Category Archives: Swaps

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! 🙂

Spring sewing swap goodies

Remember the Spring Sewing Swap that Kestrel Makes organised? Well, it’s taken me a couple of weeks to get this post up, but here’s the super lovely goodies that Grace at Ideas and Inspirations sent me.

Retro sewing patterns
Three fun patterns:

Vogue 7190, a cute straight skirt pattern.

McCall’s 8346 – a rather amazing pattern for miniature houses with furniture and families!! Seriously, how adorable is this?!? There are bear, mouse and rabbit families. And the houses have carry handles on the roof so you can pick them up and take them with you.

And a copy of Golden Hands magazine, part 25, from the 1970s.

Lots of pretty notions
A bunch of fun vintage notions:

  • A nice long length of white heavy lace
  • A card of 8 pretty blue buttons
  • Two vintage spools of thread – one green and one yellow. On those lovely old wooden cotton reels! Love them!!
  • A pack of square snap fasteners
  • A vintage grey open-ended cardigan zip. (Now to make a cardigan especially to put this into, haha!)
  • A little bag of mixed vintage button goodness
  • A vintage box of hardened steel pins

And two lovely lengths of fabric – a lightweight white with pink floral design that’s just crying out to be turned into a blouse, and a medium weight, slightly rough-woven length of grey with pink and blue checks running through it, which is likely to be turned into a bag as it’s just a bit too short for a skirt.

All wrapped up super pretty in some gorgeous wallpaper!

Pretty floral wrapping paper

Thank you so much Grace! I love it all!! 🙂

A purty bag of fabric

Something about the idea of swaps, I find them very hard to resist. So recently, when I saw a New Zealand-based fabric swap announced, the Postal Stash Rehash from Small Town Stories, I couldn’t help myself, and signed right up to it.

Just for the heck of it, I signed up for the $9 bag swap option. It was pretty exciting getting the email telling me who I was sending a big bag of fabric to, and their preferences. Bright colours, florals, polka dots, vintage, retro, cotton fabrics, and no brown or purple. Easy! Wish I’d taken a photo of the pile of fabric I sent them, but I completely forgot to. I can tell you however that (going from memory) it had mainly cotton fabrics – mint green with polka dots and cake printed on it, bright orange cotton drill, neon yellow cotton, bright blue, some white blend with textured narrow stripes running through it (a vintage fabric), cream tshirting with a little floral design all over it, and I’m pretty sure there was something else floral in there as well but I can’t remember what. Anyway, I crammed as much as I could into the bag, and then had to take out a length of fabric when I went to send it coz I’d over-filled it and it was too heavy. Oops! I’ll put that one aside for the next swap. 😉

Know what’s funny? In all the excitement of putting together a parcel for someone else, I completely forgot I would be getting a parcel too! So it was a rather exciting surprise when it ended up on my back doorstep one afternoon when I got home from work. Yay!

And oh, what a gorgeous parcel of goodies it was! Check out this fabulousness:


  • About 2 metres of a semi-loose weave, medium-weight vintage cotton with flowers, checks and squares, that I’m going to turn into either a jacket or a skirt.
  • About 2.5 metres of a vintage green/white floral – not really sure how to describe this one. I think it’s a cotton. It’s like a very fine corduroy, but the raised cord sections aren’t really raised up. If that makes any sense at all?!? Anyway, I foresee a skirt in the future for this one….
  • A small scrappy length of vintage blue floral cotton. Trim on a skirt or fun pocket linings will be the fate of this piece I think.

A bunch of fun panels of fabric!

  • A section of vintage cotton with three embroidered floral sections on it
  • A panel of heavy-weight cotton with two rabbits and a turtle
  • A hand-painted cotton panel with a rocket ship blasting off


  • About 1.5 metres of a green and dull grey-pink patterned shirting weight fabric with a design of circles, lines and oblongs all over it. Which, since it’s shirting and the right length, will almost certainly become a shirt.
  • About 2.5 metres of green with a green/black stripe running through it. A nice lightweight cotton, this one’ll probably become a dress.
  • About a metre of something slinky and pretty and lightweight with swirly designs all over it. I have no idea what I’m going to turn this into, but it’s pretty and the texture and weight combination makes me smile when I handle it.


  • I think this is my favourite of the bunch – a vintage/retro red/yellow/white/blue/black plaid with poodles in the blue squares! (Seriously, how awesome is that?!?) There’s about 2 metres of a narrow length of this, a nice lightweight cotton. I’m thinking a shirt out of this one, since there isn’t enough for a dress.
  • And another fab print – white with red zips and pins all over it! There’s a fat quarter of this quilting cotton, it’ll probably become fun pockets at some point.
  • Four spools of thread – two vintage tan ones, one sparkly metallic blue (what can this be used for, anyone know??), and a silky orange.
  • A Winter 2011 edition of Get Creative magazine.

Seriously, I had SO MUCH FUN pulling all these goodies out of the postage bag! They just kept on coming, and I kept exclaiming in joy and bouncing around like a kid at Christmas. Only happier, coz this was MYSTERY FABRIC AND IT WAS ALL FOR MEEEEE!!!!!

*ahem* Yep. Fabric makes me happy.

I’m hoping that the parcel I sent my swap person makes them happy as well. (Does anyone else get super nervous that the person they send something to in a swap won’t like it? I’m always such a bundle of nerves about it! Madness.)

My fingers are itching to get started on making some of this up. Only, where to start? Which one would you like to see made up first? Choose for me, lovely people!!

The “Anne” Blouse

Guess what? I finally made something! OMG!!! Yes folks, it’s been a while. Far, far too long. Over a month. And not for lack of inspiration or desire to create. Nope, I’ve got lots of plans, lots of patterns, lots of fabric. Just not a lot of time. But hey, my new rule – 5 minutes sewing a day. Eventually, things get completed. Eventually.

So here it is – my first creation for the WSBN Burda Sew-along – the ‘Anne’ blouse!

Anne blouse, Burda magazine 10/2012 #122

Which also happens to be my first-ever creation from a Burda magazine. Yes, when I unfolded the pattern sheet, I got scared. And when I looked at the (pathetic) instructions, I got even more scared. But I pulled on my big-girl pants, stepped up to the tracing challenge, and you know what? It really wasn’t that hard! Not hard at all, in fact. (Once I discovered that the numbers down the bottom of the sheet show you where to look for each correlating pattern piece, so you don’t have to sift through all the text on the pattern sheet trying to spot pattern piece number 8 and so on. Wish I’d discovered that a bit earlier on in the tracing journey, but hey, now I know for next time.)

In fact, it was so not-hard, I’ve already traced out my next pattern to make up. And have plans for more. (Seriously folks, if you’ve been putting off sewing from a Burda magazine for fear of the tracing, fear not. It’s no where near as hard as it looks. Go on – get brave and give it a go!)

Anne blouse, Burda magazine 10/2012 #122

So, this blouse, It’s pattern number #122 from the October 2012 edition of Burda Style. And here’s where I’d like to give a big thank-you to Anne, who sent me this magazine as part of a swap we did. Thanks Anne! 🙂

Burda Style magazine 10/2012
Burda Style magazine 10/2012 pattern #122

I choose this blouse because of the yoke – it’s rather interesting. I found it hard to tell from the image (and even harder to tell from the instructions) but the yoke is hanging free on two sides, and stitched in to the shoulder and sleeve seams on the other two. It’s also not quite the same shape/size as the neckline, so you have a subtle double-layer effect where they overlap. (I had to go hunting for made-up versions of this over on Burdastyle to be sure about this, the instructions were that poor.)

There are darts in front and back for shaping, and with no collar either it’s a very easy blouse to make up. (It still took me a good week-and-a-half to make, but hey, like I said earlier, 5 minutes sewing a day will get you there. Eventually.)

Anne blouse, Burda magazine 10/2012 #122

The original design is about 6-7 inches longer – I shortened it so I can wear it out over skirts. I also shortened the sleeves, simply because I didn’t have enough fabric for long sleeves. (*cough* design decision *cough*) Now here is where things got a bit frustrating – I made this up in the right size for my measurements. And it was far too big. (Except across the shoulders, where it fits fine.) I’m wondering if this is because I’m used to sewing with vintage patterns, and modern patterns have far more ease? Those of you who sew from Burda magazines – do you find they have far more ease than you need? Or is it perhaps just this one pattern?

(Now I look at the picture again, it does seem to be intentionally a bit loose. Hmmm…. Should look more closely at that next time.)

