Tag Archives: cardigan

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. 😀

The Autumn Playground Miette


Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Seriously folks, this is like MAJOR for me. I’ve always been kinda scared of knitting – fearing it would take ages (coz it does) and I’d get bored and give up not far through (I didn’t!) and that it’d be far faster and more satisfying to just whip something up with the sewing machine. (And possibly also a little bit intimidated – my mother is a rather amazing knitter, and churns out stunning 1940’s cardigans in 4ply crazy fast with intricate details.)

But after seeing so many super cute Miette cardigans all over it place, it seemed like it was time. Time to actually give this knitting lark a try.

So, I did!

And, I made a Miette!!!

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(If you haven’t heard of the Miette before, it’s a free (!) pattern from Andi Satterlund. Who makes all sorts of cute patterns, most of which are now on my things-I-want-to-make list.)

Now, let’s face it. This is my first actual knitted-by-me garment. And I’m not the most patient person in the world. So there’s mistakes in it. I learnt a lot, there’s things I’d do differently next time, but either way, I’m pretty darn happy with this. It’s cute, it fits, it’s got pretty lace type details, and it’s gonna go well with dresses. Plus, it’s pure wool so it’s warm and snuggly, while not being too warm – perfect for autumn and winter in an office.

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Those of you who have seen a few Miette’s out there may notice there are a few differences in my one. It all started with my yarn choice. The pattern calls for 10 ply yarn, and there isn’t all that much of it around here to be found. Instead, I found some pretty 8 ply dove grey 100% wool yarn, and couldn’t quite go past it. I was assured by the lovely Jo that it would be fine, and I’d just need to adjust my sizing to make it work. Which it was, I just made a slightly wrong call about size right at the start, and have only myself to blame for that!

I did my tension swatch like a good little girl, and knit this up in a size 38″ bust rather than the 34″ bust I would normally have gone for.

In hindsight, I should have gone up another size, as it wasn’t quite big enough so I ended up making extra-wide button bands to get the added width I needed. I’m calling it a design feature. 😉

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I also should have added some to the length between the underarm and the start of the bust shaping, as the cardigan was too short. (Yeah, I went up a size, but completely didn’t think that of course it would be shorter when using a smaller ply yarn and smaller needed. Duh! Yep, I’m a knitting novice. Lesson learned.) I only thought about the length issue when I got to the end of the ribbing at the waist and discovered (surprise, surprise) that it was too short. So, I just extended the ribbing until it was the right length. 😉

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Since the button bands and waist ribbing were both wider than designed, I also widened the neck band so it didn’t look too unbalanced, and put a button and button hole on the neck band.

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Overall, even with all of those ‘design features’ I reckon it works ok.

(Admittedly, I may be slightly biased, since I’m just so darn proud of myself for sticking it out and actually knitting a garment!!)

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The buttons are from Made Marion – soft grey ovals that dip down in the middle. The yarn is Natural Grey 100% ool 8 ply (double knit) from Skeinz (their own name brand). It smells a little bit like sheep, which I like.

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Even with the alterations, it was still a tiny bit too small and too short, so I blocked it out (look at me, knowing knitting terms and all! Woo!) and stretched it a bit while blocking, so now it fits well. Yay!

(And yes, I admit it. I am now working on becoming a ‘knitter’. Turns out it’s a great hobby for when hanging out with people or travelling, as you don’t have as much to carry with you and you can knit and talk at the same time. Win.)

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And I’d like to give a huge shout-out to my wonderful mother, and my wonderful kinda-mother-in-law (what do you call your partner’s mother? I have no idea?), both of whom are wonderful knitters and helped me out a lot when I couldn’t understand the terminology or made mistakes (both of which happened quite a bit!). Thanks! 🙂

I’ve already started work on another Andi Satterlund pattern – the cropped sweater for winter. This time, in the recommended 10 ply yarn to see how it goes.

We wandered out late afternoon to a nearby playground for photos, and to give the Little Guy a run around. It’s rained every day for the past two weeks here, so any break in the weather for outdoor adventures is good! Rather cold though, hence the several layers, haha!

Little Guy found a scooter another child had left behind, and despite it being far too big for him he was determined to ride it. Big grins as we circled around for ages!

Autumn Playground Miette | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Strawberry Shortcake Coppelia

Hey hey! Ready for some more Twinsies sewing?

While we were waiting on the votes for what we sew next to roll in, Mel and I caught up to get pics of our latest Twinsies creation – the Coppelia wrap cardigan from Papercut patterns!

Papercut’s Coppelia wrap cardigan

(Spoiler: this won’t be the last one of these you see on here. I may be in love with this pattern. More are planned for the fast-approaching winter, oh yes.)

Now, we always end up with rather different looking garments when we do our Twinsies creations, but I think this time is the most diverse yet! Mel lengthened her Coppelia and the waist ties. I shortened the sleeves on my one. Two very different results, no? (This is what I love the most about Twinsie sewing – we don’t talk much beforehand about what we’re doing, so it’s always a surprise to see what the other one has come up with when we meet up to do our joint photo shoots. As you can imagine, there’s lots of comparing and exclaiming going on at that point.)

Strawberry Shortcake Papercut Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Despite appearances, we didn’t co-ordinate our outfits/hair. Even though my hair matches Mel’s top and the top she’s wearing under her Coppelia matches my Coppelia. Happy accidents for co-ordinated photos, let’s just go with that, ok?)

This is actually the second Coppelia I’ve made – the first was a gift for one of my sisters-in-law for Christmas, which I don’t have a photo of yet. (Mum, if you’re reading this, can you go get photos for me? Thanks! 😉 ) I lengthened that one though, so this is the first one I’ve made at the ‘proper’ short length.

Strawberry Shortcake Papercut Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Conveniently, I also tried on the one I made for my sister-in-law, and found I needed to go down a size from what I was expecting to cut out, as it’s a looser fitting style that I thought it would be. Bonus fitting practice while gift making = all ’round win.)

This is a crazy quick and easy pattern to put together, with nice neat edges due to all the wide hem finishes and the wrist cuffs (if, like Mel, you make it with the full sleeve-length). Very satisfying to whip up, this one was!

I made my one out of a lightweight merino wool, purchased from the Levana textile outlet a year or so ago. I found three rectangular pieces of this gorgeous wide red-and-pink stripe in the remnant bin, for the grand sum of 50c a piece (crazy cheap!!). So naturally, I snaffled them up fast and clung on to them until I figured out what to use them for. (I mean c’mon – how often do you come across pink-and-red-wide-striped merino?!? Yeah, not often. Gotta get that stuff when you can.)

Strawberry Shortcake Papercut Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Since I only had the three (reasonably small) remnants, cutting this one out was a bit of a challenge! (In fact, I think it took longer to cut out than it did to sew. Hmmm.) With the raglan sleeves, I wanted the stripes to meet where the sleeves joined the body, so there was a fair bit of careful pattern placement to figure out how to make that happen, while still having enough fabric for the bindings and ties. Oh yes, let me tell you now – there was not a lot of fabric left when I was done! (That’s also what dictated the sleeve length – that was all I had. Indeed.)

I’m pretty proud of how it turned out though – kinda hard to see in these photos, but those stripes, they match up well. And luckily I could get the bindings out of the red rather than the pink, because let’s face it, pale pink next to my skin just Doesn’t Suit Me. At All. (Even though occasionally I forget about that fact. Oops.)

Strawberry Shortcake Papercut Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Only alteration I made was stretching the bands a bit when attaching them around the neckline, to make sure they didn’t start to sag open a bit over time. That worked out well – it’s a nice, close fit. (I think I chopped about 5cm off each end of the neck band once I’d attached it? Can’t quite recall though, may have been slightly less….)

This hits me slightly below the waist – perfect for wearing with 1950’s dresses and skirts. (I can also attest that it layers well over long-sleeved tops on colder days.)

Strawberry Shortcake Papercut Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Mel and I met up with the lovely Nikki for lunch to get these photos – picnicking out on the grounds of parliament, then posing with trees. Always a good thing to do on a break from work, no? 😉

(Big thanks to Nikki for playing photographer for us!)

Strawberry Shortcake Papercut Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And we can’t have a Papercut Twinsies photo shoot without the ‘Papercut love’ pose, now can we? This time, sitting in a tree. Just because we (sort of) could. Even though we were wearing high heels at the time and the tree was on a slope. Coz that’s the sort of thing we do for you guys.

Strawberry Shortcake Papercut Coppelia | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The ‘Piratical’ Cardigan

Arrr! I’m a pirate!!!

Or at least, this cardigan thinks it’s a pirate.

Either way, it inspired me to dress kinda piratical for work the first day I wore it (Valentines Day!).

But I digress. Without further ado, here are…

The Facts

Fabric: Striped merino wool knit from my stash, no idea where it came from so I’m considering it free
Pattern: Self drafted
Year: 2012
Notions: 5 red buttons, ~$1, scraps of lightweight interfacing for inside the button placket, free
Time to complete: 1.5 hours
First worn: Valentine’s day, 2012
Wear again? Yep

Total Cost: ~$1

This cardi was made for the latest Sew Weekly theme – red, in honour of Valentines Day.

It turns out I don’t have a lot of plain red in my stash these days (except for some bright red sweatshirting, but I didn’t think a snuggly hoodie was quite Valentines-y), which is how the black stripes crept in there. This fine, lightweight merino wool knit was lurking in the corner of my fabric stash – I have no idea how it got there, in fact I don’t recall ever seeing it before, but there it was. And there was just enough for a cardigan!

Since I wear a lot of 1950’s style dresses, I made the cardigan length just below my waist, and went with a round neckline, just for a bit of 1950’s pirate style. It fastens with 5 little red buttons (and yes, it does do up. I just happened to be wearing it like this today and forgot to do it up for the photos to prove that all the buttons are, indeed, there). It’s the first time I’ve ever made a button-up cardi, and I was a bit worried about how stable the button placket would be, so I got all creative with nearby objects and folded a stripe of lightweight interfacing scraps into each button placket. It seems to have worked quite well – hardly any added bulk, and a far more stable placket. End result – I’m not scared of making button-up cardigans any more. I see several others, with cute little buttons, in my near future…..

I whipped up the entire cardigan using my overlocker (serger), cover stitch and all. (I do love my overlocker, it makes life so much easier.) The only non-overlocker bits where the buttons holes, and the hand-sewing of the buttons, which is where most of the time to make came from.

For Valentines Day, Steve and I went for a wander around the zoo after work. They were having a special ‘adults only’ late night, open to adults (18 and over) from 5.30 – 8.30pm (they usually close at 5pm). With zoo keeper talks about animal mating habits, live music, and encouragements to take along a picnic dinner. How cool an idea is that?! (Not that we were organised enough to take along a picnic, but we saw lots of other people with baskets in hand, which was rather neat.) These photos were standing near the pelican area, with the spider monkeys across the little stream in that big tree. The pelican is one of my favourite animals at the zoo – he’s hilarious, super friendly, with crazy eyes. And sadly off sleeping somewhere at 8pm at night.

Something about this cardigan inspired me to dress a bit pirate-inspired for work today. Red-and-black polkadot top, black waist belt, black skirt, black-and-red tartan heart necklace, and…. tights with skulls and crossbones up the back! (Imagine this outfit with black-and-red kitten heels, please. I switched them out to sneakers for walking around the zoo, for practicalities sake.)