Bias Binding, Gemma Tank, Made By Rae Patterns, Pearl Shift, Sewing

Gemma meets Pearl

img_2673-1I had been wanting to try making a Gemma Tank lengthened to a tunic length since last summer when I made a lined voile dress version of the Gemma seen here. For the dress version, I followed Rae’s tutorial and made it with a curved hem. This May I decided to blend the Gemma with the Pearl Shift pattern which works for me in a tunic length so I literally taped the pattern pieces together. This is pretty much the most low-tech mash-up you will ever see but it worked really well and I love the finished garment. I used this great pink and navy bandana fabric from Cotton and Steel. I was inspired to buy this print when I saw a great sleeveless version of the Pearl Shift using this fabric made by Alexia Abegg (who designed both the pattern and the fabric) which is pretty close to what I have made here.

I cut a medium scooped neck Gemma and for the Pearl, I used my much used pattern pieces which I long-ago tapered from about the high waist down to the hem from the Small to the extra Small line on the front pattern piece and from the Medium to part way between the Medium and Small cutting lines for the back. I made these adjustments when I first made the Pearl pattern. I found that the pattern if made as directed was a bit big and the skirt sort of winged out to the sides a bit too much for me. It was sort of a triangular shape. I am bigger in the back than in the front so I tapered the front a lot and back a bit and these adjustments have given me a nice fit that I have used for all my Pearls after the first one.

I literally used one piece of tape to join the pattern pieces so that I could un-tape the pieces after cutting out the tunic. The back pieces seen below lined up perfectly. and the front. I lined the pieces up at the center fold and in the front, because the Pearl is wider, I folded down the top of the Pearl pattern and cut on the Gemma cutting lines to just below the bust dart line:I then took folded away the bottom of the Gemma and used the Pearl cutting lines as a guide, joining the two lines. I then moved away the pattern pieces and used my rotary cutter to make sure I had a nice smooth seam line. 

xxI was using 2 yard pieces of fabric so I basically lined things up to maximize the length and make two equally long pieces. It worked out to be just the right length. One thing I do every time I make a Gemma is to shift the pattern just a tiny bit when I cut the neck as a sort of hollow chest adjustment so it doesn’t gape. Also quite low tech. I shift the pattern piece back after cutting the neckline and cut the rest normally.Once cut out it was like sewing any Gemma. It all came together nicely. I stay-stitched around the neck and armholes. I  used some pink cotton lawn to bind the neck and armholes and for a hem facing.I used this method. And after a quick couple of hours, I was in business. This is the perfect after work attire. I love it with leggings, jeans or on its own for hanging around the house. Finished garment from the back on the front door place of honor.And as worn from the side.  It is just loose enough. Comfortable without gaping.From the back:And from the front as worn with jeans. Make this! You will be glad you did. 

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Bias Binding, Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing, Washi Dress Pattern

Snowday Sewday: WashiXP and Fringe Cleo Skirt

It snowed in Connecticut this week and the highways were closed. A perfect day to finish some sewing projects! I finished a Washi XP and a Cleo Skirt.The Washi XP is an expansion pack that enables you to make more versions of the Made By Rae Washi Pattern. It gives you many options for customizing your dress. I made the sleeveless version with a big bow. I had cut this dress out last summer when I wanted to use the fabric to bind this baby quilt and had to cut the dress out first to make sure I had enough left for the binding. And then it sat as WIPs tend to do. The Cleo Skirt below was planned from the minute Rae announced that she would be releasing a skirt pattern. I bought this Fringe fabric when I saw the great skirts that April made in both a child and adult version. But while I waited for the skirt pattern to be released (and it was worth the wait) I thought about how great this fabric would be for a pair of Luna Pants (which I sewed last summer) and I ended up buying more for the skirt. I am not sorry.Because this is quilting cotton, it is a bit poofier than say, voile or double gauze. But I have decided to embrace the poof. I love this skirt!It is great right now with boots and tights and it is going to be great this summer with a black tank top. Or this blue Gemma I made last summer that goes with everything. I used another fabric from April Rhodes as a hem facing.I used 3 inch strips. I find this is easier and gives me a nicer finish than a traditional hem. It is also more fun.Dress hanging on the front door before hemming and before I sewed the waistband down on the inside of the front waist. I hand sewed the front part because stitching in the ditch with all those gathers made me a bit nervous. Hand sewing was fast and I was happy with the results.This was a quick sew and the quilting cotton was really easy to work with. Next up, I have versions planned in voile. Pocket in process below. Rae’s instructions are really clear.Next up was the WashiXP. This is not much more work than the regular Washi. I love this fabric from Cotton and Steel. It is quilting cotton but a bit heavier in feel and it drapes really nicely. I have made several dresses with Cotton and Steel quilting cotton that I wear all winter with leggings and a sweater. In this version, the front bodice is in two pieces that are then sewn together to enable you to attach the ties for the bow.This fabric was also really easy to work with, a great thing for the first time you sew a pattern. I also have some Cotton and Steel rayon that I have planned for this pattern but I wanted to sew it first using a fabric that would cooperate.Again the step by step directions are easy to follow.This version of the Washi uses elastic with a casing instead of shirring with elastic thread although you could do either. I ended up machine basting the casing from the wrong side so I could be sure to line it up correctly and then used the basting stitches to guide me when I sewed it in place from the right side. This worked really well for me and was pretty quick.I hand basted the last part of the collar sewing where you sew in the ditch from the right side of the fabric. This kept the collar in place and enabled me to iron it well before sewing so I got a nice result.Here is the dress before I sewed the bias binding on to the armholes. The fit is spot on and I love the bow. Selfie arms below.I decided to use some of the last of my Cotton and Steel floral lawn for the armholes. I love this fabric. One of my favorites. I have a sleeveless Beatrix Blouse cut out of this ready to sew for summer. I need another snowday!It makes the binding so much more enjoyable when you love the fabric. I love the pops of color.Especially the mustard and olive green.I like to turn my binding under so just a hint of the binding fabric shows. I spent a lot of time sewing bias binding last summer when I sewed many Gemma tanks and this is my favorite binding method.Inside of dress below with collar.Finished dress in hallway picture (front door pictures don’t work in blizzards.)Inside view. I didn’t have enough of the floral for the hem so I used a Cotton and Steel lawn in a pink color that harmonizes with the floral.And as worn. Yes it was cold but worth it for the photo. These are both great patterns and I have many more versions planned for spring which is supposed to be here in just five days! 

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Bias Binding, Gemma Tank, Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing

Checkers Gemma

Most of the Made By Rae Gemma Tanks I have been making over the last several weeks have been from fabrics in my stash. I have had a great time trying this pattern with many different types of fabrics as you can see in my previous posts. This fabric, however, I purchased with this pattern and the Pearl Shift in mind. I cut both out last week and today, I had time to finish binding the Gemma in this black and white Checkers fabric by Cotton and Steel. It is a woven, medium weight cotton. I decided to use the large check print since I thought it would be a great basic to layer with different colored sweaters. I cut between the medium and small lines on the pattern and added an inch in length.I did add a bit of extra seam allowance because I planned to finish the edges using my variation of the french binding technique.I used scraps of the white cotton batiste fabric that I used for the lining of my Gemma dress to bind this tank. The armhole binding below.I bound the seam of the hem the same way.The inside of the hem binding.Finished tank on the front door.Back of blouse.Porch pictures courtesy of my daughter. Front.Side.Back.Ready for Halloween with a cardigan.Side. view. Great pattern + great fabric! This is going to get a lot of wear.

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Bias Binding, Gemma Tank, Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing

Macrame Gemma (a pictorial post)

I have written several posts about the Gemma Tank so this will just be pictures with details/links at the end of the post. Once again, when you have fabric this beautiful and a pattern you love, the rest is easy.

Details:

Gemma Tank pattern by Made By Rae; scoop neck version

Garment Fabric: Macrame by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cotton and Steel in cotton lawn in color Midnight purchased at Fabric.com

Binding Fabric: Cotton and Steel Lawn in Petal purchased at Hawthorne Threads

Size: I cut between the M and S lines and added an inch to the length

Binding width: 1.25 inches

Binding Method: see here

Previous Gemma posts: many

Gemma WIPs: many

Total number of Gemmas completed and in-process: I’m not telling but we will have a celebration when I #finishallthegemmas

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Gemma Tank, Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing, Uncategorized