Anyway, I took it in by over an inch on each side seam at the waist, tapering up to the sleeves and down to the hem. I think it’s still a bit loose, but I’m not 100% sure – it feels loose, but my Other Half is of the opinion that it fits fine. I’d like a second opinion here folks – should I take it in a bit more, or leave it as it is? Be honest here!

Anne blouse, Burda magazine 10/2012 #122

I made a couple of changes in the construction methods as well. When it comes to the free-hanging yoke, the instructions don’t ask you to sew up the section that lies next to the neckline. Instead, you’re just meant to turn the seam allowance under and leave it. Um, what? I ignored that. Rather, I folded the yoke pieces in half, right sides together, stitched up that seam, turned them out the right way again, and then went back to following the instructions. Nice and neatly stitched together, and no visible stitching. Easy as.

Anne blouse, Burda magazine 10/2012 #122

I also choose to use domes instead of buttons. Because sewing with a hammer is fun. And I get to feel like Superman when I get changed at night. The fun in feeling like Superman at the end of the day cannot be underestimated. I urge you all to sew with hammers, make a top that does up with domes, and give it a try. Seriously, go and do it!

Burda magazine 10/2012 pattern #122 - the Anne blouse

So, there we have it. The Anne blouse. My first ever Burda magazine creation. I’m rather pleased with it, even if I’m not yet convinced by the fit. And on that note, excuse me – I’m off to trace another pattern. Happy sewing, folks! 🙂

Guest post – Nessa from Nessa’s Place

Hi everyone, today I’d like to introduce you to my newest blogging friend – Nessa of Nessa’s Place! We were paired up together for the Nautical Craft Swap – she sent me the sweetest gift, you can see it below. Nessa has been kind enough to write a guest post, so you can ‘meet’ her as well!

Hello readers of Modern Vintage Cupcakes! What an honour it is to be saying hello to you all on this creative page. I am Nessa and I write two blogs: one is called Ma Wee Hens where I write about my new adventure in keeping backyard hens, but my main blog is called Nessa’s Place, where I write about all my stitching endeavours.

A wee bit about me
I live in Scotland where it has been nothing but grey clouds and wet since 2009. But as much as I love living here, unfortunately I am not Scottish and don’t have that lovely accent! The British enjoy telling me I am Antipodean – meaning I am from the islands that are directly opposite the British islands on the globe. If a Scot digs a tunnel through the earth they would arrive at the Antipodes – Australia/New Zealand. The odd thing is, that I grew up in Australia and whenever we dug holes we were always digging to China?!
I grew up in Victoria, Australia but moved to Scotland for work in 2005. In 2007 I fell in love and got married in 2008. So now I am staying put here in this beautiful land. I do love living here with the heather on the moors, the lochs in the glens and the hills outside the windows (they call them ‘mountains’ here but we know that they don’t know what real mountains are!)

My Creating
I have sewn, stitched and knitted since I was a teenager and could think of nothing better than to get home from school, throw my pyjamas on in front of the TV and do some tapestry or knitting.

My first knitted item was meant to be a teddy bear’s scarf but my rows increased so much that it had to become an A-line skirt for my Barbie doll. I improved my knitting skills by making small baby projects like booties and cardigans in the round. They knitted up quickly, providing me with a sense of accomplishment. I wonder what ever happened to those little knitted treasures? I once knitted a cardigan for a boyfriend. I’d even read that knitting for a boyfriend was like jinxing the relationship but I didn’t want to believe it and thought it was true love…which it wasn’t. Since then I have happily only knitted for myself.
skye2011_087_medium2 copy

I did a bit of tapestry work, which led me to cross-stitch. Both projects were huge, framed pieces. I always believed (and still do) that if you are going to spend all that time and effort on a project then it must be one that you REALLY want to own and that you will love.

My Mum sewed quite a lot when we were growing up. I do remember asking her to only sew during the ads whilst we watched our favourite TV shows, as her Elna Lotus would make the reception go all stripey when she sewed. I always loved old fashioned things like Anne of Green Gables, Annie and Little Women, so my first ever attempt at sewing clothes were floor length gathered skirts, shawls and simple bonnets for my sister and I to use for dressing up games. At least now, as an adult, I can spend my money on good fabric and proper patterns and make the dresses of my dreams!
Mull Oct 10 331

Mostly I only sew things for myself that I really want to wear. I do sew for others as well, but not very often. So far my projects for others this year are to make my husband a tweed wool jacket and a tartan waistcoat for my Dad, who might be visiting from Oz. For myself – well the wish list continues with mostly dresses.

I only started blogging in 2012. I stumbled across a Pattern Review website, as I wanted to try a particular pattern but the pattern envelope was styled in such a strange way that I had no idea what it would actually look like on my figure. That’s when I found out that people actually wrote quite in-depth blogs about sewing, fitting and constructing patterns, the very same patterns that I was thinking of sewing! It was a revelation. in the beginning I just bookmarked people’s blogs that were interesting to me – this led to some overflowing bookmark folders and I couldn’t keep up with them. Transitioning from blog lurker to blog commenter was rewarding. I realised that I could be encouraging and that I could help people with some of their sewing dilemas or technical issues. Being useful motivated me to want to write my own blog and record my own creative progress. I do live in quite a rural place, with no other sewing enthusiasts to befriend, so to be a part of a sewing community has been really the best part about blog writing.
I also really love seeing how patterns and outfits look on real life people of all different shapes, sizes and styles.

How I “met” Kat
I first started following Kat’s blog when I saw her giveaway on the February Sew Grateful Week posts. I think the first things I noticed about her blog were the photo-a-day challenges which give a lovely glimpse into everyday life in Wellington, and her detailed photographs of her handmade garments. The first garment that I remember impressed me was a blouse that she had made and used adapted patterns to create her own version. It was really unique and a very cleverly made item that showed a great sense of ingenuity and creativity. So I’ve been a follower ever since.
I enrolled in Rachel’s House of Pinheiro International Craft Swap this year and was paired up with Kat. This was great for me, as I was already familiar with her recent posts, but it gave me a good excuse to scroll through her previous posts and “get to know her” a bit better. But those photos of her sweet baby boy were pretty hard to scroll past – what a sweety!
We were asked to create something crafty for our partner and include a small gift. Here is what I made for Kat – it’s a lunch bag
I also sent along a piece of retro kitchen print fabric and some British ribbons.
lunch bags 002

Here is what Kat made for me – it’s even reversible!

I also received some DELICIOUS honey flavoured chocolate from New Zealand and some very jazzy pens.
Thanks for reading! If there are any comments, I will be sure to pop over to your blog pages and enjoy “meeting” you too. Hope you all have a very productive and creative year ahead!

Thank you so much Nessa! It’s been so lovely getting to know you, and I am in complete awe of your 1850’s dress!!! I’m looking forward to following your blog and seeing what you make next. 🙂

Guest post – Lucy from Needle and Ladle

Last month, I took part in my first Covert Robin swap. I had so much fun making something for my swap partner. And then there was even more fun – the postie delivered a parcel containing a super fabulous gift from my swap partner, the lovely Lucy from Needle and Ladle. Lucy sent me the most fabulous present (which you can read more about below), and has also been kind enough to do a guest post. Thanks, Lucy!

Hello, Modern Vintage Cupcakes readers!
My name is Lucy and I am Kat’s secret Covert Robin buddy! I am very excited to be here today. My blog is called Needle and Ladle where I wrote about the things I made, mainly sewing and quilting.

Here is a little about me:
I live in Texas, USA with my husband and 3-year-old son. Not long after I became a mom, I quit my full-time job and we moved from west coast to Texas. Two years ago I started mending/altering my son’s clothes hoping to make them last longer. Ever since then, sewing has been slowly growing to be a major part of my life. I love sewing garments and all kinds of bags. I make clothing for my husband, and myself but I spend more time sewing for kids. My son is my sweet little model. Here is his preschool backpack:


And a wool jacket for him I made last December:


Besides sewing, I love all kinds of needlework art, cross-stitching in particular; and I recently pick up quilting, it’s fun! I learned and got lots of help and inspirations from the online sewing community, so last year I also started my own blog Needle and Ladle. I guess you can drop by if you would like to find out more, I love new friends!

Back to the Covert Robin~
This is the first time I participated in Covert Robin, so I was very excited and at the same time nervous about what to make. Thankfully, Kat has a great blog and I immediately headed over. After “stalking” Kat’s blog a few days, I decided to make her a wet bag and a pair of indoor slippers.


Wet bags seem to be very popular among moms in US. I didn’t know about this when my kid was small. I used this tutorial for it. The lining is waterproof PUL fabric that is used widely for cloth diaper cover. And I used cotton twill for the exterior. I guess it’d be a great companion for a new mom like Kat.


As for the slipper, I have this pretty Color Me Retro fabric by Jeni Baker and thought it’d be really cute on slippers, and I guess Kat might love it too. I wrote a brief tutorial over here. It’s made out of all fabric- quilting cotton, denim, linen, and fleece. Although it may not be as durable like factory-made slipper, but I get to choose the prints I want and it’s washable and warm.


I surely hope you love the gifts, Kat. And I am very happy to know you! Thanks for having me over today 🙂

Thank you so much Lucy! It was great finding out more about you. That little jacket you made for your son is gorgeous! And I really love the slippers and wet bag you sent me, they’re getting used a lot. 🙂 Happy sewing!

Covert tea cozy

A while back, I spotted a new swap thingy happening via the sewing interwebs. The Covert Robin swap. It sounded like fun, so I went and signed up. 🙂

After a fair bit of cyber-stalking my swap buddies blog, I finished off my gift and sent it off to them this week.

Wanna see what I made?


Yep, it’s orange and yellow and white. Can you guess what it is?


A tea pot cozy!

I used this tutorial over here. Lots of fun to make up, I’m thinking I may have to make myself one. (Except I have a couple of fabulous knitted ones my mother-in-law made for me, so I don’t really need another. Maybe I need to make a few more as gifts….)

Since my swap buddy likes vintage linens and doilies, I figured she’s probably be a tea drinker. (I don’t know about you, but vintage linen and tea kinda of go together in my brain.) I carried through the vintage inspiration by using a vintage cotton for the outside, and some vintage braid for the loop on the top. (The inside is a craft cotton leftover from a dress I made a couple of years back.) There’s batting sandwiched between the two layers, and bias binding finishing it off around the bottom.


I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. It fits snugly over a teapot, and the colours make me happy. Hopefully the girl I made it for will like it…..!


Show Us Your Stash – Mrs C!

The Swap Your Stash month that Anne and I were hosting is now at an end. We hope you enjoyed swapping, and getting peeks into the stashes of fellow sewists/hoarders!

To round out the month, here’s one more stash reveal interview for your viewing pleasure. This time, I’d like you to give a warm welcome to that friendly fount of sewing and fitting knowledge, Mrs C!

Alright Mrs C, we’re all curious. Show us your stash!

How long have you been sewing and stashing? How big is your stash?
I’ve been sewing for 35 years. I’ve been stashing for most of that. If I hadn’t ruthlessly culled on several, ok many, occasions, I’d be buried in fabric! 🙂 I estimate I have around 1,000 metres of fabric.

stash8 s

Where do you keep your stash? How do you store it?
I keep it in those tall two door cupboards you get flat pack from hardware stores. I fold it and stack it flat on the shelves. I’ve tried bins and drawers and all kinds of things but THIS works brilliantly. I just open the doors and there it all is, easy to see. The stuff at work is stacked folded in some lundia shelving in my office. Not so good but it adds colour to the space!

stash5 s

What is the oldest piece in your stash? What was your original plan for this piece and why hasn’t it happened?
Hmm, can I cheat and tell a story about a piece I have already used? I bought a piece of dupion silk in 1983. It was old gold shot with purple and I fell for it. I also bought a piece of purple niedeck velvet to go with it. My intention was to make a gown for my graduation ball, in 1987! But, I graduated ad eundem in 1991 so no big ball for me. Over the years, I tried to sell it to various clients but it was never right. The velvet was used in a gorgeous dress I made for a redhead in 1991. In the end, I needed something to go with the deep purple silk/rayon velvet I bought for my wedding dress and realised this was what it was destined for. 20 years from when I bought it, it went into the most important dress I have ever made. Cool eh! Am I forgiven for subverting the question? 😉

stash10 s

What’s your favourite piece in your stash? Where did you get it, what do you love about it, what do you think you might do with it?
No fair, that’s like asking which is my favourite child??!! But I would have to say it is a piece of embroidered silk I bought in Cirencester, England. It’s the colour of paper bags with red flowers scrolling over it. The design for my tattoo was taken directly off it. So I must love it! I love it because I am a sucker for red and gold, and I love viny patterns immensely. It was actually one of three similar fabrics I bought but it is my fave. I have absolutely not the first clue what to do with it – except to own it, which I feel is a thing in itself, no?

stash14 s

Does the fabric you buy go straight into hiding or do you wash it first?
I wash all the washables first before putting them away. I learned this early on – nothing is more tedious than having a massive surge of productive energy and having to wait while the fabric washes and dries!

