Pretty Dresses Multiplying & Full Red Velvet Size Guide

MelizzaR Red Velvet Muse

I spent yesterday fine-tuning the Red Velvet Sizing & Measurement pages and sending out the Cake Vine email and didn’t post.  Today I have several lovely Red Velvet Muse makes to show you, starting with MelizzaR!  Melizza is an experienced sewist and new mother, I’m so glad she could fit in a photoshoot for her slinky polka dotted Red Velvet Dress during naptime.

Picture 68After Melizza’s Muse Post was published, I went and read her write up of the pattern on her blog Pincushion Treats.  Surprise!  This was version #1, “accidentally” made without the midriff section.  I think this works really well, now I want to try it too!  Thank you, Melizza, I’m so pleased we got to know each other during this project!

Sewhopeful Strikes Again


You saw Sewhopeful’s lovely navy blue Red Velvet dress with a collar earlier this week.  She quickly followed this up with a happy red and white polka dotted version, I knew I had to share both when I saw them!  Without a collar or pocket, this is a very quick make.  I love this version, it must be SO much fun to wear and may be the first completed Red Velvet Dress that’s actually red.  Check out Sewhopeful’s polka dot dress write-up for insight into the way fabric and stretch influences fit, J is so methodical and thoughtful!

Red Velvet Sizing, Measurement & Alteration Page

Red Velvet Size Guide

click to view page

I had several emails about bust alterations, already!  I’m so impressed by how quickly you’re getting into this pattern, and I care if you sew and that your clothes fit.  I made this Red Velvet Sizing reference to help make this possible.

Red Velvet Size Guide

I’m also just really proud of this page, each measurement and bodice alteration is tidily tucked under a tab, with the relevant instructions section to the left.  This is where I’ve been wanting to take for a while but I had to skill up first.  I have some super cool hub pages in the works for each new pattern, check out the Hummingbird Hub for a preview for what’s coming up!  I’m really, really excited!

Red Velvet Deep Bust Alteration

The page also shows two ways to approach the Red Velvet bodice fitting, I hope you find them useful.  Several emails I received expressed concern about having “low boobs,” so I prioritized the publication of these references.  It is pretty simple and intuitive to adjust the length on the bodice, whether for a Deep Bust Alteration (DBA) or Torso Length Adjustment.

0369 Front

I have some exciting news about the Red Velvet Dress, Espresso Leggings and Red Velvet Clutch paper patterns- they are starting the journey from printer to your sewing room tomorrow, which means we’ll be shipping paper Red Velvet Collection patterns from next week!  Once we start sending them out (in brightly colored envelopes for the sewalong!), the price of the Red Velvet Dress pattern will rise to $20, full price.

I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has purchased from the Red Velvet Collection!  Let’s make some awesome dresses!  Tomorrow… I have such giveaways… And some words on merino.  Did I mention I went fabric shopping for merino for giveaways earlier this week?  I totally did.

Fashionable Stitching & Structured Hems

Red-Velvet-1 Sunni

SunniS is our Red Velvet Muse today!  Many of you know Sunni from her beautiful and informative blog.  She also runs A Fashionable Stitch, a US-based online notions / haberdashery shop that stocks many of the interfacings and stabilizers that work so well with knit fabric and Cake sewing.


Sunni used a floral jersey fabric and inserted pockets into the side seams, you can read about it on her blog.  If you have Tiramisu, it’s easy to use the pocket from Tira for this!   Sunni opted to use a self-binding at the neckline edge instead of the neck facing in the pattern.  I’d been planning to stitch this option later to show how it works and she got there first!  It’s a great alternative neckline finish, though it can be more challenging than smaller or straighter bound edges.

I’m so pleased Sunni and I had the opportunity to work together on this!  Her personal style and mine aren’t the same at all, but we both enjoy a good dress pattern.  I would always notice and admire her makes during Me Made Months and on her blog before she had a shop and I started making Cake Patterns.

Do you do that?  Do you follow the makes of another sewist even if your styles aren’t at all the same?  Is that just me?

