Made By Rae Patterns, Ruby Dress Pattern, Sewing, unplugged

Path Marker Ruby Dress

img_2289Days off are a rare thing in my life and I am so thrilled to have five days off in a row when I don’t have to go to work. My daughter is visiting so there will be some family meals so that’s a bonus. Otherwise, I have no plans. Bliss!

I have not had a lot of time to sew in the last couple of months but I made a double gauze Ruby blouse last week and that helped me get back into my sewing groove. I wrote a pretty detailed post last week about the Ruby pattern with links to all of the tutorials that Rae has for that pattern. I can’t recommend Rae’s tutorials more highly. Excellent. And I previously blogged about several other Ruby dresses I have made here. So today’s post will just be to add some details.

I originally bought this April Rhodes fabric with a second pair of Luna Pants in mind. But when I got the fabric in the mail, it just screamed “dress”. It is quilting cotton but it is very lightweight and has a bit of stretch in it. It is a dream to work with unlike double gauze which I love to wear but which can be tricky to sew with. So this dress sewed up fast-like dress in a day fast. I like to line my bodices and I had bought this yellow patterned fabric in order to make a sleeveless Josephine blouse, another Made By Rae pattern that I haven’t yet tried. I think the diamond pattern will work well with the pleats in the Josephine. I bought two yards of it on mega-sale (less than $5/yard) at where it is sadly sold out. But you may be able to find it elsewhere. I didn’t plan to use the yellow originally, but when I saw them together, I thought that the yellow would work well to line the yoke. I cut out the Josephine first to make sure I would have enough fabric left over and I did. I will be hopefully sewing that this weekend as well.

The Ruby Pattern is a pretty simple pattern. If you line the bodice, you still only cut out six pieces: 2 each for the  front and back bodice and a front and a back for the dress. I usually make the Made By Rae patterns in a size M and add at least 2 inches to the torso or length. The Ruby has relatively small arm openings and while I don’t mind them on the dresses/blouse I have already made, I added some extra length to the front and back main pieces which has the effect of making the arm hole bigger. Interestingly the pictures of Rae modeling the shirt on the pattern site show plenty of room in the armhole but for me, the pattern cut out as is was pretty tight (must be all that yoga-ha!).  I added about half an inch to the top and a bit to the side. Since I generally make changes and then completely forget what I changed when I go back to make the pattern again, I took pictures this time. You can see how much I added below. It ended up being just enough.img_2267Here are more work-in-process pictures. I top stitched around the neck and also the upper part of the armhole. I use my presser foot to determine the size of my seam allowance so that everything lines up. I also cut my bias binding strips for the bottom part of the armhole 1.5 inches instead of 1.25 as suggested by Rae. I find I need a bit more to totally catch the binding on the other side. I don’t sew in the ditch. I have more luck sewing just next to it. Yoke lining in process:img_2263Sewing the bias binding to the bottom half of the armhole:

Lined yoke with top stitching around the neckline:img_2288After sewing the yoke to the dress front and back and hand-sewing the lining as Rae instructs in her videos, I top stitched the top of the armhole. Since I had used my presser foot as my seam allowance guide when I sewed the bias binding, I used the same approach to top stitch the top of the armhole. I ends up looking as though you sewed all the way around.img_2283I leave the threads long and then use a needle to bring them to the inside of the dress and then knot them off. img_2286You end up with a really nice clean finish that is durable. img_2284I had some questions on instagram about the top stitching. I don’t always do it and I think it actually looks cleaner without it but I feel as though my dresses are very durable and I love that I can machine wash everything and not spend money on dry cleaning. The Ruby dresses below have been worn and washed more than ten times and they have held up great.  You can see these Rubies in more detail here and here.

I thought about using the yellow to make a contrasting hem as I do, but in the end I just folded the hem up and ironed the heck out of it and sewed two rows of stitches. It turned out fine.

