Category Archives: Things I’ve made

Wenona in a tree

Well hello there! Want to see a new dress?

Go on, you know you want to! (And if not, too bad. Because I have a new dress. Spoiler alert: I likes it.)

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This dress is a bit different. It’s part of a chain of creations, linked together through fabric and pattern, that the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network (WSBN) are working on. You see, Wellington is a small place. We have very limited fabric stores, postage from overseas is crazy expensive, and as such we often find we’ve both the same fabric. We also find we have a lot of the same patterns in our stashes. (Of course, part of this may just be because a few of us have kinda crazy large stashes. Oops…. Sorry not sorry.)

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So Leimomi came up with an idea – what if we created a chain of garments, which were linked to one another through using the same fabric or pattern? With our overlapping stashes, it should be pretty easy to do. And thus the 0 degrees sewing/blogging challenge was born!

Sure, there was a lot of logistics involved. And despite the intention to use things that were already in our stash, there may have been a few instances when certain people dashed out to acquire new things to match others. (It’s that magpie tendancy we seem to bring out in one another. Ooh! New fabric! Pretty! I must have it as well!). But in a chaotic, stop-start sort of manner, we are building up a chain.

And here is my (first!) link in it. The Named Wenona shirt dress. Made in fabric with gumnut babies all over it. (Gumnut babies!! Aaah!! Go those childhood memories….)

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This is linking between Zara (who made the Grainline Alder dress in gumnut babies (gumnut babies!!)) and Sandra (who is making the Wenona in a goldfish print (goldfish!!)).

I bought the Wenona pattern when the Named Ritual collection first came out. A looser fitting button up dress, seemed rather perfect for the months after having a baby.

Wenona shirt dress by Named Clothing

Wenona shirt dress by Named Clothing

And then of course, it took me months to get around to making it. Heh. Oh well, it’s made now, and I can attest it still works well for post-baby and nursing stuff. Yeah!

Since the Wenona is a long-sleeved style, and also a “fashion” type design, I naturally had to add some length to the sleeves and hem (coz, long arms and legs). I added 4cm length to the sleeves (which turned out about right, although next time I think I’ll bump it up to 6cm), and 3″ to the skirt length. (Yes, I switch between metric and imperial. Deal with it.)

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The other change I made (if you can call it a change?) was the size I cut out – I cut a size smaller than the pattern told me to, as I went by the finished measurements instead. I’m super glad I did this, as the next size up would have been miles too large. And since I still have a bit of going-back-to-pre-baby-size happening, anything bigger than this would look just silly large in the future (hopefully!).

This was the first time I’ve used one of the paper patterns from Named. It comes in a nice, thick and solid feeling cardboard box, sealed at the back with a sticker, and that then unfolds to find the pattern and instruction book in the middle. Which is all rather pretty and stylish. :-) The paper is nice and thick, and a classic white – none of that horrid super thin tissue paper (yes, I hate that stuff! Argh!). So it all looks rather pretty on your shelf. ;-)

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

A couple of warnings though, for those who haven’t used them before. Firstly, the pattern pieces are overlapped, so whether you’re on Team Trace or Team Cut, you’re gonna have to trace this one out. And secondly – the seam allowance isn’t included. So you have to trace your pattern, then add seam allowance. Which makes for quite a bit of upfront work, so be prepared for that.

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern itself came together quite nicely. The notch markings are quite minimal, and so are the instructions (for example, they completely forget to mention that you need to sew buttons and button holes) but if you know your way around a garment, you’ll be fine.

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Prerequisite sewing blogger looking-down-pigeon-toed post)

Now I must admit, I wasn’t too sure about this when I first finished it. There’s a release pleat on the back between the shoulders, and that volume doesn’t get taken in again. Plus, to be fair, long sleeved shirts (and shirt dresses) aren’t my usual style. Nor is palegreen and pastel yellow. So it was all a bit out of my “comfort zone”, really. (Although so saying, I kinda doubt most garments I make, until I’ve worn them for a day. Does anyone else do that?) But I threw a belt on and wore it to work one day. And you know what? It took most of the day to grow on me, but now I love it. ;-)

(As long as I wear it with a belt, that is. Because – huge amount of volume in the back at the waist.)

Here’s what it looks like unbelted, just so you know:

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

There’s some rather awesome details in this pattern. Firstly, let’s talk about those sleeves. See that contrast panel running up the centre? that goes all the way to the neckline. And yet the sleeves are set-in ones, rather than raglan. Such a neat design feature! And kinda fun/weird to sew, as you sew up the bottom seam of the sleeves and set them in before you sew up the dress’ shoulder seam.

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

There are cute yokes at front and back, and panels below those that end at the waist. So plenty of opportunity to play around with mixing and matching fabrics. (Speaking of which, that chocolate brown? That’s from a duvet cover. I’ve been getting good milage out of that duvet cover – I think this is the third garment that’s used it! And there’s still some left… Hmmm…)

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The collar has a point at the back. It’s meant to be buttoned down at the front points and the centre back, but, well, I didn’t have small enough buttons in the same colour as my main buttons, so it’s stayed loose on my dress. Maybe next time. ;-)

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The sleeves have a pretty basic vent – simply turn back and stitch down. It works well with the sleeve panel and the cuff though, I think.

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Oh, and check out my button band! Not completely matched, but pretty close I thought, considering I was starting to run out of long enough fabric at that point. ;-)

Since the dress has gumnut babies all over it (gumnut babies!! Yay!!!) I decided to be a gumnut for a moment. Just ‘coz.

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Big thanks to Mel for the photos!

Hearts and a bird

Do you ever have those days when you suddenly want to make something that isn’t in your sewing queue at all? Sure, you may have a few things cut out, possibly even in the process of being made up, but then a completely different project jumps up and down, demanding to be made Right That Minute!!

This was one of those.

Bird Heart Bonnie | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Yes, that’s right. I cheated on my sewing queue. Whoops!

But I got a cute top out of it, that I’ve already worn several times. And it had kinda been in my mental things-I-want-to-sew queue for a while, so that counts, right?!

A while back, The Curious Kiwi showed me some fabric she’d just bought. A cute poly blend knit from The Fabric Warehouse. And I may have loved it so much I had to go and buy some that same day.

Because – hearts!!!

I’ve been planning on making myself a cropped sweater with it ever since I saw it. I’ve also been planning on making this pattern, the Bonnie top from Bluegingerdoll, since I saw it. (Yes, I fully realise I can do something very similar with my Jenna pattern, but I hadn’t tried a Bluegingerdoll pattern yet so curiousity got the better of me.)

Bluegingerdoll Bonnie top

Bluegingerdoll Bonnie top

With the weather getting colder, a sudden realisation that the knits contest at Bluegingerdoll was nearly finished, and a sudden desire to make something quick and easy, the planets aligned and this got made.

The Bonnie pattern came together super easily. It’s a simple and cute sweater with options for waist or hip length, three sleeves (flutter sleeves, or a sleeve with a gathered sleeve cap in either 3/4 or long), and three necklines (scooped, classic, or boatneck). I went for the waist length, long sleeved version with the scooped neck.

Bird Heart Bonnie | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I used a plain black merino for the neckband and hem band, and added small cuffs to the sleeves to tie it all together. (Plus, I just like the look of cuffed long sleeves on sweaters.) Since I have long monkey arms, I added an extra couple of inches to the total sleeve length through adding the cuffs (and using less seam allowance at the end of the sleeve as a result). I feel they’re still slightly too short though as they ride up a bit when I’m wearing the top, so I’ll likely take the cuffs off and make them about twice as wide sometime soon. (If I can find a time when I’m not wearing it, that is!)

Bird Heart Bonnie | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Just for the fun of it, I wanted to do something to highlight one of the hearts. I was throwing around a few ideas, such as stitching around the outside of one, when I remembered that this month’s theme over on The Monthly Stitch is “Put a Bird on it”. So, I did!

Bird Heart Bonnie | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I wanted to keep it subtle, so did a roughly stitched sketch of a bird on one of the hearts near the wrist of one sleeve. I was a bit unsure about it when I finished it, wondering if it looks too rough and too home-ec like, but after a quick Instagram poll to get an unbiased outsider opinion, I was convinced to keep it. And I quite like it now – it adds just a little bit extra, and most people don’t notice it. Kinda like a little in-plain-sight secret. ;-)

When it came time to sew on the label, I carefully matched the heart on the label to the one on the centre back of the top directly underneath it. Hearts all in a row!