At any rate, I love what Sunni sews and what she does for the online sewing community.

Structured Hem

Picture 48

I like wider hems on narrower skirts, it gives a little more shape to the garment.  Besides, skinny hems on narrow skirts can feel skimpy and they often ripple easily.  (Fusible webbing can prevent this.)

RV Striped

My first Red Velvet dress has a wider hem with no interfacing (shown above), and it crumples in the wash.  I wanted to prevent this, so I fused some 1.5″ strips of fusible interfacing behind the hem on my next Red Velvet Dresses.  It worked well, so I used it on every other version since!  I’ve been washing and wearing them heavily for two months and the hem is eternally crisp, even fresh from the bottom of the laundry basket.

Structured Hem Visual Reference

You can see the steps to make your own structured knit hem for Red Velvet on  I show you how to cut strips from interfacing (it’s a great use of scraps) and also linked to the wide stay tape in Sunni’s shop because it is *excellent* for these hems.  I get a lot of questions about where to source tapes and stabilizers, and I’m glad to recommend A Fashionable Stitch to help you get exactly what you need.

That’s all for today, I’m pulling together more content to fill out Red Velvet on sewingcake and I hear a rumor that the patterns are being sorted and packed to be sent to me, Leila and Evie to send to you!

For tomorrow, I plan to publish the bust and bodice sizing guide as well as two vis refs for adjusting the Red Velvet bodice. Judging by the state of my inbox, we have some questions about adjusting bust length and full bust alterations!

If you have other questions or curiosities about the patterns, leave me a comment below.  It helps me prioritize publication and gives me a better idea of the kind of info and tutorials you’d most like to see.

Two Red Velvet Little Black Dresses & Indie Retail

0369 SusannaS2

For today’s Red Velvet Muse post including fabric and fit details, check out SusannaT on!  Susanna also shows off her Espresso Leggings sewn during the testing phase.  Thank you, Susanna!

She and I have become friends this year.  Susanna loves my patterns and I adore the fabric she stocks in her shop in Stockholm, Sweden.  I used that same orange and pink stripe for a “top-secret” project due later this year:

Yes, we have some girl's patterns coming!

Yes, we have some girl’s patterns coming!

Retailers are an important link between my sewing room and yours.  I have an Etsy shop that I run with my distributors LeilaB (USA) and EvieJ(UK).  It’s great, and a portion of the shipping prices we charge in the Etsy shop go to pay them for the hard work they do.  With the release of the Red Velvet Collection, we completely updated Cake’s shipping prices to reflect current shipping fees and to pay Leila, Evie and me for the work we do to ship Cake patterns.

Etsy Shop Shipping Prices

Working with retailers helps spread the wonderful world of Cake sewing to more people, and it takes some of the pressure off our Etsy shop.  You may also save a bit on shipping!  I’ve forged some great friendships with retailers I work with- in Susanna’s case she was involved in the pattern testing process for the Red Velvet Collection.

I buy fabric from her, too.  The striped jersey on her legs is the same as the fabric on my daughter’s back.  Whether you shop for Cake on Etsy or from one of our stockists, you’re contributing to the indie sewing economy and supporting hard-working designers and retailers like us.

Cake Stockists interactive map

Check out my new cool interactive maps on to locate your nearest Cake Patterns retailer!  If you’re a retailer and you’d like to carry Cake Patterns, click here.

StephC’s LBD

RV LBD Pocket No Gape Neck

This is my LBD made from the Red Velvet Dress pattern.  It’s a lightweight merino jersey, and very well suited to this pattern (heavier fabrics work fine, too, as long as they recover ok).  You can see here that the Red Velvet Dress features another Cake no-gape neckline.

For the first photoshoot with this dress, I wanted to just show off the dress.  No styling, no hair, no shoes.  This is the first black thing I’ve made for a very long time.

I like the invisible pocket, it’s like a 21st century ladies’ ticket pocket!  It fits my iPhone and keeps it snug up against my waistline seam.  I made this one from scraps of red dancewear velvet, it’s a nice little surprise.  It’s also a fun and nifty bit of sewing, very carefully explained in the Red Velvet Dress instructions.  At the same time, it’s simple to omit for a very quickly sewn Red Velvet Dress.

Tomorrow I have a Muse post from SusanK and a couple of new Red Velvet references for sewingcake!  Keep an eye on the Cake Patterns Facebook page for new sewingcake pages and preview pics!

Red Velvet Collection

It’s really exciting to have these patterns “out there” for you all now, and I’ve been really pleasantly surprised how many of you are purchasing the entire collection!  I hope you love sewing all these pieces as much as we loved creating them.

What do you think of our two very different black merino Red Velvet Dresses?

Coming, Going, The Sewalong Begins and Bowls of Coffee

Since last week’s post, I’ve been working, working, working.  Thank you so much for your support, it really touched me that you’d respond the way that you did and I’ve been working twice as hard since then.   The days fly by in a blur- shipping, emails, Red Velvet production thundering along, sketches, suppliers, thread, needles, finding time to make cookies with my daughter and birthday present shopping for my niece…  The other morning I poured myself a bowl of coffee instead of cereal.  Then, once the coffee was in an appropriate vessel, I topped it off with orange juice instead of milk.

You know, it was surprisingly delicious…

30 Minutes a Day Sewalong Hummingbird Headline 1

The Hummingbird 30 Minutes a Day Sewalong kicks off today!  The flickr group is already been a hive of activity, with people sharing fabric choices and getting tips for proportions and sizing.  That’s what most of Day 1 is about- getting together all the Hummingbird project tools, notions, and supplies and sorting out the Top sizing.

Picture 8

Now, honestly, the Top goes together in about an hour or even less for experienced sewists and we’re stretching it out to five days.  I know many of you participating in the sewalong are more experienced, and might find the pace a little slow at first.  It’s perfectly ok to make multiples or get ahead if you want (each completed Hummingbird Separate counts toward your House’s points), but in the interests of maintaining my sanity I simply can not keep pace with you.  I will only briefly answer questions that I know are addressed in sewalong lessons several days down the line.  Do ask questions, though!

More specifically- Skirt Fitting Day is on Day 9, or next Tuesday.  I have a whole lovely set of photos and troubleshooting tips for you that I’ll publish then.  If you upload skirt fitting pics before then, I can not respond though your Head of House may and you should trust her advice. Thanks for understanding!


Last Wednesday, the Aussie Hummingbird and Cabarita orders came in- finally released from customs!  I dropped everything and filled a couple hundred orders:

As far as I know, most people have received their patterns for the sewalong.  If you haven’t and you’d like to join in, please please email me (Stephc at 3hourspast dot com) and I’ll send a pdf your way.  The unfortunate pieces J are in transit to me and to Leila, so we can then ship them very soon.  It took a couple of days to print them, cut them, and send them out- we didn’t want to hold the shipment of your patterns, opting instead to send the pieces separately.  Click here to register for us to send you a paper piece J or to find the 4 page pdf download.

That paper...

That paper… I’m glad we made the change…

After that whole “Piece J” debacle I was not excited about this batch of patterns.  That is, until I handled them.  Our new printer had sampled out a variety of patterns to me before I decided to work with her, and this paper impressed me then.  It’s translucent and lightweight but durable, dream paper.  When I unpacked the Hummingbird and Cabarita patterns, I was excited all over again, to my surprise.  I hope you like them, too.

The Tiramisu and Bonny paper patterns were delivered late this afternoon.  No trouble at customs, and no missing pieces!  I know what I’m doing tomorrow!! (shipping)  I can’t wait to have all the presale orders cleared out and sent to your sewing rooms.

I also have a class tomorrow night, a brand new crop of lovely baby beginners who will all go home with nicely sewn shopping totes.

PIeced, striped peplum

And- I found time to sew this weekend!  I sewed a few things for my family (my poor husband has been asking me for pants since last October and now he has two new pairs!) and made a great start on my Hummingbird Dress.  I needed to sew, it had been too many days and my fingers were itching.  I cut my peplum stripes the opposite direction to the stripes on this peplum:

Dress dress dress!

