Charlie with short sleeves!

I wanted to see if I could make a short-sleeved version of the Charlie tunic (which is at the top of My List right now, really want to get this out there before Spring Tops take over my life next week). I honestly wondered if it would look alright with short sleeves or just be kind of weird. You can be the judge I suppose but I think this is pretty fantastic. I love the retroish look of the sleeve facings and this froggy print is really really cute (Rachel of Retrolabs brought this to last summers’ Weekend Sewing workshop and she gave me a piece, thank you Rachel!!!). The goal for today is to put a short-sleeved cutting line onto the pattern pieces, the other versions I’ve made have all been long-sleeved.

pretty sure this fabric is out of print

In case you can’t tell, this shirt is meant to be a shirt for a boy (although in the back of my head I am always thinking gender-neutral so Ms C can wear it too in a few years). The question now is if he will wear it? Elliot pre-approved the froggy print, but then took one look at the finished top and said (and this is in his words) “I want you to cut off the red and orange parts. I want JUST the green frogs, Mama.” Waaaaaaaah? Seriously child? You are killing me here! Worry not, you shall see a picture of a child in this shirt, even if it takes an entire Hershey bar.

More Bonnet

Just found this picture from last summer on the computer and thought I’d throw it at the blog. Clementine is pointing at the screen right now and saying “Bee-Bee!” Oh man, she just screamed and now I have officially lost hearing in one ear. I have two minutes here before Elliot finishes his waffle and then it’s on with our day.

(This is the other side of the reversible Daisy Bonnet, by the way. And dear me I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that you can buy the ALL NEW Peekaboo Bonnet Sewing Pattern here, just in case you missed it the first time…*end shameless promotion*)

Posted in bonnet

Spring Tops: Judge Meg helps you pick a pattern

Are you guys ready to get sewing? I’m so excited by all of the wonderful tops that have already been entered in our Spring Top Sewalong. I’ve got 12 excellent judges lined up who are already scoring the tops as they come in (remember: the final day to enter a top is May 9, 2011).

I’ve asked a few of the judges to help those of you who are still deliberating over what to sew make up your minds. Today I’m thrilled that Meg of Fashioned by Meg has agreed to help us out. Meg is one of our Spring Top Sewalong judges and blogs about all sorts of things: sewing for herself, her kids, and quilting, to name just a few topics. One of the things I really love about her blog is her pattern reviews (check them out for yourself right here). And if you don’t know how to sew and want to learn, she wrote a great post yesterday about learning to sew.

Meg’s recent Patchwork Placemat tutorial. SO. cute.

Today Meg’s put together a fantastic roundup of her favorite women’s sewing patterns and tutorials that would be great for the sewalong! She’s chosen patterns that are relatively easy for beginner sewists and has included a brief review of each the patterns. Here’s a peek at just a few:

You’ll have to head over to Fashioned By Meg to see the full roundup post! Thanks Meg for such a helpful and fantastic post!!!

*  *  *  *  * 

Have you guys been following Grosgrain’s Free Pattern Month? The first feature was this amazing top tutorial by Sew Convert. Wouldn’t this be a great Spring Top?

Are YOU ready to enter a top? Please go to this post to read the rules and enter!

To get the button above, copy and paste the code below into a sidebar  html widget/gadget or directly into the html editor of a blog post. It will automatically link to the spring top sewalong posts. 

Peekaboo Bonnet Sewing Pattern!

buy now2


The Peekaboo Bonnet Sewing Pattern is a digital PDF sewing pattern that you purchase, download, and print at home. The reversible sunbonnet sewing pattern includes detailed step by step instructions on how to make this adorable bonnet with piping around the brim and band. Instructions include color photographs and full-sized pattern pieces for EIGHT sizes (wow!) for babies and children. Seam allowances are included on all pattern pieces. Hints on sewing with piping and modifying the pattern for better fit are also included!

This bonnet is an easy and quick project! The techniques beyond sewing straight lines are: sewing curved lines, sewing with piping, and gathering. Clear instructions for all of these techniques are given (they are not prerequisite skills). Appropriate for a beginner who has machine-sewn simple projects before.

Newborn, 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months, 1-2T, 2/3T, Child Small (fits approx age 4-6), Child Large (fits approx age 6-8+). Head size range: 13″-21″

-solid fabric for piped side of bonnet (see chart in shop listing for amount)
-patterned fabric for non-piped side of bonnet (see chart in shop listing for amount)
-1 package (approx 2 1/2 yard) store-bought piping*
-1 yard 1/2” wide double fold bias tape
-Interfacing for brim (recommended for toddler/child sizes or if using lightweight fabric)
*if you are making your own piping, use 1” wide bias tape so that the sewable edge is 3/8” wide.
This piped sunbonnet was featured on my blog on the following posts:
Daisy Sunbonnet and Romper
Almost here: Bonnet, bonnet, bonnet!

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Special thanks to my testers: Susie, Heather, Katie and Shelby for helping me test the pattern and for all of your amazing and helpful feedback!

Share your photos: I can’t wait to see all of the adorable bonnets you guys make! Please add your pictures to the Rae Made Me Do It photo pool so we can all enjoy them.

Almost here: Bonnet, Bonnet, Bonnet!

Sometimes I get to the end of the week and there’s not much to show for it. Last week I made a pile of reversible sunbonnets and nearly finished up the pattern. The pictures that came back from the testers were awesome. I was a little bummed, because I was SO close to getting this up and running before Easter. The good news is that there will still be plenty of sunshine yet this spring and summer! Woohoo!

Here’s the child size small (fits ages 4-6 approximately)

Fabric: Anna Maria Horner, Good Folks line
Fabric: Brown Linen

And a couple for teeny tiny babies (these are the newborn and 0-3 month sizes):

Fabric: Vintage sheet (left), “Vintage” Amy Butler Gypsy Caravan line (right)
Fabric: Lecien Dots (left) and Natural linen/Tencel blend (right)

And here’s a cover image:

Coming soon! (like possibly this afternoon?) In EIGHT sizes to fit heads 13″-21.”

Posted in bonnet

Happy Weekend, Happy Easter!

Easter Egg Hunt this morning. E got two eggs. C got one egg (+1 from another toddler whose parent felt sorry for her). Looking at the other older kids with their baskets full, it seemed a little sad. Then I realized it was about the perfect amount of candy for them. Yay!
A dollar store trip, after E’s good behavior chart being filled up this morning. One set of plastic tennis rackets and balls. One microscopic pool table set, complete with spring-loaded cues (one is already broken). 
Spring finally came to Michigan this afternoon, so we had a trip to the park with the whole family + swings + slides + a family having a birthday party complete with pinata. It was so exciting to be outside.
E helped me put these Easter decorations on some branches today. Cute little bunny and bird and egg ornaments from Germany I think (they’re my mom’s, found in the basement this morning). I really hope these flower indoors.
Will I get either of the dresses I have in my head for C sewn in time for tomorrow? Only time will tell. A matching tie for E? Probably not. 
E was so tired that he fell asleep an hour ago at dinner. My guess is he’ll be up again around 11 PM, right about when we’re ready to go to bed. Oh well. It’s been a good day.
Have a Happy Easter everyone!!!
Posted in at home

Bunny Pants! (with a little tutorial)

With Spring and Easter on the brain lately (by the way, our spring snow has all melted!), I had this idea (which seemed absolutely brilliant in my head at the time) to put bunny kneepads on the Big Butt Baby pants. Then realized that white kneepads wouldn’t exactly be the most practical. Then I realized I didn’t care.

These were made with the cuffed version of the Big Butt Baby Pants and I added piping to the cuff as this keeps the fold nice and stiff and prevents it from unfolding while they are worn (and if you add an inch to the leg using the cuffed version instructions, it turns a 18-24 month size pair of pants into a 2T when unfolded). Maybe a tutorial on how to “pipe up” the B3Ps soon.
blurry, but at least it gives you a full length shot

The result is this little pair of pants for Ms C made with the same pale pink baby wale corduroy as the Bear Hat. The bunnies are the same french terry used for the lining of the hat. I used a picture that I found online of Miffy by Dick Bruna (anyone else a fan?) and just traced the outline right onto the interfacing I used to attach them to the pants. You could definitely throw this onto any old pair of pants.

Want to make your own Bunny Pants? A quick how-to:

1. Construct your pants or buy a pair plain.

2. Print out or draw your bunny. I searched images for “Dick Bruna Miffy” and used the first image there, printing it directly from Chrome (my web browser). You may have to go to “View” in your browser and “Zoom in” to get the image large enough on the page. Check how big it is on the Print Preview before you print it out. You could also literally hold your interfacing (see next step) right up over your computer screen, zoom in on the image until it’s large enough, and trace it from there.

3. Trace the bunny twice onto Heat n’ Bond or another double-sided fusible interfacing. Iron the interfacing to the back side of the fabric you are using for the bunnies.

5. Cut out your bunnies and iron them to the pants. Mark the eyes and nose locations with disappearing marking pen.

6. Machine stitch all the way around the outside of the bunnies, about 1/8″-1/4″ away from the edge. I know in this picture there’s all sorts of little white pieces of fuzz, but trust me, after washing those bits of fuzz disappear. The interfacing prevents it from fraying so you don’t have to worry about finishing the edges.

7.  Sew nose by making an “X” with embroidery floss and knotting the ends on the inside of the pants. You can also sew the eyes on with embroidery floss by stitching short lines in a row across the width of the eye.

Alternatively (and less safely, please use common sense when attaching buttons to ANY childrenswear, children who put things in their mouths should not have accessible buttons on any of their clothing), you could use buttons for the eyes. Do remember that children are apt to fall, and buttons with this particular shape might not be particularly comfortable to land on as well. ** End Public Safety Announcement**

Voila! Bunny pants!

If you do make a pair, be sure to add them to the Rae Made Me Do It pool so we can all enjoy them!

I wish I was joking.

I took these pictures this morning.

E looked outside and saw the snow and asked: “Did it used to be Spring?” How to answer? And lest you think Michigan is always like this, a week ago Sunday it was 82 degrees.

Don’t worry, Spring Top sewing is still underway! Just a few more weeks to go! By then the snow should be gone. Should be.

Posted in at home

It’s time for a Spring Top Sewalong!

I’m getting antsy for a little selfish sewing. It’s time to sew new tops for for ME! Who’s with me? Anyone?

The Spring Top Sewalong (previously Spring Top Week, but it’s not really just a week so I’m changing the name) is a now annual event I hold every spring in that hopes that we can all get eachother inspired and excited about sewing new tops for ourselves. And that last word is key: there’s no sewing for anyone else allowed here, it’s time for a little self-indulgence. Time to buy the fabric you’ve been lusting after or pull out that pattern you bought years ago thinking you’d make it sometime. What better time than now?

Here’s what I’m thinking: we’ll have about a month to find a pattern and some fabric, sew it up, and enter a picture in the pool (link below). As you enter your tops we’ll enter them in a spreadsheet and send them off to judges (will introduce later) to be scored and narrow them down into a batch of finalists, and in May we’ll have a round of voting here on the blog to find a winner. We’ll have prizes for the two best tops (Reader’s Choice and Judges’ Choice) and prizes!! But really it’s not about the prizes, it’s just alot of fun!

Spring Top Sewalong Rules


  • Selfish sewing only: Your top must be sewed FOR you and BY you.
  • A top and not a dress meaning it covers the majority of your top half but not the majority of your bottom half.
  • Sewn this spring: no hauling out something you finished last summer; to qualify for the contest your top must have been completed after March 1, 2011.
  • Photographed on a person: preferably on you, but I know that can be difficult so do your best here.
  • Is entirely made by you: this year we are not going to include embellished tops in the contest because it’s too difficult for our judges to see how much of the top was made by you and how much was pre-made (like if you purchased a shirt from a store and added ruffles for example). You may upcycle an old or thrifted garment as long as you harvest the fabric from the shirt (i.e. cut the old garment apart) and then construct the shirt so that it the majority of the new seams/elements are sewn by you. See FAQ below.
*A maximum of three tops per person may be entered in the contest
  • One photo per top: Pick one photo of your top to enter in the contest. If you have other pictures of the top that you’d like the judges to see, please feel free to add a link to the rest of your photostream in the description.
  • Is a square image: crop it to a square before uploading it to Flickr
  • Is mostly of the top: your top should fill the majority of the picture so the judges can see it clearly; this means full-body shots of you wearing the top are probably not the best.
  • Should be text and AD-FREE: We understand that you want to protect your work; however, if you become a finalist we will be posting your picture here on the blog and cannot have any text on that image. If you decide to use a watermark, it must be extremely subtle (clear and small) or digital/invisible.
  • Is added to the 2011 Spring Top Sewalong Pool sometime between now and 8 PM Eastern on Monday May 9th, 2011 (link below)
  • Has a title with your name in it: The title of your top should contain your name (Ex: “Daisy Tunic by Martha”)
  • Is labeled: in the description area of your top, please include your NAME (yes again), the PATTERN you used, the FABRIC you used (describe or provide as much information as you can about it (name/type/designer), and — if you would like — a LINK(optional) to your website where we can see more (this can always be added later). Please feel free to write more in the description area if you would like!
  • Is “ENTERED” by a moderator: As the tops are entered in the pool, a moderator will check your photo to make sure it contains the necessary information, add it to the judging spreadsheet, and then put a comment underneath it that says “ENTERED.” Please let me know if you do not receive this comment within 48 hours of adding it to the pool; sometimes we miss one or two and we don’t want it to be you!
Here’s a great example from last year (click to go to the Flickr page):

To see previous years’ contests, click here.


May I use a top I started last summer but never finished?

Yes. All tops must be completed sometime after March 1, 2011. If you started something last year and then set it aside and want to finish it this year for the contest, that’s perfectly fine, I just want to avoid “old” entries, if that makes sense.

May I embellish a pre-made or purchased top?
No, unlike in previous years we are not going to accept tops that are embellished versions of a purchased or pre-made top, since it is too difficult for our judges to distinguish how much of the top was made by you and how much was made by someone else. Your top should be made entirely by you (see exception in the next line)

May I upcycle another top into a new one?
You are welcome to recycle fabric from another garment to make your top, but please make sure that any details retained from the original top are minimal. For instance, you might decide you want to keep the hem from the old shirt or the button placket. The rule of thumb is that you should be sewing the majority of the seams and other elements of your new shirt. Also: you MUST divulge all elements that you did not design or sew yourself in your photo description when you enter it in the pool.

May I design my own pattern?
You may use or adapt any sewing pattern or design your own. If you use a pattern, you must provide the pattern information in your photo description when you enter it in the pool.

We will begin entering tops on Monday, April 18th, so don’t be alarmed if your top doesn’t get a moderator comment right away. The pool will close at 8 PM Eastern time on Monday May 9th so that we can finish scoring and get the top 40-60 put together for reader voting on the blog. (please enter your tops as early as possible to make it easier on our judges)

UPDATED: We have extended the entry deadline to MAY 10 (Tuesday) at 8 pm eastern!

As I’ve mentioned in previous years, this contest is a huge project that I cannot possibly pull off all by myself. So I’m going to shamelessly beg for help. Here’s what I need some assistance with:

PHOTO MODERATORS Updated: All set, thanks everyone!
If you think you would be able to moderate the entries in the Flickr pool, email me with the subject “photo moderator!”  This would mean making sure the tops in the pool are actually meant to be there (you’d be amazed), properly labeled, and that the creator leaves proper contact information. I’ll send your email to Amber, who is in charge of the moderating this year so she can put together a schedule (you can sign up for the days you’re available) and let you know when/how you’re needed. Generally though the time requirement is about a half hour to an hour tops each day you moderate, you just need to check in a few times or even just once at the end of the day to check the pool for new entries. The majority of tops get entered during the last week, so availability between May 2-9 is helpful but not required.

I am looking for one or two people who would be willing to hunt down prizes (meaning emailing people to ask if they’d be willing to donate them, and let me know if you have ideas here!) and put together a nice list of the prizes along with descriptions and links for me to post on the blog. Email me with the subject “help with prizes” if you think you could do this.

PRIZES Updated: All set, thanks everyone!
If you have a shop or business that could offer something relating to sewing tops (I’m thinking fabric, sewing patterns, notions, books here or even accessories? sewing room art? a sewing machine?) to our prize packages (there will be two winners), please email me with the subject “potential prize for Spring Top Sewalong” and let me know what and how many you would be willing to donate. Links and photos are a must, so please be specific. Your shop/business will be featured in the prize package post along with a link to your website. You do not have to be a sponsor of this blog to donate a prize.

Whether you’re going to be sewing along, entering tops, or just participating as a voter or spectator, please help me spread the word by putting up a button (copy and paste the button code in the box for easy application). The images at the top of this post are larger files (400px) and the ones at the bottom are smaller (200px). I couldn’t decide if I liked the yellow or the green better. So I went with both, hee.

To get the button above, copy and paste the code below into a sidebar  html widget/gadget or directly into the html editor of a blog post. It will automatically link to the spring top posts.

To get the button above, copy and paste the code below into a sidebar  html widget/gadget or directly into the html editor of a blog post. It will automatically link to the spring top posts.

Thanks everyone! Let’s get sewing!!!