Jade is here!

Please welcome my newest pattern, Jade! Designed for knit fabrics and featuring mix and match necklines and sleeves, this pattern will allow you to create tees for every season. Jade is the perfect layering piece for any wardrobe!



I’ve always viewed my women’s patterns as a collection, and in recent years when we released the Luna pant and the Cleo skirt, I’d find myself wishing I had a tee pattern to pair with them. This design seemed like a natural compliment to these two patterns especially.

The boatneck tee has always been one of my favorite knit designs. I’ve worn a steady stream of boatnecks in various styles and sleeve lengths since college. I always seem to gravitate toward them; there’s something super sexy about how it compliments the shoulders and draws your eye to the collarbone. They also seem to play well with every single cardigan I’ve ever owned.

Jade Tee sewing pattern

Four sleeves
I think you’ll love all of the sleeve options that come with this pattern! Each one has been carefully tested so you can pick whatever length you need for the season: short, elbow-length, 3/4-length, and long sleeves.

Jade Tee Boatneck sewing pattern / View A

Two necklines
Jade began as a boatneck-only concept, but recently I purchased a RTW ballet-top tee that had a scoop back neckline, and I knew I had to incorporate something similar for Jade, and so we added a subtle scoop front and scoop back neckline that became the “ballet” neckline, or View B of the pattern. We’ve included a separate facing finishing technique for the ballet neckline and optional facing pieces for View A, should you prefer that method to the unique self-finishing method that will be default for View A.

The beauty is in the details
For me the beauty of this pattern comes down to the details: the four sleeve length options, the wide but not-too-wide boatneck, the subtle scoop of the ballet back, the curved hem with a wider (so it won’t roll) hem, and both a self-finishing or a separate facing option for the neckline depending on your preference.

Jade Tee Sewing Pattern / View B ballet neckline

Mix and match
I’ve already started playing around with mixing and matching the necklines and sleeves; you could try a ballet front with a boatneck back (like the teal tee, second image from top), or a boatneck front with a ballet back (like the rose tee, top image), and of course the sleeves  work with any neckline combination you would like.

Go even further with Isla + Jade
The Isla pattern block was used as a starting point for Jade, which means also that Jade and Isla are interchangeable: Jade’s sleeves can be added to the Isla armholes (I know many of you are already excited about this from this post!!) and the Isla skirt can be attached to Jade, which I can’t wait to show you more of in future posts. You can purchase both Jade and Isla PDFs as a bundle here!

Print-at-home and copyshop files included
Jade is currently available as a digital sewing pattern in my shop. Your download link will include print-at-home pattern pieces as well as copy shop files (in both A0 and US formats), just like the rest of my women’s digital patterns.

Yardage and Materials
I’ve put together a Jade Page where you can find all of the blog posts and resources related to this pattern, plus all the charts for sizes, finished measurements, and yardage.


Share your photos!
I’d love to see what you make with this pattern! Please use the hashtags #mbrjade#madebyrae, or #raemademedoit share your photos! I also have a Made by Rae group on Facebook now, so if you’d like to be a part of the sewing community there, please request to join!

Posted in jade, knits

Do you need a serger?

As we get closer to launching Jade, my next pattern for knit fabrics, I thought I’d recommend my (new-ish) serger for those of you looking for a good recommendation. I know it can be a bit overwhelming to wade through all of the options and figure out how much is reasonable to pay. There’s also something quite intimidating about the multiple cones of thread on top and the fact that it has knives (insert silent scream emoji).

Juki MO654DE / serger recommendation from made by rae

I’ve been asked whether you really need a serger to sew knits, and I know that it’s all the rage to say that you can sew knits without a serger, but once you’ve tried it, you wonder why anyone would ever want to. Every knit sewing book and pattern I’ve ever read dedicates a section to patting you on the back and saying you’ll be just fine with a standard machine…but if you’re on the fence and you’re not on a super tight budget, I strongly recommend that you GET ONE. I might even say that if you are on a budget, saving up for a serger makes more sense to me than spending that money on knit fabric, since you can easily harvest knit yardage from thrifted or second hand garments and then you’re off to the races.

I got my first serger (a Brother 1034D, shown below) back in 2009, but my new favorite is the Juki MO654DE (shown at top of post), which I upgraded to a couple years ago, though it’s definitely still not pricey (it’s about $340 on Amazon at the time of this writing) when you look at the range of sergers out there.

Brother 1034D serger

When I got the Brother serger, I was unsure if I would possess the mental capacity to figure out how to operate it, so I went cheap and simple. This is, incidentally, why I still end up recommending this one to people; it really is a nice machine for someone who wants to learn how to use a serger with pretty small investment. I struggle a little bit with this, though, because I normally don’t subscribe to the “buy cheap stuff just to try it out” approach to purchasing in general, since it’s not nice to the earth and clutters up my life, but on the other hand, my Brother lasted quite a long time and is still going, so it definitely isn’t a disposable purchase. Mine is still in fairly good working condition, and that’s with pretty heavy use for almost a decade. I’m just reaching a point where I can tell it wasn’t meant to be used to the extent that it has, if that makes sense. It’s getting temperamental, even after being serviced, (differential feeds don’t seem to work well, tension iffy, etc), and it’s also VERY NOISY, though to be fair it was pretty noisy from the get-go. Like, can’t carry on a conversation while you sew, noisy. The new Juki, on the other hand, is really quiet, and the action is sooooo smooth. I’ve used it for over two years and it’s still just so very lovely.

Note: I chose the MO654DE over the MO644D (which is cheaper that one’s designed for only lighter to medium weights and I wanted it to work with all weights of fabric)

overlock seam sewn with serger

Just in case you need a bit of an intro, a serger is a machine that creates a multi-thread overlock stitch around the edge of the fabric as it sews, using two (but sometimes just one) needles and at least three (but usually four or more) cones of thread. It goes only forward, not in reverse, and it has a pair of knives that trims the seam as it sews. It also has two feed dogs under the presser foot that can be adjusted to go different speeds to can prevent the fabric from stretching out or gathering, which is especially handy for sewing knits.

What I use my serger for:

  • ALL knit sewing. I sew all my knit seams with the serger, with the exception of neckbands or ribbing, which I always baste on first with a sewing machine to make sure it’s even.
  • Finishing edges of delicate and loose-weave fabrics before prewashing. Before I throw my new fabric in the wash (and I always prewash any fabric that will become a garment if I intend to machine-wash it, to prevent shrinking), I like to finish the raw edges so they won’t tangle and fray as they get tossed around in the machine. Usually I just use the zig zag stitch on my sewing machine over the raw edges. For fabrics like linen or double gauze, a serger is nicer because it finishes the raw edges very securely with the four-thread overlock stitch.
  • Finishing edges of delicate or loose-weave fabrics after cutting/before sewing. Similarly, if I’m sewing something really delicate, I sometimes run the cut pieces through the serger to finish all the edges before I start sewing. This helps prevent the edges of the fabric from stretching out while they’re being sewn, similar to stay-stitching.
  • Seam finishing for woven garments. I love a good seam finish (see this Super Seams post for a few examples/tutorials), and it’s super fast to run a seam through the serger after first sewing the seams on the machine (note: I don’t use the serger to sew the seams for woven clothing, though I do for knits). I was recently asked via email why not just sew all woven seams with the serger (a great question!) and the reason is that with woven garments, you often need to be able to adjust fit even after sewing seams, and that is really difficult to do once you’ve sewn a seam with a serger.

Since I use my serger constantly, I’m happy to have one I really love. It’s become an essential part of my process for sewing clothing and I can’t imagine sewing without one. Do you have a serger you love? And if you have any questions about sergers, I’m happy to answer them in comments!

PS. If you can find a local Juki dealer (you lucky ducks in Columbus have Sew to Speak), it’s so worth it if you can purchase a machine at a shop that will also be able to service it. Plan for the inevitable.

PPS. If you want a more thorough review of the Juki, check out Heather’s post.

Pattern Preview: Get ready for Jade!

Jade Tee sewing pattern

I’m incredibly excited to unveil my next design for you, Jade! This pattern hits home for me because it’s based on a silhouette I have worn and loved for many years, and it incorporates many of the details from favorite ready-to-wear tees I’ve owned. I’m happy to say that it’s almost ready to launch!

There are some peeks at Jade on Instagram under the hashtag #mbrjade too!

I’ll introduce this pattern to you detail by detail in an upcoming post, but for now I wanted to give you the materials list so you can get ready for this fun and quick pattern for knits.

For Jade, you’ll need to use knit fabric. I’d recommend light to medium weight knits such as jersey, rib knit, or interlock with plenty of stretch (at least 50%) for this pattern. Just like Isla, you’ll have the best results with soft, stretchy knits. For specific knit fabrics that I like, check out my post with some fabric recommendations for Jade.

Sizes and Yardage
You’ll need up to 2 yards of knit fabric for each tee, depending on the length of sleeve you would like and your size.

