Category Archives: Craft swaps

Secret Santa sewing goodies

Oooh yay, now that Christmas has been and gone, I can do a show-and-tell of the lovely goodies I got from my Sewists Secret Santa swap! Exciting!!! 😀

Seriously guys, Kat has run this swap for the last couple of years, and it’s so much fun to take part in. It’s a ’round robin’ secret santa, which means that the person you’re being secret santa for isn’t the person who’s being secret santa for you, so the mystery remains. And then… you get sewing goodies! In the mail!! From another sewing person!!! Seriously, how awesome is that?!?

Anyway, wanna see what I got? (Because I feel the need to do a show-and-tell.) My secret santa, whoever they are, sent me such a lovely parcel of goodies.

Sewists Secret Santa goodies | Modern Vintage Cupcakes
Look at all the cute little parcels and the lovely card!

Sewists Secret Santa goodies | Modern Vintage Cupcakes
She made me a Christmas cracker!

Sewists Secret Santa goodies | Modern Vintage Cupcakes
Lots of fun things in that cracker – Christmas cupcake papers, ribbon with polka dots, three vintage buttons, and a vintage belt buckle. (Modern stuff, vintage stuff, and cupcake stuff, hah!)

Sewists Secret Santa goodies | Modern Vintage Cupcakes
Pretty pretty quarter (?) lengths of fabric – one with spots and cats, and one with cupcakes. So cute! I’m thinking these are destined to be feature cuffs, collars, pockets, something like that.

Sewists Secret Santa goodies | Modern Vintage Cupcakes
And in the little pink bonus parcel? A teaspoon from London, to add to my teaspoon collection! (So hey lovely secret santa, if you’re ever in this part of the world, come visit and you can have a cup of tea with ‘your’ teaspoon. 😉 )

Thank you so much secret santa – I love it all!! Now for a very important question – which thing to use first? Tell me your thoughts people, and I’ll make something using the most popular pick!

Guest post – Nessa from Nessa’s Place

Hi everyone, today I’d like to introduce you to my newest blogging friend – Nessa of Nessa’s Place! We were paired up together for the Nautical Craft Swap – she sent me the sweetest gift, you can see it below. Nessa has been kind enough to write a guest post, so you can ‘meet’ her as well!

Hello readers of Modern Vintage Cupcakes! What an honour it is to be saying hello to you all on this creative page. I am Nessa and I write two blogs: one is called Ma Wee Hens where I write about my new adventure in keeping backyard hens, but my main blog is called Nessa’s Place, where I write about all my stitching endeavours.

A wee bit about me
I live in Scotland where it has been nothing but grey clouds and wet since 2009. But as much as I love living here, unfortunately I am not Scottish and don’t have that lovely accent! The British enjoy telling me I am Antipodean – meaning I am from the islands that are directly opposite the British islands on the globe. If a Scot digs a tunnel through the earth they would arrive at the Antipodes – Australia/New Zealand. The odd thing is, that I grew up in Australia and whenever we dug holes we were always digging to China?!
I grew up in Victoria, Australia but moved to Scotland for work in 2005. In 2007 I fell in love and got married in 2008. So now I am staying put here in this beautiful land. I do love living here with the heather on the moors, the lochs in the glens and the hills outside the windows (they call them ‘mountains’ here but we know that they don’t know what real mountains are!)

My Creating
I have sewn, stitched and knitted since I was a teenager and could think of nothing better than to get home from school, throw my pyjamas on in front of the TV and do some tapestry or knitting.

My first knitted item was meant to be a teddy bear’s scarf but my rows increased so much that it had to become an A-line skirt for my Barbie doll. I improved my knitting skills by making small baby projects like booties and cardigans in the round. They knitted up quickly, providing me with a sense of accomplishment. I wonder what ever happened to those little knitted treasures? I once knitted a cardigan for a boyfriend. I’d even read that knitting for a boyfriend was like jinxing the relationship but I didn’t want to believe it and thought it was true love…which it wasn’t. Since then I have happily only knitted for myself.
skye2011_087_medium2 copy

I did a bit of tapestry work, which led me to cross-stitch. Both projects were huge, framed pieces. I always believed (and still do) that if you are going to spend all that time and effort on a project then it must be one that you REALLY want to own and that you will love.

My Mum sewed quite a lot when we were growing up. I do remember asking her to only sew during the ads whilst we watched our favourite TV shows, as her Elna Lotus would make the reception go all stripey when she sewed. I always loved old fashioned things like Anne of Green Gables, Annie and Little Women, so my first ever attempt at sewing clothes were floor length gathered skirts, shawls and simple bonnets for my sister and I to use for dressing up games. At least now, as an adult, I can spend my money on good fabric and proper patterns and make the dresses of my dreams!
Mull Oct 10 331

Mostly I only sew things for myself that I really want to wear. I do sew for others as well, but not very often. So far my projects for others this year are to make my husband a tweed wool jacket and a tartan waistcoat for my Dad, who might be visiting from Oz. For myself – well the wish list continues with mostly dresses.

I only started blogging in 2012. I stumbled across a Pattern Review website, as I wanted to try a particular pattern but the pattern envelope was styled in such a strange way that I had no idea what it would actually look like on my figure. That’s when I found out that people actually wrote quite in-depth blogs about sewing, fitting and constructing patterns, the very same patterns that I was thinking of sewing! It was a revelation. in the beginning I just bookmarked people’s blogs that were interesting to me – this led to some overflowing bookmark folders and I couldn’t keep up with them. Transitioning from blog lurker to blog commenter was rewarding. I realised that I could be encouraging and that I could help people with some of their sewing dilemas or technical issues. Being useful motivated me to want to write my own blog and record my own creative progress. I do live in quite a rural place, with no other sewing enthusiasts to befriend, so to be a part of a sewing community has been really the best part about blog writing.
I also really love seeing how patterns and outfits look on real life people of all different shapes, sizes and styles.

How I “met” Kat
I first started following Kat’s blog when I saw her giveaway on the February Sew Grateful Week posts. I think the first things I noticed about her blog were the photo-a-day challenges which give a lovely glimpse into everyday life in Wellington, and her detailed photographs of her handmade garments. The first garment that I remember impressed me was a blouse that she had made and used adapted patterns to create her own version. It was really unique and a very cleverly made item that showed a great sense of ingenuity and creativity. So I’ve been a follower ever since.
I enrolled in Rachel’s House of Pinheiro International Craft Swap this year and was paired up with Kat. This was great for me, as I was already familiar with her recent posts, but it gave me a good excuse to scroll through her previous posts and “get to know her” a bit better. But those photos of her sweet baby boy were pretty hard to scroll past – what a sweety!
We were asked to create something crafty for our partner and include a small gift. Here is what I made for Kat – it’s a lunch bag
I also sent along a piece of retro kitchen print fabric and some British ribbons.
lunch bags 002

Here is what Kat made for me – it’s even reversible!

I also received some DELICIOUS honey flavoured chocolate from New Zealand and some very jazzy pens.
Thanks for reading! If there are any comments, I will be sure to pop over to your blog pages and enjoy “meeting” you too. Hope you all have a very productive and creative year ahead!

Thank you so much Nessa! It’s been so lovely getting to know you, and I am in complete awe of your 1850’s dress!!! I’m looking forward to following your blog and seeing what you make next. 🙂

Guest post – Lucy from Needle and Ladle

Last month, I took part in my first Covert Robin swap. I had so much fun making something for my swap partner. And then there was even more fun – the postie delivered a parcel containing a super fabulous gift from my swap partner, the lovely Lucy from Needle and Ladle. Lucy sent me the most fabulous present (which you can read more about below), and has also been kind enough to do a guest post. Thanks, Lucy!

Hello, Modern Vintage Cupcakes readers!
My name is Lucy and I am Kat’s secret Covert Robin buddy! I am very excited to be here today. My blog is called Needle and Ladle where I wrote about the things I made, mainly sewing and quilting.

Here is a little about me:
I live in Texas, USA with my husband and 3-year-old son. Not long after I became a mom, I quit my full-time job and we moved from west coast to Texas. Two years ago I started mending/altering my son’s clothes hoping to make them last longer. Ever since then, sewing has been slowly growing to be a major part of my life. I love sewing garments and all kinds of bags. I make clothing for my husband, and myself but I spend more time sewing for kids. My son is my sweet little model. Here is his preschool backpack:


And a wool jacket for him I made last December:


Besides sewing, I love all kinds of needlework art, cross-stitching in particular; and I recently pick up quilting, it’s fun! I learned and got lots of help and inspirations from the online sewing community, so last year I also started my own blog Needle and Ladle. I guess you can drop by if you would like to find out more, I love new friends!

Back to the Covert Robin~
This is the first time I participated in Covert Robin, so I was very excited and at the same time nervous about what to make. Thankfully, Kat has a great blog and I immediately headed over. After “stalking” Kat’s blog a few days, I decided to make her a wet bag and a pair of indoor slippers.


Wet bags seem to be very popular among moms in US. I didn’t know about this when my kid was small. I used this tutorial for it. The lining is waterproof PUL fabric that is used widely for cloth diaper cover. And I used cotton twill for the exterior. I guess it’d be a great companion for a new mom like Kat.


As for the slipper, I have this pretty Color Me Retro fabric by Jeni Baker and thought it’d be really cute on slippers, and I guess Kat might love it too. I wrote a brief tutorial over here. It’s made out of all fabric- quilting cotton, denim, linen, and fleece. Although it may not be as durable like factory-made slipper, but I get to choose the prints I want and it’s washable and warm.


I surely hope you love the gifts, Kat. And I am very happy to know you! Thanks for having me over today 🙂

Thank you so much Lucy! It was great finding out more about you. That little jacket you made for your son is gorgeous! And I really love the slippers and wet bag you sent me, they’re getting used a lot. 🙂 Happy sewing!

Covert tea cozy

A while back, I spotted a new swap thingy happening via the sewing interwebs. The Covert Robin swap. It sounded like fun, so I went and signed up. 🙂

After a fair bit of cyber-stalking my swap buddies blog, I finished off my gift and sent it off to them this week.

Wanna see what I made?


Yep, it’s orange and yellow and white. Can you guess what it is?


A tea pot cozy!

I used this tutorial over here. Lots of fun to make up, I’m thinking I may have to make myself one. (Except I have a couple of fabulous knitted ones my mother-in-law made for me, so I don’t really need another. Maybe I need to make a few more as gifts….)

Since my swap buddy likes vintage linens and doilies, I figured she’s probably be a tea drinker. (I don’t know about you, but vintage linen and tea kinda of go together in my brain.) I carried through the vintage inspiration by using a vintage cotton for the outside, and some vintage braid for the loop on the top. (The inside is a craft cotton leftover from a dress I made a couple of years back.) There’s batting sandwiched between the two layers, and bias binding finishing it off around the bottom.


I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. It fits snugly over a teapot, and the colours make me happy. Hopefully the girl I made it for will like it…..!


The Pedro Bag

My craft group, the super-awesome and lovely Crafty Foxes, regularly do craft swaps. Pretty much every six weeks, a random topic is chosen, everyone who’s keen signs up, and the magic hat of number (a.k.a. draws out who’s making for who. Then we have six weeks to make something for the person who’s name we’ve been given, in the theme of the swap. So much fun!

The latest swap has just ended. The theme was ‘Favourite Movies’. We each listed our three favourite movies, and had to make something for our mystery swap partner using one (or more) of their three favourite movies. My swap partner was Ria – she’s new to the Crafty Foxes, and I’d never met her before, which added to the fun! Her three fave movies were Beetlejuice, Scott Palmer vs The World, and Napolean Dynamite. My first thought was to make Scott Palmer inspired magnets. But that just wasn’t coming together as I’d planned it out in my head (don’t you hate it when that happens, and a vision just refuses to let itself become reality?!). I toyed briefly with the idea of doing something inspired by Beetlejuice’s black-and-white striped outfit, but since I’d never met Ria I had no idea of her style, and there was just too much potential for that not to work out so well. So I gave in and went with what was probably more-or-less inevitable – the ‘Vote For Pedro’ slogan from Napolean Dynamite. Predictable, no? But still so fun. 🙂

First, I took a white shirt of Steve’s that he didn’t want any more.

(The red ‘P’ was just put there for the photo, by the way.)

Next, I took some red felt and cut out the words. I had contemplated screen printing them on, but rough applique just appealed to me more, for some reason.

Add them together, with some blue-and-white gingham for a shoulder strap and some red satin type stuff (left over from making bridesmaids dresses for my lovely friend Susan’s wedding earlier this year), a bit of Velcro to fasten it with, and you’ve got yourself a bag!

And yes, I know the lettering is a bit rough-looking. That was planned – I wanted to see how it would look if I just stitched down the centre of each letter. I quite like it, actually – it’s got that whole arts-and-crafts vibe about it. 🙂 (Admittedly it does look better in real life than it does in the photo, I think.)

I found it kind of amusing that it’s all red, white and blue, since that the current Sew Weekly theme for this week.

Speaking of which, I finished my creation for the latest Sew Weekly challenge tonight. Yay! I’m pretty happy with it – I think it’s going to be a wardrobe favourite. 🙂 But you’ll have to wait until Sunday to see it – Steve and I have a standing date on Sunday afternoon’s to get photos of my latest Sew Weekly creations, and there is no chance I can convince him to take photos before then.

World-travelling lace and notions

Over on the Sew Weekly Sewing Circle, we got a bit of a sewing-related swap happening. A group of us put our names down and elected to send an envelope of lace and other notions to one of the other circle members, drawn at random from the list. So much fun! There were girls on the list from all over the world – New Zealand (me, of course!), Australia, the United States, Italy, England, Scotland. It was great to see such an international group coming together with our love of sewing and vintage things, and sharing them with each other! (And if there’s anyone reading my blog who isn’t interested in that sort of thing, this is where you can tune out. But then, why on earth would you be reading my blog if you weren’t interested in sewing and lovely vintage clothing, fabrics, patterns and trims?!?)

I was super-excited when I got home today and found a little package addressed to me, all the way from the lovely Meg from Meg the Grand, in Chicago. Yippie! And I was even more excited when I opened it, and found this super-brilliant stash of loveliness!

Isn’t it gorgeous?!

Meg was kind enough to send me the following:
– a length (around 2 metres) of stunning silk graduating from bright to dark blue
– 6 vintage buttons her Grandmother gave her (thanks, Meg’s Grandmother! 🙂 ) (you can’t tell in the photo unfortunately, but they’re kind of zig-zagged shaped around the top, which is a rather awesome retro style in my opinion!)
– some buttercup yellow vintage double-fold bias tape (also from Meg’s Grandmother)
– some single-fold blue bias tape (I do love me some bias tape!)
– beige seam binding (which is something I’ve been meaning to try using – clearly you read my mind, Meg!)
– flexi-lace seam binding (which I’m going to have to do some visible seam binding with, coz it’s so pretty)
– vintage white ric-rac with sparkley gold zig-zags on it (so so awesome!)
– 4 yards of very cute white ribbon with little multi-coloured tulips on it (which also look like the PacMan ghosts if you hold it upside down – I can’t decide which way up is best, in fact! Maybe I can make it stretch to two garments and have some each way….)
– and a very lovely card she wrote me!

As you can see with all the exclamation marks, I’m somewhat excited by this stash of goodies. 🙂 It was such a great thing to come home to today as well, since I ended up working 12 hours today (yes, on a Friday! Argh!) and had that horrible feeling of knowing you’ve left so much urgent work still to be done when you leave. Gah. So, thanks Meg, you’ve brightened my day lots! 🙂 Now I have to think about where I’m going to use these goodies! Yay!

Ultra-cute fabric wallet

For those who don’t know, I’m a member of a craft group called Crafty Foxes. (Coz we’re foxy and we’re crafty, geddit? Ha.) Anyways, one of the things we do to encourage us to branch out and try other crafty things, is to have craft swaps. Every six weeks (or thereabouts) we draw a new theme, everyone who’s interested in taking part registers for it, and then names are drawn out at random to decide who’s making for who. Everyone knows who’s they’re making something for, but no one knows who’s making something for them. Fun! And, of course, it has to be within the theme, just to add a bit more of a challenge to it all.

The last craft swap theme was the $5 challenge. We each had to make something for someone else without spending more than $5, and without using materials from our craft supplies stash. (Except for obvious things that it would be silly to buy again, such as thread and knitting needles.)

I had the lovely Christina for my swap partner, and decided to try out one of the many super awesome tutorials I’ve been finding online. I went to a massive garage sale, and found some pretty brown floral fabric, and some brown cotton drill, which conveniently went quite well together. Then I went hunting through the long (looooong) list of tutorials I’ve booked marked as ones I want to try making.

As soon as I saw this tutorial, the decision was made. Cute, practical, and would work well with the two fabrics I had. (And, of course, I thought Christina might like it.) Perfect!

So, here’s the tutorial I used:

And here’s the results!

Fabric wallet - open

Fabric wallet - open

Fabric wallet - closed

Fabric wallet - closed

Crafty Foxes ‘reconstructed tshirt’ swap

So for those who don’t know, I am a member of the Crafty Foxes, a super-fantastic group of gals who meet every couple of weeks to eat, drink, hang out, and work on whatever random crafty type stuff we’re doing at the time.

We also have craft swaps every couple of months, with a  different theme each time.  Two months ago, we started our latest swap – reconstructed tshirts.  Everyone who was taking part gave an old tshirt of theirs to another swap participant, who then had to turn said tshirt into something else over the course of the two months.  Then tonight, we had our end-of-swap meeting, where we all hung out at Katipo Cafe (gotta love those red walls!) and handed back the tshirts, in their new forms.

For the swap, I got given a tshirt from the lovely Teresa.  Pale grey marle, with a pegasus print on the front.  Teresa told me that she loved the print, but not the colour.  So, I decided to turn her tshirt into….  a different tshirt.  Yes indeed.  I found some great black-and-white-striped tshirt fabric (coz Teresa is all about gothic 1950’s style), which I used for the front and back of a new tshirt.  I then cut the pegasus print out of the front of her old tshirt, and added it to the front of the new tshirt.  I made the sleeves out of the back of her old tshirt, and after that sadly there wasn’t enough fabric left over for me to turn into anything else overly interesting….

My other swap partner (the one who was making something for me) was the also-lovely Natalie K.  I handed her one of my old breast cancer awareness tshirts, which though I loved, was too short.  Black thing, with big pink cartoon daisys on it.  Tonight she gave it back to me in it’s new form – a pair of sleeves!  Which are ultra-cute.  They’re long (halfway up my bicep) and have thumb holes, and each has a daisy on it whose cartoon face sits on the back of your hand.  So cute!  I loves them lots.  🙂

Here are some pics of the creations I made and received….