Giveaway Day winners

Firstly, a huge thanks to everyone who threw their name into the ring for the giveaway earlier this week – it was really interesting hearing which Muse pattern you’d choose and why!

And now, it’s time to draw the lucky winners, with the help of the ever-useful random number generator.

So, without further ado, the first winner is…..

winner1

Rachael V!

Who said:

winner1choice

The second winner is…

winner2

Tash!

Who said:

winner2choice

And the third winner is…

winner3

Becky!

Who said:

winner3choice

Congratulations Rachael V, Tash and Becky! Your patterns are on their way to you now. :-)

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top

Oh yeah, first thing I made for myself post-Amos-arriving! The sewing drought is over!! :-D

This here’s the Sandpoint Top, which is the first pattern released by GrayDay Patterns. It’s a quick and easy pattern – a loose-fitting tee with a vee neck (or round neck, but I made the vee) at the front, a small cowl at the back, and a strap across the shoulders to keep it all sitting nicely in place. The sleeves are finished off easily and cleanly with bands, and the bottom can either be hemmed or finished with a band (I went with the plain hemmed option).

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The Sandpoint Top is a PDF pattern, so instant gratification. (Plus, I found I could make this in about two hours, including cutting out fabric, so it really was a bit of an instant gratification project! Although those two hours were spread out over a couple of days because, you know, sewing when babies nap and all that.)

I made it up in a pink-and-white stripe cotton tshirting that, if I remember correctly, came from my mother’s stash (thanks mum!). In which case, it’s almost certainly from the 1980’s. (How’s that for some old stash busting? Thirty years, or thereabouts!) In hindsight, I should have used a fabric with a bit more drape than this – although it’s lightweight, the tshirting is still quite stiff, so the cowl at the back doesn’t sit quite as well as I’d like it to.

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

However – check out that stripe matching on the side seams! Like a boss, yo!

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Although annoyingly the stripe was a bit off-grain, so I had to decide between stripes matching at the side seams or stripes running straight at the bottom hem. The side seam matching won out.)

I played with the stripe direction a bit on the shoulder band as well, cutting it out with the stretch going width wise, rather than length wise (which also stabilised the band even more, so it would stay firmly at the length I want it to be at).

Speaking of the shoulder band – you can sew it on either on top or below the shoulders, and in a variety of ways – I chose to sew it on on top, and with two lines of stitching, one on each long edge of the band. Nice and clean, and it lets the stripes play with each other in fun ways.

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Right, pattern review time!

The Sandpoint Top pattern went together really nicely – the PDF is done so you just need to print out the pages for the style you want (round neck or vee neck), and there’s even a nifty feature where you can hide the lines for the sizes that you don’t want, and just print it out directly in your size. (I must admit I didn’t try this, simply because my partner does the printing for me and I couldn’t be bothered going to the effort of explaining that to him and getting him to choose the right options – yeah, a lazy moment to avoid confusion!) The only thing I found with the PDF is that the lines at the base of the top get a bit confusing, as they’re super close to one another with the different size options and the different length options depending on whether you’re making it with a hem band or just plain. But it wasn’t a big deal at all – still very easy to work out, and if you choose to print only your size I imagine it’ll be super clear.

The instructions were nice and friendly, with a chatty tone to them. The illustrations were a bit grainy, not the best quality really (they could benefit from being at a higher resolution), but still visible enough. I liked the instructions for doing the vee neckline – it resulted in a clean finish and a good point to the vee. This was the only place I could see that may be slightly tricky for people so the clear instructions were good – all other parts of construction were super simple and fast.

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I quite like the cut of the top – loose but not too loose. (However, loose enough to make it baby-feeding-friendly! Very important these days, dontcha know!)

There are a couple of things I’ll change next time though – firstly, I’ll make it longer, as it’s about 2 – 3 inches shorter than I’d like. And secondly, I’d make the cowl at the back more pronounced – I think it could benefit from having a bit more of a drape to it, so I’d do a simple slash-and-spread adjustment. Both super easy changes, and not at all deal breakers for this top.

Overall verdict? I like it! Cute, easy to make, easy to wear, and I can see this pattern being used with a slinky fabric in the future for a casual/dressy top to wear with skinny leg jeans when the occasion calls for it (and a crazy printed dress just won’t cut it).

The photos were taken at a sculpure on Karo Drive in Wellington – it’s a big, metal, 1920’s style house sculpture! (Note: all photos courtesy of Mel. Except for the ones with Mel in them, in which case, thanks to Nikki for weilding the camera!)