Jade Yardage Chart / made by rae

Just like all of my other recent patterns, Jade comes in my extended size range, which includes plus sizes (click here for metric):

Jade size chart / made by rae

My new knit sewing BFF: tricot interfacing
One of the things I love about designing patterns is experimenting with new techniques that I can share with you. For this pattern, I share my new favorite way to finish knit sleeves and hems beautifully using fusible tricot interfacing. Tricot interfacing is stretchy so it works with knit fabrics, and it stabilizes the edges so that they’re easy to sew and look beautiful after you press them. Here’s my favorite source for tricot interfacing: Fashion Sewing Supply Tricot Interfacing, but you can also find it here: Fusiknit and here: Heat n Bond sheer weight tricot interfacing (check out fellow pattern designer Gabriela’s blog post about tricot interfacing for more info, by the way. It’s great!)

Other Jade notions 

  • 4.0mm twin needle – I love finishing knit hems with a twin needle!
  • fusible stay tape – For the boat neckline, I use stay tape (you can also cut strips from your tricot interfacing, above) to self-finish the neckline. This is a handy notion to have if you like to sew with knits!
  • polyester thread – it’s super important to use polyester thread rather than cotton thread for sewing garments, especially knit garments, so your seams won’t break when stretched!

If this is your first time working with knits, be sure to check out my Knits Page. My Creativebug class, Trace and Make Tee and Leggings, also covers types and properties of knit fabrics, how to measure stretch, and my tips for sewing knits.

I hope you’re excited for Jade! Look for the launch announcement soon (and sign up for my newsletter if you want to be the first to know)!

Posted in jade
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Where to find knit fabrics

how to find knit fabric

One question I get a lot is where to find knit fabrics (actually: any apparel fabric — but let’s stick to knits for now). Lacking a local fabric shop that carries apparel fabrics is a common issue for many of you, so I’d like to recommend some knit fabrics that would be great for Flashback, Isla, or my upcoming pattern, Jade, and where to find them online and locally.

TOP LEFT: Dana cotton modal jersey (“Dana” by Robert Kaufman)
description: light weight jersey, 55% cotton, 45% modal rayon, a bit of stretch (not super stretchy), soft and light
notes: this one doesn’t have lycra so it doesn’t have much stretch,, but it’s nice and soft and light and has a nice drape. I’d recommend for Jade but maybe not for Isla (due to stretch)
source: Imagine Gnats

TOP CENTER: Striped tencel jersey
description: silky, light weight, super stretchy (4-way stretch), tons of drape
notes: Tencel is an eco-friendly form of rayon, so it has the silky and super-stretchy properties that bamboo rayon and other rayon jersey would have, without the possible horrific processing chemical by-products
source: La Mercerie

TOP RIGHT: Cotton-Lycra jersey (“Laguna” by Robert Kaufman)
description: light weight, usually has a 95/5 cotton to lycra ratio (also called cotton-spandex, same thing), good stretch and strong recovery, curls at edges
notes: Allie of Indie-Sew once described C/L as the quilting cotton of knits; it’s easy to work with and easy to find because manufacturers like Robert Kaufman (“Laguna knit“), Art Gallery, and Cotton and Steel all print their knits on C/L blends.
source: Pink Castle Fabrics

MIDDLE LEFT & RIGHT: Double brushed poly spandex Jersey
description: suuuuper stretchy (4-way stretch), medium weight, thicker than tencel jersey but with similar drape and stretch, very soft (“brushed”)
notes: this stuff really feels like secret pajamas, and it’s very forgiving to work with; I will add the caveat that it’s unlikely to be the most eco-friendly material out there. I can’t wait to show you what I made with that grid jersey!!
source: Raspberry Creek &  Imagine Gnats

MIDDLE CENTER: Indigo cotton-lycra jersey
description: medium weight, lycra gives it nice stretch  curl at edges
notes: when I found this indigo slub knit at Fancy Tiger (see below) it was like spotting a unicorn in the wild; I am always on the look out for slub knits but haven’t been able to find very many out there despite slub being pretty popular in ready-to-wear garments (my favorite JCrew tees are slub knit). Let me know in comments if you have a favorite slub source!!!
source: Fancy Tiger Crafts

BOTTOM LEFT: Stretch bamboo rayon jersey (Telio)
description: light weight but somewhat heavy (I know that sounds like a weird combo but it’s true), super stretchy (4-way stretch), somewhat shiny, silky
notes: While I did not love the solid Telio bamboo jerseys (I made a ton of Jade samples out of various solid colors) because they showed every wrinkle and line from my body and undergarments and were impossible to photograph, I did like the heather gray one shown above (I’m wearing it here). I really love the softness and stretchiness of bamboo knits, but I try to source them from places that sell overstock or deadstock, due to the horrific environmental impacts of the manufacturing process for bamboo rayons.

BOTTOM CENTER: Striped organic interlock (by Cloud9)
description: 100% organic cotton, medium weight, stretchy, soft
notes: so lovely and soft, due to the lack of lycra, this knit has less recovery and is less suited for leggings, for example, as it tends to grow a bit as you wear it until you throw it back in the wash, however, I couldn’t miss a chance to toot the Cloud9 horn a bit as I LOVE this new striped knit they have out, and it’s the same interlock that my Sidewalk knits are printed on (note: NO ATTEMPT TO BE UNBIASED HERE!). See yesterday’s Flamingo tee post as well.

BOTTOM RIGHT: Organic striped baby rib knit
description: 100% organic cotton rib knit, medium weight, stretchy, soft
notes: similar to organic interlock, above, but even more stretchy due to the 1×1 rib weave (2×2 ribs are also nice!). Again, not suited for leggings, but have a nice comfortable ease
source: Organic Cotton Plus

Ready for a closeup?

Double brushed poly jersey:

double brushed poly jersey

These Art Gallery jerseys weren’t shown in the swatch section, but this Isla Dress was made with the bottom one, and the photo gives you a good idea of the curl you get with Cotton/lycra jersey:

Art Gallery cotton-lycra jersey

Organic baby rib knit:

organic cotton baby rib knit

Indigo Cotton/lycra jersey:

Striped Tencel Jersey:

More knit sources
In addition to the sources listed above, a few more places I like to hunt for knits:*
Hawthorne Threads (big selection, cotton lycra and cotton modal jersey, interlock)
Indie Sew (great curated source for overstocks! rayon spandex jerseys, rib knits)
Simplifi (all organic!! interlock, cotton lycra jersey, hemp lycra jerseys)
Stone Mountain and Daughter (huge selection of every kind of knit you could imagine)

*Please note that this list is nowhere near comprehensive NOR is it unbiased as some of these shops were previous sponsors of this blog and/or carry my patterns and/or Cloud9 knits which is the company that licenses my designs. However, I think the best way to do posts like this is probably to keep them simple and do them frequently, rather than try to maintain a current comprehensive resource list.

Learn more
If you’re not that familiar with knit fabric or shopping online, consider taking my Creativebug Trace and Make Tee and Leggings class where I dive into knit fabrics, stretch, and how to sew knits, or check out this “Rae talks about shopping for knits online” post, which covers some basic online shopping tips and information about types, weights, and swatches you might find helpful.

I also like these two posts from Oliver+S: types of knits and where to find knits, and this article all about jersey from IndieSew.

Flamingo Boatneck Tee

Flamingo Boatneck

Pretty soon I’ll be introducing my next pattern for women, Jade, which is a knit t-shirt pattern. Here’s an early prototype that I made last spring with the flamingo print from my interlock collection for Cloud 9, Sidewalk. As a grown woman, I wasn’t sure I could pull off a flamingo tee, but I rather like it. If you’re looking at your screen and giving this the side-eye, perhaps flamingos are just not your thing LOL??

Flamingo Boatneck

The “pink” in this flamingo fabric (if you can call it that) is really more of a neon coral. One of the surprises for me with this knit collection is how bright this hue came out. At first I wasn’t completely sold, but within days of making this tee I discovered that I already owned multiple things that matched and coordinated, including a pair of neon striped socks and my watermelon Baggu tote (shown above). MEANT TO BE? I THINK SO. Since then this shade of coral has done nothing but grow on me.

Flamingo Boatneck
Also: works with my vintage GAP Jean Jacket. Is it too early to call something I purchased in 2001 “vintage?” I really hope not.

Jade will have an elbow-length sleeve — the length will be a bit shorter than this one — and one of the necklines will be this boat neck style. This version has a visible neckband, and I decided to finish the boat neckline in a completely different way for the pattern (I think you’ll love it!), but there is an optional binding piece so that if you like this you can still make it this way too. We also redrafted the sleeve cap after this version so I think you’ll find that there is substantially less underarm wrinkling in the final version, but it’s not bad for a prototype. Definitely wearable. Can’t wait to unveil more details on the final pattern for you soon!

Flamingo Boatneck

You can follow the Jade hashtag #mbrjade on Instagram to see more peeks at this pattern and tester versions (there’s quite a few already), and sign up for my newsletter here if you want to know right away when this pattern is ready!