Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing

Loominous Bianca

The Bianca Pattern is one my favorite patterns. I have made many versions which you can see here. Anna Maria Horner’s Loominous fabrics are some of my favorite fabrics. I have made a Loominous Gemma and a Loominous Cleo. This Me Made May, I made a Loominous Bianca and it might be my favorite Bianca yet. This fabric was originally purchased because I thought it would be great as short sleeved shirt for my husband and I still think it would be but it didn’t speak to him. Lucky for me because it makes an awesome Bianca. I bought it from The Cloth Pocket which is one of my favorite fabric stores. I follow them on Instagram-their feed is outrageously funny- and shop from them online and last March,  I actually took a class there in person when I visited my son who lives in Austin. So fun. They have amazing class space and instructors. I think I will now plan all my trips to visit Steve to coincide with classes I want to take. Seriously. Anyhow, as I started to think about this version of the Bianca, I decided to try sewing it with the facing, per the pattern. I have made all of my others with a lined bodice, something I improvised based on the lined Washi dresses I have made. I usually use a contrasting lining so that a bit of it shows. I think it adds a cute detail. But I didn’t have anything that would work in this case that was the same weight and I wanted to really enjoy the lightweight fabric and a lining would have added bulk so I decided to use the Loominous for the facing as well. And then I had the idea to try sewing the facing on the outside which is explained as an option in the pattern directions, and then I had the idea to turn the facing on the bias as a design feature. I am not going to lie, it was a bit tricky, but I am thrilled with the results. This is before the elastic is added which gives the Bianca its shape.The trickiest part for me actually wasn’t the front bias facing, it was the back neck facing. I am not sure how I did this but it ended up being shorter than the neck on the dress and they didn’t line up. When I realized this was happening, I just folded the excess in the center of the back as I was sewing as if it was meant to be. It actually didn’t turn out badly, thankfully. 

One thing I wish I had done is to cut the pattern pieces out a bit more thoughtfully because I could have totally matched the stripes on the side. They are just a little off. I just didn’t think ahead when I cut out the pattern pieces. But I will definitely do it next time and there will definitely be a next time because I bought this fabric again in this grey and in the cream colorway. You can see in the picture below that I am just a little off matching the blue stripes at the bottom of the skirt. So close! This dress is a bit shorter than the other Bianca’s I have made- about an inch. I didn’t sew a hem facing as I normally do. I was in a hurry to finish it and be able to wear it so I just turned the hem up. I like the shorter length because my plan is to wear it with leggings and jeans but if I make it a second time, I will make it with a hem facing. I like the little bit of extra structure of the hem facing and I feel as though my dresses hang more nicely with that little bit of extra weight. But I am very happy with how this turned out. This was another dress sewn in a day. I sewed it pretty quickly although it did take a bit of time to sew the facing, especially since I was being careful not to stretch the fabric out of shape. Knowing now that I can manage the facing on the outside (and knowing that I have to check my measurements to figure out what I did wrong when I sewed the facing to have the size difference-probably a seam allowance situation) I will definitely be making this version again. I love that this little shift of putting the facing on the outside gives you so many design possibilities.I highly recommend the pattern and the fabric-a winning combination!

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Gemma Tank, Made By Rae Patterns, Pearl Shift, Ruby Dress Pattern, Sewing, Washi Dress Pattern

Me Made May 2017

This is my third year of participating in Me Made May, in which home sewers/sewists from all over the world pledge to wear me-made garments all month long and most post them on social media. This year I decided to try to not only wear a garment that I had sewn each day but to try to wear something different each day-no repeats. I mostly succeeded. I did have one day when I didn’t post-although I had worn a handmade tunic that day, my mother in law was in the hospital, and a picture on social media was the furthest thing from my mind. I ended up with more than 31 posts because there were several days when  I wore a second outfit in the evening. I did have a couple of repeats and those were instructive. I wore my blue linen-cotton Gemma Tank, my newly made white double gauze Gemma Tank and my khaki Cali Faye Pocket Skirt more than once. They are the solid colored basics that I need to sew to fill in the gaps among all the patterns. Those will be things that I will sew this summer.

I wore what I normally wear but I did think more about planning something new for each day whereas I normally repeat easy to wear garments over and over again (such as my Isla dresses which I wore all winter.) It was actually fun to wear something new each day and to realize how many things I have sewn that I love to wear. This is really amazing considering that I only started sewing my own clothes a little over two years ago. I actually could probably go another 2 weeks without repeats. I have many beautiful summer dresses that I didn’t wear because May was really cold where I live in Connecticut. I will look forward to wearing them this summer when I warm up.

