Category Archives: Things I’ve made

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

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

A Belated Bonny


I may have made this up a year ago. (No, I’m not miraculously un-pregnant and a lot smaller all of a sudden – these photos were taken a year ago, too.)

Belated Bonny Sailor tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(In fact, some of the photos were taken in Shanghai, and others in Tokyo, all when we went overseas on holiday last year. We went to Yu Yuan in Shanghai and wandered around – such a lovely place! And the Little Guy got a huge amount of attention there! The Tokyo ones are from Harajuku.)

Belated Bonny Sailor tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It’s the Bonny Sailor Tee, from Cake Patterns. I actually made this up twice at the same time – this one for me, and another one for my sister – traced and cut and sewed assembly-line styles, two different sizes at once.

(I must admit, though – I wish I’d made one in it’s entirety before I started the next one. As Lessons Were Learnt.)

Bonny Sailor tee from Cake

Bonny Sailor tee from Cake

This Bonny is made from a soft green cotton blend tshirting, with pale pink ribbon for trim. I quite like the green and pink combination – it may not sound great on paper, but I find it quite pretty. :-)

Right, let’s talk about this pattern. Bonny is a princess-seamed knit tshirt pattern, with a square neckline, and optional sailor-style collar. I must admit that I was pretty unsure about the sailor style – I think it’s super cute, but questioned how much I’d wear it. But hey, I figured I may as well give it a go and find out! Push myself out of my style comfort zone, so to speak.

Belated Bonny Sailor tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Like other Cake patterns, the Bonny pattern is a connect-the-dots type affair. You figure out your measurements, find ‘em on the pattern outline, and draw in the lines to connect them. Semi-custom-fit, yes indeed.

And like the other Cake patterns I’ve made, Bonny came out about a size too big on me. But then, that does come down to personal preference in these type of tops I think – I just happen to prefer less ease than Cake patterns are drafted with. No big deal – next time, I just make ‘em one size smaller, and all is well. :-)

Now, I did run into a problem when making up Bonny. And after doing a search online, it seems I’m not the only one. If you look at the line drawing, you’ll see a panel at the front neckline. However, while this pattern piece is included, you’re only instructed to cut it out once in fabric and once in interfacing, and attach it like a facing. Which means, that panel in the line drawing doesn’t actually appear on the final garment.

Belated Bonny Sailor tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Not that that’s a huge issue, but the other thing with this is that if you then match up the dots at the top of the centre front panel with those on the side panels (as per the instructions) you end up with the front panel being shorter than the side panels by, well, the same width as that panel at the neckline would have been if you were actually meant to cut it out and sew it on.

And this is where I wish I’d made one top fully before starting on the second one – by the time I figured out the issue the facings were already interfaced, attached, and understitched. Ain’t no way I was gonna be unpicking those on tshirting fabrics, so instead I just trimmed the length of the rest of the top to match that shorter front panel.

So, why am I posting this so late, you may ask? Well, I’ve been waiting to hear back from the designer about it. But I’ve somewhat given up on that now, so figured I’d post it for Amnesty Month over at The Monthly Stitch. (Which I then ended up being late for. Whoops! Being late to post for an amnesty posting month – fail! Ah well, whatever.)

Belated Bonny Sailor tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Here’s the final summary of my thoughts on this pattern:

Pattern: Bonny Sailor tee from Cake Patterns
What I liked: quick and easy to sew, innovative sizing, and I really like the princess seams on it
What I had issues with: the line drawing doesn’t match the final garment – I really do think a mistake has been made in the instrutions and that front facing piece should be cut out twice and stitched on to the top of the front panel as per in the line drawing. (I also have a feeling that if that section at the top of the front panel was done to match the line drawings, it wouldn’t gape forward as much as it does with the current construction method of the pattern.)
Will I make it again? Maybe, but I don’t think there’s a huge amount of space for another sailor tee in my wardrobe, so I’ll just be making up the basic neckline version instead :-)

Marshmallow Hetty

Ready for another bright pink garment? (Yep, I’ve moved on from the purple phase I was in a couple of months ago and headed towards PINK!)

Here we go….

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Check it out! I knitted another cardigan! Woo hoooo!

After so many years thinking I’d hate knitting and get bored with it and it would take forever and I’d never actually complete anything…. well… guess I was wrong, since this the third cardi I’ve knitted this year.

Also the third Andi Satterlund pattern. Which makes three out of three for knitted garment patterns I’ve used so far. But hey, that’s probably fair enough, since it was seeing her pretty designs (and all the gorgeous renditions of them) that got me brave enough to try this knitting-a-garment lark in the first place.

(Spoiler alert: I’m working on another of her patterns at the moment. Well, technically I’m working on two of them – one got put on hold for making the Myrna for the outfit-along challenge, and since it’s a jumper and there is no way I’ll be able to squeeze into it, I must admit to not having had a huge amount of motivation to go back and finish it. Must do all the knit-alongs instead. ALL the knit-alongs, folks!)

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anyway, this is the Hetty pattern – a cute cardi covered in a simple lacework design. Like most of Andi’s patterns, it’s knit top-down and in the round – you start off with the upper back, pick up stitches at the shoulders to do the upper front pieces, then join ‘em together under the arms and knit as one big piece all the way to the bottom. Stitches are picked up around the armholes to create the sleeves, which are then shaped using short rows. And then you pick up even more stitches for the button band and neck band.

(Guess what? I now know what that above paragraph actually means! That would have been like a total foreign language for me not that long ago. Yay for learning stuff!) (I still kinda can’t believe I know what those terms mean, though. It kinda feels like I shouldn’t know them just yet, they’re still that unfamiliar…. Weird.)

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made this up in a lovely 100% wool yarn, Naturally Loyal 10 ply, which I got on mega-sale at the Knit World online sale. Which meant, this cardigan cost me all of about $30 to make – win!

It was another good learning experience to knit, too. While I’ve dabbled a bit with lace now (the border on the Miette and the Myrna both involve a little bit of what I guess is lace work), knitting it over an entire garment was a whole new experience. Keeping track of where you’re up to (especially on the sleeves – eek!), and, in particular, learning how to go back and fix mistakes (eek, several times over!). And yeah, there was a bit of going-back-to-fix-mistakes in this one. There’s still a couple of mistakes there, but I figure they’re pretty hard to spot and I can’t even remember where they are, so I’m not going to point ‘em out to you. So, you know, just pretend this is perfect, right? ;-)

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

After reading the blog post that Lladybird did on her Hetty, I used her suggestion of using stitch markers to indicate where to start the lace repeats on the body, since the pattern switches to stockinette for the areas under the arms to make it a lot easier to do the shaping. So, so glad I read about that trick beforehand! It made it a heck of a lot easier to figure out where to start the pattern.

So much easier, in fact, that I did the same for the sleeves for marking where the lace repeat should start. Again, super glad I did that, as that would have been confusing as heck to keep track of otherwise. (As it was, I had a moment where I miscalculated and the pattern is off by about one stitch. But too bad. Like I said, hard to notice, so it’s staying that way and I’m chalking it up to ‘learning’.)

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My lil’ sis’ made the same pattern at the same time – we’ve become knitting-pattern-buddies, after making up the Myrna at the same time for the Outfit-Along! It’s nice, knitting along with her – we can encourage each other (read: race to be further ahead in the pattern than the other person, because everything is a contest, right?!?), check in with each other on how to do things, and plan our next projects together. Isn’t her one cute? Such a gorgeous varigated brown yarn. It’ll be up on her blog soon for you to check out in more detail.

(And in the case of our Hetty’s, spend three days on the couch together with our knitting, lots of hot lemon honey drinks, and DVDs, because we both got sick at the same time. Which is how we got these done so quickly – maybe two months of knitting, I think it was?)

We took these photos out at Petone on the waterfront, near the Petone Settlers Museum. Yep, right next to the road, coz we’re classy like that.

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It was super windy, as Wellington tends to be, so that provided lots of entertainment. (Especially when Mel was getting her photos, since she was wearing a dress with quite a full skirt. There were a few Marilyn-Munroe-on-the-airvent moments, hah!) Hair got somewhat uncontrollable at times….

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And then we retreated around the to the front of the Settlers Museum where it was a little bit more sheltered from the wind.