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And also – check it out. First Twinsies make for ages! Yay! And we both ended up with pink stripy tops.

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Mel used a fabric with more drape than I did, and you can see how the cowl on her top sits a lot better than mine. (Learn from this people – lots of drape is your friend!)

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

With like-a-boss-stripe-matching on the side seams, even. Go us! :-)

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It’s giveaway day! Yay!

As some of you are likely to already know, Sew Mama Sew has an annual (or twice-annual, I think it actually is no?) Giveaway Day, where a whole bunch of people can host giveaways and link them to their lists. Basically, it’s a rather fun way to connect with a bunch of people, find new blogs to follow, and give something back to the sewing community. (I’ve found new-to-me blogs to follow from it in the past, which is always nice!)

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Ive taken part in it a couple of times before, and always really enjoyed it. And it’s here again, starting today! Woot! (Even though it’s called ‘Giveaway Day’, it actually runs all week.)

This time ’round, I’m going to give away a Muse PDF pattern to three different people. Just coz I can.

Rather good timing too – the newest Muse pattern got released yesterday. The Natalie dress and top, made in knit fabric and with a touch of 1940’s elegance to it, it could be rather perfect for wearing over the eating-far-too-much time of year. (Plus, it only takes an afternoon to sew up – win!) (Speaking of which – you can get 15% off the Natalie pattern between now and 14 December with the code ‘NATALIE’.)

So, want to be in to win? Just comment on this post and tell me – which Muse pattern would you choose, and why?

Gillian dress from Muse Patterns

And if you’re a follower of my blog, you get a second entry too – just leave another comment and let me know you follow, since I reckon you should have a better chance at winning and all that.

Natalie dress from Muse Patterns

The giveaway closes at 5pm on 12 December (PST), after which I’ll draw the three winners via random number generator (gotta love that thing!) and send you your pattern. (Side note: please make sure there’s some way for me to find your email address easily when you comment – either linked to your name, or leave it in the comment. Coz if I can’t get hold of you, you can’t win I’m afraid to say.)

Jenna cardi from Muse Patterns

(Want to see what other giveaways are happening and fall down that procrastination rabbit-hole? You can find them here and here.)

A Floral Dakota

Pretty exciting time the other week – I tried on the Dakota dress I made in October and….

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

it fit!!!!

(Well, sort of. I can get it on and do it up and it’s not uncomfortable, so that’s a total win! It’s still a bit too small for me, so it doesn’t hang a little loose as it’s meant to, but you know – still-diminishing post-baby bump, and a rack that’s several sizes larger than usual due to feeding a small child, so I figure it’s kinda understandable, right? And assuming I can curb my current eat-all-the-chocolate-NOW!!! kick, at some point it’ll fit me properly.)

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Decreasing post-baby bump, and a little photo bomber

But in the meantime – woo hoo! I can fit a dress I made again, and it’s not a maternity dress!!!

Which means I’m a step further down the road of reclaiming my style and my sense of self-expression that goes with that. Happy days. :-D

Anyway, now that I’ve gotten over that little burst of joy and excitement, here we have it – the Dakota dress by Named.

Named Dakota dress

Named Dakota dress

I made this up in October as part of the Frocktober challenge over on The Monthly Stitch. (Disclaimer: I was given the pattern by the Named girls so I could run a sewalong for it over on The Monthly Stitch. But since I don’t believe in being a suck-up because of free stuff, whether I paid for a pattern or not doesn’t affect my opinions on it.)

This is the first Named pattern I’ve made up (although I have two of their newest ones, and the Wenona dress is high on my things-to-make list. Coz, shirt dress. New baby. It’s what my style’s gonna be for the next while, yo.) The Dakota dress is from their first collection, back when they only did PDF patterns. I spotted it when they first released it, and really liked the style – it’s based on the lines of a tuxedo jacket, with pockets, a shaped hem, and a deep and narrow shawl collar. So it was kinda nice to have my a kicked into g to get around to making this up, since I’d been thinking about it for a while!

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Bucking the Dakota trend (since every other version I’ve seen out there has been in a solid colour, usually dark, and 9 times out of 10 made in a ponte) I went with a pink cotton (a lightweight drill) with a small floral design all over it. Since the fabric is quite busy, I felt the style lines would get a bit lost in it so I put chocolate brown piping around the collar to help it stand out from the dress. I also used the same piping on the sleeves, as little mock-cuffs. (Plus I shortened the sleeves because we’re heading into summer here and I want to wear this sooner rather than later. I also figure I’ll be able to do my usual winter layering thing and wear a long-sleeved merino top under it when the weather gets colder. Because long-sleeved merino tops fix everything, don’tcha know?)