Bird Heart Bonnie | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Overall, I’m really happy with this. It’s cute, fun to wear, and quick and easy to make.

Right, time to get back to my sewing queue! ;-)

Bird Heart Bonnie | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Forties Foxes

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

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

Meet the Forties Foxes blouse:

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

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

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

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

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

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

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

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And finished off with a label, just because. ;-)

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

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

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

Forties Foxes blouse | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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

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

Puppy pants!

Did ya see the Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge that was happening last month?

Well, how could I resist a theme like that?!?

I must admit though, I’m not really a dog person. (<- understatement. Sorry, dogs and dog lovers. I'm a cat person, completely.) So it seemed a bit odd to make something for myself, since there is no way I could be called a "Crazy Dog Lady".

I did have this super cute cotton drill in my stash though – cream, with little chocolate-brown paw prints and bones all over it. Cute! And needing to be used.

The larger of my little guys, however, does like dogs. He gets a big, goofy grin on his face when we see one while out walking. So making something for him seemed the right thing to do.

Puppy pants | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And since I was about it, and had enough of the fabric, I figured I may as well start on the path to being one of Those Parents (you know, the ones who dress their kids the same) and make a pair in the same fabric for his little bro as well. (Heh. Years of amusement with doing this is ahead of me. *evil cackle*)

Puppy pants | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The larger pair are a pattern from a sewing-clothes-for-babies book. First time I’ve made the pattern (and only the second time I’ve used the book. It’s one of those ones that looks super cute before you have a baby, and kinda mostly impractical after you realise the reality of dressing a wriggling little person) and it went together well enough. The smaller pair are my go-to baby trousers, made several times before in both knits and wovens, for both boys. Gotta love that inset at the back to add extra space for over cloth nappie clad baby bums!

Puppy pants | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The brown fabric is linen, left over from the dress sample of my Melissa dress. (So one could say we have matching mother-and-child garments, perhaps?)

Since I didn’t want them too identical (yet, mwahahaha!) I made the larger pair in the brown linen, with patch pockets in the paw print cotton drill, set at angles to the leg seam.

The smaller pair are in the cotton drill, with the linen used for the inset at the back, and also for cuffs at the bottom of the leg (I made them extra-long, in a 6-12 month size, since this child is growing fast!)

They’re both a bit too big for the boys just yet, but give it another month or two (or a few more days, in the case of the smaller one!) and they’ll be perfect. ;-)

Puppy pants | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And now, after that brief dog-inspired interlude, back to some selfish sewing….

Hello Melissa!

Want to see what I’ve been working on for the past three months?

It’s this!

Melissa pattern by Muse Patterns

The latest Muse pattern – the Melissa dress, blouse and skirt.

Melissa pattern by Muse Patterns

I’m pretty excited by it, and really happy with how it’s turned out. It’s got a lot of 1940’s touches running through it, while at the same time I think it’s still quite a modern design.

The starting point for this design was a combination of two things – my current wardrobe needs (i.e. front access ha ha yeah) and the knowledge that I wanted to design a pattern inspired by my lovely friend Mel. Since when I think of Mel’s style, I think a-line dresses and skirts, collars, blouses/shirts, and skirts, it seemed pretty natural to design a shirt dress pattern with blouse and skirt variations, sleek lines, and an a-line shape.

Melissa pattern by Muse Patterns

The 1940’s inspiration came in through the use of the v-shaped pockets on the bodice and skirt. Pockets were often used as a design feature in 1940’s garments, and the v-shape also crept in there a lot (possibly V-for-victory?). The double princess seams originating from the shoulder are also a 1940’s design element and let those pockets be constructed in a way that allows for the v-shaped pocket edgings and nice, clean finishes.

Melissa pattern by Muse Patterns

I love it when garments have details on the back as well – all too often things only have the interesting design elements on the front, and are boring on the back. So I played around with some ideas, and decided to carry the v features through to the back with the inclusion of a v-shaped inset between the shoulder blades. (The v also comes in a bit with the sleeve cuffs, which rise to a subtle point.)

(Yeah, it was all about the v for this one! ;-) )

Melissa pattern by Muse Patterns

When I was shopping for the fabric for the samples for the website photos, I found this gorgeous chocolate brown linen. It seemed like a good idea for this one – a solid colour so the design lines could be seen, but not the notoriously-hard-to-photograph red, black or navy.

And then, despite never being a fan of linen previously (the way it wrinkles as soon as you look at it bugs me!), I kinda fell in love with the fabric. So I made the dress sample in my size, so I could keep it. ;-) (Which meant I also had to model it, but hey. That was a bit weird, I’ll admit! You probably won’t see me doing that very often…!)

Melissa pattern by Muse Patterns

So yeah, there’s my latest pattern! :-)

It got released the other day, and if you’re interested, there’s 15% off until 27 March with the code ‘MELISSA’.

There’s the standard first-week-goes-to-charity thing as well, with 100% of the sale price (less those pesky bank fees) of all sales up until the end of 27 March being donated to the Life Flight air rescue and air ambulance, a charity chosen by the lovely Muse behind this pattern’s design.

And now, I’m gonna go sew something for myself….!

Melissa pattern by Muse Patterns

The Hummingbirds and Clover dress

Now here’s a pattern I’ve been meaning to make ever since it was released – the Clover dress by Papercut!

With its loose fit and pull-over style (you wear it cinched in with a belt) it seemed like a perfect dress to make for those months after pregnancy, while one’s body is still going back to it’s “usual” size. Plus, a centre front seam makes it ideal for wearing while nursing – simply add one invisible zip and you’re good to go!

When I joined the Minerva Crafts Bloggers Network (yay!) and got to choose my first three projects (double yay! and a super fun way to lose a few hours), it seemed like a good time to make up the Clover dress.

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I found this gorgeous feathers print rayon, and once I’d decided between the red and the pink colourways, spent some time debating what to use for the contrast v-inset on the bodice. Since the base of the feathers rayon is black, and it’s quite a busy print, I thought I’d match it with a black lace with a larger scale design. And I found this one – a crochet look rayon lace. Perfect!

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Speaking of the print of the rayon, check this out – teeny tiny Hummingbirds, hovering amoungst the feathers! So cute!! And also so hard to spot – can you see them? I didn’t spot them until a friend pointed them out, thanks Mel!)

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Crazy though it may sound, even though I’ve been sewing “properly” for over 17 years (I’m not counting those making-scrunchies-as-a-child or home-ec-classes-at-school years), I’ve never sewn with rayon. Most of my sewing is cotton or wool, or knits that ideally have a large portion of one or the other of those fibres. Time to branch out, don’t you think?!

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed working with rayon. It’s lovely and soft to handle, doesn’t shift around too much (or this one didn’t, anyway – I’ve heard some rayons do?), and presses like a dream. I’m now a rayon convert!

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The Clover pattern was nice and fun to sew, and the contrast inset gives lots of opportunity for fun ways to use scraps or pretty bits of fabric. The only thing I’d watch for is what you use for the contrast inset – it sits on the upper curve of my bust, so I’m going to have to be careful about what bra I wear with it as the top half an inch or so shows through the lace.

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I did, of course, make a couple of changes to it though. (Because that’s how I roll, oh yeah.) First up, the length. I’m tall, the pattern is short. So I added 12cm to get it hitting just above my knees. Higher than my usual hem length, but I discovered that with the raglan sleeves and the higher scoop neckline it starts to look a bit frumpy when hitting below the knee (I originally added 20cm in length). So, above the knee it is for this pattern on me!

I also added pockets, because, well, pockets. They may look pretty low, but they’re the perfect height for me to still be able to get my hands into when carrying the Smallest Guy around in the front pack. For the pockets, I just drew a basic pocket shape around my hand (to make sure it was big enough!) and sewed them into the side seams. Easy!

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And that aforementioned nursing-friendly pattern hack – the addition of an invisible zip in the centre front seam at the neckline. Along with a hook and eye to close the binding above it.

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I applied some vintage iron-on hem binding to the seam first along where the zipper was going to go, to stabilise it on the drapy rayon, which worked really well.

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(After wearing this dress around all day for yum cha and gelato with some of the Wellington Sewing Blogger girls, I can attest that both pockets and zip do their jobs nicely. Also, rayon is fun to wear! It feels flippy and floaty and feminine and fun. Yeah!)

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, this actually took me blinkin’ ages to make. I decided that this would be the perfect time to try out a new-to-me technique, and also get in some hand-sewing practice. (Much as I hate hand sewing, I’m determined to get better/faster at it this year!) After reading about it on Lilacs and Lace, curiousity got the better of me and I bought some Hug Snug seam binding. And oh my gosh this stuff is awesome! I think this is the start of a long-term love affair with this seam finish. Check it out – bound seams!

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

If you haven’t used Hug Snug before, it’s great – made of rayon (I spot a theme with this garment…) it’s very lightweight so it doesn’t add bulk to your seams. It presses well, and is nice and smooth to wear. Plus, it comes in all sorts of fun colours. I may need to add some more to my collection so I can have pretty colourful insides on all my garments from now on….

The other great thing about it – it finished the edges of the lace insets really nicely. Since the lace has quite a large design, if I’d overlocked/serged it instead a lot of the thread would have had trouble catching onto anything in those gaps between the design. But the Hug Snug? A nice, neat finish.

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The only seam I didn’t bind was the centre front seam. Since part of it goes over the front lace inset, I didn’t want the yellow of the Hug Snug showing through to the front, so I just did a basic overlocked/serged finish on that seam in black to make it less conspicuous.

I finished the hem of both sleeves and the skirt with the Hug Snug, then hand stitched them up. Luckily, it was Great British Sewing Bee day, so that kept me entertained for about half the length of the skirt. ;-) I’m glad I took the time to do the hand sewing though, as it’s more-or-less invisible from the front and it makes me happy to look at it. :-)

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And of course, the finishing touch:

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Overall? Pattern – win. Using rayon for the first time – win. Pattern hacks – win. And bound seams – win. Yep, I think this one is gonna be getting a lot of wear!

Hummingbirds and Clover dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

A Rigel with snails (and a hidden rrrowwrr!)

Here’s a pattern I’ve been meaning to make since I first saw it – the Rigel bomber jacket from Papercut.

Of course, it’s not really jacket weather here at the moment, since we’re at the height of summer. But hey, the last project-for-myself that I shared with you here was a long-sleeved heavy wool cardigan, so I guess a bomber jacket is a step closer to more seasonally appropriate? (And hey, I made a swim suit in winter, so summer sewing does happen. Just not necessarily in summer. Hmmm.)

Anyways, back in November last year, there was a bit of a conversation happening on Instagram with Ginger around how a bunch of us have the Rigel pattern, really want to make it, and haven’t gotten around to it yet. Clearly, we needed a bit of encouragement. And so, Rigel Bomber Jacket January was born! A time to pull out those Rigel patterns that have been languishing in our stashes, and actually use them.

I’m pretty happy that this happened – because hey, now I have a bomber jacket with snails on it! Oh yeah!!

Snails Rigel bomber jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The fabric came from Tomato in the Tokyo fabric district – part of my fabric haul when we were there just over a year ago. It’s a cotton/linen blend lightweight canvas, similar to Echino canvas but with a slightly looser weave. Nice to work with – it holds pressing well, loves being sewn, and doesn’t fray too badly either. And, you know – snails! :-D

Snails Rigel bomber jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Since I plan on wearing this a lot during spring and autumn (I currently have another bomber jacket I wear during those months – when you need an extra layer, but a full winter coat is a bit too much, but the zip on one pocket is broken, and things fall out as a result, which annoys me lots so I’ve been wanting to replace it. Plus, being RTW, the sleeves are too short on me) I wanted this one to be a bit warmer than just one layer of lightweight canvas. So, I added a lining. And I underlined it with flanelette. And just for fun (inspired by Ginger’s post with her quilted lining) I quilted the lining and underlining together.

Snails Rigel bomber jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Snails Rigel bomber jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It took for-evah! And used one heck of a lot of thread. But I’m so glad I did this – it gives a nice texture inside, and adds a touch of luxury to the jacket. Plus it makes me smile when I look at it, which means the hours spent doing the quilting were well worth it. (Disclaimer: I actually have no idea how long it took to do the quilting. Like the jacket itself, all sewing was done in short bursts with a baby who usually only cat-naps during the day. One line of stitching here, another one two hours later, that kind of thing.)

Wanna see the flannelette I used as underlining? ‘Course you do! Check it out – happy pea-pods!

Snails Rigel bomber jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Yep, I have a jacket covered in snails, with hidden secret under-the-lining happy pea pods. Some days, it makes me crazy happy that I can sew my own clothes – where else would I find combinations like this?!?

Anyways. I originally wanted to find a chocolate brown ribbing, but couldn’t track any down anywhere – this teal blue was the best I could find. A happy accident, since I really like how it looks with the blue shells of the snails. The zip is a not-very-exciting-but-perfectly-functional chocolate brown zip. (Both ribbing and zip are from Spotlight. That place we all love to hate around these parts, but often also the only place to get some things. *sigh*)

I partially chose the fabric for this because it’s currently Jungle January. Woo hoo! I do love Jungle January – that crafty leopard of a host is hilarious and it’s so much fun to read the posts. :-) I figure that any self-respecting jungle has at least one species of snail in it, so snails are my ode to the jungle this January. (Hence why I’m standing around in random foliage – gotta blend in with the snails territory, after all.)

Snails are also clearly masters of disguise, as they do remarkably well as urban camoflage….

Snails Rigel bomber jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Speaking of Jungle January, there is a hidden rrrooawrrr! in this bomber, too. Check it out – secret stealth leopard print pocket linings! Woah yeah!!

Snails Rigel bomber jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Rawrrrr!!! I am a leopard in disguise, oh yes I am.

Snails Rigel bomber jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Disclaimer: not really. Although I always thought being a black panther would be pretty awesome, they’re so pretty.)

Anyways, onto the pattern.

It’s a nice and easy pattern to make up – good instructions, raglan sleeves so no pesky setting in sleeves business, and crazy-easy welt pockets. Gotta love that!

Aside from drafting a lining (you can read how I did that over here), the only other change I made was to the sleeves. I’m tall, with crazy-long-gorilla-arms, so I added three inches to the sleeve length. (I kinda mis-measured to begin with and only added one inch, so I’m very glad I stitched up the lining first and tried it on to discover that mistake! Hence why there’s a band of snails around the wrists of the lining of the jacket – it’s a patch-up job, disguised as a “design feature”.) Even with that extra three inches, I feel these sleeves are only just long enough – next time, I’ll add four inches instead.

One change I will make next time – I’m not really happy with how the ribbing is sitting at the neckline. It’s a bit too loose and sticks out from my neck a bit. I tried folding it over on itself, which kinda looks a bit better at the front, but kinda doesn’t at the back….

Worn as normal:
Snails Rigel bomber jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Folded down:
Snails Rigel bomber jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anyway, it may well be because the ribbing I used wasn’t the best (see previous comment about Spotlight – the place we love to hate) and potentially too lightweight for this, but either way I think that next time I make the Rigel I’ll make the neck ribbing a bit narrower so it doesn’t sit up as high.

I’m also going to widen the shoulders a bit, since I have broad shoulders. But that’s not an uncommon adjustment for me to have to make, either. Coz, you know – tall and stuff.

Aside from that, I’m totally loving my new jacket! Quilting the lining really did make me happy, and it’s encouraging me to take more time to add those sorts of little details to my creations this year to make them extra special (even if no one else sees the bits that make them special – it’s all about adding things that make me smile, after all!).

Just ‘coz I’m so happy with this, I finally got around to making up some labels as well, and stitched one in. (Thanks to The Curious Kiwi for the inspiration of sewing a label onto a scrap of fabric first – I love the way that looks and plan to copy her idea for all future sewing-in-of-labels.)

Snails Rigel bomber jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Have you made up a Rigel bomber jacket this January? Why not add it to the Flickr pool? Ginger, Mel and I will be picking three people from there to each win a Papercut pattern of their choice at the start of February.)

Snails Rigel bomber jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes