Fanciful Rose Pants

made by rae - rose pants in fanciful fabric

When I’m experimenting with a new pattern I often make samples using a basting stitch; it makes the sewing go faster and allows me to adjust the fit really easily as I go. I baste the seams and pin the hems, and often I don’t finish one sample before I move on to the next one to experiment with some new variable.

This pair of cropped Rose pants was one of those samples. I cut and basted them together one day last fall when we were working on some aspect of the pattern. I used this gold quilting cotton print from my recent line for Cloud9, Fanciful, and as the weather got colder, I lost the motivation to finish them. However, when the weather started to warm up a couple months ago, I pulled them out and sewed them up properly.

made by rae - rose pants in fanciful fabric

I’m happy to report that I think quilting cotton actually works quite well for Rose if you want a pair of lightweight pants or shorts for warmer weather. I’ve discussed some of the issues you should consider when sewing garments with quilting cotton before, so check out this post (also Fanciful garment, interestingly!) for that discussion.

The print itself is really fun and I got a “Wow. I like your pants! They’re so….FLORAL!” from the checkout guy at Kroger when I was buying groceries the other day (me: “Thanks! I made them myself!”).

made by rae - rose pants in fanciful fabric

The “fit-as-you-go” technique is something you can also do when making a muslin or sewing a pattern for the first time. Jess discussed the virtues of basting your seams to “fit as you go” in this post, and I’d encourage you to check it out if you’re unfamiliar with that technique.

Meanwhile, I’m wearing these babies with the bounty of other gold things in my closet — it seems to be my color of choice lately (here, here). One recent make is this this cropped top version of the Emerald dress that I made with leftover fabric from the sample I made for Making magazine (see it here).

made by rae - rose pants in fanciful fabric

We do intend to release an expanded version of the Emerald dress later this year as a standalone pattern (currently it’s available as a dress in Making magazine); it will include all 11 sizes in our new range in addition to this cropped top option, which I totally adore. My top versions of Emerald have definitely been in heavy rotation this summer. Not sure I will wear it with these pants — it’s a LOT of gold, even for me — but it’s kindof fun, right?

made by rae - rose pants in fanciful fabric

For more about Rose, check out the Rose page, get inspired by all the amazing Rose pants and shorts on Instagram, or buy the Rose pattern in my shop!

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My favorite fabrics for Rose pants (and shorts)

fabric for rose pants

Choosing fabric is a fun part of sewing up a new pattern, but fabric can have such a huge impact on fit (see this post for evidence) that if you miss the mark on fabric selection it can really make or break a pattern for you. Two garments made with the exact same pattern pieces but different fabrics can fit so differently (remember Jess’ post?) that it can be hard to know where to start, especially if you’re worried about the pieces fitting correctly in the first place. I know this can be stressful, especially if you’re new to sewing garments, so I wanted to provide some suggestions just in case you didn’t know where to start.

Here are five fabrics we’ve successfully made Rose pants or shorts out of, along with a few notes to help you in your fabric selection process.

1// Silk Noil (100% silk)

rose pants in silk noil

This fabric was an instant fave from the moment I sewed my first Cleo skirt with it last year. Meg got me into this fabric from Stone Mountain and Daughter (a number of other shops sell it as well; see list at bottom of post). It has a slightly nubby texture, is not at all shiny (it seems similar to what we used to call “raw silk”), is super soft, has tons of drape, and best of all, it’s machine washable (and can go in the dryer on low); just be careful as some of the colors may bleed when washed.

2 // Brussels Washer (linen-rayon blend)

rose pants in brussels washer linen

Jacqui was the first of our testers to try this cotton/rayon blend from Robert Kauffman, and Jess’ shorts sealed the deal: this fabric is PERFECT for Rose, plus it’s a fairly affordable option and widely available. Win-win.

3 // Essex (cotton-linen blend)

essex linen rose pants

This fabric has less drape than most of the other options in this post, but it still has a lovely weight for pants or shorts like Rose, as well as a softness that seems to get better with every wash. My light pink cropped Rose pants are made with Essex. I love that Robert Kaufman (the company that manufactures Essex) also offers some prints on the Essex base-cloth (shown above), as well as yarn-dyed options.

