watercolor ruby top

a little while back i got to test out Rae’s brand new adult lady sewing pattern, the Ruby Dress & Top!  it’s a flattering yet simple design that takes pretty much all of the tougher parts of adult sewing out of the equation (no darts, no zippers or buttons or closures of any kind…that stuff).  it’s also a quick one to sew up.  you can sew this pattern!

and you should.

watercolor ruby top

because even though my face is a bit like 😐 in the photo above, i think this top is great…and the tweaks Rae made with the feedback from testing made it even better in the final version.  that girl really takes her time to get the fit just right, something i really appreciate with her patterns.

watercolor ruby top

it’s a SUPER fun (and maybe even a little overwhelming?) pattern to pick fabrics for.  you can really go a million different directions with it.  i used a semi-sheer lightweight rayon/poly type blend from the back of an Old Navy shirt I bought for the other side (eyelet).  it moves around a lot which made the skinny bias binding way harder to apply, but the drape is nice.

watercolor ruby top

the bottom fabric, which i ADORE, is from Skylights by Rosewood Organics.  i got it at Bolt (I think?).  such a cool watercolor design.  i made this summery top when it was still 90 degrees out and it’s definitely fall here now, which just means i’ve got a whole new color palette to choose from when i make Ruby 2!

watercolor ruby top

i usually sew a medium in Rae’s patterns but here I made a size large, because do you know what else the Ruby Top is great for…?

…hiding an early baby bump!

watercolor ruby top

yep yep, 18 weeks along with baby number 3 over here, and so excited!  i know at least one observant blog friend guessed it based on my posting slowdown this summer, but seriously guys, little #3 really kicked my butt in the first trimester.  so tired and most food just made me feel sick.  i’m glad to have some energy back now so i can sew in the evenings if i want, or in the daytime for that matter (i was pretty much napping when my kids did – good for the baby but frustrating for me, since i ACTUALLY ENJOY DOING THINGS)!

watercolor ruby top

i’m due in late February and we can’t wait to find out gender in a couple weeks, though Em is CONVINCED it’s a girl and has even told us what we should name “her.”  in the meantime, she nicknamed the baby “Avocado” based on the size i told her the baby was at the time, and loves to give her little “sister” kisses, bring me blankets and Mommy Elephant to snuggle with when i’m tired, hold the doppler machine and listen to the heartbeat at the midwife…she’s a loving little mama and it’s the cutest.  it’s really fun to have her understand what’s going on.

O seems happy about it sometimes, and sometimes indifferent.  because he’s 2.  😉

watercolor ruby top

and there ya go – my secret is out!  i’d never announced a pregnancy to blogland before…hope i did okay.  😉

>  > > :: < <  <

thanks for the great announcement project, Ruby Top!  check out Rae’s highlight reel of my fellow pattern testers here, video tutorials on how to line the yoke here, and Rae’s supercool arrow dress that started it all here.  

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junebug dress pattern testing

i’m so excited that my friend Jess from Craftiness is not Optional is now turning her crazy bank of tutorials into real PATTERNS!  she started with the Bapron, and now she’s venturing into her trademark little gal clothes.  check it out, it’s the Junebug Dress!

springtime junebug dress

this pattern means a lot to me, but i didn’t even realize it until I was sewing it up as a tester.

springtime junebug dress

the Junebug Dress (in free form) was my remix challenge for the first week of season 3 of Project Run & Play.  i flipped the bodice around, added some overlays, and it became the Sweet Tartan Dress (tutorial here) and sort of “put me on the map,” blog-wise.  my remix of the Junebug actually led to the first emails between Jess and i – we became quick buds, then decided to do Vintage May together, and have been in pretty regular contact ever since.  she’s an inspiration and SUCH a hard worker!  recently, Jess’ daughter Sadie and Em have become the cutest pen pals – they keep trying to talk us into a playdate (kinda hard when you live 700 miles away, but we’ll make it happen someday).

so a lot has come from this one little dress!

springtime junebug dress

I should probably talk about the pattern – it’s a great pattern.  Jess pumped up the volume with sleeve/sleeveless and dress/tunic options, plus great step-by-step photos and instructions to help you sew a darn cute little garment.  it goes from size 18 months to 8 years (thanks to digitizing/grading services by Melissa), and the bodice fit is pretty generous, meaning i sewed a 2T bodice for Em (with a 5T skirt).  since it has plenty of growing room, it’s a pattern you could get lots of  uses out of as your little gal gets bigger.

