A pairing of Mind and Soul

Oh yeah, it’s an exciting week for a Papercut fangirl like myself – new patterns!!!!!

Katie from Papercut released her new collection on Friday. Called ‘Tri‘, it’s a three-piece collection of active/lounge wear – trousers, tank top/crop top, and a swimsuit. Anima, Pneuma, and Soma – ‘mind’, ‘soul’ and ‘body’. (There’s also updated versions of four of her older patterns, now all with active/lounge wear variations.)

And Mel and I were privileged enough to be asked to test the patterns before they launched – yay!

(I love pattern testing. I totally appeals to the geek in me, checking over instructions, making sure notches are matching up, all that sort of stuff. Plus, you know, the added bonus of seeing things before other people, haha!)

And now, since the patterns have officially launched, we can show what we made!

To start with – the Anima/Pneuma (‘mind’ and ‘soul’) combination.

Anima and Pneuma | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made up the Anima pants in a black something-or-other. (I admit it – I have no idea what this fabric is, or even where it came from. It just appeared in my stash, somehow. It’s a synthetic, thick with a bit of stretch. Yeah, coz you know, that helps identify it. Not. Whatever.) Since it’s the start of winter over here, I chose to make up the full-length version with cuffs at the ankle.

Anima pants line drawings

This pattern? It’s a dream to make up. I think it took me only about 1.5 hours from when I finished cutting it out to when I was pulling on my new, finished Anima pants. Win!

(Admittedly, I did have an encounter with a broken needle in that 1.5 hours. Totally my fault – I accidentally let go of one end of the waistband elastic when I was pulling it tight while topstitching. Oops. I’m calling it a casualty of creativity. It was probably due to be changed for another needle anyway.)

Anima and Pneuma | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This pattern has a false fly front, front pockets, and a wide elastic waistband. The pattern calls for a decorative drawstring to be put in the waistband, but since drawstrings annoy me and I always take them out of any ready-to-wear track pants I buy, I didn’t bother putting it in.

Anima and Pneuma | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The fit is good – enough ease around the seat and thighs to allow easy movement while exercising, and nice and tight around the ankle so when you’re doing things like pilates you don’t have to worry about your trousers slipping up around your knees and flapping around when you’re doing all those graceful (*cough cough*) legs-in-the-air moves. I know this works, coz I wore them to do pilates the other day, and they were a total win. :-)

Anima and Pneuma | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Also, I am extremely out of practice at doing cartwheels. Gah.)

There are options for below-the-knee length (which Mel made – I am totally inspired to copy her coz her pair looks fantastic!) and shorts length as well. I suspect I’ll never be buying RTW exercise trousers ever again….

Anima and Pneuma | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The Pneuma tank is a really interesting design. A crop top, with supportive elastic underneath and a tight fit, with an (optional) overtop attached at points at the front and back. The overtop is looser and designed to drape down at the back and underarms, giving coverage if you don’t feel like showing off your stomach while exercising, while at the same time nice and lightweight and floaty so plenty of air flow when you’re working out. (Again, this works well – I also wore the top to pilates the other day, and it kept me nice and cool while the crop top gave me good support. I did have to tuck it into the trousers though, as the looser nature of the overtank means it tends to ride up when you do upside-down type movements.)

Pneuma tank line drawings

My favourite detail on the top is the cross-over straps. Made of bra strapping, they’re nice and firm, while also being comfortable to wear. Plus, they cross over at the back! Love it – the top feels super secure to wear, while also leaving arms free to move. Seriously folks – I’m looking forward to being able to go running again, as something like this (support, freedom of movement for arms, and plenty of air flow) is exactly what I want!

Anima and Pneuma | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Mel and I caught up with Nikki yesterday and ran around the grounds of the War Memorial to get some photos. Such a gorgeous day it was, too! Beautiful bright blue skies and sunshine, an absolutely stunner. Gotta love it when you get weather like that in winter. :-)

And, you know, coz it was a twinsies photo shoot, we may have gotten lots of photos. Sorry not sorry. What can I say? We had a lot of fun! :-D

Anima and Pneuma | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anima and Pneuma | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anima and Pneuma | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anima and Pneuma | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anima and Pneuma | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anima and Pneuma | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anima and Pneuma | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

High Tea at Logan Brown

It may have been a while, but my plan to experience and review all the High Tea places around Wellington continues!

Today, I caught up with the lovely Mel and Nikki to get some photos for our blogs (so, so much more fun getting photos with other sewing bloggers!). And since it’s hungry work running around, posing, and shimmying into new garments half-hidden by trees in public parks (um, yeah. Anyone else do that? *cough*), we rounded off the afternoon by going for High Tea at Logan Brown.

High Tea at Logan Brown | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’d never been into Logan Brown before, but oh boy, you can’t live in Wellington and not hear about it. It’s a bit of an institution around here – one of the classiest/most expensive restaurants in Wellington, and it’s been around for years. The food is supposedly divine. (One day I may get there for dinner and experience this myself. One day….)

Plus, it turns out they do High Tea on Saturday afternoons. Yay! Perfect excuse to wander along and check the place out! (With a pre-booking, ‘natch.)

In we walked and were promptly greeted by a friendly staff member who showed us to our table (while another staff member immediately took over her position at the greeting desk – very smooth and efficient, I was well impressed!). The table was already set for three, with snowy white linen, cake forks, and blue-and-white tea cups and plates. Glasses of water quickly arrived. (I’ll say this for them – the service is fantastic.)

High Tea at Logan Brown | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

We were given the option of three different High Teas – the classic one (treats and a pot of tea), the deluxe (plus either a glass of bubbly or a cocktail (or mocktail) from their tasty looking menu), or the extravagant one (complete with a glass of proper champagne). We all went for the deluxe one – Mel and Nikki choosing a glass of bubbly, and me going for one of the two mocktails – I went for the one with raspberry and mint and Limonata (or whatever it’s called). Which, by the way, was extremely tasty. It had real raspberries crushed up in it, wedges of lime at both top and bottom, and a great tart-sweet taste.

High Tea at Logan Brown | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

They let us enjoy our drinks for a while, before approaching to see if we were ready for the treats to be bought out. (After all the outfit-photographing, oh yeah, we were ready for food!)

A three-tier plate of tasty treats soon arrived, along with a side dish of three little shot glasses, and our individual pots of tea.

High Tea at Logan Brown | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And very tasty treats they were, too! A good mix of sweet and savoury, a good quantity, and an interesting combination of unusual and classic.

First, the savouries: sandwiches with cucumber, rocket, truffles and something else. Very tasty. Mini venison pies with a potato top. And a surprising and amazingly tasty little dish of some sort of fluffy cheese, battered and deep fried so it was all melted inside, topped with some sort of slightly spicy mayonnaise.

High Tea at Logan Brown | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Plate two: orange and date scones with whipped cream and raspberry jam, and mini afghans with chocolate ganache icing.

High Tea at Logan Brown | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Plate three: salted caramel peanut slice. And oh! That caramel! It was proper caramel, the soft and chewy sort that sticks your teeth together and takes ages to eat, while you enjoy every moment. And the raspberry lammingtons – seeped in good, real raspberry jam.

High Tea at Logan Brown | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And to finish off: chocolate shots, with whipped cream, ruby red grapefruit cubes, and caramel cornflakes.

High Tea at Logan Brown | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

As an added bonus, they topped our tea up for us so we could sit there and enjoy another cup or two before we headed off home again.

All up, I’d recommend Logan Brown for High Tea. It’s decent value for money ($35 per person for the classic high tea, $45 per person for the deluxe one), the service is fantastic and at just the right level of attentive (they discretely leave you alone yet manage to appear just before you realise you want something), the food is fantastic and there’s a good quantity of it – enough to leave you feeling satisfied without being overly full.

Plus, it’s a rather interesting venue. Very high ceiling, in fact the room is probably nearly as high as it is square. They’ve done interesting things with the space to make every table feel private and comfortable, and there is rather random art work dotted all around.

High Tea at Logan Brown | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Unlike a lot of other High Tea venues, it’s actually quite a masculine setting, which makes for a change. (I must admit I have a bit of a penchant for the girly venues though, like Marthas Pantry and Hippopotamus.) Idea for dressing up ‘classy’ rather than ‘vintage’. ;-)

High Tea at Logan Brown | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Me Made May ’14, the second week

Well folks, we’re half-way into Me Made May 2014, and my wardrobe situation is getting dire! Sad to say, there’s a limited number of things that are fitting me at the moment (in both me-made and ready-to-wear), and that number is getting smaller every few days. Eek! A weekend of sewing is very much required, quick-smart!

But in the meantime, here’s the second week of May, photos of outfits….

8and9

8 May

  • Me-made Autumn Skies dress
  • RTW cardigan
  • Black maternity tights (hand-me-down from a friend)
  • Tan knee-high boots

9 May
Got home late from work and far too tired to get a photo before bed, so you’re getting an outfit-laid-out-on-bed-later pic instead. Oops.

Wave farewell to the Rock A Birdy Bleuet dress folks, it’s now too small. One more garment hits the post-baby-storage-area dust.

10 May
So yeah. Bad pregnancy day today, I spent a lot of the day napping and didn’t really leave the house. Ugh. Growth spurt, I guess?!?

Again, no energy for a photo, and it really wasn’t in the slightest bit interesting anyway. My me-made 80’s Ensis tee, maternity jeans, and a hoodie from work. All style, oh yeah. :-p

11and12

11 May

  • Me-made Dolly Turtles dress
  • Me-made Coppelia wrap cardigan (not yet blogged)
  • RTW long-sleeved merino top
  • Maternity leggings (hand-me-down from a friend)
  • Tan knee-high boots

(Photography accessoried by a Little Man photo bomb.)

12 May

  • Me-made Rock A Birdy Bleuet dress
  • Me-made Coppelia wrap cardigan (not yet blogged, although I seem to be wearing it most days….)
  • Over-the-knee grey socks
  • Tan knee high boots

13and14

13 May

  • RTW checked blazer from a second hand shop
  • Me-made 80’s Ensis tee
  • RTW merino long sleeved top
  • Maternity jeans (hand-me-down from a friend)
  • Black and red checked Converse sneakers

14 May

  • Me-made Corporate Hipster blazer
  • RTW black tee (hand-me-down from a friend
  • RTW merino long sleeved top
  • Maternity jeans (hand-me-down from a friend)
  • Black and red checked Converse sneakers

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!

sewbossychallenge

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.)

drakecapture

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. ;-) )

1and2

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

3and4

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

5and6

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