Tag Archives: wsbn

The Great WSBN Sewing Room Tour

Yikes. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but all of a sudden pretty much all the members of the WSBN (Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network) have been convinced to give ‘tours’ of our sewing rooms! Including me. *gulp*

The idea came courtesy of Gemma, who somehow managed to sell it to us all as a way to beat the ‘winter slump’. Yeah. Seemed like a good idea at the time. And then I had to take photos. Which I am horribly embarrassed to show, but in the interests of full disclosure, here we go…..

(Can I pretty please add a disclaimer? My sewing corner is in worse state than usual, due to all the crazy sewing I’ve been doing getting the Jenna Cardi ready for release.) (Although to be completely honest, it’s usually pretty bad anyway. Because I’d far rather sew than tidy up. Hah! *sigh*)

Firstly, meet my sewing corner. This is a corner of my bedroom. (Yes, I do live with my partner, despite the complete lack of anything showing any signs of his existance in the bedroom. He has a man-cave upstairs, complete with multiple computers and skateboards to assist in him expresssing his inner geek.) The desk came from the op shop down the road – I dragged it home when I found it, as it’s so nice and wide, it’s good for cutting fabric on. (If it’s ever cleared off. Which is never these days, hence why I take over the dining table for fabric cutting. Or my drafting table. Hah. Yes, I sometimes am using three tables in the house at once. Greedy, me? πŸ˜‰


The desk is a bit low for me though, so my partner jacked it up a bit with some pieces of wood. On the desk lives an assortment of things – usually whatever project I’m working on, my sewing machine and overlocker, and some other assorted sewing paraphanalia such as tailors chalk and a chopstick for turning corners (I do have a point turner. It’s on that desk somewhere. I haven’t been able to find it for a couple of months now….) To borrow Joy’s description, the rest is somewhat ‘tidal’ – various paperwork that needs to be dealt with migrates it’s way here, to languish until I feel guilty enough for neglecting it that I actually do something about it. In the meantime, those piles get transferred to the bed when I want to sew, and back to the sewing table again when I want to sleep. And the other piles on there? Well, let’s just say – the Little Guy is nearly two, and very curious. Things often need to be lifted out of reach suddenly. Which is why the rubbish bin is balanced on my sewing desk, instead of on the floor where it should live.

On the desk, live my two girls – both Elna’s. I got the sewing machine for my 20th birthday (I think?) and saved up for the overlocker (it’s a four-thread, coverstitch-cabable machine – woo hoo!) in my early 20’s and went halves on it with my mother for another birthday. I love these machines – we’ve done a lot together, we have. (Shame they don’t hug back very well….)


Over the side you can see some of my sewing books, all lined up, with a current project-thats-on-hold sitting on top of them. Under the desk is a set of drawers containing my basic self-drafted pattern blocks, buttons, lace, and ribbon. And some boxes stacked next to those containing things like elastic and bias binding. The box on top of the drawers next to the desk holds my sewing cottons and overlocking threads (it used to be a Β lot more square and with a lid, pre-Little Guy) – the cottons are grouped into plastic bags by colour, like so:


I kinda have a large stash. It’s dotted all over the house – some in the cupboard under the stairs, a whole lot in the spare bedroom upstairs (which I’m currently trying to figure out what to do with, as it’s taking up a large part of that room and we need to convert the room into a bedroom for the Little Guy pretty soon, since the Next Little One is on it’s way – eek!), and in various corners of my bedroom. I’ve got a wall of storage crates at the end of the bed, giving a nice visual separation between the ‘sewing space’ and the ‘sleeping space’ (or at least that’s what I tell myself, haha!), with fabric in all of them and a throw over the top to make them look a bit tidier. (And to accidently give me somewhere else to put random stuff that’s looking for a home. Seriously, my life is kinda like me vs. ‘stuff’. And the stuff usually wins. Argh!)


There are vintage suitcases filled of fabric, with tags on them saying what’s inside. (I do love me some vintage suitcases.)


One of the bedside tables is actually a 1970’s cabinet, filled with fabric and patterns.


Each of those boxes on the top shelf is filled with patterns, stored in plastic zip-lock bags, and grouped by era – pre-New Look, New Look, late 1950’s – 1960’s. (The 1970’s patterns are in a box on top of a bookcase in the spare room. Others are stored all over the place, waiting to be categorised.)


In the wardrobe, about 1/3 of the shelves have been taken over with sewing storage – fabric, lining and interfacing, and patterns. (Yes, I own a lot of Papercut patterns. They make me happy, as they tend to fit me really well and the amount of thought that’s gone into the overall package fills my heart with joy – I’m a sucker for well thought out experiences. It kinda goes with the territory for what I do for a job.) The pile of papers under the fabric on the bottom shelf are PDF patterns that are all printed out and in clear files.


Gemma, instigator of this embarrasing sewing room round-up, also challenged us to answer a few other questions in our blog posts. So, here goes….

What I’m working on at the moment.

I could show you, but then I’d have to kill you.

Well, not really. But since my current work-in-progress happens to be my next pattern for Muse, it’s kinda secret. Sorry! Hopefully I’ll get to show it to you in about a month. πŸ˜‰

Instead, let’s move on to the next projects I have planned, once I’ve finished sewing up a bunch of samples.

Firstly, the Meissa blouse from Papercut. I started this back in June for Indie Pattern Month, and it got put on hold. I really wanna get it finished! I’m making it in a coral coloured, fine, cotton-silk blend with a subtle textured stripe going through it.


The top from this vintage maternity pattern (thanks, Anne!) has been calling out to me to be made. I’m not sure yet what I’m going to make it up in, but this navy with white polka dots keeps coming to mind when I think about it.


And the Dakota dress from Named, for Frocktober over on The Monthly Stitch. I’m really looking forward to this one – I think with the deep vee neck and the looser fitting waist, it should be good for when the Next Little One arrives. I haven’t figured out yet what I’m going to make it in, but it’ll be some summer-suitable fabric, and I’ll cut the sleeves back and make them short instead.

(Also, this is what happens when I attempt to take photos of sewing things. Cameras are very interesting things, apparently.)


In theory I’m meant to show you some of my favourites from my stash, but this post is getting kinda long, so instead I’ll just show off this length of gorgeous sequin-covered silk chiffon that I bought in a Karen Walker designer fabric sale a few years back. It terrifies me, so it’s been turned into a wall hanging instead.


Want to see inside some of the sewing rooms of the other WSBN girls? So far on the tour we’ve seen the spaces of Gemma, Juliet, Nikki, Sophie-Lee, Sandra, and Laura. Between us all, we’ve pretty much got the month covered with a tour happening every day. Crazy, but true!

How about you? Are any of you brave enough to show your space in all it’s glory/chaos?

Rock-a-birdy Bleuet

A month or two back, the lovely ladies of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network (WSBN) were debating – what will our next self-set sewalong challenge be? We put it to vote, and the winner was – making something using a Deer&Doe pattern!

And since we were using Deer&Doe patterns, we figured we may as well head to where the deer were for a photo shoot, so decided on a day trip to Staglands, a family animal park just outside of Wellington. (Not that any of us had been there before, but we figured that with a name like ‘Staglands’, the chance of there being deer there was quite high. Plus, we were somewhat curious as to what it was like!)

So last weekend, a few of us drove along a narrow, windy, steep, surrounded-by-native-bush road, being deafened by the sound of cicadas, until we reached Staglands tucked away in it’s valley. And oh my, was it worth the trip! We spent all afternoon there, and didn’t even get to see everything. It’s set up so well – lots of zones, lots of different animals to meet and feed and watch. Heaps of native bush, creeks and streams and bridges. And a Secret Garden with rabbits running around to pet!

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And of course, some deer, too. πŸ™‚

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

But anyway, I guess you want to hear about what we made, right? Well, would you believe it – the four of us that turned up wearing Deer&Doe creations all made the same thing! The Bleuet dress. So we got to roam around the park in a pack of matching dresses. πŸ˜‰

Quadruple Bleuets | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(From left-right: Nikki, me, Mel and Jen.)

Quadruple Bleuets | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I made my Bleuet out of a stretch denim. (Admittedly, I would have preferred it not to be stretch, but that’s what I had to hand. And I’ve long been wanting a denim shirt dress, because I found these awesome swallow iron-on embroidered patches at a store a while back, and they’ve been needing me to make them a denim shirt dress for them to live on. So a denim Bleuet it was to be!)

Deer&Doe Bleuet dress

Deer&Doe – Bleuet dress pattern

Just because it was fun, I used the reverse side of the denim for contrast – on the collar (although I used the ‘outer’ side for the inside collar band, for contrast on the contrast, haha!), the bow, and the sleeve cuffs. The original plan was to use pearl snap fasteners, but I’m trying to be very good and not buy more stuff when I have so much already, so I went digging through my stash and unearthed enough red snap fasteners to use down the front. So, red fasteners it became!

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I figure it’s got a bit of a ‘rockabilly’ look to it, what with shirt dress, denim, swallows, and red. Don’t ya think?

And because all dresses should have pockets, I added pockets to the centre side panels. Nice, deep ones, good for carrying things.

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My little sis’ made a Bleuet too – we spent all of Saturday sewing together, getting them finished in time for the outing. I used some of the scraps of her (covered with birds) Bleuet for the pocket lining in mine – check it out! More birds!!

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Changes I made:

  • Lengthened the skirt by 15.5cm
  • Added pockets to the centre side panels (I’ve written a tutorial on how I did this in case anyone is interested in how to do this)
  • Did a super-dodgy small bust adjustment (SBA) by shaving 1cm off the bust curve of the side front (don’t try this at home, kids!)
  • Only put interfacing on one side of the collar and collar stand (I figured with a heavy fabric, it didn’t need more than that)

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This was my first experience sewing up a Deer&Doe pattern, and I must admit it was a bit mixed. Things I loved – the packaging and booklet are super cute, the language is friendly and engaging, the design is adorable (seriously – that bow is just so cute!!), and the pattern paper is nice and thick, really easy to trace and work with. Oh, and the bow is not only super-cute, but also made in a rather fun and easy way. πŸ™‚

Exploring Staglands | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Things I didn’t love to much – the instructions were a bit odd at times. They don’t include cutting the interfacing in the cutting layout, so you have to hunt through the instructions to figure out what bits you need to cut – not so good when you want to do all the prep in one go as it’s very easy to miss things. Also, I felt they ask for too much interfacing – usually only one side of the collar and collar stand gets interfaced (if I remember correctly anyway – I’m now doubting all others I’ve made in the past, oops!), rather than both. I don’t feel that the sleeve cuff needs interfacing either, since it’s essentially folded in four and is therefore quite sturdy and strong. Also, the instructions for attaching the collar and stand are just plain weird – not clear at all, and what they seem to be asking you to do is a heck of a lot harder than it needs to be, with lots of room for having to unpick and resew things due to things not 100% lining up. (Same with attaching the sleeve cuff, for that matter).

So yeah. The pattern itself I like, but I do feel that the instructions made it harder than it needed to be.

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out though. The sleeve cuffs are a little bit tighter than I would have liked (I’ll extend the sleeve cuff width by about 3cm next time so they’re not so constricting), and I’m not 100% certain I like it the length I’ve ended up with, but still I am rather fond of it and I suspect it’s going to be getting a lot of wear, especially in weekends. πŸ™‚

Oh, and we got to meet, and feed, lots of animals!

Rock-a-Birdy Bleuet (with a sheep) | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My Little Guy (and my Bigger Guy) both came along too and really enjoyed themselves. Such a fun day all around! πŸ™‚

Meeting Deer | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Stag | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The “Anne” Blouse

Guess what? I finally made something! OMG!!! Yes folks, it’s been a while. Far, far too long. Over a month. And not for lack of inspiration or desire to create. Nope, I’ve got lots of plans, lots of patterns, lots of fabric. Just not a lot of time. But hey, my new rule – 5 minutes sewing a day. Eventually, things get completed. Eventually.

So here it is – my first creation for the WSBN Burda Sew-along – the ‘Anne’ blouse!

Anne blouse, Burda magazine 10/2012 #122

Which also happens to be my first-ever creation from a Burda magazine. Yes, when I unfolded the pattern sheet, I got scared. And when I looked at the (pathetic) instructions, I got even more scared. But I pulled on my big-girl pants, stepped up to the tracing challenge, and you know what? It really wasn’t that hard! Not hard at all, in fact. (Once I discovered that the numbers down the bottom of the sheet show you where to look for each correlating pattern piece, so you don’t have to sift through all the text on the pattern sheet trying to spot pattern piece number 8 and so on. Wish I’d discovered that a bit earlier on in the tracing journey, but hey, now I know for next time.)

In fact, it was so not-hard, I’ve already traced out my next pattern to make up. And have plans for more. (Seriously folks, if you’ve been putting off sewing from a Burda magazine for fear of the tracing, fear not. It’s no where near as hard as it looks. Go on – get brave and give it a go!)

Anne blouse, Burda magazine 10/2012 #122

So, this blouse, It’s pattern number #122 from the October 2012 edition of Burda Style. And here’s where I’d like to give a big thank-you to Anne, who sent me this magazine as part of a swap we did. Thanks Anne! πŸ™‚

Burda Style magazine 10/2012
Burda Style magazine 10/2012 pattern #122

I choose this blouse because of the yoke – it’s rather interesting. I found it hard to tell from the image (and even harder to tell from the instructions) but the yoke is hanging free on two sides, and stitched in to the shoulder and sleeve seams on the other two. It’s also not quite the same shape/size as the neckline, so you have a subtle double-layer effect where they overlap. (I had to go hunting for made-up versions of this over on Burdastyle to be sure about this, the instructions were that poor.)

There are darts in front and back for shaping, and with no collar either it’s a very easy blouse to make up. (It still took me a good week-and-a-half to make, but hey, like I said earlier, 5 minutes sewing a day will get you there. Eventually.)

Anne blouse, Burda magazine 10/2012 #122

The original design is about 6-7 inches longer – I shortened it so I can wear it out over skirts. I also shortened the sleeves, simply because I didn’t have enough fabric for long sleeves. (*cough* design decision *cough*) Now here is where things got a bit frustrating – I made this up in the right size for my measurements. And it was far too big. (Except across the shoulders, where it fits fine.) I’m wondering if this is because I’m used to sewing with vintage patterns, and modern patterns have far more ease? Those of you who sew from Burda magazines – do you find they have far more ease than you need? Or is it perhaps just this one pattern?

(Now I look at the picture again, it does seem to be intentionally a bit loose. Hmmm…. Should look more closely at that next time.)

Anyway, I took it in by over an inch on each side seam at the waist, tapering up to the sleeves and down to the hem. I think it’s still a bit loose, but I’m not 100% sure – it feels loose, but my Other Half is of the opinion that it fits fine. I’d like a second opinion here folks – should I take it in a bit more, or leave it as it is? Be honest here!

Anne blouse, Burda magazine 10/2012 #122

I made a couple of changes in the construction methods as well. When it comes to the free-hanging yoke, the instructions don’t ask you to sew up the section that lies next to the neckline. Instead, you’re just meant to turn the seam allowance under and leave it. Um, what? I ignored that. Rather, I folded the yoke pieces in half, right sides together, stitched up that seam, turned them out the right way again, and then went back to following the instructions. Nice and neatly stitched together, and no visible stitching. Easy as.

Anne blouse, Burda magazine 10/2012 #122

I also choose to use domes instead of buttons. Because sewing with a hammer is fun. And I get to feel like Superman when I get changed at night. The fun in feeling like Superman at the end of the day cannot be underestimated. I urge you all to sew with hammers, make a top that does up with domes, and give it a try. Seriously, go and do it!

Burda magazine 10/2012 pattern #122 - the Anne blouse

So, there we have it. The Anne blouse. My first ever Burda magazine creation. I’m rather pleased with it, even if I’m not yet convinced by the fit. And on that note, excuse me – I’m off to trace another pattern. Happy sewing, folks! πŸ™‚