Plans for 2013 Part II & My Sewalong Tira Dress!

I have three other “branches” of Cake to present in the next couple of months: Petit Four, Riffs, and Classes.  I’ll tell you more, oh so much more later, but I want you to know what I’m working on.  I won’t be able to blog more than once or twice a week here at 3 Hours Past for a while, but it’s for a good reason!

Petit Four

Esme, the Pavlova Petit Four, sprang to life from a desire on my part to put my hands in a little fabric and play as the holidays approached.  Like a mad crazy inspired person, I shared a bit of her development during the Pavlova Circus, and sent around little sample doll templates for the fun of it.

Esme Preview

Once the Circus and Christmas past, I refined the template into a proper soft toy pattern- 16.5″ tall.  Then I drafted a scaled, detailed version of the Pavlova Separates and stitched her a wardrobe from my own Pavlova sample remnants.

A friend of mine is an accomplished embroidery digitizer so I sent him Esme’s face and asked for an embroidery to use to make a doll.  My friend loved Esme and created a delightful little rendering of her face for me to use.

DetailsThe Petit Four concept doesn’t stop with Esme.  We have Penelope, Maya (she’s in the Pavlova background for now, but she’s Hummingbird’s covergirl), and Bernard- he’s our Lamington man- now in production.  I don’t want to spoil the surprise completely, but I do want to let you know you haven’t seen the last of Esme and her friends, not by a long shot.


I draft, sew, and wear many things that I don’t blog about- or if I do, they creep into photos of other garments.  There’s simply not enough time in the day for me to write about everyting.  As a way to hone my grading and drafting skills, last year I disciplined myself to refine these patterns as I drafted them, and to also grade them according to my ratio system.  I did this to the Hacks, too.  I am quite literally sitting on stacks of unpublished patternwork.

Cake Riff | Riviera JeansThe issue is that a full Cake treatment is time-consuming.  It takes time to create the lovely clear illustrations, which means it would take years to fully “Cake Up” the patterns I’m hoarding.  Besides that, I’m not sure all of them are suitable for a full Cake treatment even though they are nice little patterns on their own.  Now that I better understand the process of getting patterns from my drafting table to your sewing room, I can do something about all these patterns lying around.

Riviera TopCake Riffs are “stripped down” versions of my Cake Patterns line- we’ll start playing with the Riffs at the end of this month.  We can turn it into a game- I’ll show you my top three picks for a Cake Riff, and you tell me which one you’d like to see as a pdf and printed on bond paper.  A couple of weeks (as opposed to a couple of months) later, I’ll make it available and we can start again. Riffs won’t have all the pretty pretty artwork and beginner-friendly illustrations, but they’re still rooted in solid Cake principles.  (With a little Frosting thrown in for fun!)


Voodoo RabbitBrisbanites- I have found a solid and unmoving teaching base for 2013 with the girls at Voodoo Rabbit.  They have a cosy, well-appointed space in Wooloongabba- I’ll be teaching with them from the 13th of this month (Tiramisu class!) and will be running a variety of classes including a 5-week Beginners Sewing Class, and intermediate “pick up” class, and several Cake classes!  Voodoo Rabbit are handling all the logistics and payment, so if you’re in Brisbane and you’d like to take classes, keep an eye on the Voodoo Rabbit page.

Tiramisu 30 Minutes A Day Sewalong

30 Minutes a Day Sewalong Tiramisu Headline | Cake PatternsI’ve been writing up the Tiramisu Sewalong posts and now that it’s nearly here I’m SO excited!  Every morning when I wake up, it seems there’s at least one new rendering of the Tiramisu dress in my inbox.  Let me tell you, it’s a thoroughly lovely start to the day.

I’m making one more during the sewalong as a way to help tie the lesson for the day to the progress of a physical dress.  During the Tiramisu production process, I tried show restraint with my use of fabric.  Not so much this time!

30 Minutes A Day Sewalong TiramisuI chose a bold black and white cotton jersey for the bodice and a black cotton ribbing for the waistband.  I want a long, graceful skirt like Kaddiddlehopper’s, too.