springtime junebug dress

this fabric combo was a collaboration with Em.  she had picked out a Sarah Jane Children at Play fabric a while back, and when I asked her what she wanted me to use for the Junebug, she pulled it.  i thought the print might be a bit busy for the dress and almost said no, but then i noticed something in the print…

springtime junebug dress

doesn’t that dress on the left look awfully close to a Junebug??  Em liked the one on the right up there too, so i mixed both together until I got this…with two pink kona solids on top, red buttons, and amy butler full moon polka dot in tangerine (which i believe i picked up at cool cottons).

she loves it.

springtime junebug dress

it was such a pleasure to pattern test for Jess!  she presents sewing in such a friendly and approachable way, and i’ve learned a lot by following her blog.  i’m a fan.

i celebrate her entire catalog.

and here’s a little glimpse at Portland spring.  it’s warm, we head out when the weather looks fine, and then…it starts raining.  i mean, it just started sprinkling, but Em thought we needed to immediately run for the hills.

springtime junebug dress

we made a mad dash inside, just like YOU should make a mad dash over to CINO to pick up the Junebug Pattern!

springtime junebug dress

see what i did there? hehe.

stay dry out there, you guys.

flip vest pattern testing and giveaway!

i know you all know how much i adore pattern testing – i learn something every time i do it, i feel like i’m able to help fellow bloggers out, and it’s just a neat way to see other people’s processes. so of course when dana of MADE emailed me asking if i could test her newest pattern, i jumped at the chance.

flip vest for a little guy

i’m pretty sure dana’s blog is the first blog i found that helped me discover the world of modern sewing 4 years ago, and it’s an absolute must-read. she covers lots of different crafty topics (in addition to sewing), has a fresh, clean aesthetic, beautiful photography, and a lighthearted attitude that makes her just so fun to follow. i admire what dana has built so much, and was so flattered she asked me to test this pattern for her! i really enjoyed the process and bouncing ideas off each other as i sewed.

flip vest for a little guy

the pattern is called the flip vest – a cozy little vest for babies and kids that’s perfect for layering as we head out of winter and into spring. O has gotten so much use out of his vest already – it’s been under a coat on cooler days, over a light sweater on warmer ones…it’s really a fantastic transitional piece (i’ve got plans to make one for Em to wear on the playground too!).

flip vest for a little guy

last Friday, we happened to have the most gorgeous day – and the little fella grabbed his “noculars” to head out for a walk. i had actually taken different photos of the vest already on a more typical overcast february day, but the sunshine definitely called for a reshoot.

flip vest for a little guy

the flip vest is designed to be reversible if you use velcro, though i made mine button up so i could show off the essex yarn dyed black linen which i’ve now decided is my favorite fabric of all time. inside is a dark olive green micro fleece from Joann, and the rib knit is cream (also from Joann). this pattern is a very quick sew and takes very little fabric, which i love.

one of my notes to Dana was to see if binding the armholes with a sort of bias bound method would work and she was totally open to it, so i tried that and it ended up in the final pattern as one of two armhole finishing options. you probably should use a walking foot if you do this, as the fabrics get a bit thick all together, but i think it gives you a really nice finish.

flip vest for a little guy

i sewed this vest in a 2/3T, and the width came out great but it’s just a tad bit long on 2-year-old O – Dana shortened the length from what you see here in the final pattern. his sweater underneath is this sailboat top made last year, which fits perfectly now!

flip vest for a little guy

don’t you think the vest looks sort of old timey with the linen and buttons? it’s like i’ve already got the “There Will Be Blood” film petit halfway done. ha!

flip vest for a little guy

okay, so how about a giveaway??

flip vest for a little guy

Dana has generously offered THREE flip vest patterns from her pattern shop for me to give away – that’s three different winners! you may not fully realize how much you need this pattern, but you DO. you NEED it. it comes in size 6m – 5T and i can see it becoming a wardrobe staple for both of my kids – a fun and easy gift to make for others, too (did you see Delia’s versions? adorable).

to enter the giveaway:

  • leave a comment, any comment. i’m feeling ready for spring these days, so if you need an idea of what to write, how about telling me your favorite flower!
  • giveaway is open until friday, feb 22 at 5pm PST.
  • make sure you leave a valid email address with your comment.
  • i’ll pick three winners on friday and put you in touch with Dana to receive your pattern.

good luck!

*giveaway is now closed and the three winners, Maryna, Ivana, and Stacey, have been emailed.  thanks to all who entered and happy sewing!*

P.S. did you see Dana and Rae are joining forces for Celebrate the Boy again starting next week?! soooo fun. can’t wait. i’m always in need of some good boy sewing inspiration.

polka dot geranium dress

happy new year!

i know a bunch of my sewing blog buddies have been doing 2012 recap / 2013 goal setting posts, and since so much happened for me with this blog in 2012 i still might do that, but right now i feel more like blogging this dress!

geranium snowflake dress

it’s Made by Rae‘s newest release, the Geranium Dress. you know how i love Rae’s patterns, and i think every time she releases a new one i say “she just keeps getting better and better” but it’s really true. i was a pattern tester for this dress and i only had nitpicky type comments for her, really; it was already a high quality pattern even before the testers got our hands on it! I think this could work as a “first pattern from pieces” dress for a beginning sewist ready to tackle buttons and pleats; it’s all explained so well.

geranium snowflake dress

this pattern is also Rae’s response to requests for a “mini washi dress (remember when i made one myself but had the big head problem?), but Rae also built this pattern to give the sewer oodles of options to make a different dress every time…check this out:

geranium dress options

three sleeve options, two skirt options, three neckline options, two length options, and pockets! the way she presents the choices isn’t confusing or overwhelming, it’s really clear and easy to follow. love that.

geranium snowflake dress

i picked faux cap sleeve with dress-length pleated skirt, side seam pockets, and notched V neckline. the bodice is 3T and the skirt is 4T (i just increased the seam allowance on the skirt a little to make it line up). i picked the options that would be the quickest to sew and the most “formal” looking, since i was on a time crunch before Em’s ballet recital but wanted her dress to feel holiday-appropriate.

geranium snowflake dress

it’s a really quick and satisfying sew, and i made it in a night! considering i started from taping the pattern together and was taking pattern test notes too, it’s seriously fast.

geranium snowflake dress

she wore this dress to her ballet Christmas program, her school Christmas program, and Christmas Eve festivities with the family, plus out and about (basically whenever it’s clean). i sewed it in a cheap black and white polka dot cotton from Joann that I also used to pattern test Rae’s pierrot tunic last fall – totally different feel on a more structured dress though, right? i love that it looks like snow.

geranium snowflake dress

i used the rest of the pink elephant buttons i first used for her japanese tea party jacket. she loves that touch of course.

geranium snowflake dress

for her “fancy occasions,” i made her a little sequined headband out of some trim that i just hand sewed together and hit with some fray check. she loves wearing headbands and other hair accessories lately, it’s always interesting what she comes down wearing. 😉

geranium snowflake dress

get your Geranium Dress pattern from Rae, and happy new year sewing!!

PS – need more Geranium inspiration? Rae posted all the pattern tester versions here, and my personal favorite is my pal Cherie’s eyelet dress. SO gorgeous!

chambray big bow dress

ah pattern testing, my favorite sewing blog activity!

chambray big bow dress

i first found the big bow dress on pinterest. it’s by miranda of one little minute. i feel like it had popped up in my feed over and over, and each time i saw it i was like “ooooh that’s so cute, is there a pattern?” i’d click through to her blog post and was always bummed to see there wasn’t a pattern, she just took custom orders for them. since i sew, i don’t buy dresses for Em anymore, so that didn’t really help me.  i wanted to MAKE one!!

but then i started following miranda on instagram and saw a photo one night showing she was working on a pattern! yippee! i told her i was excited, and a little while later she asked me to test it for her!

chambray big bow dress

the big bow dress pattern is now for sale! for testing purposes, i sewed mine in a lovely chambray (purchased here) with vintage sheet lining. i love the casual vibe it lends to this more formal dress, and the blue floral sheet inside is so soft! i made a 3T in 4T length, and i just love how it looks on Em.

chambray big bow dress

Em is kind of a sucker for exaggerated details, i think, so she loves the bow and the roomy a-line fit for dancing too. even despite the blue color, she was sold on it pretty quickly!

chambray big bow dress

chambray big bow dress

miranda was great at listening to tester feedback and as a result i think the pattern is really user friendly, though probably advanced beginner/intermediate-level since it involves a buttonhole, zipper, pleating, and lining…though the pattern is good at explaining it all too.

chambray big bow dress

i have just one construction tip that didn’t make it into the final version of the pattern that may help, and that is this: after sewing the buttonhole, sew a basting stitch down the length of the dress, continuing the same distance out from the fold as the buttonhole on the right side of the dress. press open the front box pleat and then remove the basting stitches. this will help you keep an even box pleat down the length of the dress.

my dress has a tiny inverted box pleat in the center of the bigger box pleat, which wasn’t miranda’s intention…the pattern actually calls for a knife pleat. take a look at her photos, not mine for specific details. 😉

chambray big bow dress

the dress closes with an invisible zipper, and her technique involves no hand stitching of the lining! yay!

chambray big bow dress

Em wore this to a wedding rehearsal and dinner (she was the flower girl! much more to come on that) and it’s great as a formal-ish but still so comfortable dress. perfect heading into the holiday season, don’t you think?

chambray big bow dress

you can get your own big bow dress pattern right here! it goes from 6 months to size 6 and i think it’d be especially adorably ridiculous on a little baby.

thanks for letting me test this pattern, miranda!!