A spotty, stripy piece of Cake

So here’s one I made a few weeks back, sometime around mid-May, even. Since it was a spot of pattern testing, I went out and got photos (not knowing how much longer it would fit me for at the moment, gotta seize those photo opportunities when I can, haha!), and waited for the pattern to be released.

And now, it has!

Spotted Cake Tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It’s the new The Tee pattern from Cake. A nice,simple tee with cut-on sleeves, two neckline options, a wide hem band, and cute little micro pockets for details.

Spotted Cake Tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And not only that – it’s available as a free download from Craftsy!

Cake – The Tee pattern

It’s a nice top to stitch up, too. Just like other Cake patterns, it’s a connect-the-dots type pattern, where you customise it based on your own measurements. There’s a stripe guide to make it easier to match up any patterns you’ve got happening in your fabric. And there’s even a pattern piece to cut a template for pressing the hems of the micro pockets, making it far easier to get a clean edge on them.

Spotted Cake Tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I stitched this one up in a remnant of tshirting that’s been lurking in my stash for, oh, I hate to think how long, but several years at least. (Eek!) Quite an unusual fabric – it’s double-sized, with the two sides woven separately but with some of the pattern woven through both sides which sticks them together. (If that makes any sense?)

Anyway, as a result of how the fabric is, it means the edges kinda curl up and away from each other, which is a pain to sew on things like micro pockets, but whatever, it still worked out ok despite the fabric’s quirks, although it did make it nearly impossible to get the edges of the micro pockets sitting right. (Also turns out the fabric had less cotton content than I thought. I may have found this out the hard way, with the help of my iron. Oops!)

Spotted Cake Tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Plus, since it was striped on one side and spotted on the other, it meant I could do contrast bands and pockets and they’d be in the exact same colours as the main fabric. Super-easy fabric matching. Win!

I must admit to using a different way of doing the v-neck’s point than the mitered one in the pattern, not for any particular reason except that I was stitching all this up on my overlocker (serger) and couldn’t be bothered changing machines. Yes, I can be that lazy at times. Sorry not sorry. (Although I am hanging my head in shame a little at the admission….)

Spotted Cake Tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Not a lot else to say about this pattern, really. It’s cute, it’s a good fit (slightly loose but not too loose – I am wearing it over a singlet and a merino top in these photos, so it’s looking a bit of a tighter fit than it actually is), and a simple make. Plus, you know, it’s free. ;-)

(It’s also a good way to try out a Cake pattern, if you haven’t used one before.)

Spotted Cake Tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

We took these photos out on a beach on Wellington’s south coast, directly before I stripped down to get photos of my Soma bikini. (Eek! Cooooold!).

Such a pretty beach. Crashing waves, rocks, and a doorway through a rock face. There’s just something about beaches in winter, don’t you think?

rockBeach

Do you have a plan, sis?

Coz I do.

I do indeed.

(Or should that be, I did?)

It was Franken-Indie week over on The Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month, and, well, since I seem to be addicted to sewing challenges (especially ones with short time frames) I kinda had to come up with something.

(Side note: it’s much, much harder to come up with a mash-up of two or more indie patterns when you’ve got a baby bump to contend with.)

I thought, and I thought. And I thought some more.

And then it hit me.

Combine the Deer & Doe Plantain tee with the Papercut Ensis.

Deer&Doe Plantain

Papercut Ensis tee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flare at the waist (i.e. bump-accommodating-space), well-placed colour blocking, and elbow patches!!!

Plantain + Ensis = Plansis! :-D

(Yeah, it kinda works, right?)

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anyway, it was pretty easy hack to do. I cut the Plaintain tee in a size 40 (one size bigger than usual, due to pregnancy-rib-cage-expansion), and while cutting I laid the top section of the Ensis tee pattern over the top, so I could see where the colour blocking would start. I cut up to that overlap plus an extra 1cm for seam allowance, on the front, back and sleeve panels. (Note to self: next time, take a photo of this, coz these things are a lot easier to explain in pictures than words….)

(And in the process I found myself rather interested in how much the arm scye on the Plaintain and the Ensis differed. Far more than I was expecting, considering they’re both tee patterns. Kinda tempting to pull out a few more tee patterns to compare them all….)

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Then, I did much the same process to cut out the purple top section – again, using the Plaintain tee for the shape of the top (so the top and bottom matched nicely) and the Ensis top pattern sections to figure out how far down to cut (again, cutting down to the end of the Ensis top pattern piece and adding 1cm seam allowance to get that nice, clean match-up of pieces when stitching up).

