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!

Navy striped Flashback tee

Hugo Navy Striped Flashback tee

Time for a Hugo Wardrobe Update! No big surprises here: I made him a new striped Flashback tee in size 3. Though, he is already starting to creep into size 4 territory, esp in pants. Can you believe it?? Waaaaah.

Hugo Navy Striped Flashback tee

I omitted the cuffs and folded the ends of the sleeves under instead (the pattern has a few different sleeve options). Um and I don’t mean to brag but hello check out that underarm stripe matching. Totally unappreciated by the toddler crowd, I’d wager.

Hugo Navy Striped Flashback tee

Also: I made sweatpants with cuffs and waistband from the same striped organic rib knit (I love these striped baby rib knits). He still fits into the green fleece pants I made him last year so now he has two very similar pairs, which is just fine because he has an unusually strong relationship with the color green.

Hugo Navy Striped Flashback tee

Sometimes I think if he and Elliot could have been the same age at the same time I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart except for their haircuts. He’s eerily similar in personality to Elliot at this age, though overall I think Hugo is a bit less high-intensity. Though…yesterday — despite skipping his nap — he ran 50 laps around the kitchen after dinner, giggling. So there’s that. I thought I was due a “quiet” kid with Kid #3 but oh no. It is rarely quiet at our house. All three of my kids are loud. I have no idea where they got that from? *looks around*

Hugo Navy Striped Flashback tee

This tee gave me a chance to try out the Eloflex stretch thread Meg has been raving about and I do have to say I like it a lot more than stretch thread. It’s smooth and very strong and a bit stretchy, but I did have a little problem with my machine tension and a tiny part of the shirt hem stitching has popped already, but I’m pretty sure I know why. So I’m hopeful but not 100% certain that this is the end of my quest for the perfect Coverstitch Machine Alternative (sidenote: Tori just posted about her new coverstitch machine this morning and I’m intrigued).

Hugo flashback tee

This is where I  say something corny like “look how much Hugo loves his new tee!” Too easy?

Hugo Navy Striped Flashback tee

The Flashback Tee sewing pattern is available in my shop in sizes 1-14 years!

Super fun facings trick

super fun facings trick

Facings are a great way to finish a neckline or armhole (bias binding is another way — see my 3 bias binding tutorials here!). I like to have beautiful facings without having to fold up and finish the lower edge, which can produce a visible line from the outside of your garment, and I learned this clever trick a few years ago (probably from Karen) and thought I’d share. It uses your interfacing to finish the facing edge, and it’s just as quick and easy as folding and stitching or overlocking your facings like most patterns instruct. It also looks 100% better, as you’ll see in this tutorial.

Step 1. Cut out your facings and interfacings

The front / back neckline facing pattern pieces I used in this example are from my Beatrix pattern. You can see these facings in use in my How to make Beatrix without buttons tutorial. This tutorial would also work with most armhole, hem, or combined armhole-neckline facings as well.

I’m using fusible lightweight interfacing (this is the kind I like), but this tutorial also works with non-fusible interfacing.

Beatrix facings

Step 2. Sew the seams

Most patterns call for you to baste or fuse the interfacing to the facings before sewing anything. Instead, sew the front and back facings together, and then do the same with the interfacings (so, separately). In this example, I sewed the facings together at the shoulders, and then the interfacings together at the shoulders using the 1/2″ seam allowance called for in the pattern.


Press the facing seams apart, but DO NOT PRESS THE INTERFACING SEAM IF YOU ARE USING FUSIBLE INTERFACING. Let’s avoid that sticky glue nightmare on your iron, shall we?

Step 3. Sew the facings to the interfacings along lower edge

Place the facings and interfacings right sides together and pin:


Then sew them together along the lower edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance. This should be the edge where you would normally fold up and stitch, or otherwise finish the edge of the facing before attaching it to the garment. It should not be the edge that will attach to the garment.

Beatrix facings - sew together

Step 4. Turn right side out and press

Now go ahead and turn them right side out, using a point turner to push out the bottom edges.

beatrix facings

And then press them together!!! At this point the fusible interfacing will fuse to the facing, and it creates a beautiful finish…see? Here’s the interfacing side:


And the facing side:


Step 5. Attach to garment

Now the facings are ready to attach to your garment! You can see how I attached these in this post.

Finished facings - Beatrix

Aren’t they beautiful?

This tutorial works great with my Beatrix, Washi, or even Charlie sewing patterns. Have you ever tried this trick?

Geranium XP Fall Tour Round, part 2

We’re wrapping up the GXP Fall Tour today! Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been totally blown away by the amazing dresses that these talented sewists have made using my Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern. Take a look at last week’s roundup, or read on for a gathering of this week’s photos and links!

Made By Sara‘s version has an extended bodice, gathered long sleeves, and the collar. Isn’t this rayon print pretty? I love how classic this dress is!

GXP Fall Tour 2017

GXP Fall Tour 2017

Laurence posted her little Liberty twill GXP on her blog, Blanche. She doubled the width of the skirt, which makes for some delightful twirling!

GXP Fall Tour 2017

GXP Fall Tour 2017

Sylvia of Lily & Woody made hers out of a French Terry. Because of the stretchiness of the knit, she could skip the back closure — no buttons or zipper necessary!

GXP Fall Tour 2017

GXP Fall Tour 2017

Delia Creates made hers out of this large-scale green gingham with a contrasting white collar. I love the collar peeking out of the sweatshirt here. And that socks/boots combo!!

GXP Fall Tour 2017

GXP Fall Tour 2017

Meg at Sew Liberated used some leftovers from her stash to put together this gorgeous raw silk and wool flannel Geranium with a neck bow, long sleeves, and hem band. Rustic and fancy! Meg shared some earlier Geraniums on her blog too; check it out!

GXP Fall Tour

GXP Fall Tour

Summer of SevenPretty made such a sweet GXP with long gathered sleeves, a collar, and an invisible zipper. She has a bunch more photos on her Instagram feed.

GXP Fall Tour

Again with the socks!!

GXP Fall Tour

Ready to get sewing? Buy the pattern: Geranium Expansion Pack (if you don’t have the original Geranium dress pattern, use the drop down menu to pick that up too!).

For more great photos, peruse these tags on Instagram: #geraniumxp#gxpfalltour#geraniumdress

Hope you have a great weekend!

Geranium XP Fall Tour Roundup, part 1

Happy Friday! I’m running a Fall tour for my Geranium Expansion Pack sewing pattern, and we’ve seen some stunning dresses so far. Here’s a quick roundup to inspire your weekend sewing!

Jane at Buzzmills made her daughter Violet this “denim” chambray dress:

jane gxp tour

Find Jane’s Instagram feed here.

jane gxp 2

Brienne’s GXP features the ruffle sleeves from the original Geranium, and the extended bodice and sash from the expansion pack. Brienne’s Instagram feed is so beautiful.

Geranium in Motion


Whitney Deal made matching Gingham dresses for her daughters. I love the pop of color she used for the contrasting collars! Find her on Instagram here.

Whitney Deal - XP

Geranium XP - Whitney Deal

Jill of @kneesocksandgoldilocks made her daughter such a sweet Geranium with long sleeves. I love that Jill and Brienne both paired their GXPs with accessory collars!

jill 2

jill gxp tour

Ready to get sewing? Buy the pattern: Geranium Expansion Pack (if you don’t have the original Geranium dress pattern, use the drop down menu to pick that up too!).

For more great photos, peruse these tags on Instagram: #geraniumxp#gxpfalltour, #geraniumdress

Hope you have a great weekend!

Geranium Expansion Pack Inspiration

Fall is here, and it’s the perfect time to revisit the Geranium Expansion Pack!! One of the most-requested features of the “GXP” is the sleeves, which transforms the Geranium dress into something more appropriate for cool weather.

There are literally thousands of different dress possibilities once you mix and match all of the elements (you can see all of the elements by visiting my Geranium XP page) with the original dress options. One of my favorite things to do is to cruise around Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration; I often find dresses that I instantly think “I could make that one with Geranium XP!” and I thought it would be fun to round up those ideas and share them with you here to inspire you as you design your own dresses!

Under each image, I’ve listed the dress elements you’d need (from both the original pattern and the expansion pack) to create a similar look.

Made By Rae GXP

1  – extended bodice, fitted long sleeves
2 – neck bow, fitted 3/4-length sleeves
3 – extended bodice, collar
4 – extended bodice, fitted or gathered sleeve, zipper
5 – gathered long sleeve (with cuff instead of elastic)
6 – collar, with flutter sleeves from original Geranium dress
7 – extended bodice
8 – extended bodice, fitted sleeve cut to elbow length

Made By Rae GXP

9 – fitted sleeve cut to elbow length, zipper
10 – extended bodice, collar, fitted short sleeve
11 – fitted 3/4-length sleeve (plus bonus leather elbow patches!! blogged here: Delia Creates)
12 – fitted long sleeve, collar
13 – gathered short sleeve
14 – extended bodice, collar (see this one on Lindsay’s daughter here!)

Made By Rae GXP

15 – hem band, fitted 3/4-length sleeves (blogged here: Delia Creates)
16 – gathered long sleeves
17 – collar, hem band, extended bodice (posted here and blogged here: Inder Loves Folk Art)
18 – fitted short sleeves (posted here)
19 – neck bow (@sewbabysewnz posted here)
20 – fitted long sleeve (genius – Tam pintucked the hem to let out Matilda grows!)
21 – extended bodice, collar, fitted short sleeve
22 – extended bodice, fitted short sleeve

Is that enough ideas to keep you busy for a while? I hope so!!! All images in this post can be found on my Geranium Dress Inspiration board on Pinterest or the Geranium XP tag on Instagram.

I’m also excited to announce I’m hosting a GXP Fall Tour, starting today! I’ve invited a bunch of awesome makers to create their own Geranium variations using the expansion pack. You can see those dresses on Instagram under the #GXPfalltour tag.

Geranium XP fall tour

You can find the Geranium Dress and the Geranium Dress Expansion Pack patterns in my shop.

Floral Beatrix Blouse

Floral Beatrix

I’m the final stop today for the Style Maker Fabrics Fall Style Tour!! Today I have not one but two tops to show you from Stylemaker fabric! I designed both tops (the second top is in this post) for dressier occasions, because the onset of fall means that the holidays are approaching, and it seems like I’m always in need of slightly fancier tops that I can wear with jeans or dress pants to immediately “level up” for an occasion. As a mother of three I rarely end up wearing fancy cocktail dresses; instead I prefer to wear something that looks nice but can still crawl on the floor or chase after that match box car that ended up behind the couch, amiright?

Floral Beatrix Blouse

Floral Beatrix Blouse

My Beatrix pattern proved to be the perfect template for this gorgeous floral rayon crepe; it’s been a while since the pattern was released, but it’s definitely still one of my go-to patterns. I love that Beatrix can be dressed up or down depending on the fabric you choose or how you style it, and how the buttons in back elevate the design. I can see wearing this one to a Christmas party, New Year’s Eve dinner, or a family get-together.

Pattern: Beatrix, view A with 3/4 length sleeves
Fabric: Rayon Crepe Romantic Floral in burgundy

The print version of Beatrix is available in the Stylemaker pattern shop (as well as in other shops), or in digital format from my shop (both print at home and copy shop formats are included in the digital pattern).

Jess cut out the pieces and did most of the sewing, and I love how she nailed the pattern placement for this print, especially in the back!!!

Floral Beatrix Blouse

Floral Beatrix Blouse

Floral Beatrix Blouse

One little trick to this top: when I was finishing it, I added buttons but not buttonholes. Instead I just sewed the buttons directly through both layers of the button placket, effectively creating a “faux” button placket. The pattern is designed to be a pullover (the buttons are not necessary to get it on or off), so the buttons are usually more decorative than functional anyway. This also eliminated any worry I had about cutting the buttonholes into the somewhat delicate rayon crepe. It also sped up that bit of sewing considerably. Had I decided to use the buttonholes, I’m still quite certain the combination of the rayon with the interfacing in the plackets would have been fine.

Floral Beatrix

As you can hopefully see, the fabric is absolutely gorgeous. The print is stunning, and I love that the pale peach in the flowers matches my glasses. I think it works dressed down with denim jeans, too.

I love how Michelle organizes her seasonal fabrics into collections; this post goes into the details and color inspiration behind the theme, “Classic Elements.” This floral print was part of the Code Red collection, so if you love this color you should check out the rest of the fabrics in that collection. You can also find links to all of the lovely creations in the Stylemaker Fall Tour by visiting this Stylemaker Fall blog tour post.

Thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour, Michelle!

Disclosure: I was provided with the fabric for these tops by Stylemaker fabrics at no cost, but all words and opinions are my own. 

Posted in Beatrix

White Bell-sleeved Blouse

White Beatrix with Bell Sleeves

The bell sleeve is HOT this season! When I first saw these dramatic sleeves popping up everywhere, I’ll admit I wasn’t sure about the look at first, but after seeing this dress I decided I absolutely needed to design something with bell sleeves. My invitation to the Stylemaker Fall tour proved to be the perfect opportunity to try it out! I’m not the only one who loves the bell sleeves, either; Audrey posted this great bell-sleeve tutorial on the Hey June blog a few weeks ago, and here’s another one from Lara Liz.

I used the basic building blocks of my Beatrix pattern to create this look (Jess did most of the cutting and sewing again), but as you can see it’s quite a departure from my first Beatrix top for the tour. I think they’ll both be equally perfect for any semi-dressy occasion that heads my way this holiday season.

White Beatrix with Bell Sleeves

We omitted the buttons in the back from Beatrix (see this post for a tutorial), and lined the bodice because the fabric — a gorgeous twill weave rayon —  is a bit on the sheer side, as you would expect from any white rayon. This Monaluna warm white lawn is my go-to lining fabric lately. We extended the short sleeve by 1″, and added a gathered rectangle twice the width of the sleeve and 8″ tall to each one. The top was cut along the View B cutting line of the pattern, so it has a cropped look compared to the original pattern.

White Beatrix with Bell Sleeves

White Beatrix with Bell Sleeves

While I la la love and highly recommend this twill weave rayon — it’s incredibly comfortable, drapey, and has a soft, fluid quality that is really lovely — it probably wouldn’t be the easiest fabric to work with if you’re a beginner, so do bear that in mind. It moves around quite a bit when you’re working with it, which makes it fantastic to wear, but takes some careful handling when sewing. The darts were definitely tricky to get even (check out this Beatrixalong post for a few tips on getting them straight). Even after lining them up perfectly, I ended up dropping one of them a half inch due to what I can only describe as personal bodily asymmetry. AHEM. Our bodies are unique and lovely things, and for some of us, the two girls just land at different places. #straighttalk

White Beatrix with Bell Sleeves

One other thing I should mention: I did notice that despite copious amounts of pressing and steaming that these (naturally lit, indoor) photos showed every last little wrinkle; please don’t be deterred by this, though, because it’s not at all noticeable in person. Another fabric from the Stylemaker fall collection that is very similar that would be equally lovely (and is slightly less cream, more white) is the sueded modal shirting. Check out the lovely Gemma tank that Lara Liz made out of the white modal for her stop on the tour!

Beatrix with Bell Sleeves

I like that this top is dressy but very simple. I love the idea of whites in winter and can often be found wearing my white jeans when it’s cold. In fact, I’m not a no-white-after-labor-day kinda person at all. I think white is dramatic and bright and brings to mind snow and holidays and all that. But it can definitely be difficult to shop for white fabrics online, so I’m really happy to have discovered this one.

This post is the last stop on the Stylemaker Fall Tour. Head over to the Stylemaker blog to take a look at all of the lovely looks that everyone put together!

Thank you to Michelle at Stylemaker for inviting me to be a part of the tour and for providing me with the fabric for these posts!

Posted in Beatrix
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