Summer snapshots

summer snapshots        summer snapshots

Ah summer! I love summer. I love sitting back and watching all the plans I had to scramble to put together all spring slowly unfold into a lovely, full summer of activity. I’m not one to sit around and relax, so there’s a certain satisfaction to this process each year, and like anything, it seems like something you get better and better at as time goes on. It’s no small feat to engineer an entire summer of child-care and activities — camps, babysitter, swimming lessons — and still find time not only to work part-time but also relax a little bit, let me tell you. In fact, this past spring was pretty stressful, I’m not going to lie. But that’s a story for another time.

Here are some snapshots from our summer so far! It wouldn’t be summer without a visit to the lake (Lake Michigan)…

summer snapshots

summer snapshots

summer snapshots

summer snapshots

summer snapshots

the splash park…

summer snapshots

summer snapshots

running through the sprinkler…

summer snapshots

and camping!

summer snapshots

We went camping last weekend and it was hands-down the MOST RAIN we have ever gotten while camping. It rained pretty much non-stop from the time we got to the campsite Friday evening until we left Sunday morning. Luckily there were a few breaks in the rain to swim in the lake!!

summer snapshots

summer snapshots

summer snapshots

summer snapshots

And Hugo and I try to get to a park on my days off work (right now that’s Tuesdays and Thursdays).

summer snapshots

This weekend, Clementine turns NINE — can you believe it?! seems like just yesterday I was posting her birth announcement — and then we’re dropping off the kiddos at Grandma’s (Hugo) and sleepaway camp (Elliot and Clementine), so Mr Rae and I can go to Montreal for a few days just the two of us. I’m so excited!! I’ve never been to Montreal and I’ve heard it’s absolutely lovely.

summer snapshots

If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed that I took a trip to Colorado for a knitting retreat a couple weeks ago — that was really fun too. I’ll try to post pics of that trip soon!

I hope you’re having a wonderful summer, too! What have you checked off your summer to-do list so far?

 

 

Posted in updates
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Pink Ruffle Concoction

Made By Rae pink concoctionMade By Rae pink concoction

I posted a pic of this top on Instagram during Me-Made-May and kept getting questions about the pattern, but it requires a bit of explanation so it seemed appropriate to write about it here. This top started as a possible spring pattern prototype that never went anywhere. It all started when I was making this ruffled Gemma top; I was mid-sew when I put on the bodice and threw the big ruffled skirt piece over my shoulder and then accidentally caught a glimpse of myself as I walked past a mirror. I really liked the ruffle over the shoulder…and hence this top was born.

Made By Rae pink concoction

I drafted the front and back center pieces off of Gemma (rotated the side darts so they angle towards the bottom corner), attached a giant ruffle all the way around, and then included two side pieces under the arm that extend under the ruffle and curve up and meet at the belly button (you can’t really see these, but imagine it a bit like flower petals).

Made By Rae pink concoction

The first attempt was horrible and I just looked like a giant ruffle dumpling, so I added a single line of elastic shirring at the sides to help cinch it in and give it a bit more tailoring if you can even call it that.

Made By Rae pink concoction

It worked. Now I look like a pink butterfly! Wheee!

Made By Rae pink concoction

The fabric is a rose (almost mauve-ish?) double gauze that I had purchased for one of the dress samples for the Geranium for big kids (sizes 6-12) cover shoot when we put the pattern into print last summer. You can get a glimpse of the dress in the gorgeous cover shot by Rachel Kovac here. Rachel’s daughter Tia is modeling it in the photo. Rachel’s blog is Stitched Together.

I do really love double gauze so much. It’s just so dreamy and comfortable to wear, and I love that it always looks a bit soft and rumpled.

Made By Rae pink concoction

In the end, the side panels engineering issues were enough to put me off developing this pattern further; plus it got the side-eye from Elli and Jess when I showed them the initial photos. Maybe if I come up with a better solution this could really turn into something, but I have so many ideas that I’m totally OK when something just becomes a top for me to wear. It’s all part of the creative process, no?

Do you enjoy getting a little peek into what happens when a pattern idea goes nowhere? Well, not quite nowhere…but you know what I mean.

