Fabric-a-brac good times

If you’re in Wellington, you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of what happened yesterday. Fabric-a-brac!

Tables piled high with fabric-y goodies, waiting for the doors to open to customers.

Tables piled high with fabric-y goodies, waiting for the doors to open to customers.

Yep, the twice-yearly fabric lovers event was on again, chock-full of fabulous finds, vintage goodies, tasty treats, and fundraising for the local hospice.

Fabric lovers waiting for the doors to open.  (In the rain!  Now that's dedication to fabric.)

Fabric lovers waiting for the doors to open. (In the rain! Now that’s dedication to fabric.)

And naturally enough, I was there. (Well, I kinda had to be, since I’m one of the organising committee these days.) From set-up to (nearly the end of) pack-down, and all times in-between. Organising the ‘cafe’ room, looking after the stall a friend and I shared in an attempt to downsize our stashes, and ‘accidentally’ buying more goodies I spotted on other stalls.

One of the 'cafe' tables, waiting for people needing a break from rummaging through fabric.

One of the ‘cafe’ tables, waiting for people needing a break from rummaging through fabric.

(I’m feeling rather proud of myself though – I came home with less fabric than I took with me! Very restrained, I was.) (And yes, it was hard to be!)

Tasty homemade treats at the 'cafe'.  (Those choc-chip biscuits?  Amazing!!!)

Tasty homemade treats at the ‘cafe’. (Those choc-chip biscuits? Amazing!!!)

Pretty much all of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network made their way through during the day, and at one point a bunch of us ended up congregated in the ‘cafe’, over tea and cake.

(From the front to the , going right clockwise: Trees, Ria (not a blogger but we like her anyway), Juliet, Jenna, Emma, Gemma, Nikki, Johanna, Sandra, me, and Joy.)

Wanna see what I came away with? (If not, look away now, because I feel the need to share!)

Vintage brown floral cotton, polka-dot something-or-other (true fact: I’m kinda bad at identifying most fabrics *shame*) synthetic, crepe-like in feel, and a bit sheer, and two smallish pieces of rib.

Brown floral vintage something-that-seems-like-viyella, pink and blue floral vintage something-else-that-might-be-viyella, and a heavyweight cotton twill (small pieces, likely to become overalls for the Little Guy).

A copy of ‘Dreaming of Chanel’, two rolls of vintage overlocker thread, and some buttons with trains and cars on them (a gift from the lovely Zara for the Little Guy – thanks Zara!)

Yep, all in all, a successful day. De-stashed some of my stash that wasn’t inspiring me, bought some new-to-me goodies that do inspire, saw a bunch of my lovely friends, and raised a bunch of money for a good cause. Win. :-)

Ladybird Ballet

Guess what? I was working away on my Sew Bossy dress, and nearly finished, with only the hem left to go. Exciting! And then I tried it on properly after attaching the buttons. Yeah. Even though I’d been a good girl and tried it on a couple of times while making it, somehow everything went horribly wrong. Let’s just say – there’s gonna be a fair bit of unpicking of top stitching and gathers, and re-positioning of buttons and button holes, before it’s going to look any good.

So I got grumpy and made something else to cheer me up.

Ladybirds La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

With ladybirds on it, because who can be grumpy when sewing ladybirds, right?!

I wanted to use a pattern I was pretty sure would work on me (didn’t want to risk two disasters in a row!), so I pulled out my trusty La Sylphide pattern from Papercut. I’ve made this up a couple of times before, in the dress version, and they both get a lot of wear.

Ladybirds La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My first thought was to make this up in the dress again, but turned out I didn’t have enough fabric. After a bit of mucking around with pattern placement, I figured I could get the peplum blouse out of the ladybirds. Been meaning to try the blouse for a while, to see if peplums actually look ok on me or not (or if it was just the knit fabric ones that look terrible on me).

Ladybirds La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I lengthened the neck tie by about 25cm in total, having learnt before that I like more length in my pussy bow. (Random sentence, no?)

Ladybirds La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I also lowered the bust darts by about 1.5cm, since they tend to hit too high on me. (A problem I have with pretty much all bust darts, ever. Vintage or modern. Maybe my girls are just in a weird place or something….)

And since I was eking this out of not-quite-enough fabric, I also shortened the sleeves, to a length that fit onto the fabric. ;-) (Since I shortened them, I didn’t bother with the interfaced hem on the sleeves either – I figured this fabric was stiff enough to cope without interfacing on the sleeves, and sure enough, all is good.)

Ladybirds La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And coz we all know how much I like sewing with hammers, I used white snap fasteners instead of buttons. Oh, I do love snap fasteners, so much fun to put on (and to take off again, heh ;-)

The verdict? I’m liking it! And I think it’s converted me to peplums actually looking ok on me. (Maybe I’ll brave a couple of my 1940′s peplum top patterns now….)

Ladybirds La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Plus, it has ladybirds on it. What’s not to love about that?!?

To define where the peplum flares out, I’ll probably always sling a belt around the waist. I just like it better that way – it’s quite a busy fabric, and the belt breaks it up a bit and shows off the lines of the blouse more I reckon.

Ladybirds La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And check it out – we found a wall that matched my shoes and hair and belt! Matchy-matchy, oh yeah!

Ladybirds La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Days in photos

Been a while since I posted any Photo A Day challenge images. But I got a new (“real”!) camera the other day (very exciting! It’s a DSLR and everything!) so have started doing the challenges again. (And yes, one day soon I plan on telling you all about (aka “showing off”!) my new camera!)

Anyway, here we go – part of March, in pictures….

7 March – Fly

First outing with my new camera! Also the first ‘date’ my guy and I had been on since the Little Guy arrived (big thanks to my little sis’ for looking after Little Guy for the evening!). In cliched-pretending-to-be-hipsters fashion, we took our cameras down to the Wellington waterfront for a walk before heading to an awesome Japanese restaurant for dinner.

Sea spray, flying when it hit the edge of the random concrete block creation at one of the jutting-out parts of the waterfront.

8 March – In The Corner

Lil’ sis’ and I wandered out to an abandoned lot nearby to get photos of my Wolf in Denim jeans. Looking up at the intersection of two graffiti-covered walls, to a hardy plant clinging on and blue sky above. I liked the colours. :-)

9 March – 10am
Yet again, chaos of toys scattered across the lounge, proof that the Little Guy had passed by a couple of minutes previously.

10 March – Far Away
Looking out over the harbour on my walk to work in the morning – the remains of sea fog blanketing the Hutt Valley and a boat outlined against it.

11 March – Something Good
Paint colour samples arrived today! Time to start choosing what colour to paint the lounge….

12 March – Partial
A partially-read book, hanging out on the bedside table.

14 March – Care
Last day at my job today – a lovely friend and colleague took the time to give the florist who put together my ‘farewell’ flowers a good description of what I was like, so they could come up with a bunch that suited me. Lovely care shown by both my friend, and the florist who really cares about who their flowers are going to. (Orange and yellow! With splashes of pink! Yes!!)

Strawberry Shortcake Coppelia

Hey hey! Ready for some more Twinsies sewing?

While we were waiting on the votes for what we sew next to roll in, Mel and I caught up to get pics of our latest Twinsies creation – the Coppelia wrap cardigan from Papercut patterns!

Papercut’s Coppelia wrap cardigan

(Spoiler: this won’t be the last one of these you see on here. I may be in love with this pattern. More are planned for the fast-approaching winter, oh yes.)

Now, we always end up with rather different looking garments when we do our Twinsies creations, but I think this time is the most diverse yet! Mel lengthened her Coppelia and the waist ties. I shortened the sleeves on my one. Two very different results, no? (This is what I love the most about Twinsie sewing – we don’t talk much beforehand about what we’re doing, so it’s always a surprise to see what the other one has come up with when we meet up to do our joint photo shoots. As you can imagine, there’s lots of comparing and exclaiming going on at that point.)

Strawberry Shortcake Papercut Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Despite appearances, we didn’t co-ordinate our outfits/hair. Even though my hair matches Mel’s top and the top she’s wearing under her Coppelia matches my Coppelia. Happy accidents for co-ordinated photos, let’s just go with that, ok?)

This is actually the second Coppelia I’ve made – the first was a gift for one of my sisters-in-law for Christmas, which I don’t have a photo of yet. (Mum, if you’re reading this, can you go get photos for me? Thanks! ;-) ) I lengthened that one though, so this is the first one I’ve made at the ‘proper’ short length.

Strawberry Shortcake Papercut Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Conveniently, I also tried on the one I made for my sister-in-law, and found I needed to go down a size from what I was expecting to cut out, as it’s a looser fitting style that I thought it would be. Bonus fitting practice while gift making = all ’round win.)

This is a crazy quick and easy pattern to put together, with nice neat edges due to all the wide hem finishes and the wrist cuffs (if, like Mel, you make it with the full sleeve-length). Very satisfying to whip up, this one was!

I made my one out of a lightweight merino wool, purchased from the Levana textile outlet a year or so ago. I found three rectangular pieces of this gorgeous wide red-and-pink stripe in the remnant bin, for the grand sum of 50c a piece (crazy cheap!!). So naturally, I snaffled them up fast and clung on to them until I figured out what to use them for. (I mean c’mon – how often do you come across pink-and-red-wide-striped merino?!? Yeah, not often. Gotta get that stuff when you can.)

