Cat Lady Cardi

So, did you hear about the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge that Miss Crayola Creepy came up with? Brilliant idea (but then, I’m a cat lover, and I love sewing challenges, so I am somewhat predisposed to loving the idea!) – make up something using cat themed fabric.

And oh boy, I have cat themed fabric in my stash! (Which probably won’t be all that suprising to many of you….) Not as much as I would have expected, to be fair, but I still have (going purely from memory here) at least three types of Hello Kitty prints, and a great lightweight cotton with a geometric print and lucky cats on it that I bought in Tokyo last year. Oh, and some leopard print fabric, too, since that apparantly counts for the challenge. So yes, lots of cat themed fabric to choose from!

But you know what? The challenge was due to end at the end of October (luckily it got extended, since I only got my photos taken today – although I did have this cardi finished in time for the end of October!), and I had a baby bump to contend with. Chance of me making up one of those cat-print fabrics in something I could actually wear both for photos by the end of October, and later on once the baby arrived? Pretty much non-existant. (And I just couldn’t bring myself to make up a maternity garment in some of my loved cat print fabric, and get only very limited wear out of it.)

So I came up with another idea instead. Not sure if it still qualifies for the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge, but rather than using cat-print fabric, I made a cardigan purposefully to go with a cat applique patch I found at Spotlight.

Cat Lady Cardi | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Coz look – cat applique patch! Cute, right?!? It’s winking and all, even.

Cat Lady Cardi | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made up variation A of the Jenna cardi, in the waist-length version.

The fabric is merino – I acquired a long, oversized dark grey merino top from a clothes swap party a while back, and recycled it for this cardi. There wasn’t enough to cut out all the bands as well though, so I used a fine black merino that I bought from Levana textiles (oh man I love that place!) for contrast bands. The only change I made to the pattern was with the sleeves – since I cut them from the sleeves of the top that I was recycling, I used the existing sleeve hems rather than adding the sleeve cuffs. (I may have changed the sleeve length a bit as well based on the length of the existing sleeves I was cutting them from, but I can’t quite recall. Later-day pregnancy brain haze, and all that.)

Since I’ve made this pattern up several times now (yeah, that may be an understatement!) it came together quickly and easily. What took the longest was choosing the buttons – I spent a while debating between plain black, or pink and white striped – did I want them to blend in, or to bring out the pink parts on the cat applique? I went with black in the end, since I figure this is gonna be getting a lot of wear with a lot of my dresses!

Cat Lady Cardi | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Obviously, it isn’t fitting so well at the moment – after all, it’s only been 9 days since the lil’ one arrived, and there’s still a fair bit of baby bump to vanish! (Plus sleep deprivation and the like, so please don’t look too closely at the dark circles under my eyes!) Hence why it’s being worn with a maternity skirt, rather than one of my dresses. (Oh I am so looking forward to wearing my dresses again… It’ll be nice to go back to feeling like ‘me’ in my clothes!)

Cat Lady Cardi | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

But yes, I have a cardigan! That will go with lots of things!! And it has a cat on it!!! So thank you, Miss Crayola Creepy, for the challenge that resulted in this addition to my wardrobe. :-D

Well, hello there!

Just a super quick post with the news for those who are interested.

Our little guy made his appearance into the world yesterday (8 days overdue, so it was about time he showed up!). Baby Amos McGregor (both traditional family names) arrived at 10.47pm on Friday 31 October. Weighing in at 4.43kg (9 pounds 12). We may be rather infatuated with him. :-)



It’s all about the practicality

Or at least, it’s all about practicality with this creation!

Not that you’d think so to start with – after all, why on earth would one need a bed jacket? I’ve never really understood the concept – is it some sort of 1950’s ladies-who-lunch variation, where instead you sit up in bed eating breakfast and lounging around glamourously? Heck knows, but there seem to be a lot of patterns out there for sewn and knitted bed jackets from the 1950’s!

And inevitably, one (or maybe two) of those patterns has made it’s way into my stash. In this case, Simplicity 2778, from 1958.

Simplicity 2778

I bought this pattern for the slippers though, not the bed jacket. (And I’ve even made the slippers!) I never expected to make the bed jacket – sure, it’s kinda cute, but really, why?? (Also, why do they all have their mouths open on this pattern cover? Plus, those are all pretty massive earrings for wearing to bed. Yep, clearly bed jackets are all about glamour!)

And then I had the Little Man, and spent a heck of a lot of time sitting up in bed in the middle of the night feeding him. And the idea of a bed jacket started to make a lot of sense. Shorter than a dressing gown, so you can easily throw it on while sitting in bed for an extra layer of warmth. Yep, not a bad idea at all, really!

(Except that I never quite got around to making one while still doing night feeds with the Little Man.)

But this time, I am prepared! Yes indeed! (Well, semi-prepared. Got a five-days-overdue baby bump going on and I’ve only just finishing this, but still – it’s done before it’s needed! Win!)

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And here it is – my version of a 1958 bed jacket. In a dusky pink sweatshirting. Because you know what? This is only ever going to be worn in the dead of night, in bed, while feeding a baby. It’s not about glamour, it’s about warmth. And it will Never Leave The House. Nuh-uh.

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It will, instead, be cozy and warm. :-) (Or that’s the theory, anyway.)

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So saying though, I did do a bunch of topstitching on it, just because I could. It wasn’t thought-out topstitching, there was no plan, I just did what I felt like at the time until I ran out of the pink thread I was using. So I ended up with some topstitching on the pockets, on the facings, and on the collar. I was going to do some down the centre back as well but then I ran out of thread, so it got left as it was.

(‘Scuse the alignment of this – it does line up in real life, I promise! Just clearly not in this photo, at all. This is where I miss having photos taken by fellow bloggers – they spot this type of thing, haha!)

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Pockets! Those are gonna be useful for a burp cloth on one side and snacks on the other side. Because let’s face it – there is a constant need for snacks when feeding a child in the middle of the night. Mmmm…. snacks….)

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Speaking of the collar – rather than doing the collar facing in the same thick sweatshirting, I used some of the cotton left over from my Tania culottes. To stop it from peeking through at the edge, I trimmed a couple of mm off the collar facing’s outer edge and then aligned the inner seams when pressing so the collar rolled to the inside a little.

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

When I went to put the fastenings on, I had a moment of realising – this jacket’s never actually going to get done up, due to it’s purpose for existing. So, I flagged the fastenings and just did some top stitching instead. :-)

Not really a lot to say about the construction of this – it’s a basic kimono-sleeve style, with cut-on facings, so very few pattern pieces. Fairly usual late-1950’s Simplicity instructions. And an unmarked pattern, so holes punched in it to indicate darts, grainlines, etc. (Which, by the way, I prefer – far easier to transfer markings when you can just chalk through the punched holes!)

Here’s something I hadn’t seen before, though – this pattern comes with a ‘fold sheet’ – a plain sheet of tissue paper that’s there for the sole purpose of having the rest of the pattern folded up in it. Brilliant! It keeps it nice and smooth in the envelope, and helps keep all the little pieces together.

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So there we have it – one baby-night-feeding vintage bed-jacket pattern, made up and ready to go! (Whenever this little one decides to make an appearance, that is. Hmmm…. In the meantime though, it makes for a good book-resting-place.)

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And the winner is…..

Hi everyone!

Thank you all so much for your lovely words about the new Gillian dress pattern. :-)

Want to know who won a copy of it? The trusty random generator selected….


Who said….

MVC winner

Congrats, Vivienne! :-) (Can you please email me so I can send you your prize? macska at gmail dot com)

If you didn’t win but are still keen on the pattern, the discount code for 15% off is still valid until 19 October – just enter CUPCAKESFORGILL at checkout (on the screen after the Paypal screen). Plus, all Gillian patterns purchased before the end of day (NZ time) on 19 October have their full purchase price (less transaction fees) donated to the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation.

In completely different news – I finished making a new dress today! Yay! It felt good to get back into sewing something that is more ‘me’ than a lot of the things I’ve made lately (confession time – remember that black tee I made? Yeah, wore it once, and that is all. Just not my style, but oh well.) It’ll probably be at least four weeks yet before I show off my new dress on here though – it’s for post-baby-arrival, and I want to try it on before I tell you all about it. But still, yay, I made a new dress! And it’s pink and patterned and colourful and I love it (and really hope it fits, haha!).

Introducing the Gillian wrap dress pattern!

Hi all!

Sooooo, exciting news (well, exciting for me, anyway) – I’ve just launched my second pattern! Woo hoo! (And also – eek!)

Now, I know I said this blog wasn’t going to become all about Muse Patterns, and it’s not going to, I promise. But I am gonna be posting on here when I release new patterns because, well, they’re pretty massive projects and I’m pretty proud of them. I also know there hasn’t been a heck of a lot of content on here lately – that’s a bit of a symptom of my stage of pregnancy. Too far along to want to bother making more things that I can only wear for maybe a couple of weeks. I just haven’t quite gotten my head into the ‘making stuff for after the baby arrives’ mindset just yet, either. It’ll happen soon, and then I’ll be back to sewing things. :-)

But anyway.

Check it out – my second pattern release! Wheeee!!!!

Gillian wrap dress from Muse Patterns

This one is for a knit wrap-around dress (or top, or skirt). Named after my lovely friend Gillian, who is a huge fan of wrap dresses and tops, and wears them extremely well. (That’s her in the pink dress – isn’t she gorgeous?!?) Gill’s lovely – she’s got a sly (and rather naughty!) sense of humour, a fabulous Scottish accent, awesome style, and she’s one of the most kind, caring and generous people I know. So when I was thinking up ideas for my second pattern, it seemed only right to design one with her as the ‘muse’.

Gillian wrap dress from Muse Patterns

And since Gill is such a super generous person, it also seems like a good time to kick off something I’ve been wanting to do for a while – namely, a bit of a charity project.

Gill is a big support of the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation, and with good reason – it’s a pretty awesome charity, doing lots of amazing work. So for the first week the Gillian pattern is up for sale, 100% of the sale price (less transaction fees) will be donated to the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation. Yep, that’s right – all patterns sold between now and midnight (NZ time) on 19 October will be raising money for this great charity.

Gillian wrap top from Muse Patterns

Now, on to the pattern!

I’ve been working on this one for, oh, several months now. (In fact, one of the first samples appeared on my blog back in July, when I realised too late I’d forgotten to make a dress in time for photos for the Outfit Along challenge. (Whoops!) It got put on hold a while to get the Jenna cardi pattern out the door, but now it’s time has come to see the light of day.

Gillian wrap top from Muse Patterns

The Gillian wrap dress has shoulder yoke and gather details on both front and back shoulders, for both a bit of a 1940’s look and 1970’s look at the same time. (I find it interesting when style trends pop up in other decades, don’t you?) At first glance, the front shoulder yoke details look the same as on the Jenna cardi, but the amount of gathering that goes into them is actually different, since the Gillian is designed to be worn as a top or dress, while the Jenna is designed to be a layer piece (and likely made in thicker fabric, hence it needs more gathering to get the detail showing up).

There’s a midriff band and waist ties, to add a bit of structure and definition around the waist area. A v-neckline has a band which is top stitched down and eased onto the neckline to help prevent the dreaded gape-while-leaning-forward. And the bottom front has rounded corners, just because I felt like doing it that way. ;-)

Gillian wrap dress from Muse Patterns

As with the Jenna, there are a few mix-and-match variations you can choose from. You can make it as a dress, a top, or a skirt. You can have short, 3/4 or long sleeves. The skirt can sit at knee length or above the knee. Made up in a quirky printed knit, it can be a casual weekend piece. Or in a more sophisticated fabric, a staple for the office.

Gillian wrap dress from Muse Patterns

And just because I can, I’m going to hold a giveaway for a copy of the pattern. Want to be in to win? Just comment below and let me know – which variation would you make first? I’ll close off the giveaway on 17 October and announce the winner on 18 October.

And also, just because I can, here’s a discount code if you want to use it – get 15% off the pattern between now and the end of day (NZ time) 19 October with the code CUPCAKESFORGILL. (When you’re going through the checkout process, the space to enter the code comes after the Paypal screen, and the discount gets applied then as well.)

Gillian wrap dress, skirt variation, from Muse Patterns

So yeah, pattern number two! Now to wait and see what the online sewing world thinks of it…. (eek!)

A Belated Bonny


I may have made this up a year ago. (No, I’m not miraculously un-pregnant and a lot smaller all of a sudden – these photos were taken a year ago, too.)

Belated Bonny Sailor tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(In fact, some of the photos were taken in Shanghai, and others in Tokyo, all when we went overseas on holiday last year. We went to Yu Yuan in Shanghai and wandered around – such a lovely place! And the Little Guy got a huge amount of attention there! The Tokyo ones are from Harajuku.)

Belated Bonny Sailor tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It’s the Bonny Sailor Tee, from Cake Patterns. I actually made this up twice at the same time – this one for me, and another one for my sister – traced and cut and sewed assembly-line styles, two different sizes at once.

(I must admit, though – I wish I’d made one in it’s entirety before I started the next one. As Lessons Were Learnt.)

Bonny Sailor tee from Cake

Bonny Sailor tee from Cake

This Bonny is made from a soft green cotton blend tshirting, with pale pink ribbon for trim. I quite like the green and pink combination – it may not sound great on paper, but I find it quite pretty. :-)

Right, let’s talk about this pattern. Bonny is a princess-seamed knit tshirt pattern, with a square neckline, and optional sailor-style collar. I must admit that I was pretty unsure about the sailor style – I think it’s super cute, but questioned how much I’d wear it. But hey, I figured I may as well give it a go and find out! Push myself out of my style comfort zone, so to speak.

Belated Bonny Sailor tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Like other Cake patterns, the Bonny pattern is a connect-the-dots type affair. You figure out your measurements, find ‘em on the pattern outline, and draw in the lines to connect them. Semi-custom-fit, yes indeed.

And like the other Cake patterns I’ve made, Bonny came out about a size too big on me. But then, that does come down to personal preference in these type of tops I think – I just happen to prefer less ease than Cake patterns are drafted with. No big deal – next time, I just make ‘em one size smaller, and all is well. :-)

Now, I did run into a problem when making up Bonny. And after doing a search online, it seems I’m not the only one. If you look at the line drawing, you’ll see a panel at the front neckline. However, while this pattern piece is included, you’re only instructed to cut it out once in fabric and once in interfacing, and attach it like a facing. Which means, that panel in the line drawing doesn’t actually appear on the final garment.

Belated Bonny Sailor tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Not that that’s a huge issue, but the other thing with this is that if you then match up the dots at the top of the centre front panel with those on the side panels (as per the instructions) you end up with the front panel being shorter than the side panels by, well, the same width as that panel at the neckline would have been if you were actually meant to cut it out and sew it on.

And this is where I wish I’d made one top fully before starting on the second one – by the time I figured out the issue the facings were already interfaced, attached, and understitched. Ain’t no way I was gonna be unpicking those on tshirting fabrics, so instead I just trimmed the length of the rest of the top to match that shorter front panel.

So, why am I posting this so late, you may ask? Well, I’ve been waiting to hear back from the designer about it. But I’ve somewhat given up on that now, so figured I’d post it for Amnesty Month over at The Monthly Stitch. (Which I then ended up being late for. Whoops! Being late to post for an amnesty posting month – fail! Ah well, whatever.)

Belated Bonny Sailor tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Here’s the final summary of my thoughts on this pattern:

Pattern: Bonny Sailor tee from Cake Patterns
What I liked: quick and easy to sew, innovative sizing, and I really like the princess seams on it
What I had issues with: the line drawing doesn’t match the final garment – I really do think a mistake has been made in the instrutions and that front facing piece should be cut out twice and stitched on to the top of the front panel as per in the line drawing. (I also have a feeling that if that section at the top of the front panel was done to match the line drawings, it wouldn’t gape forward as much as it does with the current construction method of the pattern.)
Will I make it again? Maybe, but I don’t think there’s a huge amount of space for another sailor tee in my wardrobe, so I’ll just be making up the basic neckline version instead :-)

Marshmallow Hetty

Ready for another bright pink garment? (Yep, I’ve moved on from the purple phase I was in a couple of months ago and headed towards PINK!)

Here we go….

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Check it out! I knitted another cardigan! Woo hoooo!

After so many years thinking I’d hate knitting and get bored with it and it would take forever and I’d never actually complete anything…. well… guess I was wrong, since this the third cardi I’ve knitted this year.

Also the third Andi Satterlund pattern. Which makes three out of three for knitted garment patterns I’ve used so far. But hey, that’s probably fair enough, since it was seeing her pretty designs (and all the gorgeous renditions of them) that got me brave enough to try this knitting-a-garment lark in the first place.

(Spoiler alert: I’m working on another of her patterns at the moment. Well, technically I’m working on two of them – one got put on hold for making the Myrna for the outfit-along challenge, and since it’s a jumper and there is no way I’ll be able to squeeze into it, I must admit to not having had a huge amount of motivation to go back and finish it. Must do all the knit-alongs instead. ALL the knit-alongs, folks!)

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anyway, this is the Hetty pattern – a cute cardi covered in a simple lacework design. Like most of Andi’s patterns, it’s knit top-down and in the round – you start off with the upper back, pick up stitches at the shoulders to do the upper front pieces, then join ‘em together under the arms and knit as one big piece all the way to the bottom. Stitches are picked up around the armholes to create the sleeves, which are then shaped using short rows. And then you pick up even more stitches for the button band and neck band.

(Guess what? I now know what that above paragraph actually means! That would have been like a total foreign language for me not that long ago. Yay for learning stuff!) (I still kinda can’t believe I know what those terms mean, though. It kinda feels like I shouldn’t know them just yet, they’re still that unfamiliar…. Weird.)

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made this up in a lovely 100% wool yarn, Naturally Loyal 10 ply, which I got on mega-sale at the Knit World online sale. Which meant, this cardigan cost me all of about $30 to make – win!

It was another good learning experience to knit, too. While I’ve dabbled a bit with lace now (the border on the Miette and the Myrna both involve a little bit of what I guess is lace work), knitting it over an entire garment was a whole new experience. Keeping track of where you’re up to (especially on the sleeves – eek!), and, in particular, learning how to go back and fix mistakes (eek, several times over!). And yeah, there was a bit of going-back-to-fix-mistakes in this one. There’s still a couple of mistakes there, but I figure they’re pretty hard to spot and I can’t even remember where they are, so I’m not going to point ‘em out to you. So, you know, just pretend this is perfect, right? ;-)

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

After reading the blog post that Lladybird did on her Hetty, I used her suggestion of using stitch markers to indicate where to start the lace repeats on the body, since the pattern switches to stockinette for the areas under the arms to make it a lot easier to do the shaping. So, so glad I read about that trick beforehand! It made it a heck of a lot easier to figure out where to start the pattern.

So much easier, in fact, that I did the same for the sleeves for marking where the lace repeat should start. Again, super glad I did that, as that would have been confusing as heck to keep track of otherwise. (As it was, I had a moment where I miscalculated and the pattern is off by about one stitch. But too bad. Like I said, hard to notice, so it’s staying that way and I’m chalking it up to ‘learning’.)

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My lil’ sis’ made the same pattern at the same time – we’ve become knitting-pattern-buddies, after making up the Myrna at the same time for the Outfit-Along! It’s nice, knitting along with her – we can encourage each other (read: race to be further ahead in the pattern than the other person, because everything is a contest, right?!?), check in with each other on how to do things, and plan our next projects together. Isn’t her one cute? Such a gorgeous varigated brown yarn. It’ll be up on her blog soon for you to check out in more detail.

(And in the case of our Hetty’s, spend three days on the couch together with our knitting, lots of hot lemon honey drinks, and DVDs, because we both got sick at the same time. Which is how we got these done so quickly – maybe two months of knitting, I think it was?)

We took these photos out at Petone on the waterfront, near the Petone Settlers Museum. Yep, right next to the road, coz we’re classy like that.

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It was super windy, as Wellington tends to be, so that provided lots of entertainment. (Especially when Mel was getting her photos, since she was wearing a dress with quite a full skirt. There were a few Marilyn-Munroe-on-the-airvent moments, hah!) Hair got somewhat uncontrollable at times….

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And then we retreated around the to the front of the Settlers Museum where it was a little bit more sheltered from the wind.

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

One of the great things about taking photos of completed garments with other sewing bloggers – they’re on the lookout for outfit adjustments that need to be made. Thanks, Jen!

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Oh yeah, and here’s the reason why you’re not seeing this cardi done up fully – one 34 week baby bump. Getting big, yo!

Marshmallow Hetty | Modern Vintage Cupcakes