This Is Not A Test: Fall Has Arrived! by Rachel Marie

25 Sep

“They’re waking you up to close the bar
Streets wet, you can tell by the sound of the cars
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.”

That is right folks, Fall is officially here. It rained and I don’t feel one bit guilty about binge listening to Elliott Smith.

What I do feel dreadfully sorry about is my wardrobe, and the lack of cute sweaters and layering items. Yeah, I have a few Fall staples I can take out of storage (I know, we live in Portland and it isn’t like it doesn’t rain in July– but it was a crazy hot summer and I couldn’t stand to even look at my cold weather gear for a few months).

Fortunately, all the new stuff at the shop is focused ENTIRELY on Fall layering must-haves!!

Nooworks  is a new line we are carrying in the shop, and we are totally in love. Not only does their aesthetic totally jive with our prints and easy to wear silhouettes, but they share our commitment to local production.


Since 2004 we have specialized in making unique products using socially conscious methods. We mill, dye, print, cut and sew all our garments in California.

Nooworks long-sleeved knit dresses in Wood print and Comet print, $106 and available NOW

Nooworks long-sleeved knit dresses in Wood print and Comet print, $106 and available NOW

Couldn’t wait to “fit test” these adorable long-sleeved dresses, and what do ya know: they’re THE most flattering silhouette. Everything you want from a Fall dress– with a flirty skirt that keeps you feelin’ just the right amount of sexy.

Rachel Marie in Nooworks

Rachel Marie in Nooworks

We have graphic muscle tees you can pair with leggings:


And super comfortable, flattering dresses. Rock them with a pair of boots and a jacket and you’re set for cooler weather.

Varnish is a line that has been with us for a while, but they have just branched out from knitwear to wovens. This flowy dress has a rockin’ print and super flattering shaping through the bodice.

Rachel Marie in new Varnish Woven FW15

Rachel Marie in new Varnish Woven FW15

We also just got our first order of SockDreams this season and I mean, how am I going to say no to a new pair of knee highs?? I will tell you what my dream is: An over-sized sweater dress to wear with a pair of these!

Sock Dreams Chevron knee highs, $10!!!

Sock Dreams Chevron knee highs, $10!!!

And speaking of sweaters, did we mention that we are going to be producing sweaters this season? At the moment we are busting out new pieces for The Greenroom Collection, but our sweater knits are patiently waiting for our hands to start working on all the goodies our eyes have been perusing on pinterest. A few favorites include:

Tell us, what do you look for in a sweater?
– Oversized
– Fitted
– Cropped
– Sweaterdress
– Lightweight/Sheer
– Bulky/Chunky

The options are endless!

The Greenroom Collection: a lookbook project for Women in Music

17 Sep

I wanted to make a post with a more in depth back story behind the recently released photos from the Greenroom Collection: a lookbook project for Women in Music.

The official statement I made when releasing these photos was:

As many of you know, I divide most of my life passion between two things: apparel design and music. Over the last few years, I have been the fortunate benefactor of many incredible female musical companions who have– time and time again–shown their support for my endeavors as a clothing manufacturer (and as a musician). The women I am speaking of are shaping our city in such myriad ways: defining the silhouettes, the sounds, the style, the class, the brave, and the bold.

They are the female musicians of Portland, Or.

I came up with this project concept a number of months ago, and am truly excited to say that it will be a three month long journey of photographing all the most prominent and incredible female musicians I can. Our theme is a “Vanity Fair” style lookbook, featuring our Mag-Big Houseline Clothing (which we have always felt lends itself well to “stagewear”).

And of course, the “money shot” photo I speak of begins with this amazing photo:

 MagBigGrnRm_IMG_7970_JQuigleyPhoto by Jason Quigley Photography

This project has been a huge collaboration between Mag-Big, Jason Quigley Photography, Beth Olson Creative, Red Velvet Parlour, Blake Baer, Rachel Marie Rasmussen, and our venue, Archipelago.

And most of all, our models.

I present you all with the first series from The Greenroom Collection. All clothing was made by us, and is available in store or online.

The bands and acts featured here include (from past and present): Orquestra Pacifico Tropical, Great Wilderness, Sugar in Wartime, What About Us, Sara Jackson-Holman, Fault Lines, Edna Vasquez, Sallie Ford, Point Juncture, Wa, Thanks, and Daughter Talk. Members of said acts include (from Left to right): Jamie McMullen, Tai Carmen, Sallie Ford, Shana Lindbeck, Emily Overstreet, Sara Jackson-Holman, Sara Hernandez, Jimi La, Edna Vasquez, and Amanda Spring.