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

One of the great things about taking photos of completed garments with other sewing bloggers – they’re on the lookout for outfit adjustments that need to be made. Thanks, Jen!

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Oh yeah, and here’s the reason why you’re not seeing this cardi done up fully – one 34 week baby bump. Getting big, yo!

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Pinky Bar tee

So, I actually finished this a couple of weeks ago, but the first lot of photos turned out rubbish so I had to wait for another weekend to get some more. In the meantime, this top has been getting worn quite a bit!

Pinky Bar tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It’s the SJ Tee pattern from Papercut – described as a slouchy fit tee with raglan sleeves and a wide cuff.

Papercut Patterns SJ Tee line drawings

Papercut Patterns SJ Tee line drawings

This is the second version of the SJ Tee pattern – Katie from Papercut re-released it when she released the super-cute Tri collection, and made some changes. First up, there are more options – it can be made long or cropped, and with either long or short cuffed sleeves. And secondly, the neckline was altered to bring it in closer (the first SJ tee was designed to fall off one shoulder). I don’t have the first pattern, so can’t really compare the two, but what I do know is, I rather like the cut of this one. :-) Plus, the sleeves are wonderfully long – just the right length of me, without needing to add more, which is rather unusual and makes me happy.

Pinky Bar tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The neckline is probably a bit wider than I’d like for a tshirt still, simply because of the gaping-while-leaning-forward-to-pick-up-a-child aspect, but maybe that’ll just serve as a good reminder for me to “bend your knees, not your back”. (Yes, yes, terrible habit, I know. *sigh*) Since I made this one with the intention of wearing it over other things, that doesn’t bother me anyway, and as long as I’m not leaning forward lots, I like where it sits.

The pattern came together nice and quickly, with the aid of my trusty overlocker. (My gosh I love that thing!) I’ve been experimenting with using a twin needle instead of the coverstitch function on my overlocker recently, just to test it out, so I twin-needled up the hem, which all went fine. The rest of the edges are finished with cuffs or a neckband, which gives them all a nice, clean finish.

Pinky Bar tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My only real issue with making this one up was attaching the neck band. Now, I didn’t have any issues with the pattern itself, or the instructions. My issue is simply that I can never get neck bands done in this way to be as good as they could/should be. (But then, I am not exactly known for being a perfectionist in my sewing anyway, which would be a big contributor to this, whoops!) The band is attached like double-fold bias binding, which gives a nice, clean finish with no exposed edges on either the inside or the outside. I am just kinda useless at catching the underneath layer nicely with this sort of finish. Next time I think I’ll just use the classic fold-band-in-half, attach, top-stitch-seam-allowance-down method and save myself from a bit of self-beratement at my not-as-good-as-it-should-be finishing.

Since the SJ tee is a loose fit, it fits rather well over The Bump at the moment. Yay! (Bump is now 34 weeks. And growing, growing, growing. I may only get a couple more weeks wear out of this top before I put it aside for fear of it being horribly stretched out of shape…. Seriously, look at the size of this thing!)

Pinky Bar tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made it up in a merino/nylon blend that’s been lurking in my stash for a while. I love this colour – bright pink makes me happy! (So does chocolate. Hence this is the Pinky Bar top. Mmm….. Pinky bars…..)

(Wanna know something funny? The next project I intend to show you on here is pretty much the same colour. Oh yeah, I do love me a bit of bright pink!)

Pinky Bar tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Since I had just enough fabric to make the long-sleeved version, I thought I’d give that a go, and push myself out of my normal short-sleeved comfort zone. Glad I did – this is going to be great all year ‘round, I think. Light enough to throw on over a singlet in summer when it’s heading towards evening, and warm enough to use as a layering piece in winter. Win!

Final verdict on this pattern? Yeah, I’ll be making it again. Short sleeved version next, for summer, I think.

About as “cake” as you can get

It’s The Monthly Stitch‘s first birthday this month. Yay! And to celebrate, the theme is all about sewing cake. (Whatever you feel like translating that as.)

My first plans involved some gorgeous lemon yellow lightweight cotton with cupcakes and slices of cake printed all over it.

Then sanity reared it’s ugly head and I realised just how utterly ridiculous a yellow cupcake-covered dress would look on me when I’m seven months pregnant. Yeah, nah.

Back to the drawing board.

My next idea was the Pavlova wrap top from Cake. I even went so far as to get the pattern and have it sitting on my sewing desk/disaster area for a couple of weeks. But I just couldn’t bring myself to progress further with it. It finally dawned on me that that’s because I have no need whatsoever for another wrap top in my wardrobe, and if I did, I’d go with my T&T Papercut Coppelia pattern. (Which doesn’t really fit the ‘cake’ theme at all.)

Thinking, thinking, and then it hit me – one thing I’m finding quite frustrating in my bump-friendly wardrobe right now is tops to wear with maternity jeans. I have some that people have passed on to me, but the majority just aren’t my style. Simple tshirts – that’s pretty definite ‘cake’ territory if you’re going with the ‘sewing frosting vs. sewing cake’ metaphor. Perfect!

Seemed like a good time to dig out the Dixie DIY Summer Concert tee that I got when I purchased the first Pattern Parcel. Loose and drapey, there’s plenty of room there for bump-accommodation.

And hey, since I was sewing ‘cake‘ I figured, may as well go for ‘ultimate cake’ and make a plain black tee, right?!

Black Cake tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It was my first time using this pattern, but after having seen made-up ones on some other blogs, I knew it goes pretty high in the front (like, belly-button-baring high!). Which would be too high for my style anyway, but over a bump as well that just wasn’t going to work. So I lengthened it by 11cm in the centre front, 1cm in the centre back, and changed the curve of the edge to go with those adjustments.

Black Cake tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern went together nice and smoothly, for the main part. I like how the sleeves are done, with the drop shoulder and then a simple band added. (Although it could have used a notch or similar to make it clearer which side gets attached to the body.) Once I had it all cut out, this top only took me an hour to make – win!

Black Cake tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

However, it had the potential to only take 40 minutes.

What added 20 minutes to my time? Well, the usual technical stuff, such as one of the spools of overlocker/serger thread running out (for a looper, naturally, when meant a complete re-threading of both loopers), and my double needle not co-operating at all (probably due to having two types of black thread, one slightly thicker than the other. Lesson learnt. Also, I need to buy more black thread.)

But the other thing? That neck binding. It uses the common technique of sewing up the short edges, folding in half, then attaching to the neckline before top stitching down. Easy enough to do. Unless the neck binding is super short compared to the neckline, in which case there’s a heck of a lot of stretching it as much as you can and using heaps and heaps!) of pins, while hoping it doesn’t bunch too much while being stitched up.


I got curious after making this up, and measured the neck binding pattern piece and the neckline to see how much difference there actually is between them. After removing seam allowances from the equation, the neck binding piece measures 43cm long. The neckline – 58cm long. Yep, that neck binding had to stretch by 15cm to fit around the neckline. Which is just over 1/3 again of it’s original length. Unless you’re using a super-stretchy fabric, that’s gonna be a bit of a battle, and I was just using a simple cotton knit tshirting.

After a heck of a lot of pulling and tugging and pinning, I finally got the dratted thing attached. (Although I wish I’d just given in and gone and recut it to be longer – it would have had a cleaner finish that way, too.)

Black Cake tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So there we have it – the Summer Concert tee, in black. Yep, it fits well over the bump, and should do so for the next couple of months as it continues to grow (and grow. And groooowwwwww…. Eek!). It’s kinda funny, because most maternity things these days are super tight, and this in contrast is pretty loose (hence super comfy over the bump – yay!), but I think it kinda works (hopefully??) over skinny-leg maternity jeans (does it??).

(Plus this is the bump-size at 31 weeks. 9 weeks of growing left to do. Yeah, space is required in preggy tops right now, eek!)

Black Cake tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Cake maternity sewing, at it’s finest?

(Side note: I’ll probably put the shaping of the high-low hem back into this a bit (although not to the same extent as the original pattern) once I don’t need it for maternity wear.)

Oh yeah, and part-way through the photos, I realised that the merino top I was wearing underneath (coz hey, still pretty darn cold down in these parts) matched my hair colour. See?

Black Cake tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

May not be the sort of matchy-matchy that our grandmothers did so well, but I kinda match some things, sometimes! ;-)