Sewing with Ribbons

I can tell that you’ve been missing seeing my little munchkins on the ol’ blog lately. Right? No worries, in the midst of sewing Washi Dresses, I found some time to sew for this little stinker, so I have a few finished projects to share.


Yellow Pierrot

This yellow top was made with my Pierrot Tunic, without the neck ruffle and with pockets added like Anna’s cute pink voile version.



The ribbons are from Michelle of Wunderpop, who sent me a pile of ribbons last spring to try out.



I knew immediately that the green ribbon needed to go on a Pierrot Tunic, even though they would have been just as cute for Elliot on something boyish. It just looks so great with those green corduroy pants, no?




I also had just watched Liesl Gibson’s Lazy Days Skirt Workshop on Creativebug, and though I’ve glanced at the pattern on the Oliver+S blog a number of times, something about seeing it done on video just made me want to jump out of my seat and whip one up. So I did:



It was so fun how fast it flew together, and without the hemming (Liesl shows you how to use the ribbon to hem the skirt) it’s even faster and cuter than you could imagine.


Clementine loves wearing skirts right now, so this one was a big hit this summer. Even so, I haven’t managed to take a photo of her in it yet beyond this Instagram shot, where she’s covered in chocolate gelato. Hee. The best of summer.


OK, one more Instagram pic to share with you, I just love how cute she looks in her Rainbow Dress (the free tutorial is found here), which is getting a bit small, but still fits!


I’ve made some of the images in this post “pinnable” when you click the pin it! buttons in this post; feel free to pin any of the those images from this post! Thanks!

backpack roundup

My Elliot starts kindergarten next week. WAAAAAH! Unbelieveable. With back-to-school season here, I thought we should take a peek at all the great backpacks that people have been making with my Toddler Backpack pattern. The original pattern was intended for preschool-aged children, 2-5ish (hence the name, “toddler”), but has since been updated to include easy instructions for enlarging it for a school-aged child so it can accommodate the normal 8.5×11″ sized notebooks and handouts and whatnot. At the top of my current To Sew List is a school-sized one for E. Only time will tell if this backpack actually materializes by the first day of kindergarten or not.


1. Helicopters, 2. Rapunzel, 3. Numbers, 4. Giraffe, 5. Robots, 6. Scooters, 7. Blue w/ Orange, 8. Dragons, 9. Buses

This viewfinder version makes me so happy I have enough of this Melody Miller fabric left to make a copycat backpack of my own:


Johanna, who made this adorbsible version for her toddler son, has a post called “Backpack with a View” if you want to see more (and clever name, eh?)


1. Daisy Backpack 1, 2. Pair of Backpacks, 3. Purple ZigZags, 4. Green Giraffes, 5. Rockets, 6. Big Polka Dots

Here’s an example of one of the backpacks made using the bigger kid dimensions:


1. Dump Truck BackPack – Side, 2. Dump Truck BackPack – Front

You can find the pattern here, and of course, keep adding your pictures to the backpack pool and the Rae Made Me Do It photo pool so I can feature them on the blog!

Washi Dress Bodice Lining Video Tutorials

I’ve put together a little series of not-exactly-high-quality-but-still-informative video tutorials to show how I do a partial (bodice) lining for the Washi Dress. You can see what this looks like on these inside-out pics of the Aqua Washi Dress here:


The lining I used is a white cotton batiste. Batiste is quite soft and lightweight yet still does a great job stabilizing the neckline on the double gauze dress. You could also use solid voile or that crazy-cheap poly lining stuff for the linings. I like to line the Washi rather than use the facings when I am making it with shot cottons, double gauze, or voile. In some cases I prefer a full lining (as with the maxi dress, I’ll do another post about the full lining soon), but if you have a half slip handy or are just making a tunic, this is a great technique to use.

Facings are the standard method included in the Washi Dress pattern. So why do a partial lining instead? There are a few advantages of doing a partial lining as opposed to using facings:

Partial Lining Advantages

  • they are nearly as quick as putting in the facings and require the same amount of pattern pieces
  • they hide the dart and shoulder  seam allowances, so you can leave them unfinished
  • they add coverage to the bodice for more sheer fabrics
  • they look really nice and professional
  • they don’t flip up and out of the neckline when you put on the dress/top like the facings often do
  • looks great without sleeves too! this is a great way to finish the sleeveless versions without bias tape

For the sake of being thorough, here are a few of the disadvantages of this method:

Partial Lining Disadvantages

  • unlike a FULL lining (which is more time-consuming as it means essentially constructing two dresses), you would still need to wear a half-slip with sheer fabrics
  • it is definitely a more complicated technique than using facings, which is why I decided to make videos rather than try and tackle it in the instructions for this pattern
  • it requires a bit of hand-sewing (but don’t worry!! it’s not much and can be done in front of the TV in matter of minutes)

To make the partial lining as shown in this video, you will need to find the unlabeled and oh-so-subtle grey curved line that goes across the “BACK DRESS” pattern piece (the red arrow is pointing to it) from your Washi Dress pattern:


Do you see it? OK! You’re ready to watch the videos!

Washi Dress Bodice Lining – Part I (4 min)
Prepping the dress and lining pieces

Washi Dress Bodice Lining – Part II (2 min)
Sewing front and back lining together

Washi Dress Bodice Lining – Part III (2.5 min)
Attaching the lining to the neck

Washi Dress Bodice Lining – Part IV (5.5 min)
Attaching the lining at the armholes

Washi Dress Bodice Lining – Part V (4 min)
Turning the dress right-side out and getting ready to sew side-seams

Washi Dress Bodice Lining – Part VI (2 min)
Shows finished side seams and hand-sewing

Hope you find those to be extremely useful as you make more and more Washi Dresses!

What about a full lining?
As I mentioned already, I will have another how-to post very soon for those of you who are interested in a full lining such as the one I did for the voile maxi dress, but for now, you can use the technique shown in this video for a full lining as well; instead of using just the bodice pieces, you would construct a second dress from your lining fabric (I do one line of shirring only on the lining, and instead of pleating the front skirt lining, I sew it flat to the front bodice and trim the excess at the sides) and assemble the dress and lining together just as shown in videos III, IV, and V. Then hem the bottom of the dress over the lining or handtack the lining to the dress at the bottoms of the side seams.

Flash Back to School Sale!

School is almost back in session (or already back in session…waaaah!) and cooler weather is just around the corner.

That means it’s time to sew some FLASHBACK SKINNY TEES! Let’s have a sale! [UPDATE: THIS SALE IS NOW OVER]


More Good Stuff…

Want more info on the Flashback Skinny Tee sewing patterns?
Flashback Skinny Tee (sizes 12 mo -5T)
Flashback Skinny Tee for Big Kids (sizes 6-14)

If you’re new to sewing with knits, don’t forget to go back and read some of my previous posts on sewing with knits. There are lots of great tips and hints to help you get started.

You can see what everyone else is making in the Flashback Skinny Tee Photo Pool

{If you’ve already purchased the Flashback Skinny Tee, there is Flashback love for you too. Check your original purchasing e-mail for your own special Flash Back to School coupon!}


Posted in updates

And the hair…

I’ve had a few people ask how I did my hair in the maxi dress post:

I used the Simple Gibson Tuck tutorial from Sara Lynn Paige. As you can see by comparing the picture above to the picture below, I have really thick hair so on most people I think it will look more like the picture below unless you use the roller which is optional in the tutorial.

Click on the image below to go over to SLP for the tutorial:

image by Sara Lynn Paige, used with permission

Sara is a fantastic professional photographer. Her website is full of really amazing photography and is really fun to look at, so go over and take a look! I’m sure you’ll be as addicted to this hairstyle as I am once you see how easy it is!

How I take photos of myself

Came across this photo and thought some of you might find it interesting. Someone asked me the other day who took my photos and I said “ME!”  Mr Rae is usually at work when I want to take pictures, and he doesn’t really know how to use the camera in manual mode anyway.


