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!

How to sew a Jade + Isla dress

The dresses that I’ve made combining Jade and Isla have gotten a great response on IG (I just posted the Grid Dress here on the blog if you want to see that one), and I know it’s one of the things that drew many of you to the Jade pattern. So as promised, here’s a quick how-to if you want to make a dress using both my Jade and Isla sewing patterns, specifically how to add the Isla skirt to the Jade bodice.

Note: for a limited time, you can buy both patterns together in the discounted Jade + Isla bundle in my shop!

DIY jade+isla dress / made by rae

Increased yardage
Combining the two patterns will use more yardage, so you’ll need to add at least 1/2 – 3/4 yards to the original Isla yardage requirement to create this dress, depending on how long you want the sleeves. If you want a maxi version of the dress (like mine) you’ll need to add another 1/2 yard. Disclaimer: I haven’t calculated the exact yardage for this in every size, and depending on how wide your knit fabric is, you may be able to get a little creative with pattern pieces, so please use this as a general guideline rather than exact yardage. And of course, let me know how it works out if you try this mod!!

STEP 1. Cut out your pieces

To create a Jade + Isla Dress, you’ll need to cut out the following pieces from your fabric:

how to combine jade and isla

From Jade:

  • Cut 2 Jade bodices, using the Isla cutting lines (see note below)
  • Cut 2 Jade sleeves along desired length lines
  • Cut 2 Jade facings (optional — depends on View A or B, see pattern)

From Isla:

  • Cut 2 Isla Skirts

Cutting notes:
A cutting line is provided on both Jade bodices to shorten the bodice to Isla-length (that is, slightly above natural waist). These lines are 1/2″ lower on Jade than Isla, simply because I noticed that for fabrics that didn’t have 4-way stretch, the Isla waistline was landing pretty high on everyone, including me, and it’s always easier to shorten rather than lengthen a bodice. If you like the original Isla length, shorten this by 1/2.”

jade + isla tutorial / made by rae

Remember to include the center notches on both the skirts and the bodices. This makes it sooo much easier to attach the skirts!

Note for maxi version:
If you want a maxi version of this dress, extend the skirt pieces to roughly 40″-44″ tall (they’re rectangles, so this is easy to do). I am tall (5’9″) and I usually cut my maxi skirt pieces 44,” though I did end up shortening by a couple inches when I made the rose maxi version due to the vertical stretch in the poly jersey. Be aware that this may take some experimentation.

Note for stripes:
If you’re using a horizontally striped fabric, cut the bottom of the bodices along one of the stripes rather than using the Isla cutting lines (which are slightly curved to allow for more room in the front for the bust). I find it easiest to start from the cutting line at the side seams, then use a ruler to draw a line straight across to the fold.

STEP 2. Sew Jade bodices together

Using the sewing instructions from the Jade pattern, assemble your Jade bodices: sew the shoulders, add the sleeves, finish necklines and hem the sleeves, and sew the side seams.

STEP 3. Try it on and take in side seams

IMPORTANT: This step is key if you want your Jade + Isla dresses to fit like Isla does. Jade has more room added to the waist than Isla, so you’ll probably have to take the side seams in a bit. This step is part of the Isla instructions too, so if you’re finding that Isla bodices seem too big, you might be skipping this step for Isla.

Try on the bodices, then pinch out any excess at the waist along the side seams (I find this easiest to do if I try it on inside out). Pin, draw a smooth line from armpit to waist using chalk, and then re-sew the side seams if needed. Then try it on again and check fit. You want the bodice to be close-fitting at the sides, not loose (unless that’s the look you’re going for!).

STEP 4. Attach Isla Skirts to bodices

Using the sewing instructions from the Isla pattern, gather and attach the skirts to the bodice. If you use the elastic thread gathering and attaching technique that is used in the Isla pattern, you’ll get a nice smooth waist seam! Then hem your skirt, and your dress is finished!

DIY Grid Dress / Jade + Isla Sewing patterns

Voila new dress! Now go forth and wear your fabulous new frock all over the place.

The Jade and Isla patterns are both available in my shop!

Sewing Jade: Combining the boat + ballet necklines

jade tee sewing pattern

Jade has two lovely neckline options, a higher “boat” neckline, and a lower “ballet” neckline, which has a subtle scooped shape in both front and back. So is it possible to combine them? Of course! For this tee, I combined the front boat neckline with the back ballet neckline, so it would have the scoop in back. Here’s how it looks on the hanger from the back:

jade tee sewing pattern

In the pattern, I’ve provided an optional facing for View A (boatneck), for exactly this purpose: so that you can combine the front from one view with the back from another, something that I think creates a lovely hybrid of the two necklines.

If you decide to combine them, you’ll need to cut one View A facing, and one View B facing, and follow the instructions for the View B neckline finish.

jade tee sewing pattern

jade tee sewing pattern

I like how soft this brushed poly fabric is. I’ve noticed that they (double brushed poly jerseys) seem to have more vertical stretch than horizontal stretch, but they’re still super stretchy, known as “4-way.” For this reason, although the stripes ran vertically, parallel to selvage, I ended up cutting it out on the cross grain because I wanted the stripes to run horizontally. Normally this is not something I would recommend, but in this case the 4-way stretch makes this possible.

One more pic, this time to show you how it looks when I wear it backwards (with the scoop in front)! Although the sleeve and armholes are drafted differently for front and back, with a super stretchy knit like this, you really can’t tell that it’s on backwards, can you?

jade tee sewing pattern

Finally, if you’re wondering how this fabric compares to the other Jades I’ve sewn, it is most similar in weight and stretch to the orange and yellow bamboo spandex tees, but with less sheen. The “brushed” property of this fabric gives it much more of a matte appearance. So despite also being stretchy and lightweight, this print does hide bumps and wrinkles much better than the yellow and orange Jades in the Sewing Jade: Let’s talk about fit post, probably also just due to having a busier print rather than a solid, I would think?

The Jade sewing pattern is available now in my shop!