The Joy of Pink and Orange

Waaaay back in 2013, Heather and Oona had this fantastic idea. They sent each other everything the other would need to make a complete garment. Neither knew what they were getting, but they had to make it anyway. They called it The Sew Bossy Initiative.

Now, if you know me, you could probably guess that this is exactly the type of thing that appeals to me. A sewing challenge? Where you get to choose what someone else makes? And you have to make what they choose for you? Brilliant!

Naturally, I wanted to jump on board. My only dilemma – who to get all Bossy with?

Luckily, the amazing Oonaballoona came to my rescue, and suggested that I pair up with Joy from A Charm Of Magpies. Seriously, that girl Oona? Genius!


So, I approached Joy and popped the question: Joy, will you Sew Bossy with me?

(Thankfully, she said yes. *phew*)

I had heaps of fun choosing what to make Joy make. And then heaps more fun unpacking the what-you-must-make parcel she handed me! Between us, we had a riot of colour. (If pink, purple and orange can be called a riot. Can a riot consist of three things? I vote ‘yes’, if those three things are as bright as the colours we were pulling out!)

In my parcel from Joy was the ingredients and the command to make the following:

  • New Look 6945 in an orange cotton sateen with a little bit of stretch. And the added challenge of replacing the button placket with an exposed bright pink zip.
  • Burda Magazine 12/2006 pattern 117 in a pink pinwale cord, with black lining and bright swirly coloured buttons for decoration on the (decorative) button flaps.

Yeah! Bright pink! Bright orange! Gotta love that. ;-)

And then it took us for-ev-ah to actually make up our Sew Bossy commands. Oops.

Pink and Orange Joy outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

But we got there in the end! And the other weekend, we trekked out to get some photos.

Pink and Orange Joy outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Naturally, since the Little Man was with us, there was a photo bomb. Or twenty.)

Pink and Orange Joy outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(And a bit of running-to-bring-him-back every few minutes. The challenge of corralling a 19 month old just increases when you throw high wedge heels, a pencil skirt, and a dirt path down a hill into the mix.)


But look, I can balance on one foot on a hilly dirt path, even in wedge heels! I has skills, yo.

Pink and Orange Joy outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My favourite of these two is the skirt. Because, it’s bright pink. And a super soft pinwale cord. And lined. And, it has a flounce!

Pink and Orange Joy outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Pink and Orange Joy outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(See the lining? Peeking out at the top there. The flounce wasn’t lined, no need for that part really.)

Pink and Orange Joy outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Plus, decorative pretty buttons! Woot!

Pink and Orange Joy outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Although sadly it only just fits over the baby bump at the moment. So it’s getting hung up, waiting for a few months until I can wear it again and flaunt it with high heels. A skirt with a flounce like that? It calls for heels, yes it does.)

The top pattern calls for it to be lined as well, but I decided to draft facings for it instead, and add a flash of ladybirds (leftover from my Ladybird Ballet top). Because, ladybirds!

Pink and Orange Joy outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Looking ahead, this top is gonna be super-useful in, oh, about 6-7 months. Chunky zip down the centre front? Yep, that zip’s gonna get used. And let’s call it serendipity that the sizings on this pattern seem to run rather large, which means it’s gonna fit really well just when I need easy access tops for Next Little Person.

Sadly, I completely forgot to get any photos of the process of changing the button placket on the top to a centre-front exposed zip. Oops. It was pretty easy, though. Firstly, I found the centre line of the front panel. Then I added 0.5cm seam allowance to this extending out from the centre front and cut it out on that new line. (Why 0.5cm seam allowance, you may ask? Well, I prefer to work with 1cm seam allowances, since I find 1.5cm is wasteful in most cases. And then it dropped down to 0.5cm added to allow for the width of the zip itself.) I then sewed the zip on using a 1cm seam allowance, and all was good!

Thanks so much for bossing me around, Joy! I love my new top and skirt, and it was so much fun to see what someone else would choose for me to make and wear. :-)

Here’s a sneak peek of what I got Joy to make. Head over to her blog and check out all the details of her outfit!

Pink and Orange Joy outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Notice how our shoes match each other’s skirts? Yeah, totally intentional, I swear.