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And since I was rockin’ the purple colour blockin’, I did the elbow patches in purple, too.

(Seriously folks – elbow patches!!! Man, I just love that there is a tshirt pattern out there with elbow patches on it.)

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Because I am tall and have crazy long gorilla arms (a rock-climbing friend of mine once informed me I have a good ‘ape factor’. True story. In theory this means I should be good at rock climbing. If I wasn’t terrified of heights, that is. Ugh.) I did my usual and lengthened the sleeves by 6cm.

And then when I stitched it all up and tried those sleeves on, they were still too short, so I added cuffs to them and now they nicely cover my wrists and the lower part of my hands and are perfect for winter. :-) (It came to a total addition of 11cm length to the arms, by the way. See? Long gorilla arms.)

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

However, since I was only expecting to have to add my usual 6cm in length, I didn’t think to check the placement of the elbow patches until after I’d stitched it all up and realised the arms were still too long. Yeah, they kinda sit above my elbows. Ah well, they’re still ovals of purple so I like them enough. And I have plans for more of these Plantain-Ensis-cross tops, so I’ll adjust the placement next time. :-)

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m also going to lengthen it next time. It’d be ok if I wasn’t preggers, but as it is, this top is a little bit too short. Especially when goofing around and raising ones arms in the air, like so:

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I was naughty and didn’t hem the bottom – this fabric isn’t going to fray, and it means I can take it in at the sides post-baby if I feel like it. Flexibility = good.

Also, the bump is getting kinda crazy big. And I still have four months to go….. (*slightly terrified that I may not be able to get into cars/fit through doorways/etc*)

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Speaking of the fabric (if you’re interested) – the stripe is a mid-heavy weight cotton-blend tshirting I got at Levana factory outlet, oh about 12 years ago now. (Eep!) the purple is a mid-weight cotton-blend tshirting. Not sure where I got it from, chances are it was also from Levana. Either way, it’s been in my stash for ages and is slowly getting used up – would you believe I had about 10m of it!?! (My sister made an awesome Lady Skater dress from it the other week. I’ve already used it for a muslin of Ooh La Leggings, a Hummingbird tee and a Tiramisu dress, none of which are in my wardrobe any more, so clearly I need to make another dress or something out of this stuff coz really, purple is awesome.)

Hmmm. I’ve been up too long – the rambling has set in. Time for bed, I think….

Oh yeah, and it was windy today. Because I live in Wellington, and that’s how things are here. I submit my hair as evidence of this:

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

G’night, all. Zzzzz……

Hi-lo there, meet Simone

Hey everyone, check it out! I made something that isn’t from Papercut!!

(Yeah, it’s been a while, I know. What can I say? Not many preggy-friendly indies out there, as it turns out.)

Although following on with my common winter trend, it does contain the colour purple.

Meet Simone, from Victory Patterns.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My first ever Victory Patterns make, in fact. Since this week is the ‘New To Me’ theme for Indie Pattern Month over at The Monthly Stitch, it seemed like a good time to give a Victory pattern a try.

(Fair warning – it won’t be the last. Like Papercut, Victory are one of the very few indie labels that I’ve found that have styles that look like they’ll work with a bump as well as still being able to wear them post-bump. The Anouk is likely to happen sometime soon as well. And I am kinda tempted by Roxanne as well, although that one hasn’t made it into my pattern collection yet, so we’ll see.)

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made up the dress version of Simone, complete with it’s high-low hem. Now I must admit, this is miles from my usual style. I’m usually all about fitted waists, and high-low hems have never been on the list of things-I-like. If I wasn’t pregnant, I wouldn’t have given this pattern a go. But since it’s fitted at the top, and gets loose from just under the bust, it seemed like it might work well for the next couple of months, so it was worth a shot.

And you know what? I am now a convert to this style! I actually really like it – it’s fun to wear, there’s enough fit in it that the flare doesn’t make you look huge (always a bit of a fear of mine), and the high-low hem is kinda fun and catches the wind quite nicely when you move. Hi there Simone! You may well feature again in my wardrobe in the future.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made this one up in a something-synthetic-probably-polyester length from the remnant bin at The Fabric Warehouse. No idea what it is, since their remnants don’t have composition labels on them, but it’s quite a firm weave and yet nice and floaty, so when I spotted it (for only $5! Score!) I grabbed it to make this dress in. (Oops. Fabric buying ban fail. To be fair, I couldn’t think of anything in my stash that would be suitable for this style, though!)

