Get ready for Cleo on Creativebug!

Cleo Skirt for Creativebug

I’m so excited to let you know that my Cleo Skirt class will be the first one of my garment classes to launch this spring over on Creativebug. I love to teach, and since I can’t actually come to your sewing room in person, this is a fun way for me to show you how to make Cleo virtually! The class will show you how to make both views (shown above) of the skirt.

Cleo goes live on Creativebug this coming Wednesday, March 21. If you you want to sew along when it launches next week, here’s a few things you can do to get ready:

  • Sign up for Creativebug!
  • Get your materials together: the Cleo Page has fabric recommendations, yardage charts, size charts and materials list.
  • If you’d like to have a printed pattern to use for the class, check if  your favorite sewing shop carries Cleo, or purchase one from one of my online stockists!

PS. I’ve got two more garment sewing classes for women coming from Creativebug this spring! The next one is due drop in early May.

How to sew Ruby with a divided yoke

how to sew Ruby with a divided yoke / made by rae

I promised this tutorial last May when I first posted the rose colored Ruby with divided yoke shown below, and since then I’ve had more than one email asking when it would be posted. I guess that makes this a long-awaited tutorial. Sounds pretty special, doesn’t it? I think it is special! It’s a great way to mix up an already super-versatile pattern (Ruby) with a new look.

Rose Ruby with divided yoke

To make Ruby with a divided yoke, you need to line the yoke and assemble the main part of the top in a slightly different order, something I demonstrate in my Ruby with a lined yoke videos, and I’ll refer to the video series for the assembly of the main part of the top rather than walk you through the entire process here. Because of this, it helps if you’ve made a Ruby with a lined yoke, but is not required. Note to beginners: I’d really recommend trying the basic pattern first before attempting either lined mod!

Step 1. Cut Yokes
You’ll need FOUR front yokes, because instead of cutting on the fold, you’ll be adding 1/4” at center front (CF) to accommodate the slit in the front. So take your front yoke pattern piece, add 1/4” at CF, and cut four (so: two sets, one for the lining, one for the outer).

Cut TWO back yokes on the fold, one for the lining and one for the outer

Step 2. Sew yokes together at shoulders
With right sides together, sew each yoke together at the shoulders. Each back yoke will be sewn to two front yokes. Now you have two yokes, one for the lining, and one for the outer.

Step 3. Sew yokes together
Starting and ending 1/2” from the bottom edge of each yoke (it helps to mark this with chalk or fabric marker), sew the yokes together along the neckline and armholes.

Step 4. Turn yoke right side out
Press the armhole and neckline seams, clip them, and then turn the yoke right side out and press again.

Next, fold back the lining along each of the three bottom edges and pin it away from the edge so that it won’t get in the way when you attach the yoke to the main part of the dress/top.

How to sew Ruby with a divided yoke / made by rae

Step 5. Assemble the main dress/top
Sew the front and back of the MAIN dress/top together along the side seams, press and finish the seams. Next, finish the armholes with bias binding attached to the outside and then flipped and stitched to the inside. NOTE: I demonstrate how to do this in this video (skip ahead to 3 min 30 sec to see this).

Finally, gather the top edges of the main dress/top as instructed in steps 3 and 4 of the pattern to prepare to attach it to the yoke.

Step 6. Attach yoke to main dress/top
Pin the back outer yoke to the back main dress/top, matching edges and notches, and pull on the gathering threads until the two are the same size. Distribute gathers evenly and then sew together with a 1/2” seam. Repeat for the front, makin sure that the two front edges are lined up right next to each other. I usually backtack a few times where the two edges meet when sewing this seam.

Clip the seam allowance of the main dress/top at center front right up to — but not through — the seam line (very important!). Press front and back yoke seams towards the yoke.

Step 7. Fold down lining and hand stitch
Fold the lower edge of the lining so that it just covers the yoke seams you just sewed. The trickiest part of this will be at the center front, where the seam allowances need to separate at the notch you clipped. Pin and then stitch by hand in place to finish.

. . . . . . . .

You can see more pics of this Ruby in action over at this post. All of the Ruby tutorials and mods can be found on the Ruby page, and you can buy the Ruby sewing pattern in my shop!

Two more ruffled Gemmas

2 Gemmas with ruffle hems

The ruffled Gemma is clearly now my favorite Gemma Tank mod. I made myself two more with leftover fabric from other projects, and I’m super happy with how well these are going with my cardigans, my favorite winter layering piece, as it’s still quite cold here in Michigan.

Peach Gemma with Ruffle

2 Gemmas with ruffle hems

The first one is a blush tencel rayon twill from IndieSew; the fabric was left over from these Luna Pants. Yes…I see that you Quick Thinkers out there have already realized that I now have the option to wear head-to-toe peach, complete with ruffle in the middle. I am going to resist the urge to do so, for two reasons: 1) that would look ridiculous, as I myself am a light shade of peach and 2) I had a bad faux jumpsuit experience once. Fool me once, as they say…

2 Gemmas with ruffle hems

Second, a ruffled Gemma in a delicious cotton ikat from Stone Mountain and Daughter. I am happy that this one matches just about everything, as it is refreshingly neutral. I could really use a few more neutral wardrobe items to go with all of the colorful stuff I already have, so this one is going to be a great coordinating piece.

Gemma with ruffle hem

2 Gemmas with ruffle hems

If you’ve got the urge to make one of these for yourself, you’re in luck! The How to add a Ruffle to Gemma tutoria will help you make your ruffled Gemma dreams come true.

The Gemma Sewing Pattern is in my shop if you need the pattern:

and be sure to check out the Gemma Page for pattern info and other Gemma-related tutorials.

Reversible Wiksten Kimono Jacket

wiksten kimono jacket / made by rae

If it’s possible to have a coat crush, this is it for me. The Real Deal. The Wiksten Oversized Kimono Jacket is the first thing I get to cross off my makenine list this year! I’m super pleased that I was able to stretch out enough of this amazing blanket fabric that I purchased from Dry Goods Design in Seattle a couple years ago to make it work. I bought it thinking it might become a blanket poncho or coat of some sort, so I’m also happy that this pattern, which is from the Making Magazine Lines issue, came along when it did, otherwise I probably would have sat on it for another who knows how long.

wiksten kimono jacket / made by rae

The pattern calls for 3 yards of fabric for the outer and for the lining (I think? It’s too late in the afternoon for me to be looking these things up), and I knew because of the super-wide width on this fabric that I would probably be able to make the 2 yards I had bought work, but I couldn’t bear to hide one side of it with a lining. So instead I flat-felled all of the seams (check out my Super Seams post if you want a quick tutorial) so that the entire thing would be reversible. Besides flat-felling the seams, the other modification was that I had to hem up the bottom edge before adding the collar, as the lining usually finishes this when you attach it.


wiksten kimono jacket / made by rae

The only hitch to this plan was attaching pockets to the same spot on both sides of one piece of fabric, but I think I accomplished this fairly well with two slightly different-sized pockets and some matching thread. What’s that thing they say in sewing? If you can’t see it from 3 feet away it doesn’t exist? Yeah, that. If you look closely you can tell they’re smaller and lower on one side, but who has the time.

wiksten kimono jacket / made by rae

If I look smug AF in these photos about this coat it’s because its freaking amazeballs, but I can’t really take credit for any of it except if you count how ridiculously lucky I was to score this fabric when I did. I keep posing in front of the mirror and taking selfies on my camera with a fierce expression. It’s so frightfully vain. The only bad thing about this coat is that I truly cannot decide which side is better: the side with the “H”s or the side with the Chevy-plus thingies??

wiksten kimono jacket / made by rae

For those wanting to find this exact fabric, I am sorry to say that you are probably out of luck. However, if you Insta-stalk shops like Dry Goods or Fancy Tiger or IndieSew or Stylemaker that source deadstock or jobber fabrics, you’re likely to run into something amazing of your own someday. Signing up for their newsletters always helps.

wiksten kimono jacket / made by rae

As for the pattern, Jenny plans to release a version of this pattern soon in the Wiksten shop (and it sounds like there will be more than one view, including a more slim-fitting option?), so you can either grab a copy of Making Magazine Lines now, or you can soon purchase it directly from her.

wiksten kimono jacket

wiksten kimono jacket / made by rae

Have a wonderful weekend! It looks like the terribly cold weather plans to hang on a little longer so I can wear my jacket around town. And maybe strut a little bit.

wiksten kimono jacket

Blackwood Cardigans

Blackwood Cardigans

I’ve made a handful Blackwood Cardigans since purchasing the pattern from indie designer Helen’s Closet last spring (shown here with my gingham Gemma Tank and below, my rayon challis maxi Washi Dress). So this post is part of my new ongoing series called “Made Last Year but Forgot to Blog.” When I first wrote that I was half joking but now I think I am dead serious.

Blackwood Cardigans

This gold one was intended to be the muslin. It started as an organic jersey in a sad shade of orange-gold (see below) that I had purchased from Near Sea Naturals (now Organic Cotton Plus) years ago and never liked. The color just wasn’t my jam, which of course is the risk you take when you order solid-colored fabric online. I must mention that for me, most of the time the will-I-like-this-color gamble pays off; in this particular case it did not.

Blackwood Cardigans

HOWEVER. As you can see from the “after” pic that follows, this was a situation quickly remedied with an exciting trip through the wash with a packet of Aztec Gold iDYE:

Blackwood Cardigans

And now voila I loves it muchly.

Blackwood Cardigans

The first time I wore it I sat in blueberry jam. This is of course one of the (very few) down-sides of having a toddler.

Blackwood Cardigans

However that does not stop me from wearing it.

Second version:

Blackwood Cardigans

Made from a sumptuous silky cream bamboo french terry that I found at Simplifi. Loved it so much I started wearing it before I had a chance to attach the pockets, which is really its only failing (someday I swear one day I will take a half a minute and sew the damn things on).

Blackwood Cardigans

I did shorten the pattern for this version owing to a shortage of fabric, something that happens frequently to me as I often buy fabric with no project in mind and end up guessing as to how much I will need. Shortening the pattern was easily accomplished by cutting halfway between View A and View B on the bodice pieces, and shortening the neckband accordingly (I wanted a little more length than View B, which ends at the high hip).

Blackwood Cardigans

The pattern is a frequently-worn favorite for me; I love it and highly recommend. It’s super easy to sew, and the length and style are really quite perfect, especially if you dislike sewing buttons. And don’t take my word for it — the Blackwood Cardigan was named one of Pattern Review’s Top Patterns for 2017! Woot woot, Helen!

Last but not least, a Blackwood made for my momma for her birthday with the floral print from my line of fabrics for Cloud9, Sidewalk knits:

Blackwood Cardigans

She’s gotten lots of fabulous compliments on it, and it matches just about everything. Double win! Need to get some modeled shots of it on her, right?

#2018MakeNine plans

We’re halfway thru February, which means it’s the perfect time to post about my sewing goals for 2018, right? LOL. I hope this post will encourage any of you who worried if it was already too late to post your #2018makenine lists (answer: never too late). I’m here to tell you that you can post your list whenever you want and still not miss the party. And if you’re just now hearing about #2018makenine, check out Rochelle’s post. She’s the brains behind this low-pressure, gentle sewing challenge and explains it better than I could.

As will come as no surprise to anyone, I always have a to-sew list a mile long, but it’s often things I need to sew for my kids or versions of my own patterns or new pattern ideas. Which kind of qualifies as half “work.” Hence, I wanted to be more intentional this year about not only having a more realistic list, but taking time to sew things with other designer’s patterns that I already own, something I don’t usually find a whole lot of time for. I enjoy learning new techniques or creative construction tips from other patternmakers, and I’m excited to try out these great designs from some really talented indie designers.

Here is my list for 2018:

2018 Make Nine

1 // Willamette Top by Hey June

Adrianna has so many great patterns! This one’s a favorite and I’ve seen so many cute versions this year online.

2 // Wiksten Tova by Wiksten

I’m embarrassed at how long I’ve owned this pattern and yet have never made one. This one was one of the first great indie sewing patterns, no?

3 // Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case

Anything with piping immediately sucks me in and I’ve got the perfect cotton lawn for this one.

4 // Stasia Dress by Sew Liberated

Buying Stasia the minute it was released was a no-brainer for me and I’m excited to give this one a try.

5 // Roscoe by True Bias

I knew it was meant to be when I saw a fabric I had already purchased at IndieSew in Kelli’s Roscoe fabric inspiration post. I cut the pieces out last week for a blouse and can’t wait to start sewing.

6 // Maritime Shorts by Grainline

Also embarrassed at how long I have owned this pattern; my friend Megan wore a couple really great pairs of handmade Maritime shorts at Squam this fall and reminded me that I really need to pull it out again. I was thrilled to discover the other day that I had already printed out and trimmed down all the pattern pieces.

7 // Abigail Swimsuit from Ohhhh Lu Lu

This is gonna be a bit of an experiment as I’m hoping to print my own swim fabric through Spoonflower. But I’ve sewn a handful of swimsuits before and this one looks good!

8 // Wiksten Oversized Kimono Jacket from making magazine

I bought the #4 Lines issue of Making Magazine mostly for this pattern, and Jenny also has plans to release the pattern on its own in her shop soon. I’ve already started sewing this one from an amazing fabric I picked up at Dry Goods a couple years ago (here are some WIP pics on Instagram) and can’t wait to finish it!

9 // Fringe Dress by Chalk and Notch

I met Gabriella briefly in San Francisco in December and have loved watching her patternmaking star rise this past year. This pattern was the smash hit of the summer and there are so many good versions online. I’ve made my muslin already and I’m ready to start cutting.

Are you participating in this challenge? Have you made any of these patterns yet?

PS. Seeing Made by Rae patterns make it onto your #2018makenine lists was so very lovely and encouraging to me.

Liberty Gemma Tank with ruffle

Liberty Gemma Tank with ruffle

Here’s a fun Gemma mod I’ve been wearing for nearly a year but never blogged: a Gemma Tank with a ruffle. You’re in luck if you want to make one of your own because I’m posting a tutorial for how to add a ruffle to Gemma along with this post….simultaneously! Ta-DA!

Liberty Gemma Tank with ruffle

I’ve been hoarding this Liberty Tana Lawn from a trip to Purl Soho in NYC since 2010. I think I purchased this print thinking I would make a dress for Clementine but every time I thought about making her something with it the possibility of it being outright rejected prevented me from even cutting into it. What I’ve now come to understand is that it needed to be worn by someone who would be sure to love and appreciate it. (ME)

Liberty Gemma Tank with ruffle

In the winter (hmmm…actually, most of the year) I wear this one with a cardigan. Sleeveless tops like Gemma and Ruby are perfect for layering under cardigans rather than trying to stuff something with a sleeve into the arms of a sweater.

Liberty Gemma Tank with ruffle

Mirror Selfie from last summer:

Liberty Gemma Tank with ruffle

I’m not sure if it’s even worth mentioning, but I ended up raising the waist seam by about an inch after taking some of these photos. If the waist seam hits me too low on my torso, it makes the overall proportions of a garment look odd.

Here’s a “before:”

Liberty Gemma Tank with ruffle

And here’s the “after” (higher waist seam):
Liberty Gemma Tank with ruffle

Can’t tell the difference? Yeah, I get that. They both look fine, but for whatever reason I got hung up on it. In fact, looking at the photos in this post now I find I prefer the longer ones. TOO LATE! So the moral of this story is: you can make something shorter, but it’s a hell of a lot harder to make it longer.

Liberty Gemma Tank with ruffle

You can check out the tutorial for how to add a ruffle to Gemma for an easy how-to, or buy the Gemma pattern in my shop!

Liberty Gemma Tank with ruffle

Posted in gemma

How to add a ruffle to the Gemma Tank

How to add a ruffle to the Gemma Tank

One of my favorite mods for the Gemma Tank has been adding a ruffle to the hem. It’s super easy to do, and it doesn’t even take any extra yardage!
How to add a ruffle to the Gemma Tank

Step 1: Crop the back bodice pattern
You’ll need to shorten the bodice and straighten the hem to add the ruffle. Measure 8″ down the side seam of your bodice pattern piece, beginning at the armhole, and draw a horizontal line perpendicular to Center Back at that spot. Discard the rest of the pattern or fold it up if you want to keep it intact. 8″ is my preferred crop length, but you may want to experiment. Every torso and body is different, and a slightly longer or shorter crop may look better on you!

Step 2. Crop the front bodice pattern
Repeat for the front bodice. VERY IMPORTANT: Remember to skip the dart when measuring along the front side seam!

Now cut out your front and back pieces using your modified pattern.

Step 3. Cut the ruffle pieces
Cut two rectangles out of your fabric for the ruffle. These should be about 10″ tall (again, you may want to experiment with this). The width will depend on your size. I like to use my waist measurement (if you want a nice even number, use the “waist” measurement from the size chart: look under “body measurements” and use the number under “waist” for your size). I like the proportion that this width lends to the ruffle, but if you want a fuller ruffle, you could also use the “hip” number for your size.

Step 4. Assemble the tank
Using the pattern instructions, sew the darts, shoulders, and side seams of the bodice and finish the armholes and neckline with bias binding.

Step 5. Assemble the ruffle
Next, sew the two ruffle rectangles together at the sides with a 1/2″ seam. Then add two lines of gathering stitches along the top of the ruffle, 3/8″ and 5/8″ away from the top edge. I use the longest stitch length and highest tension on my machine for gathering.

Step 6. Attach the ruffle to the tank
With right sides together, pin the ruffle to the tank, matching side seams and pulling on the gathering threads until the top of the ruffle is the same size as the bottom of the bodice. Distribute the ruffles evenly and pin like your life depends on it. No such thing as too many pins here!!! Then sew together with a 1/2″ seam, remove pins, and press seam toward bodice.

Step 7. Hem ruffle
Press under 1/4″ and then 3/4″ along bottom edge of ruffle (or desired amount — I like to try it on and mark the finished length I want before I do this). Press and pin around entire hem, then edgestitch to finish.

Liberty Gemma Tank with ruffle

Voila! Finished ruffle tank!

Liberty Gemma Tank with ruffle

You can see more pics of this Gemma tank in action over at this post. All of the Gemma tutorials and mods can be found on the Gemma page, and you can buy the Gemma sewing pattern in my shop!

Piper Top

Green fleece Piper Top

The Piper Top pattern by Christine Haynes is a super quick make. The shape and collar give it a fun 60’s vibe, like something Audrey would have worn with black pencil pants and flats, you know?

Green fleece Piper Top

I chose this green Malden Mills fleece (which I pick up locally at Field’s, a Michigan chain) because I wanted something super cosy for winter, as it gets down to negatives here quite frequently, and I like how the fleece gives the pattern more of a structured, sweater-like appearance. I didn’t quite think through the 3/4-length sleeves combined with my ridiculously long arms, so I added a little cuff to the ends of the sleeves to lengthen them a bit after trying it on mid-sew and deciding I could use a little more length (and warmth) there.

The shoulders on the pattern are angled more than most, so if you have square shoulders as I do, you may want to tilt the shoulder angle a bit, which is what I did (remember then to open up the neckline so it doesn’t get too small!). I also have fairly broad shoulders, so next time I may do a broad shoulder adjustment…but…it usually doesn’t matter too much with knits due to their stretch unless you’re super picky about fit, drag lines, etc. I find it’s a delicate balance when making ones own clothes: you start to notice fit issues that you’d normally just ignore in your RTW clothing…this “Sewing Tunnel Vision” is both a blessing and a curse, I suppose. I have to be careful not to get too picky or I’d never get anything finished.

Green fleece Piper Top

This Piper been keeping me nice and cosy all winter! You can find the Piper PDF sewing pattern in Christine’s shop.

PS. I really loved this Love to Sew Podcast where Helen and Caroline interviewed Christine!