This random post brought to you by Rae’s brain and TOO MUCH COFFEE!!!

All of the sudden it’s almost December and I’m a little stressed.  I haven’t even made a Christmas list yet for me or either of my children and aunties are clamoring. Of course I’m soooo easy to shop for so mine won’t take long (fabric? hellooow?).

If you live in SE Michigan, you do not want to miss the ultrahip Detroit Urban Craft Fair. It’s this Saturday and Sunday (Dec 4/5) at the Fillmore in downtown Detroit. Karen has graciously allowed me to sit at the Patterns By Figgys table Saturday afternoon in exchange for some manual labor stuffing sewing patterns, so I’ll be there too, doing my durndest to fit in and look like a hipster (do I need a new piercing? or just a new tortured look?), because I am nothing if not a wallflower. Heeeeeeee.  So do your Christmas shopping at DUCF this year and stop by the Patterns by Figgy’s table and say hi, OK?

By the way, DUCF is where my seester Kricket bought the awesome “Detroit loves you” sweatshirt for E last year that he wears all. the. time.

If you’d rather make a gift, don’t forget about the snowblossom hat tutorialZaaberry made this great BOY version of the Snowblossom Hat along with an easy duh-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that way to get rid of that pesky front seam. Visit her post for her modifications and pictures of quite possibly the most adorable child in the universe wearing it. Awesome, I say!

A few of you have emailed me your versions of the Basic Newborn Pants ( free tutorial found here) that are superadorbs. Take a look at these two sweet pairs in gingham, this one from katie at Notes from a very red kitchen:

and this one from somthinsomthin:

The first pair wasn’t quite long enough for her 6-month old babe, so she made a few modifications to the pattern, and voila! 

Cute patches too, right? And how cute is this teeny tiny pair with the grommet from Mirjam of ZoHappy?


image via

Finally, there is not much sweeter than hearing Junior Asparagus singing “For unto us a child is born.” I have been listening to the VeggieTales Christmas album (MP3 download FREE from Amazon, thanks to seester Elli for the link) on repeat all afternoon. Go snag yourself a copy!

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More crafting. More snacks.

We had so much fun at this month’s SE Michigan Crafters Meetup that we decided to do it again! Although, we might not need quite so many snacks this time…hee.

Our next meetup will be held Thursday December 9 from 7-10 PM in Livonia Michigan.

This is a child-free evening of sewing, knitting, and crafting hosted by me and Karen of Patterns by Figgy’s (it’s also happens to be Karen’s birthday…woohoo!!!). Bring your own project to work on, sewing machine if applicable, and snacks if you feel like it. You can see more information on the last meetup at this post and pictures from last month’s meetup at this post.

If you can join us, please click over to the official Eventbrite reservation site to let us know you’re coming. I am hoping this system will save me a little time with all the emails so we’ll see how it goes (a map to the location can also be found there as well). We’re limiting the number for this meetup to 30 people, so if you plan to make it, please sign up right away. If you find out later that you can’t make it please take your name off the list so someone else can come. Reservations will close on Tuesday December 7.

SEWISTS: please email me individually if you’ll need an outlet for a sewing machine no later than Tuesday December 7. 

One last thing to add: I know there have been requests for a meetup on a Saturday; we couldn’t make it happen in December but we’ll try to have a Saturday meetup in January or February.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in at home

White Coverups for Rae and Clementine

I do realize that it’s the middle of November and that the odd juxtaposition of fleece hat tutorials with Mexico photos may be a bit jarring for some. But what am I supposed to do, wait until spring to post these swim coverups? Maybe they will help put you in a tropical state of mind. 

special thanks to my father-in-law John for taking the outdoor shots in Mexico

 It all started innocently enough…does anyone remember the Octotunic from a couple years back?  I had it in my head that I wanted to make another beachy tunic thing with that pattern (which I had drafted/designed as a maternity top) that could function as both a swim coverup and look good with jeans. Also in the back of my head is this dream of mine to start publishing paper patterns someday and why not bite off way more than you can chew and start with a complicated women’s pattern, Rae? Overachievement has always been your cup of tea. {end talking to self} I found this soft white embroidered fabric at JoAnn. For a few minutes I stood conflicted in the aisle, the blogger in me thinking “white is impossible to photograph!” the other part of me going “who CARES? this has to go to Mexico with you!” It had to go to Mexico with me. And thus my coverup was born:

OK. But then there was extra fabric. So I started cutting little sleeves and a teeny little placket and started sewing. The whole time I kept holding it up going “awwwwww!” and feeling pleased with self.  There are so many times when I totally wing it and it’s a complete disaster. Thank goodness that did not happen this time. I would have cried if this didn’t fit her.


please do not use pictures of Clementine. Thanks!

What do you think? Is the matchy-matchy mother-daughter thing OK or not?

Am baaaack….

OK, so you probably didn’t know I was gone.  But we were on vacation last week.  Can you guess where?  Here’s a clue: I got to wear my new sandals all week.

Also spotted, the suits I made for Elliot last year:


And Clementine’s sunbonnet got plenty of use:

And for the one cooler day we had all week, a nice breezy floral top:

that is ice water, not her usual pina colada. KIDDING!

If you haven’t guessed it yet, we were in Mexico with Mr Rae’s family for our second annual “Christmas trip” (which replaces our normal Christmas gift exchange). It was a good trip overall despite a pretty rough start to the week (lost luggage, an unexpected hospital visit for my BIL, he’s OK now though don’t worry). It was tons easier traveling with a 15-month-old Clementine this year; last year she was 3 months old…ack! Anyway, it’s nice to be back home but I sure do miss the warm humid weather! Although with temperatures close to 60 degrees today I can’t say it’s that cold here in Michigan either.

I made myself a swimsuit cover-up that I can’t wait to show you, so more on that this week hopefully!

Posted in travel

Snowblossom Hat Tutorial by Rae

This tutorial shows you how to make the custom-sized fleece hat featured in this post for any size head (adult, baby, or child). The tutorial shows you how to make the hat with flowers but you could easily modify it for a more gender-neutral hat. It can also be reversed if the top of the hat is undone!


All text and photos are the intellectual property of Rae Hoekstra; you may link to this tutorial as long as you give proper credit, but please do not copy content for distribution or use on your own website.  Thanks!

A note about sewing fleece: I always use a stretch needle with a slightly longer stitch length (3.5-4) on a regular sewing machine when sewing with fleece. Sometimes use my serger as you can see in a few of the pictures, but I don’t really recommend it for the curved seams and overall it certainly is not necessary.
Step 1:  Measure head circumference 
Take a tape measure and measure in inches the head for which this hat will be fashioned.

Step 2: Cut out fabric
Cut two rectangles out of two different colors of fleece as follows: the width of each rectangle should be the head circumference plus 1″ (for seam allowances) divided by 2.  The height of the rectangle should be the width plus 3″ (see picture above). Before cutting, make sure that you orient your fabric so that it will stretch more when you pull across the width of the rectangle than when you pull across the length.

Step 3: Cut earflap
The extra 3″ you added to the height of the hat was for an earflap. Starting 3″ from the bottom edge on one of the long sides, cut across the hat, curving downward to the bottom edge and then back up, ending 3″ from the bottom at the other side. You’ll notice in the photograph that I cut the earflaps slightly off center. If you move the earflaps away from the front edge by an inch or two, there will be more room for the face at the front of the hat.  Repeat for the other pieces, being careful to trace the exact curve you made for the first earflap.

Step 4: Sew center seams
With the right sides facing each other, sew the two matching pieces together just along their straight sides (leave the top open) with 1/4″ seams.  The seam closest to the earflap will be center back, and the other will be center front.  Repeat for the other two matching pieces so you have a hat inside and a hat outside.  Turn one right-side out.

Step 5: Sew inside and outside together
With the right sides facing eachother, sew the inside and outside of the hat together along the bottom (curved) edge.  Make sure that the center seams are lined up with eachother before sewing together.

Optional: At this point you can also sew on a couple straps if your child won’t keep the hat on unless it’s tied. Just cut a couple of 1″-2″ strips of fleece and sandwich them between the two layers of the hat with the end of the strap positioned over the earflap.

Step 6: Turn hat right-side out
I find that fleece is stretchy enough that I don’t really need to clip the curved seams before I turn it right-side out, but if you find that the seam doesn’t sit flat, you may want to clip seams first and then turn it right-side out.

Step 7: Embellish if desired
Cut a few flowers from 2″ squares of fleece. If you wanted a different look you could also cut polka dots or cars or mushrooms or whatever, or just leave this off altogether.  I originally intended to hand-stitch the flowers on with yarn, but I found that the weave of the fleece was too tight for my needle to get through, so I ended up machine stitching the flowers on with a few stitches back and forth in an X pattern. I only sew through one layer of fleece here so it wouldn’t be visible on the other side.  You can also see that I originally intended to put more flowers on, but after sewing on three flowers I decided that was enough.

Step 8: Cinch the top and trim if necessary 
Cut a 1″ strip of fleece and use it to tie the top about 3″ from the top.  It may help to try the hat on and see where the best place to tie it will be.  The beauty here is that if the hat is too big you can just cinch it lower and trim more off the top. 

Here’s a closeup of the top:

Step 9: Cut top of hat into sections (or strips)
To get the flower-like top you’ll need to cut each color at the top of the hat into about 8 sections. Take the scissors and starting from the top of the hat, cut towards the tie as close as you can without cutting it. The more strips you cut here, the more the top of the hat will resemble a pompom (and when I’ve made these for my son, that’s what I usually do).

Step 10: Clip off corners
Now take the scissors and clip the corners of each section so that they are rounded like flower petals.

Congratulations, you’re finished! Put that hat on and take some pictures! Then go make another one!!!
Posted in tutorial

Blossom Baby

It’s getting colder here in Michigan. Pretty soon there’ll be snow, and we’ll be ready.
please do not use pictures of Clementine. Thanks!

This hat is actually a little ridiculous, as it sortof looks like a cabbage growing out of her head.  But does it matter if it’s cute? Nah.

Want to help us CELEBRATE THE BOY?

Hi friends! Today I’m thinking about February. Does that sound strange? Well to me it’s not. Dana of MADE and I have already decided that we’re doing another Celebrate the BOY series in February 2011, and when something so involved has to happen in February you would be crazy to start talking about it in January. You start TALKING about it in October, you start THINKING about it in November, you try to just SURVIVE December, and then in January you actually start DOING some of the stuff you want on the blog in February so that you don’t actually die when it happens. See?

For those of you who weren’t around last year (welcome new readers!), this will be a month completely focused on the BOY. We feel strongly that boys get the shaft when it comes to sewing and crafting, and for a whole month we do our best to rectify that. Last year in addition to our own posts and tutorials we had a ton of guest posts, a number of giveaways, and lots of BOY roundups. If you’d like to check it out, you can see MADE’s Celebrate the Boy 2010 archive here and Made By Rae’s here. You can also take a look at the Celebrate the BOY photo pool which now has thousands of reader-submitted photos.

So the two of us were talking the other day. We decided that the main reason last February was so insane was not that we’d really overextended or overscheduled ourselves; it was trying to keep up with all of the emails that flooded in when people found out what we were doing and wanted to participate, either in the form of ideas, tutorials, or giveaways. And it was hard because while we were thrilled to get such an enthusiastic response and we did make an effort to accommodate many of those requests, we also had to write a ton of “no I’m sorry we’re all scheduled up” type emails. I guess we could have just ignored everything, but I honestly believe that some great ideas would have never seen the light of day and that would have been a shame.

So this year we’d like to invite you to submit your ideas for BOY month ahead of time. We’re setting up a special email account specifically for Celebrate the BOY and both Dana and I will have access to it.  If you would like to contribute in some way to CTB 2011, please email us (click for the address) now and tell us about it. Friends, strangers, new bloggers, old bloggers!  Submissions will be accepted until the end of this year. We will sift through the emails and pick a few favorites to turn into blog posts on MADE or Made By Rae in addition to the things we already have scheduled. Specifically we are looking for tutorials and other ideas for posts relating to unique sewn or crafted items for boys of all ages. If possible we prefer to link TO your blog with a teaser post to bring traffic to your site rather than keeping full posts on our websites. Preference will be given to strong visual styling and good photography. Send us a description of what you are thinking along with links to things you’ve done in the past if possible so we can scope it out. And feel free to send us something you’ve already posted; it doesn’t have to be a brand new idea!

We’d also like to have some cool giveaways for our readers during Celebrate the BOY. If you have a sewing or crafting business and would like to give away something for boys or parents of boys, or sewing or crafting items that are boy-related, let us know.

DISCLAIMER. The following things may seem obvious but still need to be said:
1. We will not be able to include everything that gets sent to us. What we post on our blog will be based on our own personal preferences and we appreciate your understanding.
2. We will not steal any ideas without giving credit. BUT it should come as no surprise to you that many of the ideas floating around in CraftBlogLand are similar or even (gasp!) the SAME. That’s how that goes, and again, we appreciate your understanding.

Please submit your ideas no later than December 31, 2010.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Crafters + Snacks = Awesome.

We had the most fantastic time last night at our first ever SE Michigan Crafters Meetup.  I was overwhelmed by the response with only a week’s notice — over 25 people showed up and I don’t know that we could have handled many more as our room was chock full of energetic crafters.

The space was amazing.  A number of people commented on how great the room (which normally functions as the church’s youth room) was for what we were doing.  There were comfy couches for knitting and handworking and plenty of tables for sewing.

a pool table and ping-pong table for cutting and a bar area (can I even call it that if it’s in the youth room? hee.) for snacks:

It was a good thing I didn’t really plan on getting anything done (my cohost Karen called me “The Bride”) because I spent the whole time orbiting the room with a plate of food in one hand and a coffee in the other. I did make a point of sewing one cloth napkin in the last half hour so that if Mr Rae asked me what I made I could say “SEE?”

Everyone brought their own projects which made it super easy to plan.  It was so fun just to walk around and talk to everyone: I got to pick Caroline’s brain on how best to deal with the quilting issues that have popped up with my Far Far Away linen quilt (turns out she is an experienced quilter), talk blogging shop with Melynda, Kristy, and Jill, rant about the Sewing Revolution with Emily and Lisa, talk Weekend Sewing with Shari (who had gone to the week before mine in Vermont this past summer) and quiz everyone else about what they were working on. So much fun to see everything from quilts to baby booties to felt play tents being constructed in one room. 

Special thanks to Trinity Church of Livonia for letting us use this amazing space. We will be back!  And another special thank you to Karen for helping me plan, get the word out, and bringing the Starbucks.  Right now I’m looking at my calendar and thinking Friday December 10th for the next one, but we’ll see how December shapes up.  I’ll be sure to post about it when I know for sure so you can RSVP if you’re thinking of joining us!

Posted in at home