I wasn’t sure what to use for the contrasting bib front and racer back. I pulled three small leftover-from-other-projects lengths of lightweight cotton drill from my stash and turned to Instagram to get opinions. Most people preferred the black, with burgundy coming a close second. But the call of winter got to me, and I went with the purple. (Sorry, folks! Next time, ok?)

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, let’s talk about this pattern.

I believe in being honest in my reviews. (Hopefully it doesn’t come back to bite me….)

I like Victory Patterns. I like their style – it’s unique, fun, and funky, and I haven’t seen anything even beginning to resemble it out there in pattern-land, which I appreciate.

Simone from Victory Patterns

I like that they put the finished measurements on their pattern envelopes, nice and clear.

However, I did have quite a few issues making up this pattern. Some may just be to do with my body shape vs what the pattern is designed for (and I have been a bit spoilt lately. It’s one of the key reasons I make so many Papercut patterns – they suit my body shape and usually fit me with little or no alterations, so I’m lucky with that), and some are to do with the pattern itself.

Let’s talk about the instructions first. At first glance, brilliant! A nice book, good paper, they’ve thought of things like a glossary, plenty of diagrams, all brilliant stuff.

But my gosh, I found them frustrating! Very, very frustrating, in fact. Part of this is due to what I do for a living – I work in Customer Experience research and design, so things like poor instructions really annoy me. Argh!!! (Again, another reason why I love Papercut patterns – Katie takes a huge amount of care with her instructions and actively asks for and takes on board feedback on how to improve them before she releases patterns.)

But yes, these instructions. First up, the key for what side fabric you’re looking at kept changing. For example, in the cutting layout the right side of the fabric is shaded dark grey. First page of instructions and oh, look, suddenly dark grey is for the wrong side of the fabric, without any mention of the key changing. And then, two pages later, oh look, we’re switching between grey and unshaded between diagrams.

There are also some rather odd things in the instructions (such as the statement that “the upper placket is the piece that has marker points transferred to the right side of fabric”. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t transfer marker points to the right side of the fabric unless the pattern explicitly calls for it for some reason, which wasn’t done here. It’s just assumed you’ve done this, and heck knows why. Plus there are things missing (such as the stitching down of the tab). So yeah, I was kinda surprised and frustrated by the instructions – so good at first glance, so supremely irritating when you actually try using them.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And then there’s the sizing of the pattern. I’m not sure why, since this is meant to be made in a woven, but there’s half an inch of negative ease around the bust. Is it just me, or is this kinda crazy?? I thought, heck, they’ve done it intentionally, so I’ll give it a go and see how it works out. Yeah, should have gone with my gut with that one.

I cut out my usual size (34″ bust) but when it got to trying it on, there was no way at all that that zipper was gonna be getting done up over my bust! Now to be fair, I then re-measured myself and discovered that over the past couple of weeks (since I’d last measured myself) my rib cage has done the whole pregnancy-expansion thing (gotta make space for all those displaced internal organs, after all) and is now measuring at 36″, so that combined with a very fitted (half an inch of negative ease! bodice meant it wasn’t going to do up anyway.

So I added some wedges of fabric into the side seams to solve the problem. (Luckily they’re pretty hard to see unless you point them out – this fabric is rather good like that!) Wedges rather than stripes, as the pattern starts heading into a loose fit under the bust.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

But those wedges? Yeah, I added an extra 10 centimetres of width around that bodice! While 5cm of that was for my rib cage expanding a size, the other 5cm was because this thing never would have fitted me anyway. Even if my rib cage hadn’t expanded, I would have had to widen this bodice by a full size just to be able to get the zip done up.

And even then, it’s a crazy tight fit. I probably need to go up another size again – even if I’d cut the right size for my current rib cage circumference, I actually need to go up two full sizes to make this fit me properly. Argh! As it is, this squishes my boobs (what little there is of them) flat. Heck knows what would happen for any larger-busted girls, as there’s no space for my AA cups in here!