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Since I’m gonna have to have easy access to certain parts of my anatomy on demand for the next while, I also added a centre-front invisible zip that extends down past the waistline.

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Before I get into the review of the pattern, just a little disclaimer – yes, there’s a fair few photos in here, and a lot are similar. It’s because I was trying this both with and without a belt, and I reckon it looks quite different either way. (Although a fair bit of that may be my lack of waist definition at the moment….). So I’ve added both, so you can judge the style for yourself. :-) The colour is also a bit more saturated than it should be due to the original ones being horribly washed out. Although the dress colour in the photos is actually pretty much spot-on to the real life colour.)

Right, onto the pattern!

First up, the good.

I really like this design – it’s quite different from others that I’ve seen out there, and I like the way Named have taken a masculine design and used it for a womenswear pattern that’s dressy and pretty. The narrow shawl collar is cute, the gored skirt has a good amount (but not too much) flare, and I really like the detail of the shaped hem, which mimics the shaping of mens dress shirts hems. (Gotta love that attention to design detail!) Plus, pockets! (C’mon, let’s have an OHMGAWD POCKETS!!! moment here, shall we?)

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Pockets on the ‘ips

The instructions, while reasonably short, were pretty good. And there are some clever things going on, such as having the pocket flaps sewn into the waistline so you get a super-clean finish on the top of them. Also, the hem of the skirt is actually shaped correctly so when you fold it up it goes cleanly without any easing in required (why on earth do most patterns not do this? All that turn-up-and-stitch business on skirts and dresses where you end up with annoying folds and gathers on the inside because you’re trying to ease a longer section onto a shorter section is all very frustrating (know what I’m talking about?), so thank you to Named for doing it correctly!)

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I like hem tape, it makes me happy :-)

I cut a size 38 on the top, grading out to a 40 in the waist/hips (my usual sizes) and as far as I can tell (considering I’m techincally still a bit above those sizes!) it fits quite well. Admittedly, the waistline is a little high, but that’s not uncommon for me with my height, so next time I make it I’ll just lengthen the bodice a bit.

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, the not-so-good. This is pretty much all about the PDF pattern itself. And I’m going from memory here, since I made this over a month ago (and got photos nearly two weeks ago, and only just got online now to post it. Hey, new baby and all that, kinda eats into online time!). (Also, a note: the Dakota is one of the first Named patterns, and I haven’t tried any of their other PDF patterns, so these issues may very well have been resolved for later patterns. I’d love to hear from anyone who has one of their more recent PDF patterns to find out if they’re different!>

The Dakota is a downloadable PDF. I have no issues with PDF patterns – in fact, I’ve lately discovered I prefer them, as I absolutely hate working with thin, flimsy, fragile pattern tissue. To the point where patterns with that sort of tissue rapidly make their way to the bottom of my things-I-want-to-make pile, and usually I won’t buy phycial patterns from the same brand again (and yes, this is the key reason I avoid Big 4 patterns – the pattern tissue drives me nuts. Gah! Some indies are bad at this too, though, particularly Sewaholic. Hate that tissue they use.). Sure, PDF patterns take a while to print and tape out, but when you have, there’s no fear of cutting them out (change size? No worries – just print it off again!), and they’re nice and robust to work with. So yeah, I’m a PDF convert these days.

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anyway, the Dakota is a downloadable PDF. First issue, there’s only two sizes per pattern, so if you usually have to grade between sizes, you may have a bit of an issue depending on whether your sizes fall into one set of two (which, lucky for me, mine did) or over different sets. Also an issue if you change size and want to make it again later.

Speaking of grading, the pattern isn’t nested, so it’s a bit harder to grade than most, which is a bit frustrating. I like just being able to play connect-the-lines when grading, and that didn’t work in this case.

Other annoying issues with the PDF:

  • There are no markings on the pages showing which page aligns with which. You have to figure it out yourself. Sure, it’s not that hard, a bit like a big jigsaw puzzle, but still, those numbered markings make it a lot faster to do.
  • Along the same lines, there’s no easy way to tell if you’re holding a page the right way up or not. Some of them have the pattern name along the right-hand side, but others don’t. So you’d better make sure you take them off the printer and don’t shuffle those pages any or that jigsaw puzzle is gonna get a lot harder!
  • The pattern is done like Burda magazine ones, with pieces overtop of each other, so you’re gonna have to trace it off. Not a huge deal in my opinion (it’s not uncommon for me to trace PDF patterns anyway) and it means you’ve got a lot less pages to stick together, but it is worth noting.
  • The key issue with that overlaying pieces thing though is that it’s actually a pain in the a** to trace. The sizes are differentiated by colour – one is black, the other is dark gray. The lines themselves are all solid and the same thickness. Plus, the pattern isn’t properly nested. Yeah, that’s a bit of a nightmare to trace – I kept having to lift up my tracing fabric to check line colours. *mutter mutter*. Adding even more complexity to that, both cutting and stitching lines are included. Great in one way – some people prefer to use one, some the other, so having both is a nice touch. But when they’re the same as each other, and in such similar colours, it just makes tracing that much harder than it needs to be.

Anyway, that was a bit of a rant about the PDF. One of my lovely sewing friends got lots of text messages from me as I was making up and tracing out the PDF, poor girl! (Sometimes, you just need someone who ‘gets it’ to vent frustrations too, right?)

But aside from the PDF itself, the pattern came together nicely and I’m pretty happy with the finished dress. :-)

There are a couple of things I’d change next time, just for personal preference and to fit me properly. Firstly, I’d lower the waist (but that’s coz I’m pretty tall). I’d also lower the pockets – much as I love them, they’re a bit too high for my liking, especially as I’m likely to always wear a belt with this dress as that makes them somewhat less accessible than I’d like. As well as that, I’d raise the neckline (like others have done before me), and lengthen the skirt (again, the height thing).

But all up, I like this pattern! It’s a cute style and (once you get the PDF sorted out) easy to make up. (So you know, don’t let the PDF stuff put you off. Just be prepared for it, is all.) And I’m looking forward to making up the Wenona shirt dress.

Anyway, there we have it – a floral Dakota! Baby friendly and all. :-)

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Zip, it zips!

Cat Lady Cardi

So, did you hear about the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge that Miss Crayola Creepy came up with? Brilliant idea (but then, I’m a cat lover, and I love sewing challenges, so I am somewhat predisposed to loving the idea!) – make up something using cat themed fabric.

And oh boy, I have cat themed fabric in my stash! (Which probably won’t be all that suprising to many of you….) Not as much as I would have expected, to be fair, but I still have (going purely from memory here) at least three types of Hello Kitty prints, and a great lightweight cotton with a geometric print and lucky cats on it that I bought in Tokyo last year. Oh, and some leopard print fabric, too, since that apparantly counts for the challenge. So yes, lots of cat themed fabric to choose from!

But you know what? The challenge was due to end at the end of October (luckily it got extended, since I only got my photos taken today – although I did have this cardi finished in time for the end of October!), and I had a baby bump to contend with. Chance of me making up one of those cat-print fabrics in something I could actually wear both for photos by the end of October, and later on once the baby arrived? Pretty much non-existant. (And I just couldn’t bring myself to make up a maternity garment in some of my loved cat print fabric, and get only very limited wear out of it.)

So I came up with another idea instead. Not sure if it still qualifies for the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge, but rather than using cat-print fabric, I made a cardigan purposefully to go with a cat applique patch I found at Spotlight.

Cat Lady Cardi | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Coz look – cat applique patch! Cute, right?!? It’s winking and all, even.

Cat Lady Cardi | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made up variation A of the Jenna cardi, in the waist-length version.

The fabric is merino – I acquired a long, oversized dark grey merino top from a clothes swap party a while back, and recycled it for this cardi. There wasn’t enough to cut out all the bands as well though, so I used a fine black merino that I bought from Levana textiles (oh man I love that place!) for contrast bands. The only change I made to the pattern was with the sleeves – since I cut them from the sleeves of the top that I was recycling, I used the existing sleeve hems rather than adding the sleeve cuffs. (I may have changed the sleeve length a bit as well based on the length of the existing sleeves I was cutting them from, but I can’t quite recall. Later-day pregnancy brain haze, and all that.)

Since I’ve made this pattern up several times now (yeah, that may be an understatement!) it came together quickly and easily. What took the longest was choosing the buttons – I spent a while debating between plain black, or pink and white striped – did I want them to blend in, or to bring out the pink parts on the cat applique? I went with black in the end, since I figure this is gonna be getting a lot of wear with a lot of my dresses!

Cat Lady Cardi | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Obviously, it isn’t fitting so well at the moment – after all, it’s only been 9 days since the lil’ one arrived, and there’s still a fair bit of baby bump to vanish! (Plus sleep deprivation and the like, so please don’t look too closely at the dark circles under my eyes!) Hence why it’s being worn with a maternity skirt, rather than one of my dresses. (Oh I am so looking forward to wearing my dresses again… It’ll be nice to go back to feeling like ‘me’ in my clothes!)