Photographer, Beth Olson, shot the behind-the-scenes for this project, and will be working on the next series, as well. Jason and Beth have been integral in shaping and planning this project and will each be taking different roles during the project, switching off who is behind the lookbook photos and the documentation of our project in full.

Mag-Big's Greenroom Collection Fashion Photoshoot

Behind the scenes at Archipelago; a building and workshop owned by our friend, Jason Leonard

Behind the scenes at Archipelago; a building and workshop owned by our friend, Jason Leonard

Our wonderful friend, Jason Leonard owns a building and workspace called Archipelago. He let us use his building for the shoot, which seemed really fitting given his own connection to music in Portland.  You may recognize Jason from bands such as Loch Lomond, Nick Jaina, Laura Gibson, and Run On Sentence. We loved the stillness and simplicity of the space, and decided to utilize the sparsity of the back drop to gain the full effect here.

Of course, Cassie was bossy as usual.



The clothing for this first shoot included many pieces we have designed for Fall that are focused on evening wear and stagewear. Many of the dresses have very bold silhouettes such as the Alec Eiffel Fine Arch Dress that Jamie McMullen is seen wearing, or the Hi-Lo Sheer Floral Dress that Sallie Ford is wearing. As a girl in a band herself, Cassie has found that designing dresses with a sense of fashionable showy-ness really suits her. The goal is to feel sexy, stylish, and bold– but still be able to hold a guitar and dance your ass off.

Additional folks who helped with this project include The Red Velvet Parlour, beneath Mag-Big on Hawthorne. This salon has, time and time again, raised the bar with the talent they bring to every project. At Alley 33 this year, the hair concept that owner/stylist, Erin Olson, envisioned was (in Cassie’s humble opinion) the best execution at any fashion show in Portland.

Additionally, the Mag-Big team that worked on this project includes Blake Baer and Rachel Marie Rasmussen. The girls who do it all at the shop: they run the store, they cut the fabric, they sew into the late hours drinking wine and putting up with Cassie’s obnoxious screamo music. None of this would be possible without them.

team Mag-Big

team Mag-Big

Over the next two months, we will attempt to photograph as many of the amazing female musicians that define our city as we can. In an effort to pay homage to their contribution to the style and class of Portland, and as a way of showing our company for its mission statement: Portland made, ready to wear. We believe our clothing is for all the strong, bad ass women, and this project has clearly shown that the spectrum of age, size, personal style, and (in this case) musical genre proves how versatile our company has become.

Edna, Jimi, Sallie, and Amanda

Edna, Jimi, Sallie, and Amanda


Jamie, Sara, and Emily

Tai, Shana, and Sara

Tai, Shana, and Sara

You can look forward to our next set of photos, with such acts as Luz Elena Mendoza of Y La Bamba, Laura Gibson, Kathy Foster from The Thermals, Kelli Schaeffer, and so many more. Stay tuned.

As always: thank you for your support of local production and local music.

Love, Cassie

Rachel Marie’s Newest Blog Installment: “To Be Clear…”

12 Sep

To Be Clear:   The ” Jungle Juice” Dress Rules.                 by Rachel-Marie.

If you have ever met owner/designer Cassie Ridgway you know that she has certain catch phrases that creep into the vocabulary of everyone around her. Because Cassie fucking rules and everyone adores her. So, I’ve decided to capitalize on a few key phrases here on the blog. “To Be Clear” is a new series in which we summarize any recent fashion events, reveal the history of our dress designs, and generally explain things we just really think you need to know.

Like how the “Jungle Juice” came into being.

The fabric:

We had purchased a very similar fabric in a slightly different color way we called “paprika.” It did well in our tank style and looked great not only in photos but on customers.

Jungle Juice Bodycon

Jungle Juice Bodycon

In an attempt to give our customers more of what we wanted, Cassie bought the same lux ponte knit in a different color way. Sometimes you take chances and it just doesn’t work.

Trial and Error: We all pooled together to find the right pattern to let this print speak. At first it was the tank style. Then the maxi skirt. Then Cassie was convinced a long sleeve Gibson. Dress would kill it in this print. But nothing really jived, the pieces we did make hung in the store looking out of place.

Until Rachel Marie returned from a visit to Las Vegas with a burst of inspiration.

“BodyCon” she said. “That is the only way to go.”

So she ran upstairs to the Troll Tower (our sewing space upstairs) in the 88 degree heat after four hours of sleep and made this:

Rachel Marie Prototyping

Rachel Marie Prototyping

This is a variation of the dress she designed for our Open Season show.

Silver velour bodycon at Portland Mercury Open Season Fashion Show 2014

Silver velour bodycon at Portland Mercury Open Season Fashion Show 2014

It is admittedly more sexy than other styles sold in the shop, but that is exactly what she was hoping for.

“I just think it would be great if we could offer a wider range of styles for a wider range of body types.”

While Cassie favors the A-Line dress, RM was looking to design a dress that flattered a curvy woman’s figure. It turned out that this silhouettes actually worked out well for the “Jungle Juice” print ponte knit as it became to be called.

If you want this dress, it’s available NOW in store or on our etsy shop for only $42 (#nobrainer)

Tank style top
Change with seasons

Fits many occasions

Staple party dress!

So great for layering

Fall Dress Styles that we think RULE

4 Sep

We all know what happens as the Summer starts to fade away: we can FINALLY start using 70% of our wardrobe again. That’s right! You can now dust off your boots, tights, cardigans, belts, and dresses that you (secretly-not-so-secretly) love more than your Summer dresses. Real talk.

Our sew shop has been bustling for months in preparation. We’ve been designing rad silhouettes for all types of occasion, and have some other exciting surprises in store which you’ll be seeing in the coming weeks!

For now, we’d like to introduce you to a few new pieces from our Fall collection.

The first is the Alec Eiffel Arch Mini Dress. This A-line mini dress has an arch shape through the hem that descends down to pointed side seams. It is made from an extremely delicate silk-blend that has been indigo died. Hand-wash/line dry only.

Fine Arch Dress

We also have the Sheer Floral Hi-lo Yoke Dress:

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Another really cute style that is easy to wear in many different settings (from work to evening) is our Everything Tunic Blouse:

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

And finally, everybody’s favorite dress for EVERY occasion: the Hot Dog on A Stick Dress in stretch lace. This dress is a total head turner, and looks super fly styled over a bra with high-waisted leggings, or with a slip dress under it:


All of these dresses, and more, can be found in our boutique or on our online store (and we are always happy to do plus size variations).

We hope you love them!

the Mag-Big team of late night, wine drinking, screamo music seamstresses.

R.A.W. Textiles at Mag-Big

2 Jul
R.A.W. Textiles, photo by

R.A.W. Textiles, photo by

For years now, I have followed Rio Wrenn’s line, R.A.W. Textiles. Her company is a production dye studio that specializes in natural dyeing practices utilizing plant matter, rust, composting, silk-screening, and other natural dyes in shibori and katazome techniques.

R.A.W. Textiles, photo by

R.A.W. Textiles, photo by

Wrenn’s work spans from lingerie, corsets, and lounge wear to visual art and custom textile design for larger pieces (such as curtains, duvets, etc). The breath taking prints are beautifully balanced on light-weight, high grade silks.

“These processes are directly inspired by the tension between the soft and hard found within the sexuality of botany and spirit of nature. This tension gives way to serendipitous manipulation and a sweet surrender to the process.”

R.A.W. Textiles, photo by

R.A.W. Textiles, photo by

While few emulate elements from Wrenn’s dye technique, it is inarguable that she is one of the most original, dynamic, and visionary designers in the Northwest. She is the first and only of her kind in our city. We are so honored to carry her hand dyed scarves in our shop. Each one is imbued with the careful poetry and delicate nature than can only be described as raw beauty.

Rio Wrenn in her dye studio;

Rio Wrenn in her dye studio;

Come see these for yourself. We believe these are the perfect weight for Summer evenings, and make an incredible, extremely classy accent to your Summer wardrobe. When not worn as a scarf, shawl, or head wrap: hang them up in your house as a work of art. They are truly a treasure.

Summer dresses are HERE!!

21 Jun

I woke up on the first day of June to a Summer beam pealing through my windows. “What’s this?” I thought, as I opened my curtains, revealing the gold-white aura in all it’s glory. “The SUN! Holy rock lobster! The Sun is here!”

