Category Archives: Nursing friendly

Forties Foxes

Oh yeah, it’s been a while, but finally, here’s a make from a vintage pattern!

Well, sort of a vintage pattern. A vintage reproduction, to be precise. (And it’s been a long time since I’ve used one of those, too!)

Meet the Forties Foxes blouse:

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Made using Simplicity 1590, a reproduction of a 1940’s pattern.

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I used view B, with the collar. I decided not to include the optional waist tie, as I felt there’s enough going on with this top without it. (Peplum. Collar. Foxes. Yeah, that’s enough for one top, right?!?) I debated about making the little neck tie that goes with it, but once I tried it on I realised I was never going to wear it fully buttoned up so didn’t bother.

(By the way, if you’re wondering what the two snap fasteners/poppa domes are for in the notions, they’re for attaching that little neck tie to the shirt. Cute, eh?! You could make several in different colours, and play mix-and-match.)

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This was my first time using a reproduction Simplicity pattern, and I must say, it was a rather enjoyable experience! There was the usual over-abundance of ease, so I chose my size based on the finished measurements table instead, which fits well (and also meant I made one size smaller than I would have otherwise). Everything came together nicely, the instructions were easy to follow, and there were a couple of fun bits too, such as when the front waist dart and the seam joining the front panel to the side of the peplum are sewn in one go as a nice, continous seam. Check out how it looks on the outside – the vertical seam here is the dart being stitched and the peplum attached at the same time:

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

There’s also a nice little intro at the start of the instructions, talking about how fashions changed due to WWII and how sports wear was invented as a result. I’m a fan of thoughtful little touches like that. 🙂

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I love the peplum on this blouse – it’s smooth at the centre front (as the front just extends to the hem, with the peplum being joined on about 10cm away from the centre front), and flares out nicely, dipping down lower at the back.

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Turns out it catches the wind rather nicely, too, in the cliched Wellington autumn weather.)

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The collar is quite narrow, especially at the back, but I’m fine with that.

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The sleeves are simply an extended shoulder, angling down to the side seam.

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The fabric is a quilting cotton, with a super cute fox print, from the Frolicking Forest collection by Camelot. It’s the first time I’ve used a Camelot quilting cotton, and it was lovely to work with – soft to touch and with great colours.

And, you know. It’s got foxes on it. And that’s all kinds of win.

Since it’s a wildlife themed top, I picked these cute little yellow buttons with flowers on them.

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And because I love it, I used Hug Snug to bind some of the seams on the inside. Next time (and there will be a next time, as I love this pattern!) I’ll bind some more seams, in particular the seam where the peplum joins the bodice, and the hem of the sleeves.

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

With the exception of the Hug Snug, all of the fabric and notions (and the pattern, too!) came from Minerva Crafts, as part of their blogger network. (Thanks, Minerva!)

Here’s how it all looks on the inside – far easier to get a good idea of the pattern itself this way as you can see the seam lines.

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And finished off with a label, just because. 😉

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The only asjustment I made to the pattern was to the bust darts. I moved the dart points a couple of cm lower, and also did a small bust adjustment and took out about 2/3 of the width of the side bust dart.

There’s also a couple of small things I noticed in the instructions, in case they’re of use for anyone else making this:

  • When pinning on the collar, align the collar edge with the centre front marking (i.e. the straight line a couple of cm in from the pattern piece edge)
  • When basting on the collar, baste just within the seam allowance so the basting stitches don’t show on the right side when you’ve done your final stitching
  • If you’re finishing the long edge of the facing with a zig-zag or overlocked edge, trim 6mm off the shoulder edge so it lines up with the shoulder seam nicely (as there’s a 6mm seam allowance for doing a turned-under edge)

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m really happy with how this turned out. And I’m particularly happy that I feel it’s marked a turning point in my wardrobe – while I’ve still got a bit to lose around the waist to get back to pre-baby-size (and fit back into my vintage style dresses which, let’s face it, is my key motivation to get back into shape, haha!), I can now fit into some of them and as a result I feel I can start making things with my much-loved vintage patterns again. Yay!

(Of course, this means I now want to go and make all the things. All The Things!!!)

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top

Oh yeah, first thing I made for myself post-Amos-arriving! The sewing drought is over!! 😀

This here’s the Sandpoint Top, which is the first pattern released by GrayDay Patterns. It’s a quick and easy pattern – a loose-fitting tee with a vee neck (or round neck, but I made the vee) at the front, a small cowl at the back, and a strap across the shoulders to keep it all sitting nicely in place. The sleeves are finished off easily and cleanly with bands, and the bottom can either be hemmed or finished with a band (I went with the plain hemmed option).

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The Sandpoint Top is a PDF pattern, so instant gratification. (Plus, I found I could make this in about two hours, including cutting out fabric, so it really was a bit of an instant gratification project! Although those two hours were spread out over a couple of days because, you know, sewing when babies nap and all that.)

I made it up in a pink-and-white stripe cotton tshirting that, if I remember correctly, came from my mother’s stash (thanks mum!). In which case, it’s almost certainly from the 1980’s. (How’s that for some old stash busting? Thirty years, or thereabouts!) In hindsight, I should have used a fabric with a bit more drape than this – although it’s lightweight, the tshirting is still quite stiff, so the cowl at the back doesn’t sit quite as well as I’d like it to.

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

However – check out that stripe matching on the side seams! Like a boss, yo!

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Although annoyingly the stripe was a bit off-grain, so I had to decide between stripes matching at the side seams or stripes running straight at the bottom hem. The side seam matching won out.)

I played with the stripe direction a bit on the shoulder band as well, cutting it out with the stretch going width wise, rather than length wise (which also stabilised the band even more, so it would stay firmly at the length I want it to be at).

Speaking of the shoulder band – you can sew it on either on top or below the shoulders, and in a variety of ways – I chose to sew it on on top, and with two lines of stitching, one on each long edge of the band. Nice and clean, and it lets the stripes play with each other in fun ways.

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Right, pattern review time!

The Sandpoint Top pattern went together really nicely – the PDF is done so you just need to print out the pages for the style you want (round neck or vee neck), and there’s even a nifty feature where you can hide the lines for the sizes that you don’t want, and just print it out directly in your size. (I must admit I didn’t try this, simply because my partner does the printing for me and I couldn’t be bothered going to the effort of explaining that to him and getting him to choose the right options – yeah, a lazy moment to avoid confusion!) The only thing I found with the PDF is that the lines at the base of the top get a bit confusing, as they’re super close to one another with the different size options and the different length options depending on whether you’re making it with a hem band or just plain. But it wasn’t a big deal at all – still very easy to work out, and if you choose to print only your size I imagine it’ll be super clear.

The instructions were nice and friendly, with a chatty tone to them. The illustrations were a bit grainy, not the best quality really (they could benefit from being at a higher resolution), but still visible enough. I liked the instructions for doing the vee neckline – it resulted in a clean finish and a good point to the vee. This was the only place I could see that may be slightly tricky for people so the clear instructions were good – all other parts of construction were super simple and fast.

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I quite like the cut of the top – loose but not too loose. (However, loose enough to make it baby-feeding-friendly! Very important these days, dontcha know!)

There are a couple of things I’ll change next time though – firstly, I’ll make it longer, as it’s about 2 – 3 inches shorter than I’d like. And secondly, I’d make the cowl at the back more pronounced – I think it could benefit from having a bit more of a drape to it, so I’d do a simple slash-and-spread adjustment. Both super easy changes, and not at all deal breakers for this top.

Overall verdict? I like it! Cute, easy to make, easy to wear, and I can see this pattern being used with a slinky fabric in the future for a casual/dressy top to wear with skinny leg jeans when the occasion calls for it (and a crazy printed dress just won’t cut it).

The photos were taken at a sculpure on Karo Drive in Wellington – it’s a big, metal, 1920’s style house sculpture! (Note: all photos courtesy of Mel. Except for the ones with Mel in them, in which case, thanks to Nikki for weilding the camera!)

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And also – check it out. First Twinsies make for ages! Yay! And we both ended up with pink stripy tops.

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Mel used a fabric with more drape than I did, and you can see how the cowl on her top sits a lot better than mine. (Learn from this people – lots of drape is your friend!)

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

With like-a-boss-stripe-matching on the side seams, even. Go us! 🙂

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Cotton Candy Sandpoint Top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

A Floral Dakota

Pretty exciting time the other week – I tried on the Dakota dress I made in October and….

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

it fit!!!!

(Well, sort of. I can get it on and do it up and it’s not uncomfortable, so that’s a total win! It’s still a bit too small for me, so it doesn’t hang a little loose as it’s meant to, but you know – still-diminishing post-baby bump, and a rack that’s several sizes larger than usual due to feeding a small child, so I figure it’s kinda understandable, right? And assuming I can curb my current eat-all-the-chocolate-NOW!!! kick, at some point it’ll fit me properly.)

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Decreasing post-baby bump, and a little photo bomber

But in the meantime – woo hoo! I can fit a dress I made again, and it’s not a maternity dress!!!

Which means I’m a step further down the road of reclaiming my style and my sense of self-expression that goes with that. Happy days. 😀

Anyway, now that I’ve gotten over that little burst of joy and excitement, here we have it – the Dakota dress by Named.

Named Dakota dress

Named Dakota dress

I made this up in October as part of the Frocktober challenge over on The Monthly Stitch. (Disclaimer: I was given the pattern by the Named girls so I could run a sewalong for it over on The Monthly Stitch. But since I don’t believe in being a suck-up because of free stuff, whether I paid for a pattern or not doesn’t affect my opinions on it.)

This is the first Named pattern I’ve made up (although I have two of their newest ones, and the Wenona dress is high on my things-to-make list. Coz, shirt dress. New baby. It’s what my style’s gonna be for the next while, yo.) The Dakota dress is from their first collection, back when they only did PDF patterns. I spotted it when they first released it, and really liked the style – it’s based on the lines of a tuxedo jacket, with pockets, a shaped hem, and a deep and narrow shawl collar. So it was kinda nice to have my a kicked into g to get around to making this up, since I’d been thinking about it for a while!

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Bucking the Dakota trend (since every other version I’ve seen out there has been in a solid colour, usually dark, and 9 times out of 10 made in a ponte) I went with a pink cotton (a lightweight drill) with a small floral design all over it. Since the fabric is quite busy, I felt the style lines would get a bit lost in it so I put chocolate brown piping around the collar to help it stand out from the dress. I also used the same piping on the sleeves, as little mock-cuffs. (Plus I shortened the sleeves because we’re heading into summer here and I want to wear this sooner rather than later. I also figure I’ll be able to do my usual winter layering thing and wear a long-sleeved merino top under it when the weather gets colder. Because long-sleeved merino tops fix everything, don’tcha know?)

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Since I’m gonna have to have easy access to certain parts of my anatomy on demand for the next while, I also added a centre-front invisible zip that extends down past the waistline.

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Before I get into the review of the pattern, just a little disclaimer – yes, there’s a fair few photos in here, and a lot are similar. It’s because I was trying this both with and without a belt, and I reckon it looks quite different either way. (Although a fair bit of that may be my lack of waist definition at the moment….). So I’ve added both, so you can judge the style for yourself. 🙂 The colour is also a bit more saturated than it should be due to the original ones being horribly washed out. Although the dress colour in the photos is actually pretty much spot-on to the real life colour.)

Right, onto the pattern!

First up, the good.

I really like this design – it’s quite different from others that I’ve seen out there, and I like the way Named have taken a masculine design and used it for a womenswear pattern that’s dressy and pretty. The narrow shawl collar is cute, the gored skirt has a good amount (but not too much) flare, and I really like the detail of the shaped hem, which mimics the shaping of mens dress shirts hems. (Gotta love that attention to design detail!) Plus, pockets! (C’mon, let’s have an OHMGAWD POCKETS!!! moment here, shall we?)

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Pockets on the ‘ips

The instructions, while reasonably short, were pretty good. And there are some clever things going on, such as having the pocket flaps sewn into the waistline so you get a super-clean finish on the top of them. Also, the hem of the skirt is actually shaped correctly so when you fold it up it goes cleanly without any easing in required (why on earth do most patterns not do this? All that turn-up-and-stitch business on skirts and dresses where you end up with annoying folds and gathers on the inside because you’re trying to ease a longer section onto a shorter section is all very frustrating (know what I’m talking about?), so thank you to Named for doing it correctly!)

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I like hem tape, it makes me happy 🙂

I cut a size 38 on the top, grading out to a 40 in the waist/hips (my usual sizes) and as far as I can tell (considering I’m techincally still a bit above those sizes!) it fits quite well. Admittedly, the waistline is a little high, but that’s not uncommon for me with my height, so next time I make it I’ll just lengthen the bodice a bit.

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, the not-so-good. This is pretty much all about the PDF pattern itself. And I’m going from memory here, since I made this over a month ago (and got photos nearly two weeks ago, and only just got online now to post it. Hey, new baby and all that, kinda eats into online time!). (Also, a note: the Dakota is one of the first Named patterns, and I haven’t tried any of their other PDF patterns, so these issues may very well have been resolved for later patterns. I’d love to hear from anyone who has one of their more recent PDF patterns to find out if they’re different!>

The Dakota is a downloadable PDF. I have no issues with PDF patterns – in fact, I’ve lately discovered I prefer them, as I absolutely hate working with thin, flimsy, fragile pattern tissue. To the point where patterns with that sort of tissue rapidly make their way to the bottom of my things-I-want-to-make pile, and usually I won’t buy phycial patterns from the same brand again (and yes, this is the key reason I avoid Big 4 patterns – the pattern tissue drives me nuts. Gah! Some indies are bad at this too, though, particularly Sewaholic. Hate that tissue they use.). Sure, PDF patterns take a while to print and tape out, but when you have, there’s no fear of cutting them out (change size? No worries – just print it off again!), and they’re nice and robust to work with. So yeah, I’m a PDF convert these days.

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anyway, the Dakota is a downloadable PDF. First issue, there’s only two sizes per pattern, so if you usually have to grade between sizes, you may have a bit of an issue depending on whether your sizes fall into one set of two (which, lucky for me, mine did) or over different sets. Also an issue if you change size and want to make it again later.

Speaking of grading, the pattern isn’t nested, so it’s a bit harder to grade than most, which is a bit frustrating. I like just being able to play connect-the-lines when grading, and that didn’t work in this case.

Other annoying issues with the PDF:

  • There are no markings on the pages showing which page aligns with which. You have to figure it out yourself. Sure, it’s not that hard, a bit like a big jigsaw puzzle, but still, those numbered markings make it a lot faster to do.
  • Along the same lines, there’s no easy way to tell if you’re holding a page the right way up or not. Some of them have the pattern name along the right-hand side, but others don’t. So you’d better make sure you take them off the printer and don’t shuffle those pages any or that jigsaw puzzle is gonna get a lot harder!
  • The pattern is done like Burda magazine ones, with pieces overtop of each other, so you’re gonna have to trace it off. Not a huge deal in my opinion (it’s not uncommon for me to trace PDF patterns anyway) and it means you’ve got a lot less pages to stick together, but it is worth noting.
  • The key issue with that overlaying pieces thing though is that it’s actually a pain in the a** to trace. The sizes are differentiated by colour – one is black, the other is dark gray. The lines themselves are all solid and the same thickness. Plus, the pattern isn’t properly nested. Yeah, that’s a bit of a nightmare to trace – I kept having to lift up my tracing fabric to check line colours. *mutter mutter*. Adding even more complexity to that, both cutting and stitching lines are included. Great in one way – some people prefer to use one, some the other, so having both is a nice touch. But when they’re the same as each other, and in such similar colours, it just makes tracing that much harder than it needs to be.

Anyway, that was a bit of a rant about the PDF. One of my lovely sewing friends got lots of text messages from me as I was making up and tracing out the PDF, poor girl! (Sometimes, you just need someone who ‘gets it’ to vent frustrations too, right?)

But aside from the PDF itself, the pattern came together nicely and I’m pretty happy with the finished dress. 🙂

There are a couple of things I’d change next time, just for personal preference and to fit me properly. Firstly, I’d lower the waist (but that’s coz I’m pretty tall). I’d also lower the pockets – much as I love them, they’re a bit too high for my liking, especially as I’m likely to always wear a belt with this dress as that makes them somewhat less accessible than I’d like. As well as that, I’d raise the neckline (like others have done before me), and lengthen the skirt (again, the height thing).

But all up, I like this pattern! It’s a cute style and (once you get the PDF sorted out) easy to make up. (So you know, don’t let the PDF stuff put you off. Just be prepared for it, is all.) And I’m looking forward to making up the Wenona shirt dress.

Anyway, there we have it – a floral Dakota! Baby friendly and all. 🙂

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Zip, it zips!