I also can’t wear it with the hook-and-eye at the neckline front done up, because due to the crazy tight fit, it results in the bib front bulging out oddly and just looking hideous, hence why it’s worn open in these photos, and yet still has drag lines across that there bib front. Gah.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Oh, and I added a bunch to the length as well, coz this was far too short for me. Normally I just add 10cm in length (at least) to everything I make, since I’m tall (177cm), but I got distracted by the surprise of negative ease in the bodice while cutting this out and completely forgot to length it. Oops! Luckily, I managed to eek out a hem extension band from the scraps I had left, so it all worked out ok. :-) And like with the side insets, it’s kinda hard to tell that the extension is there, unless you’re looking for it. (It’s running between my two thumbs in the image below.)

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I should say as well, that the pattern itself came together really nicely. The bib front is super easy to get neat edges on, and it would have been quite a fast make if I hadn’t had to mess around with the fit. It looks harder to sew this up than it actually is!

Even with the fitting dramas and the irritating-as-heck instructions, I still like this dress. I’m hoping that once my rib cage goes back to it’s usual size post-pregnancy, it’ll fit me well (since at that point it will be two sizes bigger than the pattern calls for in the bust, rather than the one size bigger it currently is at the moment). I’ll wear it in the meantime anyway because hey, it fits over the bump well, and it’s fun to wear, with the high-low hem floating as you walk.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And, you know, it’s got purple on it. ;-)

Have any of you tried making this pattern? How did you find it? I’m very curious to know if my fitting issues are common or just due to my body shape not matching the shape this pattern is drafted for, so I’d love to hear about your experiences! :-)

Now, despite those annoyances, I am planning on making this pattern up again. It’s a good style for bump-and-I at the moment, and I’m determined not to let the pattern beat me! So I’ll try it again, three sizes bigger than I normally would (two sizes to make up for it being too small, and an extra size for expanded rib cage) and we’ll see how that goes.

I caught up with some of the lovely WSBN (Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network) yesterday afternoon, and we wandered around outside Te Papa to get some photos. Nikki and I were getting our photo taken at the same time at one point. Indie pattern fight! Boo yah!!!

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Nah, we’re friends really, I promise. ;-)

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

For me, winter means purple

I’m not sure why, but it’s my go-to colour in winter. Purple, that is. Purple coat, purple scarf and gloves, purple jerseys, purple tights, purple shoes. (Don’t worry, not all together. Or not most of the time, anyway. ;-) )

So when the days were getting colder, and I felt the need to make a new cardigan (since for some reason almost all of mine are RTW ones), purple ended up being the colour that was pulled out of my stash.

(To be fair, I did pull out a burgundy merino as well, but the purple won out in the end.)

Since I’m on a bit of an indie-patterns-I-can-still-wear-while-pregnant kick, I pulled out my trusty Papercut Coppelia cardi pattern (yet again – sorry! I promise I’m two thirds of the way through making up a non-Papercut pattern at the moment, so you’ll get to see that next).

Blueberry Grape Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Would you believe this is the first and only time I’ve made it by actually following all the instructions? That’s right, no modifications at all. The sleeves are the length the pattern calls for them to be (nice and long, by the way! Having suffered through my teenage years with sleeves always ending before my wrist bone, I am rather appreciative of sleeves-that-are-slightly-too-long. Over-correcting? Maybe. But they’re also super snuggly when it gets cold.).

Blueberry Grape Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The cardi is the length the pattern told it to be (rather than dress length or hip length). Yep, I actually followed it all!

And I’m rather happy with the result.

Blueberry Grape Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

In fact, I kinda made this back near the start of May, since I needed some me-made cardis to wear during Me-Made-May (plus it was Sew Stretchy month over at The Monthly Stitch, so it tied in nicely to both challenges), but I’ve been wearing it so much since it ended up in the wash every weekend and as a result I never quite managed to get photos of it.

But the weekend just gone, the lovely Nikki and I caught up for tea and cake and ventured up to Truby King gardens for a little photo shoot. (Wait till you see the dress she had finished making – I want it!!)

Check out that bump – it just keeps on growin’! Luckily since this is a wrap style, it’ll do good for quite a while. And a waist-length style, so I can always wear it pulled up a bit in the front to go over/around ‘the bump’.

Blueberry Grape Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, if you think this cardi is looking a little too big, I must admit, you’d be right. I’m not sure what happened there. I made it the same size as my Strawberry Shortcake Coppelia, and that fits perfectly. I can only assume it was the fabric – quite a thick wool blend, it just seems to want to be bigger than it’s meant to be. But hey, I’ll be bigger soon as well, so we’ll be perfectly matched. (And heck knows, it hasn’t stopped me wearing it a few times each week!)

Oh, and can I just point out the blue-ness of my hair? I’m rather happy with the colour at the moment – it’s my new favourite. Midnight Blue from Directions. I’ve been playing around with a couple of different shades of blue lately, and I’m definitely leaning towards the darker shades on me. For the moment, anyway. ;-)

Blueberry Grape Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Freaky-as animals, all camouflaged even

Have you heard about Indie Pattern Month? Mel and I co-hosted it last year, and so much fun doing so. And it’s happening right now, for the second year in a row! Yay! This year, to keep everything in one place and make it super easy for everyone to follow along and take part, we’re hosting it over on The Monthly Stitch. It’s also bigger and better than last year, oh yes it is!

One of the changes we made this year is the addition of sewing contests. Four contests, one per week during June, with prizes from amazing sponsors. Each contest has a theme. You can read all about them (and the sponsors and the prizes) over here.

Now, since I’m one of the judges for the sewing contests, I can’t enter them. *sob!* But hey, nothing stopping me from sewing along with them, right? And we all know I love sewing challenges, especially ones with tight deadlines. Something about that kinda kick-starts my sew-jo. ;-)

The first of the themes was ‘Dresses‘ – nice and easy, just make a dress from an indie pattern.

It was pretty easy to decide which dress to make, too. A couple of months back, Mel and I asked people to vote on which indie pattern we should make for our next ‘twinsies’ sewing mission. The Colette Rooibos won, but before we could start on it, I found out I was pregnant (yay!), which meant I wouldn’t be able to fit the Rooibos for long, if at all, due to it’s fitted waist.

Luckily, the pattern that came in a close second in the voting is a lot more pregnancy friendly – the Midsummer Nights Dream wrap dress from Papercut.

(Yeah, I know. I’m making yet another Papercut pattern. But hey, it’s Indie Pattern Month, and quite frankly there aren’t that many indie designs out there that I can wear while pregnant! So you’re likely to see a couple more Papercut makes before June is over, mixed up with some Victory as well, or that’s the plan anyway.)

Mel and I decided we’d both make up the Midsummer Nights Dream dress for the ‘dresses’ week theme. We mentioned our plan to our fellow Monthly Stitch editor, Juliet, and she was keen to get in on the action as well. Yay! Triplet dress making!! :-D

Unfortunately, all our plans to meet up for a joint photo shoot fell apart, so we each got our own photos on the same day. Check out our three dresses:

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Mel made her one out of a gorgeous pink-and-black patterned viscose crepe that she bought ‘specially for it.

Juliet made her’s out of a pretty blue silk, soft and floaty and sheer, which she underlined in blue.

And I broke all the fabric-suggestion rules and made mine out of a loose weave cotton.

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made some other changes to my version of the dress as well. I lengthened the waist ties coz a) I like long waist ties, and b) I wanted to make absolutely sure that they wouldn’t be too short to go around ‘the bump’.

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

As with all Papercut dresses I make, I lengthened the skirt by 16cm.

Rather than using bias binding on the neck and armhole edges, I added an extra 1cm seam on all the edges that were meant to be bound, attached cotton tape to them, and folded them under. Which would have worked a lot better if the fabric I was using didn’t have such a large amount of stretch across the bias. (Whoops.) But it didn’t work too badly, I don’t think…..?

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Details of the gathers where the bodice meets the waist ties

The other change I made was to the straps. The pattern calls for them to be made by extending the bias binding from the neckline up into shoulder ties, which is very cute (and which I did on my first Midsummer Nights Dream – yes, this is the second time I’ve made up this pattern). However, since we’re at the start of winter here, I wanted to have straps that sit smoothly against the shoulder so I can layer this dress with long-sleeved tops and cardigans. So instead, I made some wide straps and just stitched ‘em on at the back.

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

At the front, I thought ahead a few months and attached them with snap fasteners. (After all, I’m gonna need easy-access to certain parts of my anatomy and snap fasteners are a bit easier to operate with one hand than ties are.)

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Easy access!

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Overall, I think these changes worked pretty well – I’ve already worn this dress a couple of times and it layers nicely over and under things. (In fact, I’ve had to restrain myself from wearing it several days in a row, as I may like it a lot!)

The fabric I used is an odd, loosely-woven cotton that has two layers – the top layer in green and with the print, and an underlayer in the same weave in white. I had no idea there were two layers until I started cutting – it came as a bit of a surprise, but didn’t cause any issues thankfully as they stayed together really well.

