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!

Jess makes: Cobalt Isla Dress

Navy wool Isla Dress by Jess

Hi all! Jess sneaking in to send you into the weekend with a little spring inspiration. This wool jersey Isla Dress is perfect for seasonal transitions. It’s light and drapey, and I was surprised to find that the wool is noticeably warmer than cotton jersey of a similar weight. I’ve worn it with a cardigan and tights all winter, and now it feels good on its own with sandals or clogs.

Navy wool Isla Dress by Jess

I got this cobalt wool jersey from Imagine Gnats close to two years ago. Full disclosure: it took this dress awhile to make its way into regular rotation because every time I wore it, I would turn slightly blue from the fabric. Now that I’ve washed it several times, though, it’s stopped letting off dye, and I love wearing this dress. (I think I was supposed to hand wash this, but it washes wonderfully on a cold, gentle cycle, and I hang it to dry).

Navy wool Isla Dress by Jess

Isla was our first knit pattern for women, and we’re currently in testing phase for Jade, a knit boatneck tee whose sleeves will fit into Isla’s armholes! We’re so excited about all the places we’ll go with that combo.

Navy wool Isla Dress by Jess

Ready to sew your own Isla? Pick up the pattern PDF in the shop.

See more Islas under the tag #islapattern and right here on the blog!

Issie Top in Sidewalk Knits

Issie Top in Sidewalk knits

We’ve had a bit of extra yardage from my Sidewalk Knits kicking around for a while, so when Suz of Sew Pony emailed to see if I’d like to try out her new Issie Top pattern for kids, I was excited to try it out with the little shoe print. If you’re not familiar with the Sew Pony brand, it’s got a great lineup of children’s sewing patterns that each have unique details. I especially love that they often have a bit of a retro vibe to them. In this case, however, I thought Clementine would fall for the shoulder ruffles on this cute tee (she did).

Issie Top in Sidewalk knits

Issie Top in Sidewalk knits

I’ll take a minute so you can recover from the shock of how old Clementine looks in these photos. It feels like she’s aged a million years in the last year. She’s definitely grown like a weed — she’s almost as tall as Elliot, who is 2.5 years older than her!!

Issie Top in Sidewalk knits

Issie Top in Sidewalk knits

After a brief warming up period with this top, where she refused to wear it for a couple months and I decided I’d never get a photo of her in it, ever, she tried it on (finally!) and now wears it every week. Welcome to the on again off again relationship that is sewing for my 8.5 year old daughter. I am happy that the size 9 that she measured in the pattern last fall still fits her with plenty of room, so I think she’ll be able to wear it for at least another year. Yay!! for kids’ clothes that fit for a long time, especially handmade ones, amiright?Issie Top in Sidewalk knits

Suz just launched the Jeune Twin Set, a lovely skirt and top pattern, so check that one out! She also kindly offered readers of this blog a 10% discount on the Issie pattern with the code ISSIEBYRAE10.

You can find the Issie Top pattern in the Sew Pony shop!

Isla with sleeves + woven skirt

Isla Dress with woven skirt

Sometimes I wish I had more time to show you all of the concepts and variations a pattern goes through before it’s finally released. Originally I thought the Isla pattern would have sleeves, and even went so far as to make this mint striped version with sleeves (I later removed them). As the pattern developed, I decided that Isla needed to be a Presto pattern (basic design, streamlined instructions), and so I tossed the sleeves, which were going to require a fair amount of tweaking and developing on their own yet before I could sign off on them. But in the back of my head I thought, my next knit pattern will have sleeves, and if it does, I want them to work with Isla, too.

So after Isla launched, I started playing around with the sleeve pattern pieces again. By last November, we had it graded and in multiple lengths, and I made this version of Isla with sleeves and a woven skirt.

Isla Dress with woven skirt

Isla Dress with woven skirt

The woven skirt itself deserves a little explanation. The Isla pattern is intended to be made entirely out of knit fabric, but since there’s plenty of ease in the skirt, you can really substitute a woven fabric for the skirt if you want. I even increased the width (this skirt was made with a 1 yard piece of 54″ cotton-linen blend, which I cut down the middle and turned sideways, so the skirt pieces ended up roughly 10″ wider than the pattern piece, each) and it still worked.

Isla Dress with woven skirt

This fabric is a print designed by Melody Miller from Ruby Star Sparkle, a now out-of-print collection from her years as a Kokka designer. Some of you might remember that this is not the first time I have cut a Melody Miller panel on the cross-grain so I could use the raw selvages for the hem of a skirt — the first time was when I made this pre-pattern Ruby prototype out of the arrow print.

Isla Dress with woven skirt

You might wonder how and when someone might wear such an interesting dress. Here’s one way I like to style it in a kind of fun bohemian way:

Isla styled to slay

Hopefully you can see that using a woven fabric instead of knit for the Isla skirt can open a whole new world for this pattern, so if you’re thinking of trying this, do it!! It’s fun! And if you’re wondering where you can get the sleeves, stay tuned! Jade, my next pattern, will have sleeves that you’ll be able to add to Isla for some awesome mix and match possibilities.

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My Cleo Skirt Class on Creativebug!

Cleo Skirt on Creativebug / made by rae

Many of you already know that I used to be a science teacher, and that teaching is a real area of passion for me. I have three kids, and in the past few years especially it’s become harder to find time to teach classes locally or travel to teach (though I still definitely do!). Every time I have the opportunity to teach a garment class in person, I have so much fun. So it’s really wonderful to be able to offer classes online through Creativebug; to be able to show you tips and tricks and walk you through the process of making something beautiful for yourself from start to finish, even if I can’t be there with you in person. I really try to imagine what it’s like to make something for the first time, and I hope that comes across in the video lessons. (Also, they have an amazing staff at Creativebug and it was ridiculously fun to fly to San Francisco and work with them).

I’m launching three new women’s sewing classes with Creativebug this spring, and the first one, the Cleo Skirt, is now up and running. Cleo has proven to be a real favorite, and the class includes instruction for both of the views, which have two different pocket options, lengths, and hem options. 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. Compared with taking a class in person, it’s a real deal!

I even painted my nails gold for this one, guys. You’re welcome.

Cleo Skirt for Creativebug

The pic above shows both views of the skirt, both of which have a combination flat front + elastic back waistband (the one on the left shows the back view). Just in case you’re interested in where I sourced the fabric, the skirt (View B) on the left is Loominous by Anna Maria Horner, and the skirt on the right (View A) is cotton ikat, both of which I purchased online at Stone Mountain and Daughter. Their brick and mortar shop is in Berkeley, right across the bay from San Francisco, and I also went and visited them one day after a video shoot!

By the way, the model in these shots is Ayrika, one of the Creativebug staff. Aren’t these photos gorgeous?? I love how amazing she looks in both of these skirts! As you can see, it’s going to be the perfect garment to take you into spring and summer!!! Get started with your own version of Cleo this weekend!

I hope you enjoy these classes as much as I enjoyed making them for you!

PS. The class includes a PDF version of the Cleo Skirt pattern (slightly modified from the one in my shop), but if you’d prefer to use a printed pattern to use for the class, check if  your favorite sewing shop carries Cleo, or purchase one from one of my online stockists!