop file if you need more info.

I watched “Iris” on Netflix the other night and I think Iris Apfel is my new style icon. Seriously, this lady is way cool.

I got a couple scarves from the Scarf Shop as presents for my birthday (I turned 41 on August 26). I love the colors and the wool cloud scarf is going to be perfect when the weather gets cold.

After binge-watching Season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race (I also watched season 8 and 9 when we were in Montreal — they’re on Canadian Netflix), I think I am officially obsessed. I love the colors, the design, the over-the-top-ness of it all.

I have two books to recommend:

My sister Kricket gave me Goodbye Vitamin for my birthday and I really enjoyed it. It’s a moving story about a woman who goes home to take care of her aging father who has Alzheimer’s. It’s well-written, funny, heartbreaking, hopeful.

I’m probably the last person to read this book, but Crazy Rich Asians was fun. Full of great nonsense and a super fast and fluffy read (I also just saw the movie…I think I liked the book better).

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

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Hugo’s backpack

Hugo's backpack / made by rae

Since it’s Back To School time again, adorable backpacks made with my Toddler Backpack Pattern have been popping up in my feed, so I thought I’d share these photos of Hugo with the original backpack I designed the pattern from (it used to be Elliot’s). I took these over a year ago but he still LOVES putting it on his back and parading around.

hugo's backpack / made by rae

I love that lots of you are sewing cute little backpacks for your cute little cuties! It’s a fun way to make a backpack that is custom and unique, and since it’s possible to make this pattern for older kiddos too, it’s not just limited to toddlers or preschoolers (when we updated this pattern a few years ago, we included easy instructions for making it large enough for school-aged kids and 8.5×11 binders).

hugo's backpack / made by rae

hugo's backpack / made by rae

hugo's backpack / made by rae

hugo's backpack / made by rae

The canvas fabric I used for this backpack is now long gone and out of print, but the pattern is available in my shop!

Toddler Backpack Sewing Pattern – $8
BUY NOW

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