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The loose weave did, however, mean there was quite a lot of give along the bias. I let the dress hang for a couple of days before hemming it, and my gosh there was a lot to take off in some places to get that hem even! It went from taking nothing off in some parts to taking about 15-20 cm off in other areas. Yikes!!! (Big thanks to my little sis for patiently helping me level the hem on this one. And for being my photographer. Thanks, sis!)

I got this fabric from the Trelise Cooper fabric store up in Auckland a few years ago, when my lovely partner and I went on a weekend trip there and I somehow managed to convince him to let me go in and have a look when we randomly stumbled upon it. For those who aren’t from around here, Trelise Cooper is a New Zealand fashion designer who uses the most gorgeous fabric in her creations – lots of bright, colourful, floral, quirky, luxurious things. Mmm….. And her fabric store was full of them, too! I couldn’t justify the prices on most of them, but this was only $10 a meter and the creepiness of the animals appealed to me far too much to leave it there. So, home it came. ;-)

And seriously, isn’t this print disturbing? Kids toys – should be cute, kinda is, but is kinda scary, too. They’re the sort of toys you could imagine coming to life and creeping around with evil thoughts at night, just like in those really bad ‘horror’ stories everyone used to tell at sleepovers when we were all about 12. *shudder*

Yeah, I love this print. :-D

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I think that’s one of the reasons I love this dress so much – since I can’t fit most of my wardrobe at the moment, I’ve been feeling a bit less like ‘me’ as I haven’t been able to wear things that are my style most days. This dress? I love it – the design, the print, the colour. I feel like ‘me’ in it. And I can wear it for the next couple of months! Total win.

We went off to the zoo to take photos. In theory there are spider monkeys somewhere in the enclosure behind me. We did spot them a bit later though, including one who was wandering along with a banana clutched in his tail – pretty awesome! Never seen that before.

However, I failed to notice that of course busy green background + green printed dress = camouflage styles. Whoops!

Are you taking part in Indie Pattern Month? Are you entering any of the contests?

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Tutorial: how to lengthen the Papercut Coppelia top

One of my TNT (tried ‘n’ true) patterns is the Papercut Coppelia wrap cardi. I’ve made it four times now, with plans for more on the horizon! For two of those versions, I extended the pattern – one time to create a hip-length wrap top for my sister-in-law, and the other time to create a below-knee-length dress for myself.

Loganberry Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Dress-length Coppelia

Extending the wrap-around version of the Coppelia is pretty easy to do, and you can make it however long you want. A Coppelia maxi dress, perhaps? Or simply a slightly longer wrap top to wear over jeans? It’s up to you! Here’s how I did it….

Coppelia cardi | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Hip-length Coppelia

Of course, most of the changes are made when you’re cutting out your pattern. Are you ready? Here we go!

Cutting out the back

The Coppelia wrap top ends on the natural waist. So when lengthening it, you need to account for your waist-hip curve.

Tutorial: how to lengthen the Papercut Coppelia wrap top  | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Flare out gently from the waist/bottom of the pattern piece, to allow space for your hips and to move

You’ll also need to account for natural movement in the garment. This is especially important for extending the Coppelia to dress length – when you walk/sit/run/play, the movement of your body (particularly your legs) will kick the skirt fabric out wider. If you don’t make your top/dress wider as it goes down your body, you may end up flashing a bit more leg than you expect to. ;-)

Aim for an a-line shape, flaring out gently from the waist (i.e. where the Coppelia pattern piece ends). Mark your extended cutting line (I used pins as tailors chalk and this fabric weren’t getting along).

Tutorial: how to lengthen the Papercut Coppelia wrap top  | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Extend down as long as you like (in this case, a below-knee dress), in a gentle a-line shape

Then cut!

Tutorial: how to lengthen the Papercut Coppelia wrap top  | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Cutting out the front

Like the back piece, you’ll need to widen the front pattern piece as it goes down below your waist. Since the front is cut in one piece (rather than on the fold like the back piece is) you’ll need to widen it at both sides.

You want to widen it by the same amount on each side as you widened your back piece, to make sure those side-seams line up nicely.

Tutorial: how to lengthen the Papercut Coppelia wrap top  | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Flare out gently from the waist/bottom of pattern piece on both sides, to allow space for your hips and to move

Before you remove your front pattern piece, mark where the waist is at the side seams. (I.e. where the Coppelia top pattern piece ends.) You’ll need to know where this is later on when sewing up the side seams.

Tutorial: how to lengthen the Papercut Coppelia wrap top  | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Mark where the waist is, i.e. where the original pattern piece ends

Cutting the ties/bindings

With the Coppelia, there are two sections of bindings that you need – for around the neckline, and for the hem. When you extend the pattern, you no longer need the hem binding as the top will no longer end at your waist.

The hem binding on the Coppelia also doubles as the waist ties, extending out from the body to wrap around. Since you won’t be adding the hem binding any more, the neck binding will be extended instead to become the wrap ties.

However, we are going to use the hem tie pattern piece to get our neck binding/waist tie piece the right length.

In the Coppelia, the pattern calls for you to cut out three lengths of the hem tie pattern. For a longer Coppelia, you’ll need to cut out only two. We’ll then be joining these onto the neck binding to create an all-in-one neck-binding-extending-into-waist-ties piece.

(If you like you can lay the neck binding and hem tie pattern pieces end-to-end to cut them out so you don’t have to sew them together – this creates a nice smooth binding piece. If you do it this way, make sure you mark where the neck binding ends and the hem tie begins as you’ll need to know this later on.)

Tutorial: how to lengthen the Papercut Coppelia wrap top  | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

If you like, you can cut the hem tie and neck binding butted up next to each other so they’re in one long continuous piece

Since I quite like long waist ties, I also extended my hem tie pattern pieces by 24cm (since they’re cut on the fold, I moved them out 12cm from the fold to get that 24cm extension). This is completely optional – like I said, I just like really long waist ties. ;-)

Tutorial: how to lengthen the Papercut Coppelia wrap top  | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

If you want to, you can lengthen the hem ties

Sewing it up

Important note: I have the older version of the Coppelia, that only has the wrap-around variation. The instruction numbers below match the ones found in that version.)

Attach the sleeves as per instruction steps 1 and 2, and join the two halves of your neck binding at the centre back as per step 3. If you cut your neck binding and two hem tie pieces separately, now’s the time to join one hem tie piece to each end of your neck binding so that you have one nice, big, long tie.

Skip step 4 for now – you’ll come back to this soon.

Carry on with steps 5 and 6. With step 6, where it talks about leaving a 3cm gap 2cm up from the waist line – this is where you’ll be using that chalk mark you made when cutting out, so that you know where the waist line is. Your 3cm gap will be 2cm above that mark you made.

Tutorial: how to lengthen the Papercut Coppelia wrap top  | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Hole for the waist tie, nicely placed just above the natural waist

Skip step 7 – you’ve already joined your hem tie and neck binding, so nothing more to do here. ;-)

Now, before you go any further, there’s a bit of edge neatening that needs to be done. On the original wrap Coppelia, all the edges are nicely enclosed in the hem and neck bindings. Now that we’ve lengthened it, the sides below the waist and the bottom edge won’t be enclosed in binding, and need to be finished neatly. This needs to be done before you attach the neck binding, or else it’s going to be a heck of a lot harder to get a neat finish on those edges.

It’s up to you how you finish them – I used a coverstitch for mine, but a twin needle on your sewing machine would also work well. Another option is to neaten the edge (zig-zag or serge/overlock), fold under 1cm and stitch down. You’ll need to finish three edges – both sides below the waist (i.e. below where the neck starts heading off on an angle) and the hem.

Tutorial: how to lengthen the Papercut Coppelia wrap top  | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Neaten the side seams below the bottom corner of the neckline

Once those edges are neatened, it’s time to attach the neck binding/waist ties. You’re going to do this using a combination of steps 4 and 8 in the Coppelia instructions. Have a read of step 8 – you’ll see it talks of attaching one side of the binding first, rather than attaching it all in one piece like in step 4. Since our neck binding is going to extend into the waist ties, this is the way you’ll want to attach the neck binding now.

Like in step 4, line up the centre seam of the neck band with the centre back neckline of the cardi. If you cut your hem tie and neck binding as separate pieces, line the join of these up with the bottom corner of the neckline. If you cut your hem tie and neck binding as one piece, find the mark you made showing where one ends and the other begins and line this up with the bottom corner of the neckline. As with step 4, pin the remainder of the neck binding to the cardi easing it in slightly. Stitch it down. (Remember, you’re only attaching one side of the neck binding at this point – the other side needs to be left loose like in step 8.)

Now jump to step 9 and stitch that waist tie together!

Carry on to step 10, only apply it to the neck binding piece instead.

Then complete step 11 to attach the cuffs.

You’re all done!

Loganberry Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Loganberry Coppelia wrap dress

Fitting note

Since the Coppelia is a cardigan, it’s designed to have enough ease to be able to wear it over other things. If you’re planning on turning it into a dress, I recommend cutting one size smaller than you usually would, as you’ll want a closer fit.

Loganberry Coppelia

I’ve set myself a little challenge over the past month, and plan to continue it all through June (which, by the way, is Indie Pattern Month! Woo hoo!!). The challenge? To find and sew indie patterns that are both maternity-friendly and that I can wear when I’m not pregnant and don’t look like maternity clothes when I’m wearing ‘em.

Turns out there aren’t all that many different indie designers who have designs that fit that maternity-friendly category. I’m guessing it’s largely because of the strong trend Clio recently talked about around sewing people making dresses, usually with fitted waists, and that’s influencing the indie designers. (Or maybe it’s the other way ’round?)

There are a couple of indie labels that do have styles that I reckon will work for both maternity (or the before-I-look-like-a-whale-with-legs stage of maternity, anyway) and also post-new-small-persons-arrival. So apologies in advance, but you’re likely to see a fair bit of Victory and Papercut on here over the next month or so. Single styles from others will hopefully crop up from time to time as well to break up the Victory-and-Papercut monopoly (such as the Summer Concert Tee from Dixie DIY and the Plantain tee from Deer&Doe).

(For those of you who prefer the vintage styles that crop up on here, never fear. I have some ’50s, ’60s and 70’s maternity patterns up my sleeve for when the indie ones don’t fit any more! Including plans to try one of those weird 1950’s skirts with the circular cut-out for ‘the bump’, just out of curiousity to see what they’re like to wear. Uncomfortable, I suspect….)

And so, without further ado, I present to you the latest in my indie maternity-friendly creations – the Loganberry Coppelia!

Loganberry Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The Coppelia is a wrap cardi pattern by Papercut. A ballet style with raglan sleeves, it ends at the waist with long ties. Which makes it pretty perfect for maternity, since you can wear it above the bump quite easily. (Fair and advance warning – I have another one of these appearing on here soon. And it’s unlikely to be the last. I may be in love with this pattern, it’s so crazy easy to make and wear!)

Papercut Coppelia cardi

Papercut Coppelia cardi

Since I’m a dresses girl at heart, I thought I’d experiment a bit and try lengthening the Coppelia into a wrap dress.

(Plus, it fits in rather well with the ‘Sew Stretchy‘ month challenge over on The Monthly Stitch.)

And sure enough, it turned out rather well!

Loganberry Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Or at least I reckon it did, and that’s what counts, right?! ;-) )

I lengthened the waist ties a bit as well so they wrap around both front and back and provide a bit of definition in the front in the longer style. They’re easy to tie above-bump, and since the Coppelia is made in a stretch fabric, it’s super comfy and will also look pretty good post-baby.

Loganberry Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It was pretty easy to lengthen this pattern, and I took photos as I went, so I’m going to put a tutorial up sometime in the next couple of days for anyone who is interested. Doesn’t matter how much you lengthen it by – a few inches to get it more of a hip-length style, or a full-length maxi dress, or anything in between, the process is the same.

Loganberry Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

These photos were taken on the War Memorial grounds, on an utterly gorgeous winter day. (Big thanks to Nikki, the lovely photographer!)

Loganberry Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I love the lion fountain near the entrance to the War Memorial park, it makes me smile whenever I walk past it. :-)

Loganberry Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Why Loganberry? Well, I was going to call it ‘cranberry’ but the colour isn’t quite right. For some odd reason (since I’ve never seen or tasted one – we don’t get them over here in NZ) logan berries came to mind. I Googled ‘em and they looked about the right colour.

Loganberry Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Plus, after these photos were taken the other week, we went for High Tea at Logan Brown. Berry coloured dress + Logan Brown = Loganberry!)

Loganberry Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It’s funny, but I always feel a need to name the garments I make. Seems to make it easier to refer to them later by name, rather than vague description. Not that I find it easy to think up names. Erp. What about you guys? Do you tend to name things? Or how do you refer to them if you talk about them later? Got any good suggestions for how to come up with names for garments??

Loganberry Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes