A me-made-May retrospective

Yep, I know – May was a while ago now. Turns out I have quite a few posts I haven’t managed to find the time to write yet! June tends to be a bit crazy, with Indie Pattern Month on the go. (Plus, I may have been working on the next Muse pattern – got it sent away to be digitised yesterday, yippie! So now I’m taking a breather from it to play with other things. Like this blog. And some knitting. And sewing something, just for me. Yay!)

Anyway, it turns out I took part in me-made-May again. I didn’t really do a pledge thing this time – my wardrobe choices are quite limited due to the littliest guy, plus I wear mainly me-made anyway. Instead, I did a little secret pledge just-to-myself to take a photo each day of my outfit. Pretty much just out of curiousity, so I can document it to look back on in about a year when I’m back to wearing the full range of my wardrobe again. For me, that’s proven to be one of the most interesting things about taking part in me-made-May – having the ability to go back and see what my day-to-day style was in previous years.

So, here we go – my outfits during May 2015! (Be prepared for a lot of button-up dresses and cardigans. They’re basically my uniform these days. Hah!)

1 to 4 May 2015

1 Maybrown linen Melissa dress, Hetty cardigan.
2 MayGumnut Babies Wenona dress (first outing for the Wenona dress – yay!), grape Coppelia cardiΒ (not shown, but you’ll see it later in the month). Worn to Fabric-a-brac, where the lovely Mel and I shared a table and had lots of fun.
3 May 70’s floral wrap skirt, grape Coppelia cardi. An unusually empty space of wall – photo taken while we were rearranging furniture to fit my new Large Format Printer (eeek! Yeahh!!) into my sewing room (woo hoo!!!)
4 MayBirds of a Feather 1940’s dress, Miette cardigan. The first photo of many taken in the mirror of the “gym” (aka table tennis room) at work.

5 to 8 May

5 MayLoganberry Coppelia wrap dress, me-made cardigan. And part of our hall way.
6 MayBeatrice 1950’s dress, cat lady Jenna cardi. And part of my bedroom haha.
7 MayRock-a-Birdy Bleuet, Strawberry Coppelia.
8 May – Hungry Caterpillar skirt, Southern Plaid tshirt, knitted-by-my-mother chunky grey cardi.

9 to 13 May

9 MayHummingbirds and Clover dress, Miette cardigan. First family trip with the littliest guy! We went down to Dunedin for a long weekend to visit my family. This photo was taken outside my parents place in Evansdale.
10 MayMelissa dress, Hetty cardigan. Plus my mother, nana, and the littliest guy. Mothers day! We went out for coffee and cake at the cafe in the Dunedin Botanic Gardens (along with my grandad, who took the photo). I don’t get to see my grandparents nearly often enough, so it was lovely to spend some time sitting and chatting with them. (Also, moments like this remind me that yes, I am tall. Hah! I tend to forget until I see photographic evidance.)
11 MayHummingbirds and Clover dress and Hetty cardigan. Not photographed, because they’re on a memory card in a different camera and I can’t be bothered finding it. Sorry, not sorry. Anyway, Steve and I left the kids with my parents and went to visit Larnach Castle, and have high tea! And one of these days I’ll get around to writing a post about that, so you’ll get to see the outfit then, if you’re particularly interested.
12 MayMellow Yellow La Sylphide dress, Miette cardigan. (Duffle coat from Max. I wore my snails Rigel bomber pretty much every day for the first week and a half of May, then it needed a wash. It’s still in my ironing pile. Ahem.) Flew back to Wellington today – photo was taken while waiting for our luggage to come out. Note to self: evening flights with small people are Not A Good Idea.
13 MayBirds of a Feather 1940’s dress, knitted-by-my-mother 1940’s cardigan. And my socks, since I’d just put the Little Guy to bed. Plus part of our constantly-messy lounge.

14 to 17 May

14 May – Hungry Caterpillar skirt, purple merino fitted tee, Bird Heart Bonnie sweater. Back to work, yes indeed.
15 May – vintage 1970’s dress (not me made! Note to self: must do ironing more often. Coz I had run out of things to wear, whoops!), black merino Jenna cardi (not blogged – was one of the samples I made when creating the pattern).
16 MayPigeonΒ skirt, made-by-my-mother 1940’s cardigan. And the outdoor bath at Sandra’s place, when we went for her housewarming. Sunset, hence the odd sky colour.
17 MayMellow Yellow La Sylphide, Marion cardigan.

18 to 21 May

18 May floral Dakota dress, nursing singlet (not me-made), striped Jenna cardi (made by my sister).
19 MayGothic Mystery 1950’s dress (it’s first outing! Exciting!), cat lady Jenna cardi.
20 MayMellow Yellow La Sylphide, Miette cardi.
21 MayBeatrice 1950’s dress, Marion cardi.

22 to 25 May

22 Mayfloral Dakota dress, nursing singlet (not me-made), Hetty cardigan. Pink day at work, to raise awareness for the annual anti-bullying campaign! Yep, that’s raspberry Foxton Fizz, and a cupcake holder filled with salted caramel popcorn. Yum!
23 MayGothic Mystery dress, Jenna cardi (again, an unblogged one. It was another sample made while creating the pattern.) High Tea at The Little Teapot cafe in Kilbirnie with the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network girls and our special guest – Penny from Dresses & Me! Yay!! So much fun!!! :-)
24 MayGumnut Babies Wenona dress, brown merino me-made cardi. And part of my sewing/work room (which doubles as a guest room).
25 MayAll Buttoned Up 1940’s dress, 1940’s cardigan knitted by my mother. Again, photo taken after putting kids to bed, so in my socks. Hah.
26 May – forgot to take a photo. Ugh. Anyway, wore my Rock-a-Birdie Bleuet dress with the grape Coppelia cardi. Both of which you’ve seen here before in this round up.

27 to 30 May

27 MayGumnut Babies Wenona dress, Miette cardigan. And a hotel room! My first night away from the Littliest Guy, and my first decent nights sleep in over a year. (Ugh.) Went to the Customer 3.1 conference in Auckland. Presented at it, too. Twice in fact – I couldn’t decide on a topic, so did both. Hah. And yes, I wore a dress covered in gumnut babies to present at a conference. Coz that’s how I roll.
28 May 1940’s dress, crazy cat lady cardigan. And a lift at the Pullman hotel where I was staying. Day 2 of the conference.
29 MayMelissa dress, wrap-around cardi knitted by my mother.
30 MayRock-a-birdie Bleuet dress, wrap-around cardi knitted by my mother.

31 May

31 MayBirds of a Feather 1940’s dress, Marion cardi. The last day! Woot! No more selfies, thankfully!!!

So yep, there we have it. A month in outfits.

Lots of dresses, lots of cardigans. Lots of knee high boots and long socks or tights, because it was rapidly heading into winter and I get cold easily. Hence also why hand-knitted cardians featured a lot.

I love dresses. So easy in the morning – just need to throw a cardi on over the top, no need to find other things to match. Also easy at this stage in my life, when I’m losing the last bit of post-baby tummy, which means skirts and trousers don’t fit very well. (Yes, I do actually own some trousers. They don’t get worn much. If at all.)

Somewhat embarrasing fact: I actually have several dresses that I can and do wear at the moment that didn’t feature this month. The reason why? They were too far down my ironing pile/mountain and didn’t make it to the top. *hands head in shame* Yeah, full time job and two small kids – ironing doesn’t happen often enough. Let’s face it – I’d rather be sewing. ;-)

Melissa in polka dot chambray

It’s a funny thing, but I always feel a little odd, posting about something I’ve made using one of my own patterns. It’s quite a New Zealand type thing, really – we’ve got this phenomenon over here called Tall Poppy Syndrome, and the flip side of it is that we all tend to be almost painfully reluctant to talk about things we’ve done that we’re proud of. Crazy but true. And you see it evidenced everywhere. People downplaying achievements, brushing off compliments, pointing out things they didn’t do so well to take the focus off things they did do well. You even see it in companies hiding awards in cupboards, embarrassed to be seen putting them out on display. We’re a shy, self-deprecating bunch over in this corner of the world.


And I’m very much from New Zealand. Which means, I’m not particularly good about talking about things that I’ve done, either. Turns out the main way it shows up here is when I make something with one of my own patterns – I feel a strong reluctance to talk about it, a fear that it would be seen as self-congratulatory, boasting, or similar. Yep, I feel kinda embarrassed to show that I like my own pattern enough to use it to make myself things. Silly, isn’t it?!?

I figured a way to try to counter that, for one post at least, is to combine a garment I want to make with a Minerva Network post. (Clearly, it’s not going so well so far, since I felt a compelling urge to put that disclaimer at the start. Hah!)

So today, here’s a new Melissa dress that I’ve made.

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anyway, ever since I made my brown linen Melissa dress, I’ve been wanting to make myself another one. I wear that one all the time (as evidenced during Me Made May, a round-up post of which I’ll get up on here sometime soon!). The idea of a polka dotted one in particular was stuck in my mind.

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And then, when I was happily procrastinating by browsing the Minerva fabric selection, I came across this beauty – a polka dotted chambray! Woo hoo!! Perfect.

I had one heck of a time deciding which colour way to use though. Indigo? Sky blue? Argh! Both so pretty! In the end I went with the sky blue, even though it’s a lighter colour than what I’m usually drawn to. A key reason I chose this one was because of the fabric I wanted to use as the contrast inset at the back. You see, I’d spotted this pretty cotton crochet-look lace, and got to wondering how it would look for the contrast. A lace v inset? Hmmm…..

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anyway, the sky blue seemed to fit with the lace better, so sky blue it was. ;-)

I’m really happy with how the lace looks on the back inset – I think it adds a fun and pretty touch.

vee inset being sewn

The sleeve cuffs required a bit of thought though. The cuffs are made by making two identical bands, sewing them right sides together, then flipping them out wards. The seams are enclosed, and the cuff is then attached to the sleeve. All well and good, but doing that with lace would have meant visible seams on the inside.

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

After giving it some thought, I cut the cuffs out in lace, chambray, and a lightweight fusible interfacing. I laid the lace with the wrong side of the lace against the non-fusible side of the interfacing, and treated them as one piece. Then, once the two cuff sections (one in lace and interfacing, the other in chambray) had been stitched together and turned right sides out, I fused the interfacing to the chambray, thus capturing the seam between those two layers and keeping it hidden. The interfacing also gives a solid white background for the white lace, which I think looks quite effective.

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Sadly I had to give up on the idea of using the lace for the pocket edgings though – the edgings are quite narrow, and this lace is quite bulky, so that just wasn’t going to work. I did a same-fabric edging instead, and I’m really happy with how that turned out. :-)

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The chambray was a dream to work with – wonderfully light, with a great drape and a fine weave. It presses well and hangs well, and is soft and lovely to handle. I may be in love with it. And now I want it in the indigo colourway as well, to make something else! It’s the perfect weight for dresses, I reckon.

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Because I wanted the lace to be the main feature of the dress, I used smaller buttons than I usually choose for shirt dresses. I kept them white to tie in with the lace and the polka dots, and picked simple little circles with a round embossed design in the centre. (I do love me a bit of texture!)

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Just for the fun of it, I used fushia coloured Hug Snug on all the seams. The one exception being the centre back seam, which I overlocked and pressed open, as I didn’t want the Hug Snug to be visible through the lace inset. Because there are a heck of a lot of seams, rather than pressing them open I pressed all the others to the side and bound both sides together with the Hug Snug. I love the inside – it’s so bright and cheerful!


I also used Hug Snug on the hem, and finished it with a blind machine hem. It seems to be my hem finish of choice at the moment. *shrug*


The photos were taken outside a sub station near where I work, by my lovely colleague Kelly. (Thanks, Kelly! You rock!!) It’s always a bit tricky getting photos this time of year – dark before work, dark when I leave work…. It was pretty windy, you may spot a bit of hair sticking straight up in one or two of the photos! I’d been wearing the dress all day at work too, so it’s got those good ol’ lived-in creases going through it. ;-) The graffiti is by a local artist – he’s quite prolific, with his work featured all over the place. Lots of happy smiley cartoon animals who are oddly dissected but seem perfectly fine about it. Strange. But also colourful, so I’m down with that.

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Also, the fabric and buttons were given to me for my monthly contribution to the Minerva Sewing Bloggers Network. You can see it all over here, along with pretty things made by other lovely sewing people. Yay! Sewing!

Polka dotted chambray Melissa dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

June sew alongs and sewing contests

Hello hello! Want to know what’s happening in the sewing world this June? Here’s the ones I know about.

First up, the biggest one – it’s Indie Pattern Month over on The Monthly Stitch! It’s the third year that Indie Pattern Month has been running, and it’s already in full swing (since I’m a few days late getting this post up – whoops!). As usual, it’s a month-long celebration of indie patterns, with people sharing their makes. There’s also interviews with designers, and a few discount codes just in case you want to buy a new pattern or two (or three, or four.. *cough cough whoops!*) to make up.

Just like last year, there are also contests running with it, with some great prizes up for grabs. The four categories this June are: Dresses, Separates, New To Me, and One Pattern Two Takes. You can find out all the details and rules over here. Prize posts can be found here (Dresses contest), here (Separates), here (New To Me) and here (One Pattern Two Takes contest).

Speaking of indie patterns, there’s a sew along currently happening for the latest Grainline Studio pattern – the Morris blazer. Even if you’re not going to be sewing along, it promises to be a great resource for future makes.

Conveniently (since the Morris blazer can be made in firm knits, such as ponte) the Stashbusting Sewalong theme this month is knits. (Yep, you can participate in this, the Grainline Morris sew along, and Indie Pattern Month, all with one garment!)

The Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge continues, encouraging everyone to use those pretty, pretty vintage patterns that are in our stashes.






There are two contests running over on Pattern Review this month – the Fabric Stash Contest and the Plus Size Contest.

As always, if you know of any that are happening that I’ve missed out, I’d love to hear about them! And there’s the master list over here, of all upcoming sew alongs and events that I’ve heard about.

Are you planning on taking part in any of the sew alongs or sewing contests this month?

Gothic Mystery dress

Well well, isn’t that a mysterious title? Kind of brings to mind images of flowing gowns, windswept castles and midnight strolls by candle light.

Sad to say, none of those are featured in this post. Although I nearly got New Zealand’s one-and-only castle in it! (Not that it’s really a castle – rather, it’s just an old-fashioned English style “country house”. Either way, my plan to have this finished in time for wearing to High Tea at Larnach Castle didn’t happen. Such is life!)

However, I do have a new dress to show you all!

And it’s a bit Gothic, with skulls and roses.

Gothic Mystery dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The mystery part? Well, that’s where the pattern comes in. More details on that soon.

This is my Minerva Bloggers Network make for the month. The fabric is a poly/cotton blend in a gothic roses print. It’s nice to sew with – crisp yet light, easy to manipulate, and behaves itself quite well. The 70% polyester content also means it doesn’t need ironing – win!

(But then I completely destroyed the ‘yay no ironing!’ factor by using a pure cotton for the contrast bands. Whoops.)

Gothic Mystery dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Since this fabric has a good amount of body, while still being lightweight, I paired it with a vintage 1950’s dress pattern with a gathered skirt. Sure enough, the skirt stands out nicely, and the gathers aren’t super bulky around the waist. Yay again for successful pattern-fabric pairings!

(Plus since the fabric is from the ‘budget’ range, it doesn’t break the bank to get the amount needed for those crazy big 1950’s skirts.)

Gothic Mystery dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern is Academy 3883 – a dress featuring a darted bodice, gathered skirt, wide scoop neckline at front and back, and a wide button band down the centre front. It’s one I’ve wanted to make for a while, so it was nice to finally get it to the top of the sewing-ideas-list.

Academy 3883 | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I took fabric, pattern and notions down to Dunedin on a trip we made the other weekend to visit my family, with the plan to sew it all up on my mother’s sewing machine. This Elna beauty from the 1980’s. According to my father, one of the last mechanical machines. I love this machine – it purrs along beautifully, feels so wonderfully solid, and has pretty colours. (Orange! Green!). It also has a weird foot pedal – it’s an air pedal, a circular disk with a half-circle of rubber on the top. You press down on the rubber half-circle to make it go. A lot harder to regulate the speed than on a traditional foot pedal! And I completely forgot to get a photo of the pedal. Whoops.

mums sewing machine

Since my mother’s overlocker hasn’t been used for a while, I decided not to risk having to spend hours getting it to go, and instead used some Hug Snug and bound all the seams. (Plus, it makes for pretty pink on the inside!)

Gothic Mystery dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made a few changes to the pattern straight away. Added 1cm width to the shoulders and 1cm length to the bodice (front and back) and did a small bust adjustment – all without bothering to check the pattern, as they’re fairly standard adjustments for me. I also added 8cm in total to the width at the waist, tapering to nothing under the arms. (Then had to let the side seams out at the waist a bit more during construction. Still working to get rid of that post-baby bulge….!) Since I’m still (hopefully!) getting rid of the post-baby bulge, I stitched the front bodice to front skirt and back bodice to back skirt first, then did the side seams all in one at the end to make it easy to take in in the future. Eventually. When I stop my “I need it because I’m sleep deprived” excuse/addiction to chocolate….

Gothic Mystery dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

While trying it on while making it up, I also lowered the side bust dart point by 1″ – if I was to make it again, I’d lower it by another cm as well, and also lower the point of the waist dart to match.

The neckband and button bands are done all as one, with a sharp corner at the top to add a bit of a challenge. The instructions called for the band to be stitched on with a lapped seam, then the inside to be hand stitched down. Um, yeah. A bit too much hand stitching for me, really. So instead I just stitched the band to the inside first, then folded it over to the front and top stitched it in place. Far faster! I love the way the wide contrast bands look on this, especially with the wide scoop neck. :-)

Gothic Mystery dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The hem (and sleeve hems) are finished with Hug Snug and a machine blind hemming stitch.

Gothic Mystery dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Gothic Mystery dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, here’s where things started to get somewhat interesting. When I was cutting out the fabric, I discovered that some of the pattern pieces were copies, cut out and hand written as to what piece they were. I can only assume they were direct copies of the originals, as I have nothing to compare them to! (Although I have my doubts about the sleeves, which were also a copy – there was no way they were going to get set in without some gathers at the sleeve cap. Also, the ease in them is quite off for the bodice, which makes me suspect they were copied from a different pattern….)

Gothic Mystery dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern is an unprinted vintage pattern. And when I had finished the dress enough to try it on properly, I made a rather unwelcome discovery – for some strange and mysterious reason, the waist line curved up by about 1.5″ in the centre back. Thus ending up with it far above where it should be! Argh!!!! (And this is where the high-tea-at-the-castle plans got derailed abruptly.) Such an odd, odd fit, and no indication of it being like this on the line drawings. Which makes me wonder if some long-ago seamstress directly altered the pattern by cutting part off on an angle. Since it’s an unprinted pattern, I have no way I can tell…..!!!

It nearly signified disaster for this dress, though! Eek!!!

I played around with adjusting seams, but couldn’t adjust them enough to make up for that massive centre-back shortening. So then I had the idea of making a cummerbund to cover it.

But that all failed miserably as well. Gah.

Then I hit on the simple solution – just chuck a wide belt on over the top, and all is well/hidden! Phew!!!

And now (as long as I hide it’s waistline flaw with a belt!) I love it! Yay!

Gothic Mystery dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Also, it fits nicely with my Vintage Pattern Pledge. Yay for sewing vintage!) (And yes Gillian, more are in the works. I’m playing posting catch-up first. ;-)

Cupcake toddler dress (just like mum used to make)

Ready to see a little bit of cuteness?

Check it out. It’s a dress for a one year old. Made in a lemon yellow poplin. With pink pockets and cupcakes!!!

Cupcake Cutie dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(And just for the record – I originally bought this fabric for me. And still intend to make a me-sized dress out of it. Because – yellow! Cupcakes!!)

Cupcake Cutie dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anyways, this little cupcake-covered cutie was a gift for my friend’s daughters first birthday.

I made it using Simplicity 7591 – a top, jumper and overalls pattern from 1976.

Simplicity 7591

(Pattern image from the Vintage Patterns Wiki – my copy is in size 1 instead.)

Fun fact – my mother originally bought this pattern. And used it. A lot. She made me things, my brothers things, and my sister things. (Or maybe lil’ sis’ just got the hand-me-downs since she would have had newer patterns to use for her? Not sure….) So it’s a very well-loved pattern – apparantly it was one of mum’s go-to patterns for us kids.

I like knowing that I’ve used a pattern that I grew up wearing. It gives a nice feeling of continuation, don’t you think?

It also ties in well with my Vintage Pattern Pledge (which is basically to just use a bunch of vintage patterns from my stash this year. Sad that it’s taken me this long to use the first one! Although there’s a blog post about a second vintage pattern make coming up soon, yes indeed….)

I made the jumper view – a cute little A-line style with a zip in the centre front, patch pockets, and straps that button at the front. It’s a little hard to tell in the photo, but the buttons are burgundy red.

Cupcake Cutie dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The inside is finished with facings. And in this case, also a little label, just because.

Cupcake Cutie dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Wish I’d thought of making a cupcake to photograph with it. Mmmm… cupcakes….

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