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!

My Gemma Tank Class on Creativebug!

Today’s a special day!! The second garment workshop in my Sewing Essentials series on Creativebug launches today: the Gemma Tank Class! Gemma is absolutely perfect for the shift to summery weather and I think you’ll love having this step by step video to walk you through making one. As usual, I’ve loaded this workshop with tips and tricks, and you can watch it happen from start to finish in one sitting, or pause and watch it in bits and pieces as you sew along.

The class includes the downloadable print-at-home pattern in nine women’s sizes (XXS – XL and plus sizes 1-3) and includes two bust size variations (A/B and C/D). Each version shown above features a double-rolled hem and bias-tape finished neck and armholes. Gemma top sews up really quickly and will be a favorite addition to your sewing repertoire.

The Gemma tank has both a scoop neck (shown above) and jewel neckline option. This chambray Gemma below is a favorite of mine and also features the scoop neckline. You can take a look at the other Gemmas we’ve made over at the Gemma page if you like.

And….drumroll…the Gemma class includes instructions not only for the classic tank but ALSO the ruffle-bottom variation! Bonus!!! You may remember I’ve made a handful of ruffled versions, including the ones in this blog post.

In the class, I use elastic thread to gather the skirt. If you’re unfamiliar with that technique or want to see my elastic thread sources, check out the shirring tutorial here.

If you’d like to make the ruffle bottom version but your machine won’t allow you to use the elastic thread (or just don’t want to use elastic thread), you can easily substitute the traditional gathering method by using two lines of basting stitches and pulling on the threads to gather. I demonstrate this in my other Creativebug class Sewing for Little Ones Beginner Dress (look for the section called “Sew the Skirt” and skip ahead to the 2:30 minute mark to see the tutorial on gathering) if you need a visual lesson.

I also have a series of very popular Bias binding tutorials for all your armhole and neckline finishing needs — I’ve shown how to do the tradional method in the class, but of course you can try any of the other methods to mix things up as well.

This is the second of three in my Sewing Essentials women’s sewing classes with Creativebug (the Cleo Skirt launched last month).

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 as much as the Cleo 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!

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!

Get ready for Cleo on Creativebug!

Cleo Skirt for Creativebug

I’m so excited to let you know that my Cleo Skirt class will be the first one of my garment classes to launch this spring over on Creativebug. I love to teach, and since I can’t actually come to your sewing room in person, this is a fun way for me to show you how to make Cleo virtually! The class will show you how to make both views (shown above) of the skirt.

Cleo goes live on Creativebug this coming Wednesday, March 21. If you you want to sew along when it launches next week, here’s a few things you can do to get ready:

  • Sign up for Creativebug!
  • Get your materials together: the Cleo Page has fabric recommendations, yardage charts, size charts and materials list.
  • If you’d like to have 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!

PS. I’ve got two more garment sewing classes for women coming from Creativebug this spring! The next one is due drop in early May.

Creativebug Outfit for Hugo

Sewing for little ones set / Creativebug + Made By Rae

I have always felt that the two most essential garments in a child’s wardrobe are a basic pair of pants and a tee shirt. It was on this premise that I designed my two children’s patterns, the Flashback Tee for knits and the Parsley Pants for woven fabrics, and it’s also the reason that my Sewing for Little Ones series on Creativebug begins with how to make basic pants and ends with how to make a Trace-and-Make tee.  I love being able to whip up a tee and pants for my own kiddos; it’s such a fun and gratifying thing to sew an easy outfit in an afternoon (also: Elliot, at 9, still prefers my “soft pants” to store-bought).

Sewing for little ones set / Creativebug + Made By Rae

I made this little outfit for Hugo when I was writing my outlines for the Creativebug classes, and as you can see, the result is completely wearable and cute. I used the dog print from my Small World corduroy fabric line for the pants, and that soft yellow knit (I swear this is the PERFECT shade of yellow) is from Cloud9’s knit solids collection. Cloud9 provided ALL of the fabrics I used to teach the classes, by the way; I’m partial to their fabrics, as you probably already know.