Strawberry Shortcake Papercut Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Since I only had the three (reasonably small) remnants, cutting this one out was a bit of a challenge! (In fact, I think it took longer to cut out than it did to sew. Hmmm.) With the raglan sleeves, I wanted the stripes to meet where the sleeves joined the body, so there was a fair bit of careful pattern placement to figure out how to make that happen, while still having enough fabric for the bindings and ties. Oh yes, let me tell you now – there was not a lot of fabric left when I was done! (That’s also what dictated the sleeve length – that was all I had. Indeed.)

I’m pretty proud of how it turned out though – kinda hard to see in these photos, but those stripes, they match up well. And luckily I could get the bindings out of the red rather than the pink, because let’s face it, pale pink next to my skin just Doesn’t Suit Me. At All. (Even though occasionally I forget about that fact. Oops.)

Strawberry Shortcake Papercut Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Only alteration I made was stretching the bands a bit when attaching them around the neckline, to make sure they didn’t start to sag open a bit over time. That worked out well – it’s a nice, close fit. (I think I chopped about 5cm off each end of the neck band once I’d attached it? Can’t quite recall though, may have been slightly less….)

This hits me slightly below the waist – perfect for wearing with 1950′s dresses and skirts. (I can also attest that it layers well over long-sleeved tops on colder days.)

Strawberry Shortcake Papercut Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Mel and I met up with the lovely Nikki for lunch to get these photos – picnicking out on the grounds of parliament, then posing with trees. Always a good thing to do on a break from work, no? ;-)

(Big thanks to Nikki for playing photographer for us!)

Strawberry Shortcake Papercut Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And we can’t have a Papercut Twinsies photo shoot without the ‘Papercut love’ pose, now can we? This time, sitting in a tree. Just because we (sort of) could. Even though we were wearing high heels at the time and the tree was on a slope. Coz that’s the sort of thing we do for you guys.

Strawberry Shortcake Papercut Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Trousers for little people

Sometimes I blog about things I’ve made straight away. Other times, I mean to, but then I get distracted, and it can be a while before I get around to doing it. Yep – this post is one of those latter ones. (And I can now cross it off my blog to-do list! Yay! Something so satisfying about crossing things off to-do lists, ahhhh….)

Back in December, they were doing a collection of things for the Wellington City Mission’s Christmas drive – food, toys, etc to make up Christmas parcels for families in need. Seemed like a good time to break out the sewing machine.

(But let’s face it – any time is a good time to break out the sewing machine!)

I also pulled out my trusty little kids trousers pattern (Simplicity 3766), hunted through my stash for some cute cottons, and made these, to fit one-year-old toddlers:

Green and white gingham with red cherries
Baby trousers | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Blue with pirates
Baby trousers | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And since I was about it (and he needed new trousers) I made the Little Guy a pair of red pirate trousers as well.
Baby trousers | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

His grandmother showed him how to water the garden. Cute!

Baby trousers | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

A Wolf in Denim

Yep, I made a third pair of trousers. Three pairs in one month, even. (Blame The Monthly Stitch – it challenged me to make trousers, so I figured, may as well jump in with both feet. Especially since I usually avoid making these things.)

This time – meet the Peter and the Wolf trousers from Papercut!

Now, these are so very, very far from my usual style. (After all, they don’t resemble a 1940′s or 1950′s dress in any way, now do they?) I’ve never been one for skinny pants – tried a pair on once, looked horrible on me, avoided them ever since. But, well, that yoke detail – even though I was pretty sure the finished garment wouldn’t be my style, I had to try making them just to try making that yoke.

(Do others fall prey to this as well? The strong desire to make something just for the sake of trying to make it, rather than because you want to wear it in the end?) (Or is it just me? <- sad, lonely voice from the corner)

Anyway, here’s what the finished garment looks like!

Papercut Peter and the Wolf trousers | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Since they’re quite a tight-fitting pair of trousers, and the pattern calls for a woven with some stretch, I went for a stretch denim, and used the reverse side for the contrast yokes.

Papercut Peter and the Wolf trousers | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I used the reverse for contrast on the pocket facings as well, but in hindsight should have probably just stuck with contrast yokes. Next time….

Papercut Peter and the Wolf trousers | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The only alteration I made to the pattern when cutting out was the length – I'd heard from Sandra from when she made her fabulous black-and-red pair that they end up quite cropped. And I'm not really one for cropped trousers (heck, the vast majority of RTW trousers are cropped on me when they aren't meant to be, so I've had a pre-sewing lifetime of unintentionally cropped trousers to try and recover from!). So even though the scalloped hem is utterly gorgeous, I sadly removed it by extending the length instead.

Papercut Peter and the Wolf trousers | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Which I didn’t do enough, it turns out and had to add a cuff at the bottom with the little scraps that were left from my cutting out, to get a bit of extra length. (Whoops!)

Papercut Peter and the Wolf trousers | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern went together really nicely, as all Papercut ones I’ve ever made have done. Nice, clear instructions, good drafting, and overall an enjoyable sew.

I did a bit more topstitching than what was called for, as the denim I used has a fair bit of stretch and I was worried about the seams bursting. So the side seams got topstitched as well, as did the full crotch seam (front and back). (And I can reasonably safely say they’re nice and strong, since I wore these around the house all day on Saturday to test them out! ;-) )

Papercut Peter and the Wolf trousers | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

For fun, I used some pink quilting cotton with cupcakes on it for the pocket lining, that I got from my secret santa in the 2013 Sewists Secret Santa Swap. (Thanks, secret santa!) Coz, you know – cupcakes. (Need I say more?)

Papercut Peter and the Wolf trousers | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

To my shame, the front and back yokes don’t line up all that well on one side. Not sure how I missed this – guess that’s what happens when you sew with a head cold. Grrr. (And then I compound my feeling of duh-ness around this by showing you all how well they don’t match up….)

Papercut Peter and the Wolf trousers | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

These are meant to be a mid-rise style, but the seam where the waistband hits the trousers hits exactly on my hip bones. A bit lower than I was expecting, and I had to add a bit of extra length (like, 7cm extra!) to the waistband to get it to do up when going directly across my hip bones. (Eek!) Next time, I’ll add a bit of length to the front and back pieces, to get these sitting an inch or two higher. (Because of where they hit, the waistband doesn’t sit as smoothly as it should either. But hey, I’ll always be wearing a tshirt or the like over these, so that won’t really matter.) Admittedly, I’m quite tall (177cm), so these are probably going to sit a bit higher on other people. (Have you made them? Do they sit higher?? I’m curious to know!)

Papercut Peter and the Wolf trousers | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So yes, the Peter and the Wolf trousers. So not my usual style. And I must admit, I’m not 100% certain on this pair on me. Do they fit ok? (I don’t ever wear trousers this tight, so I’m finding it hard to tell if there are fitting issues in the front section, or if it’s just that the style is so foreign to me!) Do they look any good? (Again, so far from my style I can’t tell!) Please people – give me your honest opinions!!!

Papercut Peter and the Wolf trousers | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Whether they look any good on me or not, though, I do recommend this pattern. It comes together well, has interesting details, and great instructions. (And I’m contemplating how to convert it into a skirt variation next time I make it, so I can still get that yoke detailing but without the doubt of skinny pants wearing going on.)

Papercut Peter and the Wolf trousers | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Oh, and check out my shoes! I love these – still breaking them in, must get to work on that coz they’re far too pretty to sit languishing in my wardrobe. They’re the ‘Apple Dimple’ style from Minx. Totally my favourite shoe brand.

Apple Dimple shoes by Minx | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Thanks to my lovely sister for taking the photos! She did such a good job I had a hard time choosing which ones to use, hopefully it hasn’t given you all photo overload as a result. ;-) (Poll time – lots of photos, or less photos? Which is best for you?)

Bossy, bossy, bossy boots

Hey hey! A huge thanks to all of you who voted on my Miss Bossy Patterns poll for the March Monthly Stitch challenge! It was so much fun watching the votes climb – a very tight race between two of the options, with the pink-and-yellow-plaid Simplicity inching ahead, then the floral McCalls leapfrogging over it, time and time again. For a while there, I was worried there’d be a tie and I’d have to make both! (Eek!) (Not that that would necessarily be a bad thing, actually…. Hmmm….)

But in the end, there was one winner. (Just – by 2.11% of the votes!) And that winner is….

The 1940′s McCall dress in a floral print!

McCall 5676

Which I am rather excited to be sewing up. :-) (In fact, I cut it out over the weekend. Fun fun!!)

Feels like it’s been ages since I’ve made anything vintage…. Since January, in fact. Two whole months! Almost a lifetime ago….

Now, why has it been so long? Well, the lovely Mel keeps on distracting me with pretty indie patterns. You may have noticed, we’ve been doing Twinsies patterns (and photos shoots!) for the last couple of months. Making the same pattern at the same time and seeing how we each interpret it. So much fun! (And it’s definitely been pushing me to try a few more of the indie designers, all of whom are rather fabulous, yes indeed.)

Twinsies of Papercut La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

In a rather geeky fashion, Mel and I have even put together a Google doc, listing out all the indie patterns we own and want to try (or want to buy and then try!). Turns out it’s quite a long list (especially when you add in the ‘ones-we-want-to-buy’ section. Oops.). Which means, we’re having a bit of trouble choosing what to make next.

So we decided – why not get you all to boss us around and choose what pattern we make as Twinsies next??

We’ve narrowed it down to three:

The Midsummer Nights Dream dress from Papercut

The Rooibus dress from Colette

The Cabarita top from Cake

Mel’s put together a poll on her blog – go and boss us around over here! (Please?! We really can’t decide which to make next!!