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

Hi! I’m still here!

Yikes, it’s been a while since I posted! Most unlike me. So I thought I’d drop on by, give a little update about what’s been going on.

No finished projects to show in this post I’m afraid. Although I have been sewing and making like crazy! I’m hoping to have a finished garment to post about very soon though….

So, here’s a bit about what’s been happening around these parts. (Photos also seen on Instagram, in case you’ve spotted them before!)

Here’s my current sewing project – the Clover dress from Papercut, which I’m making in this gorgeous rayon with feathers on it from Minerva Crafts. It’s slowly taking shape – currently hanging up letting the hem settle (and waiting for me to find where on earth I put my stay tape, whoops!)

clover dress

Exciting thing about that rayon fabric – it’s my first make as part of the Minerva Crafts Blogging Network! So exciting!! :-D I’ve been watching the Minerva Crafts and Mood networks with interest, and wondering if anything like that would start up down in this part of the world. Turns out Minerva are happy to work with a New Zealand based blogger, and I’m now a part of their blogging network! So you can expect to see a creation a month for the next three months (at least) on here as part of that. They’ll be my usual mix of vintage and indie patterns, and typical colourful prints, coz that’s how I roll. (Bonus: I can now get my hands on things that are hard to get here in NZ. Like this feathers print rayon. Yippie!) ‘Twas an exciting day when my first Minerva network package arrived….

Minerva package

You may remember in my round-up post for 2014 I mentioned that I’m really looking forward to working with vintage patterns more this year. I have general plans to more-or-less alternate sewing vintage with sewing indie. Until that gorgeous rayon landed on my doorstep and jumped the queue (what can I say? It was so pretty it demanded I make it immediately!) I was planning to make this combo. The fabric is from the Michael Miller Wee Wanderer line, pattern is 1950’s. Then I decided I didn’t like the pairing due to the large-scale print and the pintucks, so I’m currently hunting for another vintage shirt dress pattern I want to pair with it. Need to find it soon, as it’s next on my list to make!

horses fabric

Speaking of vintage, I may have acquired this machine yesterday…. Whoops! It’s a Brother, model 411. No idea how old it is – heavy metal body, motor is attached with a fan belt, very basic stitches. I put the question out to the sewing world on Instagram and guesses so far seem to be around the 1960’s-70’s. (Anyone got any ideas? Google is not being very useful with this, sadly.)

vintage machine

I has plans to use all my vintage machines this year, sewing a dress on each machine from a sewing pattern that’s roughly from the same year as the machine. Really looking forward to that!

Been doing a bit of knitting as well, usually while juggling a baby and a cat. Unsurprisingly, progress is slow. But this will be the Agatha cardigan by Andi Satterlund.

knitting and cat

Also making slow progress (and the reason why, although I’ve been sewing up a storm, I have nothing I can show you yet!) is the next Muse pattern. Babies who do not sleep much during the day (he’s a cat-napper, our littliest one. 5 minute nap, then up for another 2-3 hours. Seriously.) are not overly conducive to fast progress. Evidence:

workign with baby

working with baby 2

But also evidence that progress is being made! Taping up of PDF to test the printing….

taping PDF

… and stitching up of sample garments. I’m hoping to have this one released in the next couple of weeks. Eek!

pattern sneak peek

So yes, that’s what I’ve been up to! Oh, and starting back at work part-time. Easing back into it, and I’ll be back full time at the end of April. It’s going by crazy fast, eek!

What have you all been up to? Are you having a good 2015 so far?

Rigel round-up (and a winner!)

I’m not quite sure how it happens, but every single year the start of February takes me by surprise. Seriously – every. single. year. And this year? No exception. How the heck are we in February already?!?!?!

Anyway, with the onset of February comes the end of Rigel Bomber Jacket January that Mel, Sonja and I hosted. Which means – it’s time to check out some of the sweet, sweet Rigel jackets that people made, get all inspired, and also see who won the sew-along contest!

There are three winners in total – Sonja, Mel and I each picked one person to win a Papercut pattern of their choice. (And can I just say – super hard decision! So many awesome jackets!)

First up (just for the fun of building the suspense plus an added bonus of lots of pretty Rigels to look at), check out these beauties that were made for Rigel Bomber Jacket January….

Chanelling the 1950's vibe by The Curious Kiwi

Chanelling the 1950’s vibe over at The Curious Kiwi

A cozy fleece Rigel by Sewing Beautifully

A cozy fleece Rigel by Sewing Beautifully

Rigel Bomber 1

A sweet textured artic white Rigel by What Diana Did Next

A pink Rigel hack by Lily Sage and Co

A pink Rigel hack by Lily Sage and Co


An 80s-tastic Rigel by Stacie Chadwick

An 80s-tastic Rigel by Stacie Chadwick

Wanna know who won? The jacket I chose to win a Papercut pattern of their choice is….

This amazing sequinned number by Thanks I Made This Myself!

Sequinned Rigel by Thanks I Made This Myself

Sequinned Rigel by Thanks I Made This Myself

(Because, seriously – a sequinned bomber jacket? And that photo shoot amongst the mossy stones? Luxe and laid-back all at once – love it!) (Plus, sewing with sequins kinda terrifies me, so anyone who does so, let alone sews welt pockets with sequins, has massive respect from me.)

Congrats! I’ll be in touch to find out which pattern you want for your prize. :-)

Want to see some other awesome Rigels and find out who the other two winners are? Check out the other Rigel round-up posts on Ginger Makes and The Curious Kiwi!

February sew alongs

I realised the other day that it’s been quite a while since I’ve done one of these posts – a quick round-up of some of my picks of the sew alongs happening for this month. (Whoops!)

As always, there’s all sorts of happenings going on in the online sewing community – sew alongs, contests, meet ups, etc. I try to keep an eye out for them all, and put ’em in a list here for anyone who is interested and wants to know what’s going on.

So, this February – there’s many fun things to take part in! Here’s my top four pick for the month….

We’ve had the Crazy Cat Lady challenge, and now it’s time for the Crazy Dog Ladies! Sew up something using dog print fabric (or for a dog) (or for a dog, in dog print fabric) by 15 March. (There may even be some prizes, oooh!)

If you’re anything like me, chances are you’ve got a wardrobe full of pretty prints, and no where near enough solid coloured garments to go with them. In that case, this month’s theme on The Monthly Stitch should be pretty perfect for you – sewing with solid colours (no prints allowed!). For an added bit of fun, every letter of the alphabet has a colour assigned to it – use the one for your initial/s.

Wanna take part in a challenge with a twist? Like the Linden sweatshirt pattern from Grainline? You’re in luck! The Linden Swap is happening – pair up with another sewing person, exchange measurements, and make each other a Linden!

Or if you’re more of a vintage styles lover, there’s a sew along about to kick off to make the 1930’s capelet pattern from Decades of Style. Pretty!

Plus there’s a whole bunch more, and yet more popping up every day. You can find out what’s happening here (and if you hear of any that aren’t on the list, please let me know so I can add them! Sometimes they slip through my net…)

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

Looking back, looking forwards (aka a brief review of 2014)

So, turns out it’s already late January, and this post, that I’ve been writing in my head for a good month now (and on the laptop for a few days) still hasn’t been written. Whoops! Time to rectify that. (And while it could be argued that it’s getting a bit late for a 2014 review post, since I’m writing this for my own benefit and reflection I’m gonna go ahead and do it anyway. ;-) )

First up, sewing.

The indie pattern kick I started on around the middle of 2013 continued, with the vast majority of things I made in 2014 being from indie designers. Papercut was the most commonly used – much as I don’t really want to be a “fan girl” of any label, I’ve kinda turned into a Papercut one. I love the thought that’s gone into the designs, collections, packaging, instructions, and website – it appeals to the same part of me that sent me down the career path I’m in (customer experience research, design and strategy, for those who may be curious). Plus, Papercut patterns fit me pretty well out of the envelope.

I did dabble with other indies though – some (like Named) I’ll happily use again. Others I probably won’t, for one reason or another.

Not much vintage got made during 2014, and towards the end of the year I was really missing using vintage patterns. But with the whole pregnancy thing, even though there were some vintage maternity patterns I wanted to make, I never quite got around to it due to time/energy levels, opting instead for faster makes (lots of tshirts, anyone?!?). So that was a bit sad, but it’s really spurred me on to get back to sewing up my vintage designs this year.

I’m still wanting to sew indie designs too (I really like supporting small businesses, and local ones as well when I can), but to be perfectly honest I’ve found quite a lot of the recent indie releases to be rather boring. :-( So 2015 will be a far more balanced mix of vintage and indie. And I’m really looking forward to that. :-)

My fave makes from 2014 were the following:

Cherry Ripe dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Cherry Ripe dress

Cherry Ripe dress. One of the few vintage makes for the year, and one I’m really (really!) looking forward to being able to fit into again. Love the fabric, love the style, love wearing it.

Mellow Yellow La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Mellow Yellow La Sylphide

Mellow Yellow La Sylphide dress. A vintage fabric, a modern indie pattern, and buttons from holiday travels – great mix! I wore this one heaps as well (until the growing bump meant I couldn’t fit it any more). Plus, a hugely fun photo shoot with Mel when we made the same pattern together.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Simone the First dress

Simone the First dress. Sure, the fit could definitely be improved, but I wasn’t really expecting to like this one all that much, as the style isn’t something I usually go for. But my gosh, this is fun to wear! It swirls and swishes out behind you as you walk, and makes you want to stride powerfully along. So, so much fun! Must make more of these….. (Yep, very much the surprise-to-me winner for the year!)

Retro Wrap skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Retro Wrap skirt

Retro Wrap skirt. Another vintage pattern, and the last make of the year – to me, this skirt signified my getting back to my love of vintage sewing, and also getting back into my own style post the arrival of the littliest guy. It was such a relief to sew this – almost felt like the shackles of maternity fit were being thrown off, and I could emerge again. (Yeah, sounds crazy, but that’s how it went.) Plus, I did good and took the time to hand stitch the facing down etc, which I’m usually lazy with. So, also signifies me moving into an era of taking my time more when making things and appreciating the little details.

And the biggest losers were:

Skully Ensis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Skully Ensis tee

Skully Ensis tee. Love the tee, love the fabric, the colours don’t love me (which admittedly I was pretty sure would be the case when I was making it up, but I really wanted to use the skulls fabric). This one got given away to a friend.

Floral Floaty Tanias | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Floral Floaty Tanias

Floaty Floral Tanias. Heck knows what’s going on with that crotch seam, but it’s miles too high. Wearing these feels like a constant wedgie. Good times. Not.

Black Cake tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Black Cake tee

Black Cake tee. What on earth was I thinking with this one?!?! So totally not my style! I got the pattern in the Perfect Pattern Parcel, thought I’d try it out as a maternity top. Yeah. Made myself wear it once, felt like a gigantic tent, shuddered at the thought of wearing it again, gave it away as fast as I could. Ugh. *shudder*

Reflecting on sewing itself, I’ve kinda come to the following thoughts….

I have plenty of clothes. No really, I do. Sure, I love making more, love the pretties, and it’s fun to make and wear things, but there’s nothing I need. Not really. It’s not going to stop me making more things for myself (so much pretty fabric! So many pretty patterns! So much stash to work through (eek)!!), but I may start pushing myself to make the occasional thing for other people as well (Gasp! Selfless sewing?!? Idealism, but will it become reality..??)

The things I’ve made where I’ve taken the time to add the nice details (hand stitched invisible hems, nicely hand stitched facings, tape on the inside of hems, etc) make me really happy to wear. So it’s time I slowed down, and focussed more on including more of those little touches that make me proud and happy to wear what I’ve made. (Yes, I feel proud and happy to wear my creations anyway, but those take them up to the next level. True dat.)

I hate using thin pattern tissue. Like, really. And this is a key reason why I don’t sew with modern Big 4 patterns. I hate cutting it, I hate tracing it, and I sure as heck hate refolding it and trying to cram it back into pattern envelopes. There’s just nothing good in it. Nothing at all. So I actively avoid it. (And sadly this also means I’m actively avoiding using some of the lovely indie patterns I bought, as they use the same tissue. Sewaholic and Grainline, I’m looking at you guys in particular. I has the patterns, sitting there and waiting to be made, but I shudder every time I think about dealing with the pattern tissue. :-( Vintage patterns? If they’re already cut, they’re all good. (Otherwise, I don’t use ’em.) Other indies, where they use thicker paper? (E.g. Named, Papercut, Deer & Doe) Yep, bring it on. (Interestingly, it turns out I hate working with thin pattern tissue far more than I dislike cutting and sticking together PDF patterns. Chances are there’ll be a bunch more PDF ones in my future. In fact, it’s almost kinda relaxing, assembling PDF patterns….)

