Picking a cover for Ruby

I thought it would be fun to show you something that Elli is working on these days, a little behind-the-scenes post of sorts. We took a break from new pattern production this summer after Beatrix (honestly we all just needed to step away, that one was really intense), and I wanted to work on putting a few more of our women’s patterns into print before we started on something new. Ruby seemed like a great candidate because it would make the perfect beginner garment sewing class, and we’ve noticed that the shops that carry my print patterns often use them for sewing classes.


It takes quite a bit of work to turn a digital pattern into a print pattern because not only do the instructions have to be laid out differently, we also need a cover for the pattern. A few years ago I hired Lauren Dahl to create a cover for the Washi Dress pattern, so Elli (who does all of our graphics work now; she also happens to be my sister) used the layout Lauren created for Washi to make something similar for Ruby.


You can see we narrowed it down to two candidates for the cover sample. I made the yellow Ruby top out of some double gauze and lace I had left over from other projects (the yellow double gauze was from this Josephine, and the lace was from this lace top). I’ve worn the top a few times this summer but I made it mainly thinking it might make a good cover photo for the print pattern. Here it is on the hanger:


And on me:


The other candidate for the cover shots was this Ruby Dress (if you follow that link you’ll see I’ve been thinking about the cover of this pattern for over a year). Here it is on the hanger:


And on me:


Jess and Elli and I spent a little time discussing which one of these shots was better for the cover. If we chose the yellow top cover, the lace might scare people away if they thought they could only use lace for the yoke (any fabric will do!) or were worried about it being see-through, but on the other hand, the solid yellow is really pretty universally appealing whereas the red feather print might be more of a personal taste thing. The red dress cover is my favorite photo of the two, but we were worried that the point on the bottom of the skirt might look too A-line; the dress hangs a little straighter normally and we didn’t want to give the wrong impression about its shape. So we zoomed in a little for the cover draft you see above, but then you can’t tell how long it is.

What do you think? Which is your favorite? Can you believe we spend so much time talking about such tiny details?? Sometimes I think I overthink this stuff way too much. Anyway, we’re sending the proofs to the printer this week so you’ll know which one we chose soon!!!

25 thoughts on “Picking a cover for Ruby

  1. My vote is for the feathers. It’s much more eye-catching and, I think, less specific to taste than the lace. I also think that because of the cropping people who are looking for a shirt pattern will see it as a shirt and those looking for a dress pattern will see it as a dress and they’ll both be right! I am a not very confident sewer and have made only five shirts in my life. All five are Rubys. Thanks for a great pattern!

  2. I would definitely choose the red feather/chambray combo. The white/yellow top seems washed out and my eye was immediately drawn to your armpit area in that photo for some reason. I also think the red one plays off the colors of the logo and packaging better than the yellow. I always read the packaging to find out how long the garment is, so zooming in for a closer shot seems to be a good choice.

  3. Interesting! The yellow appeals to me more to wear because I love it and the feathers are nice but not my thing… Buuuuuuut, I think the feathers works better for the pattern cover, for my twopenn’oth, because I look at the chambray/Essex linen plus interesting additional fabric and it gets me thinking of all the combos I could do (including lace and length)… For me it sparks a better (easier, more imaginative, more inspiring) thought process which is say makes me more likely to buy it and sew it. (If I hadn’t already!… Which I have!)x

  4. I agree, the feathers if much more eye catching. I agree that it appeals and gets you thinking about all the combos you could do.

  5. Even though I personally prefer the feather one (that’s the one I’d wear if I had a choice), I think the yellow top makes a better cover photo. Somehow it just works with the rest of the graphics and the solid color has a simpler look, even with the lace on top. Kind of hard to go wrong with either one, though!
    This reminds me that I bought this pattern a couple years ago and still haven’t made one…

  6. Love hearing the conversations behind the scenes. And I LOVE that yellow lace version. Such a gorgeous combo and so pretty on you!

  7. I think the yellow shows off the gathers of the pattern more clearly, but I echo the idea that I would wear the red/chambray combo before wearing the yellow one. You’ve got a tough decision, for sure!

  8. I think the red feathers would be a better cover choice. I think it’s both eye-catching and appealing – looks do-able. But the yellow is still great because it shows a fun option with the lace, so I hope you could use it inside to show an alternative.

  9. Definitely the red! I actually like the yellow top more but think the red photographs better and I would totally be someone who would wonder about working with the lace bc I’m pretty inexperienced. Though most of my sewing is your kids patterns and I succeed bc they are so well written and easily executed! That’s my two cents!

  10. I would vote for the feathers as well. I believe it is a slightly better photograph of the pattern for two reasons. First, the color/light on the left side of the yellow shirt seems a bit washed out. Secondly, the arm hole of the yellow shirt looks a bit off in the photo. They will both do a great job of showing off your awesome pattern, but I think the feathers edge out the yellow version. Thank you as always for sharing!

  11. Hi – both are lovely. If I had seen them in a store I would pick the red feathered dress . Probably because of the fabric choice. Hope that helps. Cheers.

  12. I vote yellow. I have liked the ruby dress, but never enough to buy it, now I’m sitting in my car waiting for kiddos dance classes to finish, planning 2-3 tops to make for myself this weekend..

  13. So glad this one’s going into print! They’re both lovely but I prefer the blue/red, partly because it’s the dress rather than top version. I kind of think it’s easier to imagine a dress shorter as a top than the other way around. And whichever, I think it would be good to put ‘dress and top’ or ‘dress/top’ quite clearly on the cover so it’s obvious. (Speaking as a retailer who will definitely be stocking this!) Also, I do think people can be very literal when having a first glance and the lace on the yellow top – however lovely – could scare some people off having a closer look. Love that you invite feedback like this!

  14. The yellow. The solid shows your pattern well, instead of being caught up in the print of the feathers. I also think it suits your branding more i.e. matches your logo. Also, I prefer how the top is more centered on the cover (you can better focus in the top and less on the negative space).

    Thanks for sharing, this was interesting.

  15. I love the yellow top! I think if you were to go with the branding model, the red feathers dress would be more in line with Made By Rae look. They’re both beautiful though!

  16. Use both .the yellow pops! If it were my choice it would be the yellow and a small bottom corner snap shot of the red variation.

  17. I really prefer the red feather dress. I think it has a better fit on you. Also, I know that if I was at a shop scanning through patterns on a wall my eye wouldn’t even stop at the yellow. It’s too washed out. I love the pop of the red, plus that fabric reads more modern to me. I don’t think it matters that you can’t see the hem; the hem usually isn’t a deciding factor for me when I choose a pattern.

  18. At first look of the pictures the Yellow one seems to cut off at a weird proportion and the darkness of your jeans is actually what draws my eye. Not necessarily the shirt. In the Red one, I like that it is ‘solid’ article of clothing to the bottom of the picture.

  19. I think you have to go over all this detail to make sure you pick the cover that you hope has the greatest appeal. Personally, I like the yellow and the lace wouldn’t scare me off even as a novice- to intermediate-sewer, BUT I lean toward publishing the red feather cover because I think it stands out better. The boldness of the red simply pops and draws the eye to it. Also, in case anyone else IS intimidated by the lace, I wouldn’t want to cause anyone to shy away from a pattern that is easy and totally do-able for the beginner, so I vote for the red for publishing even though I’d rather sew the yellow.

  20. Hello to you and your sister (my friend Elli)! I’d definitely go with the feather print. The yellow gauze reads “wrinkled” to me and the photo does not do justice to the pattern. Using the photo of the cut-off version of the dress allows the sewer to envision making the pattern at different lengths (especially a tunic version).

  21. I definitely choose the yellow one. Makes not much sense to display one of the views (dress) without showing it fully. When a make is displayed on the envelope, I find logical to have a full view of it.
    I find the yellow one adorable and very inspiring. I think fairly obvious, for beginner sewists I mean, that you get to choose your own fabric and can replace lace by some other easier fabric. The lace is also very inspiring for the choice of fabric. It helps think of associating two fabrics of different kind. To me, it makes this top look lore versatile and less common when browsing through a list of possible makes.
    Good luck with your final call !

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