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

Dear Me-Made-May….

You and I, we used to get along.

For a while there, we had a great relationship. I awaited your arrival with anticipation, planning what my challenge-to-myself would be and figuring out how I could push myself a bit more with my me-made wearing.

Last year was particularly good. I learnt a lot about my me-mades, culled some from my wardrobe as a result, altered some others, and put yet others into wear-often rotation. We parted good friends, happy with each other and waiting eagerly for when we’d meet again the following May.

This year started off well as well. I watched with baited breath until I saw you coming from the distance, planned how we’d get along and what we’d get up to.

The first few days were as anticipated. Fun, with a bit of challenge mixed in, just like any good relationship.

But then, things started to go wrong.

I was tired all the time, with no energy to iron after the Little Guy went to bed at night. My me-mades that I could fit were piling up in the ironing pile, threatening to topple over and smother the cat that sleeps nearby. The number of clothes I could wear comfortably dwindled rapidly, and I ended up resorting to hand-me-downs from no-longer-pregnant friends that weren’t really my style but heck, they were wash-and-go and fitted.

Sure, I had plans. I have a pile of patterns, all waiting to be sewn up in pretty fabrics, for styles that I can wear now. Indie patterns that are bump-friendly. Vintage maternity patterns. They’re all there.

But the time and the energy? Not so much.

And so my wardrobe continued to dwindle. I no longer look forward to getting dressed in the morning – that anticipation of ‘what mood am I in today?’ has vanished, replaced by ‘oh heck, what can I possibly put on this morning?!?’. The Me-Made challenge mocked me, making me feel even less happy about my make-do wardrobe.

It just wasn’t working out any more.

And so you and I, after our long relationship, we parted ways.

Maybe we’ll meet again next year, and our relationship will go back to the golden days? I hope so.

But for now, farewell…..

The things I do for this blog…..

I mean, seriously folks. It’s winter. And not only that, it’s only 12 degrees (53 for those of you reading Fahrenheit), and feels colder due to the lovely winds that are gusting up to around 100 km/hour.

And yet, I trudged down to a reasonably secluded beach (on the South coast, no less, just to get the full brunt of any winds coming off Antartica) with my long-suffering partner in tow to get photos.

beachLeft

Of a swimsuit.

A bikini, in fact.

beachRight

(And that’s another thing – I never thought I’d be brave enough to wear just a swimsuit on this blog for the world to see. And yet, here I am. Clearly a few years blogging has made me a heck of a lot braver! I blame all you lot. Grrrr.)

Anyway, I present to you…. the new Papercut Soma swimsuit! (Bikini variation 1.)

Red and white Soma bikini | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, this is the first time I’ve ever made a swimsuit. I always kinda expected it to be tricky to do, and especially tricky to fit. Guess I was just waiting for the Soma pattern to come out because this pattern? It’s fun! And easy!! Easy to sew, and easy to fit – a complete win all ’round.

Soma swimsuit from Papercut

Soma swimsuit from Papercut

As with all the Papercut patterns I’ve made so far, the instructions are great – easy to follow, and with good construction tips and techniques that result in a great finish on the inside as well. (That bikini top? No fabric edges at all on the inside, they’re all fully enclosed. And the only ones on the bikini briefs are the edges where the elastic is covered by the swimsuit fabric for a nice, clean finish there, too.)

Red and white Soma bikini | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The instructions call for fold-over elastic for the edging of the bikini top, and bra strapping for the shoulder and cross-back straps, all of which give a great finish and are really easy to use. (First time I’ve used fold-over elastic. Now I want to make many, many things using it, for it is fun and easy and I am now in love with it. *daydreaming of fold-over elastic….. Mmmm……*) All I had available was black for both, hence the contrast colours, but I kinda like the result anyway.

Red and white Soma bikini | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Please ‘scuse the slightly-too-large-for-me cup size – normally I would have done a SBA, but my girls are gonna grow with the whole pregnancy-then-breastfeeding thing, so I figured I may as well plan ahead and make something that I won’t be bursting out of for the next year and a half.

(In case you were wondering how I sewed this up so quickly, since the pattern was only released about a week ago – I was lucky enough to be asked to be one of the pattern testers for this collection, so it’s been sitting there waiting for me to build up the courage to get photos of it for a few weeks now.)

Red and white Soma bikini | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I normally would have chosen bikini variation 2 (with the cute bustier style top and the high-waisted bottoms) but I’m hoping to get in a bit of swimming (in indoor, heated pools!) over the next few months to try and stay vaguely fit, so I needed something that wouldn’t stretch out of shape with the ‘baby bump’. ;-)

Red and white Soma bikini | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

However, I fully intend to make the other bikini version for summer, and then I’ll have gone from owning one 15-year-old swimsuit to owning two nice, shiny new ones instead! Total win, yes indeed. :-D

Red and white Soma bikini | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(In case you haven’t guessed yet, I totally recommend this pattern.)

Red and white Soma bikini | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Want proof that it was kinda cold during this shoot? Here’s me bundled up again straight afterwards. There’s a woolen jersey, tshirt and long-sleeved silk/merino top under that wool jacket. Only reason I didn’t have a scarf and gloves was we weren’t too far from the car. Note the hair? Yeah, it was a bit windy, too!

coat_on

So there we have it, folks. Something I thought I would never be brave enough to do – wear a swimsuit. On my blog. Eek! And all in the name of sewing. ‘xcuse me while I go hide in a corner with a book now and pretend this whole event never happened….. (Well, except for the creation of my Soma swimsuit, that is, because I am rather proud of making that. ;-) )

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