A blogger friend commented on my instagram that it looked as though I was doing an all Made By Rae Me Made May and it is true that hers are the patterns I use the most. I did though wear three Green Bee Pearl shifts that I have made and loved and my Pocket Skirt. I do think about sewing pattern from other pattern designers and even tried sewing a pattern for a knit shirt that I was really excited to wear-the Piper top by Christine Haynes-but then after sewing it (I didn’t make a muslin) the fit was way off. So I end up going back to the tried and true. It is amazing how a pattern can be made so many different ways that it doesn’t seem like the same dress. Just look at all the Washi’s in the pictures below. For more thoughts on sewing a handmade wardrobe using a couple of tried and true patterns, you can link to a post on that topic here.

I sewed several new garments this month: a Ruby dress, four Cleo skirts, several Gemma Tanks and a pair of Luna pants. I will blog about them later this month. My biggest project this month was finishing a hand quilted queen size quilt which is a gift. It took hours over many years and particularly this month but as of this writing, it is done except for a label which seems like a miracle. I decided not to spend time doing any blogging or reading of books this month in order to get it done and it is huge relief to have finished it and I look forward to sharing details after I give it to the recipients.

Here are my daily pictures basically grouped by week. I have included links to posts with details where possible. For people new to sewing, I would highly recommend the Made By Rae Beatrix Sewalong which is a series of blog posts that Rae Hoekstra created when she launched the Beatrix Blouse. I learned so much by sewing each step and following the instructions in her blog. My very first posts on this blog are from that sewalong and you can see my progress from there. The things I learned from that experience have stayed with me. I also highly recommend her tutorials and videos which I link to in my individual posts for each garment.

I am not sure if going forward I will post daily during Me Made May to the extent that I did this year. It did require a big commitment from my family members who got up early to take pictures. The first two days, I tried using a selfie stick and it really didn’t work. I just couldn’t smile and get a good picture without someone on the other side of the camera. I am really grateful to my daughter and my sweet husband who really got in the spirit and made 7 am photo sessions fun. He has been my champion, so supportive along this sewing journey. Couldn’t have done it without him!

Here are the outfits. I recommend all of the patterns you see here. They are terrific and any one would be a good place to start sewing.

Week 1 clockwise from the lower left hand corner: Washi XP , (that picture on day 1 was really dark. To get a better sense of this dress, just click on the Washi XP link to see better pictures in the blog post), a Gemma Tank and Cleo Skirt (to be blogged,) Ruby Dress, Isla Dress, Pearl Shift, double gauze Ruby Blouse, Beatrix-Pearl Tunic and in the center: a new Gemma-Pearl Tunic which I just love. I have two more cut out and ready to sew. I will post a how-to later this month.

Week 2: Isla Dress, linen Pearl Shift, Cali Faye Pocket Skirt with a new Gemma Tank (Alison Glass fabric, to be blogged), Plaid Gemma Tank refashioned from a Goodwill men’s shirt, Gemma Tank, Washi Dress, Cleo Skirt and white double gauze Gemma Tank (to be blogged-I will add links to these posts once written). In the center, one of my favorite pictures from the month: a Beatrix Tunic (picture on the beach in New London where I spent a couple of really nice days with my husband mid-month).

Week 3: Cleo Skirt (to be blogged), Washi Dress, Isla Dress, Washi Dress, Pearl Shift, Ruby Dress along with some bonus sewing room shots. 

Week 4: Gemma Tank, double gauze Washi Dress, Beatrix Tunic, Bianca Dress, Isla Dress, another Bianca Dress, a Gemma Tank and in the center, my new Luna Pants and double gauze Gemma Tank (to be blogged.) You can link to another Luna Pants post here.

Week 5:  from the bottom left: Gemma Tank, double gauze Washi Dress, double gauze Ruby Blouse, Loominous Bianca dress, me with my photographer and a picture of some of my Cleo Skirts (to be blogged!)

Bonus Pictures:  close up of my new Alison Glass Gemma Tank, some pictures of my new double gauze Gemma Tank which may be the most useful thing I made this month and some pictures I took on the days when I wore my Luna pants which are great sewing clothes. You can link to my two Luna posts here and here.At about day 10, I almost stopped posting. I started to get a feeling of being a little overexposed. But I have been so inspired by other friends on instagram who post beautiful garments and who inspire me to try new things that I persevered and I am glad I did. It is wonderful to have this record of all of the beautiful clothes I have sewn and enjoy wearing and I heard from many people on instagram that my posts inspired them to try sewing these patterns and that really made it worth it.

Happy Sewing everyone and thanks for reading!

