I should have taken a picture of the chocolate I had to give him so he would wear it.

Yes, we’re at that place already.  Picture me pleading with him to just put the shirt on and mommy will give you a marshmallow. I’m starting to give away the clothes I make for him to his friends because it’s less trouble than trying to get him to wear it. Maybe the fact that it’s happening already means he’ll grow out of it faster?  Please, I need hope here!

Anyway, the concept for this tee started with an article about Rachel Griffiths and her cute family in Cookie* last year. She is a fantastic actress. She also happens to have a baby girl with the same name as mine. But what really got the wheels turning was a picture of her son with cute shaggy blond hair wearing a really nifty navy striped-dyed shirt.  As soon as I saw it I thought “I could make that!”  I won’t go through all the other elements of this outfit which I found endearing (such as a pair of Minnetonka beaded moccasins that I am embarrassed to say I actually purchased in hopes that I might replicate this look on my own son), but I will say that there also may have been a pair of bright green skinny jeans involved. 

*the now defunct momma-mag whose demise I bemoaned in this post.  Then someone commented and reminded me how crazy expensive everything in Cookie was. The ridiculous travel articles like “Taking your kids to eco-resorts in Bora Bora!” I’m over it now.

my favorite part is the white contrast stitching

So it would have been easier just to take a white long sleeved tee and tie-dye it.  Let’s just get that out in the open right away.  But I wanted each piece to be individually dyed, and if you look carefully at this garment you can see that this is so. I also wanted a nicer style than your average Hane’s tee, so I cut a Tee for Two (see the Lion Tee Post earlier this week for a pattern review of sorts) out of plain white jersey and twist tied it with those annoying plastic twizzies that come on every electronics thing you buy:

Then I immersed it in half a package of Navy RIT powder dye and some hot tap water and left it for a few hours.  Thanks to Dana and This Momma for providing some how-to on dying stuff that came in useful. Wish I had paid more attention to This Momma because she was right, that powder is Evil. I hates it. I vow will never use it again. I think I may have ruined at least 3 yards of fabric with vagrant powder dust by opening the package in my sewing room. I know, how dumb could I be?  

I did not photograph each step, but you can trust that after washing and drying the pieces, I sewed them together to produce the garment you see here.  It is pretty cute.  Worth all the trouble?  That is really going to depend on if I can ever get him to wear it again or not. 

At least I no longer have to cajole him into riding his new bike *crosses fingers.*  Don’t be fooled by all that cute blond hair, this kid is a stinker.  Would you like to hear about my engagement ring which he played “Ring-Ring” with last week and was lost until yesterday when I found it under the story chair in his bedroom? It went missing from the shelf which I left it on, stupidly enough, within his reach. Attempts to determine the ring’s whereabouts resulted in a multitude of horrifying stories including “I chewed and swallowed it!” and inquiries into the nature of “Ring-Ring” resulted in “I tooked it and I THREWED it into the air!” As my seester Elli so eloquently put it, “I’m sure you felt like ring-ringing his little neck!” I can’t really blame him though, poor guy, I mean, he is only three.  And as much as he makes me want to check into the Funny Farm sometimes, I love him to death.

I’d better quit now before I admit to any more stupidity. Here’s a quick rundown for my Mom-Of-The-Year acceptance speech: bribing children with sweets to wear handmade clothes, purchasing a pair of beaded suede shoes for a little boy, ruining things with powder dye, and leaving an engagement ring within child’s reach.  See, I live to make you feel better about yourselves.  You’re welcome.  Have a great weekend!

UPDATED for Full Disclosure: Since meeting in “real life” earlier this year, Karen and I have become friends and now have playdates with our kids every few weeks or so.  I guess that’s just how life goes.   I actually didn’t have the full pattern when I wrote this post since Karen had given me a computer printout taped together with masking tape precut to Elliot’s size.  Since the writing of this post PBF’s has very kindly given me a Tee for Two pattern so now I can at least claim to own a real copy.  Am I biased in writing this post? Absolutely. Does that mean this pattern is any less awesome?  I sure hope not!

Am feeling like a busy little bee

Here’s a little mid-week update on what I’m up to…

The Flickr photo pool for the Big Butt Baby Pants is up!  So if you’ve already made a pair, add your pictures and comments and strut your sewing stuff so we can all enjoy.  Hopefully this pool won’t get tagged as inappropriate due to the ridiculous name. If you can believe this I actually had to change the name of the pattern in my shop from “Big Butt Baby Pants” to “Made By Rae Baby Pants” because my instant download emails were getting flagged by the major email hosts as spam.  And it never occurred to me before that it would be anything other than funny/cute, but I guess “Big Butt” qualifies as potentially inappropriate email material.  Hah.

click image to go to the photo gallery

If you haven’t yet read my blog post about the Big Butt Baby Pant Sewing Pattern, you can click here to do so.

And I have been sewing like a maniac lately, but nothing’s quite finished yet to show you…just thought I’d give you a sneak peek:

Any guesses?

Even I have no idea what this last one will end up as.  Just had so much fun arranging the City Weekend charm squares (I’m not really a quilter so I think that’s what these are, 2.5″ square right?) we all got in our goodie bags at Blueberry Hill Sewing Weekend, so I just went with it and now I have a long strip about 25″ and about 8″ wide.  Who knows.

I’ll see you guys on Friday with a little more BOY SEWING!!!

Posted in updates

Lion Raglan Tee for the Boy

Don’t fall out of your chairs…its a BOY POST!   Yes, it has been soooo long.  Someone even commented on my blog in May or June and pleaded “don’t forget the boys!” I haven’t forgotten, but somehow sewing for the baby girl just ended up dominating my summer.  (And pssst: for a load of other fantastic sewing projects for boys, you can also check out the Celebrate the Boy posts from February 2010). 

I probably split myself about 50/50 when it comes to using a pattern or making one up.  But either way, I have always felt that it is important to have good, fail-proof patterns that you can use over and over again.  This is one of my new favorites.  I’m addicted actually.  It’s the Tee for Two from Patterns by Figgy’s.  UPDATED:  Here’s a link to the Patterns By Figgy’s shop where the patterns are sold.

This one is the third tee I’ve made with this pattern (the lion applique is my own addition), with a fourth in the works for E.  First I made a couple for C but like I said, there have been a ton of baby girl things on this blog lately so it’s time for a little break.  Plus his hair is pretty glorious right now and I had to show it off.  Let’s just be honest.

He’s going to start preschool a couple mornings a week pretty soon, and I keep going back and forth about whether to cut his hair or not.  While I am all for respecting your child’s wishes when it comes to hair (he says he doesn’t want it cut), at the very least it needs a trim.  He’s starting to look like a Wild Thing.  And he gets mistaken for a girl all the time, but we don’t get too ruffled by that sort of thing.

OK but back to the pattern.  Here’s a few things I loved about it:

  • It’s simple and quick. I am all for the fast project.
  • I love the raw edges on the outside, which also makes the inside super-soft.
  • It can be dressed up with appliques or freezer-paper stencils or whatever.  Love the blank slate when it comes to kids clothing.
  • It comes with long-sleeves too.
  • No hemming on the sleeves or bottom.  What’s not to love about that?

In addition to all these things there’s a gathered version for girls, although being so versatile this version is obviously a great a gender-neutral option too.

If you’re nervous about sewing with knits, you may find this tutorial helpful.  But in fact I must admit to you that I did not use any of these things such as stabilizers and tacks and such, just put a stretch needle on my trusty Bernina and went to town.  I hate to say this because it really is the Beginner’s Dilemma (when you’re first starting you don’t want to invest much in a machine), but I have found that my Bernina can tackle knits with very few issues whilst the cheapy Singer machine I bought right after college gets all loopy and jammed.  And so it goes.  

I’m a huge fan of the raglan style, especially for boys (raglans are shirts where the sleeve pieces go all the way up to the neckline instead of stopping at the shoulder). I made this one with the veggie stencils for E awhile back with this same orange fabric on the sleeves.  The one shown below I commissioned earlier this year from Karen of OneGirlCircus (she and Shelly of Figgy’s Studio co-own Patterns By Figgy’s).  I la-la-love these clouds and birds. If you want one of your very own you can also buy one ready-made here.  Heck I want one in my size.

Karen and Shelly also wrote this lovely tutorial on how to embellish knits over on Sew Mama Sew which is fantastic.  I used a slightly different double-sided interfacing but the idea is basically the same.  I also wanted the stitching to stand out, so I went with brown.  Which was ballsy I know so thank goodness it worked.

The lion looks a little tame and less ferocious than what I was going for.  To make up for it E has been roaring loudly all day.  So cute.  He’s growing up too fast.  Waaaaaah!

OK, I’m not going to dwell on that, have a Happy Monday!

UPDATED for Full Disclosure: Since meeting in “real life” earlier this year, Karen and I have become friends and now have playdates with our kids every few weeks or so.  I guess that’s just how life goes.   I actually didn’t have the full pattern when I wrote this post since Karen had given me a computer printout taped together with masking tape precut to Elliot’s size.  Since the writing of this post PBF’s has very kindly given me a Tee for Two pattern so now I can at least claim to own a real copy.  Am I biased in writing this post? Absolutely. Does that mean this pattern is any less awesome?  I sure hope not!

Am back from Weekend Sewing in Vermont. Am missing new sewing pals.

Warning: this post contains excessive amounts of excessiveness. Readers hoping for the usual snarkiness or sarcasm should go elsewhere.


our fearless leaders, Denyse, Heather, and Liesl

I am still a little exhausted from this past weekend but I had So. Much. Fun!!!

Blueberry Hill Inn was amazing, the surroundings were gorgeous and the other sewists who came to this weekend were wonderful.  We had the best group ever. Of course as I did not attend the other weekends I have nothing to compare it to but I’m sure it must be so.

For those just joining, I was attended the Blueberry Hill Sewing Weekend workshop hosted by fabric designer Heather Ross and co-led by Liesl Gibson of Oliver+S and quilting legend/fabric designer Denyse Schmidt.  I may or may not have excitedly announced that I was going in somewhat embarrassing post here.

the pond where we went swimming and the sauna, right behind the Inn

I had never been to Vermont but you have to be living under a rock not to know that it’s beautiful. Yet this is such an understatement.  The cute little towns, the hills, the green green green.  It’s all breathtaking. I can’t wait to go back.

this actually looks very similar to Michigan, but with more hills

Most of us wasted no time picking the brains of the leaders.  It was so fascinating to hear about their experiences in the sewing industry. Of course Heather always had a random story in progress and her hilarious personality would make everyone within earshot stop talking to listen. If you read her blog you already have a good idea as she writes with the same voice; just imagine the words sort of lifting off the screen and coming from a real person.  And yes, she is just as friendly and funny in real life.

Denyse showing us how to make a quilted purse

Denyse, Heather and Liesl were the most amazing, patient teachers.  It was crazy fun to watch them all converge on a garment that was being constructed and analyze it together, cocking their heads to one size and pulling on it, bouncing ideas off of one another, giving us a small glimpse of the vast technical knowledge represented by the three of them.  For the rest of us, who for the most part have no formal training in sewing or garment construction, it was great.  The skill levels present ranged from Never-sewn-before (Pauline!) to Brought-her-own-muslins (Molli!).

Laura, Victoria, Liesl and Cheryl, hard at work

IMG_7134April and Kari, sewing away (check out that pile of Flea Market Fancy!)

The sewing was fantastic.  I know some of you are curious to see what I worked on, and to be honest I didn’t quite end up with a finished product, due in part to the fact that I ended up making multiple muslins for a me-sized version of Liesl’s Ice Cream Dress* (which is almost finished by the way, although I still have plans to embroider it as it is still rather plain).  In fact just watching Liesl make the pattern and adapting the muslins with input from all three leaders was a learning experience in and of itself.  Also, I am highly distractible and watching the teaching, seeing everyone else’s projects, and having that much fabric in one room was enough to keep me occupied.  I myself took an embarrassing amount of fabric with me, even after spending a rather humiliating five minutes before departure giving most of my Far Far Away II the old heave-ho so my suitcase would not be overweight. *looks sheepish*

