It is hard to believe that it was only two years ago that I sewed my first me-made garment, a Made By Rae Washi dress. Since that time I have sewn so many Washi dresses for myself, my daughter, my sister and my mom as well as many other dresses, tops, pants and now skirts.
This week we had a storm in the Northeast. It wasn’t enough to cause a huge disruption in our lives-we didn’t lose power or have trees down and because we knew the storm was coming I planned ahead to stay home and take a vacation day from work since clinic was closed and our patients were rescheduled. It was the perfect snow day.
I took advantage of the day to do a little sewing. I have had two plaid flannel Pearl shifts cut out since before Christmas, one for my daughter and one for me. The only tricky part of this pattern is inserting the zipper so inserted the zipper on the purple Pearl destined for my daughter (I only had to unpick it once) and then, since I had already loaded the machine with a deep teal thread, I decided to sew a up the teal double gauze Ruby blouse that I cut out last July (!)I tend to cut projects out way before I actually sew them, often because I want to use the fabric for more than one project. It works best for me if I lay out the pattern pieces for both projects at the same time so I can be sure to cut the pattern pieces in such a way as to have enough for both projects. In this case, I had used the teal for the pockets and waist facing for my Fringe Luna Pants so I cut the Ruby pieces at the same time. I had originally thought I would sew it last summer but then Rae released the Gemma Tank pattern and Gemma Madness ensued.
I made my first double gauze Ruby last summer, a plum version. I have been wearing that blouse more now in the winter than I did last summer-it is one of my most-worn me-made garments. See below after many washes and wears. I made it using Rae’s sausage technique for lining the bodice. See this post about a favorite Ruby Dress for a detailed illustration with links. Both the bodice lining (a floral lawn that is one of my favorite fabrics) and the pink double gauze fabrics are from Cotton and Steel. It is the perfect layering piece under a cardigan and I tend to wear it with an olive green or grey cardigan with dark jeans. Add a necklace and it is a comfortable, flattering look for winter on those work days when I don’t see patients and am just catching up on paperwork. I have probably worn my pink Ruby over 20 times since I made it last summer. It just gets softer and softer and I can wear it right out of the dryer-no need to iron. I originally purchased the teal fabric online on sale from Fabric.com. It is also Cotton and Steel double gauze and it is called Indigo. I actually thought it was going to be navy which I thought would be a great basic and when it came in the mail, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the teal as much as the navy but then I thought of how great it would be with my mustard cardigan. So when I had an unexpected snow day this week, I decided sewing up this Ruby would be the perfect way to spend it.
The Ruby Blouse by Made by Rae is a relatively simple sewing project but lining the bodice elevates it to a more polished garment and makes it more fun because you can choose a fun fabric to use for the lining which only requires a fat quarter of fabric. I looked through my ever-growing stash and found a fat quarter of a beautiful floral quilting cotton from the Cotton and Steel Cat Lady collection. No cats in sight on this fabric, at least that I could see, but I love the colors and how it works with the teal. I have used the sausage technique so many times on my many Washi dresses and Ruby dresses and blouses that I didn’t need to refer to the videos but they are awesome.I did look back at the videos briefly to remind me how to do the bias binding on the lower armholes. I use a 1.5 inch strip rather than 1.25 inches. I do find that part a bit tricky with double gauze but a couple of hand stitches on the inside of the blouse fixed the areas that my machine stitching missed. Before sewing the sausage I generally topstitch around the neck. I used matching thread. I machine wash my garments and it seems as though that extra stitching gives the neckline a bit more stability and strength. The sausage technique leaves two seams on the inside of the blouse that require hand stitching. I actually enjoy hand stitching so I enjoyed this part of the project. I was able to sew the entire blouse in an afternoon and wear it to work the next day without rushing or cutting corners. It is sometimes very relaxing to just enjoy the process and make something beautiful without worrying about how long it takes. I even had time to make home-made soup for dinner after I finished sewing. I often make what I call “refrigerator soup” where I look in the refrigerator and see what I have and make it into soup. A couple of weeks ago, I had half a butternut squash, a sweet potato and some carrots and I ended up making soup with some sautéed onions, chicken broth, fresh ginger and a little curry for seasoning. It was fantastic so today I made it on purpose. “Vitamin A Soup” below. I think the bright orange and yellow color speaks to me in the dark days of winter. I have been drawn to oranges and yellows all winter. I have made several Isla Dresses in these colors and am very partial to this one below which I recently wore to NYC for a birthday celebration with my mother with whom I share a birthday. What are the odds of that?I am also loving this book which coincidentally has an orange cover and have this fabric on order from my favorite fabric shop with plans to make this skirt. So many things to look forward to on this snow day! Winter has its consolations. Finished Ruby blouse below. I know it will be worn and worn. I highly recommend this pattern in double gauze. It is worth the bit of extra effort.