Shards of Hope dress

Sometimes it seems like all the stars align and a project suddenly happens that ticks several boxes at once.

My good sewing buddy Mel and I were thinking – it’s about time we did another twinsies creation, where we both make the same pattern at the same time. Plus, it’s the second birthday for The Monthly Stitch in August, with the theme being “two is the magic number” – a perfect time for twinsies!

And then we got to thinking, how else can we incorporate that theme….?

Discussions were had around fabric, and we realised we both had fabric from the What A Gem range by Camelot in our stashes. Mel has the “gems” design, and I’ve got the “arrows” one. Two designs from the same range – seemed perfect!

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So then we just had to come up with a pattern that worked for each, and for the amounts of fabric we had….

And that’s where this pattern comes in. It’s the Hawthorn dress by Colette Patterns. It was given to me as part of the pattern swap for Indie Pattern Month over on The Monthly Stitch. I was pretty darn excited to get it in the mail, as it’s a pattern I’ve been debating about buying for quite some time! (Great choice, swap partner! :-) There’s an Indie Pattern Month wrap-up day today over on The Monthly Stitch, and I really wanted to make up at least one of my two swap patterns in time for it! (The other one is currently on my cutting table. Soon it shall be made. Soon….!)

Colette Patterns Hawthorn dress

Plus, with the cute collar, there was the option of using two different fabrics on our dresses (again, using the “two is the magic number” theme). So yep, all boxes were ticked – twinsies in the pattern, twinsies in the fabric range, an indie pattern, and in my case also a pattern swap pattern. Win!

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

One other box, too – this is also my Minerva Crafts Bloggers Network make for the month. Yippie!

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Crazily enough, despite owning a couple of Colette patterns, this is the first one I’ve ever made (excluding their two free ones, neither of which worked well for me). I approached it with some trepediation – I’ve heard quite a bit about how hard this pattern is to fit, and Colette also drafts for a C cup while I’m an AA (yes, seriously).

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

With that in mind, I took the time to do a proper small bust adjustment (SBA) on the pattern, reducing it by a total of 2″ in the bust.

The only other change I made to the pattern was on the skirt. I originally got this fabric to make a 1950’s blouse out of, so only had 2 1/4 yards – officially no where near enough to make the Hawthorn! Add in the directionality of the print, and it was a bit of a cutting challenge. To make it fit, I cut the back skirt on the fold, and folded out 13cm at the hem of both front and back skirt pieces (making for a total of 52cm removed from the hem circumference in total!). And it fit! (Just!)

I had a lot of fun playing with the print direction for this one. I started with the bodice placement, deciding that vertical arrows would work best there, especially with the waist dart.

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The skirt was origianally going to be on angles, with the arrows forming v’s at each centre and side seam. But there just wasn’t enough fabric for that, so it got cut out with horizontal arrows that dipped into v’s at the side seams.

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The collar was a bit more fun, with arrows going around the neckline.

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I didn’t have quite enough fabric for the facings, so the bodice facing is scraps from my Dolly Turtles dress. (Which I forgot to get a photo of, whoops!)

Speaking of the facings, they’re finished with hug snug seam binding – I may have given into temptation and gotten some in a lovely bottle green shade. Love this stuff so much!!

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Hug snug was also used for the hem, which was then stitched up with a machine blind hem.

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The armholes are finished with green bias binding.

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Also, can I get a yay for these buttons? Aren’t they fabulous?!? I’m so happy to have found them on the Minerva site! They’re such a lovely shade, and match the coral coloured triangles in the fabric so nicely. Plus, the lines on half of them reflect the lines of the arrows. Yippie!

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Again though, as I originally got the supplies for this for a blouse, I didn’t have enough buttons for the whole dress. I spaced them out a bit further than the pattern called for, and used four snap fasteners for the lower section of the skirt instead. I may yet go and just stitch that part of the skirt down – depends on how well the snap fasteners hold up to a day of getting up and down from an office chair….)

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m actually pretty happy with the fit of this. It’s a bit looser in the bodice than I normally like, and I’m still debating a bit whether to take it in or not as it’s only fractionally too loose…. Hmmm…. (What do you think? Take it in, or leave it as it is?)

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

One thing I found surprising – the front waist seam is a bit too low on me, about 1.5cm too low, even with the small bust adjustment raising it up a bit. Since I’m so tall, I’m used to waist seams being a bit too high, so this was quite a surprise! Probably something to watch out for if you make the pattern up, and an adjustment I’ll make in the future.

