Category Archives: Sew Weekly

Hi-lo there, meet Simone

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

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

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

Meet Simone, from Victory Patterns.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

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

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

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

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

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

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, let’s talk about this pattern.

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

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

Simone from Victory Patterns

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

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

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

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

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

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

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

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

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And, you know, it’s got purple on it. 😉

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

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

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

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Nah, we’re friends really, I promise. 😉

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Birds of a Feather Dress

1940s dress

The Facts

Fabric: a couple of meters of some pretty, shiny, floaty something-or-other that I got for $3 per meter in the Global Fabrics sale a couple of years back


  • set of 6 pearl snap fasteners (~$7 from Made Marion)
  • a couple of vintage small snap fasteners
  • about 1.5 meters of piping (bought from the Trelise Cooper fabric store a few years back – maybe around $5 per meter?)
  • about 1.5 meters of pink ribbon for hem binding (about $1.50? Been in my stash for years)
  • some iron-on interfacing (bought hurriedly from Made Marion yesterday when I couldn’t find my stash of it – eek!)

Pantone Challenge colors: Acai (purple) and Carafe (brown) (plus some green piping that’s not quite Emerald but about as close as I could get!)

Patterns: bodice from Bestway C.493 (gift from Bea in the pattern and notion swap), skirt from Simplicity 4649


Year: 1941 for the Simplicity pattern; sometime in the 1940’s for the Bestway pattern

Time to complete: about 7 hours I think – hard to say for sure, since time was snatched in little bits and pieces around a baby’s nap time

First worn: today, for these photos!

Wear again? Oh yes. To work tomorrow, probably.

Total Cost: about $22 (most of which was notions!)

1940s dress

I’m guessing a lot of you will have heard of The Sew Weekly before. It was a weekly sewing challenge, run by Mena Trott, with a community of people who sewed along with a weekly theme for two years. As well as being a lot of fun, it was also what got my sew-jo kicked off again – I sewed along with every theme during 2011 (and as many as I could in 2012 what with having a new baby and all the time challenges associated with that), and the challenge of sewing along with a community meant that as well as making 50 garments in one year (while the year before I’d made maybe 6 in total), I also got my blog properly underway (as I finally had a focus for it and things to write about!). So yeah. I kinda credit the Sew Weekly with getting me into the amazing and super-supportive and wonderfully creative sewing blogging world, and “meeting” a whole bunch of amazing lovely people (several of whom I’ve now met in real life).

1940s dress

Anyway, sadly the Sew Weekly vanished this year. 😦 (Since it hasn’t come back, Mel, Juliet and I have started up The Monthly Stitch coz we were missing the challenges and the community.)

But now, the lovely ladies who were a part of the 2011 Sew Weekly have put on a reunion! Yay!! 😀

And like all good Sew Weekly related things, it has a theme and a deadline. The theme was the Pantone Fall 2013 colour palette.

I went digging through my stash and unearthed this gorgeous fabric, all soft and silky and floaty, with feathers printed on it in brown (‘Carafe’) and purple (‘Acai’). Perfect!

1940s dress

The Bestway pattern was a gift from Bea as part of the Sew Weekly Reunion pattern and notions swap. (Thanks Bea!) I used the bodice from the Bestway pattern, and the skirt from the Simplicity pattern (as I had to adjust it at the waist and couldn’t quite be bothered figuring out the adjustments needed to keep a pleated skirt even all the way around. Hah! Laziness, yes indeed).

I must admit that the Bestway pattern confused me no end to begin with. On the outside it says it’s in five sizes, but only one size is actually given, and there are no markings anywhere that say what size it is. I hunted out a pattern that I’d made before that had darts in similar places and laid it out over the Bestway one to figure it out. (Conveniently, it happened to be the exact right size. Win!)


I decided to add contrast piping to the seams down the front bodice and around the waist, just for fun and to break the colour up a bit. I cut the fabric for the centre bodice panel out with the leaves going across instead of down for contrast as well.

The Bestway pattern called for snap fasteners as closures, so I went with that and used a set of 6 pearl snap fasteners down the front, with a couple of small vintage silver ones hidden between some of them to keep everything nicely closed.


I used a pale pink ribbon for hem binding on the inside, and hand stitched both the hem and the sleeve cuffs. (Not as invisibly as I wanted it to be, but the fabric was so light I had to pick up a bit more of it than usual when stitching.)


I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out – it’s fun to wear, and I reckon it’ll work both in summer (since it’s nice and lightweight) and in winter with a merino top underneath (just like in the photos!).


Sew Weekly reunion swap joy

Oh man, I just loooove swaps. It’s always so much fun, ‘stalking’ my swap partners blog, pulling together a package of things I think (hope!) they’ll like, and sending it off to them.

And then the other part of the fun – getting a swap package in the mail, often from far away!

Lots of fun. 🙂

So yeah, I find it kind of hard to pass up the opportunity to be involved in a swap. (And there have been a few happening lately, so please ‘scuse my happy-excited posts showing off all my swap goodies!)

I’ve been running a swap myself, as part of the Sew Weekly reunion. This one was all about patterns and notions – sending a pattern and three notions to your swap partner. And my parcel has just arrived, all the way from Bea in the UK! I had so much fun unwrapping this, exclaiming over all the pretty, pretty things Bea sent me.

Check out this bundle of happiness:

Pattern and notions

  • 5 70cm long white zips (great for making dresses!)
  • A nice long length of pretty purple lace (which happens to be a match for one of the colours in the reunion challenge palette – yay!)
  • Gorgeous vintage notions from Bea’s French grandmothers stash (I feel like I’m holding an exotic piece of history!). Four things that look like buttons, but Bea thinks may be intended to be cufflink-sets. And two larger disks that appear to be belt buckles
  • And for the pattern – Bestway C.493, a gorgeous dress with a square neckline, centre-front panel, short sleeves, and a full skirt (pleated at the waist). I love that bodice, with the panel and the square neckline. 🙂 (Although, what do you think the model is doing? Holding an imaginary box of chocolates, maybe??)

Here’s a closer look at the pattern. (I’m going to be hunting through my stash this week to choose something to make it in!)

Bestway C.493 pattern

It was all wrapped up, along with a lovely handwritten note, in a UK tea towel, with the added fun of lots of handwritten notes attached to places where Bea has lived or spends a lot of time, giving me a little story all about her – so much fun to read! (And a little heart brooch as well. 🙂

Teatowel with notes

Thank you so much, Bea! I love it all, and am already concocting plans for the pattern (plans which involve the lace, even, haha!)

I hope all of you who have been participating in the swap have been enjoying it as much as I have! 🙂

The “Strawberry Sundae” Shirt


This may be the last thing I make intentionally as part of the Sew Weekly sew alongs. (Or it might not – I’m debating whether or not I feel like making a ‘happy holidays’ dress this weekend. The jury is still out on that one, but I’m not feeling the inspiration for it if I’m honest with ya. Anyone want to hit me with some inspiring ideas for it? All ideas welcome!)

Anyway, this was made for the ‘favourites’ challenge – to remake a pattern that was our favourite this year. Admittedly, this isn’t my favourite (that would be the 1940’s dress pattern I used in my All Buttoned Up dress) but it made my top 5 list for this year and is a bit of a winner as far as the whole easy-access-for-small-baby thing goes. So, Home Journal 11553 got made once again!


Just like last time, this pattern came together quite well. (And unlike last time, I already knew that the seam allowance isn’t included, so I didn’t have to spend 10 minutes reading all the different areas of instructions multiple times to try and figure out if it is or isn’t included. Clarity is somewhat missing from this pattern in that regard.) And it turns out that one really good thing about re-making a pattern very soon after your last make of it is that you remember all the things that you weren’t as happy with, and can change them! (Such as having the collar finishing a good 1-2cm in from the front of the shirt – last time, I thought it was meant to be eased onto the entire neckline so I didn’t end up with that little pointed bit from the front facing. This time, I knew to not ease it as much – something the pattern doesn’t tell you and you have to figure out purely from the envelope illustration.)

I’m happy with how this one came out – I made it in a lightweight cotton, getting a chance to satisfy my curiousity as to how those pleats at the neckline would work out in a crisper fabric. Quite well, as it turns out! (Although my gosh those pleats make my bust look bigger than it really is in this photo! Eek!! I assure you it doesn’t look quite like that “in real life”.)


Isn’t this fabric adorable? It’s got little strawberries and a check pattern made of little dots all over it! I got it at Fabric-a-brac a while ago, on the Hospice fundraiser stall. I had just enough to squeeze out this pattern (don’t look too closely – I had to cut the underside of the collar as two pieces and the front facing is cut on the semi-bias so I could get it all cut out! There was very little of this fabric left when I was done with it!)

It’s nice and lightweight, and with those little cap sleeves to keep the sun off my (pale-as-pale) shoulders, I think it’ll be on regular rotation in my wardrobe this summer.


Also, I completed my first Pieces of Us Project toy-made-using-scraps-of-latest-project! I had enough leftover strawberry fabric to make the body of this cute little bug. I named her Strawberry Sundae as well. We went for a walk in the evening on Christmas Day and “released” her into a nearby playground. Hopefully some child has found her and given her a loving new home!


The “Carrera” Dress


The Facts

Fabric: about 1.5 metres of black-and-white tshirting knit from my stash, approx $4 per metre
Pattern: self-drafted, based on a similar dress I own
Year: modern
Notions: none
Time to complete: 2 hours (including accidently cutting half the skirt wrong and having to re-do it)
First worn: for these photos, taken on our regular evening stroll, trying to get an overtired little baby to sleep (*sigh*)
Wear again? yep, probably tomorrow
Total cost: $6


I started this dress a few weeks back, for the black and white challenge over at the Sew Weekly. I got as far as cutting it out, started to sew it up, and then…. my overlocker died. 😦

So much for that.

To be fair, it didn’t fully die. Just the knit fabric 4-thread stitch wasn’t working right – the right-hand needle kept catching on the lower looper, which made me fear for the safety of my eyes. (Anyone else do that? Have moments where they imagine parts of a sewing machine needle breaking off mid-stitch and flying at their eyes? That’s the main reason I don’t sew jeans these days – it scares me. Gah.) Anyway, since my overlocker was fine with 3-thread stitches, I carried on using it, never quite getting it to the overlocker hospital, because, well, I struggle to be without it for several days in a row so I kept putting it off.

But finally, it got there, and it got all fixed and stuff, and it’s back home and working well, and so this dress got finished!


I based this one off a RTW dress I got in a clothes swap party a while back – I’ve found it’s perfect for breast feeding, as the crossover bodice easily pulls down to one side or the other, and since the dress itself isn’t a wrap-around, there’s no risk of accidently pulling the rest of it out of whack when you pull one part of the bodice. Perfect.

Approaching it in my rather common haphazard way, I took a basic knit fabric top pattern I drafted a good decade or so ago, and blithely took scissors to fabric, inventing the dress pattern as I went along. (I must admit here, I made a boo-boo when cutting out the front of the skirt to start with and didn’t flare it out enough over my hips. Oops. Spotted it as soon as I’d cut it, thankfully there was plenty of fabric left for a re-cut, and the rejected piece is going to be used to make some trousers for the little man so all’s well.) Since it’s summer here now, I went with a sleeveless style. The fabric is a 4-way tshirting, so I played around with the stripes a bit as well. (Odd fabric this – the black stripes are printed on the white tshirting, rather than being woven in. Gives it a bit of a texture, but also means the printing can look a bit “cracked” when stretched lots, which isn’t quite as good.)


The whole thing was stitched together on my overlocker. Gosh, I do love that thing! The stitching probably only took around an hour, the rest of the time was spent mucking around with inventing the pattern as I cut it out. So all up, a pretty fast make, and it’ll do it’s required job nicely (i.e. no ironing needed, easy and comfy to wear, and fast access to certain parts when needed).

As for the name? We took these photos on our current usual evening walk (an attempt to get the little one to sleep for at least 15 minutes during Baby Witching Hour. Good times.) We wandered through Carrera Park, thankfully he’d finally fallen asleep by then so we took the opportunity to grab some pics. More graffiti ones – something about graffiti, I like it. Probably the colours? Anyway…. I also tested this dress out on the swings. It works well on them, too. 😉


The “Flip Side” Dress


The Facts

Fabric: a couple of meters of pink-and-blue floral craft cotton, $2/meter on sale at Spotlight
Pattern: Butterick 6619
Year: early 1970′s
Notions: bit of interfacing for the collar, and an invisible zip (~$6 on sale at Arthur Toye a while back)
Time to complete: 3.5 hours
First worn: for these photos, on a lovely summer evening walk
Wear again? yep
Total cost: about $10

Last week’s challenge on the Sew Weekly was ‘winter’. Lets face it – we’ve just started on summer down here, and winter gear is about the last thing I want to be making right now!

So, I decided to interpret it as ‘start of new season’, and make a summer dress instead. (Hence the name – the flip side of winter is summer.)


Drake helped me choose a pattern (aka sat on my lap while I showed him a few options and talked aloud while deciding which one I wanted to make). I found a dress in an op shop (thrift store) a while back, and it’s turned out to be perfect for breastfeeding as it does up down the centre front with a zip. Quick and easy access, just the way the little lad likes it (any slower than 2 seconds and he gets rather grumpy, so quick-and-easy access is a lot easier for me, and my eardrums, as well!). Hence why I decided to branch out of my 1940’s/50’s zone and tackle this pattern from the early 1970’s – it also has a centre-front zip.


It also has pockets. I love pockets on dresses. Every time I make a dress that doesn’t have pockets, I plan to put them in. (Most of the time I then get all excited about getting the skirt sewn up and forget to add in-seam pockets to it. Oops. But the plan is always there! Maybe I need to write myself a sign and stick it to the wall above my sewing machine, to remind myself….)


I must admit, it felt rather odd wearing this out and about. It’s so much shorter than what I usually wear, and when coupled with high heels I felt rather ‘dressed up’! (Strange how that works – if the dress was just a bit longer, or more of a 50’s siholuette rather than the more A-line 70’s style, I wouldn’t have felt ‘dressed up’ at all. *shrug*) I do like this dress though – it’s nice and lightweight, so it’ll be good to wear on warm days. And it’s sleeveless – I love having bare arms in summer. (I can also attest that the zip-front made Drake a rather happy lad. Or at least far less grumpy than button-up fronts do!)


The pattern itself was nice and easy to whip up – these 1970’s styles usually are, gotta love that. Steve is encouraging me to make more of these (only in different fabrics – the pink-and-blue floral got a big thumbs-down from anti-floral-boy), and I may just do that. It’ll be an easy style to adjust the side seams on as (if?) I lose the baby-weight, so it seems pretty much perfect as far as my wardrobe needs go right now.

We went wandering after dinner to take these photos, and ended up outside the zoo, so I got to pretend to interact with a tiger painting while people drove past….


Speaking of wardrobe needs, do you like my new shoes? I just “needed” to have them. 😉 I’m calling them my Christmas present to myself.

The “Martha” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: about 2.5 metres or so of cotton drill, mint green with cupcakes and polka dots on it, gift from my mother
Pattern: Weigel’s 2106
Year: 1962
Notions: 7 purple buttons from my stash
Time to complete: about 5 hours
First worn: to the Wellington bloggers meet up
Wear again? yep
Total cost: free!
Make this pattern again? yep, I think so
Changes I’d make next time: lower the waist about an inch; add pockets (coz pockets are awesome. And useful.)

It was 1960’s week over on The Sew Weekly this week. And it was also the first (but definitely not the last!) Wellington sewing bloggers meet up on Saturday. So the wonderful Juliet and Nikki and I decided we’d make 1960’s dresses to wear to the meet up. (Our meet up started at Martha’s Pantry, so I’ve named this dress in it’s honour.)

I was a bit surprised to find I don’t own nearly as many 1960’s dress patterns as I thought I did. Hmmm. Separates, yes. Dresses, no. (And for some odd reason, a blouse that buttons up the back just doesn’t seem all the useful at the moment….!)

But lo and behold, I unearthed Weigel’s 2106 from my stash. Dress? Check. 1960’s? Check. Easy-front-access? Check.

And then, for some reason, I decided to make it up in this cupcake print drill. I admit it, even I was unsure how this would work out – it’s not really my colour and an entire dress (complete with sleeves) in this could very easily be a bit too much. But still, I went ahead and rolled with it. Much to Steve’s horror.

(Please ‘scuse the wrinkles, I’d been carting a baby around.)

And much to his surprise, it actually worked out ok! (His reaction when seeing it: “hey, it’s not as hideous as I thought it would be!” Not to say he likes it, however. But no surprises there.)

The Weigel’s pattern is a little bit odd – some of those instructions were a bit hard to decipher, but I muddled my way through it (the pleat under the bottom button took me by surprise) and we got there. The waistline is oddly high, and higher at the back than the front, but that’ll be easy enough to change next time I make it up. (And the sheath dress version looks rather cute, don’t you think? May have to try that one….)

I like this dress – it’s nice to be able to wear something in a quirky fabric again (just like old times!), it’s reasonably practical when out and about with the little lad, and it’s got cupcakes on it. (And really, what’s not to love about cupcakes?!?) (Also, if it looks a little too tight, that’s because it is. I made it for the size I’ll be in about a month, rather than the size I am now. Foresight, yeah!)

The weather was a bit blah when it was time for photos, so just boring inside ones this week I’m afraid, in one of the upstairs bedrooms. Since I was there and all, I thought I’d better hold up the roof. Don’t want that thing to come crashing down now, do we? It might damage the sewing machine, and that would be an absolute disaster as I already have plans for the next creation…..

The “Gingham-To-Go” Shirt

I’ve been having a bit of a wardrobe crisis the last couple of months. And a sewing crisis. The wardrobe crisis part is kinda obvious I guess, although for some reason it didn’t occur to me until I was nearly right at the end of my pregnancy – most of my wardrobe just isn’t really suitable for breastfeeding. (Except for the cardigans, and luckily I have heaps of those!) Which means I have very little to wear, and as for those 1940’s and 1950’s style dresses, with their fitted waists? Yeah, well, guess I won’t be wearing those for a while yet. But hey, I can always make myself some more things to wear, right?

And that’s where the sewing crisis comes in. I’m finding it hard to get my head around the idea of making things to wear that may only be the right size for a month or two. (Or longer – heck knows how quickly my shape is going to change at the moment.) I’ve decided skirts and trousers are out due to waists being the least forgiving of fits. Dresses I can always cinch in with a belt. And shirts – I’ve recently discovered the joy of shirts.

Which is rather convenient for this weeks Sew Weekly challenge theme – shirts!

The Facts:

Fabric: somewhere between 0.5 and 1 metre of green and cream gingham that I got from Fabric-a-brac a while ago for $1
Pattern: Home Journal 11553
Year: 1950s
Notions: 5 green buttons from my stash
Time to complete: 2.5 hours
First worn: just a general day – around the house, visit with friends, then a nice walk after dinner up to the water tower where these photos were taken
Wear again?: yep
Total cost: about $1

(Why is it the “Gingham-To-Go” shirt? Well, it’s gingham. (Duh.) And I kinda feel a bit like a snack bar on legs these days, hence the “to go” part.)

This pattern was rather interesting to make up. The instructions were, to put it mildly, confusing as all heck. They’re in multiple locations – on the separate instruction sheet, on the front of the pattern envelope, and on the back of the pattern envelope. Oh, and on one of the pattern pieces, too. You have to read all of them to find out whether or not seam allowance is included. Twice. And even then I felt a bit nervous cutting out the pieces, in case they did actually include seam allowance and I was interpreting the instructions wrong. And that was before I started trying to refer to them for the sewing part….. (Yes, it just got worse.) So even though this shirt is actually nice and easy to put together, I’d put it in the “not for novices” pile just because you have to interpret/ignore/invent the instructions yourself.

I’ve been wanting to make this pattern for a little while now – it’s got four little pleats at each side of the neckline, and inverted tucks at front and back for shaping. And cap sleeves! How cute are cap sleeves?!?

(Although it took me wearing the shirt all day to decide I liked the cap sleeves on me. I liked them when sewing it up, then when I first tried on the shirt I worried they made me look like an American Football player. Now, I like them again. So that’s all good.)

It feels nice to have made something for myself – it’s been nearly two months! And I’m pleased to say that my sewing dilemma is now over and I’m about to go and launch into my next project. Yippie!

And with that, I’ll leave you with my favourite photo from this shoot. Cat graffiti is awesome, no?

The “Bye Bye Bump” Top

The Facts

Fabric: about 1 metre of lightweight blue knit, gift from TJ as part of the One+/One* swap
Pattern: Jalie 2787, also from TJ
Year: current
Notions: about 20cm of elastic from my stash
Time to complete: 1.5 hours
First worn: for these photos
Wear again? yep
Total cost: free!

So it turns out that even though I’m no longer wearing maternity clothes (and can I just say how nice it is to be able to wear skirts again? Much as I love dresses, being able to wear only dresses for several months is a bit limiting. Sadly my ‘bump’ didn’t like skirts or trousers during the whole pregnancy.), I still have quite a few wardrobe limitations going on that never really occurred to me until quite recently. Yep, that’s right – I no longer need to accommodate one big bump, but instead I need easy access to two slightly smaller ones for breast feeding!

And it turns out the vast majority of my wardrobe isn’t really suitable for that. Hmmmm.

Thankfully, the lovely TJ (from The Perfect Nose) sent me a wonderful parcel as part of the One Cool Thing/One Strange Thing swap that she ran. (And that I’ve been meaning to post about for ages. Can I plead ‘baby brain’ for this one? Sorry, TJ!)

Anyway, check this out. She sent me:

A cute vintage pattern (Simplicity 7724).

A copy of Patrones magazine (my first one!), filled with adorable patterns for kids clothing. (I can’t wait until Drake is a bit older so I can make some of the boys garments for him! Cute little pairs of trousers and jackets, so adorable!)

And Jalie 2787 – a knit fabric top with crossover detail on the front.

The super brilliant thing about this Jalie top though? It’s got a version for nursing mums! Yay!! As soon as I opened TJ’s parcel and saw this, I was all ‘OMG how perfect!’ and excited. (So much so that I had to show it off to one of my pregnant friends.) I’ve been hanging out to make this top up, and now I have!

TJ also sent me a length of super soft knit blue fabric. Since it’s blue week over at Sew Weekly this week, it seemed right to make the Jalie top up in the blue fabric. And there’s still plenty left over – my next plan is to make something for Drake out of it. Just as soon as I figure out what….

Anyway, this was my first experience in sewing with a Jalie pattern. (In fact, I’d only just heard of them a couple of weeks before I got this one from TJ, so it was all part of the learning process.) I’m impressed with how many sizes they managed to cram into one pattern – everything from 2 years old up to far bigger than I am. There are a few different variations as well – different sleeve lengths, and the adjustment for easy access for breast feeding.

This top came together nice and easily. The only issue I had was the elastic length (it gets sewn into the top of the front panel that sits under the cross over sections) – the pattern called for the same length for all sizes, which is just plainly wrong. So I improvised and cut out a length slightly shorter than the fabric panel it was being sewn onto. It seems to work. *shrug*

And on that note, I’m off to cut out another one (or two, or three) of these. (Only with a slight alteration for the next one so the crossover part doesn’t cut right across the middle of my boob!)

The “40s Meets 80s” Bolero

The Facts

Fabric: random sweatshirting that’s been hanging out in my stash for years. Origination unknown
Pattern: McCall 804
Year: 1940
Notions: none
Time to complete: about 1.5 hours
First worn: out for coffee with friends
Wear again? yep
Total cost: free!
Bump on the day of the photo: 40 weeks (and two days – officially ‘overdue’)

After a couple of week’s of maternity leave, aka hanging out on the couch with books and cats, my sewing mojo is finally starting to reappear. Yay! So, for the first time in over a month, here’s a Sew Weekly challenge creation.

This week’s theme is ‘polka dots’. I love polka dots – I just find them super cute, don’t you?

I’m not sure where this fabric came from originally – it’s been lurking in my stash for years. I suspect it may have been part of my mother’s stash ages ago? My guess is that it hails from the 1980’s, that decade of crazy printed sweat shirting fabrics. (Hence the name for this garment.) There was roughly a metre left, in an odd shape due to whatever had been cut out of it previously. Which meant there was the perfect amount to make up another version of McCall 804. (This is the third time I’ve made up this pattern – previous incarnations were the 40’s Tartan bolero and the Bookclub bolero. I never would have guessed a bolero pattern from 1940 would become one of my go-to patterns, but hey, turns out it has! I’ll be using it again in the future as well – one day I’m going to make up the collared variant.)

Since it’s made out of sweat shirting fabric, I didn’t bother to line the bolero this time, or even use facings. I just did a basic overlock then stitch under around all the edges – anything else seemed like it would be overkill for this bolero. Which meant it was super fast to put together – about 1.5 hours all up from start to wearing.

It had it’s first outing to Rata Cafe on Sunday, for coffee with friends. Rata Cafe is up near Zealandia (a native bush and wildlife reserve), so we grabbed some photos with pretty native bush in the background. (And me squinting into the sun a bit, as it turns out. Not sure how I managed to not notice that while we were taking the photos…. Gah.)