Tag Archives: Papercut patterns

Freaky-as animals, all camouflaged even

Have you heard about Indie Pattern Month? Mel and I co-hosted it last year, and so much fun doing so. And it’s happening right now, for the second year in a row! Yay! This year, to keep everything in one place and make it super easy for everyone to follow along and take part, we’re hosting it over on The Monthly Stitch. It’s also bigger and better than last year, oh yes it is!

One of the changes we made this year is the addition of sewing contests. Four contests, one per week during June, with prizes from amazing sponsors. Each contest has a theme. You can read all about them (and the sponsors and the prizes) over here.

Now, since I’m one of the judges for the sewing contests, I can’t enter them. *sob!* But hey, nothing stopping me from sewing along with them, right? And we all know I love sewing challenges, especially ones with tight deadlines. Something about that kinda kick-starts my sew-jo. 😉

The first of the themes was ‘Dresses‘ – nice and easy, just make a dress from an indie pattern.

It was pretty easy to decide which dress to make, too. A couple of months back, Mel and I asked people to vote on which indie pattern we should make for our next ‘twinsies’ sewing mission. The Colette Rooibos won, but before we could start on it, I found out I was pregnant (yay!), which meant I wouldn’t be able to fit the Rooibos for long, if at all, due to it’s fitted waist.

Luckily, the pattern that came in a close second in the voting is a lot more pregnancy friendly – the Midsummer Nights Dream wrap dress from Papercut.

(Yeah, I know. I’m making yet another Papercut pattern. But hey, it’s Indie Pattern Month, and quite frankly there aren’t that many indie designs out there that I can wear while pregnant! So you’re likely to see a couple more Papercut makes before June is over, mixed up with some Victory as well, or that’s the plan anyway.)

Mel and I decided we’d both make up the Midsummer Nights Dream dress for the ‘dresses’ week theme. We mentioned our plan to our fellow Monthly Stitch editor, Juliet, and she was keen to get in on the action as well. Yay! Triplet dress making!! 😀

Unfortunately, all our plans to meet up for a joint photo shoot fell apart, so we each got our own photos on the same day. Check out our three dresses:

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Mel made her one out of a gorgeous pink-and-black patterned viscose crepe that she bought ‘specially for it.

Juliet made her’s out of a pretty blue silk, soft and floaty and sheer, which she underlined in blue.

And I broke all the fabric-suggestion rules and made mine out of a loose weave cotton.

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made some other changes to my version of the dress as well. I lengthened the waist ties coz a) I like long waist ties, and b) I wanted to make absolutely sure that they wouldn’t be too short to go around ‘the bump’.

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

As with all Papercut dresses I make, I lengthened the skirt by 16cm.

Rather than using bias binding on the neck and armhole edges, I added an extra 1cm seam on all the edges that were meant to be bound, attached cotton tape to them, and folded them under. Which would have worked a lot better if the fabric I was using didn’t have such a large amount of stretch across the bias. (Whoops.) But it didn’t work too badly, I don’t think…..?

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Details of the gathers where the bodice meets the waist ties

The other change I made was to the straps. The pattern calls for them to be made by extending the bias binding from the neckline up into shoulder ties, which is very cute (and which I did on my first Midsummer Nights Dream – yes, this is the second time I’ve made up this pattern). However, since we’re at the start of winter here, I wanted to have straps that sit smoothly against the shoulder so I can layer this dress with long-sleeved tops and cardigans. So instead, I made some wide straps and just stitched ’em on at the back.

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

At the front, I thought ahead a few months and attached them with snap fasteners. (After all, I’m gonna need easy-access to certain parts of my anatomy and snap fasteners are a bit easier to operate with one hand than ties are.)

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Easy access!

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Overall, I think these changes worked pretty well – I’ve already worn this dress a couple of times and it layers nicely over and under things. (In fact, I’ve had to restrain myself from wearing it several days in a row, as I may like it a lot!)

The fabric I used is an odd, loosely-woven cotton that has two layers – the top layer in green and with the print, and an underlayer in the same weave in white. I had no idea there were two layers until I started cutting – it came as a bit of a surprise, but didn’t cause any issues thankfully as they stayed together really well.

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The loose weave did, however, mean there was quite a lot of give along the bias. I let the dress hang for a couple of days before hemming it, and my gosh there was a lot to take off in some places to get that hem even! It went from taking nothing off in some parts to taking about 15-20 cm off in other areas. Yikes!!! (Big thanks to my little sis for patiently helping me level the hem on this one. And for being my photographer. Thanks, sis!)

I got this fabric from the Trelise Cooper fabric store up in Auckland a few years ago, when my lovely partner and I went on a weekend trip there and I somehow managed to convince him to let me go in and have a look when we randomly stumbled upon it. For those who aren’t from around here, Trelise Cooper is a New Zealand fashion designer who uses the most gorgeous fabric in her creations – lots of bright, colourful, floral, quirky, luxurious things. Mmm….. And her fabric store was full of them, too! I couldn’t justify the prices on most of them, but this was only $10 a meter and the creepiness of the animals appealed to me far too much to leave it there. So, home it came. 😉

And seriously, isn’t this print disturbing? Kids toys – should be cute, kinda is, but is kinda scary, too. They’re the sort of toys you could imagine coming to life and creeping around with evil thoughts at night, just like in those really bad ‘horror’ stories everyone used to tell at sleepovers when we were all about 12. *shudder*

Yeah, I love this print. 😀

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I think that’s one of the reasons I love this dress so much – since I can’t fit most of my wardrobe at the moment, I’ve been feeling a bit less like ‘me’ as I haven’t been able to wear things that are my style most days. This dress? I love it – the design, the print, the colour. I feel like ‘me’ in it. And I can wear it for the next couple of months! Total win.

We went off to the zoo to take photos. In theory there are spider monkeys somewhere in the enclosure behind me. We did spot them a bit later though, including one who was wandering along with a banana clutched in his tail – pretty awesome! Never seen that before.

However, I failed to notice that of course busy green background + green printed dress = camouflage styles. Whoops!

Are you taking part in Indie Pattern Month? Are you entering any of the contests?

Creepy Toys dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Skully Ensis

Skully Ensis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My lil’ sis’ moved up here at the start of the year, and has been staying with us while looking for a flat. Naturally, I’ve taken the opportunity to further her sewing-related education. 😉 She’d never seen indie pattern companies before, and nor had she sewn any knit fabric before, so we kicked off her new love affair with indie designs by making up Papercut Pattern’s Ensis tee.

Papercut Ensis tee

Papercut Ensis tee

And you know, since I was mentoring her through her first tshirt, I figured I may as well make myself another Ensis as well. (That first one I made? Yeah, it’s had a lot of love. More are clearly needed in my wardrobe.)

Skully Ensis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Not a huge amount to say about this one. I used the XS size, just like I did last time. The view with curved hem at the base. And I shortened the sleeves, to make ’em summer-length. (Again, just like last time.) Yeah, the first one was so good, no changes were needed at all!

Skully Ensis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I did branch out a bit in my fabric choice though. The main fabric is the pink/green/white one – it’s lots of little skulls with love-heart eyes! Seriously, how cute is that?!? Had to find something that went with it though (surprisingly hard in my stash, where most things are patterned), and conveniently the lovely Jo was giving away some light grey tshirting at a Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network get-together in December. Since I knew I needed some plain colours for some more Ensis tees, I nabbed it, and used some of it here. (Thanks, Jo!)

Skully Ensis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Must admit though, I’m not too sure of this one on me. I usually go for bright and/or highly saturated colours. Pastels? Not so much. But hey, I now have another decent tshirt for weekend wear, so I guess it’ll hang out in my wardrobe. At least until I get around to making some more, at which point this one may migrate into someone else’s wardrobe…. *shrug*

Skully Ensis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

But yes. Ensis tee pattern? You win again!

Skully Ensis tee | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Dreaming of a clear blue summer’s day….

And also trying to think up a name for my new skirt. Seriously, how do you guys come up with names for what you make? Do you even bother naming them?? I often hit a mental stumbling block when it comes to names…. *sigh*

Anyway, wanna see my new skirt?

Papercut Miss Chalmers skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It’s the Miss Chalmers skirt, by Papercut. A nice and simple and cute pattern. It’s a straight skirt, with a yoke (front and back). The front yoke curves down, and the front skirt gathers up into the middle of it. Invisible zip closure at the centre back, add a facing, and you’re all done. Easy! (And seriously folks – this was a super easy skirt to make. If you’re a beginner, don’t be scared of it!)

I couldn’t decide which fabric to use, so The Curious Kiwi chose for me. (Thanks, Mel!) (Gee, sounding a bit indecisive for this one, aren’t I? Can’t decide on the fabric, can’t decide on the name….) It’s a vintage blue pinwale corduroy from my stash. I can’t remember where it came from, it’s been there quite a while. I’m pretty sure I inherited it from someone, most likely from my mother’s stash. (Thanks, mum!)

Papercut Miss Chalmers skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I played around with the direction a bit – the cord is running vertically on the skirt, and horizontally on the yoke, just for the fun of it. I wasn’t entirely sure how that would work out, since cord is directional, but it’s turned out fine, don’t you think?

(Please ‘scuse the wrinkles – I’d been wearing this all day, including have pizza for dinner on the grass in the park….)

Papercut Miss Chalmers skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern is from Papercut, who by now you’ve heard me talk about a bit. I must admit to not having the paper pattern for Miss Chalmers, though – instead, since it was the “make something from a book” challenge over on The Monthly Stitch, I went and got a copy of Home Sewn out of the library and made it up from there. Which means you get two little reviews – one for the pattern, and one for the book! (I’ll do the book one another day though, so this post doesn’t end up too massive!)

So, review time.

Miss Chalmers, as mentioned earlier, is a lovely, easy little garment to make up. As has been my experience with all Papercut patterns so far, the instructions are nice and clear, everything matches up well, and it’s fun to follow along with.

The pattern calls for a facing, identical to the yoke, on the inside which is used to hide all the raw seams. I decided to line my skirt instead, since the inside of corduroy is rather grippy and I want to be able to wear this with tights in winter. It was pretty easy to line it – I just made the skirt again, attached it like you would the facing, and hemmed it about an inch shorter than the skirt itself. And done!

Papercut Miss Chalmers skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I didn’t do any intentional alterations to the pattern – originally I planned to add a back vent, as I usually find it quite hard to walk in straight skirts (long legs, long stride lengths), but I decided to try walking in it with the vent pinned closed before I stitched it up, and it turned out I could walk in it easily. So, no back vent. 🙂 Since Papercut patterns tend to be rather short, I did wonder if this skirt would be as well, but went with the original length, which turned out to be pretty good. So, yay!

Papercut Miss Chalmers skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Like my little photo bomber in the background, complete with model pose? Hah!)

Sadly though I did have to spend a bit of time altering it, which was both my own fault and my own choice. I cut the size M, and it ended up sitting on my high hip. I prefer things to sit around my natural waist, so I took it in by a good size to get it sitting in the right spot. It’s still a little lower than I’d like, but it’s near enough. When I went back to look at the measurements again, I actually fell in between a S and a M, so in hindsight I should have just cut the size S. Ah well, I now have the S size all traced out and ready to be made up, so we’ll see how that goes! (I have a suspicion it’ll still sit a bit lower than I’d like, but I’ll let you know once I’ve made it up in a small size.)

I bound the hem with navy blue ribbon, and did a hand-stitched blind hem. Because, you know, I’ve decided I really like them so it’s worth taking the time to do them. 🙂

Papercut Miss Chalmers skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This skirt is quite different from my usual style, so I must admit I wasn’t too sure of it to begin with. But I’ve ended up wearing it 4 times in the past week, so it seems to have assimilated into my wardrobe nicely. So nicely that I’m planning another one, this time with side pockets. Oh yeah!

In typical Wellington fashion, we had gorgeous sunshine and warmth last weekend, followed by horizontal rain and cold and a temperature drop of about 14 degrees (Celcius), so you get to see it for both summer and winter.

Papercut Miss Chalmers skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(And check it out – it goes well with my Corporate Hipster blazer! Total Papercut fangirl outfit day, haha!)

Papercut Miss Chalmers skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So yes, Miss Chalmers is a winner!

(Although I still can’t think of a name for it…. Got any suggestions?)

Fabric: vintage blue pinwale corduroy from my stash; dark green lining from my stash
Notions: 23cm invisible zip; navy ribbon for hem binding
Pattern: Miss Chalmers from Papercut
Year: modern
Verdict: loving it! It can be dressed up for work, dressed down for the weekend, good for all seasons
Make again: oh yeah! Next time, in size S and with pockets

Oh, Hello Deer

So, remember how I mentioned the other day that I was lucky enough to be invited to be a pattern tester for the latest Papercut collection, Constellation? Wanna see what I made?

Corporate Hipster Bellatrix Blazer | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Yep – it’s the cropped version of the Bellatrix blazer!

Isn’t it a gorgeous cut? I just loves it. I may have done a little happy dance when I saw the line drawings, as it’s exactly the sort of cut I’ve been looking for to wear over 1940’s and 1950’s dresses and skirts. The nipped-in waist, the curved peplum that rises up at the back – perfect for over full skirts, don’t you think?

Corporate Hipster Bellatrix Blazer | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Since I got my hands on this pattern just after getting back from our holiday, I just had to indulge in using both the pattern and some of my new Japanese fabric at the same time. So I present to you – Buck, a linen/cotton blend from Echino, purchased in Tokyo. (Doesn’t that sound all wonderful and exotic?!?) And look! It has deer on it! And some of them are wearing glasses!! Oh yeah. Deer in glasses. How hipster am I?!?

And yet corporate as well, since this is a tailored blazer. And it’s (mostly) black. Therefore, I shall christen this… the Corporate Hipster jacket. (Yeah, I know. I’m not so good at coming up with the creative names. Oh well.)

Corporate Hipster Bellatrix Blazer | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Don’t you just love the line of the peplum, curving up from the centre front? And the sleeve cuffs have a subtle curve on them as well (as all good proper tailored expensive jackets do, so I was rather excited to see the the Bellatrix has that detail on it), which curves in the opposite direction to the peplum so the curves balance each other out.

Corporate Hipster Bellatrix Blazer | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The Bellatrix has two welt pockets. Which, if I’m being totally honest, usually scare the heck out of me. Yep, welt pockets and I are not friends. To the extent where I question whether or not to make up a pattern if I see it has welt pockets….

But for this one, I got brave. And I’m so glad I did! These welt pockets – a thing of beauty in the design and construction! So incredibly fast and easy and tidy to make up. (I may have sent fellow pattern tester Mel a rather excited text when I finished them, exclaiming how easy and tidy they were.) Seriously guys, Best Welt Pockets. Ever.

Corporate Hipster Bellatrix Blazer | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Since this fabric is kinda full-on, I was a bit worried that the shawl collar would get a bit lost in the pattern of the fabric. So I made some red piping (first time making my own piping! Oh yeah!) in a shade as close as I could get to the glasses the deer are wearing, and edged the collar with it. I also added some to the sleeves.

My arms are super-long (which, incidentally, was what got me into sewing in the first place. Before I could make my own tops, I was wearing 3/4 length sleeves before they really existed.), so even though the Bellatrix sleeves are pretty long anyway, I added another 6 cm to the length, which made them perfect. And because I mucked up and forgot to lengthen them while cutting, and didn’t have enough fabric left to re-cut, I simply made a cuff which had the same curve at the base as the original sleeve did. Then when I joined it on, I used the same red piping between, which also follows the sleeve hem curve. And you know what? I reckon it looks a lot better than if I’d just cut the sleeves the right length in the first place, so I’m calling it a Design Feature. 😉

But wait, do you see a bit of blue and pink appearing in that photo above where I’m pulling the pocket open?

Corporate Hipster Bellatrix Blazer | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Yep, it’s the pocket lining. I couldn’t resist, and made it in a scrap of the fabric I used for my Cartoon Eccentric dress. (It has elephants on it!)

Corporate Hipster Bellatrix Blazer | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I think this is one of my favourite parts – I have deer wearing glasses on the centre back. Woot!

Oh yes, speaking of the centre back – having a seam there is fabulous. It provides a bit more shaping for this tailored style, and it also makes it super-easy to adjust if you need to take it in anywhere.

(I didn’t need to take it in. I cut a S, and graded down to an XS at the bust, and it fits perfectly. Admittedly, I could have done with widening the shoulders, as I have rather wide shoulders, but I forgot to. I’ll do that next time.)

Corporate Hipster Bellatrix Blazer | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Photographer Guy rather mysteriously informed me he knew the perfect place for us to get photos today, and led me up hills until we got there. On top of the rise between Berhampore and Kingston (or whatever the suburb between Berhampore and Kingston is?). Gorgeous views down to Island Bay and Cook Strait. And lots of wind to make hair and skirts do odd things in nearly every photo. This is Wellington, after all.

(Also, sorry about the frown-y photos. There was quite a lot of glare from the sun and I’ve spent too much time staring at computer screens over the last many years for my eyes to be happy with sun-glare! 😦 )

Corporate Hipster Bellatrix Blazer | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I used a bright burgundy for the lining. Because pops of colour are awesome. 🙂

Right, onto the pattern review segment!

Seriously guys, if you like this style blazer, you should go and buy this pattern now! It was super easy to make up, and a lot faster than I was expecting. The construction is genius, and the instructions are great – clear and easy to follow. With the shawl collar, and the brilliant extremely simple welt pockets, this is far easier to make than you’d expect.

The fit is tailored, nipped in at the waist and then flaring out with the peplum over the hips. It’s fully lined/faced, and the lining (and facings) are constructed at the same time as the shell, so it all comes together quickly. The sleeves are faced, and the lining is then joined onto those, which gives a super neat and tidy look inside (which I completely forgot to get photos of, sorry!)

Now, you may think I’m raving about this simply because I was lucky enough to be one of the pattern testers. But seriously, this pattern is awesome! I foresee a few more variations in my future, starting with one in burgundy velvet in the longer version for winter…. Mmmm……

Since I’ve raved about how awesome Papercut is on here a bit lately, I’ve decided I want to share the Papercut love. So, I’m going to give away a Papercut pattern! With one little catch – I want this to go to someone who doesn’t own, and has never made, a Papercut pattern before. Someone who hasn’t discovered their awesomeness yet. So if you’ve never owned or made a Papercut pattern, and would like to try one, this giveaway is for you!

Want to be in to win? Comment below saying you’ve never had a Papercut pattern, and tell me which one you’d choose if you won. I’ll draw a winner on Saturday 23 November and buy you the pattern of your choice. 😉 This giveaway is now closed – congrats to the lucky winners, Anne W and Symondezyn! (Yep, I couldn’t resist sharing the Papercut love, and decided to draw two winners. 😉

Floral Dream dress

For some reason, about three weeks before we went on holiday, I got the idea into my head that I was going to make one garment for each country we were visiting and get photos in each place. Coz, you know, three weeks before you go on holiday is a brilliant time to get all ambitious like that.

(Spoiler alert: I didn’t quite manage my goal. But four out of five countries isn’t bad, right?! 😉 )

So…. here’s what I made for photos in Slovenia!

Midsummer's Night Dream dress from Papercut

It’s the Midsummer’s Night Dream dress by Papercut Patterns.

And just like both of the previous Papercut patterns I’ve made (La Sylphide, and Ooh La Leggings), this pattern was an absolute dream! Katie is a fantastic pattern drafter – so far, I haven’t had any construction or fitting issues with any of the three patterns of her’s I’ve tried. I’m guessing she’s a trained fashion designer as well, as her patterns have the 1cm seam allowances that are garment industry standard. Plus she uses clever time-saving construction techniques, like setting in sleeves in the flat for the La Sylphide dress. (Which, incendentially, makes it a lot easier to set in a sleeve smoothly. I recommend you try it.)

Midsummer's Night Dream dress from Papercut

Anyway, back to the Midsummer’s Night Dream pattern….

It’s a pretty little wrap-around sleeveless dress, which crosses over in the front and ties around the waist with long ties. The skirt is quite full, unlike a lot of other wrap-around dresses I’ve seen out in pattern-land. (Which works well for me, as I do love a full skirt!) The neckline is finished with bias binding, which extends into long ties at either shoulder. The front panels feature a bit of gathering on the sides, so you get nice soft folds over the bodice, which I think look quite nice, although if I made this up in a heavier or stiffer fabric I’d omit the gathers.

(Side note: the tie shoulders make this dress pretty good if you’re breastfeeding, as you can just untie one shoulder, then tie it back up again afterwards.) (Hopefully that’s not too much information for the rest of you!)

Midsummer's Night Dream dress from Papercut

I made up a size S, and made no adjustments to the size at all. (Wrap dress styles are so forgiving in the fit department, don’t you think? Especially this one, with the shoulder ties meaning you can get the waist to the right level just by tying the shoulders in the right place. Easy!)

The only adjustment I made to the pattern was to the back skirt. The instructions called for it to be cut out in two pieces, then joined along the centre back seam. I couldn’t think of any good reason to do it that way, so just cut it on the fold (overlapping to omit the 1cm seam allowance for the omitted centre back seam). Nice and easy, and one less seam to sew and finish – win!

I’m not sure what fabric this is made from – I picked it up from Fabric-a-brac a while back. It’s soft and light and doesn’t crease (perfect for travelling!), and frays like crazy. My kind-of mother-in-law things it’s a viyella, and I’m inclined to agree with her. I had the exact amount for a Midsummer’s Night Dream dress, and I think the fabric suited the pattern perfectly. It hangs well, and is lightweight enough for the bodice pleats.

Midsummer's Night Dream dress from Papercut

I got a bit brave and tried making my own bias tape for the first time. (Yes, you read that right. Before now, I’d never made my own bias tape. Lazy me always bought it instead!) Even though I was using a fabric that frays heaps, it was surprisingly easy! And I love the way it looks, so I’ll definitely be branching out into self-made bias again in the future. 😉

So yes, another Papercut pattern success! Katie has managed to (temporarily) lure me away from my vintage pattern love, to indulge in a little affair with her more modern designs. (I hope you’re not getting sick of Papercut on here yet, as I may be about to start on a skirt…. But shhhh, it’s a secret! My other sewing project hasn’t heard about it yet….)

Midsummer's Night Dream dress from Papercut

On a side note, isn’t Slovenia beautiful?!?! We were at Lake Bled for these photos, both up on the Bled castle, and then on the tiny island in the middle of the lake. So, so gorgeous! I think I’m in love with Slovenia….. *sigh*

Midsummer's Night Dream dress from Papercut

Midsummer's Night Dream dress from Papercut