Pink and Orange Joy outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Me-Made-May ’14 – the first lot of outfits

You know it’s May when all of a sudden blog posts pop up all over the place filled with wardrobe posts featuring self-made garments.

So, apologies if you’re already sick of Me-Made-May blog posts, but here’s my first one for this May. (Feel free to ignore it and come back tomorrow if you want. ;-) )


1 May

  • Me-made Rock-a-birdy Bleuet dress
  • My-mother-made green cardigan (from a 1940′s pattern)
  • Black maternity leggings
  • Brown knee-high boots

2 May

  • Me-made grey squiggly-circles dress (never blogged)
  • My-mother-made purple cardigan (knitted from a 1940′s pattern)
  • Burgundy knee-high boots


3 May

  • Me-made Raspberry Tiramisu dress
  • Purple wrap wool cardigan from an op shop
  • Plaid bomber from a friend
  • Black maternity leggings
  • Ultra-high black Converse sneakers

4 May

  • Me-made Debi dress (on it’s first outing!)
  • My-mother-made purple cardigan (knitted from a 1940′s pattern)
  • Brown tights
  • Burgundy shoes


5 May

  • Me-made Dolly Turtles dress
  • Me-made Autumn Playground cardigan
  • RTW merino long-sleeved top
  • Navy belt from an op-shop
  • Black maternity leggings
  • Brown knee-high boots

6 May

  • Me-made Coppelia wrap cardi (only just finished, will be blogged soon)
  • Tartan shirt dress from a clothes swap
  • Maternity jeans from a clothes swap
  • Black ultra-hi Converse sneakers

And even though I didn’t get a photo, here’s what I wore on 7 May:

  • Me-made Coppelia wrap cardi, same as on 6 May
  • RTW plaid dress
  • Thigh-high purple socks
  • Brown knee-high boots

The Debi dress

I seem to be on a bit of a ‘squeezing in at the last minute’ roll with sewalongs at the moment!

But, better nearly-late than never, right?

D’you remember back in, oh, February (eep!) there was a vote on my blog for which of three pattern-and-fabric combinations I should make up during March? Well, I was a good girl and started on the winning combination at the beginning of March. And then it didn’t go so well, and had a bunch of fitting issues, and I got grumpy with it and put it in the naughty corner and proceeded to make other things to cheer myself up. While in the back of my mind planning on getting it finished for the Sew for Victory sew-along.

It was a close call which dress was voted in, but in the end it was McCall 5676, a dress pattern from 1944, made up in a pretty, lightweight and silky-feeling floral cotton.

McCall 5676

Finally, that dress has seen the light of day, just in time for the end of Sew for Victory! Yippee! And after all the pain of making it, I even like it!!

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Both the pattern and the fabric came from Debi, and since I discovered the gorgeousness of 1940′s designs and got inspired to sew 1940′s patterns through seeing all of her lovely creations, this dress seems to be quite fittingly named after her.

I chose to make view A in the dress, sans lace. Instead, I left the little cap sleeves plain.

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern itself was reasonably easy to make up. Gathers at the front waist and front neckline, a band to finish the neckline, and button placket down the back (to which I added interfacing, even though the instructions didn’t call for it. Did they have interfacing or some equilivent back in the 1940′s?). I used some vintage self-covered buttons for down the back.

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The problems came with the fit. I usually (somehow?!) fit 1940′s dresses more-or-less out of the envelope, with only a slight grading to a bigger size at the waist and a small bust adjustment. So I was rather surprised when, even with trying it on at points in the construction, I finished attaching the buttons and discovered the waist sat far too low. Heck knows how that happened, since it seemed to be fine when I was trying it on earlier! Anyway, I’d been all nice and tidy and taking care with my finishing, so not only was there a gathered seam on lightweight delicate fabric to unpick, I’d also top stitched it down right close to the seam itself. Ugh.

(This was the point where the dress made it’s way to the naughty corner for over a month. Yep.)

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Then one day, it dawned on me. I needed to take the waist up by a couple of centimeters, so why not just cut the skirt off, and then when I reattach it it’ll be in the right place! Far, far easier, and sure enough, it worked well. :-)

(Although yes, I’m aware it doesn’t look like it’s sitting quite right in a bunch of these photos. That’s coz there’s a baby bump in the way that’s pushing the belt up higher.)

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The other fitting issue was in the back. There was a big gape at the centre back, again not discovered until I could actually do the dress up properly, by which point the buttons and button holes had been done. Ugh once more. (Admittedly, it would have been fine and sat flat if the neckline had been worn wider, but it just wasn’t sitting as wide as it was meant to on me and staying put, so that just wasn’t going to work.)

Time for another hack. I just moved the buttons, and folded the interfaced button placket under enough for the new button placements to be stitched on through the interfacing. (Ssh, don’t tell anyone!) Naughty maybe, but it worked, and got this dress off the UFO pile, so I’m calling that a good hack. ;-)

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now that it’s all done, I think I quite like it. The gathers are pretty, and while I debate whether cap sleeves ever look any good on me, they’ll be good for keeping direct sun off my shoulders while still being nice and cool next time summer rolls around.

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Plus, bonus hidden in-seam pockets in the front of the skirt! I think this is officially my favourite feature of this pattern. Because, pockets! Functional ones!! In an unexpected (yet still logical) place!!!

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My mother is in town visiting this weekend, so my sister and I took her out for a one-week-early Mothers Day surprise High Tea at Sweet Pea cafe in Petone. (More about the High Tea in a later blog post.) Petone is one of the oldest Wellington suburbs, and has lots of cute late-1800 and early-1900s houses and buildings. We took photos outside the historic police station. In use during the first half of the 1900′s, this teeny tiny building was both police station and jail for the area. Ain’t it cute? It’s now a Historic Places Trust building, sitting set back a few meters from the main shopping street in Petone. I’m hoping that one day I’ll get to have a look inside coz I bet it’s super-cute on the inside as well. :-)

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The seasons, they go round. And so do certain annual events.

Annual events such as…. Indie Pattern Month! Woo hoo!!!

You may remember the last year in June, when Mel and I hosted the first ever Indie Pattern Month. We had so much fun interviewing indie designers, sewing indie designs, and seeing what everyone else was sewing as well, that it prompted us to start up The Monthly Stitch. (Yep, that’s right, folks. Indie Pattern Month was a catalyst.) We also decided that since so many people told us how much they enjoyed Indie Pattern Month, and asked if it would happen again, that we’d run Indie Pattern Month every June.

And since it’s June next month, that means Indie Pattern Month is coming up again!

And it’s gonna be even bigger and better than last year, oh yeah!

First up, the general premise is staying the same. It’s all about celebrating the wonderful talent and hard-work that indie designers put into creating patterns for us to all make and fall in love with. Whether they’re the more established indie designers (like Colette, who’ve just celebrated their 5th birthday) or the new ones just starting out (like Gather with their two patterns and hopefully many more to come), it’s time to celebrate them by making up indie patterns during June.

Also like last year, we’re going to be interviewing various indie designers, to find out more about them and their inspirations.

But we’re adding a couple of new things into the mix this year as well.

Firstly, sewing contests! We’ve gotten a group of fabulous indie designers on board as sponsors for four sewing contests during June. There’s a different one each week, with a different theme.

Secondly, discounts on patterns! One of our amazing sponsors is Dresses and Me, an online store who started up just to sell and promote indie designers. She’s offering a 15% discount on anything in her store from now until the end of June, just for Indie Pattern Month. (Use the code IPM2014 to get your 15% discount.)

Thirdly, giveaways! As well as giving prizes for the sewing contests, some of our wonderful sponsors have also given prizes for giveaways during the month.

And last but not least, one nice, easy, central location so you can find everything. All the interviews, everything that people have been making, info about the contests, all you may want to know about Indie Pattern Month. This year, we’re hosting it over on The Monthly Stitch. And we’d love you all to come and get involved!

Want to find out more, sign up to take part, see what designers are involved, and maybe check out the competition categories? Have a look at the overall announcement post and the sewing contests post.

Yeah, Indie Pattern Month 2014! It’s been months in the making, and now…. it’s here! :D

Apples and turtles for Dolly

Getting in right at the last minute for Sew Dolly Clackett, I made a dress this weekend!

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, I had big plans for the Dolly Clackett sew-along. I love dresses, and I love quirky prints, and cottons. (And I love Roisin’s style.) So this sew-along? Pretty much perfect, really.

Fabric was chosen, as was the pattern (to start with, making two Cambie dresses). And then, it happened.

The lack of sew-jo.

For a month.

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And not only that, exhaustion set in as well. I was just too darn tired to do anything except fall into bed at a crazy early hour every night.

My sewing machine was gathering dust. The fabric was sitting in it’s pile, untouched and ignored.

What happened?!?!



Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Yep, that’s a 13-week baby bump, folks. :-)

(Which also means there was no way I was gonna be able to squeeze into any Cambie dresses anytime soon. Or anything else with a fitted waist, for that matter.)

And then it was Easter. A 4-day weekend. And the end of the first trimester. The exhaustion lifted slightly, I was rapidly running out of things to wear. Gloriously, the sew-jo returned!

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I dug out Butterick 4513, a re-released 1950′s pattern that I’ve made once before, way back in 2010. It’s a crazy-easy pattern to make, with a total of four pieces – front and back skirt, front and back bodice. Four darts, some elastic at the back, and you’re done. Voila!

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It’s super-easy to wear, as well. A pull-on style, with elastic at the back so it looks fitted around the waist but that fitted-ness can stretch as required as a baby bump grows. Then spring back into shape for post-baby wear! Win!

Now, I was going to show you a photo of the first time I made this pattern, way back when. I know I did a blog post about it. But can I find it, anywhere?!?! No, I can’t. Argh! Instead, I’ve trawled through the archives and dug out a rather terrible image from Me-Made-June 2011. Here ’tis:

(What you can’t see here is that the top and armholes of the bodice are edged in red bias binding, which extends to tie in bows at the shoulders, just like on the pattern envelope. You’ll just have to imagine that part, I’m afraid.)

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I decided to make a couple of changes this time around. Firstly, I moved the darts, as they were in the wrong place for me. I moved the side bust darts down a couple of centimetres, and moved the bust darts across as well as lowering the point by a good inch. (Can’t remember the exact amounts – I wrote ‘em down, but the paper has gone walk-abouts.) I also shortened the bodice by 2cm as I found the waist of the first dress I made from this pattern was a bit too low. (In hindsight, 1.6cm would have been about perfect for shortening. Next time.) And I shortened the skirt by about 16cm or thereabouts.

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The other change I made was to the shoulder straps. While I like the bias binding finish and the little bows of the pattern, I’m planning to wear this quite a bit over winter with a long-sleeved merino top and tights underneath, and little bows on the shoulder look kinda bulky under cardigans. (Plus, I’m trying to channel Roisin’s style a bit here, and she goes for wider shoulder straps.) So instead, I just made some wide, flat straps and attached them at front and back.

(I reckon the result looks a little bit like this dress of Roisin’s. Only with little wee turtles and fruit on it, instead of floral.)

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m pretty happy with how this came out. It’s super comfy to wear, is gonna work for the next month or two of pregnancy, and will be all good to wear after the baby arrives as well. (In fact, I’ve been wearing it quite a bit the last few days. I’m seriously thinking about making another one with the same adjustments. And pockets, which I forgot to add to this one. And we all know pockets make things awesome-er.)

As to how it’s channeling Roisin’s style? Well, here’s what I was using for inspiration/ideas:

  • It’s a vivid colour (she is rather fond of blue)
  • It’s a cotton in a quirky print (little turtles! Apples and pears!!) (even though it’s a smaller print than she goes for usually)
  • It’s a 1950′s inspired style, with a fitted waist (plus elastic, woo hoo!)
  • It’s got a reasonably high square neckline and wide straps, like the Flora dress she’s been making a lot lately
  • Plus, it works well with brightly coloured shoes and a cardigan. And we all know Roisin’s about the shoes and cardigans. ;-)

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So there we have it – Sew Dolly Clackett, maternity style! (And our front door is even blue, so I could attempt to mimic’s Roisin’s photo shoot style. Hah.)

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The Autumn Playground Miette


Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Seriously folks, this is like MAJOR for me. I’ve always been kinda scared of knitting – fearing it would take ages (coz it does) and I’d get bored and give up not far through (I didn’t!) and that it’d be far faster and more satisfying to just whip something up with the sewing machine. (And possibly also a little bit intimidated – my mother is a rather amazing knitter, and churns out stunning 1940′s cardigans in 4ply crazy fast with intricate details.)

But after seeing so many super cute Miette cardigans all over it place, it seemed like it was time. Time to actually give this knitting lark a try.

So, I did!

And, I made a Miette!!!

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(If you haven’t heard of the Miette before, it’s a free (!) pattern from Andi Satterlund. Who makes all sorts of cute patterns, most of which are now on my things-I-want-to-make list.)

Now, let’s face it. This is my first actual knitted-by-me garment. And I’m not the most patient person in the world. So there’s mistakes in it. I learnt a lot, there’s things I’d do differently next time, but either way, I’m pretty darn happy with this. It’s cute, it fits, it’s got pretty lace type details, and it’s gonna go well with dresses. Plus, it’s pure wool so it’s warm and snuggly, while not being too warm – perfect for autumn and winter in an office.

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Those of you who have seen a few Miette’s out there may notice there are a few differences in my one. It all started with my yarn choice. The pattern calls for 10 ply yarn, and there isn’t all that much of it around here to be found. Instead, I found some pretty 8 ply dove grey 100% wool yarn, and couldn’t quite go past it. I was assured by the lovely Jo that it would be fine, and I’d just need to adjust my sizing to make it work. Which it was, I just made a slightly wrong call about size right at the start, and have only myself to blame for that!

I did my tension swatch like a good little girl, and knit this up in a size 38″ bust rather than the 34″ bust I would normally have gone for.

In hindsight, I should have gone up another size, as it wasn’t quite big enough so I ended up making extra-wide button bands to get the added width I needed. I’m calling it a design feature. ;-)

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I also should have added some to the length between the underarm and the start of the bust shaping, as the cardigan was too short. (Yeah, I went up a size, but completely didn’t think that of course it would be shorter when using a smaller ply yarn and smaller needed. Duh! Yep, I’m a knitting novice. Lesson learned.) I only thought about the length issue when I got to the end of the ribbing at the waist and discovered (surprise, surprise) that it was too short. So, I just extended the ribbing until it was the right length. ;-)

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Since the button bands and waist ribbing were both wider than designed, I also widened the neck band so it didn’t look too unbalanced, and put a button and button hole on the neck band.

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Overall, even with all of those ‘design features’ I reckon it works ok.

(Admittedly, I may be slightly biased, since I’m just so darn proud of myself for sticking it out and actually knitting a garment!!)

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The buttons are from Made Marion – soft grey ovals that dip down in the middle. The yarn is Natural Grey 100% ool 8 ply (double knit) from Skeinz (their own name brand). It smells a little bit like sheep, which I like.

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Even with the alterations, it was still a tiny bit too small and too short, so I blocked it out (look at me, knowing knitting terms and all! Woo!) and stretched it a bit while blocking, so now it fits well. Yay!

(And yes, I admit it. I am now working on becoming a ‘knitter’. Turns out it’s a great hobby for when hanging out with people or travelling, as you don’t have as much to carry with you and you can knit and talk at the same time. Win.)

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And I’d like to give a huge shout-out to my wonderful mother, and my wonderful kinda-mother-in-law (what do you call your partner’s mother? I have no idea?), both of whom are wonderful knitters and helped me out a lot when I couldn’t understand the terminology or made mistakes (both of which happened quite a bit!). Thanks! :-)

I’ve already started work on another Andi Satterlund pattern – the cropped sweater for winter. This time, in the recommended 10 ply yarn to see how it goes.

We wandered out late afternoon to a nearby playground for photos, and to give the Little Guy a run around. It’s rained every day for the past two weeks here, so any break in the weather for outdoor adventures is good! Rather cold though, hence the several layers, haha!

Little Guy found a scooter another child had left behind, and despite it being far too big for him he was determined to ride it. Big grins as we circled around for ages!

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Fabric-a-brac good times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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