Right, now let’s talk about knitting!

This was a new thing for me in 2014. I made my first cardigan! And then a second, and a third, and even a fourth. Woo hoo! I admit it – I avoided knitting for ages, thinking it’d be super boring and that I’d tire of things well before finishing them. I’m pleased to say I’ve proven myself wrong. I am a knitting convert, and now valiently trying to resist building a yarn stash to rival my fabric stash.

My first cardigan was the Autumn Playground Miette – I’m super proud of this because, hey, first cardgain! Woot!

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Autumn Playground Miette

But it doesn’t fit (rookie mistakes, lol) and I’m actually going to rip it apart and use the wool for something else.

But still – first cardigan! Yay! :-)

I’m trying to learn something new with every knitting pattern I make, and so far that’s going well – lace work, picking up stitches to knit, cables, and working with different colours. So far I’ve only made patterns by Andi Satterlund, which is quite a cliched place to start, but I like her style and they’re working well for me. I’ll be branching out soon though – there’s a bunch of others in my Ravelry queue/favourites, and I’m also going to challenge myself to make a vintage 1940’s pattern this year as well. (Although I’m somewhat terrified at how long that will take, working with 4ply instead of 10ply!)

And what about other things?

I’m still co-hosting The Monthly Stitch, and enjoying it a lot, although I do feel a bit bad that I haven’t been as active in the challenges as I’d like. (Again, pregnancy, so lack of energy.) I’m hoping to get more going in The Monthly Stitch this year – we has plans, yes we do!

Changed jobs earlier in the year (in fact, I started my new job the week after I found out I was pregnant. Whoops! Not the best timing in the world!). I’m now working in the electricity sector, after having worked in finance for over 7 years. It’s kinda nice to be thinking about different things, and I’m working for a small start-up-like company, which is fun and frustrating at the same time, and surrounded by rather awesome people.

Started up Muse Patterns, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a few years now. In fact, I had planned to start it while on maternity leave with our first child, but then the reality of having a child sunk in and all hopes of doing anything else vanished. So this time, I made sure I launched before going on maternity leave, so the impetus was already there! I’m really happy with how Muse is going so far – I’ve always loved creating patterns, the technical aspect combined with the creative makes me happy, and it kinda ties together what I do for a living with my main hobby, as I get to think about and create experiences through developing instructions, etc. It’s been a while since I’ve done much with pattern making (since I discovered the joys of sewing with vintage patterns, in fact!) so it’s great to get back into that as well. Three patterns out so far, a fourth in the works, and four (nearly five!) more designed and waiting to be created. I’m hoping to be able to launch paper patterns this year, too, so we’ll see how it goes. One thing I’ve really enjoyed with Muse is being able to use it as a platform to give a little back, and that’s something that will continue.

And the biggest thing during 2014 (of course) – this little guy!


He’s awesome. Such a happy, chilled out little fellow. Good for lots of cuddles, lots of smiles, and loves watching his big brother whenever he can. The two boys have such completely different personalities – it’s going to be a lot of fun watching them grow and develop and seeing how they interact, how they do things differently, and who they turn out to be!

(Speaking of those personalities, sadly it turned out that the name we chose for our little guy didn’t suit who he is. So he’s had a name change – meet Fox! :-) (Cue X-Files and “What does the fox say” jokes.) His new name suits him a heck of a lot more, and also ties in with the inadvertant theme of animal names that we seem to have going on….

So yeah, there we have it. A quick (yet still ramblingly long!) look back at 2014, and a few comments on 2015. No real goals or the like, more general ideas of things I’d like to do. Sew more vintage; develop more patterns; create physical pattern experiences (i.e. paper patterns and the designing of an experience that goes with those, which is something that excites me a lot); start to knit vintage; and slow down the creating in order to focus on the details. I’m rather looking forward to it all. :-)