ruby dress testing

Well, I’ve been sewing a lot these days.  Last week was a whirlwind of pattern testing for the Made By Rae Ruby Top & Dress (pattern coming VERY SOON).  I got to be in touch with over a dozen pattern testers as they got the first go at this pattern.  Of course, I was lucky enough to give it a couple of tries too.

First, I made this one out of cotton/linen sheeting from Kokka Fabrics by Etsuko Furuya.  I ordered it online at Pink Chalk Fabrics.  I really loved the “Arrow Dress” that Rae made, and this has the same feel and drape as the fabric she used.

Just one yard is all it took of the main fabric, as this stuff is 61″ wide.  I just picked up a half-yard of quilting cotton for the yoke fabric at Satin Stitches here in CoMo, and made my own bias tape for the armhole and neck trims.

Ruby 1

As you can see, the first version turned out a little, well, voluminous.  It’s totally comfy and fun, but it looks a little frump-a-dump unless I belt it (more photos with a belt, below).  I did try taking in the side seams a bit, but ended up just leaving this one as-is, because it just looked lumpy and weird with every modification.  Lesson learned: when I’m first making a pattern without practicing on muslin first, don’t do French Seams.  Way too hard to modify for fit!

Almost all of the other testers indicated that their dresses were also too big, so we got to try a modified version on the next go-around.  This time the yoke stayed the same, but the side seams and front gathers were minimized. Much better!  I got the fabric for this one at Joann’s of all places! I can’t find it online, or I’d link to it. It’s a lovely soft cotton/linen blend again, but this one is really light and airy (without being transparent, *phew*). The yoke fabric is a very simple white eyelet, again from Satin Stitches.

Ruby 2

This one fits much better, wouldn’t you say?  Definitely a keeper….except that this particular little number has already slipped out of my closet and into my sister’s!

Over Labor Day weekend, we drove up to Western Michigan and stayed with my big (“big”) sister Erika.  I showed her the dresses one evening, and later I came home from walking the dog to find her wearing it.

I keep telling people that she refused to take it off, so I had to leave it with her, but that’s a lie.  It just looks so cute on her, how I could not let her keep it?  And besides, not only do I have my own dress, I can make more. I just hope I can find this crazy floral fabric again.

Ruby Dresses

Here you can see that we’re both working on the wattle that we’ve inherited from our father.

Isn’t it perfect that I just happened to have a polkadot and striped belt, in the very hues that match the fabric? Serendipity, I tell you.

Ruby Dresses

We have the same middle name: Glamour

Ruby Dresses

I have to admit that there are reasons other than selflessness and generosity that I left the dress in Erika’s possession. First, she and her husband have graciously let us store a lot of boxes and furniture in their attic for the last few years while we’ve lived in small spaces.  Now that we have our own big ol’ house, we’ve made pretty good progress in emptying out their attic.  Talk about remote storage, eh? Giving Erika the dress is just a tiny token of my gratitude.  Think I should make her hubby a dress too?

The other reason? Well, there’s this sweater that I’ve been working on for 2 years.  Yes, TWO years. I gave Erika her choice of pattern and yarn two years ago, and promised to make her a sweater.  In my defense, she chose lace-weight mohair and a beaded lace pattern, but  it’s still not done. So I’m thinking this dress is like a stop-gap, or interest paid, or … fill in your favourite analogy here.

I know our middle sister has put me on her black list by now, so I best hie me back to my sewing lair to produce a little something for her.  Stay tuned.

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