I thought it would help show two different ways and how to accomplish them, so if you decide to play with stripes you can.  I cut plain elbow length sleeves with extra wide binding bands, and I’m playing around with a softly draping bow in the front.  I love a nice dramatic design detail!  Naturally, I’ll be sure to publish the drafting guide for creating my riff on this design using the Hummingbird Top pattern.

I think I might find time to sew it on Wednesday and do a nice Finished Object post!  That’ll be nice after all the computer and shipping work I’ve been doing lately….

Picture 9

Ooooh and check out this excellent pale blue piped Hummingbird Pink out of Germany…. I love it.

Picture 10

And did you see Leila’s Tiramisu CulottesDid you? Should we try to get her to write us a hack?

Waistband Visual Reference and Shipping Updates

Click to view reference

Click to view reference

The waistband treatment on the Hummingbird Skirt takes its cue from the many RTW casual wear waistbands I’ve dissected.  This waistband is slimmer than the jeans waistband we looked at last week and lacks belt loops.  For this reason, the slim straight waistband works as a solid but discreet waistline finish when worn under an untucked top like the Hummingbird Peplum Top.

I know I have some beginners out there, and a few who may not sew the way I do so I make a detailed Slim Straight Waistband Visual Reference on  At the end, several options are given as a waistband closure- whether to use a hook & bar, button, or snap is basically a sewing/style preference.

Once I get over my fear of hammers (tomorrow is the day!), I’ll link to the snaps reference there.  Would a button Vis Ref be useful, too?  I could slip on in during the sewalong…


Speaking of the Sewalong, I want to let you all know what’s going on with your Hummingbird (and other*) patterns.  It’s been weird, I haven’t had all the information to hand, and I didn’t want to tell you the wrong thing only to have to correct myself later.

For some reason, my carton of patterns are being held up in Australian Customs.  I have a customs agent and logistics manager and the carton is beneath import minimums- it’s just paper.  It’s most aggravating because no one will tell me why they’re being held or when to expect them.   At first, I had the UK and US distributor wait so we could send all the patterns at the same time, but I just couldn’t wait anymore.  If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, your pattern has already been sent to you and you should get it this week I should think.

I haven’t had any problems of this sort in the past, and I’m doing everything I can think of to find out when I can have the Aussie patterns.  If anyone out there has an idea, then let me know.

…Sewing Along…

Pre-order Hummingbirds were sent off in pretty oversized envelopes.  These correspond to one of the “Houses” for the friendly House Competition during the Sewalong.  (If you missed out this time, you can still sew along!  And the next pattern presale will have a sorting and sewalong aspect.)

Picture 6

You can find the badges and more information about the sewalong on the main page hereVisit the flickr group and join up if you like a bit of social sewing!  This time around,  I asked Taran, Mikhaela, Leila and Susan (who work with me on Cake Patterns) if they would like to be “Heads of House” for the sewalong.  They said they will!

The Heads of House will help me keep track of entries for the House Competition and they’ve also been all over the Hummingbird Pattern during development.   They can help you out with sewing issues if I’m… you know… asleep.

One of Mikhaela's Hbird Tops!

One of Mikhaela’s Hbird Tops!

Mikhaela– Rufous House

Picture 8

Taran – Sabrewing House

Picture 9

Leila– Anna’s House

Picture 10

Susan– Violetear House

This sewalong gets more and more like Harry Potter every time we play, doesn’t it?

*Tira and Bonny next week!

Susan, Galleries, and Tester Request

click for source

click for source

I like Susan.  She writes a great blog at Moonthirty, I really appreciate her intelligence and good humor and insightful sewing tips.  We’ve had a lively email exchange going the past several weeks, as I asked her to test sew upcoming Cake releases.   Check out her alteration-free Cabarita.

Cab back collage

She did, and then took some fantastic photos to show how the designs work for her!  I love these photos of Cabarita, and the jersey stripe is just delicious.   Susan also blogs a little tip for fine-tuning the seam-and-hem area that can be a bit awkward.

Susan Hummingbird Orange Front

Susan also whipped up a quickie Hummingbird Orange skirt (that’s the short and simple one) with no pattern alteration- just a little fit-tweaking during construction.  That’s my favorite kind of fitting!  Minimal…

Susan Hummingbird Orange Pockets

And natch, I love the way she offset the stripes at the pocket and used an exposed zip treatment.  You can read about it here.

The test-makes I showed you earlier this week were from Leila and Mikhaela, who work on Cake production and logistics.  Susan doesn’t do that, but she does have a sharp eye for errors, clever stitching fingers and her body is in the higher range of Cake sizing.   And even better, she understands my random rambling emails about patterns!

Important to Cake

I know it’s done constantly, but I really don’t see the point in putting out patterns that have to be radically altered in order to fit.   Further, larger sizes often struggle to find RTW clothes that fit or that look like “real” clothes.   It’s nasty and I hate it, it’s like the entire fashion and clothing industry tells larger women they are unacceptable in a thousand silent ways.  This is told through lazy designing, bad fit, insufficient sizing and of course through advertising.  Why?

Picture 9

click for source- really excellent open letter to A&F and the fashion industry on the whole by The Militant Baker

Weight isn’t a measure of intelligence, wit, kindness, or ability.  It’s even debatable whether weight is an indicator of health.  It’s just… weight.  Besides, at the end of the day, another person’s weight is not my concern.   The main thing is to make patterns that fit and are well proportioned!  That’s where Susan comes in, to help me test the 50/55 size range and check that I like the proportions before releasing the pattern.  Susan’s a Cake Muse, and I’m really pleased to be working together.

Call for Cake Muses

As we get ready to ship y’all the new Hummingbird and RiFF releases, I’m finishing up my part of the production work for the next pattern release- Red Velvet.

Red Velvet Front Flat

While I’m sure the Cake Collaborators will be stitching up plenty of these pleated, bust-proportionate dresses over the next few weeks, I wanted to request a few sewing-blogger-muses in each Cake “size” range to help me test fit and proportion.  If you’d like to be a Cake Muse for RV, I have a few requests:

  •  30, 35, 40, 45, 50, and 55 inch full bust-  I’ll choose one of each next week.
  • You have a blog
  • I’ll need 6-9 photos of your make to use on the sewingcake site and during the pre-sale
  • You are comfortable with pdf patterns
  • Intermediate to advanced sewist, but willing to follow directions
  • You have a sharp eye for typographical errors (helpful)

I’ll send the pattern and some guidelines out in 2-3 weeks as a tiled pdf and we’ll keep everything quite secret until the presale.    If you’d like to play, leave me a comment with your bust size and a link to your blog.  I’ll choose six Cake Muses and email you by next Friday.

Tomorrow: Hummingbird Sewalong Schedule, Badges, and Signup!

Had you seen that Miltant Baker post?  What do you think about that?

Email Box: Needle Longevity and “Visual Weight”

Hey Everyone- Thanks for your support and lovely words about Enid’s birth story earlier this week.  Mother and baby are doing well, though little G is still under observation.  She’s fine, just a little early so they want to keep an eye on her!

I’m still knee deep in some pretty big projects at the moment, which is keeping me busy from the time I get up til bedtime every day.  As much I enjoy blogging, it takes up a considerable amount of time and I’m being very productive during this short “offline” time.  I have such lovely things in cooking up for us!

I’ll be able to show you what’s been going on very soon, but in the meantime I want to share a few emails I’ve received lately, for questions relating to sewing (send me more, please, I do like these kinds of emails! stephc at 3hourspast dot com).  I haven’t published email questions before, but it often happens I respond to an email and think “I really should blog about that.”

click for source- very interesting and in depth about sewing machine mechanics and maintenence

click for source- very interesting and in depth about sewing machine mechanics and maintenence

This first question comes from Sharon (who is happy for me to share):


I’ve been sewing for many years, am a devoted follower of 3 Hours Past, especially for your no-nonsense approach to body shape as each woman’s unique reality to be embraced, not something to be measured on a good/bad scale against some narrow cultural ideal.  I recently heard a fashion advisor on TV saying that only women with a “really great figure” [his words] should attempt to wear capris because they add weight visually to the majority of women (who evidently do NOT qualify as having really great figures).  I gasped and then scolded the TV, “If only StephC could hear you say that; she’d give you an EARFUL.”

Indignation aside, what about this advice I sometimes see in sewing publications to “use a new needle for each sewing project”?  I would go broke if I did that.   Do you use a new one on each project?  If not, what factors affect when you decide it’s time for a new one?  Do you have some ingenious method for keeping track of how many sewing miles, so to speak,  each needle has completed? I’m assuming this is more of an issue with sharps for wovens than with ball points for knits? I’d love to see a post on this some time at 3 Hours Past. Inquiring minds WANT to know ;-)

Oooh Body Image and Needle Longevity in one email!

Hi Sharon-

Haha!  I love your email, thanks for writing!  And you’re correct, I would most definitely not stand for such a silly statement.  Hysterical style advice about “this style visually adds weight” etc etc makes me roll my eyes so hard.  As if a bit of extra weight is the worst thing in the world?  What about being vain, or vapid, or cruel or petty or willfully ignorant?  I’d rather see little media clips about how to safeguard against that, but I suppose that’s not the world we live in.  Besides, the styles that are “supposed” to add weight or to slim people down change regularly.  Sometimes they swap categories.  :)

On needles-  it’s a good question.  I’ve had intensive machine training from all of the major brands except Singer and they agree that for optimal stitch performance, it is necessary to change a needle every  6-8 hours of sewing.  I have also found this to be true in my own sewing.  For example- if I have been sewing a woven shirt and I’m preparing to do the final pass of top-stitching/buttonholing, I will change my needle because a fresh needle produces better stitch quality for those vital, stitch-intensive areas.

That said, I have a jersey needle in my machine right now that has sewn 5 knit tops lately, maybe 10-12 hours of sewing.  That’s pushing it, but the work isn’t fine work.  It’s knit construction.  I’ll probably change the needle once I finish the last top I have cut out for this week…

click for source- schmetz

click for source- schmetz

Then at the far end of the spectrum, I’ve seen people with machines who haven’t changed their needle in years.  That’s a little like riding around in your car with a flat tire.  The funny thing is that those types are often very proud of the fact they haven’t changed a needle in years!  But just try sewing with the machine and hear a “pop” every time the needle strikes the fabric, and if you know what the mechanisms should sound like, you’ll hear how the machine is struggling to work…  That’s not good for the machine, or the fabric, or the stitch quality.  Sometimes needles develop burrs or “fish hooks” on the ends, too, just from regular use. (edit: Polyester is especially tough on needles.)

Sooooo… That’s a long answer to say there’s not really one right answer except to change the needle regularly for optimal performance, and yes, from my own observations I have to say I believe it does matter.  :)
Thanks so much for writing, you made my day.



click for source article on Threads

click for source article on Threads

What do you think?  Honestly – I’m curious to know which is worse: being a little fat (or perceived as fat), or being vain?  What is vanity, anyway?  What styles have you heard add visual weight? (I’d LOVE to make a list… There’s no right or wrong answer here…) How often do you tend to change your machine needles?  Let’s have a discussion!

Sewing Machines in the Congo and the 5%

Picture 18

From our first release, each Cake Pattern envelope back has carried this promise to you.  I see the 5% as a small way to build connections between women of the cloth, wherever we may live.  It allows those of us who work with our hands as a hobby to provide support to those who work with their hands to feed their family.   Since the first Tiramisu sale, Cake has sent money to Action Kivu.

Action Kivu

Action Kivu is the organization which supports a sewing school in the Kivu province of the Congo.  It’s a region that has been much in the news for war, unrest, child-soldiers and violence against women.  The problems in the region are depressing, overwhelming, constant.  With all the news coverage on these issues, it’s easy to forget about the individual human beings caught up in this mess.

Amani Mataboro Tom is one of those human beings.  He chose to react to horror and violence with compassion. He is an educated man, and worked as an interpreter for various aid organizations.  His wife, Amini, is a seamstress.  Two of his cousins were raped in 2006 by rebels and subsequently cast out of their community.  Rape destroys the life of the victim as surely as a bullet in the brain would end it.  Mr. Amani and his wife took in the cousins and taught them to sew as a way to provide the women with a trade and repair their identities.

Word got out and more living casualties of war appeared at their home, which grew into a sewing school.   Now they also send children to school:

Picture 19

This school, these kind people inspire me.  You can read more about Action Kivu on their website, and also at Handmade by Alissa.  Alissa runs a yearly fundraiser for Action Kivu, and her twin sister Cate works for them.  She recently visited the school.  I emailed back and forth with both women about the work done by Action Kivu, and it’s solid.  It’s an organization run by and for Congolese that works to repair lives one stitch at a time.

Your Contribution

I really look forward to sending quarterly donations to Action Kivu from Cake.   So far, we’ve sent $750 to Action Kivu.  This seems piffling until I think about the ways the money may be spent.  $750 provides:

  • 1 year of primary school for 10 children or
  • 1 year of secondary school for 7 children or
  • 3 new sewing machines for sewing school graduates or
  • A months’ wages for the 3 sewing school instructors

In fact, I rather enjoy looking through the Action Kivu Operating costs and thinking about how our money helps change the lives of people we’ve never met.  It’s a little bit magical.

If you’d like to donate to Action Kivu directly, then please visit their website.

Future Cake and Weaving Destination

Debi Fry is hard at work launching a social enterprise that markets organic cottons and ethical silks woven in small scale sustainable factories in India.  Weaving Destination provides a livelihood for women who have been victims of human trafficking, and their fabrics are gorgeous.  Debi and I are working together behind the scenes for several upcoming projects, I can’t wait to show you!  (Admittedly, it’s a few weeks away yet, but I wanted to mention it!)

Hummingbird Peplum Top & Skirt

The Hummingbird Presale Ends April 7

What do you think?

Do you know of other organizations that help create financial independence for women through handcraft?  Let me know in the comments, I want to check them out.

Pavlova Position 2: Stiff & Traditional

Green Back Excellent

You’ve all seen this skirt.  So has everyone else in my life this summer, I’ve been wearing it to the ground to see how the horsehair braid hem holds up and how the fabric will behave (so I can show you!).

Pavlova Position 2

This was the first time I wore the skirt after making it.  The fabric was a stiff, medium-to-heavy weight cotton canvas with a nice corded texture.  The fabric was fresh and new.  The horsehair braid hem exaggerated the flare of the skirt.  Position 2 is all about big circle skirts- mostly about horsehair braid, though the fabric choice also comes into play.

Finger Tip Knowledge | Pavlova

It’s one of the samples included with the Fingertip Knowledge Swatch kit.  It’s  a great basic bottom weight, suited to making a daily wear type circle skirt.  In a plain color, a fabric of this type in a plain color makes a great wardrobe basic.

Worn In Pavlova 2

I make a point not to sew much that I can’t stuff into a warm wash with like colors, line dry, and wear.   It’s not just fabric that sometimes has to be handled carefully for laundering, sometimes notions or finishes also require special care.  You can see from these photos (taken today) that the horsehair hem is not improved by exposure to ordinary washing conditions.

Worn In Pavlova Back

The edges of the hem have fluted, which says to me that while the canvas has softened and relaxed, the hem has not.  They are working in opposition.

It’s also interesting to note that when fresh, the fabric needed pressing after each wash.  Now the fabric has worn in and doesn’t look beat up when it’s freshly laundered.  Except at the hem, which I have to press.  And it still looks beat up.

I like this skirt too much to leave the hem as it is, I’ll pull out the horsehair braid and use a simple folded finish which will wash better.   Check out the Position 2 gallery on sewingcake for a look at the life of this skirt, and also links to two new visual references.

Positions 1 & 2 were skirts you’ve already seen, to start a conversation about drape and circles and fabric and finishes.

Position 1 is a softer, drapier fabric.  Think coating type fabric, drapey suiting, medium to heavy satins, pique, crepe, or even quilting cotton.  Position 2 is stiffer, or more densely woven, which creates a fuller type of skirt: twills, corduroy, bengaline, canvas, even felt.

The next 3 positions for the rest of this week are all new!

Shipping Updates:

Picture 20 Picture 21

So far the Pavlova Wrap Top & Skirt preorders have arrived in the Eastern USA and other urban centers and in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Adelaide!  (sorry about the blurry phone photos, I’ll be sure to get better ones tomorrow.)

That means the “houses” on the Pavlova 30 Minutes A Day Sewalong flickr group are coming alive with a bit of “how do you do” discussion.  Feel free to upload your project fabric and chat in the group in the leadup to the 30 Minutes A Day Sewalong.  (We already have 34 members!) I also added another little guide to the Flickr user galleries with tips for using the Flickr app.  It makes it very simple to take progress shots and upload them to the group.

Shared Knowledge

Do you have experience washing a hem of this type?  How did it hold up?  What kind of fabric did you use?  Do you have any sage words for those who would like to tackle a horsehair hem in the near future?

Pavlova Drop Day Part 1 Complete!


Whew!  I shipped out 104 Pavlova Wrap Top & Skirt Patterns this morning.  I’m so thrilled she’s on her way to you!


Yesterday I showed you our cheery fun pre-sale envelopes.  We decided to also place the envelopes in a mailer, lest the greeting card envelope fail to protect your pattern in transit.

I took some time this afternoon to set up our digital shared sewing space on Flickr for the Pavlova 30 Minutes A Day Sewalong.  The colored envelopes are a way to connect Cake sewists at random, sorting us into “houses” during the sewalong which is from March 15-25.   Each house has a discussion thread in the Flickr page, check it out.  There’s a little prize for the winning house…

I had tentatively set the start date for the 10th, but I want to make sure we leave enough time for everyone’s patterns to catch up with them.  The 15th seems a safer bet, don’t you think?

30 Minutes a Day Sewalong Pavlova Headline 2 | Cake Patterns

I also took the time to set up our Pavlova 30 Minutes A Day page, where I’ll post the links to each day’s lesson.  The code for the blog badges can be found there, too, as well as the sewalong outline.


You’ll also find some Flickr user tutorials on, too.  I hope that helps, I know technology can be really frustrating sometimes!

Next Week’s Schedule:

Pavlova Wrap Top Tie Sizing

Shipping Kickoff Weekend- Pavlova Sewalong signup, the sorting and table of contents posted, Pavlova Sizing

Position #1- Winter Pavlova- Soft and Flowing (choosing drapey bottom weight fabrics, hong kong seams, soft circle hem with lace)

 Position #2- Stiff and Traditional- Summer Pavlova (Horsehair Braid Tutorial, hook and eye application, stiff fabric guidance, invisible zipper tutorial)

 Position #3- Knit and Neat (simple knit waistband, seamless cutting layout, knit pintucks) Grainline Blasphemy- Pavlova Top, Stripes Cutting Challenge, And Woven for Jersey

 Position #4- Circle Duo (asymmetry/layers, double bound waistline explained) Pavlova Top and Fusible Webbing Applications For A Perfect Finish

 Position #5- Applique- The Birds (graphic appliqué techniques and template)

I’ve been waiting and waiting for you to get your patterns so we could start playing together, and I’ve been saving up Pavlova posts for aaages.  Time to dive right in!

Last thought

I think blueberry is my favorite...

I think blueberry is my favorite…

Of the five fruits- mango, kiwi, blueberry, strawberry, and passionfruit, which is your fave?