Sewing for little ones set / Creativebug + Made By Rae

The first class, Sew Beginner Pants, takes you from start to finish on a basic pair of pants. I love the utility of pants, how simple they are (one pattern piece!), that it is a gender-neutral clothing item, and how quickly they can be sewn. It walks you through setting up your sewing machine for the first time, cutting out the pieces, and sewing them together. The video allows you to sew along and learn all those little tips and tricks you’d learn if you could take one of my classes in person. I also figured out a way to sneak seam finishing into this class because though pants can be sewn lickety-quick, if you want them to last through multiple wears and washings, seam finishing is essential. The class also includes a printable download with two sizes of the Parsley Pant pattern, a newborn size and a toddler size. The larger size is labeled size 3, and I also included a size 2 hemming line (and I’ve got them hemmed up even further for these pics of Hugo, since he’s not quite in a size 2 length-wise). And of course, if you needed more sizes you could use the same instructions for any size of my Parsley Pants pattern. Here’s the class description:

Begin your foray into sewing for little ones with Raes Parsley Pants pattern. Rae shows you how to work with multi-sized patterns and covers tricky techniques like sewing curves and adding an elastic waistband. This pattern is practical and simple, and you will get the satisfaction of seeing an entire garment come together in just a couple of hours. Start building your basic garment construction skills with this class.

Learn How To:

  • Set up your sewing machine
  • Select size and cut out your pattern
  • Sew curved seams
  • Add an elastic waistband and ribbon tag
  • Finish hems

Sewing for little ones set / Creativebug + Made By Rae

The tee was made as a sample for the Trace and Make Knits class, the third and final class in the series. “Trace and Make” means you start with a piece of clothing that fits your child, and you trace it to make a pattern from the garment so you can make even more (sidenote: I do this to make clothes for my kids to wear, but never for a pattern I intend design and sell). In this particular class, I demonstrate how to trace and construct not only a tee but a pair of leggings as well, another essential item for children. The class also includes an introduction to knit fabric and sewing with knits, and shows you how to sew the tee and leggings from start to finish…I mean, for the price of the subscription, I can’t even… Let’s put it this way: all of this content would be a $100 workshop if I offered it locally, you know? Not to mention, the principles of tracing, making, and constructing tees and leggings are exactly the same for kids as they are for men, or women, so I personally think this class has a HUGE value and I’m so glad that I can point folks who are interested in sewing with knits to it! Here’s the class description:

Tracing and making is a great way to learn about clothing construction. In this final part, Rae shows you how to trace a favorite t-shirt and pair of leggings to create your own patterns, which you can use to construct custom garments. You will also learn all about working with knit fabrics—a staple fabric for kids. This class rounds out the wardrobe nicely, teaching you more skills like working with shoulders and sleeves and how to add a double-fold neckline.

Learn How To:
· Work with knit fabrics
· Select a tee and leggings to trace
· Trace tee and leggings for pattern
· Create a pattern on Swedish tracing paper
· Construct a tee-shirt shoulder seam, sleeve seam and double-fold neckline
· Add tags to tee and leggings
· Insert elastic waistband in leggings

Sewing for little ones set / Creativebug + Made By Rae

I have even more to say about the second class (“Sew a Beginner Dress”) yet, but I’ll save that for a later post. I couldn’t be more thrilled with how these classes turned out and I really hope that you will subscribe and watch them if you haven’t already. I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to offer video somehow, to make an extra instructional resource available for people who wanted to try my sewing patterns but maybe needed a little more support (and I’ve done a handful of campy how-to videos for a few of my sewing patterns), but but holy sh*t is it ever hard to film, edit, and publish video on your own. I’m still a little gobsmacked at how adeptly the editors whittled down an entire week’s worth of shooting into these three thorough yet concise classes that can each be watched from start to finish in one sitting (and, Bonus Miracle: manage not to make me look like a total idiot!). I can’t say this without sounding like a total fan-girl, but it was such an honor to have had the opportunity to partner with Creativebug on this thing and I’m proud to be able to put my name on such a high-quality project.

You can sign up for free and take my classes by clicking on this image:


Note: all Creativebug links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small amount if you subscribe via one of my links.

My first Creativebug Class is coming soon!

Sewing for Little Ones with Rae Hoekstra

I’m excited to announce that my first Creativebug class, “Sewing for Little Ones: Beginner Pants” will go live in just two days on Thursday, April 7th! You can view the preview videos for the entire course and take a look at my instructor page for descriptions of each of the three classes that make up my “Sewing for Little Ones” work-along. (Note that these links are affiliate links so if you sign up via my link I earn a little $…).

One class will go live on Thursday for the next three weeks. I’ll say a little more about the first (beginner pants) class soon. I hope you’re as excited as I am! Wooooot!!! *does Kermit arms*

Sewing for Little Ones with Rae Hoekstra


My week at Creativebug

my week at creativebug
I spent the week before last in San Francisco filming for Creativebug, a video streaming DIY/educational website that features all kinds of amazing artists showing you how to make stuff (it’s subscription-based, but they have a free two-week trial). Which makes me one of those artists, too. Which feels a little crazy.

my week at creativebug

that’s my set! fun, huh? I love these little swatches of my fabrics

my week at creativebug

I should back up a little bit. I’ve been a subscriber on the Creativebug site for years, and I may have even been one of the first users, though I’m not sure. Heather Ross first introduced me to the site when I was in New York for her Fabric Design workshop; over cocktails one evening she mentioned she had been filming for them, and she was clearly very excited about it. “You should do it, Rae!” she said. I remember feeling incredibly flattered that she would say that, but I didn’t think that would EVER happen; the Creativebug artists (Heather, Anna Maria, Natalie Chanin) were definitely in a league above my own (sidenote: ultimately I think it is useless to think this way, but hey, this is my blog, so you get my insecurities along with the rest, which, let’s face it, is mostly shameless self-promotion anyway). I signed up right away. Even from the beginning, the video was super high quality and fun to watch. The videos are really beautiful, the content is great, and the artist intro clips are one of my favorite things about the site (and, incidentally, are free to watch; you can click on any artist on the instructor page to see their intro).

my week at creativebug

So when Creativebug actually contacted me last summer about filming a kids’ clothes class series, I was excited. Still, I wasn’t sure it would really happen. For one thing, I found the whole idea of standing up in front of a camera crew absolutely terrifying, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to go through with it. Another thing: they would realize I was just a self-taught sewing imposter with a blog sooner or later, right? Fast forward to last week: after months of work and discussion, I was in San Francisco, looking at a studio with my name on the door.

my week at creativebug

my week at creativebug

Filming ended up being really fun. I was definitely nervous at first, and it was hard, but I had two camera guys (Matt and Brian) and an artistic coach (Christine) in the room with me the entire time, and they were incredibly positive and encouraging. They’d brainstorm with me first about what to say and how to say it, and then they’d yell “ACTION!” There was no teleprompter (another surprise for me). Everything was filmed completely off the cuff, but it makes sense: it comes off more conversational and less stiff that way. I knew I was messing up and nervous, but they were super patient, total pros.

my week at creativebug

my week at creativebug

I was not prepared for how LONG it would take to film something that takes me less than a half hour to sew. Like, all day. Start, stop, freeze (so they can zoom in), OK, go ahead and say that again. I’m glad, because there’s so much footage they should be able to edit it down to something that conveys what I was trying to say with some degree of lucidity, but still, when they said I would need four days to film I thought, oh well, at least I’ll have a bunch of free time to putz around the city! Insert laughing-crying emoji here. Hilarious. I ended up filming right up until about 5:30 on Friday afternoon.

my week at creativebug

One thing I thought was cool was that nearly everyone I met at Creativebug was also an artist in some other way. Many of them were working on artistic projects on the side or on weekends in addition to their full time job at Creativebug. The entire place has a really fun and (at the risk of sounding really cheesy) creative vibe as a result. They are clearly having a good time and enjoy working with each other. You get a sense for this when you look at the Meet the Team page on their website, but seriously, what a fun place to work.

my week at creativebug

I filmed three classes which will be released some time in April as a multi-part class called “Sewing for Little Ones.” The focus is sewing clothes for babies and kids geared toward beginners, so it starts with basic sewing and pattern-reading, and goes from there. The classes are a series, with each class building on the one before so that when you’re finished you have a set of skills and techniques for sewing baby and kids clothes, and there will even be some free pattern templates thrown in there as well. I’ll post some more details when the launch date gets closer. I’m also supposed to get an affiliate link so that if people subscribe from my blog I earn a small commission but I haven’t gotten that yet (so WAIT until I do heeee!!).

my week at creativebug

One thing I really loved about doing this project is how much it pushed me and made me grow. It was such a change of pace for me, so different from Normal Life with three kids, and I don’t even think I realized how much I needed something like that until it was all over. For one thing, it’s been ages since I’ve even been on a plane without my kids. Just the plane ride was like a spa vacation, and going back to my quiet hotel room at the end of the day without having to fix dinner or do dishes was a real treat, I’m not gonna lie. It was hard for me to be away from my family all week, but it was good for me to have a week to remember who I am as a professional, as an individual, and an artist, without the distractions and constant tasks of home or the little hands and voices always at my side. Before I left, I just wanted to get it over with so I could be back home. And now, I’m really happy I did it and if I get a chance to do it again I will snap it up. It was an awesome way to start the new year.

my week at creativebug