For weeks, we had been preparing for the imminent warm rays: the freckly shoulders, the strappy sandals, the sneaking PBRs in the park. Becca, Rachel-Marie, and I had been sewing Summer dresses and stock piling them in anticipation for the best season yet. All these dresses, skirts, and tops sat dormant in our sew shop for weeks… just waiting for their moment.

Well, folks, that moment is here. We have THE BEST Summer dresses. One by one, I’d like to introduce you:

The Smooth Operator: woven shift dress; white and dark blue floral raw silk.

Woven Shift, available size Sm-Plus; $42

Woven Shift, available size Sm-Plus; $42

This dress is an ultra light-weight, raw silk blend. Everyone who tries it on says, “this dress feels creamy… like lotion.” We have these available in sizes Sm-Plus Size (and we’re able to custom fit this garment). $42

Woven Shift Dress, available size Sm-Plus, $42

Woven Shift Dress, available size Sm-Plus, $42

In a similar silhouette, we have the Impressionist Water Color dress in green; available size Sm-Plus Size; $42

Impressionist Water Color Shift dress

Impressionist Water Color Shift dress

This silky dress has the perfect drape, and flows like a delicate, dreamy frock.

Impressionist Watercolor Dress, available size Sm-Plus $42

Impressionist Watercolor Dress, available size Sm-Plus $42

We also do this woven dress in one more awesome print: the Rorschach

The Rorschach Dress

The Rorschach Dress

Cassie is crazy about this one…


Our simple tank style dresses are available in Sizes Sm-Plus as well, and have the perfect, versatile silhouette for layering in the Winter, and keeping it light in the Summer. Printed ponte knit fabric has more weight to it than other jersey knits, so it looks a little more structured, while still keeping that desired easy-fit finesse.


The Paprika Cosmic Print is super fun.

Paprika Cosmic Print, available size Sm-Plus, $55

Paprika Cosmic Print, available size Sm-Plus, $55

We also have the tank dress available in the Green Chain Print:

Green Chain Print Tank Dress, available size Sm-Plus, $55

Green Chain Print Tank Dress, available size Sm-Plus, $55

After The Portland Mercury OPEN SEASON Fashion show, everyone was asking about the bell-sleeve A-line floral dress that Cassie was wearing. We have these available in royal purple floral, and white stretch lace. They. Are. So. Cute.

Purple Floral Bell Sleeve Dress, $68

Purple Floral Bell Sleeve Dress, $68

The dress itself is a straight A-line, very bohemian inspired, almost like a kaftan


And the white lace version will be an excellent layering piece over jeans, over a slip, or over leggings/tank:

White Lace Bell Sleeve, $68

White Lace Bell Sleeve, $68

This barely scrapes the surface of the dresses we have available in the shop right now. Our simple, easy-fit classics such as the Gibson are in stock for Size Sm-Plus in a wide array of prints and fabrics


The faux wrap style of this dress makes it a deep V-neck; it is also available in bolder prints such as this Brown Chain Print:


We pride ourselves on the awesome prints we use, and the incredible selection of high quality fabrics. We have heaps of crop tops, maxi skirts, mini skirts, blouses, and dresses hitting the floor every week. All made in house, all available in a broad range of sizes.

Mag-Big Fabrics

Mag-Big Fabrics

So come visit us!! We have so much to offer, and it won’t break the bank either! If you’re outside of the Portland area, ALL of these dresses are also available on our etsy store!!


Team Mag-Big

Join Us: The Mercury’s “Open Season” Fashion Show @ Mississippi Studios!

26 Apr



Have you heard the good news? Mag-Big is having a solo fashion show as a part of The Portland Mercury’s 10th annual Open Season fashion extravaganza!

We will be unveiling our magnificent new SS2014 House Line collection. With about 30 total looks, this show will be unlike anything we have ever produced before. We have put great care into designing new looks that are fashion forward while retaining our easy, flattering ready-to-wear silhouettes. Overall it marks a new era for Mag-Big, in which we offer more amazing in-house made designs than ever before. We hope you will join us to reign in this exciting new phase of our local Portland business!

When: Tuesday, May 13 at 6:00pm

Where: Mississippi Studios 3939 N. Mississippi Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97227

Tickets: $5 pre-sale here or $8 at the door


Note: There will be a few other fashion shows as a part of Open Season. A mere $15 will get you into each event if you buy in advance! See here for more details.


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