(Mis)Adventures in Sewing: The Ruby Dress

A continuation in my (mis)adventures in sewing, today I want to start by taking a moment to give my highest praise to Made by Rae patterns. As someone who is admittedly not a great sewist, these patterns are the easiest I’ve found while not sacrificing style. Written so clearly that even I understand them (and that’s seriously saying something!), I especially love that there are lots of tutorials and support available, too. I’ve used the video tutorials for the lined yoke each time I’ve made the Ruby Dress that I’m sharing with you today. I don’t know what I’d do without them!

That said, I used the Ruby pattern last year to make myself some tops.all 3I really do love them and have worn the heck out of them the past year.

Then this spring I made myself this lovely yellow frock…

IMG_8647I meant for this to be a dress, but I hemmed it just enough to make it really not… ahem… decent as a dress. It’s made a lovely tunic over shorts and jeans instead.

This summer/fall I wanted to really attempt to make a couple dresses that I could actually wear as dresses. Putting the dresses together was pretty easy since I’ve become very practiced at this pattern, even the lined yoke, but I took extra time to try to make sure the hem was in my dress comfort zone.

both They turned out so cute! I just adore them!

blue detI made this blue one from a quilting cotton from Cotton + Steel from Alewives Fabrics. I’ve read a lot of reviews that quilting cotton doesn’t drape enough for this pattern, but personally I love it. It’s substantial without being heavy and I find it a really nice addition to my wardrobe.

ruby blue det2I even did the hem and attached the bias binding at the underarm in hot pink. Partly just for fun, partly because I was feeling confidant about sewing a straight line for once, and partly because it let me sew this dress and the second dress assembly-line style.

Speaking of the second dress…

pink detThis is also a Cotton + Steel print, but this time in a lawn also from Alewives Fabrics. It’s definitely lighter wear and drapes beautifully. The print, however, takes the cake. It’s just so funky and fun.

I gave myself a generous enough hemline that I’ll have some options for styling. I can wear either dress as-is or with tights or leggings and a sweater to layer. I can even add a belt if I want to dress the look up a bit. However I end up wearing them, I’m sure I’ll be wearing them a lot as they are just so comfortable and they turned out so cute. I’m making a dent in that fabric pile I’m trying to work through, but I think it’s time to try a new pattern. Perhaps Made by Rae’s Washi Dress or maybe her Bianca Dress or maybe the very simple Maya from Marilla Walker. Whatever the case, I’m sure me + sewing a new pattern will be a story to tell!

Teasing Spring Out of Hiding

Earlier this week, the family & I decided to take advantage of what might be one of the last true wintry days and go for a hike in the snow.


We ventured to Indian Lake and made the journey up a hill through about 6inches of fresh snow to this idyllic little spot. The thing about hiking in 6inches of fresh snow is that usually you get to do so alone as was the case this day and, really, there aren’t many places quite as special to enjoy such a peaceful walk.


Built in 1857, the St Mary of the Oaks Shrine sits upon a hill that overlooks the hilly ‘driftless area’ (the area not scraped flat by glaciers) of Southwestern Wisconsin. To this day, it is maintained and contains a few idols of Mary, a notebook to jot a thought or prayer, and a candle which you can light.

If you carry on a bit further down the trail, you are rewarded with a beautiful view of Indian Lake and the surrounding hills.


I don’t have photographic proof, but from this spot we hiked back down to the car and proceeded to have what might possibly be the coldest cookout in the history of cookouts (ok, probably not, but the wind was extremely cold). We ate our burgers in haste and made our way to coffee and a bookstore. It was a beautiful morning, but it was definitely colder than it looked.

And this is pretty much what this week was like here: Colder than it looked. We are all antsy to get outside and play in spring-like weather and as soon as the sun is shining we are like moths to the flame. We bound out the door — to playgrounds with the kids, playing catch in the yard, taking the dog for his walk — and inevitably within 15 or 20minutes my fingers are icicles and I’m attempting to make a quick retreat for the warmth of the house.

I’ve been combating the cabin fever with the likes of this…

IMG_8648My utterly crazy batt project. It’s been a while since I mentioned, so I will re-share that this consists of three drum carded batts from Spun Right Round. It is the most wild hodge-podge of colors, fibers, and sparkles I’ve ever worked with and I for one am getting pretty darn excited to see how this 10oz of madness turns out. The bright colors are definitely welcome on these cold days.


I also turned the heel on the second sock of my Petty Harbours. I wrapped up the gusset decreases this morning and I’m in the home-stretch now. The weather report is definitely promising for me to get the opportunity to wear these a few times before the summer arrives.

And then today, I awoke to it raining ice outside and I decided the only way to deal with that was to sew up a yellow summer dress.

IMG_8647It’s not the best sewing job I’ve ever done, but it fits great and… well, how do you not love a yellow dress on a grey March day?! This is the Ruby Dress by Made by Rae, the same pattern which I used to make a few tops last summer. I ordered the fabric — a basic cotton from a Cotton + Steel — from Alewives Fabrics in Maine (which I LOVE. So much!) and luckily I remembered to order a little extra fabric on each cut to do the lined yoke. Rae did a series of incredibly clear tutorial videos for this very finished look. I did try a few new things this time including a flat felled seam and a little short-cut on the yoke to avoid having to handsew the lining at the end.  The hem looks a little funny in the photos, but I swear it lays flat. That is an final ironing fail, not a sewing fail. All in all, I’m ecstatic with my new mini-dress.  It will be perfect when summer arrives.

I had planned to be a bit more ambitious on the sewing front today, but instead I opted to take it slow. I have another three or four dresses I hope to sew up as well as a couple tank tops, but as the wind howls and the ice flies outside I don’t have a lot of worry that I have plenty of time to get them done before summer. Perhaps our little hike to up the hill in the fresh snow won’t be our last wintry adventure before spring finds us. Indeed, a glance out the window confirms that thought. Thankfully I’m flexible. I’ll just get back to my woolen adventures for the evening. I’ll tease spring out of hiding one summer dress at a time.