So here’s what I do: I have a wired shutter remote from B&H, and attach it to an even longer cable so that I have about 12 feet of cord between me and the camera, which is on a tripod. Then I stand in the entryway to our house — the only place in my house with a white-ish wall that has enough light for photos — and press the shutter button on the remote to snap the picture. I have a 2-second timer delay set on my camera so I can drop the remote before the photo is taken. That’s it. Campy? Probably. I keep feeling like there’s a better way to do this but it works for me. Sometimes I put a munchkin up on a stool behind the camera and let them push the remote button instead. The photo you see above is just one of a couple “test” photos I take before I get started to check exposure and so on. For the maxi dress photos I was going for a slightly out-of-focus, ethereal/airy effect, so I overexposed them a bit.

Most of my photos then need to be cropped so that you don’t see my door, my rug, etc, because I try to use the largest aperture I can for the lens so that I get as much light as possible. Even in that entryway there’s not a ton of light.


So that’s pretty much my one photography secret revealed. Oh wait, there was this post a couple years ago about using white posterboard for photos. OK, two photography secrets. I feel like I’m gradually getting better at it, but I’m always learning new things. The internet is pretty amazing that way. Any tips you want to share?

Summersville Washi Tunic

Washi Week!!! OK, last one, I promise (for now).



I admit I fell pretty hard for Lucie Summers‘ Summersville collection. It’s so modern and basic, I can see it as table linens, boy shorts for Elliot, twirly skirts for Clementine and Wiksten tanks. So I bought a pile.


And the paint-brush stroke print just seemed perfect for a casual Washi top, with shorts in the summer or jeans and a cardi in the winter. I admit that normal persons would probably not wear it with green skinnies, but then I am not a normal person.


But just to show that I can pull off “normal,” here it is with a pair of jeans:


Here you get a nice view of the bodice which I adjusted for a small bust (see the Resources section at the bottom of the Washi Pattern page for a how-to)


This top was made with the “tunic view” of the Washi Dress Pattern, which is available now!

Purple Washi Dress by Karen

You didn’t think Washi Week was over, did you? There’s MORE WASHI this week, the first is from my friend Karen! I made her come over the other day for a quick photoshoot so you could see one of the many amazing Washi dresses she’s made for herself:


In addition to being great friends, Karen and I teach sewing classes and run crafter meetups together here in Ann Arbor. She is usually the first person to test my patterns. If you know her in person you know that in addition to being endlessly cheerful she is also incredibly generous. She sews up multiple versions of the patterns before they are released in order to help me evaluate various aspects and she gives fantastic technical feedback to boot, having spent the better part of last couple years designing patterns for the book Sewing For Boys and for the now-discontinued children’s pattern company, Patterns by Figgys (which she co-owned; the other half of PBF, Shelly Figueroa, rebranded last fall as “Figgy’s” and has released two pattern lines so far that are also really fresh and modern). I am constantly asking Karen about this or that or the other thing when it comes to patternmaking.


Karen and I also happen to wear the same size on top, but we have completely different body shapes. Karen is super-curvy and I, well, I am pretty much the opposite of curvy. So when Karen tested the Washi Dress for herself I really wasn’t sure if it would work. Don’t get me wrong, I knew *she* could do it technically…but whether she would have to completely redraw all the pattern pieces for a different figure was more the question. She amazed me by not only making multiple versions of the Washi for herself and completely rocking all of them, but doing it with some pretty basic adjustments to the pattern. Which was a relief honestly because at first I was worried that this dress might only look good on small- to average-chested persons such as myself.

Karen’s dress is made with the same Echino double gauze as the aqua washi dress I posted last week, which is incredibly soft and has a wonderful drape. Totally recommend! And doesn’t this purple version look stunning??


I made Karen write down the modifications she made to the pattern in order to get the fantastic fit you see here:

“You easily could have called this dress “Love at First Sight.”  I know I’m not the only person who feels this way.  Every time I make it, I cannot wait to make another.  It’s so versatile, and lends itself really easily to customizations! I have found the best fit for me by making some tweaks:

I start with a Size Medium, because my upper bust is 35 1/2″ and the shoulders fit perfectly.  Then perform a full-bust adjustment to make the front bodice more accommodating width-wise and also lengthen it a bit.  I added 2 more inches to the length of the front after the FBA because I wanted to hit the narrowest part of my waist…I still need to add about another 2 inches to accomplish this, but I love the two dresses I made so far. Of course, I added 2 inches of length to the back above the shirring lines so the front and back would match at the side seams.  Lastly, I added about 6 inches* to the skirt below the pockets on both front and back so I could have a knee-length dress with a nice, deep hem for the double gauze,  I love the way it hangs this way.

Maybe I’ll make a solid color next? (It still blows me away that we start from the same base size in this dress.)”

*Note from Rae: Since Karen made the dress pre-testing we’ve added a little over 2″ to the overall length of the pattern; so adding 6″ would no longer be necessary to get this length + deep hem, it would be more like 4″ now, plus the amount added during the FBA.


I am super jealous of how photogenic she is. And her hair (of course). Do you think I could pull off purple? This one looks sort of like a glamour shot, but I love it because you can see her nose ring.


And finally, a note on bust adjustments: I want to really encourage you ladies with more up top *uh-HUH!* to read up on full bust adjustments and give it a try! In a nutshell, an FBA adds more fabric to the bust area and lengthens the bodice to make more room for your bust. You’ll find that making more room for The Girls will not only allow you to make a smaller size (yay!) overall, but also will get the bodice of the dress to completely clear your bust so that the dress can hug your figure around the rib cage for a MUCH more flattering look — when it hangs off of the bust you get that “maternity” look that is only cool when you’re actually preggers. I’m working on making some sort of video or tutorial on how to perform an FBA on the Washi Dress pattern specifically, but in the meantime, you can consult the “Fit Guide” in your copy of the Washi Pattern PDF (walks you through making a muslin and choosing size), or go to my Washi Pattern Page and scroll down to the Resources section for FBA tutorial links.


Aqua Double Gauze Washi Dress

Another Washi Week Washi for you today, just in time for you to sew your own this weekend!


If you want to make absolutely the most comfortable Washi Dress in the universe, you really must try double gauze. It is SO. SOFT! Wearing this dress is like wearing pajamas. Is that not a good thing to say?


(earrings from bsidemetalworks)

I purchased this Echino double gauze from Charmstitch about a month ago and regret to inform you that it was the last on the bolt. However, Laura still carries a number of Nani Iro double gauzes that are just as gorgeous. They are definitely worth the price, though I would never have cut into it on a first try. I still have enough of the green unicorn double gauze from Heather Ross’ first Far Far Away collection to make another Washi, but I’m not sure if I dare. But it would be so awesome. *Bites nails*


For this version I made the outside of the dress just as the pattern instructs, but lined the bodice with cotton batiste (a super-lightweight cotton that is widely available) because I wanted a little more stability inside for the double gauze. I actually took a video of the lining process but we’ll just have to see how my video editing skills are, hah.

I think it goes without saying that lining the dress is a bit more complicated than sewing it with the facings — I made an executive decision early on that the facing method was a better way to go for beginners, and thus it became the default construction method included with the pattern — but I feel with a video tutorial and some hand-holding, everyone could easily do the lining method with not too many tears and swears.



The Washi Dress pattern is now available in my pattern shop or from the Washi Page!


Pattern details, size charts, yardage, and other info can all be found on the Washi Page, so check it out if you haven’t yet:

And on a personal note: I would like to add that I am completely overwhelmed by the response we have gotten to this pattern. I have been floored, floored I tell you by the sheer amount of kind comments, tweets, IG’s, and posts that I have seen and received, not to mention the sales, which have been spectacular and have already broken any previous first day sales records (the Big Butt Baby Pant pattern held the record for a long time, just in case you were wondering) by a long shot. It is so gratifying to offer something to the world and get such a positive and encouraging response back. It truly makes all of the hard work, neurosis, and extra hours we have put into this pattern SO worthwhile. Thank you everyone for your kind encouragement and support!!!