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I did mix up the construction order a bit, sewing the skirt pieces to the bodice pieces, and the side seams got stitched up last. This is pretty standard for me – it makes it a lot easier to make adjustments with changing post-baby body shape. :-)

If you’re curious, here it is with out a belt. (Although I’ll probably always be wearing it with a belt, just coz that’s how I roll.)

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Shards of Hope dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Oh, and why the name? Well, it’s actually named after a book I’m reading at the moment. Some of the lead characters are part of a group called the Arrows – rather appropriate when using this fabric, no? So yeah, the dress adopted the name from the book. (It’s one of those books I expect I’ll read several more times in my life, so that’s always a good thing. Maybe I should name more garments after books. I do like books. And sewing. Hmmm….)

Thanks to the lovely Nicola, who played photographer on a freezing cold winters day! We went exploring, and found a muddy stream bed with a fallen log for photos. Here’s some scenery, just for fun….






Snuggly squishy cuddly and warm

Oh my gosh, I knitted a jumper!

Cropped jumper in grey and teal | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And it’s got really long sleeves.

Cropped jumper in grey and teal | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

With cute scallop colourwork where the rib joins onto the main sleeve.

Cropped jumper in grey and teal | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Oh, and there’s scallop colourwork where the rib joins the body, too.

Cropped jumper in grey and teal | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Yay!!! :-)

This here jumper – it was actually the second “proper” (i.e. not a plain scarf or peggy square) project I started. I cast it on as soon as I finished my grey Miette cardi, waaaaaaay back at the end of 2013/start of 2014.

(Yeah, that’s right. A good year and a half ago.)

I was making good progress on it, and then I found out I was pregnant.

And you know what? Cropped, fitted jumpers don’t fit so well over a baby bump.

So it got put on hold, and I made a few cardigans instead. Far more practical for pregnancy and nursing, after all!

But then a couple of months ago, winter came along. It was cold (and I am not a fan of the cold). So I picked this jumper up again.

Having to go to Masterton and back on the train for work a couple of times gave me a couple of good, solid knitting sessions. So progress was made! (Finally!)

And now, it’s all done! Yay!

Cropped jumper in grey and teal | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And it’s super warm and soft and snuggly. With lovely long sleeves that keep my wrists warm. Win!

The pattern is “A Cropped Sweater for Winter” by Andi Satterlund. (It’s a free pattern, by the way. Go get it!) It’s a nice and simple pattern, knit in the round as hers tend to be. It’s got a semi-square neckline, and cute scallop colourwork details with contrast bands. Very easy to knit, and in 10 ply yarn so pretty quick too. (Even if that “pretty quick” knit took me a good year and a half!)

Cropped jumper in grey and teal | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

As is more-or-less inevitable (since I just can’t leave well enough along and have to mess with things every time), I made a couple of changes. Nothing major, though – just length alterations for the sleeves. The sweater is meant to have 3/4 length sleeves but, well, I live in Wellington. It gets cold here. Long sleeves are far more snuggly in winter.

(Plus, I’m tall. RTW things with long sleeves end up as 3/4 length sleeves on me. At times, I overcompensate for this when making things. Extra length! Yeah!!)

So I added 60 rows of knit to the end of the sleeve, before I started the cuff. And then I added an extra 10 rows of rib, too. (And with that extra 70 rows in total, they’re actually only just long enough. Hmmmm.)

Cropped jumper in grey and teal | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The yarn is Cleckheaton Country Aran 10ply, purchased from Spotlight (horror of horrors! But yes, I actually found some lovely, gorgeous, pure wool yarn amongst their cheap acrylics!!). The body of the jumper is in colourway 4013 (Dark grey) and the contrast is colourway 4009 (Teal).

(I learnt a lot about how to read labels on balls of yarn while buying this, from a lovely lady who was also browing the yarn selection. She knew lots about knitting, which was awesome as I knew pretty much nothing at that point in time, and she was very happy to share her knowledge! She taught me how to check dye lots as well, to make sure I didn’t run the risk of any colour variations. Thanks, wonderful stranger at Spotlight! Aren’t fellow crafty people awesome?!?)

Cropped jumper in grey and teal | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Changes I’d make next time would be adding yet another 5 rows to the sleeves (so a total of 75 extra rows, instead of the 70 I did here), and adding an inch and a half to the body as it’s just a smidgeon too short. (And next time, I’ll learn to do the super stretchy bind-off, as it’s a little tight getting it on and off over my shoulders – whoops!)