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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Pink and white striped Isla

Made By Rae Isla Dress / PDF pattern

I’m a mother of three and reliable coffee spiller, so I’m not sure why my recent knit sewing streak has included three dresses (see also: Exhibit A / Exhibit B) that are basically white? I guess I just love wearing white, even if it’s hard to keep clean. We use lots of Oxy and stain stick over here.

This striped Isla dress is a spin-off of the other one (shown below) that I made as a sample for my Creativebug Isla class, which is white with navy stripes — fabric from LaMercerie — and which I very nearly absconded with after trying it on when we were finished shooting. Still kicking myself for not buying enough of that fabric to make a second one, really. I love a wider stripe — there’s so many striped knits, but there’s something pretty lovely about putting some space between those stripes, don’t you think?

Isla Dress Class / Creativebug

The sample looks super cute on Ayrika though, no? SO CUTE!!!

As mentioned in my last post, with striped fabric you do have to modify the way you cut out the bodice, slightly; the bodice is usually curved at the bottom to allow for the bust, but it’s pretty easy to modify the bottom edge for stripes, as I demonstrate in the video. And for the skirt on this dress, I cut the fabric on the cross-grain so that the stripes would be vertical (again, something I demonstrate in the class, just in case you need a bit of hand-holding!)

Adjusting Isla for stripes

One of the great things about a basic knit dress is that it goes with freaking everything, from jean jackets to cardigans. Here are my favorite ways to wear it:

Made By Rae Isla Dress / PDF pattern

Made By Rae Isla Dress / PDF pattern

Made By Rae Isla Dress / PDF pattern

Finally, a note about the fabric: I found this in the sale section at Stone Mountain and Daughter, so I don’t exactly know what this is but I suspect that it is a rayon or bamboo jersey. Rayon knits are usually pretty thin, super stretchy, and have a certain weight to them. I normally cut the Isla bodice a little longer for my height (I’m a couple inches taller than what I drafted the pattern for, 5’6”), but not when I use rayon jersey, since the weight of the skirt usually pulls the bodice down, making it longer, on its own.

My Isla class is now available on Creativebug, or you can find the PDF pattern in my shop!!

Posted in isla
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My Isla Dress Class on Creativebug!

Hey hey! Today my Isla Dress & Top launches as an online class on Creativebug, woot woot! Isla is the third and final women’s garment that I’m launching with Creativebug this year, joining my Gemma tank and the Cleo skirt as part of the “Sewing Essentials” series.

For those of you unfamiliar with Creativebug, it’s a subscription-based site that creates online workshops with all kinds of designers and creators (knitting, sewing, painting, weaving, baking, etc). I’m continuously amazed at how seamlessly they edit down my hours of blah blah into a cohesive class, not to mention the quality of the video and attention to detail.


Unlike Gemma or Cleo, Isla is designed for knit fabrics, and I cover some knit sewing basics in the class. If you need more information on the materials you’ll need for Isla, check out my Isla page, and if you’re intimidated by knit fabric, here are some recommendations with links to shops to get you started.The class includes the downloadable print-at-home pattern in nine women’s sizes (XXS – XL and plus sizes 1-3).

As an added bonus in this class, I cover sewing Isla with striped fabric, since so many knit fabrics feature stripes. I show how to make some bodice adjustments for striped fabrics (the bottom of the bodice is normally curved to accommodate the bust) and demonstrate how to cut the skirt on the cross-grain for some fun horizontal/vertical stripe play, as shown in the white and navy-striped dress sample (modeled here by Ayrika, who works at Creativebug!).

As you can see from the photos, Isla can be made into a dress or a top, and has a gathered peplum or skirt, depending on which one you choose. The skirt is gathered and attached with elastic thread using a technique called shirring, so if you’re unfamiliar with that technique (or want to know where to find elastic thread), check out my shirring tutorial here.

If you prefer, you can also skip the shirring altogether and use a traditional gathering technique, though I do recommend attaching the skirt using a serger to avoid stretching out the waist seam if you take this approach.

You can follow this link or click on any of the photos in this post to see the class outline, watch the class preview, and sign up. Creativebug is a subscription-based website, so you get access to all of the classes with your subscription, and you can start with a free trial if you’re not already signed up.

I hope you enjoy this class!!! It’s been really fun to see how many of you have enjoyed the classes so far. Remember to post what you’re making online too!