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Uncategorized

Me Made May 2016 Round-Up

Screenshot of my phone on Me Made May day 24. I looked at my instagram account and wondered why I had so many notifications. I scrolled down and this is what I saw. Pretty amazing.

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Last year I participated in Me Made May but I had just started sewing clothes for myself. I posted maybe 8 or 10 times with many repeats. It was so fun though to see so many different versions of great patterns. I was totally inspired and went on to sew many projects inspired by those posts. This year I was ready. Me Made May is not really different for me than any other month because except for the days I work as a bedside RN when it is all scrubs all day until I come home and fall into the shower, (after 12 + hours, I can’t imagine taking a selfie or changing into anything other than sweats,) I wear me made clothes every day. The posting and selfies though are not my normal routine. But once again inspired by the community, I tried to post most days. Here are some of the posts.

The Washi Dress in many versions including a double gauze version with sleeves on a cold day not pictured in this post:

The Beatrix Blouse as a tunic and two sleeveless versions worn on the only warm days. image

The  Bianca Top and Dress in many versions:image

The Ruby Dress in many versions:

The Pearl Shift in flannel (on cold, rainy May days which were numerous):

imageI made two new Washi dresses for family members. A Paisley Washi for my mom for Mother’s Day and a Polka Dot Washi for my sister for her birthday.

and two new dresses for myself, a Nani Iro Washi:imageand a Polka Dot Shift.

All in all, it was a great month, though cold. Note all the cardigans. Those were not for show folks!

Until next year, #nursebeansews over and out (with Sadie the photobomber!)

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Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing

The Bianca Pattern with a lined bodice

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Four Bianca dresses with lined bodices. The top three are inside out.

As much as I like the Washi pattern, I might like the Bianca even more. I made a Bianca blouse as a test version and made 5 more dresses last summer and wore them all summer long. They are perfect for work, they work perfectly under a labcoat, they fit perfectly without alteration and I can make one with less than 2 1/2 yards of fabric. As with many innovations, I started with a problem. The fabric I planned to use for my test blouse was very sheer and I didn’t want it to be see-thru. Since I had learned how to line the Washi bodice, I decided to try the same thing with the Bianca. I had some white quilting cotton and I cut a second front and back using the white. I cut them big enough to clear the channel for the elastic and sewed around the neck with right sides together as I had done with the Washi using Rae’s tutorial. Because of the stitching of the elastic channel, it wasn’t possible to use the sausage method that Rae demonstrates to get a clean line at the the armholes for her other patterns so I just turned the fabric under at the sleeve openings and stitched it as one would stitch a hem. Even though I didn’t finish the inside, I was really pleased with the results and I ended up with a cute, wearable shirt.

I then went on to make five more Bianca dresses over the course of the summer. The first was made with a Windham fabric line called Petite Fleurs. I lined it with Cotton and Steel fabric from the Tokyo Trains line. This time I cut the lining long enough to be able to turn it under and catch the unfinished edge above the top line of the elastic channel. Before I turned it under and sewed the elastic channel, I finished the edge with a zigzag stitch. I used a bit less than a yard of fabric for the lining.

I added 2 inches to the length as I always do. I am not only tall but all my height is in my torso so I need those inches. Then I found that the length was a bit on the short side even with the extra inches so I had the idea to create a hem facing to maximize the length. I cut a strip about 2 1/2 inches wide and sewed it to the bottom of the dress and turned it up and sewed it in place. I sewed two rows of stitches as I usually do when I machine sew a hem but I misjudged the width and my top row of stitches didn’t catch the rough edge. I added a third row of stitches and ended up really happy with the result. Now I finish all my Bianca’s this way. It is a relatively simple style and I think the extra stitching adds a little something. A couple of my Bianca’s actually have four lines of stitching.

Sometimes my stitching is more even than other times but I have found that having things not be matchy matchy can actually be preferable and give the garment a little more charm. The stitching in the linen-y version above isn’t exact but I am really happy with how it looks on.

Some detail pictures to show what the lining looks like and how I finish the sleeves. Isn’t this Anna Maria Horner fabric beautiful? It makes me so happy to look at it. Picking the lining fabric really makes me happy because you can go a little crazy since just a bit of it peeks out. How about these pandas?

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Not much more to say other than I love this pattern and I wear these dresses all the time.

Now that it is cold in Northeast, I wear the navy version with tights or leggings and a sweater. The rest are waiting for warm weather. This is another magic pattern from MadebyRae. You cut a couple of pieces that are basically shapeless, you follow the directions, and you end up with a flattering dress.I don’t know how she does it but I am a fan !

Fabric from Cotton and Steel, Pat Bravo for Art Gallery, Moda, Anna Maria Horner and Joannes (the linen-looking grey blue above.)

 

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