MaaiDesign Collaboration

When Maaike from MaaiDesign contacted us to see if we’d like to collaborate on a project, we couldn’t respond fast enough!

MaaiDesigns is located locally in Bright, Victoria, just near where we grew up! Operating online Maaike and her team distribute a beautiful selection of fabrics from beautiful North East Victoria to wherever you are!

Maaike started her business with a goal “I had visions of colour, prints and styles that were unique, fun and a joy to wear” and a mission to offer her customers the ability to make unique garments for themselves and their families. We think she has very much achieved this brief!

Fabric from MaaiDesign

For this project, we selected a Viscose blend from Mind The Maker stocked on the MaaiDesign website – Oda Brush – Viscose Linen Noil.

The fabric, which is made in Turkey, is 150cm wide and made from 80% LENZING™ ECOVERO™ Viscose and 20% Linen.

Due to the fibre content, it is highly recommended to pre-wash the fabric as it has a shrinkage of 2-5%. It is machine washable at 30°C (medium spin) – which is also the temperature we prewashed the fabric!

The print on the fabric is a stunning large-scale brush stroke print on a natural white base.  This fabric drapes beautifully, is slightly textured and is divine to wear. It is slightly heavier than a classic viscose fabric.

This fabric is oeko-tex certified as it is a ECOVERO™ Viscose which is a wonderful bonus for the already fabulous fabric!

Fun fact: “ECOVERO™ Viscose fibers are a sustainably certified viscose fiber. It’s made of pulp from wood that derives only from certified and controlled wood sources. The production of ECOVERO™ Viscose only requires half the water compared to regular viscose production, and the CO2 emissions and use of energy is also halved, compared to conventional viscose production“.

Pattern

We love ‘hacking’ together patterns – it allows you to create unique and individual garments which really suit your style without the need to make your own patterns!

We have always loved hacking together Schultaapparel patterns, for this pattern, we hacked together Ottilia Top pattern for the bodice and Minna Dress pattern for the sleeve.

Since we started doing this, Schultzapparel has now released the Ottilia Dress pattern, which actually is basically a pattern of this hack!

For the sleeves, we used the full-length Minna sleeve piece that has gathering in the head of the sleeve and into the cuff.

Construction of our MaaiDesign Collaboration

As this was a viscose fabric there is movement in the fabric which can become difficult to cut if you are not careful. To begin the cutting process we carefully laid out the fabric, folding it right sides together on a flat surface. From there, our goal was not to move the fabric but pin the pattern pieces on carefully and cut around each piece ensuring that markings on the pattern were captured.

For the bottom of the waist darts in the bodice, we did a small snip, just under 1cm long. The seam allowance of this pattern is 2cm so this small snip is not seen in the finished garment.

A classic mistake we make when sewing a wrap dress is either forgetting to leave a gap in the side seam for the ‘wrap strap’ or putting it on the incorrect side. To avoid these mistakes, we lay out the fabric pieces as if we will sew them together (as shown in the picture) and read the instructions carefully.

To keep this garment light and airy once finished we used a bias finish around the neck edge. With the light-coloured background of the fabric, we used a white bias so that it would not be visible once finished.

In the past we have tried doing a full lining of this Ottilia Top pattern – however, the fabric was heavy, and it meant the wrap bodice didn’t sit well. Our preference is to do the facing or bias now when we make this pattern, but it would depend on the fabric choice!

As the rayon is quite delicate and any hand sewn stitches, no matter how small, would be visible, we decided that by using a matching thread, we would top stitch the bias and hem of the dress.

When it came time to hem the dress, we overclocked around all three sides – as it is a wrap dress we needed to hem the ‘side edges’ of the hem as well.

As we started to press the hem up, we realised it would be a much better finish to the dress if we did a double-rolled hem. That way, if the wind catches the full skirt or the wrap of the skirt shows the underside, it was as pretty as could be!

You don’t need to overlock the edge of the fabric if you are going to double roll the hem, but given we had already done so there is no harm in keeping it there.

The photo shows the first narrow fold of the held (with the overlocked edge) followed by the slightly wider second fold. We then top stitched, however, if you wanted, you could also hand stitch to provide an even cleaner finish.

Sleeve length band

The Minna pattern has a full-length sleeve. The pattern is drafted to have a cuff that the fullness of the sleeve gathers into. To allow for flexibility when wearing the dress we have inserted elastic into the hem of the sleeve instead. To do this we did not cut the cuff piece, instead finished the raw edge with overclocking and folded over the fabric to create a self-casing, leaving a small gap in the stitching we pull the elastic through using a safety pin, joined the elastic into a loop and then closed up the remaining section of the casing. This method is very similar as inserting elastic in the waist of a pair of pyjama pants.

In this fluid moving fabric, the shape of the sleeve allow it to bello and loved the opportunity to sit in the fullness of the gathering. Using the elastic means that it can sit at different positions on the arm.

Finished MaaiDesign Dress

What will be next on our make list from MaaiDesign? We have been eyeing the Wilder Gown Pattern in Atelier Brunette Shadow Night (Modal) or the Zadie Jumpsuit in Rifle Paper Co – Canvas – Poppy Fields – Black . Which fabrics from MaaiDesign are on your make list?

Photography Notes

Photographer: James Christie
Dress Fabric: Mind the Maker, Oda Brush Viscose Linen Noil in Plum & Rosewood available on the Maaidesign Website
Patterns: Schultzapparel Ottilia Top pattern for the bodice and Minna Dress pattern for the sleeve.

Must visit Fabric Stores in South Australia!

As a sewist, no holiday is complete without visiting the local Fabric Stores! 

On our recent road trip around South Australia, including the Barossa, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and Adelaide, we visited some amazing fabric stores we wanted to share with you!

We visited South Australia on our Operation Tiny House New Years’ Eve for the 2019-2020 New Year’s Eve (see our matching outfits from our New Year’s Eve Trip here), so we had a couple of favourites to visit again and some new ones to try!

Fabric Stores in Adelaide

DK Fabrics

Address: 105 Port Road Hindmarsh SA 5007
Website:  www.dkfabric.com.au
Facebook: DK Fabrics 

DK Fabrics is a wonderland of fabrics! From dance fabrics to evening wear to cotton – it has such a diverse range of fabrics.

If you are looking for a bargain, there are some discounted fabrics for about $3.00. In contrast, if you are looking for more expensive fabrics like lace, sequins or satin, DK Fabric’s also has you covered.

This store has become a favourite to visit every time we come to South Australia!

The Fabric Store

Address: 101/145 Franklin St, Adelaide SA 5000
Website: www.wearethefabricstore.com
Facebook: The Fabric Store (Adelaide)
Instagram: @wearethefabricstore

The Fabric Store has become a favourite store no matter what city you visit in Australia or New Zealand – and Adelaide is no exception!

With a wonderful range of Liberty Fabrics, Linen and allsorted special occasions and headstock fabrics, it is hard to walk out of the Fabric Store empty handed! 

Ferrier Fashion Fabrics

Address: 374 Fullarton Rd, Fullarton SA 5063
Website: www.ferrierfashionfabrics.com
Facebook: @FerrierFashionFabrics
Instagram: @ferrierfashionfabrics

Ferrier Fashion Fabrics reminds us of the fabric stores we used to visit with our Nan as children. It feels like you are walking into a treasure trove of a carefully picked collection of fabrics in a family-owned business.

This fabric store is filled with great quality and beautiful fabrics, whether you are looking for premium daywear, knit fabric or evening fabrics. 

Tricia’s Discount Fabrics

Address: 11-13 Price Street, Melrose Park
Website: www.triciasdiscountfabric.com
Facebook: Tricia’s Discount Fabric

Tricia’s Discount Fabrics is a wonderful land for those sewists who use lots of quilting or dance fabrics – it is literally a warehouse stacked full of options!

Fabric Stores in South Australia (outside of Adelaide)

Jenny’s Sewing Centre

Address: 64 Murray Street, Angaston, SA, Australia 5353
Website:  www.jennyssewingcentre.websyte.com.au
Facebook: Jenny’s Sewing Centre

Jenny’s Sewing Centre was such a joy to visit! The store has recently celebrated its 45th Anniversary – how amazing! 

The store has an extensive range of quality quilting cotton fabrics as well as a very good range of fabrics for sewing garments. 

Fleurs of Stirling

Address: 8 Mount Barker Rd, Stirling SA 5152
Instagram: @fleursofstirling

While Fleurs of Stirling has a limited range of fabrics, they are a great stop for those threads and buttons you need. 

When we stopped her on our trip, we picked up some wonderful striped cotton for $5 a metre and some knitting books for future projects. 

Favourite Fabrics

Visiting all of these wonderful fabric stores, we couldn’t leave empty-handed! Here are our favourite three fabrics we purchased.

HELLO you beautiful shiny fabric.

There is some eye-catching about this fabric. It falls somewhere in between gold and rose gold fabric.  

It is a sketchy knit fabric that has a wonderful drape – perfect for a birthday party dress! 

Purchased from Ferrier Fashion Fabrics. 
Cost per metre: $32.00
Fabric: 70% nylon, 27% metallic, 3% elastane
Available on their website here.

 

This cotton is not your average striped fabric – it has a strong red, navy and tiny tan stripe.

For those who have been following our sewing journey for a while, you’ll know we love matching outfits – this is fabric will be an outfit later in the year, so keep a look out!

Purchased from DK Fabrics

Cost per metre: $6.00

If this fabric doesn’t say festive Christmas, what does?

With Christmas fast approaching, it is never too soon to get organised – we have a lot of sewing projects to finish between now and Christmas, but this fabric is on the list!

Purchased from DK Fabrics

Cost per metre: $10.00

Nerida Hansen + Rachelle Holowko

We were so excited when Nerida Hansen approached us to be guest sewing ambassadors to celebrate this new fabric collection in collaboration with Australian designer and artist Rachelle Holowko from Pattern and Design

The fabric prints and colours are so beautiful, it was wonderful to sew these two projects!

The Fabric

For these projects, we used three of the Nerida Hansen and Rachelle Holowko collection fabrics. 

The first fabric was the Bold Gingham by Nerida Hansen, which we used for the culottes. 

The second fabric was the Carina fabric in navy by Rachelle Holowko which we used for the Cuff Sleeve Top. 

The third fabric was the Manifesto fabric in wine by Rachelle Holowko which we used for the jumpsuit.

All of the fabrics were the Tencel Linen. We haven’t sewn with Tencel very much before. It has a wonderful drape and silky feel even though it is a medium-weight fabric. 

Tencel is a natural fibre made from wood pulp, which is blended with a small amount of linen for these fabrics. 

Project 1 – Nerida Hansen Culottes

For this outfit, we really wanted to contrast the pretty floral with a bold contrast fabric for the pants. The ‘Bold Gingham fabric has the perfect scale of print for pants and balances the large floral of the top. We don’t usually pair different prints together – so this was a great project to challenge our style!

This was our first time sewing with Nerida Hansen. The cuffs sleeve top and culottes are both simple but effective designs that allow the fabric to be the feature! The patterns are great staple pieces that would be perfect for new sewists looking to expand these skills or for seasoned sewists looking for classic designs to add to their collection.

In particular, we loved that the culottes pattern has a flat front band even though it has an elastic back.

Note: We sized down in the top as we wanted the top to be more fitted than the finished garment measurement indicated on the pattern.

Project 2 – Nerida Hansen Jumpsuit

We made the Nerida Hansen Jumpsuit Sewing Pattern in the Manifesto in wine fabric by Rachelle Holowko.

The biggest challenge was fitting the jumpsuit into the 2 metres of fabric available! 

Based on the pattern, for fabrics that are 137 cm wide you will need:

  •  for sizes 6012, approximately 3.5 metres; and
  • for sizes 14-20, approximately 3.7 metres. 

We managed to make (a slightly cropped version) in just 2 metres! You may be thinking, how? Well, we’ve included a picture of our creative pattern layout below. 

We also managed to get the dominant pattern down the centre front and be (mostly) pattern matched. 

NOTES

Photographer: James Christie
Jumpsuit Pattern: Nerida Hansen Jumpsuit Sewing Pattern
Top Pattern: Nerdia Hansen Cuff Sleeve Top Sewing Pattern
Culottes Pattern: Nerida Hansen Culottes Sewing Pattern 
Fabric: Nereida Hasen 

Fabric and patterns were provided by Nerida Hansen in exchange for photographs of the finished garments. We received no commission in relation to the fabric or monetary payment for this blog post. 

Australia Sews Podcast

We had the honour of being a guest of Louise Sherry’s Australia Sews Podcast. The podcast celebrates the Australian home sewing community with stories from everyday sewers transforming their lives and their wardrobes.

We got to tell some tales of some of our favourite makes and how we live together, sew together, sew each other’s clothes and bounce off each other for creative ideas on what to sew next. It usually comes as a vision that you will hear about in the episode. Sometimes quite an ambitious one.

Pale blue silk dress with hand-stitched flowers

Each year during Law School Erin we created a new dress for the Deakin Law Ball. This pale blue silk each flower on the overskirt is individually made and stitched on (…yes, it did take some time) and we talk about the inspiration and process for making this stunning dress.

Red tulle dress and matching hat

This dress has become a little iconic! It was originally made for the ALSA Conference in Melbourne and then inspired Lauren’s Millinery Award Entry which is the final look you see here.

Hexagon dress

This was ambiguous. So much so it took an additional 12 months to finish. Check out the blog to see the details behind the make and tune into the podcast to hear the story.

Edith Smock green floral dress with pattern from Pattern Union


For our green floral version of the Edith Smock from Pattern Union which for this zero waste design we chose the low waisted version with a self made belt.

Metallic quilted puffer jacket with fabric from Minerva

Living in Melbourne, puffer jackets are commonly worn everywhere. To the local market, at a cafe or on a morning walk – puffer jackets can be seen everywhere! Typically people wear black puffer jackets. When we saw this Metallic Quilted Coating Fabric on Minerva we thought, why not embrace the Melbourne puffer jacket style but with a fun metallic twist.

Fabric provided by @minervadotcom
Pattern: @mccallpatterncompany 7695

Froctober dresses photographed in a Coles supermarket

Frocktober raises awareness and support for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF), we have taken part for many years and this photo was taken for the Herald Sun in a Coles Supermarket.

Frocktails dresses made from Spoonflower fabric with illustrations by Alexandra Nea

We first met the talented Alexandra Nea through Frocktober, first as a fellow frocker and then through her work with the OCRF creating the stunning frocktober girl illustrations.  

With Alex’s blessing to use the frocktober girl illustrations we set to work creating the fabric print.  It was important to consider the scale and spacing of the sketches so the formatting showcased them.  Lauren created the fabric repeat in Photoshop and used the colour splashes thanks to the OCRF.  

Family Christmas photo in matching outfits

We continued the tradition of family Christmas outfits continued this year. We took to the beach in Apollo Bay in our matching Christmas print to celebrate together. This year we used a red background printed Liberty Cotton to create our festive outfits.

Frock On! 2022

We are thrilled to be selected to be part of Frock On 2022!

Frock On! 2022 is a collaboration between Flying Fox Fabrics, Ikuntji Artists and Songlines Australia to showcase hand-printed Indigenous designed fabric.

Fabric from Flying Fox Fabrics

As part of being involved in Frock On 2022, we selected a fabric from the collection to create a garment that showcases the fabric.

It was a tough decision working out what fabric to select – the main types of fabric to choose from are a cotton drill, linen or silk dupion.

We were instantly drawn to this lovely design hand screen-printed on superb Princess dupion silk called ‘Silk Rockholes’ created by Alice Nampitjinpa Dixon.

The base silk is burnt orange, with ink colours of metallic gold and pink.

A wonderful feature of the Flying Fox Fabrics website is that they share information on each of the artists. For the artist, Alice Nampitjinpa Dixon, who created the fabric we used, they shared:

Alice was a Luritja and Pintupi artist; born in 1943 near Talaalpi: country east of Walungurru on the Western Australia / Northern Territory border… Prior to painting, Alice worked for many years at the Kintore School teaching the young girls dancing and the traditions of the desert people. Alice remains an active “dancing woman” who travels widely to participate in annual ceremonies and “Women’s Law” meetings. She was a lead singer in the Sydney 2000 Oympics. Alice’s personal Tjukurrpa (Dreaming) is Tjilkamata – the porcupine. Her story is told in bright colours often utilising orange and yellow to mirror the ochres that are used in ceremonial body painting. In her Tjukurrpa story there is often the porcupine scurrying about rock holes and hiding places looking for tucker while nearby the women are themselves hunting, laying in wait for the porcupine”

Pattern

We love ‘hacking’ together patterns – it allows you to create unique and individual garments which really suit your style, without the need to make your own patterns!

We were initially going to be a fitted bodice dress with thin straps. After the fabric arrived we knew we had to change our plans – this fabric needed to become a big, beautiful sleeve!

We decided to hack together:
1. Butterick B5850: For the front draped skirt.
2. Butterick B5880: For the wrap bodice.
3. New Look N6694: For the sleeve and back skirt.

You may be thinking, “how do you figure out what patterns to join together?”. Great question, it usually involves a lot of brainstorming our “vision” and folding together the front of patterns (just like the photo to the left).

The other thing we should mention… Butterick B5880 is described as a ‘mock wrap’ and utilises a side zipper closure for you to get in and out of the dress. Only… we hacked it into a real wrap rather than a mock wrap!

The construction on the shoulder pleating, neckline and finishing off the arm wholes is relatively consistent with the pattern. However, this hack does take some creativity to make work. Broadly it involves closing off the side seam where the zipper would usually be, not closing off the waist seam so that the right and left bodice pieces are free to wrap around the waist.

Construction on our Frock On creation

Once we had decided on our patterns, we cut and hacked them together. The key tip to hacking together is making sure all the key seams match like the waist theme and sleeve head.

After the key pieces of the fabric were cut out, we turned our minds to construction. The key issue we faced it not having enough matching thread for the overlocker… this problem turned into an opportunity. From the fabric straps we had, we could make bias to finish the internal seams of the garment and finish the hem of the skirt. On reflection, this bias created the perfect edge of the fabric and a clean finish to the seams.

Headband

No special outfit is complete without a Lauren J Ritchie Millinery headpiece!

Plus – a headband is a perfect way of making the most of fabric scraps!

This headband is the same shape as the base of the Stanley Bramble and Harrow Headband – only we stripped back the desk to remove the additional embellishment.

As an easy to wear style, this headband is perfect in the silk dupion – which allows the fabric design to be the feature.

Finished Dress for Frock On!

We are so excited for our garment for Frock on 2022 turned out! On a fresh Sunday morning in June we look the dress for a trip to the Botanical Gardens in Melbourne to take photos.

With the colours featured in the fabric, we wanted to find something complimentary yet contrasting – we thought the Arid Garden was the perfect place. The garden features around 3,000 cacti and succulents from approximately 400 species, so many different textures and colours.

We can’t wait to see all of the other fabulous entries into the Frock On 2022 competition!

Photography Notes

Photographer: James Christie
Dress Fabric: Silk Rockholes by Alice Nampitjinpa Dixon in gold/silver on burnt orange available on the Flying Fox Fabrics website
Patterns: Bodice B5850, Skirt B5880 & N6694 and Sleeve N6694
Headband: Lauren J Ritchie Millinery

30th Birthday Party Dress!

Do you have a design inspiration sitting on a Pinterest Board that you just haven’t got to make yet?  That was this dress.  I thought the time might have passed, the shape of the bodice, the common nickname of the handkerchief hem.  You might have said I missed the timing if I described the vision to you.  But then!  It all came together.  

The Fabric

This started with a rummage through the stash and we found this amazing fabric! It was a piece we had got at Darn Cheap Fabrics when they had the Port Melbourne store.

At the time we were looking for fabric for Oaks Day and found an amazing green fabric which was just what we were looking for. But this fabric kept calling to me. So Erin convinced me to get 4 meters and it will be perfect for something one day.

This was the day! Nothing was more perfect for my 30th birthday dress than purple checks.

Next was to head to the Pinterest board to see which inspiration photos would come together to compliment this fabric.