Black Lace | 3 Hours PastWhen I went out today to scrounge for cheapish potential skirt fabrics, I found this black lace on sale for 40% off.  It was meant to be- remember my favorite top of 2012- Lacewing?  It’s the same lace, but black!!!

It’s been a while since I let myself sew something a bit crazy like a striped and ribbed and lace maxi-dress and now that it’s time to choose a lining fabric I’m racked with indescision:

Which would you choose?  I’m leaning towards the nude, for one of those “naked lace” type dresses, but then the blue is so soft, and the recycled pink silk is so pretty.  Help!

Meanwhile- the Tiramisu Sewalong begins tomorrow!  I posted the Full Bust Alteration tutorial in preparation.  I’ve been mentioning the “4th Dimension of Tiramisu” post for a while- it’s basically my notes on how to tighten up a Tiramisu if the fabric relaxes too much with wear.  This fits very neatly into the Sewalong, towards the end.

And finally- I’ll be sending out the free pattern certificates to those who found all the “Pieces of Cake” and announcing the grand prize winner this week!  Woohoo!



    • It would be rather cheeky, wouldn’t it?

      The idea is flipping out designs a little quicker, and that those who can already sew need little more than a pattern and basic instructions… :)

  1. i love the blue lining. i can’t wait to get started on my tira. i was reading the pattern (ok, i was gently stroking it!) last night. was tempted to get started but i know i’ll have to lengthen at least the midriff and skirt portions and it was too late to start.

  2. I would go with the blue lining- but any of them would be lovely! As I run out of hours in the week, I’ve often wished that I could speak and have things happen- Star Trek-style: “Computer, record this-” I’ve worn my Tira twice before hemming (it refused to just hang there on a hanger!) but I have yet to take photos. -Looking forward to the Pavlova download!

    • The blue really is lovely… It’s all soft and delicious. The only thing is, it’d have to be a short lining and I’m not sure how well it would look…

      Yes, I hear that. :)

      I think we’ll make the Pavlova download marginless… How’s that? :D

      • I’m game! For the Tira I actually ended up sticking the pages to my floor- just a dot of tape in the middle of each- and then tracing most of it, so the pocket piece is one piece of paper instead of 4. I’m ready ready ready! K

        • Hahah! I love that- I think I’ll just tile my big tester pdfs that way in the future. I put them together 3-4 times usually…

          Due to the nature of the beast (tiling pdfs for patternwork), sometimes things like the pocket being in 4 pieces will happen… As pdfs submit more to my demands, I’ll work on things like that. ;) If you’re a pdf wizard and you’d like to play with the tiling, email me and please be my guest….

          • Sorry I’m no help there- I don’t blog or update my website much because of my limitations in computer savvy. Thank goodness we each have our niche. I’ll be in the back cheering for you!

  3. I vote pink! Blue is soft, yes. Nude … well, yes, and you know how much black and nude lace I pin. But this lace isn’t very naked looking, so no sense going there. The pink on the other hand? So pretty, so vibrant… and I think it will make you giggle more than the blue or nude.

    • The pink is an old ‘resort’ style skirt… You know the slippery double layered bright skirts? It’s one of those… So it’ has a print on it, but I kind of like the effect… But then the blue is so pretty, and then I think a white might be nice.. ;)

  4. I vote pink or blue. Life’s too short for beige. Can’t wait to see it, whichever you choose!
    And while I’m at it, can I vote for the striped top for the first Riff please!

    • But the cheeky thing is.. beige = nekkid… eheh. But those colors *are* so pretty…

      Sure. My mom likes that one, too… It’s a riff on a 30’s knitting pattern I found a few months ago… I saw the cut and immediately had to have it.

  5. I like the blue lining thoug I can see why nude would be great! It’s wonderful to see all these Tiras, it’s so inspiring :) many more versions to come!

  6. Whoa, I love that stripey boatneck top! What a great combination of simple lines overall and clever cutting to yield a garment with lots of visual interest. I hope that is one of the Riffs you might be making available!

    Another vote for pink lining!

  7. Wow, what can I say, you are a constant source of inspiration and productivity. My Tira made it here in time for me to join in on the sewalong. I am so excited.
    I vote blue lining since you already have a lot going on and it is the most subtle. The pink adds a nice bright pop though. I guess you could do the nude if you want everyone doing a double take as you walk down the street trying to decide whether you are “Nekkid” underneath or not. :D
    Aren’t I great help! hehe

  8. Another vote for the heavenly blue and white striped boat neck top for a riff.
    It looks a little Downton-ish to me, but in a modern and practical knit. Perfect combo!

    I can’t wait to see the lace-skirt-tira. I’ve been toying with the idea of playing with lace on a blouse collar-and-cuffs, or a woven dress bodice. Knit lace sound like so much fun!

    Speaking of lace, I can’t stop thinking of the long cream lace coat Cousin Violet wore in season one at the flower show. I love the idea is a similar garment in stretch lace. Then I just need a flower show to attend. In 1917.

    • Hey Ali… The lace isn’t a stretch, but it has enough give for my purposes. Probably. If necessary I’ll put in a side zipper, no big deal.

      Violet wears such fetching ensembles, doesn’t she? I saw several in season 3 that I wanted to wear myself…

  9. I have to vote for the pink. I mean the line is called Cake for a reason right? The pink is so pretty and fun, I think it would be one of those dresses you cant help having a nice day in. I also love the black fabric, I gotta get me some of that.

  10. I’m looking forward to the riffs! Peplums look awful on me and I lave little use for man pants (though I shall be sure to suggest it to one of my male friends who’s learning how to sew), but I want more Cakey goodness… :D

  11. I am SO EXCITED about all of your upcoming plans. Seriously drooling over all of the delicious ideas you come up with here :) LOVE the pink under the black lace – why be subtle? (this coming from a girl who would wear orange every single day if I could) :)

    • Thanks Meg, I’m pretty excited to finally finally be able to put the plans in action. Why be subtle, indeed… :) There’s something about the pink under the black that reminds me of feathers…

  12. Happy New Year, Steph! I’ve been absent a while with christmas and travel so I have a lot of your posts to catch up on. I’m excited by all your new plans and now I’m doubly glad to be coming home soon. I’m partial to the pink under the lace, but all of them are lovely. You could always make a separate slip in each colour and change it as your mood changes.

    • I hope you had a lovely holiday, Carol. :) Was thinking of you when I was in Byron on Boxing Day. When are you back?

      You know, I think there’s nothing for it but to do that. Slips of a different color, that is. with a simple little knit waistband..

  13. I really like the contrast with the white (not sure if it’s an option) but whatever you choose will look great. Your enthusiasm is catching – I can’t wait to see the Riffs! I’m coveting that boat neck striped top.

    • I like the white, too… I think I’ll end up with half a dozen-odd miniskirts made from remnants to slip under this one, it’s just too hard to decide. :)

      I have a couple of cute little wraps, a lovely ruffled dress I wanted to release before Xmas, oh so many lovely things to share. :)

  14. I love the idea of the riffs. As an experienced sewer they are exactly what I need.
    On the skirt either the nude or the pink is my opinion – but really any of them will look great, it’s just a matter of which is calling to you loudest. ;)

    • I’m so glad you do, and I’m happy to serve experienced sewists alongside beginners. :)

      They are all shouting at me at the top of their wavelengths! I can’t decide, I’m going to go for Carol’s suggestion and make them into separate slips, then I can also wear those as cute casual skirts on their own… :)

    • Oh cool! :) I hope you’ll have fun with her, and be sure to checkout the sewalong pages for all kinds of pattern minutiae that I haven’t been able to work into other posts.. :)

  15. I wasn’t able to concentrate on anything after the picture of you in the pants. THEY ARE FANTASTIC!! Please include them in Cake’s future in whichever way you see fit!

    Also, I am so pissed I missed the Pavlova presale. I have the perfect white knit for the wrap top! And I think my little doll might be the right size for the scaled down version, too.

    • Hehehe nettie. :) Yes, we’ll vote to choose which riffs go into production I think. That would be fun…

      Oh no! Don’t worry, she’ll be ready to ship by mid-Feb and I’ll be able to open the Etsy listing full blast. :) It was a weird time for the pre-sale with the holidays and all, but I just couldn’t see when else to have it…

      Oooooh! I love that! I’ll send you the clothesies to try on her later this week s’il vous plait.

  16. I vote for the blue lining with the lace. Black lace with nude lining is everywhere, but I nice coloured lining is different. Also one vote for the striped boatneck top! I would buy that shirt in a blink. I assume it’s a knit? Would that kind of thing be regular sewing machine friendly? I did make up your sailor t-shirt hack with Sewaholic’s Renfrew as the base pattern and that worked out decently even without a serger

    • It *is* everywhere, you’re right… Hmm. :) I think there’s nothing for it but to make all three linings. :) Luckily they’re super quick to stitch up.

      Yes, sewing machines can sew knits, a serger/overlocker is not essential though it is much quicker and makes the seams look like “clothes” if you know what I mean.

      Ooooh! I want to see it! I’ve been thinking I’ll add the Sailor Sweetheart to my riffs pile, I want to make another one (old one died from too much wear!)… :)

      • Here’s a photo of that sailor shirt. :) I’m sure it has fitting problems, but it fits as good as store bought and I’ve gotten lots of compliments, so I’m happy.


  17. I love experiencing your enthusiasm! I love the idea of the rifs, however I don’t know if I would do it or not. My analogy goes like this… I go in to buy a diamond; the jeweler asks me “Do you want a smaller stone with better quality or a larger stone with more flaws.” I think of time as the purveyor; which is more cost effective putting out a full pattern or putting out a riff and the subsequent changes/ updates/corrections. I know whichever you chose it will be a great accomplishment filled with laughter and fun through the strife.

    I guess I’m philosophical tonight, thank you for the indulgence.

    What color would I choose for the lace… I would think of what I want people to see or take notice of. The pink under the black says pay attention to the color rather than the design. The beige being light says pay attention to the design rather than the color. The blue is a subtler color however, it is on the same spectrum as the black, and the two colors compliment each other one not taking over the other but mixing them.

    Questions for you… In mentioning the lace for the Tiramisu… what other fabrics can one use to make the dress? How much stretch does the fabric have to have for the pattern?

    I’m getting long winded… Thanks for all You do.

    • Hey Linda, thanks for stopping by…

      The era of corrections and changes is over, I have much greater control over the process. I have a crack team, and though it takes time for that to be apparent from the outside- it’s there and it’s exciting. I’m sure we’ll still have bumps, but it’s all just tech stuff and now I have others to help with that. My drafting is solid. I’d rather have to learn about tech and logistics issues than drafting ones.

      Stripped down doesn’t mean flawed. Stripped down is one bright mind communicating with other bright minds with a minimum of instructions. Pure, clean, pretty patternwork. Most people who have sewn for more than a couple of years don’t need much more than a pattern and some fabric guidance. Riffs are for them. You’ll see, I think you’ll be surprised.

      I’m going with Carol’s excellent suggestion of using all three. :) I figure I can make a simple miniskirt from each lining and wear them in other ways, too. Should be great fun!

      I have only tested the Tiramisu on knit fabrics, due to the sheer variety of weights and weaves available across the globe I really can’t say. A woven version of the Tiramisu would need a zipper, that’s all I can think of. My lace has a fair amount of give, I’ve worked with it before.

      oh thanks! Aren’t you sweet…

  18. So many new directions! Looking forward to following as they take shape. Personally, I love the idea of Riffs (that striped boatneck, yes please!) Would you consider them as a downloadable pattern? Shipping costs from Australia always make me hesitate to click “Buy” and I imagine you might be able to get more patterns out, and/or more quickly, that way? (or perhaps I am deluding myself)

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