*UPDATED Just wanted to clarify: the Ice Cream pattern was adapted to adult sizes just for fun this weekend, there are no plans to publish it in adult sizes at this time, and no I will not distribute my pattern as that would be a huge no-no not to mention pain in the butt.

one of my muslins  
with Heather; you can see my almost-completed Ice Cream Social tunic and Blueberry Hill Inn in the background 

It was lucky there were plans to have Denyse lead a mini-quilting activity on the last morning allowing those of us who had puttered around too much (read: me) to produce something cute to prove we had actually done something.  Denyse showed us how to make little quilted zipper pouches and they were so easy and fun. I loved the instant gratification of this project. 


see how my toes match my quilted pouch? that was not planned.

We also had the opportunity to meet two lovely young brick-and-mortar fabric shop owners: Rhea of Alewives and Phiona of Nido in Burlington, VT who and came by to visit for a bit.  Ashley of Film in the Fridge also came by on Sunday to hang out with us for the morning and it was nice to finally meet her (she is just so sweet by the way).  Some of you may remember that she was one of the Spring Top Week 2010 judges.

It was so much fun to talk to the other workshop participants. Many of the conversations were definitely borderline sewing-geeky, if not completely so.  I kept having these moments of “I can’t believe you know what I’m talking about! Usually when I try to talk about fabric, people go into conversation-coma and their eyes glaze over!” Some people were new to sewing altogether and hearing their stories was fascinating too.

IMG_7201 our group; that is me in the back (forth from the left) wearing my Mendocino mermaid smock.

One of the things that is so important about this type of event is that sewing people get to meet other sewing people.  I know I’ve already talked about that a little bit already so I don’t want to beat on a dead horse but when you operate largely in online sewing communities, you miss out on the chance to make real life connections.  I certainly do not want to come off as undervaluing all of the amazing online fabric shops, blogs and online forums because for day-to-day interaction those are incredibly meaningful, especially since many of us cannot make trips or drive the distance to a decent sewing store. But there is a permanence to meeting people face to face that cannot be replaced in the virtual sewing universe.  And I fear that if we stop getting together in person to sew or shopping at small local fabric shops, we will lose something very important.  Of course it’s just plain fun too.  

So anyway, I’ve babbled long enough about this and it’s time to get sewing.  When I finish my top, I’ll post it.  In the meantime, you can browse my Weekend Sewing photos over on Flickr if you want to get a better taste of what it was like or see more pictures of the beautiful Blueberry Hill Inn.

Thanks to Heather, Denyse, Liesl, the staff at Blueberry Hill, and the rest of my new sewing friends for making it such a wonderful weekend!

Posted in travel

Big Butt Baby Pants Sewing Pattern!


buy now2
The Big Butt Baby Pants Sewing Pattern is a digital PDF sewing pattern for baby girls or boys.  The pants feature a rear panel that adds plenty of room for diapered babies.  They are designed to fit over cloth diapers but work great over disposable diapers too. The options are endless; you can add ruffles, pockets, fold-over cuffs or shorten them into bloomers, capris or shorts.  Instructions include directions for ruffled rear panel and fold-over cuff. With so many possibilities for variation, this is the only baby pants pattern you will ever need!


0-3 months / 3-6 months / 6-12 months / 12-18 months / 18-24 months / 2T

Detailed step-by-step instructions for basic pant
Additional instructions for fold-over cuff and ruffled rear panel
Full color diagrams and photos illustrating each step
Complete set of full-sized pattern pieces in six sizes (attach together before cutting)
Suggestions on how to get the right fit for babies of all sizes/diaper types
Hints on how to adjust the pants as your baby grows

basic pant
with fold-over cuff (shown folded at top of page)
perfect for boys!
 with ruffled rear panel

Please note: You can make shorts by cutting the leg portion of the pant roughly halfway between the cuff and crotch and hemming them to the desired length.  See how to make the pockets in this post. Instructions for shorts/pockets are not included in PDF.


  • 3/4 yard woven fabric such as quilting cotton, linen, flannel, corduroy, lawn, twill (2/3 yard needed for 6-12 months, 1/2 yard needed for 0-3 and 3-6 month sizes)
  • 1/2″ elastic for waistband
  • marking pen
  • safety pin or bodkin for threading elastic
  • (Optional) 1/4 yard of contrasting fabric for rear panel and cuff

Remember to prewash your fabric!

buy now2



Big Butt Baby Pants were also featured on the following posts:
Hope you don’t mind if I babble
Coming Soon
Best in Show
Bunny Ruffle Capris
Gifts for Little Boys
Big Butt Baby Pants Trickiness (A post on how to fix puckering on the pants)

And see what others have made in the Big Butt Baby Pants Flickr Pool (submit your pictures here!)


A huge thank you to all of my pattern testers (Karen, Beth, Carolina, Selina, Cerise, Becky and Summer) for helping me try these out and for your fantastic suggestions.

ERRATA: Big Butt Baby Pants Trickinesss  (check out this post to see how to fix puckering at the bottom of the rear panel)
TAKE A LOOK:  Big Butt Baby Pants Flickr Pool (submit your pictures here!)

Anyone feel like making a pair of baby pants tonight?

This is so typical Rae.  I am poised to make this Big Butt Baby Pants pattern available and despite the oodles of samples and measuring I have done to get to this point, I am currently having my classic anxiety that this is all not going to work.  Specifically, I think my sizing may be off for the 18-24 month and 2T sizes.

SO…I’ll put this out there in hopes that someone can help me out with this: if you think you could pattern test for me one of those two sizes, leave a comment letting me know what size you’d like to try and then shoot me an email so I can send it to you this evening.  Ideally you would have a child you could try these on and be able to give me a little feedback in the next day or so.  The ability to take a picture of your finished product would also be helpful. 

Please check the comments section to see what others have written before emailing; I’ll just need one or two people to try each size, and you would of course get a nice final copy of the pattern for your very own for your trouble.

Thanks guys!

UPDATE (7 PM): Wow, thank you so much to those who have offered to help. I’m all set here so you’ll get an email from me if I need ya.  Thanks!

Hope you don’t mind if I babble a little

I’m almost falling asleep at my computer today.  I’ve been staying up too late at night reading The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo and I finally finished it last night but I’m paying for it today.  Headachey, tired.

We’ve had a great week with lots of friends over to play and going to friends’ houses…every day in fact.  Yesterday we went to Karen’s house (her E and my E are the same age…so much fun!) and later in the afternoon I had a photo shoot with what I hope will be the last pair of B3P’s (Karen’s nickname, clever eh?) I make for a while, by that I mean I need a little break after making a bajillion pairs.  But I can’t get enough of the Lizzy House (Red Letter Day) fabric with the “vintage” (Gypsy Caravan) Amy Butler.  Orange and purple are awesome together.

The Big Butt Baby Pant pattern is finally to a point where I consider it finished.  Now it needs just a few changes here and there and it will be ready for purchase.  But not today, OK?

I just discovered my Sew Mama Sew Board Member Introduction last night, the link is here if you want to go take a look.  I remember when I first started blogging and I would look at the people with the Board Member Button on their blogs and think: “WOW.” So it’s hard to explain what an honor to be there now, to be asked. If you’ve been living under a rock and have never seen the site, go take a look.  Their photo pool alone can keep me busy for hours, but the contributions of so many amazing sewists to their blog over the years is staggering.

The turquoise wall is surprising me.  I needed a new profile picture for the SMS thing last week so I sat on my kitchen table with my sewing machine and a pile of baby pants and my camera on a tripod.  I ended up with the picture you see there on the sidebar and the one that Beth used for my SMS intro (they’re also below for those of you using your readers), and man I really like how they turned out.  I still had to edit the photos a little (tweaking the saturation and sharpness, upping the exposure are my typical tricks) but I’m feeling affirmed and gleefully satisfied with that color choice.  Don’t be surprised if from now on I take all my pictures in the kitchen.

OK, the baby’s awake.  Time to go play!