It is quite hot here today and part of my unplugged day was to do yoga on the porch and I am a sweaty mess so I have not taken pictures of me wearing it but I know this dress will be in frequent rotation. I am so happy with how it turned out. Great pattern and great fabric. Perfect combination!img_2290


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



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.


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!)



Made By Rae Patterns, Sewing

A Week’s Worth of Rubies


A chain of Ruby bodices lined up and ready to be made into awesome shirts!

The Ruby pattern by MadeByRae is a relatively easy pattern to sew that can be customized to create many different looks. It was the second pattern I sewed after the Washi. I dug around in my stash to find the right fabric for my wearable muslin since I never like to spend money on fabric for my first attempt. (Interestingly, all of my first attempts have ended up being garments I love to wear, but habits die hard.) I had some fabric I liked but didn’t have enough for the main parts of the blouse. Most of the versions I have seen use a white or cream colored bodice with a patterned bottom. Surfing through my sewing blogs I came across this blouse by super seamstress Ada Spragg and I realized that I could do the reverse and use the pattern for the bodice with the white for the main parts of the blouse and that is what I did. As with all my MadebyRae patterns, I made a medium and added two inches to the length. It was an easy sew, done in an afternoon, but I love how finished it looks. Rae’s technique for lining the bodice is explained in her really easy to follow tutorials. Here is a picture of the (slightly rumpled) finished product which I have worn many times.

This is a great layering piece that I plan to replicate in many other fabrics. I love how it looks under a sweater, a jeans jacket and with shorts or a skirt. I love how flattering the neckline is and how the little bit of pattern peeks out.


I then decided to make some Ruby dresses and made four very different versions. Version one was made with chambray material from my stash purchased over 20 years ago in Brooklyn. I dug through my scraps to find good bodice material and found some unused fat quarters also circa 1993 Brooklyn. They were just enough to make the bodice. I loved the resulting dress which I wore all summer. It is really great with a jeans jacket. I played around with the two bodice fabrics because I could have gone either way in terms of which to use as the bodice fabric and which to use as the lining. Both worked. This is the final version.


Detail of bodice:


And here is how I wore it all summer:

Since my first two Rubies were basically free (fabric over 20 years old counts as free in my book!) I splurged to make some more versions. One was inspired by Rae’s version with a lacy top and a spring-like print for the main part of the dress.

I loved this fabric and enjoyed making this and it looks really pretty on the hangar:


I tried it on though and between the shape and my fabric choices, on me it looks like a nightie my mom would have worn in the 60’s when I was growing up, a really beautiful nightie but still evoking more nightie than work dress. I thought about using it as a nightie and contemplated cutting it shorter and making a top which would probably have been cute with jeans but in the end I sent it to my daughter who said she would wear it with the world’s most versatile belt and here she is looking as cute as ever.


I then made a version inspired by another dress that Rae made using her Lotus Pond fabric. I used a scrap of the attic chambray for the bodice and the orange Lotus Blossom fabric for the dress. This fabric is really soft when washed and this made a great dress. I like the more structured feel of the chambray which I lined with more of the orange fabric for a more casual summer dress (although this got worn to the office as well.) Also very cute with a little cotton sweater which dresses it up a bit. This is how I wore it to work.

imageFinally I decided to make a Ruby all in one fabric. I was inspired by Allie from IndieSew whose Ruby is adorable. I love this bright turquoise print with little birds. The name of the fabric is Tokyo Trees and I think it made a great dress. Wearing it made me happy.imageOnce I realized that a fat quarter was all it took to make the Ruby bodice, I rummaged around in my stash and found several unused fat quarters to make a week’s worth of Ruby blouses. These will be great all summer and since I had leftover white cotton fabric, making these is basically free. Since I usually make two things at a time, I cut the fat quarters and chained pieced the bodices as one would a quilt.image

Here are some of the bodices after lining them all ready to be attached to the shirt pieces:


They are still unfinished as of this writing but are high up on my list of WIPs to be finished in the new year. I know that they will be great come summer.


Overall, I can’t recommend this pattern more highly. Easy, cute, versatile. Here are some detail pictures showing some of the steps.