Category Archives: Blogger meet ups

Fabric-a-brac good times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rock-a-birdy Bleuet

A month or two back, the lovely ladies of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network (WSBN) were debating – what will our next self-set sewalong challenge be? We put it to vote, and the winner was – making something using a Deer&Doe pattern!

And since we were using Deer&Doe patterns, we figured we may as well head to where the deer were for a photo shoot, so decided on a day trip to Staglands, a family animal park just outside of Wellington. (Not that any of us had been there before, but we figured that with a name like ‘Staglands’, the chance of there being deer there was quite high. Plus, we were somewhat curious as to what it was like!)

So last weekend, a few of us drove along a narrow, windy, steep, surrounded-by-native-bush road, being deafened by the sound of cicadas, until we reached Staglands tucked away in it’s valley. And oh my, was it worth the trip! We spent all afternoon there, and didn’t even get to see everything. It’s set up so well – lots of zones, lots of different animals to meet and feed and watch. Heaps of native bush, creeks and streams and bridges. And a Secret Garden with rabbits running around to pet!

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And of course, some deer, too. 🙂

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

But anyway, I guess you want to hear about what we made, right? Well, would you believe it – the four of us that turned up wearing Deer&Doe creations all made the same thing! The Bleuet dress. So we got to roam around the park in a pack of matching dresses. 😉

Quadruple Bleuets | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(From left-right: Nikki, me, Mel and Jen.)

Quadruple Bleuets | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made my Bleuet out of a stretch denim. (Admittedly, I would have preferred it not to be stretch, but that’s what I had to hand. And I’ve long been wanting a denim shirt dress, because I found these awesome swallow iron-on embroidered patches at a store a while back, and they’ve been needing me to make them a denim shirt dress for them to live on. So a denim Bleuet it was to be!)

Deer&Doe Bleuet dress

Deer&Doe – Bleuet dress pattern

Just because it was fun, I used the reverse side of the denim for contrast – on the collar (although I used the ‘outer’ side for the inside collar band, for contrast on the contrast, haha!), the bow, and the sleeve cuffs. The original plan was to use pearl snap fasteners, but I’m trying to be very good and not buy more stuff when I have so much already, so I went digging through my stash and unearthed enough red snap fasteners to use down the front. So, red fasteners it became!

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I figure it’s got a bit of a ‘rockabilly’ look to it, what with shirt dress, denim, swallows, and red. Don’t ya think?

And because all dresses should have pockets, I added pockets to the centre side panels. Nice, deep ones, good for carrying things.

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My little sis’ made a Bleuet too – we spent all of Saturday sewing together, getting them finished in time for the outing. I used some of the scraps of her (covered with birds) Bleuet for the pocket lining in mine – check it out! More birds!!

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Changes I made:

  • Lengthened the skirt by 15.5cm
  • Added pockets to the centre side panels (I’ve written a tutorial on how I did this in case anyone is interested in how to do this)
  • Did a super-dodgy small bust adjustment (SBA) by shaving 1cm off the bust curve of the side front (don’t try this at home, kids!)
  • Only put interfacing on one side of the collar and collar stand (I figured with a heavy fabric, it didn’t need more than that)

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This was my first experience sewing up a Deer&Doe pattern, and I must admit it was a bit mixed. Things I loved – the packaging and booklet are super cute, the language is friendly and engaging, the design is adorable (seriously – that bow is just so cute!!), and the pattern paper is nice and thick, really easy to trace and work with. Oh, and the bow is not only super-cute, but also made in a rather fun and easy way. 🙂

Exploring Staglands | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Things I didn’t love to much – the instructions were a bit odd at times. They don’t include cutting the interfacing in the cutting layout, so you have to hunt through the instructions to figure out what bits you need to cut – not so good when you want to do all the prep in one go as it’s very easy to miss things. Also, I felt they ask for too much interfacing – usually only one side of the collar and collar stand gets interfaced (if I remember correctly anyway – I’m now doubting all others I’ve made in the past, oops!), rather than both. I don’t feel that the sleeve cuff needs interfacing either, since it’s essentially folded in four and is therefore quite sturdy and strong. Also, the instructions for attaching the collar and stand are just plain weird – not clear at all, and what they seem to be asking you to do is a heck of a lot harder than it needs to be, with lots of room for having to unpick and resew things due to things not 100% lining up. (Same with attaching the sleeve cuff, for that matter).

So yeah. The pattern itself I like, but I do feel that the instructions made it harder than it needed to be.

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out though. The sleeve cuffs are a little bit tighter than I would have liked (I’ll extend the sleeve cuff width by about 3cm next time so they’re not so constricting), and I’m not 100% certain I like it the length I’ve ended up with, but still I am rather fond of it and I suspect it’s going to be getting a lot of wear, especially in weekends. 🙂

Oh, and we got to meet, and feed, lots of animals!

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet (with a sheep) | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My Little Guy (and my Bigger Guy) both came along too and really enjoyed themselves. Such a fun day all around! 🙂

Meeting Deer | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Stag | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Oooh, ah, fashion!

It was Wellington Fashion Week here last week – various fashion shows by New Zealand designers, random artworks popping up around the place, all that sort of fun stuff. And I was lucky enough to win two tickets to see the Millicent/Robyn Matheson joint runway show – yay!

Naturally, being fashion stuff, I had to take one of my fellow Wellington sewing bloggers along with me – the lovely Sandra. (After all, who better to appreciate fashion, aka dissect it afterwards and it’s sewing-potential, than a fellow sewasaurusrex?)

So we tootled along to Odlins Plaza on the waterfront, where a marquee was set up, with a giant pink high heel shoe outside it.


(Yes, that’s a giant pink high heel shoe. There’s a giant orange high heel shoe in the middle of the CBD as well, like some crazy-big mis-matched pair that’s been left behind after the 50 foot woman went clubbing the night before.)

Not only did we have tickets to the show, we had front row tickets. Oooh, special!

Waiting for the show to begin, watching the press people congregate at the end of the runway

Waiting for the show to begin, watching the press people congregate at the end of the runway

Which also meant – goodie bags! Very exciting. 🙂 (I was especially pleased to find a bar of chocolate in my one – it didn’t last long. Yep, I was that uncool – eating the chocolate from my goodie bag while sitting in the front row. Wonder how long I can use breastfeeding as an excuse for that sort of thing? Hmmm….) We got some knee-high purple tights in our bags (amoungst other things), must try to work them into an outfit sometime very soon…

And then, the show started! Robyn Mathieson was up first, with lots of pretty draping and colours.

Robyn Mathieson show about to begin!

Robyn Mathieson show about to begin!

Silly me forgot to get photos of the outfits I liked the most until the show was nearly over! Oops. So I can’t show you the cute peplum cardigan, but I can tell you it was princess-seamed in front and back, with the peplum only on the side panels and the centre front and back panel left straight. Very effective, yes indeed.

I can show you these two outfits though:

Gorgeous red coat

Gorgeous red coat

Pink and orange, fitted and floaty, love love love!

Pink and orange, fitted and floaty, love love love!

Next up was Millicent, a new Wellington-based label, having their first ever catwalk show.

Again, some cute designs, and lots of pretty colours.

Pink pencil skirt

Pink pencil skirt

Pretty floral dress

Pretty floral dress

The back of the dress design - love the exposed metallic zipper as contrast to the floral

The back of the dress design – love the exposed metallic zipper as contrast to the floral

Lots of florals, lots of bright colours.

Here’s my favourite look from this collection:

Pink and yellow!

Pink and yellow!

Figures – my favourite from the Robyn Mathieson was the pink-and-orange combo. My favourite from the Millicent collection was pink-and-yellow. Both so striking as they were block colours. And yet, I don’t sew block colours. Hmmm. Really must make some, as these looks were so pretty!

All up, a fun afternoon out. Especially afterwards, when we wandered off to Crumpet for crumpets and discussions of the show. (Luckily, the local fabric shops were closed by then, or sewalutions may have been broken!)

The “Beatrice” Dress


Meet the “Beatrice” dress. Otherwise known as the Wellington Sewing Bloggers dress. I originally planned to wear it to the January bloggers meet-up, but had issues with the buttonholes and had to give up, with only the fastenings to go, half an hour before the meet up. Argh!!! (Sometimes, you just have to call it quits. I’d sewn and unpicked two buttonholes as the thread wasn’t catching down one side for some reason. Frantically looked around for an alternative and sewed on a length of snap fastener tape. Then added more snaps to hide the white tape that was peeking through. Then realised that since I was in such a hurry, everything I did made it worse, so reluctantly set it aside and wore something else, while trying to overcome the feeling of shame at failing a self-set sewing deadline. Anyone else do that??)


Anyway, there it sat for a month, until the evening before the next Wellington bloggers meet-up in February. At which point, I picked it up, added a second layer of interfacing to the button plackets, and left finishing it until the next day. (Which naturally resulted in a frantic rush to finish and being half an hour late to the cafe to meet the others. Oops. One day, I’ll learn this lesson. One day.)

But now, here it is! And it got it’s debut with the Wellington ladies, over tea and cake at the Centennial pop-up cafe in the Wellington City and Sea museum.


The other reason it’s the Wellington Sewing Bloggers dress is that I made it with fabric from Joy and a pattern from Mel, both of which I acquired during the swap at the first Wellington sewing bloggers meet up. So, thank you ladies, you’ve helped extend my wardrobe! 😉

The pattern was Simplicity 5040, from 1964. This was my first time using one of the Simplicity “proportioned sizes” patterns, with different pattern pieces for short, medium and tall girls. (I used the “tall” ones.) It fits quite well, actually, with no adjustments needed outside of the standard grading at the waist. 🙂

Simplicity 5040

I did make a few changes though, as I barely had enough of this burgundy-with-blue-pinstripes shirting fabric to eek out the dress. Rather than making a pleated skirt, after I’d cut the bodice and sleeve pieces I took what fabric was left, cut it in half to make two rectangles, and used those as a gathered skirt. The sleeves are also shorter than on the pattern and without the cuffs – the sleeve length was determined by the amount of fabric I had.

As per usual at the moment, I sewed the bodice to the skirt pieces on the flat, then stitched up the side seams last, to make it easier to take in (in that theoretical day in the future when I finish losing the baby weight. One day…..)

The pattern came together nice and easily. (Admittedly, I did get rid of probably the most time-consuming detail by not doing the pleated skirt.) I love the slight puffs on the shoulders, and the cute-but-completely-useless front breast pocket.


As for the name? Well, I’ve decided I may as well work my way through the alphabet when I can’t think of anything more inspired, so I was up to the letter ‘B’. (Plus, since we were in the Centennial Cafe for our meet-up, it seemed a regal-type name was appropriate!)

The Centennial cafe is all about Britannica – there’s a display of replica British crown jewels, a green screen where you can “get your photo with the queen”, and crowns made of all sorts of things around the cafe. One must wear a crown when visiting the museum, don’t you know?


The Facts

  • Pattern: Simplicity 5040
  • Year: 1964
  • Fabric: burgundy shirting (with a bit of stretch) with blue pinstripes, gift from Joy
  • Notions: 4 buttons and two snap fasteners, along with a bit of interfacing for the button placket
  • Adjustments made: gathered skirt instead of pleated; shortened sleeves and removed sleeve cuff; shortened length (all due to restricted amount of fabric). Attached bodice to skirt in the flat, and sewed side-seams last to allow for easy taking-in in the future.
  • Verdict? I like it! It’s going to be a good work staple as well. Oddly satisfying making something that’s not in my usual somewhat crazy prints and colours…. May try that again. Sometime.
  • Make again? sure, why not?!

Here we are at the meet up, practicing our royal wave with the queen. Aren’t we all grand?! 😉


Top row, left -> right: Joy, Mel, and myself.
Bottom row, left -> right: Trees, Jo, Nikki.

Naughty royals however, they do indulge in a bit of bum-pinching now and then! Tut tut!


(Thanks to Mel, Joy and Nikki for the photos, and the Wellington City and Sea museum for the black-and-white pics.)

Teddy bears picnic (…only with bloggers instead of teddy bears)

Today was the day of the bloggers picnic. The sun was shining, the weather was clear, only a small breeze ruffled the air. (As opposed to the Wellington weather over the last few days, which involved hail, driving rain, wind, cold Southerlies, and a small earthquake or two. Clearly, the god of weather-and-sewing was smiling on us today.)

Seven Wellington (and Paraparaumu and Palmerston North) sewing bloggers gathered around the fountain in the rose gardens at Wellington Botanic Gardens, grabbed a drink at the nearby cafe, then wandered into the Dell to find a nice shady spot for a picnic lunch.

And what a lunch it was! So. Much. Amazing. Food. Yummmmmm…….


Calzone by the amazing Mrs C.


Fruit tarts (I think from Jo?). (I didn’t notice until looking at this photo that there were two flavours! Argh, I missed trying one!! This is a minor disaster, folks!)

I would mention all the other tasty treats we had, but I’m getting hungry just thinking about them all again, so I won’t inflict that on you. Lets just say, you’d be jealous at having missed it. 😉

There was lots of talk about sewing (surprise, surprise), fabric, and a couple of other crafts even got a look-in. A (very hurried) small swap (we were running out of time – too much chatting, not enough checking the time, and people’s parking was running out of time – oops!) where I scored this gorgeous Ikea cotton from Mel:


(I just love that she’s pinned on there where and when she got it, on a cute little template with a sewing machine on it. Love!) (May have to “borrow” that idea, actually….)

There was also an (equally hurried) photo shoots, where those of us wearing new garments could get some pics for our blogs. (I’ll show you photos of my new cardigan in another post later.)

It was soooo much fun! Thanks for a lovely picnic lunch, ladies. 🙂 Let’s do it again soon!


(We approached a random group of strangers to get one to take our photo. Thank you lovely lady, whoever you were!)

Top row (left to right): me (and Drake in the middle of a throwing-up action shot. Oops.), Emily, Maryanne, Juliet.
Bottom row (left to right): Jo, Mel, Nikki.

(Yep, we posed school-photo style. Just coz the steps were there, and we could.)

(Live in Wellington and want to join us next time? Let me know, and I’ll add you to the mailing list!)