4 // Slub viscose-linen (linen-rayon blend)

rose pants in viscose linen

We discussed the pros and cons of this fabric at great length in this post, but it’s still one of our very faves due to its awesome drape, softness, and slub texture. Note that it goes by a number of names; see that post for names/sources.

5 // Loose-weave cottons (ikat, Loominous)

rose pants in loominous

This is a slightly less defined category, but when it comes to summer pants and shorts, you can’t go wrong with a soft, loosely woven cotton. The handwoven ikat cottons from India that have grown super popular in the past couple of years are a great example, so are the Loominous cotton collections from Anna Maria Horner. Both of these have similar behaviors: mid-weight but breathable, 100% cotton, loosely woven (as opposed to poplin, quilting cotton, or lawn), and soft. Avoid cotton gauzes and double gauzes for pants, however; the weave is a bit too loose for pants, and won’t stand up over time like more durable cotton fabrics will.

Where to buy:
You can also find some or all of these fabrics at Fancy Tiger Crafts, Ewe Fibers, Dry Goods Design, Imagine Gnats, Stonemountain and Daughter, and Shop La Mercerie; Blackbird Fabrics and Needlework Hamilton are great Canadian apparel fabric sources.

Finding the right fabric for a project can make the difference between loving something you’ve made and having it end up in the back of your closet. What are your favorite fabrics to sew pants or shorts with?

The Rose sewing pattern can be purchased in my shop. Check out the Rose page for more posts about this pattern!

Let’s talk about size range!

Not all of my sewing patterns come in the same size range, which is definitely confusing to people and something I’d love to remedy. However, as it seems unlikely we’ll be able to accomplish that in the near future, I thought it would be helpful to post some information about our women’s pattern sizing. And look! Elli made a handy infographic to make it easy to see at a glance the evolution of our size range and which patterns come in which sizes.

Many of you are aware that my latest pattern, Rose, comes in a larger size range than any of our previous patterns. Rose has gotten a fair amount of attention for having a more inclusive range, and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Rose has been our most successful women’s pattern launch to date.

Here is the size chart (11 sizes) we began using this year (2019) beginning with Rose:

I’ve noticed that many people aren’t aware that the size range we began using in 2016 included plus sizes (up to roughly a US size 24). Gemma was the first pattern to be released in this range. We have begun working to update our older patterns as well, starting with Ruby, which we released in this new nine-size range in both print and PDF early last year.

Here is the size chart (9 sizes) we began using in 2016 (Gemma, Isla, Ruby,Cleo, and Jade come in this range):

And here is the original women’s size range (2012-2015) — patterns in this range include Washi, Beatrix, Josephine, Bianca, and Luna:

If someone stumbled across an older pattern in the original size range (like Washi or Beatrix), it makes sense that they would assume that ALL of our patterns have the same range. Until we manage to update all of the patterns, this will continue to be confusing. It’s also a bit of a vicious cycle — if people assume that all of our patterns come in a limited size range, we don’t get included in plus sized pattern roundups and it’s harder to get the word out that we have more sizes, which also means the updates don’t sell as well.

Happily, we’re currently working on grading both Luna and Washi into the newest range, and adding a bodice piece for fuller busts to Washi (similar to what Gemma, Beatrix, and Josephine already have). Because Washi is my oldest women’s pattern and has been in print since 2013, figuring out the logistical issues of re-releasing this pattern is definitely going to be a challenge. But I really want to be able to provide a wider range of sizes for those of you who would like to sew this beloved pattern (and Luna!), and I’m committed to this project. Stay tuned.

In the interest of transparency, one of the questions that I still can’t answer is whether the investment of increasing size range for older patterns (that is, grading, testing, updating and reprinting) pays off. We’ve only managed to update one pattern (Ruby) so far, but I suspect that that a re-release will never be as exciting as a new pattern launch. Fewer people talk about it, or share online, and despite our best efforts to let people know, it is understandably less of a big deal. My guess is that the most sustainable path forward will be to continue to intersperse pattern size updates with new pattern releases. We’ll see how it goes with Washi and Luna.

I’d like to say thank you to the awesome sewists who shared their body measurements online using the #sewmysize hashtag earlier this year. Knowledge is critical, and knowing what sizes we weren’t reaching allowed us to depart from using the size data we were using before and add more sizes to our size chart. Voices matter, and the amplified conversations around size inclusivity have been important to this change for us.

Many people have expressed appreciation for the new sizes. It’s encouraging to hear that feedback, and I am also very aware that we still have a lot of work to do, and that there are still people who are outside of the current range who would love to sew for themselves. While I certainly wish I had done things differently from the start, the best I can do is try to do better moving forward.

Thank you to those of you who helped post about and spread the word about our new size range and previous size updates. And if you didn’t know about it before, know that we are working hard to make more of the patterns fit more of your beautiful bodies!

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Jess’ brussels washer Rose shorts

Another day, another Rose post! We continue to celebrate the versatility of the Rose pattern with Jess’ shorts. This pair is made from Brussels Washer Yarn Dye by Robert Kaufman. This is a lovely blend of 55% linen / 45% rayon that is easy to care for (machine wash & dry!) and easy to sew.

While this particular color is sadly no longer available, there are still some gorgeous options in the yarn dyes, as well as the [non yarn-dyed] Brussels Washer collection.


Jess chose to use the inverted pleats on this pair. I’ve included a bunch of different pleating and gathering alternatives in the Rose pattern, and I recommend trying different ones when you make yours! I went into some more detail about gathers vs. pleats in this post.

A few reliable sources for Brussels Washer:
Fancy Tiger Crafts: Regular / Yarn Dyes
Imagine Gnats
Ewe Fibers
Stonemountain & Daughter

Find resources, inspiration, and everything Rose-related on the Rose Page. Just need the pattern? Find it in my shop!

Have you made a pair (or three…) of your own Rose pants or shorts? Share them and get inspired at #mbrrose!

Rose pants in viscose-linen

viscose-linen rose pants

Rose pants can be made out of a pretty wide variety of fabrics for different looks and textures! Here we have a couple of pairs sewn from viscose-linen. This fabric has been VERY HOT on the Apparel Sewing Internet for the past year, so both Jess and I wanted to try it out for Rose pants, being both super comfortable, apparel-appropriate, and easy to find both at fabric shops and online. I also used it to sew the yellow Emerald dress sample for Making Magazine.

viscose-linen rose pants

Jess used the “rust” color, and I used “caramel.”

Rose pants in viscose linen

This fabric is easy to care for (machine wash and dry) and incredibly comfortable. It has an elegant drape too, but due to the slubby texture, it’s not difficult to manage while sewing, the way some slippery rayons can be. (note that the terms “viscose” and “rayon” mean the same thing)

Sewing Rose (or any garment, for that matter) out of this fabric does require some adjustments we wanted to tell you about. It has more than the usual amount of stretch for a woven fabric, so it has a tendency to “grow” while you sew it. For both of us, it stretched out quite a bit while sewing, especially along the curved crotch seams (basically, be careful with any curved or bias-cut seams), so when we were finished the pants felt at least a size too big.

viscose-linen rose pants

As a result, Jess (who has a 36.5″ hip and made a size S) narrowed leg at inseam, shortened rise, and reduced width at center back by taking in the top section of the back crotch seam. On my pair (I have a 41″ hip and made a size L), I took in in 1″ along both side seams from back pant pieces and waistband (so 2″ total), reduced back crotch curve by 1″ by taking in the back inseam at the crotch and inner thigh. I’m pretty sure I would also have taken up the hem if I were not so tall (I’m 5’8″).

I think the big question left unanswered yet is “should you go down a size in this fabric?” and I’m REALLY tempted to say yes, especially if you are between sizes. However, since this is — as of this writing — still untested, if you decide to do so, I must remind you to proceed with caution.

For those who would prefer to stay on the safe side and cut your fabric out according to your size, use the adjustments you made to your muslin and be prepared to make some tweaks. We also highly recommend in all cases that you baste all seams (except pockets) and adjust fit as you go — there are instructions for checking fit throughout the pattern to remind you to do this — this is always immensely helpful whenever using a new-to-you fabric.

With fabrics that have so much give, it’s always a good idea to hold off on hemming right away as well. Once you’ve done everything but hem, hang them up for a day or two, then try them on once more and sew your hem.

viscose-linen rose pants
viscose-linen rose pants

You may be left wondering: why the heck would I use this fabric if it may requires so much tweaking?? The answer is because these pants are so freaking comfortable you can sleep in them. This fabric is just the dreamiest thing to wear, and any hateful thoughts I may have mentally pointed in its direction when adjusting the fit of my pair have since magically disappeared. Sometimes, the problem solving involved with sewing garments is justified by the end result. I feel like a million bucks in these pants.

Rose pants - made by rae

One other note about this fabric. While it is widely available at many of our favorite apparel fabric shops, most shops use different names to identify it (a personal pet peeve, but moving on…). If you’re a shop that carries this fabric, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your listing so we can add you to this list:

Ewe Fibers – Viscose-linen
Blackbird fabrics – Viscose-linen noil (note: NOT the viscose-linen slub!!!)
Stonemountain and Daughter – Mora Slub
Shop La Mercerie – Avery Slub linen blend
Sewing Studio – Grace Viscose & Linen

I hope this post has been informative and helpful. If you have sewn something with this fabric or try it for Rose, be sure to weigh in with your thoughts so we can hear what you think!

The Rose pattern is available in my shop. Rose pattern information and yardage can be found on our Rose page.

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Jess’ silk noil Rose + Gemma set

silk noil Rose and Gemma set

Hi all! Jess here, sharing a Rose Pants + Gemma Tank combo that I’m loving. The fabric I used is silk noil in teal blue that we got from Ewe Fibers here. This silk is easy to care for (machine wash and dry!), easy to sew, and incredibly soft and comfy.

I’ve made three versions of Rose now: one in each length, and each in a different fabric. Throughout this process, I’ve learned a ton of lessons, and this particular Gemma/Rose combo presented the biggest challenges, but possibly the most rewarding results!

silk noil Rose and Gemma set
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When I cut out these pants, I had just finished making a super-drapy viscose/linen pair that required a lot of width reduction and rise adjustment. I mistakenly assumed that the same adjustments would be necessary for this silk noil, so I preemptively took 1/2″ off the width at the hip and took in the back inseam by about a 1/2″ to narrow the leg and reduce the rise. This was *not a good idea*! When I basted the seams and tried the pants on before adding the waistband, the rise was too low in the back, and there was not enough ease at the hip. 

Thankfully, I was sewing at the studio with Rae, and she helped me carve out the back rise seam to make a little more room in the seat. Then I reduced the side seam allowances, which bought me a bit of ease in the hip. My next mistake was to attach the waistband without basting first. I could barely pull them on over my hips! So again, I had to undo some seams and reduce the waistband seam allowances. I was surprised that adding the waistband made such a difference, but I believe that the interfaced front waistband stabilized the fabric and removed the little bit of ease I had actually retained.

Lessons Learned:

1. Don’t make adjustments until you’ve tried on the garment! I have a good set of working pattern pieces because I made a muslin out of a stable, non-stretchy cotton. I should have trusted those pattern pieces and used them without any changes when I tried a new fabric.

2. Only make one change at a time, and try on between adjustments. I didn’t make one change at a time, which resulted in not knowing which alterations made a difference.

3. Baste baste baste! Even though it feels like more sewing, if you use a basting stitch to sew all your initial seams, it’s super easy to try something on, make quick changes, and pull out the basting threads. Once you have a good fit, you can use a regular stitch and finish your seams with full confidence that you won’t have to take all those tedious stitches out later.

silk noil Rose and Gemma set

Now for the Gemma top! I’m probably Gemma’s biggest fan. I have a closet full of them, and I wear them all year around. Now that I’ve finally discovered high-waisted pants and shorts, one of my favorite modifications is to crop Gemma (here’s a tutorial), which I did here. Since I’ve made a thousand of these tanks, I didn’t try it on before I hemmed it. And guess what? *It was a bad idea*! It looked great with jeans, but the whole idea was to wear this tank with the matching Rose Pants, and the hem was just too low to look good.

So, another lesson learned: 

If you’re going to make coordinating garments, try them on with each other before finishing them. In this case, moving the hem up an inch made this combination actually wearable. And now I have a sweet new outfit! 

silk noil Rose and Gemma set

Ready to make your own combo like mine? Grab the patterns in the shop:
Rose Pants
Gemma Tank

And you can always get some inspiration on Instagram with these handy tags: #mbrrose / #gemmatank / #madebyrae

Rose inspiration

I really love the wide leg, high-waisted pant trend. Today I’m sharing some of the images that inspired me when designing the Rose sewing pattern. Not all of these are exact-matches for Rose’s design; in fact you’ll probably notice that very few of them are, because I often find the colors, silhouettes, lengths, fabrics, prints, and outfit styling more inspiring than the actual garment details. I’ll try to share some of my thoughts about these (I’ve numbered them to make them easier to reference), but in the end, the way an image hits one person is always a bit different than the way it it hits someone else. Here’s hoping you’ll find some sewing inspiration here as well!

Rose inspiration collage

I’m going to start with my most colorful set of images, since I’m a bold-colors kind of gal. Mara Hoffman’s high-waisted pant designs (1,3,7) have certainly been a huge inspiration to me. Imagining striped and solid colored fabrics for Rose (and how about a solid, matching top as well?) was a huge source of inspiration. I also someday hope to exactly copy those pink striped pants and complete the look with a white button-down and sweet hat (2). I love the combination of a striped knit top paired with floral pants (5), and that gauzy fabric in the yellow pleated pants looks perfectly dreamy (4). Who else wants to figure out how to add a center front zipper like that electric yellow pair with me (8)?

Now for some more neutral looks…

Several of the high-waisted pant and shorts images in this post have waist-ties (10, 13, 16), which is something I plan to explore soon — I currently have another Rose cut out and sitting next to me on the table along with a waist-tie…stay tuned. The dressy looks here are also great (12, 15); that all-black (navy?) outfit (15) is fantastic with the sleeveless turtleneck and some neutral accessories. I’m really drawn to rust (11, 14) and golden brown (9) fabrics; perhaps a linen would create those looks. And the lighter fabrics (10, 13, 16) are perfect for warm weather. The long white pants in (16) with that ruffled yellow top (Ogden cami? or Gemma with ruffle?) is such a summery look.

In this collage, more solid-color outfits that really shine (18, 19, 22), and a couple that incorporate denim or chambray fabrics into the look (23, 24) for a more casual vibe. The patterned Ace and Jig fabric (17) and vertical stripes (20) are fairly neutral yet fun. That cinnamon pair (21) really reminds me of the long brown Rose pants I wear all the time!

Finally, I want to draw your attention to the various lengths. Floor-skimming (20, 21) can be beautiful for a dressier or more dramatic style. If you’re sewing a cropped version of Rose, consider how different the cropped lengths are in the bottom right two images (22 and 25). 22 is mid-shin, while 25 lands right at the ankle; both are fantastic. I want to encourage you to play around with length — everyone’s proportions are unique, so the “perfect length” is really up to you!

The Rose pants and shorts sewing pattern is available now in my shop!

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Rose Pants Tester Roundup, vol. 2

Today we have the second installment of our tester photos to provide you with even more inspiration for sewing my newest pattern, Rose! (See vol. 1 here.)

Jessica (@kunklebaby, above) has come up with tons of ways to wear her Rose pants, and she’s one of the first to have made shorts! Note that we asked testers to first make either the long or cropped pants rather than shorts so we could evaluate the length, which is why you don’t see as many shorts pics in the roundups.

Jenny (@thewardrobearchitect, below), made this beautiful cropped pair first in an off-white tencel twill, then dyed them navy:

Nancy (@milkpillowblog) has made multiple versions in both prints and solids. Love how she’s paired hers with so many great handmade tops, too!

Mei made contrast pockets for all of the pairs she made — check out her pocket closeups in her feed: @mei.sews. Her versions look great with her Sointu tee and Ogden cami (also both made by Mei)!!

Kten (@jinxandgunner) made her cropped test pair out of chambray; she has plans to sew up more out of some drapey linens and rayons to prepare for summer.

These printed Essex linen [Forage Essex by Anna Graham] cropped pants from Niku are just making me so happy! Love how she’s styled these in so many fun ways (and that pair with red polka dots, upper right!!!).

Meredith (@brooklyncrafty) is a garment sewing instructor and had a lot of fun playing around with her Rose muslins. I’m always super excited when testers play around with fit — Meredith adjusted rise and played around with the seams and waistband width — because it gives us great info that we can share with those of you who have adjustment questions.

Kristine @kristinesews made these gorgeous flowy rayon Rose pants for her test version — love how she first made these in the long length, then decided to crop them!

Jessamy (@jessamyb) made these pretty blue Rose pants out of a viscose twill. Jessamy also made shorts and took photos with Jacqui — check them out on the Ewe Fibers blog! The Rose pants video they made together is completely awesome — check it out if you’re interested in a great review of the pattern features and to see their versions in action!

I hope you’ve enjoyed our tester roundups! We are so grateful to these awesome testers for the feedback and photos — they’re essential to the pattern making process!

Ready to make your own Rose Pants? Find the pattern in my shop!

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Rose Pants Tester Roundup, vol. 1

We launched our newest pattern, Rose, last week, so I wanted to share some great tester versions of Rose with you. One of the things I think is so valuable about sharing tester photos is that it’s helpful to see the pattern sewn up in a variety of different fabrics, on a variety of different people.

Testing a new pattern usually takes us about a month, and is absolutely essential to fine-tuning the fit and making a pattern better. We look for trends from our testers and use their feedback both to adjust the pattern pieces, and improve the instructions. For Rose, we had about 20 testers, so we’ll share pics in two posts since there are so many!

Jacqui stands in the center of the photos, wearing her navy Rose pants and Ursa sweater. She looks down at the floor.

Jacqui @jacquelinecieslak made her Rose Pants out of Brussels Washer Linen, and paired them her very own just-launched sweater design, Ursa. We *love* this combo!! You can find Ursa, which features bust darts and a gorgeous brioche detail, in Jaqui’s Ravelry shop, along with Ursa Minor, which is designed without brioche for beginner knitters.

Leilani (below) made three pairs in quick succession. Check out all of her posts here, here, and here. I really like how the reddish-pink pair goes so well with her handmade pink Adrienne blouse (those sleeves!), but all of her handmade outfits are stunning.

Mary takes her cotton gauze Rose Pants on a beach vacation and to the market. The gauze fabric makes them extra comfy!

My friend Meg made this amazing pair with a navy blue linen-viscose slub.

Meg just left on a trip to Scandinavia and packed 10 pieces of clothing for 10 days and guess what? Her Rose pants made the cut! Pretty high praise!

Kim’s grey cotton pair looks like it’s going to be super versatile!

Stephanie went all dancing queen in her tester pair. She had a little fun with a pocket contrast too!

Sierra’s two pairs show off how versatile this pattern is. She took the soft and cozy viscose twill pair to the beach, and wears the cotton twill pair to work!

And I love how Sierra styled the navy ones with a boxy cropped top — what a great outfit combo.

Andrea tested Rose in a gorgeous navy linen. Those pleats look extra sharp in linen, I think!

Allison posted about her process and listed all the ways she made these pants fit her so beautifully in this post: @alleedew_sews.

Katte’s (@kattegeneta) cropped purple pants are absolutely beautiful. These will be great for spring and summer weather!

A huge thank you to this group of testers for their awesome feedback and for allowing us to repost their photos! Check out Tester Roundup, Vol. 2 HERE!

Inspired to sew your own Rose pants? The pattern is available in my shop!

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