The Pinterest Board

These were the key images that inspired the final design. The upwards-shaped bodice was a lovely design line and then I saw Anne Hathaway wearing a stunning pink Valentino number at Cannes and was sold on the shape!

For the skirt I really wanted to showcase the square geometric design of the fabric. While we love a full shirt, gathers felt it would distort the lines and a circle skirt cut through the strong lines of the pattern. When I found the image of the last skirt it showcased both a full skirt and would show off the lines of the fabric.

Pattern

To create the off-the-shoulder pattern I started with Butterick 6129 a combination of the standard bodice with sleeve A but without the pleated sleeve.

After testing the bodice to check the size I made a few changes such as combining the side panels into one (this helped with the pattern matching) and adjusting the front bodice neckline.

Fabric Cutting

With such a dominant line pattern matching was essential. Setting the fabric up with a strong line on the fold for the centre front and then the horizontal lines matching up at the selvedge it was ready for pattern piece placement.

Joining the side bodice together into one meant that the panel could be placed on the bias. It created such an exciting feature! To help prevents movement in the fabric I fused the side panel with interfacing.

For the construction of the dress, I used a drill cotton lining. The pieces were block fused with boning in the seams.

The finished dress

Some Me Made Outfits

Dad wore a Lauren J Ritchie Millinery hat which he paired with a red silk tie.

Erin made a version of the Minna Dress by Schulz Apparel in a black-backed organza fabric with a raspberry and gold pattern.

Mum wore a long-sleeved version of Butterick 5850

PHOTOGRAPHY NOTES

Photographer: James Christie
Dress design and pattern maker: Lauren Ritchie
Headpiece: Lauren J Ritchie Millinery
Bodice Pattern base: Butterick 6129
Fabric: Darn Cheap Fabrics
Shoes: Wittner
Location: 89 Eureka Sky Deck
Florist: In Full Bloom South Melbourne

Obsession Blouse by Chut Charlotte

We were invited by Chut Charlotte to stitch up a version of the Obsession pattern .  This classic style pattern is a feminine button-front shirt.  It has multiple collar options that include Peter Pan, Victorian or Mao collars.  The full-length sleeve has a set-in sleeve head and plaquette detail that goes into the button cuff.  

Obsession Blouse by Chut Charlotte

The shirt can be made in cotton, viscose, crepe, double gauze. We chose a texture blue crepe style fabric.

For fabric that is 140cm wide it needs approximately 2 meters of fabric, 10 buttons and lightweight woven interfacings to support the collar and cuffs.

Our Obsession Blouse

For our version of the blouse, we chose the short Victorian Collar and cuffs with the ruffle to match the other ruffle throughout the style. We have styled it here with black tapered leg pants, brogue shoes and matching blue earrings. This styling played into the masculine style button through style of the top that is contrasted by the soft feminine ruffles.

Details of Chut Charlotte’s Obsession

The ruffles are created by folding a long rectangle with right sides together. The end was closed then turned through. Press from the right side and put a gathering stitch along the raw edge.

The ruffle was then pulled up using the gathering stitch to fit the length of the cuff and sandwiched in between the layers.

A key feature of this top, which caught our eye was the ruffle feature throughout the elements of the top.

The pattern pieces are drafted to have an asymmetrical front with the left side split into two above the bust to include this sweet ruffle feature.

The sleeve has a small amount of gathering into the cuff creating a softness to the finish and compliments the folded ruffle edge near the hand.

With different style collar options available as part of this pattern we chose to use the short ruffle collar.   This style of collar matched the ruffle detail throughout the rest of the top. The short stand of the collar (which is also the Peter Pan version) sat well in this fabric once the light woven interfacing was applied.

PHOTOGRAPHY NOTES

Photographer: James Christie
Model: Lauren Ritchie
Dress Pattern: Obsession by Chut Charlotte

Christmas Outfits 2021

We continued the tradition of family Christmas outfits continued this year. We took to the beach in Apollo Bay in our matching Christmas print to celebrate together. We hope you had a safe and happy festive period with your loved ones.

This year we used a red background printed Liberty Cotton to created our festive outfits.

Lauren and Fergus

The pattern of this Summer for us has been the Zadie Jumpsuit and this shorts version was not expectation. Fergus featured in his first Christmas photos and promises he will practice posing in his Christmas bowties for next year.

Robyn and David

For Dad’s shirt, we used McCalls 6044. We have recently changed the men’s shirt pattern we used for Dad, and we are really happy with the change. This pattern has more shape through the body, curved hem and front placket detail.

This year Mum chose the Tunic style pattern Vogue 9022 for her dress and is planning her winter versions now.

James and Erin

James chose his got to collared shirt pattern McCalls 6044. Erin adapted a vintage Style Pattern top into a dress with a tiered skirt.

Photography Notes of Christmas Outfits

Photographer: James Christie

Dress Fabric: Liberty from Birch

Patterns:
James – Simplicity 8427
Erin – Style 3897
Lauren – Paper Theory Zadie Jumpsuit 
Robyn – Vogue 9022 
David – McCalls M6044

Headband: Lauren J Ritchie Millinery

Senna Dress made with vintage equipment

When we helped Schultz Apparel test the Senna Dress we were in a lockdown away from our normal machines so we took on the challenge of stitching the dress in a different way. We would normally use our industrial sewing machine or electric domestic Bernina machine then finish our seams using an overlocker. None of this was an option so we scouted our parent’s house to see what we could find.

Senna Dress

The Senna dress is fitted around the bust and loose at the waist. It features a pleated skirt and tie at the center back and waist.

This is a simple beginner-friendly pattern with no fastening just the self-made ties.

Vintage Singer Sewing Machine

We found our Nan’s old Vintage Singer Sewing Machine which is a 306K Model, it has an electric foot pedal and is still working. This was Nan’s first electric sewing machine which would have been purchased in Echuca around 1956 when our grandparents lived in Gunbower. It has made many dresses for our family as has many machines since but this one is lucky enough to still be with us.

In terms of using the machine, it takes some work to get it moving and sometimes required to hand roll the wheel for the first stitch but once moving it stitched really well. The reserve as expected on a machine of this age is a manual leaver which needed to be moved to the reverse position and then back to the forward stitch length position.

Once we had tested the sewing machine worked our next challenge was deciding how to finish the seams. There were a few options including making bias from old sheets but we chose to go with pinking shears which seem appropriate considering the machine we were also using.

Pinking Shears

Before overlockers were available for the domestic market home sewers had to use alternative methods to finish the inside of their garments. Having said this, an overlocker is not essential to have. If you are just starting sewing it can be a large cost and you should not feel the pressure to purchase one, you can find many other ways to finish your seams including bias, zigzag or pinking shears.

Pinking sheers look like a heavier pair of scissors with a sawtoothed instead of straight blades and cut the fabric to have a zigzag edge. This prevents the woven fabric from fraying with the short diagonal cuts of the zigzag that do not provide any long fibres on the edge to get caught or damage and pull their full length. There are few seams in the Senna Dress

Using the selvedge

As we needed the full width of our cotton fabric for the skirt pieces we were to cut across the width of the fabric and we used the already existing selvedges as the finish for our seams. Cheating? Maybe but also using the resources we had on hand, it is an already finished seam and it did not affect the overall finish of the dress

Double Rolled Hem

For the hem of the dress, we created a wide double rolled hem, pressing the material over 1cm and then 4cm. We were able to have such a deep hem because the overall shape of the skirt piece is rectangular meaning that we could work on the straight grain of the fabric.

Finished Zebra Stripes

The Senna dress is simple garment to construct the instructions provided by Schultz Apparel are clever and could be described as the path of least resistant show by the order the all in one neck facing is finished around the neck and armholes.  Always winning points with us the instuctions include understanding in all the good places.

With no fastenings required is a great pattern for beginner sewers to create yourself an easy to wear Summer number. 

Photography Notes

Photographer: Erin Ritchie
Model: Lauren Ritchie
Dress Pattern: Senna Dress by Schultz Apparel

Other Schultz Apparel patterns we have made include Ottlia Top, Begonia Dress and Minna Dress

Minerva Makes

Two Sewing Sisters are proud to be Brand Ambassadors for Minerva.  Fabric for the projects featured in this blog has been provided by Minerva.  The pattern selection, design and photography are taken by Two Sewing Sisters

Rose Gold Ruffer Jacket

Living in Melbourne, puffer jackets are commonly worn everywhere. To the local market, at a cafe or on a morning walk – puffer jackets can be seen everywhere! Typically people wear black puffer jackets. When we saw this Metallic Quilted Coating Fabric we thought, why not embrace the Melbourne puffer jacket style but with a fun metallic twist.

The 100% Polyester fabric has two layers, the outer metallic layer and a batting layer ‘quilted’ onto the fabric. The pattern we used is McCalls Sewing Pattern 7695. See more about this make here.

Papercut Patterns Palisade Pants and Juno Jacket 

The Palisade Pants are one of those patterns we had been watching and seeing many amazing versions of but hadn’t taken the plunge yet. We loved making the Palisade Pants and Juno Jacket as part of the Minerva Sewing Kits.

The sewing kits for the pants and jacket included the sewing pattern, beautiful purple linen fabric and all notions (aka all those pesky parts you have to collect but are absolutely essential for success), interfacing, the perfect width and type of elastic, a new pack of machines for your sewing machine, fun coloured safety pins and the matching Guterman thread. See more about this make here.

Green Rain Jacket

We fell in love with the green leaf print of this fabric as soon as we saw it! As lovers of green, the contrast with the white and black pattern was eye-catching. The canvas fabric is 45% cotton and 55% linen with a vinyl overlay. 

The Eden Coat is a fully lined, raglan sleeve rain jacket, with a hood and multiple pocket options. One of the features we loved was the shaped and lined hood. We made the short version, with flat pockets (with pocket flaps), zipper and optional storm flaps. We can’t wait to wear it on many rainy days to come! See more about this make here.

White Floral Poplin

This fabric is just what we needed to kick off our summer wardrobe sewing. The fabric is the Lady McElroy Marlie Cotton Lawn Fabric, a light woven non-stretch 100% cotton fabric. This sweet floral print has a black background and a small repetitive flower pattern with raspberry, lemon and cornflower blue centres.

For this dress, we used the bodice and skirt of the vintage pattern Butterick 5677. It is a semi-fitted design with a below the knee-length hem. The round neckline has a slit at the front that is secured with a button fixture and loop. The sleeves we added to the bodice was the short sleeve version from the vintage dresses pattern Simplicity 8335. It had an additional bit of gathering in the sleeve head which we liked and to keep in line with the finishings on the rest of the garment we also put elastic in the hem. See more about this make here.

Dashwood Studio Zadie

Zadie, ohhh Zadie! With over 10.5 THOUSAND photos of this pattern on the Instagram hashtag, needless to say, it has been on our radar for a while. We finally made one, and we are hooked!
Since making this jumpsuit last week, every time we talk about a fabric or a “creative vision” we imagine making a Zadie. The phrase “imagine if we made this into a Zadie” has been used in our household more than seven times this week (… and this isn’t an exaggeration!). See more about this make here.

Parrot Poplin

This fabric is just what we needed to kick off our summer wardrobe sewing. The fabric is the Lady McElroy Marlie Cotton Lawn Fabric. A light woven non stretch 100% cotton fabric. When we first saw this fabric, the bright coloured print of the dress attracted us to the fabric. The vibrant colours of birds and leaves against the navy background were mesmerising in the product photos and even more in real life!

We used Vogue 8347. This vintage Vogue pattern does not have a date, but we guess it is from the late 1980s. After working from home for almost 18 months, comfort is the key motivation in the garments we make. The pattern is a very loose-fitting flared pullover dress. The top of the dress has a self-lined yoke, with buttons creating an opening on one shoulder. See more about this make here.

Two-piece checks

We are so excited to finish this vintage inspired two piece outfit just in time to wear it before the weather gets too warm!

For the skirt, we used McCalls 5113, with the copyright year of 1976. It is an A-line skirt, with a centre back zipper and pointed patch pockets. The front skirt panels are cut on the cross of the fabric, allowing the check of the fabric to sing proud as a feature, as the 45-degree angles of the check line up down the centre front seam.

For the top, we used Butterick 3289, with the copyright year of 1985. The top is loose-fitting with dropped shoulders and ¾ sleeves. The pattern originally had buttons down the centre back.
However, we really wanted the top to have an open-end zipper to make it easy to get on and off.

We used the Stretch Woven Suiting Fabric in Pink & Red. The grey background provides a solid base to allow the red, maroon and bright pink lines to pop. These vibrant colours allow for wonderful mixing and matching with other tops, skirts and pants. See more about this make here.

Floral Pajama’s

Over the last year, we have made a few sets of PJs from the McCalls Sewing Pattern 8056 pattern. The pattern has so many variables to mix and match to create your sleepwear set. For this project, I used the longer dressing gown, view B. I wanted to create a nighty that was light and floaty to wear underneath. This led me to explore our pattern collection and I came across our copy of the Ashton Top by Helen’s Closet Patterns.

For my fabric, we wanted something light and explored the Poplins selection on Minerva. This floral Art Gallery Fabric caught my eye in the Manhattans Glitz colourway. We loved the magenta-purple flowers with contrasting hues of aqua green and orange against a dark background. See more about this make here.

Red Plaid

What a fabulous check. This Polyester Viscose Suiting Fabric Black Red Grey has a bold pattern, complemented by an intense colour combination of black, grey and red. It was screaming to be made into a dress for work.

The challenge to constructing Butterick 5851 is the underarm gusset. Gussets provide a little extra room to enlarge certain areas of garments. In a pattern like Butterick 5851, the bodice and sleeve are in one piece and cut on the cross. So the gusset adds some extra space for the sleeve and arm movement. You may be thinking – wait, that isn’t the skirt to Butterick 5851? You are right. It is in fact our FAVOURITE skirt pattern, Vogue 1743.  Check out the pieced sleeve head! See more about this make here.

Edith Smock

The navy colourway of this poplin has white, lavender and coral paisley shaped repeated paisley shapes. The fabric is 112cm wide and is made from 100% Cotton.

The Edith Smock is a zero-waste design with all the pieces interlocking and cut from a rectangle of fabric. Traditional pattern making has a lot of curves and abstract shapes that do not interlock very easily from a Zero Waste perspective. For the Edith Smock Pattern Union has created there is a clever approach to forming the shapes we need to fit our bodies. Check out the pieced sleeve head! See more about this make here.

Black Crepe Floral

This beautiful black floral polyester crepe features a white floral design with dark red features and a green leaf pattern. The fabric is 150cm wide with no stretch for this 100% polyester crepe. This fabric was easy to work as was easy to stitch with a new shape needle to prevent any pulls. For a crepe fabric, it held its shape well when pressed.

When Vogue 1633 was released I loved the line of the dress.  A fitted waist with an A-line skirt and large statement sleeves.  The stand collar allowed to fall into the drape of the fabric was a nice detail.  The closure of the dress is a zipper at the centre back.  Instead of the recommended press studs, I used vintage buttons with an elastic loop for the closure at the sleeve cuff and neckband.  See more about this make here.

Ruby Brocade

Our most recent project has been working with this stunning ruby and taupe brocade with a metallic feature through it.  This woven fabric is 94% Polyester, 6% Metallic and part of the deadstock range stocked by Minerva. The Marta dress is the latest pattern release from Schultz Apparel.  For our version, we selected the style that has a fitted bodice with a beautiful square neckline and a straight skirt that features a split to above the knee.  The full-length sleeves have a small amount of gathering in the head of the sleeve and bellow around the forearm before coming in at the wrist. See more about this make here.

Blue Everest Coat

Once Erin saw this bright blue wool, she knew it was time to tackle her sewing ‘Everest’. Blue is one of her favourite colours to wear. The yellow and white line through the fabric breaks up the bold colour and provides a vibrant texture to the fabric. We decided to make the fabric into Butterick 5966. It has a flattering fit and flare shape and is fully lined. The pattern did have its complexities with side pockets, two-piece sleeve and fly button closing.  See more about this make here.

Schultz Apparel Paisley Dress

For this mash up of Schultz Apparel patterns, Lauren used this stunning Navy Paisley Cotton Poplin Fabric. She really wanted to use the wrap bodice from the Ottilia pattern, it has a great cross over because it does not sit too open with bust darts and long waist ties. We love the long Minna sleeve! The fullness is fantastic with gathering at the sleeve head and into the wrist. For this version, Lauren used elastic around the wrist and created a stitched casing. For the skirt, by selecting to start with 3.5m it meant she could do a tiered gathered skirt. The bottom tier contained 3 times the width of the fabric the top tier was twice the width. This was then gathered into the waist of the bodice. See more about this make here.

Navy Floral Fit and Flare

Hunting through the pattern box, Erin came across Vogue Pattern 1743. She was attracted to this pattern by the large external pockets cut on the bias, complemented with a flared skirt (that wasn’t circular or gathered, which is also perfect for work!). We have no doubt this dress is the first of many Vogue 1743 skirt and pocket combinations Erin will make for work! Paired with Butterick 6410 it was the perfect combination for this navy floral polished cotton. See more about this make here.

Tear Drop Atlas Top

It felt like time for a fun causal top in our make list and this Camelot Fabrics Cotton Poplin Fabric Navy was perfect! We have made the Atlas Top from Stitch Witch Patterns before (see here) and really loved the detail in the style. It is also a quick and easy pattern to sew together with no fastenings. See more about this make here.

Navy Jacquard

For this make, we used Woven Jacquard Fabric Navy with Simplicity 8594, which we have made before and loved the style. The pattern has two bodice options a crewneck with slit and raglan sleeve or a more open halter style. The skirt can be made in straight or flared style and has pockets in the side seam (yes pockets!). See more about this make here.

Floral Wrap Dress

This Lady McElroy, Marlie Cotton Lawn Fabric is light and breathable, perfect for a summer dress. Initially, we planned to make a vintage summer dress with a fitted bodice and a very full skirt. Once the fabric arrived, we changed our mind and decided to make McCalls Sewing Pattern 8036 instead. We wanted to make sure the pattern of the fabric was allowed to shine and not be overshadowed by a more complex bodice or the density of a very full skirt. See more about this make here.

Striped Vogue Skirt

When we saw the Stretch Suiting Fabric, we knew it would be perfect! The double line of a solid and dotted line combination within the fabric, provided a wonderful texture to the material while also providing the feature we were looking for in more subtle contrast. The rich plum colour provided a sophisticated colour, that wasn’t the classic black and white stripe combination.

We have had #vogue1683 sitting in the pattern tub waiting to find the perfect fabric. We paired the skirt with a matching top, adapted from the bodice of #butterick6556. See more about this make here.

 Printed Linen Viscose

As soon as Lauren saw this Linen Viscose Blend Fabric Sage Green she knew what she wanted to make. A new pattern from McCalls called Sasha, pattern number 8036. The variation Lauren made had the Asymmetrical button feature, shoulder bodice tucks, above elbow length sleeves featuring darts in the sleeve head with an A line skirt that finishes below the knee. See more about this make here.

 Fleur-de-lis Blue Printed Cotton

The Copen shade of blue was a beautiful balance of the colourway with the lightly washed blue providing a contrast to the white pattern. For this project, I was itching to make a shirt dress of some variety. Lauren loves a shirt dress! We find them a great style for work as they have a professional appearing with the button detail and collar but keep a feminine style with a skirt. Lauren had been wanting to make Butterick 6090 for quite a while with a love for the detail around the neck and the elbow length sleeve had to create balance to the pleated style skirt for those cooler Spring days. See more about this make here.

Red Floral Jumpsuit

When we spotted this vibrant red background, with white and black abstract floral pattern on the Minerva website it reminded us of one of our favourite dresses we had purchased many years ago. We started to think about how we could take this stretched polish cotton and create a similar feel.

For the pattern, we hacked together the bodice of Butterick 6410 and jumpsuit pants from Vogue 9075. We had made the jumpsuit before and loved the style and fit of the pattern. However, we really wanted to add a collar to the jumpsuit. While we could have tried to attach a collar to the existing neckline, we decided to swap out the bodice pattern altogether. Instead, we used the bodice of Butterick 6410 which also meant that we were able to include the horizontal design feature across the bodice. See more about this make here.