Gemma Tank Five Ways

Version #1 of the Gemma Tank Pattern by Made By Rae. Size medium. Higher neckline version which I cut a bit lower. No other adjustments except adding 2 inches to the length. Fabric is from the Bound Collection by April Rhodes. Front view:img_2700Back view:img_2677Version number 2: Size medium. Same adjustments as version #1 but decided after cutting out the pattern to use contrasting fabric left over from my Luna Pants for bias binding.  I deliberately sewed it in a way that lets it be seen (fake piping method which I describe in my Washi Madness and Washi Details posts). Because I didn’t add a seam allowance, the shoulders are a little narrow. But I love this tank because I love the fabric from the Lucky Strikes collection from Cotton and Steel. This tank falls into the very rare category of garments I love so much that I went out and bought the fabric again as a back up to make a second version if anything happens to the first. This is one of four garments that fit that category and yes, I bought another 2 yards of the fabric the other day (thank you Alewives Fabric where it is still available.) Front view:img_2732Back view:img_2703Side view:img_2713Version number 3. I made a muslin in size Small for my stepdaughters to try since they have a birthday coming up and there is some Octopus fabric just crying out to be a tank top. I tried it on and I liked the closer fit for the lower scooped neck so I made this version with Wood Block fabric from the Mesa collection of Cotton and Steel. Still available in green at Fabric.com and in both colorways at Hawthorne Threads. I am seriously contemplating buying the blue version because I love how well this fabric suits the pattern. I love how the fit feels on but I think I need to try another version cutting between the Small and Medium lines. The Medium is a little more blousy than I like. I didn’t realize it until I wore it all day. And the Small gets a little tight in the upper bust and I think the smaller size is a little less flattering to the bust. The drape of the medium is prettier than the tighter fit for those of us who are small busted but I like them both. It is sort of like having two patterns making the two versions (high neck vs scoop neck) in different sizes. I lengthened this one by 1 inch and used facing for the hem. Front view.img_2781 I used chambray left over from several previous projects that I purchased over 20 years ago in Brooklyn for the bias binding which I used on the neck, armholes and as a facing for the hem.img_2556 I swear that this fabric regenerates itself while I sleep. There is always a bit more for one more project. One of my children’s favorite childhood books was this one which this reminds me of. A wonderful book which we discovered through Chinaberry Books which is an amazing parenting resource for all you parents out there. img_2547 Gemma hanging on front door. #goodlightimg_2554Gemma hanging in a window. img_2550More pictures of my woodblock Gemma below. It might be my favorite. It is hard to choose. img_2757The Gemma tank is perfect with a cardigan:img_2793Side view:img_2773with Sadie the wonder dog who is not enjoying the Dog Days of Summer img_2740action shot with dog below, (note to self: add bra-strap holders) but the fit is really good as you can see.img_2747All of these tops have already been washed and worn. Even though the Dog Days of Summer are supposed to have been over August 11th-at least according to the internet- they are in full force in Connecticut. It has been unbearable. These tanks are perfect for these hot days. Sadie the wonder dog is not feeling so wonderful d/t the heat. #summerinconnecticutimg_2582I have two more Gemmas in the works. This teal version in Cotton and Steel lawn from the Cookie Book collection just needs binding. I haven’t yet decided whether to bind it with matching binding on the outside like my April Rhodes Gemma or with contrasting pink binding on the inside like my other two Gemmas. I may split the difference and use the pink for a hem facing and do the bindings in the traditional way called for by the pattern a la version 1. Still deciding and still #toohottosew in CT so it will have to wait.img_2663You may not be able to see it in the photo but I stay-stitched all my seams. Rae taught me well!img_2649This final version is Art Gallery voile purchased on sale from the always awesome The Cloth Pocket, my neighborhood store in Austin, Texas. I love buying fabric there online and in person. I feel as though I have a whole group of sewing friends cheering me on, which I do. I lined it with organic cotton batiste from Fabric.com which I have used successfully for several projects. It just needs hemming. This was sort of an action shot. I was turning from back to front. But it gives you a good idea of the fit. I did add a bit of a seam allowance to the armholes but used more than I added. I lined it using the good old MBR sausage method which I have posted about many times. I will do a more detailed how-to blog soon.img_2627Back:img_2623So clearly I am enjoying this pattern. It is quick and easy sew and it allows you to get a little crazy with fabric because while you might not make a whole dress of a funky fabric, a tank top is a small enough commitment (and everything goes with jeans) so I am now looking at my stash in a new way and seeing so many possibilities. I will post again later this week with details and how-too info. Next up will be to try a Small-Medium version to see if that is the perfect Goldilocks fit solution and to get going on many tanks in size Small for the birthday girls. Action shot below. #jumpingforjoy because the heat is lifting:) img_2625

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Quilting, Sewing

Friendly Beasts Quilt

img_2457A dear friend is expecting a baby boy and I wanted to make her a quilt.img_2416 I love Cotton and Steel’s Bluebird line and was especially taken with the lion heart and octopus fabrics. img_2445Although I thought about different pieced block designs, I didn’t like the idea of cutting up the fabric. In the end, I just used these two beautiful fabrics and hand quilted free form wavy lines that I enjoyed swooping across the fabric with my chalk liner. img_2453It went so fast and was such a  fun project. More close-ups of curvy quilting lines below.  img_2449Whole cloth quilting goes so fast! No seam allowances to quilt through!img_2450The biniding was hand stitched. A bit wonky on the corners since I am out of practice.img_2448I don’t remember the last time I bound a quilt. Many years. I was a bit out of practice but it came back. The wonkyness means it was handmade. Love in every stitch.img_2447And I used a nursebeansews label for the first time!img_2459

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Made By Rae Patterns, Ruby Dress Pattern, Sewing

Plum Double Gauze Ruby Blouse

img_2166The Ruby Blouse by Made By Rae is a pattern I have made before. It is a loose fitting sleeveless top that provides good coverage and is a great basic for layering. When I saw this double gauze version by Rae, it planted the seed for trying this pattern in double gauze for summer. When I spied this plum colored Bespoke Double Gauze by Cotton and Steel on sale at Alewives Fabric, I decided to give it a try. I have sewn two Washi dresses in double gauze and I love the softness of the fabric but it is a bit tricky to work with and it is generally more expensive than the cottons I usually use so I save it for special projects.

I sewed quite a bit during Me Made May but have been very busy with work since then. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to plan some projects that would work together and I gathered some neutral grey and sage fabrics for skirts and some greens and this plum for tops. img_2054When I saw the floral lawn fabric next to the plum double gauze, I realized that it would be just the thing to line the bodice. I also noticed that the plum would be  a perfect lining for a planned Washi in green with pink stars. These garments are hopefully going to be a mini Summer capsule wardrobe one day. I have a sleeveless Beatrix top planned for the floral so I cut those pattern pieces out first to make sure that there would be enough to line the Ruby. img_2153The lawn is such nice lightweight fabric, it is the perfect weight to go with the double gauze and I have loved this fabric from afar for quite a while. I am happy that it will find its way into at least three garments (I have enough left over to face the waistband of at least one of the skirts.) Rae has great video tutorials for lining the Ruby bodice. img_2160It involves something she calls the sausage technique. I have used it for most of my Ruby and Washi garments. It works like a charm. Some steps pictured below.

I get great results every time following Rae’s instructions. Sometimes I top stitch the neckline and sometimes I don’t. I am always nervous doing it because I don’t want to ruin the nice clean finish. Luckily I found perfectly matching thread (Gutermann CA02776 btw). Since I am always worried about double gauze fraying, I decided to stitch it so that the seam would be stronger. I was really happy with how it turned out.

I sewed french seams for the side seams. Your iron is your friend when you are sewing french seams with double gauze. Also a rotary cutter to trim the fringe after sewing the first seam. I use pins to mark the right side of the fabric since it is sometimes hard to tell which is which.

I reinforced the seam with a second row of stitches. The Ruby uses a bias binding for the bottom half of the armhole. The instructions are very clear. One of the trickier parts is sewing the gathers. I hand basted with a contrasting thread before sewing. Unfortunately after sewing them, I decided I wasn’t happy with where I had gathered the fullness. The Ruby is most flattering when the front gathers are mostly on the side. So I spent a bit of time unpicking the nicely sewn seams which was made more tricky because my thread was such a perfect match for the fabric that it was hard to see.

The finished blouse below. I contemplated using the floral fabric to face the hem as I usually do but I decided to save the extra fabric for other projects.

I know this blouse will get a lot of wear. It is comfortable, cute, great for warm weather and for layering under a sweater in the fall. You can dress it up or wear it with jeans. I have another planned in navy and recently bought some white double gauze to finish some Ruby bodices I made last year and never finished. img_2215-1Side view below shows that the armhole is comfortable but not overly revealing.img_2231-1Up next, I have my floral lawn Beatrix blouse planned and a navy Ruby dress cut out and ready to go in this beautiful fabric by April Rhodes. I bought the fabric with a second pair of Luna Pants in mind but then when it came in the mail, it felt more like a Ruby Dress. Does that happen to you too where you buy fabric for one project but then use it for a different one altogether? I have some fabrics I haven’t cut into because I have a hard time committing. They would be great for so many things. I recently found this beautiful fabric in voile on sale and snatched up enough to make one nice project but I haven’t decided what it will be. I am leaning toward a Washi XP like this version by Rae. Time will tell.

I highly recommend this pattern. It is simple enough that even with taking the time on the little details, it is a project that can be finished in a week by doing a little each night. This is how I broke it down: 1) washed and ironed fabric 2) cut out pattern pieces 3) sewed yoke including the sausage and the neckline 4) gathered the front and back panels, sewed the side seams-french seams- and applied the bias binding to the arm holes 5) attached the front and back panels to the yoke 6) hand-sewed the yoke lining to the front and back panel seams 7) sewed the hem and wore it to work!img_2240-1

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