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How do you add to your stash? Do you buy with a purpose in mind, or is it fabric lust?
This has changed a lot over the years. As my disposable income increased, my fabric buying took off. I know for a fact that I spent over $5,000 on fabric, quilting and notions in 2011 because I added it all up. Horrifying! So a LOT went to Fabricabrac and now I tend to buy for two reasons – one is that a piece is such a signature fabric for me I want to invest in it. Hence all the embroidered silks. The other is because I have a specific pattern in mind, and that is why I bought the last 7 lengths of fabric, 3 of which are underway or completed.

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Do you have something in your stash that you cannot bear to cut into? Why?
I actually have been known to replace fabric in my stash when I’ve used it! Admittedly that is generally quilting cottons – some of those fabrics are incredibly useful! I am pretty fearless though – it comes from making wedding dresses out of $500m laces – you have to get over it. 🙂 Having said that I do have a few pieces I just love for their own sake and as so far I don’t know what to do with them, I’m really reluctant to cut them up.

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Do you just stash fabric, or does the problem include patterns and notions?
Problem? What problem? (de nile de nil de nile) Used to include patterns, as having sewn for others mostly, I needed a huge range *coughexcusecough* but as these days I don’t really sew for other people much except the husband and family, preferring to make people quilts, I’ve gotten rid of most of them and now I only have 80 or so. I used to collect buttons and ribbons and trims but hey, now it’s my JOB to buy that good stuff so I don’t feel the need!

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Have you decided to do a “stash-busting” resolution this year? If so, what have you decided to do?
Nope, sorry but it’s not me. I have over the years slowed my buying down – reinvesting the income from selling fabric into bits I really love and want to own. But as many of them still haven’t revealed their purpose, I’m in no hurry to force the issue. Hey, the 20 year silk, remember? I’m playing a long game here! 🙂 But you have to put this into the context that my stash is 50% quilting fabric, 20% soft furnishing type fabrics, 20% vintage laces and fabrics for wedding dresses and the last 10% only is apparel type fabric. So while I own a LOT of fabric, not so much for frocking up. Mind you even that 10% will keep me covered up for many years to come 🙂 Unless I fall out of love with it and it ends up at a fabric swap of course!

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Wow, that’s one impressive stash! Thanks so much for showing it to us (and that glimpse at your sewing machine, it looks like a beauty!).

Well folks, that rounds up our Show Us Your Stash interviews. Anne and I hope you enjoyed them! We certainly enjoyed “interviewing” the lovely ladies who participated (and I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling quite as bad about my stash now – it’s nice to know I’m not alone with fabric hoarding, haha!).

Want to make sure you haven’t missed any of the stash reveal posts? Here’s where you can find them all:

Show Us Your Stash – Debi!

Time for another stash reveal interview, and I bet most of you know who today’s guest is! Hint: she loves 1940’s style, McCalls, and lives in Scotland.

Yep, it’s Debi from My Happy Sewing Place!

Wanna take a look at her stash? (Spoiler alert – there’s lots of lovely fabric in it!)

So, Debi, how long have you been sewing and stashing? How big is your stash?

I’ve been sewing since November 2009. Though I must admit that I was stashing for about a year or two before then—that was in my sewing contemplation phase… lol! My current stash is just the right size! I can store it all in two cupboards and two drawers and ‘shop’ in it whenever I am starting a new project.

Where do you keep your stash? How do you store it?

I divide my stash into three types of fabrics: 1) non-wool dress fabrics, 2) wool fabric and 3) lining fabric. I store my non-wool dress fabrics in my closet—in one large pile! I regularly go through the pile and refold, etc.

Non-wool fabric stash

Non-wool fabric stash

The wool fabric (and a few VIP cottons) I store in a vintage cabinet that has a very tight door (with a lock! Hahaha). I regularly check the wool and just love thinking through projects for the wool fabrics.

Wool fabric stash

Wool fabric stash

My smallest stash is lining fabrics, almost all of which I picked up at charity shops. I have them stored in a small drawer because they are so slippy and don’t play well in the larger pile.

What is the oldest piece in your stash? What was your original plan for this piece and why hasn’t it happened?

This question was a good excuse to go through all my fabric! Let’s see… I think one of my oldest is a piece (just over 1 metre) of gold dupioni silk. I was originally planning to make a halter top with the gold fabric to go with a black velvet skirt. It has, however, lingered in my sewing queue for a long time because summer sewing is the last thing on my mind these days!

Gold Silk Dupioni fabric

Gold Silk Dupioni fabric

What’s your favourite piece in your stash? Where did you get it, what do you love about it, what do you think you might do with it?

My favourite piece is about 4 metres of a 1940’s cotton print that I got when I visited the States last November. I still can’t believe I found it and that there was such a large amount of it. It’s going to be made into a 1940 McCall dress! I even have the perfect pattern…I’ve just got a few other projects planned first.

1940’s cotton print fabric

1940’s cotton print fabric

Does the fabric you buy go straight into hiding or do you wash it first?

Fabric goes straight into hiding. I never wash it first…. I like to do all of that when I am starting my projects.

How do you add to your stash? Do you buy with a purpose in mind, or is it fabric lust?

I almost always buy with a project in mind. I’m a pattern gal—I have to start with the pattern and then find the perfect fabric. Sometimes it goes the other way around (fabric first, then pattern) but that’s very unusual. I do, however, pick up anything I find that is reasonably priced in charity shops (I’ve gotten a lot of my wool this way), especially if it’s enough length to make a dress or a suit.

Do you have something in your stash that you cannot bear to cut into? Why?

There’s nothing in my stash that I cannot bear to cut into—I will use it all!!!

Do you just stash fabric, or does the problem include patterns and notions?

Um, next question… Yes, I collect patterns. I’m currently trying to collect and sew all the patterns the McCall Corporation produced in the year 1940 (which is more than a few!). I also have a thing for 1928 McCall patterns, Style and Style Print patterns from the 40s and 50s and Butterick one-yard line patterns. I also have quite a few notions — mostly gifts and charity shop finds.

Have you decided to do a “stash-busting” resolution this year? If so, what have you decided to do?

I did sign up to use my stash fabrics in at least 10 projects this year but honestly, I’ll probably replace those fabrics fairly quickly. I actually really like having a stash of ‘hopefuls’. All my fabrics, notions and patterns have ideas, plans, inspiration and wonderful friends and family associated with them. Even though my sewing queue is a million miles long, I really enjoy the planning process and having fabric I can feel and touch and plan with is part of the fun for me.

Plus, I love having fabric for swaps….speaking of which, I’m joining the stash swap with the following two fabrics…

The first one is nearly 5 metres of a fabulous cotton lawn fabric. It’s lightweight and slightly transparent and would be fabulous for some summer dresses.

Printed cotton lawn

Printed cotton lawn

The second fabric is a synthetic wool-like fabric in a great pumpkin tweed-like design. I made a dress out this fabric. There is 2 metres of this one:

Wool-Like Fabric

Wool-Like Fabric

I’m looking to swap for either polka-dot or solid coloured dress fabrics (3-4 yards). Thanks so much, Kat, for having me as part of the stash post series!!

Thanks so much for opening up your sewing room and showing off your stash, Debi! I must admit, I’m drooling a bit over quite a lot of those ones I can see in your cupboards. Especially all those gorgeous woolens, yum! I’ll be waiting with baited breath to see which 1940 McCall patterns they get turned into.

I’m also very interested in the cotton lawn you have to swap, so I’m gonna go hunt through my stash for things to swap for it now…..! 😉

Interested in Debi’s swap fabric? Let us know below!

Speaking of swaps, Swap Your Stash month is nearly at an end, so if you’re still thinking about taking part, now’s the time! There’s still a bunch of pretty things up for swaps on the Pinterest board.

And with the end of Swap Your Stash month will also come the end of the stash reveal interviews. Don’t panic too much though – there’s one more to come! Want to guess who it might be? She’s always full of lovely and helpful suggestions and tips, is following her passion with her own business, and doesn’t own any Apple products. Tune in later this week for the stash-showing!