Daisy Queen strikes again

This top was the “test run” for the Polka-dot top posted earlier this week. I wasn’t sure I would have enough time to pull together a second version so I made sure I liked the fabric and that it would work if it had to be the only one that was made. It was made from a vintage sheet from my grandmother and the same pattern as the Polka Dot Top (and Ric Rac Baby Dress), just with sleeves and that little notch at the top (which I’ve been seeing all over the place for the last couple of years, in Amy Butler’s Little Stitches book and the Oliver+S Ice Cream Social top, just to name a few). It ended up being a runner-up for that post as I think this one is just as Gyo-Fujikawa-esque as the first (hmm..I don’t think that adjective will catch on). Bonus: it works great with the blue capris too!

You should probably start to worry that you’ll see that daisy headband in every post from here on out.

Serenity now *does deep breathing*

I’m taking this post down because (I’m not sure I mentioned this yet or not…oh WAIT! I did! Hee…) but I truly am super busy packing and really don’t have the time to deal with this right now and I think it’s best if we just move on. Thanks so much to those of you who left supportive comments! I appreciate it!  🙂

UPDATED 3/30: I’ve posted a little more about this on my Facebook pagehttp://www.facebook.com/madebyrae if you’re curious about the situation. Sorry to have left some of you wondering what was going on, I know that always makes me a little crazy.

Posted in updates

Oh what a crazy week!*

*get it? do ya get it?

You guys it is serious craziness over at my house right now. We are moving on Friday. FRIDAY! And do you think I am packed? Do you think I have stopped sewing things for my kids and guest posting and book reviewing and put all my fabric into boxes like a Sensible Person would do? That’s right you guessed it: I have NOT. *rolls eyes at self*

So like a Crazy Woman I am posting (again) today because I thought maybe you would be interested in what is going on here behind the scenes at Chez Rae. I usually tend to be pretty vague about my personal and family life here on the blog (even if you see my kids all the time) so I’m not exactly sure how to go about writing about moving without being cliche or boring or too informative about my family’s geographic whereabouts (Yes I’m a paranoid freak. It’s out. Let’s move on.) but I’ll give it a try:

We are moving in a couple days to the other (west) side of this lovely state of Michigan, temporarily, because the house we *want* to rent on this (east) side of the state is not available until later this summer. I am thrilled that our house sale went through. I am thrilled with the house we plan to rent. I am thrilled we will be staying in West Michigan for a few months, closer to many old friends, my awesome inlaws and the lake. However, I am NOT thrilled that most of my stuff will be in storage this spring and summer (how to choose from all my lovely fabrics??? Like choosing a favorite child…) or that we are going to have to move not once but TWICE in the foreseeable future. Blerg. I truly appreciate all of the emails and comments I’ve gotten asking about our move…it’s so nice to know you’re thinking about us. You guys are the best.

And here are some other, more bloggy things I have in my head:

Spring Top Week.
Yes, it’s almost that time again: Spring Top Week season! I’m not exactly sure what the final week will be this year (probably first or second week in May), but I’ve already got some friends lined up to help out again with the spreadsheets and a few spring tops for myself in progress. I’m thinking I might change the name to Spring Topathon though, since it’s not really a week but more like a month where everyone submit their tops to the pool (the week part of it is that bit at the end with the voting and the winners and the prizes). You can find more information from past years’ contests here.

Anyway, start thinking about what top(s) you want to sew for yourself this year, pick out some fabric, make/buy your pattern, and get ready because I’ll have more details soon. Wheee! And you know what, I’m not superhuman, so if Spring Top Week slowly morphs into Summer Top Week this year, we’re not going to sweat it. OK?

Pattern requests and testing.
I get lots of requests for patterns from this blog (and “tutorials” which I think might be code for “will you make it for free, Rae?”) but as most of you know there is only one of me and she only works part-time and she is also pretty slow. However, I do enjoy making and selling my patterns and as some of them get close to rolling off the line I’m going to be finding myself in need of testers. So I’ve made up an online form for those of you who have your eye on something here on the blog and would like to sign up to be a pattern tester. Obviously I may not be able to use everyone who offers to help but at least it gives me a place to start. I’ve also set up the form so that even if you don’t have any interest in testing you can still give your two cents on which patterns or sizes you think I should be working on, which by the way, is not only appreciated but also helps me prioritize my projects with the limited time I have. Thanks for taking the time to let me know what you think!