Anyways, I’m really happy with this jumper. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s snuggly and goes well with things in my wardrobe, and it’ll keep me warm.

Yay, knitting! :-D

Cropped jumper in grey and teal | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My lovely sister snapped some photos up at Truby King Gardens, where we went to get pics of the final two samples of the Sophie cardi. Gotta love that winter sunlight through pine trees….




The Sophie cardigan pattern

So here’s what I’ve been working on lately – the newest pattern for Muse. This one’s called Sophie.

Because I love cardigans, it’s another cardigan pattern. A more casual style than the Jenna – it’s semi fitted, sitting at the high hip, and has raglan sleeves (which gives fun options for colour blocking).

There are three neckline variations to choose from – a classic round neck, a wide flat collar, and a v neck (which was actually the key reason I made this pattern – because the muse who inspired it, the lovely Sophie-Lee, had been asking me to make a v neck cardigan pattern for a while. ;-)

There are other variations to mix and match with as well. Two pocket options (classic patch pockets, or inset pockets with a curved pocked opening), and a choice of button up or zip up front.

Lots of ways to mix and match!

And like the other Muse pattern releases, the first weeks sales (less bank fees) are all getting donated to charity – this time, the St John ambulance and emergency services.

Plus you can get 15% off between now and 27 July – just use the code ‘HELLOSOPHIE’ at checkout.


(We got some photos of my newest knitted jumper while we were taking the photos of the Sophie pattern, so I’ll have a blog post up about that in the next few days. Spoiler alert – it’s warm and snuggly and I likes it. ;-)

Introducing Badge_Sophie

A few new-old patterns

I’ve got a few things to post about, in various stages of works-in-progress. Finished garments that need photographed, photos that need a post written to go with them, and various plans and ideas waiting to even be started.

But at the moment, I’m in the whirlwind of the final stages of the next Muse project. So all the rest is just going to have to wait while I sew up sample garments and things like that. Life kinda happens like that sometimes.

In the meantime though, I thought I’d share these little treasures that made their way into my collection today. Had to go out to Lower Hutt to do some research, and we had 10 minutes to kill before our appointment. There happened to be a Hospice op shop (second hand shop, for the non-Kiwis) right next door, so we headed in there to kill time out of the cold air. Naturally, I made a bee-line right for the patterns. ;-) And here’s what I came home with, for the grand sum of $1 each. (With very little thought – I didn’t have time to look at them properly, it was a bit of a grab-anything-interesting-and-run-to-appointment moment, haha!)




Isn’t this one fabulous?!? I just couldn’t leave it behind. The artwork! So 80’s!! (Plus, it has the potential to be an extremely useful pattern. Underwear in various styles, for both genders and all ages from 2 upwards! Plus singlets!! For both me and th’ little guys. From the same pattern. Crazy but true!





Another vintage lingerie one, also from the 80’s. A princess seamed slip. I even have fabric to use for this one. :-)





Couldn’t resist this one either – how cute is that yoke with the button detail? From 1976.





And here’s where I started grabbing knitting patterns, mainly for my mummy who loves them. (Hi mum! If you’re reading this, let me know which of the knitting patterns you want. ;-)
This one is quite simple – turns out the decorative parts are embroidered on afterwards. For little little people.




This is rather adorable – a book of patterns, and the captions beneath the images in it tell lovely little stories. One example from page 3: “All good castles have cobbled courtyards with green grass growing between the stones. All good toddlers deserve a zipper jacket with fashioned raglan sleeves..” Super cute. And some cute patterns in it, too.




How could I leave this behind? Gotta love that front cover image!
(Turns out there’s a couple of cute patterns in it, too. Including some for kids. And that zip-up cardigan on the front cover holds quite a bit of potential, don’t you think?)




This girls expression does not give the impression she is at all happy with her jumper. In fact, she kinda looks like something from a Stephen King book-turned-movie…. Hmmmm…..

Turns out this one isn’t actually a book of patterns – it’s a book of charts for patterns. Including a dog, a rabbit, and a ski-er (of all things?!?)



All together now: cuuuuutttteee!!!! Bunnies! Trains!! And… dancing sailors?!?! Huh. I guess they kinda fit with the ski-er in the other pattern book….? Still, I want these! (Mum – just for reference, the trains are a size 2 and the rabbits are a size 3. ;-)


IMG_1930Simple and basic baby ones. Just because it was there. Plus, yellow. And kimono style.


So there we have it – a few new-old patterns to add to my collection. Not that I needed them, but hey – you would have done the same, right?! ;-)

Which is your favourite? I have quite a soft spot for grumpy-faced-girl, haha!


Mushrooms and cornflowers amongst the trees

Went for a walk the other weekend, with my lovely friend Nikki. We both had outfits to photograph, it was a beautiful day – seemed like a good excuse to head up to Truby King gardens for fresh air and photos-for-blogs.

Plus, my new dress is green and has mushrooms on it. Dresses like that deserve to be photographed amongst trees, don’t you think?

Mushrooms Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This pattern-and-fabric combination came about as a result of the 0 Degrees of Sewing Separation Challenge that the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network did. Jen, Mel and I decided to create links between our projects – Jen and I both had this mushrooms cotton, Mel and I both had the Bleuet dress from Deer & Doe. As you can see, I was the link between their two projects. :-)

linked dresses

(You can read all about Mel’s Bleuet dress here, and Jen’s mushrooms Alameda dress here.)

(‘Bleuet’ means ‘cornflower’ in French, in case you’re wondering where cornflowers fit into this story.)

Funny story about this fabric – Jen discovered it at a Fabric-a-brac event a while ago – it was the only length of it there, and we’d never seen it anywhere else. Naturally, she snapped it up superfast.

Then a couple of months after that, our parents went on holiday to the States, and mum bought us both back two lengths of fabric for our birthdays. And one of the two lengths she gave Jen was… the mushrooms cotton! Seriously, what are the chances?!? Anyway, Jen and I switched fabric – I got the mushrooms (because – ‘shooms!) and Jen got a cotton with pirates and skulls on it (which she’s planning on turning into a dress. Because, dresses.)

Anyway, we now have dresses in the same fabric – wheeee!!!

Mushrooms Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This is the second time I’ve made the Deer & Doe Bleuet dress. The first time was in a lightweight stretch denim, and gets worn quite a bit. I did several of the same alterations for this one, and added a couple more as well. This time ’round, I:

  • Lengthened the skirt by a lot (I forget how much – maybe 10cm or possibily a bit more?)
  • Did a small bust adjustment and removed 4cm in total from the bust
  • Added 2cm to the width of the sleeve cuff (last time they were a little bit too tight)
  • Spaced the buttons further apart than the pattern called for (because really, I didn’t want to do that many button holes! Plus my buttons are quite large so suit the wider spacing more)
  • Only interfaced one side of the collar and collar stand
  • Didn’t interface the sleeve cuffs
  • And I stitched a spare button onto the seam allowance of the skirt – it’s a habit I’m trying to get into, in case a button gets lost at some point, as it means I’ll always have a replacement one handy.

Mushrooms Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I wanted to pipe the princess seams of the dress, so that they stand out a bit. Otherwise, they’d get completely lost in this print. After a bit of debate (there were quite a few colours to choose from that could have worked) I went with a soft grey for contrast. (My sister used a dark brown on her dress for contrast, so you can see how they both look against the ‘shrooms.)

I used the same grey for the bow in the back.

Mushrooms Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And for the sleeve cuffs.

Mushrooms Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And also for the inside of the collar stand, which I slip-stitched down by hand along the bottom edge. I spent a while trying to decide whether to use it for the outside of the collar stand as well, but decided to use the ‘shrooms for the outside, and the grey for the inside for a little pop of contrast.

Mushrooms Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Haha I chuckle when I use the word ‘pop’ these days. A friend/colleague of mine who is a designer utterly hates that word. It may be creeping into my vocabulary more often than usual as a result. Coz I’m a terrible person like that sometimes.)

Mushrooms Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The ‘shrooms are directional, so I had to think a bit when cutting out the collar – which way to put them? I went with having them upright at the back collar. Wanna see something I’m pretty amazed by? Check out that pattern matching on the back collar – some of those mushrooms line up perfectly with the ones on the back bodice, making perfectly complete little ‘shrooms across both sections. Yippie! Totally intentional, of course. (Hah!)

Mushrooms Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The inside is finished simply with overlocked/serged seams. Rather than pressing the princess seams open, I finished both sides of the seam allowance as one and pressed to the side. The hem is done with Hug Snug and a machine blind hem.

Mushrooms Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Mushrooms Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And, you know. ‘Shrooms dress, in the woods. Gotta pretend to be a ‘shroom, right?

Mushrooms Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Big thanks to Nikki for taking all the garment photos. Thanks, Nikki! :-) (Here’s her outfit that we took photos of at the same time, if you’re interested.)

sitting on log

Here’s a few photos I took up at Truby King, just to round things off. I love it up there – tumbling bricks, massive rhododendrons, tall trees and all.

white flowers


blue flowers




road and wall

A me-made-May retrospective

Yep, I know – May was a while ago now. Turns out I have quite a few posts I haven’t managed to find the time to write yet! June tends to be a bit crazy, with Indie Pattern Month on the go. (Plus, I may have been working on the next Muse pattern – got it sent away to be digitised yesterday, yippie! So now I’m taking a breather from it to play with other things. Like this blog. And some knitting. And sewing something, just for me. Yay!)

Anyway, it turns out I took part in me-made-May again. I didn’t really do a pledge thing this time – my wardrobe choices are quite limited due to the littliest guy, plus I wear mainly me-made anyway. Instead, I did a little secret pledge just-to-myself to take a photo each day of my outfit. Pretty much just out of curiousity, so I can document it to look back on in about a year when I’m back to wearing the full range of my wardrobe again. For me, that’s proven to be one of the most interesting things about taking part in me-made-May – having the ability to go back and see what my day-to-day style was in previous years.

So, here we go – my outfits during May 2015! (Be prepared for a lot of button-up dresses and cardigans. They’re basically my uniform these days. Hah!)

1 to 4 May 2015

1 Maybrown linen Melissa dress, Hetty cardigan.
2 MayGumnut Babies Wenona dress (first outing for the Wenona dress – yay!), grape Coppelia cardiΒ (not shown, but you’ll see it later in the month). Worn to Fabric-a-brac, where the lovely Mel and I shared a table and had lots of fun.
3 May 70’s floral wrap skirt, grape Coppelia cardi. An unusually empty space of wall – photo taken while we were rearranging furniture to fit my new Large Format Printer (eeek! Yeahh!!) into my sewing room (woo hoo!!!)
4 MayBirds of a Feather 1940’s dress, Miette cardigan. The first photo of many taken in the mirror of the “gym” (aka table tennis room) at work.

5 to 8 May

5 MayLoganberry Coppelia wrap dress, me-made cardigan. And part of our hall way.
6 MayBeatrice 1950’s dress, cat lady Jenna cardi. And part of my bedroom haha.
7 MayRock-a-Birdy Bleuet, Strawberry Coppelia.
8 May – Hungry Caterpillar skirt, Southern Plaid tshirt, knitted-by-my-mother chunky grey cardi.

9 to 13 May

9 MayHummingbirds and Clover dress, Miette cardigan. First family trip with the littliest guy! We went down to Dunedin for a long weekend to visit my family. This photo was taken outside my parents place in Evansdale.
10 MayMelissa dress, Hetty cardigan. Plus my mother, nana, and the littliest guy. Mothers day! We went out for coffee and cake at the cafe in the Dunedin Botanic Gardens (along with my grandad, who took the photo). I don’t get to see my grandparents nearly often enough, so it was lovely to spend some time sitting and chatting with them. (Also, moments like this remind me that yes, I am tall. Hah! I tend to forget until I see photographic evidance.)
11 MayHummingbirds and Clover dress and Hetty cardigan. Not photographed, because they’re on a memory card in a different camera and I can’t be bothered finding it. Sorry, not sorry. Anyway, Steve and I left the kids with my parents and went to visit Larnach Castle, and have high tea! And one of these days I’ll get around to writing a post about that, so you’ll get to see the outfit then, if you’re particularly interested.
12 MayMellow Yellow La Sylphide dress, Miette cardigan. (Duffle coat from Max. I wore my snails Rigel bomber pretty much every day for the first week and a half of May, then it needed a wash. It’s still in my ironing pile. Ahem.) Flew back to Wellington today – photo was taken while waiting for our luggage to come out. Note to self: evening flights with small people are Not A Good Idea.
13 MayBirds of a Feather 1940’s dress, knitted-by-my-mother 1940’s cardigan. And my socks, since I’d just put the Little Guy to bed. Plus part of our constantly-messy lounge.

14 to 17 May

14 May – Hungry Caterpillar skirt, purple merino fitted tee, Bird Heart Bonnie sweater. Back to work, yes indeed.
15 May – vintage 1970’s dress (not me made! Note to self: must do ironing more often. Coz I had run out of things to wear, whoops!), black merino Jenna cardi (not blogged – was one of the samples I made when creating the pattern).
16 MayPigeonΒ skirt, made-by-my-mother 1940’s cardigan. And the outdoor bath at Sandra’s place, when we went for her housewarming. Sunset, hence the odd sky colour.
17 MayMellow Yellow La Sylphide, Marion cardigan.

18 to 21 May

18 May floral Dakota dress, nursing singlet (not me-made), striped Jenna cardi (made by my sister).
19 MayGothic Mystery 1950’s dress (it’s first outing! Exciting!), cat lady Jenna cardi.
20 MayMellow Yellow La Sylphide, Miette cardi.
21 MayBeatrice 1950’s dress, Marion cardi.

22 to 25 May

22 Mayfloral Dakota dress, nursing singlet (not me-made), Hetty cardigan. Pink day at work, to raise awareness for the annual anti-bullying campaign! Yep, that’s raspberry Foxton Fizz, and a cupcake holder filled with salted caramel popcorn. Yum!
23 MayGothic Mystery dress, Jenna cardi (again, an unblogged one. It was another sample made while creating the pattern.) High Tea at The Little Teapot cafe in Kilbirnie with the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network girls and our special guest – Penny from Dresses & Me! Yay!! So much fun!!! :-)
24 MayGumnut Babies Wenona dress, brown merino me-made cardi. And part of my sewing/work room (which doubles as a guest room).
25 MayAll Buttoned Up 1940’s dress, 1940’s cardigan knitted by my mother. Again, photo taken after putting kids to bed, so in my socks. Hah.
26 May – forgot to take a photo. Ugh. Anyway, wore my Rock-a-Birdie Bleuet dress with the grape Coppelia cardi. Both of which you’ve seen here before in this round up.

27 to 30 May

27 MayGumnut Babies Wenona dress, Miette cardigan. And a hotel room! My first night away from the Littliest Guy, and my first decent nights sleep in over a year. (Ugh.) Went to the Customer 3.1 conference in Auckland. Presented at it, too. Twice in fact – I couldn’t decide on a topic, so did both. Hah. And yes, I wore a dress covered in gumnut babies to present at a conference. Coz that’s how I roll.
28 May 1940’s dress, crazy cat lady cardigan. And a lift at the Pullman hotel where I was staying. Day 2 of the conference.
29 MayMelissa dress, wrap-around cardi knitted by my mother.
30 MayRock-a-birdie Bleuet dress, wrap-around cardi knitted by my mother.

31 May

31 MayBirds of a Feather 1940’s dress, Marion cardi. The last day! Woot! No more selfies, thankfully!!!

So yep, there we have it. A month in outfits.

Lots of dresses, lots of cardigans. Lots of knee high boots and long socks or tights, because it was rapidly heading into winter and I get cold easily. Hence also why hand-knitted cardians featured a lot.

I love dresses. So easy in the morning – just need to throw a cardi on over the top, no need to find other things to match. Also easy at this stage in my life, when I’m losing the last bit of post-baby tummy, which means skirts and trousers don’t fit very well. (Yes, I do actually own some trousers. They don’t get worn much. If at all.)

Somewhat embarrasing fact: I actually have several dresses that I can and do wear at the moment that didn’t feature this month. The reason why? They were too far down my ironing pile/mountain and didn’t make it to the top. *hands head in shame* Yeah, full time job and two small kids – ironing doesn’t happen often enough. Let’s face it – I’d rather be sewing. ;-)

Melissa in polka dot chambray

It’s a funny thing, but I always feel a little odd, posting about something I’ve made using one of my own patterns. It’s quite a New Zealand type thing, really – we’ve got this phenomenon over here called Tall Poppy Syndrome, and the flip side of it is that we all tend to be almost painfully reluctant to talk about things we’ve done that we’re proud of. Crazy but true. And you see it evidenced everywhere. People downplaying achievements, brushing off compliments, pointing out things they didn’t do so well to take the focus off things they did do well. You even see it in companies hiding awards in cupboards, embarrassed to be seen putting them out on display. We’re a shy, self-deprecating bunch over in this corner of the world.


And I’m very much from New Zealand. Which means, I’m not particularly good about talking about things that I’ve done, either. Turns out the main way it shows up here is when I make something with one of my own patterns – I feel a strong reluctance to talk about it, a fear that it would be seen as self-congratulatory, boasting, or similar. Yep, I feel kinda embarrassed to show that I like my own pattern enough to use it to make myself things. Silly, isn’t it?!?

I figured a way to try to counter that, for one post at least, is to combine a garment I want to make with a Minerva Network post. (Clearly, it’s not going so well so far, since I felt a compelling urge to put that disclaimer at the start. Hah!)

So today, here’s a new Melissa dress that I’ve made.

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anyway, ever since I made my brown linen Melissa dress, I’ve been wanting to make myself another one. I wear that one all the time (as evidenced during Me Made May, a round-up post of which I’ll get up on here sometime soon!). The idea of a polka dotted one in particular was stuck in my mind.

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And then, when I was happily procrastinating by browsing the Minerva fabric selection, I came across this beauty – a polka dotted chambray! Woo hoo!! Perfect.

I had one heck of a time deciding which colour way to use though. Indigo? Sky blue? Argh! Both so pretty! In the end I went with the sky blue, even though it’s a lighter colour than what I’m usually drawn to. A key reason I chose this one was because of the fabric I wanted to use as the contrast inset at the back. You see, I’d spotted this pretty cotton crochet-look lace, and got to wondering how it would look for the contrast. A lace v inset? Hmmm…..

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anyway, the sky blue seemed to fit with the lace better, so sky blue it was. ;-)

I’m really happy with how the lace looks on the back inset – I think it adds a fun and pretty touch.

vee inset being sewn

The sleeve cuffs required a bit of thought though. The cuffs are made by making two identical bands, sewing them right sides together, then flipping them out wards. The seams are enclosed, and the cuff is then attached to the sleeve. All well and good, but doing that with lace would have meant visible seams on the inside.

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

After giving it some thought, I cut the cuffs out in lace, chambray, and a lightweight fusible interfacing. I laid the lace with the wrong side of the lace against the non-fusible side of the interfacing, and treated them as one piece. Then, once the two cuff sections (one in lace and interfacing, the other in chambray) had been stitched together and turned right sides out, I fused the interfacing to the chambray, thus capturing the seam between those two layers and keeping it hidden. The interfacing also gives a solid white background for the white lace, which I think looks quite effective.

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Sadly I had to give up on the idea of using the lace for the pocket edgings though – the edgings are quite narrow, and this lace is quite bulky, so that just wasn’t going to work. I did a same-fabric edging instead, and I’m really happy with how that turned out. :-)

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The chambray was a dream to work with – wonderfully light, with a great drape and a fine weave. It presses well and hangs well, and is soft and lovely to handle. I may be in love with it. And now I want it in the indigo colourway as well, to make something else! It’s the perfect weight for dresses, I reckon.

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Because I wanted the lace to be the main feature of the dress, I used smaller buttons than I usually choose for shirt dresses. I kept them white to tie in with the lace and the polka dots, and picked simple little circles with a round embossed design in the centre. (I do love me a bit of texture!)

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Just for the fun of it, I used fushia coloured Hug Snug on all the seams. The one exception being the centre back seam, which I overlocked and pressed open, as I didn’t want the Hug Snug to be visible through the lace inset. Because there are a heck of a lot of seams, rather than pressing them open I pressed all the others to the side and bound both sides together with the Hug Snug. I love the inside – it’s so bright and cheerful!


I also used Hug Snug on the hem, and finished it with a blind machine hem. It seems to be my hem finish of choice at the moment. *shrug*


The photos were taken outside a sub station near where I work, by my lovely colleague Kelly. (Thanks, Kelly! You rock!!) It’s always a bit tricky getting photos this time of year – dark before work, dark when I leave work…. It was pretty windy, you may spot a bit of hair sticking straight up in one or two of the photos! I’d been wearing the dress all day at work too, so it’s got those good ol’ lived-in creases going through it. ;-) The graffiti is by a local artist – he’s quite prolific, with his work featured all over the place. Lots of happy smiley cartoon animals who are oddly dissected but seem perfectly fine about it. Strange. But also colourful, so I’m down with that.

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Also, the fabric and buttons were given to me for my monthly contribution to the Minerva Sewing Bloggers Network. You can see it all over here, along with pretty things made by other lovely sewing people. Yay! Sewing!

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes