Category Archives: Scrap busters

Bib bop a lu-la

Nothing quite like a bit of altruistic sewing to kick off a new year, right?

A local mother’s group were doing a donation drive for Little Sprouts – a charity that makes up parcels for new families in need. So my sister (who now lives in my town, woo hoo! Lots of social sewing sessions will be happening, yes indeed!) and I decided to plow through my (rather large) scrap fabric stash and use a bunch of it up making baby bibs.

Baby bibs | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Coz, hey! Bibs are fun! And cute. And you can mix and match all sorts of random-as fabric combinations.

Baby bibs | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(You can’t quite see, but one of those bright-green-with-purple-polka-dots happens to have a leopard-print strip at the bottom. We may have gotten slightly carried away with some of our mix-and-matching…. Here’s hoping whoever got a couple of them didn’t hate them. Hmmm.)

Baby bibs | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It’s kinda fun looking at the group of them and spotting bits from different projects. Like the Purple Rain dress, the Melissa dress, my new Cherry Ripe dress, Lovebirds, Christmas aprons, Ladies a Plate dress, and my current project, which you’ll get to find out about when it’s finished. (But I can tell you it’s for Jungle January – can you guess what fabric? Yeah, should be pretty easy to spot!)

Nice and simple and fast to make – two fabrics on the front (for a bit of contrast fun) and some brushed cotton/flannelette/wynciette/whatever on the back to make ’em soft and absorbent next to baby skin. Velcro closures cut into ovals so there are no scratchy corners. And in a few hours, we whipped up all of these!

Baby bibs | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And now they’re on their way to new homes, where hopefully they’ll get used and keep cute babies all clean and stuff. Indeed.

Little Bitty Crazy Houses

Remember the Pieces of Us Project that I was working on? Where I’d make a little soft toy from scraps left over each time I completed a project?

Yeah, well, I’m not quite sure what happened or why, but I kinda dropped the ball on that. Which makes me rather sad. 😦

But all is not lost! It’s time to kick back into it, and get those little softies heading out into the world, making new friends and bringing smiles to strangers!

And to start off, here’s two I finished tonight – Red House and Blue House.

House Softies | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I used a pattern from the book Softies (which now seems to be called “Softies only a mother could love“?) Nice and fast and easy and one I enjoy making, have made before, and almost certainly will make again.

Red House Softie | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The black-and-white linen/cotton blend that I used for their “roof”, arms and legs is leftover from my Corporate Hipster blazer. The blue with white print is from my Melissa dress. Heck knows where the red poplin is from, I just pulled it from my scraps box.

Blue House Softie | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

If the sun comes out again this weekend, I have plans to add their introduction notes and release them into the wild in a couple of the playgrounds near where we live. Here’s hoping they’ll find nice caring new homes!

(They do need better names, though…. What should I call them?)

I made a quilt top?!?

Remember that quilt-along that I started back in January? Well, guess what. I just finished the quilt top!! (A bit late, but hey, I’m still rather impressed with myself for making a quilt top! Just a few months ago, it was the sort of thing I never would have pictured myself making. And yet, here I am, officially a quilt-top-maker. If one can be called that after finishing a grand total of one quilt top, that hasn’t even been turned into a quilt yet.)

I’m pretty pleased with myself for this, actually. It took quite a long time, longer than it would have taken me to make a dress (or two), and there was a lot of pressing involved. But I persevered, and here it is!


I surprised myself even more by enjoying making this. There’s something quite relaxing about sewing lots and lots of straight lines, one after the other. And no fitting issues needing to be taken care of. Almost a bit like meditation, in a way.

I made the middle size in the quilt along, a 76″ by 76″ square. Which, once completed, should (hopefully) be a good size for spreading over my bed and snuggling under with a book in winter.

Can I just say – it’s kinda hard to get a photo of an entire 76″ square. Firstly, I hung it on the wall between us and the neighbours. Which wasn’t quite high enough, and then the wind caught it….



Yeah. So, we tried the washing line. Which also wasn’t high enough, so in none of these photos do you get to see the top. I’m sure you can imagine what it looks like though – it’s the same as the bottom. Just an off-white border.

I think the thing I like most about this quilt top is that each of the fabrics I used have memories – they’re all scraps left over from other projects I’ve made. When I look at it, I’m reminded of those projects – the inspiration behind them, the fun of sewing them up, and (in most cases) how much I enjoy wearing them. (And will enjoy wearing them again, just as soon as I fit into them again. Huh.)

This one uses fabric from my Leaves and Hats dress for the centre star, with pink fabric from the edgings of my March dress, and brown from my Bookish Willow dress (which is still one of my favourite dresses, I really must make that pattern again sometime, it’s so easy to wear….).


The next ‘starburst’ has a centre star made from leftovers from my All Buttoned Up dress, and the surrounds use pink floral from my March dress and yellow-with-birds from a dress I made for a friend.


And these next two use the same fabrics as before, in different combinations:



Since I was using scraps from other projects for the quilt (and a length of off-white cotton that has been lurking around for ages, heck knows where I got it from or why, for the background) I only used six different fabrics for the quilt designs, rather than the twelve different ones that the pattern called for. I like how the fabrics are repeated in different ways and combinations here. (I also really like that they go well with my bedroom walls, which are a soft buttery yellow.)

(My piecing isn’t all that perfect though, but hey – first time trying it all out. Plus I didn’t have a quilting ruler – I went and bought one after I’d finished the quilt top. Guess I’ll need to try another quilt, just so I can compare using one vs not….)

And here’s one just to give you an idea of the size. Spot the cat down on the bottom left there? (That’s Roxy, checkin’ it all out.)


Next up, I’m going to try my hand at free-motion quilting. I went and bought a free-motion foot for my machine the other day, so here’s another new skill to learn! Fun! 🙂 (Although I must admit to being somewhat nervous about navigating my way over such a large item on just my little domestic machine. Hmmm.)

Geese and corners and triangles and stuff

Quilting has funny names for things. Many of which seem to revolve around geese. (Why geese? Does anyone know?)

Anyway, I’ve been carrying on with the Starburst Quilt-along over at Happy Quilting Melissa, sewing various squares that I cut last week into new configurations. This week’s tasks were to make “goose in the corner” and “half square triangles” sections.

(I totally have an image in my head right now of a goose sitting in the corner wearing a dunce hat and feeling sorry for itself. This probably indicates I really should go to bed soon…. Speaking of which, my apologies for the rather crappy lighting on the photos today – I ended up having to take them at night, which never shows things all that well.)

In typical fashion, I started with the half square triangles, even though they were the last of the two things in this week’s tutorial. Must subvert the order, after all.

I got to chain stitch them all together, creating a nice pile at the back of the sewing machine as they went through.

chain stitching

And look – you could even use them as bunting of sorts if you felt like it!

chain two

Here they are, all done and pressed and ready to go. Aren’t they pretty? (I still need to trim them down, that’s a task for tomorrow.)


(And yes, there are a heck of a lot of them. 64, in fact.)

Next up were the goose in the corner blocks. Nothing much to say about these – I chain stitched as with the half square triangles. I also went with Melissa’s suggestion of making extra half square triangles with the bits that were going to get cut off the goose in the corner blocks, so I now have a pretty little pile of extra half square triangle pieces. Not sure what I’ll do with those, make a patchwork bag perhaps?


And here are the goose in the corner blocks, looking nothing at all like geese. (Nor are they wearing dunce hats.)


We’re getting the next week’s task tomorrow – more geese, this time flying ones! (Honk, honk!)

Check it out – I suffered for my craft this week. Iron burn from four days ago. (Clumsy moments around hot things – never a good idea.)


Since I was on a roll, I also made this lovely little girl-with-ears, Brenda:


Her ears, arms and legs are from scraps left over from the scraps I cut quilt pieces out of. (How’s that for using-up-scraps?!)

I set her loose on the world today, leaving her in the children’s section of our local library with a note attached. Another Pieces of Us Project toy, out to spread some happiness and creativity around the world!

Using up scraps

I have a confession to make. I sew a lot of garments with quilting cotton. *hangs head in shame* What can I say? I find it almost impossible to resist the lovely array of prints and colours!

Naturally, this means I have a lot of scraps of quilting cotton, left over from making said garments. (It’s true, I’m a natural hoarder. Just can’t get rid of them if they’re still big enough to be vaguely useful in some way. Even if I don’t have the faintest idea of what I’m going to do with them.)

For a while, I’ve toyed with the idea of making a quilt. After all, a quilt would be a logical way to use up scraps of quilting fabric, no?

And then I decided – 2013 is the year to do it. To make a quilt. (My first quilt!)

Conveniently enough, I then stumbled upon a quilt sewalong, with a design I rather like. The Starburt Quiltalong, by Happy Quilting Melissa. I waded through my boxes (yes, I said BOXES) of scrap fabric, unearthed all the quilting cotton scraps, sorted them into colour schemes that I liked, and chose one for this quiltalong. A mix of pinks and browns, with a bit of yellow thrown in too.

The Starburst Quiltalong is being run over several weeks, with another “assignment” each week. (I like deadlines, especially short deadlines. Stops me from getting too distracted. Most of the time.) This week’s assignment was to cut out our fabric.

First time I’ve cut fabric for a quilt! I made myself some little templates out of cardboard for the three smaller sized squares. (The cardboard wasn’t wide enough for the two biggest sizes, so I just used a ruler and my cutting mat for those.)

My random brightly coloured templates

My random brightly coloured templates

Turns out it takes a loooong time to cut heaps of squares out of scraps of fabric. You can’t just cut it all in big long lines, coz, well, scraps, y’know? You have to find ones the right size, and measure them all up and stuff. But I got there in the end.

Here’s the colours I’m using. Each set of three will make a star shape – the fabric on the left will be the centre of the star, the one in the middle is like a boarder/surround thing for it, and the one on the right is for “bursts” that radiate out from the star’s points. (The off-white underneath is for the background. For some reason, I have about 6 metres of it in my stash. Now that it’s done duty as a background for photos, I’m off to cut out the background quilt pieces from it.) I like that these are all memories of projects (all of which were dresses, now I think about it).

From left to right, this is from: Leaves and Hats dress, the March dress, Bookish Willow dress.

From left to right, this is from: All Buttoned Up dress, the March dress, and a dress I made for a friend.


I only had 6 fabrics in this colour grouping that had enough scraps for the quilt, so instead of using 12 different colours, I’ve used 6 and just mixed them up so the same ones don’t appear together.


I’m really looking forward to seeing how this all goes together! A quilting adventure, indeed.

Also, it ties in remarkably well with this months theme for the 2013 Stashbusting Challenge, using up itty bitty pieces of fabric. A happy coincidence all ’round.

Bugs and critters

(Not that that title will mean much to you, unless you’re from NZ and remember Supergroove. But anyway.)

A while back (I can’t remember where) I read about the Random Acts of Craftiness – the idea being, you make a little soft toy and leave it somewhere for someone to find and adopt. I love this idea! It’s so adorable. 🙂 (And, may I just say, a brilliant way to use up scrap fabric?!)

I’ve been meaning to do some Random Acts of Craftiness, but I’ve also been wondering – how do I get those toys to the people who’ll need them the most? The more in need parts of the community? And then it struck me – I’ll give them to our Plunket nurse to give out! (For those non-Kiwis out there, Plunket is a free service focusing on the health and development of children. They visit families with young children, checking on their health, answering questions, and helping parents. And they reach all over New Zealand, all communities, all socio-economic groups, all cultures. It’s a pretty awesome organisation, really.) The area we live in is a bit of a cultural melting-pot. Everything from high to low socio-economic situations, often on the same block. We’ve got doctors, lawyers, refugees, migrants, people of pretty much every race, colour, age and situation. And there are quite a lot of high-need families as well, which our Plunket nurse visits.

So I spent yesterday afternoon and this morning making soft toys for babies. 🙂 They got given to our Plunket nurse this afternoon, and she’s going to give them to some families who otherwise don’t have much. Hopefully they’ll be loved in their new homes!

The patterns for these all came from the book Softies. Which is a lovely collection of patterns for sewn, knitted and crochet soft toys, from the simple to the more complex. I’ve made several things from here before, and I always love how they turn out.

First, I made these two Beetle Bugs:


It was my first time using the bugs pattern, and I adore them! (I think I may have to make a whole bunch more. Wouldn’t they be great with different textured fabrics for the legs for little babies to play with?) (Also, they’re cuter in real life, when they’re all soft and squishy and cuddly.)

And then I made these two cats:


I love how they all turned out. Hopefully their new homes will love them as well.

I really enjoyed making these for other people. I’m planning on making more to be given out as well.

Stars, stars everywhere

So, who else around here is a Pinterest addict? Got heaps of things pinned that you plan to make, one day?

Yeah. Me too. Oops. Maybe if I spent more time making and less time pinning…..? Whateva.

Anyway, one of the things I pinned a while back was this super cute star pincushion tutorial from Sew a Straight Line. I don’t need any more pincushions myself, so I took the opportunity to stitch one up as a giveaway recently. And I liked how it turned out so much, I then went and made a couple more for gifts.


I used shank buttons on one, and two-hole buttons on the other. And I must say, the two-hole ones are a heck of a lot easier to sew on tightly! (Although it’s a bit of a bee-atch getting the thread knotted tidily afterwards – I actually managed to break the head off a needle. Huh.)

I like how these turned out – they were fun to make, and a cute little scrap busting project. And now they’re winging their way to their new homes, where they’ll hopefully be loved (*fingers crossed*). Pinterest find = success!


A family of Christmas stockings

For a couple of years now, I’ve had the intention to make Christmas stockings for everyone in my family. (We still get stockings from Santa every year, it’s part of the fun of Christmas, we all meet at my parents house for Christmas breakfast of pancakes and fresh berries, then after breakfast we get to open our stockings.) Usually, our stockings consist of some of Dad’s socks (it’s amazing how much you can fit in a long men’s sock – we had them as our Santa stockings when I was a child, too). Which are kind of cool, but, well, just not as special as purpose-made Christmas stockings, right?

Finally, I got around to making stockings for everyone this year!

They were nice and easy to make, which is just as well since I made nine of the things. (One brother and sister-in-law combination aren’t getting any this year since they’re over in the States. Maybe next year…..) They also made for a good scrap-busting project – the majority of fabric for these came from my scrap boxes. I had a lot of fun digging through them to find the ‘right’ colours and prints, and mixing and matching them to suit the people who’ll be getting them. 🙂

These three are for Drake (it’s got pirate flags on it!), me, and Steve.

For my sister, one brother, and my father. (Recognise the fabric on the cuff of the middle stocking? It’s from my Gingham-To-Go shirt.)

And for my mother, sister-in-law, and another brother. (Fabrics to spot this time – the blue-with-Kowhai-flowers on the middle one is from my Something Floral, Something Blue dress, and the green-and-white gingham is from my Texan Gingham dress.)

I even lined them all, using either white, light blue, or green, depending on the stocking.

I’m pretty happy with how they turned out – they look quite fun, all lined up together. 🙂 (And yes, I should have pressed them before I took the photos, but my mother was up visiting and I just got the last one finished in time for her to take them when she flew home, so no time to bust out the iron. Just imagine those curves being all pretty and smooth, as that’s what they’ll be like soon.)

It feels rather good, to have a project I’ve been meaning to do for a few years finally done!

Baby bibs, round two

Turns out I know quite a few people who have just had, or are about to have, babies. Seems to be the thing to do this year. 😉

Since I had fun making some baby bibs a few weeks back, I decided to make some more as gifts for a couple of friends. (Disclaimer: I made these before our little boy arrived. I just didn’t get around to posting about them until now.)

I made two sets of two. Firstly this set of slightly-more-girly ones for a friend with a baby girl. The printed fabric is from a Japanese scarf.

And this set in more neutral colours, for another friend.

They’re all backed with flannelette, and fasten with a velcro tab (with nicely rounded corners, so as not to scratch baby necks).

I’m really liking these as a scrap busting project. May have to make a whole bunch of them sometime soon…..

Scrapbusting Challenge #6 – Grocery Bag Holder

So here’s something I’ve been meaning to make for aaaaaages. It’s nice to get it crossed off the list! What is it? Well, if you tend to collect plastic bags to reuse as bin liners or whatever, it a holder for those. A bag bag, so to speak. You put the bags in the wider opening at the top, and pull them out one at a time from the narrower opening at the bottom. And it’s a lot tidier and cuter than a drawer full of randomly-stuffed-in plastic bags that go everywhere when you open it.

It’s also a pretty good scrapbusting project, as it turns out. 🙂

I got inspired from this tutorial here. And just improvised based on the width of the scraps I had.

Here’s the end result:

The orange floral fabric and the green fabric are both from the 1970’s. I figure the orange floral will go with my new kitchen. (One day, that new kitchen will be finished. In the meantime, the scrapbusting challenge continues…..) I can’t remember what I used most of the original orange floral for – I suspect it was a skirt for someone else (sadly not one for me). The green was also a skirt, which after being in my wardrobe for a couple of years got passed on to someone else at a clothes swap earlier this year. And that burgundy cotton drill has been turned into many things in the past few years.

Since it was fun to make, and used up scraps really well (and I’d cut more strips than I needed, and, most of all, because she mentioned a couple of weeks ago that she’s been meaning to make a grocery bag holder for ages too) I made one for my friend Nicola as well.

Which, now that I look at them together, isn’t too dissimilar as far as colour palettes go! This one has tartan wool leftover from my 40s Tartan bolero, corduroy left over from a pair of trousers I made someone a few years back, and some upholstery fabric I picked up at fabric-a-brac about a year ago.

There was something oddly satisfying about turning scraps into nice, neat strips of fabric. (Perhaps the simplicity of it is appealing to my tired pre-baby-brain?) So satisfying that I’m wondering what other projects I can do with random strips of fabric…. Anyone got any good suggestions?