Advertising on MBR.
I’ve got my ad rates for Q2 2011 (April-May-June) ready and available to send to you if you think you’d like to advertise for your shop or handmade business here on Made By Rae. Have a sponsor button up on one of the BEST sewing blogs in Craftblogland (hee)! Be seen by thousands of people each day (no joke)! Made By Rae normally averages a quarter of a million pageviews monthly and even more during special events like Celebrate the Boy and Spring Top Week. My rates are very affordable (roughly $0.30-$0.40 CPM depending on how many months you purchase at a time). Email me at rae dot made at gmail dot com if you’d like the actual dollar amounts (and not have to do any math). Maybe you don’t have a business to advertise but you know someone else you think would be a good fit for sponsoring this blog? Thanks for sending this along to someone else; I really appreciate it. I’ll be sending out April invoices this week.

OK, that’s all for now. Thanks friends!

Posted in at home

Oh what a busy day! Polka Dot Top for Clementine

I’m a guestie for Ms Katy over at No Big Dill today for her lovely Once Upon a Thread Series with a little outfit I sewed for Little Miss C inspired by the book “Oh What a Busy Day!” by Gyo Fujikawa, a favorite book from my childhood.

Head over to No Big Dill to see pictures from the (very vintage) book I read as a child and pictures of C’s outfit. Be sure to peruse the past contributors’ projects as well, all based in some way on a book. Amazing and so much fun to look at! I love Katy’s theme, sewing from children’s books? Brilliant! And a great excuse to make a fun new outfit! Here’s the top:

The pattern I used for the top is one of my own (sorry not available yet), a classic empire-waisted top with ruffle sleeves and pockets. If it looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same basic pattern as the one I used for this Ric-Rac baby dress last year. The fabric is the cherry dot from the It’s a Hoot collection by Moda, which reminded me of this cute little top from Oh What a Busy Day:

The capris were made with blue baby-wale corduroy and a highly modified version of the Big Butt Baby pant pattern (shortened with single pintucks in front). Just realized how few pictures I took of the capris, so I’ll post a few more shots of those later.

Here’s some out-takes from our “photoshoot” to bring you behind the scenes at our house a little bit…

someone isn’t always happy to have her picture taken
pacifying the subject with a little Richard Scarry video time
what’s in your pockets Clementine?
mini marshmallows!!!

Thank you Katy for having me over!!

Thanks for Celebrating the Boy with us!

I’ve had a fantastic time this past month making and posting so many things for the boys! I hope you’ve enjoyed our collection of tutorials, roundups and guest posts and that you’ll turn to it continuously in the future for ideas and inspiration.

Dana and I both get pretty tired, but it’s so worth it when I look back and see everything as a whole. I’m so proud of what we’ve got here. It’s been a busy month and we have had so many wonderful contributions. The response from readers has been so positive and enthusiastic. THANK YOU for joining us both as readers and for contributing your fantastic creations and ideas to our photo pool. I hope you’ll keep doing that throughout the coming year.

Here’s a look back at some of our tutorials….

{all of the photos featured here can be found in our Celebrate the Boy Archives}

and a few of our guest posts:

{all of the photos featured here can be found in our Celebrate the Boy Archives}

Would you do something for me please? If you haven’t yet, would you please take a moment to scroll through our archives (and here’s Dana’s BOY archives) and find at least one guest tutorial or post that you especially liked or appreciated and then make sure you GO OVER TO THEIR BLOG AND THANK THAT PERSON for all of the work they put into that project? I’m not sure everyone knows how many hours it takes to put those tutorials together. It would really make my day if you guys would just take a second to do that. Thanks!

I would like to thank:

  • All of our guest contributors for their fantastic posts. I was thrilled with how many guests were readers who had submitted their post ideas when we put out the call for contributions way back in November. You guys made this month what it is and without you I’d just be posting a bunch of stuff for Elliot. 
  • Two other people who deserve thanks are Carolyn who helped me with all of those roundup mosaics and Jess who helped me post updates to the Made By Rae Facebook page and Twitter.  
  • Thanks to our fabric sponsors Nido, Above All Fabric, Fabricworm, and Whipstitch who donated prizes for the awesome Boy Fabric Giveaways and to the shops that made our Boy Giveaway Day a success!
  • And special thanks goes to Dana: I just love hanging out with you for this month every year! What a fantastic teammate to have on this supercool project. I love all of the ideas that are constantly streaming out of your head and that great sense of humor. Your talent for blogging is truly inspiring! I take it as a huge compliment that half the emails I get during Boy Month are from people who think that you and I are the same person….hee.

I can’t end Boy Month without strutting my stuff just a little bit. Here’s one last final hurrah for all the new stuff that I made! Yaaaaaay! *does Kermit arms*

{all of the photos featured here can be found in our Celebrate the Boy Archives}

Alright, that’s a wrap! Now I am going to go take a break. 

Negroni Shirt for Mr Rae

There’s just one more project I want to show you before we officially close up Celebrate the Boy this afternoon, the one item of clothing I managed to complete for the other “boy” in my life, Mr Rae:


I alluded to the fact that I had started on this shirt at the beginning of the month when it’s designer Sarai of Colette Patterns was here as a guest and I’ve nearly had it finished for the last couple of weeks. I finished it yesterday just in time to let it slide in for Boy month. It’s the Negroni Shirt by Colette Patterns and I really like this pattern. Alot. This version was meant to be the test version, and if you look closely you’ll see that it’s not perfect, but it’s perfectly adequate for Mr Rae and I’m glad I made one with this shirting before busting into the more expensive Lightning Bug Dots I originally intended for the final version. Here you can get a nice view of those flat-felled sleeve seams:


This pattern has many nice features, but I think the best thing is that this really is a manageable project for the intermediate sewist. I prefer to “western” up my shirts a little and put the pearl snaps on there because I think taking the buttonhole step out (the most loathesome step in my opinion when constructing a mens’ shirt) is laudable any way it can be managed. If snaps hadn’t been invented you know I’d be putting a zipper or a nice long strip of velcro in there. Kidding (sortof).


{Ok, so I lied. It’s not completely finished. I am waiting on two pearl snap tops for the cuff yet.}

a closeup of the fabric: the flowers are a pale pink; overall color is a cream/natural shade, accents are brown

For those who are still intimidated, let me give you a rough time breakdown and then you can either subtract time if you’re a non-distracted type (unlike daydreamer me), or add time if you’re new to sewing or just plain slow:

  • Tracing and cutting out pieces took me a couple hours (maybe 2)
  • Assembling the basic shirt (including sleeves, collar, front placket) took a few hours one evening (maybe 3)
  • Adding cuffs, hemming, putting on the snaps, sewing on the pockets took a couple more hours (maybe 2 at most)

Does that sound like alot? See to me that’s not too bad. I think that’s a perfectly manageable largish sewing project, and if you really really love the person you’re making it for, totally worth it. But my advice would be to never spend this much time on a jerk boyfriend.

UPDATED: I totally forgot to mention that I did read through Peter‘s Men’s Shirt Sewalong before I made this shirt and would definitely recommend if you’re thinking of attempting this or any other men’s shirt! Thanks Tiphaine for the reminder!

Wrapping up Boy Month

I meant to have a nice roundup post yesterday to end our Boy Month here (it was March 15 yesterday), but I got crazy sick and haven’t been able to hold myself upright for the last couple of days. I’m feeling a little better today, but MAN. I know this is just going to sound redundant but it seems like when your kid is in preschool the whole family is sick all. the. time. Like every day we send him is like pushing him into a germ factory and saying “Best of luck with that immune system, little dude! Try not to bring anything home with you!” I think of all those little puzzle pieces and bingo markers and play foods covered with microorganisms. How often do you think they clean that stuff? Probably never. Typical week: he gets sick on Tuesday because he caught something at preschool on Monday and then can’t go on Wednesday because he’s still recovering from whatever it was he caught on Monday. Then I get sick a few days later. I stick with it because I think wow by kindergarten he’s going to have Superhuman Antibodies and never ever get sick again. Does that sound as idiotic as I think it does? OK, enough whimpering about being sick, Rae! MOVE ON!

I have a few extra boy projects of my own that didn’t quite make the cut this month when it came to posting but I thought this orange tie-dye shirt was worth showing. I made it for one of Elliot’s little friends whose favorite color happens to be orange. I made a similar one for E last summer, there’s a brief how-to on that post if you’d like to make one too.

And I just wanted to show you guys a couple more tutorials that showed up in the pool. First, here’s how to make a stuffed Bullseye from Toy Story by Jessica of Running with Scissors:

Handmade Bullseye Toy Softie

And Jessica’s got a bunch of other fantastic stuff for boys over at her blog.  I love these little dino tails (click on the pictures for the tutorial link)!

Dino Tails

More Charlie Tunics!

Thanks for all of the great comments on my first Charlie Pullover Tunic (posted here)! It sounds like some of you are going to attempt something similar for your own boys, which is very cool! For those of you who might not know where to start, I’m almost finished with a pattern for this (in sizes 12 months – 5T for now). I know I’m usually pretty slow at this stuff, but I really am very nearly there. Those of you who are waiting for other patterns (Pierrot and that piped sunbonnet, to name just two) are probably going to scream at me for having to wait even longer, but I swear they are next on The List. After I move in a couple weeks. Hee! Am not stressing, am not stressing.

pointed placket
flat placket
another version, cuffs folded up

I fiddled around with that placket a little and decided the flat bottom looks nice too. After I unloaded all my photos I realized I kindof forgot to take pictures of Elliot wearing the blue one (oops!). It’s made of a sturdier cotton (Kona quilting cotton) and the green one was made with a super-cheap broadcloth which means neither has the same nice easy flow that the linen one does. But I figured you never know until you try! It doesn’t matter since both of these will still get plenty of wear.

original Charlie

OK, so now you’ve seen them all. Which one do we like the best?

Guest Tutorial: Lego Table by Piccoli Piselli

Well you know we like legos around here. We’ve featured a lego quilt, lego toy sacks, and then there’s our boy month graphics. There’s a reason for that: BOYS love legos (OK, and girls too, but give us a break, we’ve got two days left of our Boy Month so just let us revel in it). And today we have a special tutorial for you from Sascha of Piccoli Piselli to show you how to make the mother of all crafts, the lego table. This particular creation can keep kids occupied for hours and has other parents seething with jealousy (or trying to play with it) when they come over for playdates. Isn’t this spectacular?

Oh yes, you read that right: it’s reversible. Legos on one side, chalkboard on the other. Sweeeet. 

And it goes perfectly with the Peekaboo Lego Sack that Sascha made from Toni’s tutorial (featured earlier this month). Love it!

Here’s Sascha:

Well hello, I’m Sascha of Piccoli Piselli. Some of you already have been introduced to my family but for those of you who are seeing us for the first time, here we are (minus me. I’m always the photographer). There’s Chef, Luca, Rocco (yup, he’s blind), and Vincenzo on our recent trip skiing.

My favorite time of year in blogland is Celebrate the Boy month. I frantically bookmark projects that I will hopefully get around to before my little munchkins are in college.  I tend to procrastinate. A lot! I’m happy to say I was able to overcome my procrastination for this project to create the reversible Lego play table. I have two boys and a girl that I love creating for. Usually I’m sewing things but not today… break out the power tools! For this project I wanted to come up with something that the entire family could enjoy. The project I have for you is something everyone can play with (my husband is more excited than the kids about this one!). Since we are going to visit Legoland in San Diego next month for Spring Break it’s perfect timing to create a reversible Lego play table for my “boy” project this month.

OK, let’s grab the drill and some paint and head over to Piccoli Piselli to make a lego table!

If you haven’t been to Piccoli Piselli before, you will love Sascha’s hilarious writing and fantastic sewing skill. Here’s some other boy loveliness you can find over on Piccoli Piselli:
And tons more fun stuff to peruse:
Thanks so much Sascha for helping us Celebrate the BOY! I can’t wait to see the other lego tables turning up in the photo pool!