Category Archives: Minerva Craft Bloggers Network

Roses in the City

Look, look! I made a thing!!!

To be more specific – I made a dress!!! A summer dress, in the hope that one day summer will arrive. (Although it looks like I’m going to have to travel to the Northern Hemisphere to get any summer this year… Hmmm…)

Rose Squared dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And if we’re wanting to be really specific, I made the Rose City halter dress by Sew House Seven, using a Liberty poplin in the classic Carmine print from Minerva Crafts. Because rose pattern on rose dress pattern just screams out summer picnics and adventures, don’tcha think?

Rose Squared dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Plus I figured the extra sweet girlishness of roses would be offset by my tattoo with the halterneck back. Coz normally, this print would be just a little bit too sweet for my taste…)

Rose Squared dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This was my first time sewing a Sew House Seven pattern, although I’ve got a few of them in my ‘things to make’ list. (Have you see the Tea House dress? Gorgeous! I need a maxi in that style…) I found it to be a great pattern to work with – instuctions and markings all nice and clear, all the measurements that you need to figure out what you’re doing, everything matched up as it should. Overall, a well crafted pattern, I reckon! πŸ™‚

Rose Squared dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made up version B, with the bias-cut A-line skirt with curved patch pockets. I did all my usual adjustments – grading out a size between bust and waist, lengthening the bodice by about 1.5cm, and doing a small bust adjustment. For once, I didn’t length the skirt, as it seemed to be a good length (i.e. I can actually wear it without fears for showing the world my unders. What the heck is up with super short dresses?!?!? Or maybe it’s just those of us who live in windy locales who worry about that… πŸ˜‰

Rose Squared dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The Rose City Halter dress has some lovely details, including a fully-lined bodice, unusual pocket shaping (curved on one side and the base, and straight on the other side!), released pleats at the shoulders, and separate neck ties that you line with the same fabric as your garment so they’re always showing right-side-out. The lined bodice gives a great, clean finish – I went with a yellow lightweight poplin for lining, just to add to the summery essence of the whole garment. πŸ˜‰

I added a couple of other touches too, naturally. I hemmed the skirt using a blind hem and Hug Snug rayon seam binding. And I added an Oscar Wilde quote as a label on the inside, on top of an accent of the Carmine poplin.

Rose Squared dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Rose Squared dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m really happy with how this one turned out. So lovely and girly and summery to wear, and fun to make. πŸ™‚

Also – notice the shoes? Liberty print Nikes, yeah! Double Liberty!! πŸ˜‰

(Photos taken on a trip to Wellington Zoo. In late January (yes, that long ago). In between chasing after two preschoolers who were determined to cause chaos. Hah!)

Rose Squared dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Swaying around the world

Hello hello! Long time, no see! (Again. Whoops!)

You know what? I think this is officially the longest I’ve ever been without posting here in the past few years. Yep. So there’s a fair bit to catch up on…! πŸ˜‰

But first up – let’s talk sewing.

Yellow Sway dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And a bit of travelling.

So anyway, I made another dress! (Surprise!)

Yellow Sway dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This time it’s the Sway dress by Papercut Patterns.

Papercut Patterns - Sway dress

Papercut Patterns – Sway dress

Now I liked this dress from the moment I saw it when it was released. But at the same time, it’s not my usual style. (I am a ‘fit and flare’ kinda girl, after all. Hah.) I originally got it because I was still nursing my youngest one, and thought that the tent style and centre front seam would work really well (easy to wear with post-pregnancy body changes, plus easy to add a centre front invisible zip for ‘easy access’ when required by a little one).

But then of course, I didn’t get around to making it before the littlest one decided to stop nursing. And it seemed like it would be yet another sewing plan consigned to the ‘things that could have been made’ pile. 😦

Clearly though, the pattern escaped that fate! Thanks to getting my hands on some lovely drapey viscose with a big floral print. I fell for the fabric, then had to figure out what to make with it. Something with drape… Something that didn’t require too much fabric so I could fit it on what I had… Something that didn’t have too much detailing because of the size of the floral print…. Eureka! The Sway dress!

Yellow Sway dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Plus, it seemed a perfect style for travelling. πŸ˜‰

(And it was. This dress got it’s first wear in Hong Kong. And then on a long distance flight to Zurich, a shorter flight to Heathrow, a trip to Goldhawk Road in London (!!), a day in Singapore, a flight from Budapest to Frankfurt and on to Singapore, and also a day wandering around Cegled in Hungary. Which is where these photos were taken, courtesy of my extremely wonderful friend Agi. πŸ™‚

Agi and I have a long history. We met when we were 18 – I lived with her family for a year as an exchange student, and they became my “second family”. I try to go back to Hungary every few years to visit them – and since I really wanted to introduce my youngest child to them before he got very old, this year the trip was made! (But more about that in another post.)

Anyway, one of the days I was staying with Agi, we went to Cegled, the nearby town, for a wander around. Perfect excuse for blog photos, no? πŸ˜‰ These were mainly taken in the park at the town centre.

But let’s talk about the dress for now, shall we?

The Sway dress is a lovely pattern. Simple but with a great cut – very 70’s in style with it’s A-line tent dress style. There’s a centre front seam and a centre back seam, and inseam pockets. It comes in two lengths – short (the length I made) and shorter (the length I shall never make). (And yes, I know it’s meant to be longer than this but hey, I’m tall. This is how short above-knee-length styles end up on me.)

The neckline is a deep, wide vee on one side, and a scoop on the other – you can wear the dress either way ’round, so you can pick and choose which neckline you want at the front on any given day.

Yellow Sway dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

There are no fastenings – it’s a pull-on style, with a narrow tie belt that you can wear to cinch it in at the waist. (Top tip – this also makes it super comfy for wearing for long distance flights! I suspect this is going to be a go-to travel pattern for me.)

Yellow Sway dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So far, sounds pretty simple, right? Well, then we get to the facings and that all changes! The necklines (both of them) are faced, as is the armholes. The facing is an all-in-one style, and the pattern gets you to use the ‘burrito’ method to attach it. (I.e. roll it up really tightly to stitch one side, then roll tightly the other way to stitch the other side.) The result being a lovely, clean finish around both necklines and armholes. Beautiful!

And because I could, I finished off all the inside edges with Hug Snug seam binding. (Although I must admit wishing I hadn’t gone for such a contrast colour, as it shows through the yellow a bit around the edge of the facing. Whoops!)

Yellow Sway dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

As for changes I’d make next time? Only a couple of things, really. I prefer the vee neckline at the front, but it stretched out pretty quick (or else it was always pretty low) on this dress, so next time I’d stabilise it before stitching it, and possibly raise it up a little bit. (Main issue – when I lean forward you can see right down the dress. Oops!) I’d also topstitch the facing down around both necklines – the pattern calls for understitching, but with the width of the neckline and this pattern working best in a drapy fabric, I found it wasn’t quite enough to stop the facing from rolling to the outside. Oh, and the other change I’d make? Add some length. Hah!

Despite this not being my usual style, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I love wearing this dress! It’s perfect for warm weather, and for travelling. (Plus, it makes a great hiding spot for toddlers.)

Yellow Sway dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And now, let’s finish off with some scenic shots. Just because we can. It was a beautiful sunny autumn day when we were out taking photos – warm in the sun, a little cooler in the shade, and the leaves not quite starting to change colour. (Back in mid-September, by the way. Like I said – I’ve got a bit to catch up on!)

statue

Yellow Sway dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

windows

Yellow Sway dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The youngest child loved it there in the small park – he spent lots of time running off (necessitating us running after him as he ducked around hedges and snuck under trees and deliberately put small stones in his mouth while laughing at us).

foxinpark

stonesflowers

Yellow Sway dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Typically, he also found one hole in the lawn and stood in it for a while. Because – child.

Yellow Sway dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

After the park we went wandering a little bit to find a gift store, and a supermarket so I could buy some Hungarian chocolate to take home and some amazing cake for us all to eat after dinner. (Yum!) Youngest one being a child, he decided part-way down a side street that he didn’t want to be carried. Nor did he want to walk. Stand-off ensued. *sigh*

Yellow Sway dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

sidestreet

Agi pointed out this building tucked behind some of the others – it was the old fire station tower. Made of wood, and tall so they could keep watch for fires.

firetower

Rounded off the trip into town with a lavender lemonade gelato. Which was as amazing as it sounds. Yum!! Wish we had that type of ice cream here…. ❀

Yellow Sway dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Oh Dear Me!

Hello hello! It’s me! I’m back! Yay!

Oh Deer dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(I’m also sitting inside, under the heat pump, with two woolen blankets tucked around me, a mug of hot lemon honey ginger drink, and feeling super cold. Weather report says it feels like -1 outside at the moment with the wind chill factor. I do not like cold. So instead, let’s talk summer-ish dresses! πŸ˜‰

Oh Deer dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(And how inappropriate they are to model in winter, outside. But we’ll get to that later. Brrrrr….)

This one is my latest make for the Minerva Craft Network. As is probably kinda obvious by now, I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for cottons with fun prints on them, so when I spotted this gorgeous Michael Millar cotton poplin with deer and flowers all over it, it jumped straight to my things-I-must-make list. (At the time, I had no idea what I’d make with it, but it was always going to be a dress. Because, dresses.)

Oh Deer dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I got invited to be a guest blogger over on Kestrel Makes as part of the Vintage Pattern Pledge this year. (Thanks Kerry!) A great excuse to dig out vintage patterns for pairing with floral deer! πŸ˜‰

The pattern I went with was Simplicity 4298 – a “7 day wardrobe” pattern from the early 1960’s, and one I’ve never made before. (I love the idea of “wardrobe” patterns, don’t you? I’m going to make that a project one day – sew all the variations from a “wardrobe” pattern to make the capsule wardrobe that the envelope promises.) To suit the light weight of the poplin, I went for the full skirted version of the dress, with gathers at the waist. And because I didn’t have quite enough fabric (that skirt takes up a fair bit!) I made the sleeveless variation.

Simplicity 4298 pattern

I made a couple of other changes to the pattern too. The skirt is about 15-20cm shorter than the pattern (again, due to not having quite enough fabric). I did a small bust adjustment and removed the waist dart, keeping only the side dart which got re-positioned by lowering the dart point. And I lowered the waist by 1.5cm. (Which it then turned out I didn’t need to do, as the weight of the skirt pulled it down that much anyway!) I also finished the armholes with a bias facing, rather than a classic facing. (I’m using “fabric quantity” as an excuse for that, although really it’s because I prefer bias facings there! πŸ˜‰

Oh Deer dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I went with the facing from the pattern for the neckline, and finished the edge of it with Hug Snug for added inside-of-dress prettiness.

Oh Deer dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This pattern and fabric combination went together wonderfully. The poplin is beautiful to work with and nice and light, so it worked well with the bulk of all the gathers at the waistline. (And my gosh, there was a lot of gathering there!!)

Oh Deer dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Speaking of which, the skirt has a non-gathered section in the centre front and back, with the gathers only over the sides. Which reminds me a bit of wearing panniers or the like due to the silhouette, but I do like the flat sections in the middle for contrast.

The hem was finished with Hug Snug, and a blind hem done by machine.

Oh Deer dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern was quick and easy to make up – but then, it is a pretty basic style for back then! πŸ˜‰ The neckline is finished with a facing, and the dress fastens up the back with an invisible zip. (The pattern called for a dress zip, but I prefer invisible zips for these styles…. I’m such a rebel haha yeah right.)

Overall I really love my new dress! (Mainly because – deer and flowers! Yay!)

Oh Deer dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I must admit to not being 100% happy with the fit though. It’s not sitting as close in the upper bodice/neckline as it should, which bothers me a bit. So if I make it again, I’ll pinch about 2.5cm in total out of the centre of the front neckline. Other changes I’d make in the future – keep the waistline at the original position, and close up the side dart while keeping the waist dart instead. (The reason I didn’t do that this time was I felt the side dart would be less obvious with this print. The high risk of having folded-up deer, and all that.)

Oh Deer dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The day after I finished this dress, my partners parents came to visit and looked after our kids for a couple of hours, so my partner and I seized the opportunity to go out and have a coffee and an actual conversation (!!) and go for a walk. (We used to love going for random walks and exploring places….) We went out to Strathmore, a suburb in Wellington, and walked out to the old World War II radar and gun station that looks out over the south coast. It’s so gorgeous out there!

Oh Deer dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It was also super cold, being winter and a classic Wellington windy day. Brrr!!! I had to psyche myself up to take my coat, scarf and jersey off for the photos, and it was a very fast photo shoot after that so I could jump back into warm clothes, haha!

Oh Deer dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’ve been wearing this dress nearly every week since. (Yeah, I may have made it and photographed it about a month ago. *shrug*) So it’s a definite winner.

Yay, deer and flowers! πŸ™‚

(And speaking of flowers, here’s some scenic shots to finish off. Including the airport, since the bunker looks out over it.)

Oh Deer dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

plane

flower

Oh Deer dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

view through plant

True blue, baby

It’s getting cold, down here in the Southern Hemisphere. We’ve been having a lovely autumn so far – warm days, good weather. And then a couple of days ago, winter decided to arrive. Brrrr!!! Oh well, I guess it had to happen sooner or later?!

And winter is, of course, the perfect time for flannel pajamas. πŸ˜‰

Which brings me to… the first thing I’ve made for myself in nearly two months! Eeek!!!! How on earth has it been that long?!?!

True Blue pajama pants | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to make some new pajama pants for, well, ages really. Most of mine are nearly threadbare and overdue for retirement. And you know, colder weather, need new pajamas and all that.

Enter the Carolyn pajama pants, from Closet Case Patterns. This is the second time I’ve made these, and I wear my first pair all the time. They’re super comfy – a nice slim cut, while still plenty roomy enough to move around in easily. I now officiallly have a go-to pattern for pajama pants. Hah!

This is where I have to give a big shout-out to me-of-the-past, who wrote a blog post last time I made these and said I lengthened the pattern by 4cm and should add another 1.5cm in the future. Yay for blog posts and relevant details like that! So I followed me-of-the-past’s advice, and added 5.5cm length to these, and now they are perfect. Love it!

True Blue pajama pants | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

For this pair, I made the variation with the cuffs at the bottom. (The 5.5cm of extra length was added to the legs – the cuffs are the same width as the original pattern.) And because I could, I added some teal green piping where the cuffs joined on to the leg.

True Blue pajama pants | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Why teal green? Ok, I admit it. It was the closest to my sewing table and I couldn’t be bothered standing up to find another colour. Lazy!! But also happy, as I think it works really well with this blue. πŸ˜‰

The fabric is a nice flannellette from Minerva Crafts. Lovely and soft and cozy to wear, it sews up like a dream as flannel tends to do. And I am completely in love with the shade – such a vibrant royal blue!

The elastic in the waistband is also from Minerva – a classic no-roll elastic, slightly narrower than the pattern called for (whoops!) but I think it works fine anyway.

Aside from the length addition, I didn’t make any changes to this pattern at all. And I recommend it – it goes together well, I love the fit, and the instructions are all nice and clear.

And yes, I’ll be making some more soon. I have some flannellette with foxes all over it that is demanding to be winter pajamas… πŸ˜‰

True Blue pajama pants | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(I must say, it’s nice to have made something for myself again…. Here’s hoping it won’t be so long before the next garment!)

A Measure of Pink

Ever since I saw the Meta dress that Dolly Clackett made, I’ve been wanting a tape measure dress all of my own. And now… I have one! Yay!

Measure of Pink dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I was pretty excited to find this cotton poplin at Minerva. Although I must admit to debating about it for a while – would it be too much? Is it too cliched for a sewist? Am I going over the top?

(The answer to all of those is, of course – not at all!)

But I kept on returning to it, and eventually I caved. (Which then prompted a bunch more thought – which colourway? I was super tempted by the red and grey for a while. But pink won out. Just!)

Measure of Pink dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

With such a directional print, I wanted to match it with a pattern that would play with that. Enter the By Hand London Sophia dress. With its Y darts in the bodice, angled arm holes, and full skirt with godets, I figured there was ample angle opportunities to play with a inconsistent bold stripe design.

Measure of Pink dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This was my first time sewing up a By Hand London pattern. I used the paper pattern (although they’re sold out of the paper version, you can still get one from Minerva crafts). I really do like the packaging design of By Hand London patterns. The pastel colours, different shaped cut outs, and the well thought out details, such as the design on the inside of each sleeve that matches the inspiration of the pattern. Lovely!

The instructions are in a nice booklet – clear illustrations, easy to follow steps, and a friendly tone of voice. My one issue was that the size chart and finished measurements are on the back of the packaging inset, rather than in the instruction book – it took me a minute to find them, and I had to keep reminding myself they were there, rather than where I expected them to be. But really, that’s pretty minor, and all the measurements you need are still there to be easily accessed!

The pattern came together nice and easily. All the notches lined up, all the markings that were needed were there, no problems whatsoever.

Measure of Pink dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made my usual adjustments to the pattern – doing a 2” SBA to bring it from a B-cup to an AA-cup. Lowering the front bust dart points by quite a bit. And lengthening the bodice by 1.5”. All changes I need to make to pretty much every pattern, and nothing out of the ordinary at all.

There was a bit of debate when it came to choosing a size. I based my decision on my high bust measurement + 2″ (as the By Hand London patterns are drafted for a B cup, and I’m a AA cup). My measurements fit between two sizes, and I went down rather than up. A deliberate decision – I am still holding out hope that I’ll lose the last of the baby weight, in which case, the smaller size should fit well (hopefully soon?!?). Whereas a lot of the dresses I made last year are now a size too big in the bodice. So, I sized down, and the result is admittedly a bit too fitted in the bodice. I’m still debating about that – should I let the upper bodice side seams out a bit? Or leave them there? Hmmm…. (I’ve left the lining unattached at the waist for now, while I decide. Because I am lazy and once I’ve finished a garment, especially one that involves hand stitching down lining on the inside, I’m very unlikely to go back and alter it later. Sad but true.) Fit for now, or fit for later? What do you think I should do??

Measure of Pink dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The bodice is fully lined, for which I used an olive green cotton remnant that was near the top of my stash (why? Because I couldn’t find the lemon yellow poplin I would have usually used, and this was the only suitable weight non-patterned fabric nearby!). The lining gives it a nice clean finish around the arms and neckline. I also stitched the lining to the invisible zip on the inside for a clean finish, rather than handstitching it as the instructions called for.

A Measure of Pink dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Oh, and added a label for fun, of course. πŸ˜‰

(Speaking of which, I really must get around to getting some good woven labels made. It’s been on my to-do list for a while now….)

For hemming, I used yellow Hug Snug, and a blind hem stitch on my machine. And this is where the volume of that skirt really comes in! It took me 9 minutes of steady and fast sewing to get around the hem of the skirt. Then pressing time, then another 9 minutes to do the blind hem stitching. Yep, that hem took over half an hour to do – yikes!!! Not one I would ever recommend hand stitching, that’s for sure!

A Measure of Pink dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

As far as the style goes now that I’ve made it up – I like it! The Y darts in the bodice are a fun touch, especially how they’re replicated on the back, and I like how they echo the neckline and armhole angles. The skirt is lovely and full and swishy and fun to wear with it’s seven godets, yet still nicely fitted around the waist and upper hips as they start a little down from the waistline. Plus, good for twirling!

Measure of Pink dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I must admit that the fit isn’t quite right on me though – I didn’t pick it up in my super quick muslin (which was done mainly to mark where to move the bust point to and to check bodice length), but the armholes aren’t sitting quite right on me in front and back at the lower edges – there’s a bit of standing-out-from-the-body happening there, so I’ll need to fix that for the next variation. (And yes, there is likely to be a next variation. With the collared version – I really want to make that one, but it seemed like it might be a bit much with all the tape measures and the direction changes in the fabric for this time!)

Measure of Pink dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Overall – I recommend this pattern, and will happily make it again. I also recommend this fabric – a nice and easy to sew with poplin, with a fun print and great colours.

It also works well when worn with a cardigan, so for me that makes it pretty much an all-year-round dress when matched with tights, boots, and a long-sleeved merino top underneath.

Measure of Pink dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I wore this out on Friday night as it was my last day at work so we went out for a farewell dinner and drinks, and got compliments from two complete strangers, so I figure it’s a win. πŸ˜‰

Measure of Pink dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The photos were taken last weekend, when my parents were visiting and we all went to the Southwards Car Museum up the Kapiti Coast (for which a blog post may follow sometime soon). We had lunch at Paekakariki then took the kids to a nearby playground so they could burn off some energy. Big thanks to my lil’ sis’ for playing photographer at the park! The island behind me in the hilltop images is Kapiti Island – a nature reserve where there are all sorts of amazing NZ birds. And I haven’t been there yet, as you have to book in advance and my life is not that organised these days – maybe in a few years when the kids are bigger. Since we were at a playground, fun had to be had – climbing trees, going down slides, that kind of thing. Because – playground!

Measure of Pink dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Measure of Pink dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Denim shorts for little dudes

Wow, this was rather unexpected! I actually made more things for the little dudes! (Yep, that’s right – it’s another kids-clothing post. But at least there’s a vintage pattern in here, too!)

Since we’ve finally got some summer weather here, the little dudes are going through several changes of clothes a day due to lots of playing with water and sand at daycare. More shorts were in order, fast! (So naturally, I made them some. Surprise!)

First up was a pair for the Little Man. Sorting through my pattern stash, I pulled out Butterick 2122, from 1961. The pattern is for both a shirt and pair of trousers/shorts, however sadly my copy is missing all the pieces for the shirt! 😦

Butterick 2122

I made the shorts length up using a mid-light weight denim from Minerva Crafts (all the supplies for both pairs of shorts came from Minerva). Just for fun (because the Little Man adores trains) I added a train patch on the back.

Denim shorts | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Carrying on the train theme, I used a train track printed quilting cotton for the pockets. (I omitted the pocket facings as I wanted the train track fabric to show through to make the Little Man smile.)

Denim shorts | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Oddly enough, the pattern has a real zipper fly in it – complete with fly facing. Why is that odd, you may ask? Well, the instructions call for you to do a proper fly insertion, then to stitch it closed at the top!!! Yes, that’s right – all the effort of inserting a zipper fly, only to immediately make it non-functional. I have no idea why on earth they thought that was a good idea. (Needless to say, I ommitted the fly and just did a faux fly instead. Same look, far less hassle.)

I made them in a size 4, which is about half a size too big for the Little Man at present, hence why they’re looking a bit big on him. Give him another couple of months and they’ll fit fine. πŸ˜‰

Denim shorts | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Denim shorts | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Denim shorts | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(For those curious, in that last photo he tripped over and then decided it would be fun to lie there digging in the dirt for a while. Cue overhead shot.)

For the Littliest Dude, I pulled out a pattern I’ve used several times before – Simplicity 3766.

Another super simple pattern – it consists of only two pattern pieces. A combined front/back piece (no outer side seam on the legs!), and a guide for cutting the elastic for the waist. Easy!

These were made up in the same denim, and for fun I used a playground print quilting cotton for panels along the legs.

Denim shorts | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I also added a little length of seam binding to the back inside waistband, so it’s possible to tell which way around they go!

Denim shorts | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I cut these ones at a long shorts length – long enough to cover the knees (a bit of protection for the inevitable falling over), while cooler to wear than full length trousers. And just like the other pair, they’re a little bit too big as I made them in the 18 months size.

Denim shorts | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Denim shorts | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Always fun trying to get decent photos of small creatures. “Hey what’s that you’ve got there? Can I have it? Give me give me give me that camera!!!”

Denim shorts | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

“What’s this? An Elna Supermatic?!? Let me at it!!”

Denim shorts | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Summer is for strawberry milkshakes

I love summer – warm weather (sometimes!), sunshine, flowers blooming, long days and relaxed evenings. It all makes me happy. πŸ™‚

Know what else makes me happy? Dresses! In particular, summer dresses. Yes indeed!

And so, it seems only appropriate that my first make on the blog this year is… a summer dress. (Surprise!)

This months theme over on The Monthly Stitch is ‘Cheers for New Years’ – choose your favourite beverage as inspiration for something to sew. While pondering which drink to use for inspiration, my eye was caught by this multi-pink-toned quilting cotton from Minerva. The colours and squiggly design immediately made me think – strawberry milkshake! (Which is, after all, a rather fantastic drink for summertime.)

Strawberry Milkshake dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Inspiration and fabric decision made, the next choice was… which pattern to use? (Obviously, it would have to be a dress. Because, dresses.) With the directional print of the fabric, I thought it would be fun to make something that could use that as a feature – the Sylvie dress by Christine Haynes. It’s a fun summer dress, and features a wide band under the bust – perfect for mixing up a print direction for contrast.

Sylvie dress by Christine Haynes

Size-wise, I made a size 6 at the bust, grading out to a size 10 at the waist and hip. Officially, my high bust measurement put me at a size 8 in the bust, but going by the finished garment measurements I felt that would be too much ease for my personal preferences.

Strawberry Milkshake dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(And here’s where I made a dumb mistake. Firstly, do not cut out fabric when tired and upset. Secondly, when grading between waist and bust and there is a wide underbust band involved, remember to grade the band as well as the upper bust piece! Yes, there was a lot of unpicking involved to take it and correct that one. Whoops!)

Strawberry Milkshake dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

As with all patterns, I lowered the bust darts – in this case, by 2cm.

I didn’t have enough fabric to make the dirndl skirt variation of the dress, so instead I extended the skirt out by 8cm on either side at the hem, and angled the side seams to meet, to create a gentle A-line shape. (My walking style is not conducive to wearing straight skirts. Long legs, long strides, seams rip….!) I also added 1″ at the skirt hem because – tall.

Another change – pockets! I added simple in-seam pockets to each side seam. πŸ™‚

Strawberry Milkshake dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern sewed up nicely – quick and easy, with a nice and neat finish where the wide band meets the upper bodice as it’s self faced on the inside. The neck and armholes are finished with bias binding (the pattern has a piece for cutting a self-bias facing, but I didn’t have quite enough fabric so used a purchased pale pink bias binding instead).

Strawberry Milkshake dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I also used a white polyester hem binding on the skirt – normallly I use Hug Snug, but thought I’d branch out this time and try a different type. (It worked fine for the hem, but it’s quite stiff and a bit rough, so I wouldn’t recommend it for seams that sit next to your skin. I’ll be sticking with the lovely soft Hug Snug for those!)

Strawberry Milkshake dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I must admit though, I’m a bit on the fence about the final dress. I’m not 100% sure that it suits me?!? It’s mainly the colour I’m unsure of – is it too pale? (Normally I go for bolder colours, but when viewed from a little bit of a distance, the colours on this kind of blend together into something a lot closer to a pastel shade….)

Strawberry Milkshake dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And another confession – I made another mistake when cutting out, that I didn’t realise right up until the end. (Yep, that lesson again – don’t cut out fabric when distracted!) I forgot to do my usual SBA. *hangs head in shame* And with this style of bodice, that’s even more obvious than usual! So there is far too much fabric in the bust of the front upper bodice. *sigh* I’m currently debating whether to recut the upper front bodice (I think I may have just enough fabric to do that?!) and fix it, or not. What do you think – is the colour and style working enough for me to bother unpicking and fixing? Or should I just give this one up as a lost cause and give it away instead? I have lost perspective on this one due to my annoyance at my own stoopid mistake when cutting out. Gah.

Strawberry Milkshake dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

But hey – it’s a summer dress! And there are roses in the background, and I have a big milkshake cup! Yay! πŸ™‚

Strawberry Milkshake dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Mulled Wine vintage slip

I’m a huge fan of dresses – nearly every day you’ll find me in a dress and a cardigan. And in winter, I’ll be matching that outfit with tights and boots. But as anyone who wears dresses or skirts with winter-weight tights knows, they tend to cling to one another. And if you’re anything like me, that means constantly tugging skirts back into place throughout the day. So frustrating!

For a while now, I’ve been meaning to make a slip for wearing under dresses. And that has now happened! Yay!! (This is my December creation for the Minerva Bloggers Network.)

I wasn’t sure what type of fabric would be best for this, so I emailed Vicki at Minerva and asked for her help. I described what I was wanting, and she pointed me immediately in the direction of this knit. So many pretty colours!! I spent a while debating between the light blue and the burgundy, before finally settling on the burgundy.

And then I went in search of matching lace trim. I found two – a white and burgundy one for the neckline, and a shiny burgundy one for the hem. Perfect!

The pattern I used is a vintage one from 1979, for a knit “princess line slip”. The pattern company is “Sew-Easy” – not one I’ve encountered before, so it was a fun experience using it for the first time! It’s interesting how the words we use to describe things change subtly over time. Check out this line of the instructions for example: “From the right side, ditch stitch in the furrow of the seam.”

Mulled Wine vintage slip | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This slip came together super easily – despite how lightweight and slippery this knit is, it was surprisingly easy to work with! (Except for a few patches, where my sewing machine didn’t like how delicate it is. Whoops! It managed in the end though without too many issues, and I think a brand-new fine point needle will fix even those issues next time.My overlocker/serger loved it, though.)

Mulled Wine vintage slip | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern is a simple princess lined slip – cut in a low v at the front, and a low scoop at the back neckline. The front neckline is edged in lace, and the fabric is then cut away behind it, so the lace is directly against your skin.

Mulled Wine vintage slip | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The back neckline and armholes are edged in a very narrow self-fabric binding, which is stretched on to ensure the slip stays in place nicely when being worn. (This does means you get a little bit of fabric bunching around the shoulder straps when it’s not on a person, but it makes for a lovely fit when it’s filled out properly!)

Mulled Wine vintage slip | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I finished off the hem with a gorgeous burgundy shiny and lightweight lace. It was a border lace, and plain on the top half, so rather than following the patterns directions to stitch directly on the fabric then trim the fabric away, I simply overlocked the two together, to give a solid border.

Mulled Wine vintage slip | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The fit is pretty good. The neckline is a good height (low enough to not show easily under dresses, while still being high enough to be comfortable to wear). The fit along the front of is nice and smooth – not too tight, not too loose. The lower back area could do with being taken in a couple of inches to make it sit closer, so I’ll make that adjustment for the next one I make. (And yes, there will be another one!)

Sad to say, you’re not getting photos of me modelling this one – it’s just a bit too sheer and I know too many people in “real life” who read this! (Which is a fact that still amazes and embarrasses me!) So instead, photos on a mannequin. With wind, because I live in Wellington, and it is pretty much windy here every moment of every day.

Mulled Wine vintage slip | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I love my new slip – it’s exactly what I was looking for to wear under dresses! I can see a few more of these in my future, in a range of pretty colours. πŸ˜‰

Strawberry season!

We’re slowly heading towards summer here. In a two-steps-forward, 1.75-steps-back kind of way, that Wellington does so well. Sun so bright it burns in 8 minutes one day, winter coats and scarfs on again the next. But there is light coming – the days are longer, the weather is (overall) getting warmer, and, best of all, there are strawberries in the supermarkets! Yay!! (I love strawberries. They make me happy. I may have eaten a lot of them already this month. πŸ˜‰

Which is all a rather long preamble to… this dress!

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Why the preamble? Well, strawberries! The common link. πŸ˜‰

The fabric here is Strawberry Thief, a William Morris print on a lovely cotton poplin. I got it from Minerva Crafts (as part of their blogger network) – sadly it’s sold out now. I’m hoping they’ll get more William Morris prints in the future – I’ve always loved his designs. So detailed and intricate and full of texture and life. (Maybe one day I’ll get a feature wall in one of his wallpaper designs. Mmmm…. Seems almost perfect for a sewing room, now I think about it. After all, he did a lot for the British textile industry! Right, putting that on my “things to do in the future” list. πŸ˜‰

Like other William Morris designs, this print is full of intricate detail. Flowers, swirls, points, and birds stealing strawberries. Love it!

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

When I spotted this fabric, I just knew it had to be the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress.

And then it arrived, and I must admit – I kinda freaked out a little. I didn’t realise just how large this print would be! The idea of pattern matching it across a shirt dress, yeah. Seemed kinda tricky. Especially with the tucks and the gathers thrown into the mix.

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So I thought about other patterns. I considered making the Sew Over It Betty dress. Or another Cressoway dress. But I thought the print might be almost a bit too overwhelming with a plain bodice. Then I thought about the Grainline Alder dress (another that’s been on my to-make list since last summer!). But that just didn’t seem quite right for this print either.

Eventually, I went full circle – it just really wanted to be the SOI Vintage Shirt Dress.

So I pulled on my big-girl pants, got brave, and set to work. And let me tell you – this took quite a lot of thought!! (It also took 1.5 hours to cut out. That’s how much thought was required.)

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I cut it all in a single layer, so I could best pattern match. There was a lot to consider – how to line things up so the design was running down the centre front and centre back of both bodice and skirt. Making sure there were no accidental pattern placements (giant flower boobs, anyone? Yeah, didn’t think so). Getting the pattern lined up along the centre front seam. All that tricky sort of stuff. Made a good deal trickier by the face I had ordered enough to make the dress, not realising how big the print was. It was pretty touch-and-go as to whether I’d be able to get it cut right, but I just squeezed it in in the end! (Look on the inside, and you’ll see one of the side seams is sewn right next to the selvedge.)

There’s also this little surprise, hidden down one side of the front bodice. Hah!

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m pretty happy with my pattern matching though – check that out!

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Not so happy with my button placement though. I accidently stitched the buttonholes on the wrong side of my marker, so they’re out by a couple of mm. Ugh.)

I had a little mishap while sewing though – I managed to put a rip in the back neckline, just before attaching the collar. Argh!!! Thanks to some Instagram sewing helpers, I calmed down the panic, reinforced with iron-on interfacing, and stitched it together again with a narrow seam. I tried to find some fabric to do an invisible patch with, but didn’t have a piece that would fit the problem area and had the same pattern on it. So, a narrow seam it had to be! Luckily the print is so busy it’s not too noticible when it’s on. (But still – eek!!)

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This is the second time I’ve made this pattern (the first one being in Hello Kitty print), and it went together nice and smoothly. πŸ™‚ I made the same changes as last time – lengthening the bodice by 3cm. It’s actually a little bit short still – next time I’ll lengthen it by 4cm.

I made a couple of other alterations too – I lengthened the skirt by 8cm (now a far better length on me – the other one is just a fraction too short!). I also narrowed the skirt, so I could fit it on the fabric with the pattern placement. I found the armholes of my first one just a little too tight under the arm, so lowered them by 1cm.

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

All seams are bound with fushia coloured Hug Snug, and I did a blind hem on my sewing machine. The armholes are finished with red bias binding.

Next time I make this, I’ll be adding side-seam pockets. Because, pockets!

I’m really happy with how this turned out – the skirt length is definitely better for me at this length, and the pattern matching makes me happy – definitely worth the time taken to cut it out slowly! And hey, William Morris print of birds stealing strawberries – that’s a total win! πŸ™‚

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Big thanks to my sister, who took the photos when we went to the zoo. I had to keep ducking to check where the Little Guy was as he ran around playing. Lots of photos like this happened as a result:

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

πŸ˜‰

Summer dreaming….

When I was browsing the Minerva Crafts website a while ago, my eye got caught by this fabric. Believe it or not, it’s a Liberty lawn! One that isn’t super floral!! I’ve always wanted to try sewing with a Liberty fabric – it’s not something you tend to come across over here in New Zealand, and after reading so many posts by overseas bloggers who rave about it, my curiousity was well and truly piqued. But sadly, I’m just not that into busy floral prints, and most of the designs, while lovely on others, weren’t “me”.

Until this one. Ain’t it fantastic?!? It’s called “Hidden Floral” – yep, there are flowers in it, but they’re all hidden in the print. Pinks and greens and blues and oranges, what a fantastic riot of colour, while at the same time appearing almost subdued. (Not too sure how that works, but hey.)

Summer Dreaming halter dress - Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So thanks to Minerva, who enabled my Liberty curiousity to be fulfilled. πŸ˜‰

When I spotted this print, I knew exactly what I wanted to make it into as well. I’ve had this vintage 1950’s halter neck dress pattern in my stash for a while, waiting to be made up. It features a button-front, side zip, and dramatically pointed collar. As well as pockets. And oh my gosh, what epic pockets they are! Check out the hugeness of them!! And the pocket flaps!!! They’re pockets perfectly designed for swanning around on a summers day, concealing all manner of lip balms and cell phones and entire blocks of chocolate where no kids can see you’re carrying candy and sneakily eating it when their backs are turned. (Not that I do that. Ever. *ahem*)

Summer Dreaming halter dress - Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern is Butterick 5949, from around 1951. As stated on the back, it’s a “Halter Necked Day or Evening Dress. (A) The tailored look in a quick & easy evening or at-home gown. Halter neck, bare back bodice buttons down the front, has a perky collar. The full, dirndlish skirt flaunts two huge patch pockets. (B) Day length version.”

Summer Dreaming halter dress - Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anyways – this fabric, that pattern. Perfect!

(Or maybe not perfect – in hindsight, a lawn is probably a little bit too lightweight for a halter neck dress like this. Although anything much heavier would result in a rather bulky waist, with the semi-circle skirt that is then gathered in…. Hmmm…. Perhaps a poplin? No matter, lawn it was, and as lawn it shall be worn!)

Summer Dreaming halter dress - Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern needed a few modifications. First up, it’s a couple of sizes too small, at a 32″ bust. So I got my tracing game on, and made the following changes before cutting out the final fabric:

  • Graded up to a size 36″ bust / 42″ waist
  • Did a 1″ SBA (small bust adjustment) (so 1/2″ on the half bodice, to bring it to a total of 1″)
  • Lowered dart points
  • Lengthened the bodice by 3cm (possibly too long in hindsight, but I’ll get to that soon)
  • Narrowed the skirt a bit so it fit on the width of the fabric
  • Removed the side zipper and instead extended the front button placket (I have dreams of one day getting back to pre-baby-size, so all dresses are currently made in a way that side seams are easy to take in at some mythical point in the future)

Summer Dreaming halter dress - Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Changes made, and dress cut out, I got to sewing.

And let me just tell you – this Liberty lawn was all it was rumoured to be. Absolutely delicious to sew with – light and airy, presses well, doesn’t crease easily (except when you want it to), and holds it’s shape nicely while being sewn up. Gorgeous. *mini swoon*

The pattern, well, it’s a classic 1950’s pattern. Unprinted pattern pieces (they’re marked with punched holes instead, which are interpreted by a key. Which I find pretty easy to work with actually – it’s super easy to mark things with tailors chalk when there are conveninetly cut holes already in the pattern tissue!). And the usual sparse instructions. The instructions for the collar/neck facing confused me a little, so I just ignored them and did things my own way. πŸ˜‰

The way the collar is shaped on this is very pretty – it’s narrow at the back, and swoops into a strong point in the front.

Summer Dreaming halter dress - Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Summer Dreaming halter dress - Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made a few changes as I went through the sewing fun as well, as follows:

  • Stitched the side seams last to make it easy to adjust them in the future
  • Put interfacing onto the self-facing of the front bodice, rather than directly onto the front bodice itself (it looks a bit softer that way)
  • Added extra button holes below the waist to compensate for having removed the side zip, and then stitched the remainder of the placket closed from the last button to the hem
  • Understitched the neck facing
  • Got lazy and didn’t slip-sitch the opening that the pocket was turned through closed. The pocket got top-stitched onto the skirt anyway, so I figured it wouldn’t make a difference

I finished the inside seams and the hem with pink Hug Snug rayon seam binding. Those little bursts of colour on the inside of garments just make me happy, it’s true. πŸ™‚

Summer Dreaming halter dress - Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Annoyingly enough, despite doing a quick-and-dirty muslin (the joy of using fabric for tracing onto – these days I just sew up my tracings of the pattern pieces as a muslin and then unpick them again to get the pattern back. So fast! So easy!), and trying the dress on a few times during construction, once it was finished I realised I needed to adjust the side seams. By quite a lot.

11cm, to be precise. Grading down to nothing at the waist.

Heck knows how that happened. Because that puts them back at a size 32″ bust, which I most certainly am not, and never have been. Oh well, such is life! Although with an adjustment that big on a halter neck, it does mess around with the curve of the neckline under the arm – somewhat annoying. But not insurmountable, so after a fair bit of unpicking and cutting and restitching, I now have a halter dress, all ready to wear this summer!

Yay, summer!!!

(Now, where are you, summer?!? Hurry up already!!)

Looks rather ideal for lounging around eating ice cream in, don’t you think? πŸ˜‰

Summer Dreaming halter dress - Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Summary / Details:
Pattern used: Butterick 5949 from around 1951
Fabric: Hidden Floral Liberty lawn, from Minerva Crafts (sadly now sold out, so I can’t link you to it)
Changes made: Lots! All listed above
What I’d change next time: Take in the side seams by 11cm in total (so 2.75cm at front and back side seams on the pattern) before cutting out the fabric; possibly raise the waistline by 1cm. I’m not 100% sure about this yet – the volume of the skirt pulls the waist down a bit lower than it should be, but I also have pretty much no waist definition at all at the moment (thanks, little babies. Yeah.), so it may be in part due to that. Will revisit in a few months. Hopefully.
Would I make it again? Hopefully! I’m loving this pattern, and especially those pockets and the as-described “perky” collar! Love the idea of the evening dress length – such a fascinating combination – a semi-structured halter neck with huge pockets as an evening maxi. Must be done, sometime soon….

Summer Dreaming halter dress - Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So saying though, I’m not 100% sold on the fit of this on me just yet. Not sure how much of that is the softness of the lawn with this style, how much is that the fit just isn’t right, and how much of it is that my body is still changing size and shape quite a lot post-pregnancies. The littliest guy is finally starting to sleep a bit better (only getting woken up about 3 times a night now – a massive improvement!!) so I’m feeling hugely better as far as sleep deprivation goes – fingers crossed I start feeling healthier soon too, and all those crazy changes settle down. Either way, I’ll see how I’m feeling about the fit of this in another couple of months. πŸ™‚

Big thanks to my lil’ sis’, who took these photos at the rugby field near her house. We saw ducks with ducklings (ducklings!! So cute!!!), the Little Guy ran around pretending to chase off robots (as one does when one is three), and one of the groundskeepers came over to ask what on earth we were doing and make jokes about being on New Zealand’s Next Top Model. Yep.

ducklings