Luna Pants with a triple channel drawstring

These pants are easily my most-worn Luna pants this fall. I was inspired by another pair of dark chambray pants that I saw on Pinterest (they’re #14 on my Luna Inspiration list, if you’re interested), so Jess sewed this pair out of Rustica Chambray from Robert Kaufman Fabrics (59% cotton / 41% linen). They are ridiculously comfortable.

Chambray Rustica Luna pants
Chambray Rustica Luna pants

In order to get the narrow drawstring into the wide waistband facing without it swimming around, we made these with a triple channel drawstring. This is so easy to do. Here’s how!

Luna Pants drawstring

HOW TO SEW A TRIPLE CHANNEL DRAWSTRING

  1. After adding the waistband facing but before you stitch down the bottom edge, add two 1/2″-tall buttonholes to the center front of your pant, centering them vertically so that they’ll land in the middle of the waistband (See my other Luna drawstring tutorial if you need more guidance with this).
  2. Stitch down the bottom edge of the waistband, leaving a couple inches open in the back
  3. Mark two horizontal lines 3/8″ from the top and bottom of the facing for the channels, then stitch down around those lines, leaving a couple inches open at the back of the pant so you can thread the elastic through. This will leave about 5/8″ for the middle channel. Before you stitch, double check that the buttonholes will land in the middle of the center channel!
  4. Cut two pieces of 1/4″ elastic to the length needed for your waist (a chart is included for each size in the Luna sewing pattern). Using a safety pin or bodkin, thread the elastic through the top and bottom channels, starting with the top channel. Overlap the ends and stitch them together.
  5. Cut a strip of fabric for the drawstring, 1″ wide by your waist measurement + 1 yard long. Fold the two long edges of the strip into the center so that they meet, press, then fold in half, and press again. Edgestitch around the outside of the drawstring to finish it.
  6. Using a safety pin or bodkin, thread the drawstring through one buttonhole, around the pant through the center channel, and out the other buttonhole. Tie or knot as desired.
  7. Once you have tried on the pants and are happy with the fit of the waistband, stitch the holes for the elastic shut in back.
chambray rustica how-to / made by rae
chambray rustica how-to / made by rae

Voila! Pants with a triple channel drawstring!! Also: I love the hidden Lotus Pond pockets and waistband.

Chambray Rustica Luna pants

Fanciful dress for Clementine

made by rae fanciful dress for clementine
made by rae fanciful dress for clementine

When my Fanciful yardage arrived I asked Clementine if there were any prints that she wanted to wear, and this pale pink print was her favorite. I designed this overlapping back bodice using Geranium as a base pattern, thinking it would be cute to have a black bow in the back. I originally thought this might work as a tutorial or new pattern, but while I was sewing it, it I discovered that the overlap presents an issue with the lining at the spot where the two layers overlap, so if this design is to become anything I’ll have to try it without the lining instead. All that to say: this isn’t a pattern or tutorial; more experimentation is needed.

I still think it’s a fun piece to show off this understated print, which might go unnoticed amongst the more exciting prints in this collection. You can see the entire collection here, and Fanciful is in shops now!

PS. Read my thoughts about sewing garments with quilting cotton.

made by rae fanciful dress for clementine

Hugo’s backpack

Hugo's backpack / made by rae

Since it’s Back To School time again, adorable backpacks made with my Toddler Backpack Pattern have been popping up in my feed, so I thought I’d share these photos of Hugo with the original backpack I designed the pattern from (it used to be Elliot’s). I took these over a year ago but he still LOVES putting it on his back and parading around.

hugo's backpack / made by rae

I love that lots of you are sewing cute little backpacks for your cute little cuties! It’s a fun way to make a backpack that is custom and unique, and since it’s possible to make this pattern for older kiddos too, it’s not just limited to toddlers or preschoolers (when we updated this pattern a few years ago, we included easy instructions for making it large enough for school-aged kids and 8.5×11 binders).

hugo's backpack / made by rae

hugo's backpack / made by rae

hugo's backpack / made by rae

hugo's backpack / made by rae

The canvas fabric I used for this backpack is now long gone and out of print, but the pattern is available in my shop!

Toddler Backpack Sewing Pattern – $8
BUY NOW

Posted in backpack
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Jess Makes: Cleo skirt with side zipper

Here’s a modified version of the Cleo Skirt that I’ve been wearing a ton lately. Instead of using elastic, I gathered the back skirt to fit into a flat waistband, and added an invisible side zipper. The great news is that adding a zipper doesn’t even interfere with the View A pocket!

Here’s a  how-to:

  • Cut out Front Skirt, Back skirt, and View A pockets according to pattern.
  • Cut out *two* Front Waistbands out of fabric (no back waistband)
  • Cut two Front Waistbands out of interfacing
  • Press and interface BOTH waistband pieces as directed for the front waistband in Step 1 of pattern
  • Attach and sew View A pockets as directed in Step 2
  • Choose which side you want your zipper on, then only sew the side seam of the *opposite* side.
  • Gather front and back skirts as directed in Step 4
  • Prepare waistband as directed in Step 5, but only sew together at one side. Try it on by putting it around your waist and pinning it together 1/2″ from the ends to make sure it will fit (adjust length if necessary)
  • Attach the skirt to the waistband, matching side seams and adjusting skirt gathers to fit the front and back waistbands. Your skirt should look like this:

  • *TRY YOUR SKIRT ON* at this point, you’ll want to make sure the waistband fits you just right, and that it stays where you want it on your waist. Safety pin the open side of the waistband 1/2″ from the edge. Adjust your seam allowance if necessary!
  • Now you’ll install a zipper. I used an 8″ invisible zipper and just followed the package directions. I placed the top of my zipper at the fold in the waistband, with the 1/2″ of zipper tape extending past the fold. Here’s a good tutorial if you need a little guidance.
  • Once the zipper is installed, you can sew the rest of the side seam.
  • To finish the waistband, follow the directions in Steps 7-8; you can sew the whole waistband down at one time here because you don’t need to add elastic! Hand stitch the waistband for a tidy finish at the zipper.
  • Hem skirt as directed, and you’re done!

This version of Cleo has a couple of other modifications: it’s a mashup of the View B length with View A pockets, and the skirt is a good bit more full than the pattern calls for.

First, I cut out my pockets so that I could use almost all the rest of the fabric for the skirt. Instead of folding the fabric in half and cutting pockets out of two layers, I just cut them out separately, end to end, along one selvage of the fabric.

For the front and back skirt pieces, I followed the View B length of the pattern pieces, but made them each the full width of the fabric that remained after cutting out the pockets. (This rayon is 54″ wide, so the finished width of this skirt is well over 90″!)


I’ve had this Anna Maria Horner rayon stashed away for quite some time now (as evidenced by its total unavailability on the internet), and I’m so glad I finally got around to making a Cleo Skirt with it. Sometimes the simplest design is the best use for a lovely bold print like this; and rayon is simply delicious for a Cleo. Let us know if you try it yourself!

Use the tags #cleoskirt #raemademedoit and #madebyrae to share your creations on Instagram. We’d love to see them!

Posted in Cleo, Jess
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Double Gauze boat shorts and Charlie tunic

Hugo Double Gauze Charlie Tunic

As you’ve probably noticed from my posts this week, I’ve got shorts on the brain. That’s mainly because Hugo and Elliot wear nothing but shorts all the time now that it feels like the tropics here. I’ve also had at least three people ask me in the past week if you could turn Luna Pants into shorts (the answer: YES!) so I’ve also been thinking about how best to share a quick how-to on that too.

Hugo Double Gauze Charlie Tunic

This little pair of shorts has really held up remarkably well for being a) white and b) double gauze. They’re size 3 Parsley Pants that I shortened (<- tutorial there) and we’re on our second summer of them fitting Hugo. Also on my list of future things to post about: double gauze. The name is so intimidating but it’s such a comfy fabric to wear and really not that hard to sew!!

Double Gauze boat shorts

The Charlie tunic (which I modified slightly with a curved hem) is now too small, but these two really made a cute combo while they both still fit.

Hugo Double Gauze Charlie Tunic

Hugo Double Gauze Charlie Tunic

Most of Hugo’s clothing this summer is handmade hand-me-downs from when Elliot and Clementine were four and I made a ridiculous amount of their clothing (esp. for Celebrate the BOY, summer edition, which probably no one even remembers anymore, but also these helicopter pajamas, and these red pants of Clem’s got shortened into shorts too). It’s been a real joy to pull those out and reminisce about little four-year-old Elliot or Clementine wearing them. WAAAH they grow up so FAST!

Hugo Double Gauze Charlie Tunic

Interestingly, I do find the handmade stuff is standing up better than the store bought stuff, not only because I think I make it last better, but also because the handmade stuff seems more timeless. The (small amount of) store-bought stuff we bought for Elliot when he was this age already looks somewhat dated.

Are you sewing shorts this summer? For you or for kiddos?

Heather Grey Jade Tee

grey Jade tee / made by rae

This Jade tee probably wins the “most worn” award for me because of its versatility. A heather grey tee goes with everything. Due to my personal weakness with prints, most of my Luna pants and Cleo skirts benefit from the presence of a calm, rational tee to balance everything out, and this tee works nicely like that. Not that there’s anything wrong with print overload. I can be 100% on board with print overload.

But as you can see this is not that.

jade tee sewing pattern / made by rae

I also really like this tee paired with a solid skirt, like this Cleo I made with cream silk noil (via Stone Mountain and Daughter).

grey Jade tee / made by rae

I purchased that beautiful shell and leather necklace from my former assistant, Tashina, who since graduating has started her own jewelry business that incorporates found objects in nature along with her native heritage. She’s headed off to Tish School of the Arts this fall (congratulations, Tashina!!!) where I am sure she will continue to develop her already amazing artistic skills. I get SO MANY compliments on this necklace. Love it.

grey Jade tee / made by rae

The scoop neckline in back is nearly identical to the one in front (both are subtle, not super-scooped, but you could definitely add more scoop if you wanted — just remember to lengthen the facing pieces if you do this).

grey Jade tee / made by rae

I sewed a small folded piece of twill tape under the back of the neckline to help me remember front from back. The sleeves are drafted differently in front than in back, so while you probably wouldn’t notice if you put it on backwards, I like to mark it anyway.

jade tee - back neckband tag

This fabric is a super stretchy bamboo jersey, just like the orange and yellow tees I posted earlier. Unlike those two, the heathered knit is less shiny and does a slightly better (though still not fantastic) job of hiding bumps from undergarments, etc. I found it at fabric.com but since I’m not 100% recommending it, I also put a number of other heather grey fabrics in the Jade Fabric Inspiration post, so you might try one of those out if you’re interested in reproducing this look.

grey Jade tee / made by rae

The Jade Tee sewing pattern is available in my shop!

Rose Jade + Isla Maxi Dress

DIY Jade + Isla maxi dress / made by rae

It’s difficult for me to resist immediately creating spin-offs and mods for a new pattern even while I’m still working on it, and I totally did that with Jade; if you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed that I’ve been posting two Jade+Isla dresses for quite some time already (the Rose one here and the Grid Dress I posted earlier this week). I just can’t help myself. It’s tough, because even before I’ve launched a pattern I want to start posting all my mods, but then it starts to feel like I’m getting ahead of myself. Anyway, I posted the (incredibly easy) tutorial for combining the two patterns this week, including some details on how to make this maxi version, so now I feel like I can finally unleash this dress on you.

DIY Jade + Isla maxi dress / made by rae

I designed the pattern with the intent that it would combine easily with Isla, and all along I had this idea that maybe it would be easy to make a maxi dress version as well (Isla comes with a knee-length skirt as well as a peplum skirt, but not a maxi skirt). I’d been pinning floor-length floral knit dresses for the past year (like this one), so when I saw this fabric I knew it was destined to become a Jade+Isla maxi dress. OH! also this striped maxi dress…so dreamy. Tell me if you ever stumble across a super-wide width stripe knit, please.

DIY Jade + Isla maxi dress / made by rae

The fabric is brushed poly jersey purchased from Raspberry Creek; I don’t see it there anymore but they have a few other fabulous florals that are very similar. One thing about it of note is that it has a ton of vertical stretch, so I ended up having to shorten both the bodice (by 1″) and the skirt (by 2″). I think in a normal cotton lycra jersey I wouldn’t have needed to shorten it at all, but because the fabric is so stretchy and a bit heavy, it was too long and was catching under my feet when I first tried it on. Just another friendly reminder that all knits behave differently, and trying it on while you sew is always the way to go!

DIY Jade + Isla maxi dress / made by rae

I decided to leave the neckline facing visible (in the ballet view, the instructions have you flip it to the inside and stitch it down, but there’s a note that you can do it this way if you prefer), mostly because the fabric was so stretchy that the neckline was quite big and I didn’t mind a little extra fabric there. I topstitched around the neckline using a double needle, and it looks really nice.

DIY Jade + Isla maxi dress / made by rae

I’ve been wearing this dress all over the place and I get tons of compliments on it, even though I would say it’s not my usual style (it feels a little more country boho chic to me, maybe? I do love florals though). The maxi length skirt is really fun, and to top it off it’s super comfortable. Definitely a new favorite!

Want to make one of your own? Find the tutorial for Jade + Isla on my blog, and the patterns are both available now in my shop!

Your Jade Tees!

It’s been really fun to see how excited everyone has been about the Jade pattern; thank you everyone for such an enthusiastic response! What really gives me the most joy is seeing the tees you’ve all been making with the pattern pop up online every day. It’s fantastic to see all of the creative ways you make this pattern your own.

Before the pattern launched, I sent a handful of advance copies to some people whose blog and IG feeds I love. Here are a few of the great Jade tops they made, along with others that have been popping up on Instagram under the hashtag #mbrjade.

At top of post, Anna at Noodlehead made a lovely storm blue version using Dana knit (check out my knit fabric recommendations, which include the Dana knit), which you can read all about over on her blog!

Next up, Meg of Cookin’ & Craftin’ shared her navy Jade on her blog as well, and rocks it with her Jenny overalls here!

More beautiful Jades in both solids and florals — it’s really a toss up for me whether I like it more in a standout floral, or as a wardrobe blender in a solid color.

above, top left: heatherandthepugs right: buzzmills

bottom left: lucyslifejourney  right: lindsayinstitches

Jessamy managed to make herself a sweet Jade even though she’s in the middle of a move! Check out her feed at @jessamyb!

Nancy of milkpillowblog has been totally on fire and has made multiple Jades; check out her IG feed for more pics (including a dress mod she made). Here she is in her mermaid Jade, and in another Jade under Burnside Bibshere!

And finally, with summer finally here, this short-sleeved tee from amy.makes.things is just perfect, don’t you think? I love that she combined the ballet front with the boat back necklines too.

Are you sewing a Jade tee this weekend? Jade makes a fantastic summer tee and sews up in no time at all, and don’t forget to share your photos if you do!

The Jade tee sewing pattern is available now in my shop!

Grid Jade + Isla Dress

DIY Grid Dress / Jade + Isla Sewing patterns

I’m in la la love with this Jade/Isla hybrid (tutorial here!) dress. It’s made of a brushed poly jersey which is really soft and incredibly stretchy. Wearing it becomes a classic #secretpajamas situation. I also am quite fond of this grid. The grid trend seems like it’s been around for a few years now but show no signs of abating; I’d love to find something similar in a linen as well. I bought the jersey here a few months ago, but it looks like it may be out of stock at the time of this writing.

DIY Grid Dress / Jade + Isla Sewing patterns

The amount of things this print coordinates with is ridiculous, like this geo scarf:

DIY Grid Dress / Jade + Isla Sewing patterns

or all of my cardigans.

DIY Grid Dress / Jade + Isla Sewing patterns

and every single necklace I own.

DIY Grid Dress / Jade + Isla Sewing patterns

and my yellow chair.

DIY Grid Dress / Jade + Isla Sewing patterns

I used the boat neckline from Jade with the 3/4-length sleeve, and I made a slight adjustment to the Isla skirt length (lengthened it, plus shhh don’t tell anyone I haven’t hemmed it yet!), but otherwise I made it as shown in the Jade + Isla tutorial. You can’t see how long the skirt is in most of these photos because the day I took these pics it was so cold I had jeans on underneath hee. But you can see the hem if you look carefully in a few of the pics.

DIY Grid Dress / Jade + Isla Sewing patterns

Next up: my Jade + Isla maxi dress!