Cat Lady Cardi | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

But yes, I have a cardigan! That will go with lots of things!! And it has a cat on it!!! So thank you, Miss Crayola Creepy, for the challenge that resulted in this addition to my wardrobe. :-D

Well, hello there!

Just a super quick post with the news for those who are interested.

Our little guy made his appearance into the world yesterday (8 days overdue, so it was about time he showed up!). Baby Amos McGregor (both traditional family names) arrived at 10.47pm on Friday 31 October. Weighing in at 4.43kg (9 pounds 12). We may be rather infatuated with him. :-)

atHospital

day1

It’s all about the practicality

Or at least, it’s all about practicality with this creation!

Not that you’d think so to start with – after all, why on earth would one need a bed jacket? I’ve never really understood the concept – is it some sort of 1950’s ladies-who-lunch variation, where instead you sit up in bed eating breakfast and lounging around glamourously? Heck knows, but there seem to be a lot of patterns out there for sewn and knitted bed jackets from the 1950’s!

And inevitably, one (or maybe two) of those patterns has made it’s way into my stash. In this case, Simplicity 2778, from 1958.

Simplicity 2778

I bought this pattern for the slippers though, not the bed jacket. (And I’ve even made the slippers!) I never expected to make the bed jacket – sure, it’s kinda cute, but really, why?? (Also, why do they all have their mouths open on this pattern cover? Plus, those are all pretty massive earrings for wearing to bed. Yep, clearly bed jackets are all about glamour!)

And then I had the Little Man, and spent a heck of a lot of time sitting up in bed in the middle of the night feeding him. And the idea of a bed jacket started to make a lot of sense. Shorter than a dressing gown, so you can easily throw it on while sitting in bed for an extra layer of warmth. Yep, not a bad idea at all, really!

(Except that I never quite got around to making one while still doing night feeds with the Little Man.)

But this time, I am prepared! Yes indeed! (Well, semi-prepared. Got a five-days-overdue baby bump going on and I’ve only just finishing this, but still – it’s done before it’s needed! Win!)

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And here it is – my version of a 1958 bed jacket. In a dusky pink sweatshirting. Because you know what? This is only ever going to be worn in the dead of night, in bed, while feeding a baby. It’s not about glamour, it’s about warmth. And it will Never Leave The House. Nuh-uh.

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It will, instead, be cozy and warm. :-) (Or that’s the theory, anyway.)

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So saying though, I did do a bunch of topstitching on it, just because I could. It wasn’t thought-out topstitching, there was no plan, I just did what I felt like at the time until I ran out of the pink thread I was using. So I ended up with some topstitching on the pockets, on the facings, and on the collar. I was going to do some down the centre back as well but then I ran out of thread, so it got left as it was.

(‘Scuse the alignment of this – it does line up in real life, I promise! Just clearly not in this photo, at all. This is where I miss having photos taken by fellow bloggers – they spot this type of thing, haha!)

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Pockets! Those are gonna be useful for a burp cloth on one side and snacks on the other side. Because let’s face it – there is a constant need for snacks when feeding a child in the middle of the night. Mmmm…. snacks….)

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Speaking of the collar – rather than doing the collar facing in the same thick sweatshirting, I used some of the cotton left over from my Tania culottes. To stop it from peeking through at the edge, I trimmed a couple of mm off the collar facing’s outer edge and then aligned the inner seams when pressing so the collar rolled to the inside a little.

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

When I went to put the fastenings on, I had a moment of realising – this jacket’s never actually going to get done up, due to it’s purpose for existing. So, I flagged the fastenings and just did some top stitching instead. :-)

Not really a lot to say about the construction of this – it’s a basic kimono-sleeve style, with cut-on facings, so very few pattern pieces. Fairly usual late-1950’s Simplicity instructions. And an unmarked pattern, so holes punched in it to indicate darts, grainlines, etc. (Which, by the way, I prefer – far easier to transfer markings when you can just chalk through the punched holes!)

Here’s something I hadn’t seen before, though – this pattern comes with a ‘fold sheet’ – a plain sheet of tissue paper that’s there for the sole purpose of having the rest of the pattern folded up in it. Brilliant! It keeps it nice and smooth in the envelope, and helps keep all the little pieces together.

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So there we have it – one baby-night-feeding vintage bed-jacket pattern, made up and ready to go! (Whenever this little one decides to make an appearance, that is. Hmmm…. In the meantime though, it makes for a good book-resting-place.)

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes