Category Archives: Maternity friendly

Pinky Bar tee

So, I actually finished this a couple of weeks ago, but the first lot of photos turned out rubbish so I had to wait for another weekend to get some more. In the meantime, this top has been getting worn quite a bit!

Pinky Bar tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Itโ€™s the SJ Tee pattern from Papercut – described as a slouchy fit tee with raglan sleeves and a wide cuff.

Papercut Patterns SJ Tee line drawings

Papercut Patterns SJ Tee line drawings

This is the second version of the SJ Tee pattern – Katie from Papercut re-released it when she released the super-cute Tri collection, and made some changes. First up, there are more options – it can be made long or cropped, and with either long or short cuffed sleeves. And secondly, the neckline was altered to bring it in closer (the first SJ tee was designed to fall off one shoulder). I donโ€™t have the first pattern, so canโ€™t really compare the two, but what I do know is, I rather like the cut of this one. ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus, the sleeves are wonderfully long – just the right length of me, without needing to add more, which is rather unusual and makes me happy.

Pinky Bar tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The neckline is probably a bit wider than Iโ€™d like for a tshirt still, simply because of the gaping-while-leaning-forward-to-pick-up-a-child aspect, but maybe thatโ€™ll just serve as a good reminder for me to โ€œbend your knees, not your backโ€. (Yes, yes, terrible habit, I know. *sigh*) Since I made this one with the intention of wearing it over other things, that doesnโ€™t bother me anyway, and as long as Iโ€™m not leaning forward lots, I like where it sits.

The pattern came together nice and quickly, with the aid of my trusty overlocker. (My gosh I love that thing!) Iโ€™ve been experimenting with using a twin needle instead of the coverstitch function on my overlocker recently, just to test it out, so I twin-needled up the hem, which all went fine. The rest of the edges are finished with cuffs or a neckband, which gives them all a nice, clean finish.

Pinky Bar tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My only real issue with making this one up was attaching the neck band. Now, I didnโ€™t have any issues with the pattern itself, or the instructions. My issue is simply that I can never get neck bands done in this way to be as good as they could/should be. (But then, I am not exactly known for being a perfectionist in my sewing anyway, which would be a big contributor to this, whoops!) The band is attached like double-fold bias binding, which gives a nice, clean finish with no exposed edges on either the inside or the outside. I am just kinda useless at catching the underneath layer nicely with this sort of finish. Next time I think Iโ€™ll just use the classic fold-band-in-half, attach, top-stitch-seam-allowance-down method and save myself from a bit of self-beratement at my not-as-good-as-it-should-be finishing.

Since the SJ tee is a loose fit, it fits rather well over The Bump at the moment. Yay! (Bump is now 34 weeks. And growing, growing, growing. I may only get a couple more weeks wear out of this top before I put it aside for fear of it being horribly stretched out of shape…. Seriously, look at the size of this thing!)

Pinky Bar tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made it up in a merino/nylon blend thatโ€™s been lurking in my stash for a while. I love this colour – bright pink makes me happy! (So does chocolate. Hence this is the Pinky Bar top. Mmm….. Pinky bars…..)

(Wanna know something funny? The next project I intend to show you on here is pretty much the same colour. Oh yeah, I do love me a bit of bright pink!)

Pinky Bar tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Since I had just enough fabric to make the long-sleeved version, I thought Iโ€™d give that a go, and push myself out of my normal short-sleeved comfort zone. Glad I did – this is going to be great all year โ€˜round, I think. Light enough to throw on over a singlet in summer when itโ€™s heading towards evening, and warm enough to use as a layering piece in winter. Win!

Final verdict on this pattern? Yeah, I’ll be making it again. Short sleeved version next, for summer, I think.

About as “cake” as you can get

It’s The Monthly Stitch‘s first birthday this month. Yay! And to celebrate, the theme is all about sewing cake. (Whatever you feel like translating that as.)

My first plans involved some gorgeous lemon yellow lightweight cotton with cupcakes and slices of cake printed all over it.

Then sanity reared it’s ugly head and I realised just how utterly ridiculous a yellow cupcake-covered dress would look on me when I’m seven months pregnant. Yeah, nah.

Back to the drawing board.

My next idea was the Pavlova wrap top from Cake. I even went so far as to get the pattern and have it sitting on my sewing desk/disaster area for a couple of weeks. But I just couldn’t bring myself to progress further with it. It finally dawned on me that that’s because I have no need whatsoever for another wrap top in my wardrobe, and if I did, I’d go with my T&T Papercut Coppelia pattern. (Which doesn’t really fit the ‘cake’ theme at all.)

Thinking, thinking, and then it hit me – one thing I’m finding quite frustrating in my bump-friendly wardrobe right now is tops to wear with maternity jeans. I have some that people have passed on to me, but the majority just aren’t my style. Simple tshirts – that’s pretty definite ‘cake’ territory if you’re going with the ‘sewing frosting vs. sewing cake’ metaphor. Perfect!

Seemed like a good time to dig out the Dixie DIY Summer Concert tee that I got when I purchased the first Pattern Parcel. Loose and drapey, there’s plenty of room there for bump-accommodation.

And hey, since I was sewing ‘cake‘ I figured, may as well go for ‘ultimate cake’ and make a plain black tee, right?!

Black Cake tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It was my first time using this pattern, but after having seen made-up ones on some other blogs, I knew it goes pretty high in the front (like, belly-button-baring high!). Which would be too high for my style anyway, but over a bump as well that just wasn’t going to work. So I lengthened it by 11cm in the centre front, 1cm in the centre back, and changed the curve of the edge to go with those adjustments.

Black Cake tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern went together nice and smoothly, for the main part. I like how the sleeves are done, with the drop shoulder and then a simple band added. (Although it could have used a notch or similar to make it clearer which side gets attached to the body.) Once I had it all cut out, this top only took me an hour to make – win!

Black Cake tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

However, it had the potential to only take 40 minutes.

What added 20 minutes to my time? Well, the usual technical stuff, such as one of the spools of overlocker/serger thread running out (for a looper, naturally, when meant a complete re-threading of both loopers), and my double needle not co-operating at all (probably due to having two types of black thread, one slightly thicker than the other. Lesson learnt. Also, I need to buy more black thread.)

But the other thing? That neck binding. It uses the common technique of sewing up the short edges, folding in half, then attaching to the neckline before top stitching down. Easy enough to do. Unless the neck binding is super short compared to the neckline, in which case there’s a heck of a lot of stretching it as much as you can and using heaps and heaps!) of pins, while hoping it doesn’t bunch too much while being stitched up.


I got curious after making this up, and measured the neck binding pattern piece and the neckline to see how much difference there actually is between them. After removing seam allowances from the equation, the neck binding piece measures 43cm long. The neckline – 58cm long. Yep, that neck binding had to stretch by 15cm to fit around the neckline. Which is just over 1/3 again of it’s original length. Unless you’re using a super-stretchy fabric, that’s gonna be a bit of a battle, and I was just using a simple cotton knit tshirting.

After a heck of a lot of pulling and tugging and pinning, I finally got the dratted thing attached. (Although I wish I’d just given in and gone and recut it to be longer – it would have had a cleaner finish that way, too.)

Black Cake tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So there we have it – the Summer Concert tee, in black. Yep, it fits well over the bump, and should do so for the next couple of months as it continues to grow (and grow. And groooowwwwww…. Eek!). It’s kinda funny, because most maternity things these days are super tight, and this in contrast is pretty loose (hence super comfy over the bump – yay!), but I think it kinda works (hopefully??) over skinny-leg maternity jeans (does it??).

(Plus this is the bump-size at 31 weeks. 9 weeks of growing left to do. Yeah, space is required in preggy tops right now, eek!)

Black Cake tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Cake maternity sewing, at it’s finest?

(Side note: I’ll probably put the shaping of the high-low hem back into this a bit (although not to the same extent as the original pattern) once I don’t need it for maternity wear.)

Oh yeah, and part-way through the photos, I realised that the merino top I was wearing underneath (coz hey, still pretty darn cold down in these parts) matched my hair colour. See?

Black Cake tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

May not be the sort of matchy-matchy that our grandmothers did so well, but I kinda match some things, sometimes! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s a new thing – maternity-trackpant-jeans!

Yep, you read that right.

Maternity Anima jeans | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’ve been in need of some new maternity trousers for a while (I have one pair. They get a lot of use. And a lot of washing, due to the Little Guy being around – he’s rather good at careful placements of messy hands on clean clothes.). Ever since I made my pair of Papercut Anima pants, I’ve been toying with the idea of making a second pair as maternity pants. Where the waistband on them sits on me seemed like the perfect location for a maternity band to start instead, and I figured it would be super easy to switch out the elastic waistband for a wide maternity band instead.

Maternity Anima jeans | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And then the Papercut Anima Pants contest came about. It was like fate was telling me to get a move on, stop thinking about it, and finally get around to making those maternity pants!

So, I did.

Maternity Anima jeans | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

But since I don’t tend to wear knit fabric trousers for anything aside from exercising I decided to make ’em up as jeans instead, using a lightweight dark blue denim I had floating around in my stash (a.k.a. ‘fabric library’).

Yep, I took a pattern that was designed for knit fabrics, and used it to make a pair of jeans.

Maternity Anima jeans | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And you know what? It was super easy! And they fit quite well, I reckon (although I also think the photos don’t do them justice, but oh well. Photos – tricky beasts they can be, no?).

Maternity Anima jeans | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I also needed to do very little to them in the way of alterations. I made up the same size as I did last time, after trying on my other pair and deciding that there was enough room in the seat and thighs to get away with being made up in a woven. Sure enough – a good fit in all those areas.

Maternity Anima jeans | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Aside from the maternity hack, the only changes I made were to the legs. My other maternity jeans are skinny leg ones, so I thought I’d go for something a bit wider with this pair. I widened the legs a bit heading towards (but not quite at) a straight leg style. I also lengthened them a bit (since I have crazy long legs and I wasn’t going to put the wide cuff on at the bottom) and drafted a narrower, straight cuff for at the bottom.

Maternity Anima jeans | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The maternity hack was super easy. I took the waistband pattern piece and used it to cut a wide strip of knit fabric. I then wrapped that around the widest point of the baby bump, made sure it was firm (but not tight – there’s still a fair bit of growing going to happen in that space!), and trimmed it down to the right width. Then I stitched it so it was a double-thickness circle, and attached it on to the top of the pants, stretching gently to fit as I went. Easy, and comfy! (Although I am considering going back and adding some elastic to the top of it, as they do ride down when I sit down without having that little extra bit of support….)

Maternity Anima jeans | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

All up, I’m pretty happy with these, and I think they’re gonna get a lot of wear. (The Little Guy must have liked them too, since he managed to get something on one of the front thighs just as we were about to get photos. Gah.)

Maternity Anima jeans | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Check out the size of that bump – 27 weeks and counting! I continue to be slightly terrified by how large it’s going to get this time around….

Maternity Anima jeans | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Circling around and around

Check it out – I broke out of my usual colour comfort zone and….

Black Circle Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

made something black!!


(Yes, this is rare for me. Sure, my Simone dress had a black background, but I countered it with purple, and even then it’s far more neutral than pretty much everything else I own.)

But hey, it’s mono-sewn month over at The Monthly Stitch, and the challenge is to sew in black and/or white.

And white? Yeah, it’s not my friend. Looks dreadful on me, and looks even worse after I’ve been wearing it a little while as something about wearing white makes me far more likely to spill things on myself. Or use a pen that leaks. Or get splashed by a passing car going through a muddy puddle. Like I said – white isn’t my friend, and I’m not really it’s friend, either.

So black it clearly had to be!

Black Circle Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I dug out this mid-heavy weight wool blend (? I think?) knit from my stash. Had no idea it was there, and I still have no idea of where it came from or how long it’s been floating around in my stash for. (Signs my stash is too large. Oops.)

And I grabbed my newest Papercut pattern – the Circle Top.

Papercut Circle Top

(Yep, another Papercut make. But hey, I did warn you all – after all, they’ve got the biggest collection of patterns that I can sew up and still wear while pregnant, so this is kinda inevitable!)

Seriously though, have you seen the Circle Top pattern? It’s just like it says on the box – a giant circle. With sleeves. Worn as a top. Crazy!

Black Circle Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Black Circle Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And also surprisingly comfortable and cozy. Coz the circular nature of it means you can do things like wear it up over your head like a hood, or pull the edges up and in so it snuggles around your neck kinda like a scarf.

Black Circle Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Plus it’s kinda fun to wrap all around yourself when it’s cold outside.)

Black Circle Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I must admit that at first, I didn’t really see myself wearing this style. But then Sandra kept putting up pics of herself in one of her two Circle Tops during Me Made May, and every single time I saw it, I wanted one. And now, I have one of my very own! Yippie!

At first, I thought this would be a super-fast make. After all, it’s just a circle, two sleeves, two sleeve cuffs, and edge binding. Simple, right? And sure enough, the sleeves and sleeve cuffs and circle all joined together crazy fast, probably in about 20 minutes.

And then I got to the binding.

Which just went on. And on. And ooooonnnn. Turns out there’s a fair distance around that there circle!

Worth it though, as the binding gives a nice clean finish (especially important with this style, since you see both sides as it hangs open) and also gives it a bit more weight for draping in the front.

Black Circle Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Please don’t look too closely at the binding in the above image though. Shameful though it may be to admit it, I finished this around 11pm on Friday night and we caught a plane early the next morning, so I didn’t get a chance to press the binding. It’s all pressed now though, and sitting much flatter than in that photo!)

The only issue I really had is that the sleeves are just a bit too short on me. Not surprising, since I have crazy long gorilla arms, and I didn’t lengthen the sleeves on this, so they’re made up at their ‘real’ length. Which would be a pretty good, long length on most other people. For myself, next time I’m gonna add probably 6cm to them.

Black Circle Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My long-suffering made-to-photograph-my-creations partner and I went down to Nelson last weekend for a long weekend. (Without the Little Guy! First time we’ve been away from him, together, for more than a couple of hours! Very strange not to have him there.) Since I seem to have a ‘thing’ about wanting to take something new with me whenever I go away somewhere (gotta get different-location-photos, after all! Hah!), I rushed to get this finished late on Friday night as we were flying down early Saturday morning. And then I proceeded to wear it for the whole three days we were away, being all happy and snuggly and cozy, yes indeed. ๐Ÿ™‚

These photos were taken walking alongside the river that runs through Nelson, and also up in the gardens around the Nelson cathedral.

(Except for this one, which was taken in the Chinese Garden section of Queens Gardens. Blossoms! In the middle of winter! Made me happy. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Black Circle Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Oh, and guess what else? I met Katie from Papercut when I was in Nelson! And she is super lovely and I got to visit the Papercut workroom and everything. (And my gosh, I want her workroom! So organised and filled with inspiring fabrics and things and with a super huge massive printer where she prints the patterns out directly.) I even convinced her to help me package up a few patterns so who knows? Maybe some of you will get a Papercut pattern that I helped put together in it’s box! Mwahahahaha!

So yeah, the Circle Top. I likes it! And I am thinking about making one with contrasting band, coz wouldn’t that look rather fabulous, don’t you think?

And since it’s growing and all, here’s a ‘bump’ photo. For whatever week I’m up to now. 24 weeks, maybe? (Lost track. Oops!)

Black Circle Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So tell me folks, do you have a ‘need’ to make something new when you go on holiday, or is it just me?

I may be going to Christchurch for three days for work in a couple of weeks. Hmmm.. what to make, what to make….? Papercut’s Ooh La Leggings, Victory’s Anouk dress, or a vintage 1970’s dress? Which should it be??

Do you have a plan, sis?

Coz I do.

I do indeed.

(Or should that be, I did?)

It was Franken-Indie week over on The Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month, and, well, since I seem to be addicted to sewing challenges (especially ones with short time frames) I kinda had to come up with something.

(Side note: it’s much, much harder to come up with a mash-up of two or more indie patterns when you’ve got a baby bump to contend with.)

I thought, and I thought. And I thought some more.

And then it hit me.

Combine the Deer & Doe Plantain tee with the Papercut Ensis.

Deer&Doe Plantain

Papercut Ensis tee










Flare at the waist (i.e. bump-accommodating-space), well-placed colour blocking, and elbow patches!!!

Plantain + Ensis = Plansis! ๐Ÿ˜€

(Yeah, it kinda works, right?)

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anyway, it was pretty easy hack to do. I cut the Plaintain tee in a size 40 (one size bigger than usual, due to pregnancy-rib-cage-expansion), and while cutting I laid the top section of the Ensis tee pattern over the top, so I could see where the colour blocking would start. I cut up to that overlap plus an extra 1cm for seam allowance, on the front, back and sleeve panels. (Note to self: next time, take a photo of this, coz these things are a lot easier to explain in pictures than words….)

(And in the process I found myself rather interested in how much the arm scye on the Plaintain and the Ensis differed. Far more than I was expecting, considering they’re both tee patterns. Kinda tempting to pull out a few more tee patterns to compare them all….)

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Then, I did much the same process to cut out the purple top section – again, using the Plaintain tee for the shape of the top (so the top and bottom matched nicely) and the Ensis top pattern sections to figure out how far down to cut (again, cutting down to the end of the Ensis top pattern piece and adding 1cm seam allowance to get that nice, clean match-up of pieces when stitching up).

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And since I was rockin’ the purple colour blockin’, I did the elbow patches in purple, too.

(Seriously folks – elbow patches!!! Man, I just love that there is a tshirt pattern out there with elbow patches on it.)

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Because I am tall and have crazy long gorilla arms (a rock-climbing friend of mine once informed me I have a good ‘ape factor’. True story. In theory this means I should be good at rock climbing. If I wasn’t terrified of heights, that is. Ugh.) I did my usual and lengthened the sleeves by 6cm.

And then when I stitched it all up and tried those sleeves on, they were still too short, so I added cuffs to them and now they nicely cover my wrists and the lower part of my hands and are perfect for winter. ๐Ÿ™‚ (It came to a total addition of 11cm length to the arms, by the way. See? Long gorilla arms.)

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

However, since I was only expecting to have to add my usual 6cm in length, I didn’t think to check the placement of the elbow patches until after I’d stitched it all up and realised the arms were still too long. Yeah, they kinda sit above my elbows. Ah well, they’re still ovals of purple so I like them enough. And I have plans for more of these Plantain-Ensis-cross tops, so I’ll adjust the placement next time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m also going to lengthen it next time. It’d be ok if I wasn’t preggers, but as it is, this top is a little bit too short. Especially when goofing around and raising ones arms in the air, like so:

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I was naughty and didn’t hem the bottom – this fabric isn’t going to fray, and it means I can take it in at the sides post-baby if I feel like it. Flexibility = good.

Also, the bump is getting kinda crazy big. And I still have four months to go….. (*slightly terrified that I may not be able to get into cars/fit through doorways/etc*)

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Speaking of the fabric (if you’re interested) – the stripe is a mid-heavy weight cotton-blend tshirting I got at Levana factory outlet, oh about 12 years ago now. (Eep!) the purple is a mid-weight cotton-blend tshirting. Not sure where I got it from, chances are it was also from Levana. Either way, it’s been in my stash for ages and is slowly getting used up – would you believe I had about 10m of it!?! (My sister made an awesome Lady Skater dress from it the other week. I’ve already used it for a muslin of Ooh La Leggings, a Hummingbird tee and a Tiramisu dress, none of which are in my wardrobe any more, so clearly I need to make another dress or something out of this stuff coz really, purple is awesome.)

Hmmm. I’ve been up too long – the rambling has set in. Time for bed, I think….

Oh yeah, and it was windy today. Because I live in Wellington, and that’s how things are here. I submit my hair as evidence of this:

Plansis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

G’night, all. Zzzzz……

Hi-lo there, meet Simone

Hey everyone, check it out! I made something that isn’t from Papercut!!

(Yeah, it’s been a while, I know. What can I say? Not many preggy-friendly indies out there, as it turns out.)

Although following on with my common winter trend, it does contain the colour purple.

Meet Simone, from Victory Patterns.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My first ever Victory Patterns make, in fact. Since this week is the ‘New To Me’ theme for Indie Pattern Month over at The Monthly Stitch, it seemed like a good time to give a Victory pattern a try.

(Fair warning – it won’t be the last. Like Papercut, Victory are one of the very few indie labels that I’ve found that have styles that look like they’ll work with a bump as well as still being able to wear them post-bump. The Anouk is likely to happen sometime soon as well. And I am kinda tempted by Roxanne as well, although that one hasn’t made it into my pattern collection yet, so we’ll see.)

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made up the dress version of Simone, complete with it’s high-low hem. Now I must admit, this is miles from my usual style. I’m usually all about fitted waists, and high-low hems have never been on the list of things-I-like. If I wasn’t pregnant, I wouldn’t have given this pattern a go. But since it’s fitted at the top, and gets loose from just under the bust, it seemed like it might work well for the next couple of months, so it was worth a shot.

And you know what? I am now a convert to this style! I actually really like it – it’s fun to wear, there’s enough fit in it that the flare doesn’t make you look huge (always a bit of a fear of mine), and the high-low hem is kinda fun and catches the wind quite nicely when you move. Hi there Simone! You may well feature again in my wardrobe in the future.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made this one up in a something-synthetic-probably-polyester length from the remnant bin at The Fabric Warehouse. No idea what it is, since their remnants don’t have composition labels on them, but it’s quite a firm weave and yet nice and floaty, so when I spotted it (for only $5! Score!) I grabbed it to make this dress in. (Oops. Fabric buying ban fail. To be fair, I couldn’t think of anything in my stash that would be suitable for this style, though!)

I wasn’t sure what to use for the contrasting bib front and racer back. I pulled three small leftover-from-other-projects lengths of lightweight cotton drill from my stash and turned to Instagram to get opinions. Most people preferred the black, with burgundy coming a close second. But the call of winter got to me, and I went with the purple. (Sorry, folks! Next time, ok?)

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, let’s talk about this pattern.

I believe in being honest in my reviews. (Hopefully it doesn’t come back to bite me….)

I like Victory Patterns. I like their style – it’s unique, fun, and funky, and I haven’t seen anything even beginning to resemble it out there in pattern-land, which I appreciate.

Simone from Victory Patterns

I like that they put the finished measurements on their pattern envelopes, nice and clear.

However, I did have quite a few issues making up this pattern. Some may just be to do with my body shape vs what the pattern is designed for (and I have been a bit spoilt lately. It’s one of the key reasons I make so many Papercut patterns – they suit my body shape and usually fit me with little or no alterations, so I’m lucky with that), and some are to do with the pattern itself.

Let’s talk about the instructions first. At first glance, brilliant! A nice book, good paper, they’ve thought of things like a glossary, plenty of diagrams, all brilliant stuff.

But my gosh, I found them frustrating! Very, very frustrating, in fact. Part of this is due to what I do for a living – I work in Customer Experience research and design, so things like poor instructions really annoy me. Argh!!! (Again, another reason why I love Papercut patterns – Katie takes a huge amount of care with her instructions and actively asks for and takes on board feedback on how to improve them before she releases patterns.)

But yes, these instructions. First up, the key for what side fabric you’re looking at kept changing. For example, in the cutting layout the right side of the fabric is shaded dark grey. First page of instructions and oh, look, suddenly dark grey is for the wrong side of the fabric, without any mention of the key changing. And then, two pages later, oh look, we’re switching between grey and unshaded between diagrams.

There are also some rather odd things in the instructions (such as the statement that “the upper placket is the piece that has marker points transferred to the right side of fabric”. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t transfer marker points to the right side of the fabric unless the pattern explicitly calls for it for some reason, which wasn’t done here. It’s just assumed you’ve done this, and heck knows why. Plus there are things missing (such as the stitching down of the tab). So yeah, I was kinda surprised and frustrated by the instructions – so good at first glance, so supremely irritating when you actually try using them.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And then there’s the sizing of the pattern. I’m not sure why, since this is meant to be made in a woven, but there’s half an inch of negative ease around the bust. Is it just me, or is this kinda crazy?? I thought, heck, they’ve done it intentionally, so I’ll give it a go and see how it works out. Yeah, should have gone with my gut with that one.

I cut out my usual size (34″ bust) but when it got to trying it on, there was no way at all that that zipper was gonna be getting done up over my bust! Now to be fair, I then re-measured myself and discovered that over the past couple of weeks (since I’d last measured myself) my rib cage has done the whole pregnancy-expansion thing (gotta make space for all those displaced internal organs, after all) and is now measuring at 36″, so that combined with a very fitted (half an inch of negative ease! bodice meant it wasn’t going to do up anyway.

So I added some wedges of fabric into the side seams to solve the problem. (Luckily they’re pretty hard to see unless you point them out – this fabric is rather good like that!) Wedges rather than stripes, as the pattern starts heading into a loose fit under the bust.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

But those wedges? Yeah, I added an extra 10 centimetres of width around that bodice! While 5cm of that was for my rib cage expanding a size, the other 5cm was because this thing never would have fitted me anyway. Even if my rib cage hadn’t expanded, I would have had to widen this bodice by a full size just to be able to get the zip done up.

And even then, it’s a crazy tight fit. I probably need to go up another size again – even if I’d cut the right size for my current rib cage circumference, I actually need to go up two full sizes to make this fit me properly. Argh! As it is, this squishes my boobs (what little there is of them) flat. Heck knows what would happen for any larger-busted girls, as there’s no space for my AA cups in here!

I also can’t wear it with the hook-and-eye at the neckline front done up, because due to the crazy tight fit, it results in the bib front bulging out oddly and just looking hideous, hence why it’s worn open in these photos, and yet still has drag lines across that there bib front. Gah.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Oh, and I added a bunch to the length as well, coz this was far too short for me. Normally I just add 10cm in length (at least) to everything I make, since I’m tall (177cm), but I got distracted by the surprise of negative ease in the bodice while cutting this out and completely forgot to length it. Oops! Luckily, I managed to eek out a hem extension band from the scraps I had left, so it all worked out ok. ๐Ÿ™‚ And like with the side insets, it’s kinda hard to tell that the extension is there, unless you’re looking for it. (It’s running between my two thumbs in the image below.)

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I should say as well, that the pattern itself came together really nicely. The bib front is super easy to get neat edges on, and it would have been quite a fast make if I hadn’t had to mess around with the fit. It looks harder to sew this up than it actually is!

Even with the fitting dramas and the irritating-as-heck instructions, I still like this dress. I’m hoping that once my rib cage goes back to it’s usual size post-pregnancy, it’ll fit me well (since at that point it will be two sizes bigger than the pattern calls for in the bust, rather than the one size bigger it currently is at the moment). I’ll wear it in the meantime anyway because hey, it fits over the bump well, and it’s fun to wear, with the high-low hem floating as you walk.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And, you know, it’s got purple on it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have any of you tried making this pattern? How did you find it? I’m very curious to know if my fitting issues are common or just due to my body shape not matching the shape this pattern is drafted for, so I’d love to hear about your experiences! ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, despite those annoyances, I am planning on making this pattern up again. It’s a good style for bump-and-I at the moment, and I’m determined not to let the pattern beat me! So I’ll try it again, three sizes bigger than I normally would (two sizes to make up for it being too small, and an extra size for expanded rib cage) and we’ll see how that goes.

I caught up with some of the lovely WSBN (Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network) yesterday afternoon, and we wandered around outside Te Papa to get some photos. Nikki and I were getting our photo taken at the same time at one point. Indie pattern fight! Boo yah!!!

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Nah, we’re friends really, I promise. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

For me, winter means purple

I’m not sure why, but it’s my go-to colour in winter. Purple, that is. Purple coat, purple scarf and gloves, purple jerseys, purple tights, purple shoes. (Don’t worry, not all together. Or not most of the time, anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

So when the days were getting colder, and I felt the need to make a new cardigan (since for some reason almost all of mine are RTW ones), purple ended up being the colour that was pulled out of my stash.

(To be fair, I did pull out a burgundy merino as well, but the purple won out in the end.)

Since I’m on a bit of an indie-patterns-I-can-still-wear-while-pregnant kick, I pulled out my trusty Papercut Coppelia cardi pattern (yet again – sorry! I promise I’m two thirds of the way through making up a non-Papercut pattern at the moment, so you’ll get to see that next).

Blueberry Grape Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Would you believe this is the first and only time I’ve made it by actually following all the instructions? That’s right, no modifications at all. The sleeves are the length the pattern calls for them to be (nice and long, by the way! Having suffered through my teenage years with sleeves always ending before my wrist bone, I am rather appreciative of sleeves-that-are-slightly-too-long. Over-correcting? Maybe. But they’re also super snuggly when it gets cold.).

Blueberry Grape Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The cardi is the length the pattern told it to be (rather than dress length or hip length). Yep, I actually followed it all!

And I’m rather happy with the result.

Blueberry Grape Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

In fact, I kinda made this back near the start of May, since I needed some me-made cardis to wear during Me-Made-May (plus it was Sew Stretchy month over at The Monthly Stitch, so it tied in nicely to both challenges), but I’ve been wearing it so much since it ended up in the wash every weekend and as a result I never quite managed to get photos of it.

But the weekend just gone, the lovely Nikki and I caught up for tea and cake and ventured up to Truby King gardens for a little photo shoot. (Wait till you see the dress she had finished making – I want it!!)

Check out that bump – it just keeps on growin’! Luckily since this is a wrap style, it’ll do good for quite a while. And a waist-length style, so I can always wear it pulled up a bit in the front to go over/around ‘the bump’.

Blueberry Grape Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, if you think this cardi is looking a little too big, I must admit, you’d be right. I’m not sure what happened there. I made it the same size as my Strawberry Shortcake Coppelia, and that fits perfectly. I can only assume it was the fabric – quite a thick wool blend, it just seems to want to be bigger than it’s meant to be. But hey, I’ll be bigger soon as well, so we’ll be perfectly matched. (And heck knows, it hasn’t stopped me wearing it a few times each week!)

Oh, and can I just point out the blue-ness of my hair? I’m rather happy with the colour at the moment – it’s my new favourite. Midnight Blue from Directions. I’ve been playing around with a couple of different shades of blue lately, and I’m definitely leaning towards the darker shades on me. For the moment, anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Blueberry Grape Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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?! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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.


Of a swimsuit.

A bikini, in fact.


(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’. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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!


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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )