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.
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.
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.
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 is taken by Two Sewing Sisters
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.
FWe 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The Melbourne International Millinery Competition (MIMC) is hosted by The Essential Hat. This year was the sixth year the competition has run and invited milliners from across the globe to respond to the theme. For 2021 the theme was Little Black Dress. The idea is that everyone will have their own ideas of what Little Black Dress means then design and make a hat to suit it.
Two Sewing Sisters was thrilled to be invited to be part of the team and style the photoshoot for the competition. See all of the entries and photoshoot here.
For us, the Little Black Dress meant something that had diversity and could be styled in different ways. Each milliner was creating a piece to represent what the theme meant for them and we needed looks that could transform to match each hat.
We created a base slip black dress for each model. This would form the foundation, a classic fitted bodice shape to be able to style piece over the top. We selected Gertie Butterick Pattern B6453 as the base and constructed it in black polished cotton for each model.
This black lattice lace formed a textured finish to create an iconic Little Black Jacket to be worn over the dress. We used the Pattern Union Felix Jacket with square neck and satin bound collar.
Keeping a diverse range of options in front of mind, we wanted to create a very pretty and floral option. We used a vintage Simplicity pattern with ruffle features that allowed us to showcase the fabric’s scalloped edge.
A strong and striking leather cropped top using Vogue Pattern V1486 created a bold option for a modern aesthetic. The top had raw edges and an exposed open-ended zipper down the centre back.
We wanted to make sure we had an option with large sleeves to balance the presence of larger hats or headpieces with a modern fabric choice. We found this star tulle fabric and created a combination of Schultz Apparel patterns using the bodice from the Ottilia Top with a long sleeve from the Minna Dress. We have made these before in striped cotton and strong blue print.
Glitz and Sequin
We could not have a sequin option! We took the cape of Vogue Pattern V 1579 and bound the edge with a satin bias. We have made this pattern before in jacquard and loved the line is created.
With hats and headpieces for all occasions we called on a few pieces from our collection including a vintage top Mum wore to work in the 1980s, a textured knit and tulle overcoat vintage pattern.
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.
Jocelyn Proust Christmas Wombats
This year we went for a modern Australian print by Jocelyn Proust. The cute Australiana print features grey wombats in red Christmas hats on a pale blue background.
We found the fabric at a Boxing Day sale last year (with luckily enough fabric left on the roll!). The blue background and Australiana print were perfect, as it was different from the traditional red themed fabric from previous years. We didn’t plan what patterns we were going to make when we purchased the fabric but still managed to fit our five garments out of 12.5 metres.
Lauren and Erin
This year we made two of our favourite patterns we discovered in 2020. Lauren was inspired by the ruffled version of the Flora Dress we had made recently and it was a great sleeveless option for a warm Australian Christmas Day. Erin made a dress version of the Schultz Apparel Ottilia Top adding a gathered skirt to the originally waisted top.
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.
Earlier in the year, we made Mum and blue Kingfisher version of Vogue 1511 with the long sleeves. As it is one of her favourite dresses to wear, we decided to use the pattern to make a short sleeve version fit for summer.
James and Erin
James dove into the matching family Christmas outfits and took on the challenge of making his own shirt! This is his third garment having only made 2 pairs of pyjama shorts before tackling his first collared McCalls 6044 shirt.
Fabric Hoarders is an independent fabrics store that is based in Echuca in regional Victoria. Through their online store they have a variety of cotton fabrics and sewing accessories. We first came across Leanne’s business when we were on the hunt for WhipsaWeft interfacing. Whe was the only supplier we could find that had it in stock and we jumped for joy. We were very excited to find her business and even more so when we found out she was from near our home town. We have partnered with Fabric Hoarders to share this project with you with them suppling us with the fabric for this make.
Zebra Stripes Cotton
Previously if you had asked us if we wore animal prints we likely said no. Btut something recently has shifted, Lauren made a leopard print version of Gertie’s Butterick 6556 and then a McCalls 7542.
So when we were looking through the selection available on Fabric Hoarders we stopped to check out the strong pattern of this Zebra Stripe Cotton.
It has a strong contrast between the black and white monochrome pattern and the diagonal line created an interesting effect. The cotton comes in 25cm increments through the Fabric Hoarders website.
We grew up on what are sometimes described as “Big 4” Patterns – this refers to some of the original commercial pattern companies. As part of their A History of series Dressed Podcast have done an episode that explored Paper Patterns that talks about how these were first established. It is interesting to hear about how these companies originated and have evolved into the brands we see today. Take a listen to the episode while you are next sewing.
We have more recently started sewing with smaller often referred to as Indi patterns. Both of these types of patterns are fantastic options and it is worth exploring all different types of patterns to discover different styles and the fit that works best for you.
For this make we used Simplicity 8594, which we have made before, see here. The pattern has two bodice options a crewneck with slit or halter style. The skirt can be made in straight or flared and has pockets in the side seam.
For this version we made the halter style with flared skrit which we lengthened slightly. See Erin cutting the skirt pieces in the video.
We fully lined the dress, as you might have heard us talk about before we prefer to line our dresses. It helps them to sit smoothly against the body and makes for a cleaner finish on the inside. We cut the lining from an old white striped sheet. For this fabric the background of the Zebra print is white so lining it also prevents the chance of the lighter colour being transparent.
The sharp lines of the dress make it a very modern and a current style. We wanted to continue this look through the finishings and chose to add an exposed chunky zipper down the center back.
The zipper length starts between the shoulders and runs down to the hips. For this we used a 60cm black open ended zipper that we stitched on the outer of the finished dress.
Yes to pockets. Always yes to pockets. In some case when there aren’t pockets we add pockets. We have a photo copy of a side seam pocket bag pattern piece we keep around to be able to add it if there isn’t one included but it wasn’t needed for this, the pattern came with it’s own pockets which of course we included.
Finished Zebra Stripes
The pairing of pattern and fabric worked out really well for this one. It was a great addition to be able to add the feature of the zipper down the back. The idea of doing this didn’t happen until Lauren was rumaging through the zipper box and found the zipper. It was the perfect length and we did not have plan for it previously.
A strong print the Zebra Stripes from Fabric Hoarders could have become over whelming to the eye if cut into by too many design lines but the Simplicity 8594 with its princess line front and A line skirt was a great pairing.
Summer dresses are here! Which means for us a great urge to sew pretty floral cotton dresses. This project ticked all of those boxes. Using a floral print Liberty Cotton from Fabric Hoarders we created a variation of the By Hand London Flora Dress.
Liberty Orchard Garden from Fabric Hoarders
Located in a town on the Murray River in North Victoria, Fabric Hoarders is an independent fabrics store. They have a great selection of cotton and liberty fabrics in their online store. We have partnered with Fabric Hoarders and its business owner Leanne to share with you some of their wonderful fabrics.
This beautiful print is the blue colour way of the Orchard Garden design by Liberty. It is a cotton fabric with an off white background and blue floral repeated design.
The Flora Dress is a lovely pattern from By Hand London – it has a fitted bodice with waist and bust darts. There are two bodice varations, we chose to make the tank style with high neck and thin shoulder straps
Flora comes with two skirt options either a shaped circled or pleated option. We opted for a different style again and created a gathered skirt with darts.
Adding the shoulder ruffle
To create the ruffle cut a rectangle piece that is twice the length of the strap x 10cm wide (4cm wide ruffle + 1cm seam allowance, doubled)
Press the ruffle in half length ways
Finish the ends of the ruffle by putting right sides together and stitching across the ends
Turn right side out
Create gathering stitch close to the raw edge
Prepare the strap by pressing in half then the edges into the middle
Using the gathering stitch pull the ruffle up so the ends sit 1.5cm from the raw end of the strap (so they don’t get caught up in the bodice)
Tack the ruffle into place
Fold the strap in half, sandwiching the ruffle
The strap is finished and ready to be inserted into the bodice as shown in the instructions
We created the skirt by starting with two rectangles, the width of the fabric and 65cm long. Using darts along with gathers creates a more bell shaped skirt and reduces the bulk around the waist. The darts should sit from the waist to the hip, this is approximately 25cm, for this skirt we did a series of smaller darts spread out across the skirt
Finished Liberty Flora
Pattern placement was key. You will see us talk about pattern placement and pattern matching alot. It is steps like making sure that if you have a dominate pattern that it is placed well on the body, lined up down the centre front or on a skirt that the pattern lines up as is runs around the body.
Making this floral dress in the Liberty print was no expection. If you watch the video you will see how Erin folded the fabric when she was cutting it. At first you might say it is not the most efficent way of cutting the piece but when you see the pattern lined up down the center front of the bodice you can then understand why this particular placement.
Take pattern placement into consideration when select how much fabric you might need and if in doubt check with your fabric supplier how long the repeat is. Fabric Hoarders have 25cm increments that works very well for a print like this as you can pick the repeat of this fabric with the butterflies being the dominant repeat running down the fabric.
The Libert Ochard Garden cotton from Fabric Hoarders was lovely to work with. It was perfect for a style like this, holding well in the bodice darts and enough softeness in the gathers of the skirt and added shoulder detail.
Spring is in the air. For Myer Fashion on the Front Lawn, we wanted to create a dreamy, pastel spring outfit. What better way to achieve this than a pale blue silk organza Atlas Top and tulle. Lots and lots of tulle.
Hiding in our fabric stash was a pale blue silk organza remnant purchased from Tessuti fabrics. Despite its beauty, the piece was only 1 metre limiting what we could make.
Enter the Altas Top by Stitch Witch patterns. When it was released, the pattern testing team consistently commented on how great the pattern was for using up larger scraps of fabric as it only required one metre of fabric.
Constructing the Skirt
Initially, for the skirt, we were going to cut strips of tulle and gather them onto the circle skirt. After adding the first two ruffles onto the skirt, our planned changed. Seeing the tiers on the skirt, we decided it was going to be too busy for the smoothness of the top (and take a VERY LONG TIME). Instead, we decided to layer multiple tulle circular skirts together.
The skirt is lined with white cotton broadcloth. Tulle layers start with tulle net and transition to soft bridal tulle on the top layers.
Constructing the Atlas Top
The Atlas Top is quick and easy to sew together. It only takes one metre of fabric, and has great design elements of the T-dart at the front and cross over straps at the back. We thought we share a few tips and tricks that we found useful when putting together the Atlas Top.
One of the reasons we loved this pattern was the T-dart feature. The risk of any centre front bust feature is the one that you (and most likely other people) will see it the most. In Step 2, it states “…mak[e] sure that darts are aligned”.
We made a cotton check version the week before this one, pinned down the seam but just decided to sew from the neck to the waist all in one go. Needless to say, despite our pinning, the seam was not lined up, and the quick unpick came out.
For us making it in a silk and organza fabric this time, we were very conscious we wanted to avoid unpicking. This is because the fabric is delicate and would not survive being frequently unpicked!
Our tip: Line up, pin and stitch the T dart starting and stopping only a few centimetres each side (see the photo, which shows you from the right side of the fabric). If it is lined up, then you are free to stitch the whole seam. If it isn’t quite perfect, you have a MUCH smaller seam to unpick.
As the silk organza is light and slightly translucent, we used the pale blue silk dupion behind the organza which acted as a lining. We also used the silk for the facing pieces. As the facing and lining piece would be solid blue and not match the external print really wanted to make sure that the lining stay tucked underneath, and didn’t show when it was worn.
In step 3 of the Atlas Top instructions, we interpreted to have a few additional steps. A key step of this is understitching. Where you are sewing in cotton fabric, these steps may be less needed as a strong iron would greater assist in making the straps still flat. However, we thought we would show you how we did it with additional fabric and silk.
Sew the short curved side of the strap first, with right side together. Cutting back the lining to reduce bulk.
2. Under stitch the seam. Do this before stitching the long side of the strap, it is easier to access the seam (without it getting all tucked up) if you understitch one side first.
The benefit of understitching is that it keeps the lining in place, and not rolling out.
3. We found that once it was pressed flat, the lining piece was sticking out from the top fabric. Having the lining piece long or wider than the top fabric may also cause issues, as it could bubble out and not sit flat. To avoid these issues, we trimmed back the lining to match the top fabric.
4. With right sides together, we then stitched the long side of the strap. Now looking at this photo, you may be thinking… “if you cut back the lining to match the top fabric, why have you not lined them up perfectly along the raw edge?” It is actually the same reason as to why we cut back the lining – the lining should be a little bit smaller than the top fabric. Only a little bit by 2-3mm, but it makes such a difference!
5. Final steps are to trim back the average of the lining along the seam of the long side of the strap. Then understitch the long side of the strap (from the right side of the fabric). It can be a bit tricky depending on the size of your sewing machine bed, as you are stitching down the ‘tube’ of the strap, but it is worth it for the result! Take it slowly, and make sure you have no additional fabric tuck into the seam.
Step 5 of the instructions is all about the front facing! For the front facing we opted to use (the optional) woven fusible interfacing. To finish off the edges, instead of just overlocking we decided to finish it off with bias.
We love using bias to finish off seams. Even though this facing has a lovely curved shape to the edge, the bias can sweep around the corners and sit perfectly flat against the curve. For this one, we even went a little bit special and made our own bias!
Floaty, dreaming outfit with a BIG skirt. It is what spring outfit dreams are made of!
Both pieces are great additions to our collection. The white tulle skirt is screaming at us with new outfit ideas – pair with other tops and jackets in lace, plain colours, pattern fabrics the possibilities are endless.
Would you like to see our past Spring Carnival creations (from when we could be trackside)? Here are our last years Spring Carnival creations from Melbourne Cup and Derby Day.
We are excited to be welcomed as part of the Minerva Maker team! Showcasing their beautiful fabrics, we are looking forward to showing you a variety of different makes. You can shop Minerva Craft’s full range of fabrics here.
Our first Minerva make ticks so many of our sewing boxes:
Bright and fun pattern
Cotton sateen (one of our FAVOURITE fabrics to sew with)
re-wearable for events as well as work
and did we mention… it is a jumpsuit!
If you have followed us for a while, you will know that cotton sateen is one of our favourite fabrics to sew. The thicker cotton makes it easy to sew, with the slight stretch making it comfortable and easy to wear.
We had made the jumpsuit before and loved the style and fit of the pattern. However, we really wanted to add a collar onto the jumpsuit. While we could have tried to attach a collar to the existing neckline, we decided to swap out the bodice pattern altogether.
After a hunt through our pattern collection, we create a shortlist of bodice options. We were focused on finding a pattern that had design lines we could feature in the bodice which wouldn’t get ‘lost’ in the busy print. The great thing about pattern hacking it is like a food buffet, you can combine two half meals together or have a little bit of a lot of foods – the options are endless
In the end, we decided on Butterick 6410. It had a collar and horizontal design feature across the bodice (see how we did this in the construction section!)
To emphasise the design lines, we added in a black flat bias around the collar and horizontal bodice line. The Minerva fabric has such fabulous (but busy) print. We wanted to avoid losing the design lines in such a busy print. Unlike piping, where you would have a cord in the bias, we used the bias pressed in half flat. This created a modern look and provided a strong feature.
Once the bodice was together we did testing fit to make sure it fit and the waist seam would match up the key points of centre front, side seams and back. It was a relatively small adjustment, adapting the patterns along the waistline to come together and worked well on the fabric.
Usually, during this time of year, we are preparing for the Melbourne Cup carnival, curating outfits and sewing hats and dresses. This year, like a lot of things, fashion on the field looks a bit different.
We are excited to be working with Fabric Deluxe to showcase this beautiful fabric for this project. We really wanted to make something from the range of Fancies and Textured fabric from the Fabric Deluxe selection. When we came across their Bird and Butterfly Cobalt Jacquard and knew that was it!
Fabric Deluxe is a fabric store based in Melbourne and has an online store. They aim to stock lovely, wearable fabrics that fit into the real life of their customers. Their stock is a variety of different fabrics including linens, viscose and wools for everyday wear to more special occasion pieces, which they like to call fancies. The approach of the Fabric Deluxe team is first that they are sewers too and understand the dedication of making a handmade garment.
This fabric called for something special! The cobalt and blue tone pattern against the black background is such a strong design. The pattern within the design features a repeat of birds and butterflies amongst leaves and flower shapes.
To highlight the detail of the fabric, we needed to select a style that would best showcase this. It needed to respect the fabric and not cut through the pattern of the fabric. This means considering bust darts over princess lines, how a sleeve is drafted and if the skirt will fall straight or if a fuller skirt will showcase the pattern better.
We have previously made Vogue 1579 and loved how the cape falls over the shoulders. The cape is attached to the dress around the neckline of a sleeveless bodice. This was a great pattern to use for this jacquard fabric as the birds and butterflies could fly around the capeline, and it becomes a smooth showcase of the beautiful detail of the fabric.
We wanted to make sure we got the pattern placement and matching correct This means making sure there was a bird directly in the middle of the bodice and in the back of the cape. The bird appeared to be the most dominate feature of our eye. They repeats down the skirt with two mirror image birds sitting on the centre front.
The pattern design asks for the front and back to both be cut on the fold with an underarm zipper. As the skirt has a split in the centre back to allow for enough movement to walk it has a centre back seam. Check out our video to see how we shuffle the pieces around to achieve this cutting layout.
Constructing the bodice
The instructions list this as an “average” in terms of skill level required. If you can conceptualise how it comes together, it all makes sense. Even for an experienced sewer, it is worth stopping by the instructions for this one to make sure you have the openings in the correct spots and understand how the neckline finished under the cape.
The armholes are finished by leaving the shoulder seams open. This is a great method which used a lot for sleeve garments because it means you do not have to try to contort the garment to pull it through to stitch.
Hemming the Cape
As the cape was the hero of this design, it deserved to be beautifully finished. The jacquard fabric could easily “bruise” with a top stitch line, we chose to hand stitch the hem. On the underside of the fabric is contrasting, and because of the shape of the cape could be seen from some angles. To keep a smooth edge and prevent any stray threads from the jacquard weave showing we used a bias tape. This sits on the inside of the hem and using a pick stitch to catch the outer layer.
Center Back Split
The original pattern finished above the knee, however we chose to length this. We wanted this dress to have a longer line to show off the fabric. The pattern is a straight skirt, so this is an easy pattern hack to do. Keep the right angles of the side seams measure and mark an even amount down from the hem.
The Fabric Deluxe Team recommend lining this fabric as the underside is very textured and may feel rough against the skin. We defiantly agree with this recommendation, it is lovely quality fabric, but this is a natural trait for this type of weave. You want your garment to be comfortable and easy to wear, and a lining will help with this.
As this was a fitted dress, we would have lined the skirt anyway to help it set well while worn and move easily when walking, not cling to the body. This is how we finished off the inside of the split.
The Bird and Butterfly Cobalt Jacquard from Fabric Deluxe was beautiful to work with. It has a natural body and structure to it. This was a great combination of fabric and dress pattern. We how the cape sat out around the body and just as we had planned the bird was placed on the centre focal points.
We watched Schultz Apparel tease us with fun tops. Sharing them to her socials, they were adorable! We know we declared our top phase had come to a close and it was going to be dresses for a while. But then the Ottilia Top appeared. It has all the great features of a Schultz Apparel Pattern; amazing sleeves and clever construction. Usually we are apprehensive about wrap tops due to cup size and it not sitting well around the bust but we were excited to give this pattern a try.
Ottilia Top Details
Ottilia is a short wrap top with short vintage inspired puffy sleeves and an extra-long belt that can be tied multiple times around the waist.
This pattern is suited for light to middleweight woven fabric such as a cotton, linen, viscose, tencel or polyester.
We made it in a green and white striped cotton fabric we found in our stash. We don’t remember where it came from but based on the colours it is likely something Nanny picked and we are lucky enough to be able to stitch it up.
Constructing the Ottilia Top
The instructions are easy to follow to construct this folky style dress. The tiered skirt is constructed by joining together gathered rectangles. Instead of needing to print pieces for the rectangular pieces, Schultz Apparel gives the measurements for the rectangles. saving on printing and cutting time (not to mention the environment through the saved pieces of paper!).
The sleeve is constructed with two layers, the other fuller body and stabilising under layer. Initially we cut both out of the striped fabric but because of how strong the stripe as you could faintly the stripe in the under fabric. We recut the lining in a white cotton so
How to line something that has a facing
You might have heard us say before what a fan we are of lining garments. There are a few reasons for this. It gives it a better finish, less exposed seams inside of the garment. It also means that the pressure is not on the outside fabric to side flush again the body and appear flat. The lining provides some extra structure.
Not all garments are lined, some just have facings. This is still a great way to finish a garment, it provides clean edges and they are shaped pieces that follow the contours of the outer shape, they mimic the outer layer. It might feel rebellious to divert from the instructions, it does take confidence to know where you are heading with the garment but it can definitely be done. Here is a bit of guide as to how we go about it.
Cut all of the pattern piece as the instructions say, all the bodice pieces and facing.
Cut the bodice pieces in your lining fabric – the same as the outside
Stitch the pieces together to create the outer shell, lining and facing.
Finish the edge of the facing. We over lock ours in a matching thread.
Attach the facing on top of the lining.
You are looking to create to make two shells; the outside and the lining.
The lining should be right side up with the facing also sitting right side up. Think of them as becoming one.
Bag out the lining and the outer shell.
Put the right sides together and stitch around the neck line. Cut back the seam allowance and under stitch.
As this is a top around the hemline.
Leave the armholes open.
Pull the bodice right side out through the open arm holes.