Minna Dress by Schultz Apparel

Schultz Apparel has released a stunning new pattern called the Minna Dress.  Their style is strong and feminine designs with features including large sleeves and fitted bodices inspired by vintage designs.  Minna is no exception and she is devine!  We really enjoyed being part of the pattern testing team for this style. 

Minna Dress Details

The Minna Dress has a fitted bodice, statement sleeves that gather into a cuff, and a full skirt. This pattern includes three bodice options, three sleeve options, and three skirt options. The designs can be mixed and matched depending on your style. The design is not lined but uses a facing to finish the neck edge.

The pattern is designed to be made in a woven fabric including cotton, linen and wool.

We made Design A which has a boat neck, buttons at center front, long sleeves and flip cuffs. It has a slightly gathered circle skirt.

The fabric we used was a block wax cotton that Lauren purchased when visiting London. It was from African Queen Fabrics located in the Brixton Markets. You purchase fabric by the piece that comes 120cm wide by 5.5 meters in length. This was the perfect amount for us because of the way we needed to use the pattern placement to make sure the key parts of the printed landed correctly on the pattern pieces. Schultz Apparel do not suggest that you need this much fabric, it is best to check the instructions for their recommendation about the style you make.

Constructing the Minna Dress

The fabric print placement on the cuff

The pattern suggests user an under arm invisible zipper. This is difficult to get in and out of for a garment that has sleeves. The style does not have any detail or collar in the back that would be interrupted by a center back zipper so we opted to do this instead. We hope it will provide a little bit more longevity to the make instead of straining the underarm seams trying to get in and out of an underarm zipper.

This design is not lined and uses a neck facing to finish around the neck and button area. It is a neat finish however we are also working on a version with the flat front which we chose to line the bodice of as the fabric was not as stable. We did this by cutting the same bodice piece in a lining fabric and omitting the facing pieces.

Keep and eye on your seam allowance – it is 2cm for the pattern. If you are use to sewing with other patterns your default might be 1.5cm so make sure to check the instructions in case it varies.

Finished Minna Dress

The Minna dress is such a sweet style.  We really liked the fit of the bodice.  It is easy to wear as even though it has a wider more open neckline there is no need to wear a strapless bra with it as the neckline is really well placed. The instructions are quite good, keep an eye on how to finish the cuff for option A, it is a little difficult to finish the curved split cuff.  The shape of the sleeves is fantastic and provides a strong statement. 

Photography Notes

Photographer: Lauren Ritchie
Model: Erin Ritchie
Dress Pattern: Minna Dress by Schultz Apparel
Dress Fabric: African Queen Fabrics, Brixton, London

Legends 2.0 by Stay and Stitch

Stay and Stitch have been making some changes to their business and also the layout of their patterns.  As part of this Terri the owner and pattern designer chose to update an existing pattern which was known as Legends releasing Legends 2.0.  With the relaunched she reached out to her testing community to trial the changes which we were excited to be a part of.  

Legends 2.0 Details

The Legends pattern has a few variations between bodice shape, length and sleeve options. Each option has the grown on shaped neck feature.

The pattern is made in a knit fabric with the suggested fabrics being; jersey knit, bamboo jersey, cotton/lycra, cotton/spandex, stretch polyesters, stretch rayons and moda.

Stay and Stitch have done some really lovely neck detail features between Legends and the Solace Top. The instructions for Legends marked the stitch line for the neck with a tracing wheel and tracing paper. Instead of this method we cut out the middle piece of the facing and used a tailors chalk rolling pencil to mark the stitch line. This creates the same effect and doesn’t rely on safely storing the transfer paper (messy!). Transfer paper has chalk on one side and when run over with the tracing wheel leaves the chalk mark.

For the skirt section we opted for the long length dress hem with the split in the side.

Constructing Legends 2.0

As this is a knit garment it can mostly be constructed on overlocker. We did this on our 4 thread Juki machine and finished the hem using a stretch stitch on a domestic machine.

The neck finishing is very clever around the back and easy to finish. Stitch across each shoulder and then the extension of the front is joined at the center back and stitched across the back.

The instructions suggested to close up the side seam and then put in the sleeve. There is another method where you stitch the shoulder seams, insert the sleeve head and then down the side seam. Both have the same result but the second is easier to manage easing in the sleeve head and you don’t have to worry about getting caught up when stitching in a circle around the armhole.

Finished Dress

The Legends was an easy pattern to stitch up, the instructions were very good in outlining the process.  It is a great pattern for any level of sewer as the instructions would support a beginner or be a quick guide for an advanced seamstress. 

As we are working on building up our work wardrobes we chose to make the dress is a thicker patterned knit that can be worn with tights and high heels for a winter look.  The pattern has versatile style options and could be made to suit many occasions.  

Photography Notes

Photographer: Erin Ritchie
Model: Lauren Ritchie
Dress Pattern: Legends 2.0 by Stay and Stitch
Dress Fabric: Spotlight

Solace Top from Stay and Stitch

Welcome to our top making phase!  We are great dress lovers but have been trying to fill some gaps in our wardrobe recently.  After creating quite a few Summer tops (in the middle of winter) we began to explore what options are available for some comfy winter styles.

We are not big sewers of knits but when Stay and Stitch did a call out for pattern testers for their new design we were excited to give it a go and loved it.  

Solace Top Details

The Solace Top has a funnel neck with an option to cut out the back piece on the fold or place a center back seam in it. This cutting option allows for more flexability if limited by fabric layout.

The hem has two options a curved or straight finished, both which have a side split detail.

We really loved the neck shape of this style, Stay and Stitch described it as a mock turtle or funnel neck. To help showcase this feature we chose to construct the top in a jade double knit fabric from our stash.

The pattern was easy to cut out with only three pieces; front, back and sleeve.

We opted for the curved hem to provide a nice line if the top if worn out over a pair of pants.

Constructing the Solace Top

Finished Top

This was an easy pattern to stitch up, the instructions were very good in outlining the process.  It is a great pattern for any level of sewer as the instructions would support a beginner or be a quick guide for an advanced seamstress. 

We are looking forward to making a few more versions of this top and in particular would love to make it in a textured knit.  We styled it here with jeans and a head wrap but would look great tucked into a pair of high waisted pants for a more corporate style. 

Photography Notes

Photographer: James Christie
Model: Erin Ritchie
Headpiece: Lauren J Ritchie Millinery
Top Pattern: Juliet Coat By Hand London
Dress Fabric: Two Sewing Sisters fabric stash

Juliet Coat By Hand London with Drapers Fabric

The Juliet Coat is the latest release from By Hand London.  We enjoyed been part of the testing team for this project and partnered with Drapers Fabrics who supplied us with a beautiful wool coating for the project.  The Juliet coat is fully lined and features two-piece raglan sleeves, in-seam pockets, a roomy swing shape and the option of a classic notch collar or a softer shawl collar.

Channel your inner Mrs Maisel with this perfectly retro swing coat!

By Hand London

Drapers Fabric

Drapers Fabric Fitzroy

Thank you to Draper Fabrics for partnering with us for this project. They supplied us with the lovely wool and lining for the testing of this pattern. We had a look at their online store which ships from New Zealand to get an idea of they might have available. before we headed into the Fitzroy Store.

We selected a checked blue, grey and cream wool for the outer fabric and a silk twill for the lining

Outer

Storm was the other colourway, we went with the blue tones of the London Wool

Lining

This silk twill was a perfect colour match – only available in store

Finished Juliet Coat

Construction Notes

This is a PDF pattern which means that you download a PDF file and then need to print it out. Words from the wise – copy shop. Visit your local print shop.

We did the testing for this in the first stages of lockdown of COVID19 so we didn’t feel we should leave the house but if we were to print this lovely coat again it would save so much time to get it printed on A0.

Instead Erin spent a long afternoon with tape and scissors. The other disadvantage of printing at home is that the edge of the pattern pieces fall on tape lines of the A4 pages.

The outer shell

We are big fans of under stitching, big fans! It stops seams from rolling and the underside showing where it shouldn’t. This wasn’t listed in great detail in the instructions. We should suggest under stitching the underside of the collar piece, on the facing from the hem up to the button

If you are nervous about make a coat – don’t be for this one. There are no shoulder pads or complex pocket details to worry about. Essentially make the outer shell, make the lining and stitch the together around the openings (okay there is a little more to it but that is an overview)

Juliet Coat Details

Anna Dress

We have been excited to make an Anna Dress since we saw Stitches and Sutures wearing it and it has come one of her favourites. This seemed like a great chance to give it a go.  We wanted the coat to have the iconic fitted dress and oversized coat styling.  The colours within the coat where specific tones and we found a piece of light wool suiting in our stash to that blended perfectly and did not distract from the stunning coat fabric.  

Anna Dress by Hand London

We used the higher neck bodice style of the pattern and as we only had a small amount of fabric replaced the paneled skirt with a straight skirt and back split.

We fully lined the dress in a polyester lining to allow for ease of movement in such a fitted style

Photography Notes

Photographer: James Christie
Model: Erin Ritchie
Headpiece: Lauren J Ritchie Millinery
Coat Pattern: Juliet Coat By Hand London
Coat Fabric: Drapers Fabric
Dress Pattern: Anna Dress By Hand London
Dress Fabric: Two Sewing Sisters fabric stash
Shoes: Wittner

Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition

Picking our fabrics for the Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition

On rainy Friday afternoon we visited the Flinders Lane Tessuti to pick our fabric for the Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition.  The team kindly let us sit down on the pattern table and plan out our outfits (and raid the button box)

The Fabric

The fabric for this year’s Tessuti competition was a broderie anglaise designs available in 4 colours. It had two scales of the stitching pattern in each colour. The composition was 75% cotton and 25% linen, making it versatile for a whole fabulous range of possible garments. See the full range of fabric on the Tessuti store here.

Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition Two Sewing Sisters entries

Lauren’s Outfit

I wanted to create a skirt and top that was able to worn together and with other separates. We wanted to use both scales of the stitched fabric in the garment and picking which fabric was used for each feature was important to showcase the features of the fabric and garment.

I chose to use Simplicity 5497 for my top as I like the gathered sleeve and could see how the larger scale would work through the bodice and sleeve with the smaller square for the ruffle and the cuff of the sleeve.

Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition Simplicity 5497 and Vogure 9249
Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition Simplicity 5497 and Vogue 9249
Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition Simplicity 5497
Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition Vogue 9249

Erin’s Outfit

Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition Vogue 2684

With a focus on building her corporate work wardrobe, Erin chose to make a shirt dress style number.

I chose Vogue 2684 a vintage pattern we had in our collection as I like the collar feature and built in belt detail. To highlight these features I wanted to use the larger stitched fabric on the main part of the bodice and skirt than to show the unique features use the smaller square stitching on the collar facing so it would the fabric that you see when it is worn and the belt.

Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition Vogue 2684
Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition Vogue 2684
Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition Vogue 2684

Garment Construction

Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition self covered buttons

Self covered buttons

Lauren’s top and Erin’s dress called for buttons as their closures. We chose to use self covered buttons so we were not adding in another feature or texture that would distract from the texture of the existing fabric or other garment details. The selvage of the fabric was wide enough that we could use it as the material to cover our 15mm and 19mm buttons

Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition bias hem hand stitching

Bias Tape Hem Finish

As neither of our garments had any top stitching we wanted this to be consistent in the hem. The bias tape provides a neat finish on the underside and worked well with this type of fabric as meant the hem did not rely on the overlocker skipping over the section where the raised stitching of the broderie anglaise was thick or holding together areas of the cut out holes in the fabric design.

Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition pillow case lining

Pillow Case Lining

The stitching and hole punched style of the broderie anglaise fabric meant there were areas of the fabric that could be seen through. For the main bodice parts of the our garments, we chose to line them in a white cotton fabric. As the fabric would not be seen and this was a perfect opportunity to upcycle some white pillowcases.

Hand stitching
Pinning of lining for Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition

Knots and Crosses Sewing Competition Credits

Two Sewing Sisters by James Christie Photography

Thank you to Tessuti Fabrics for running the Knots and Crosses Sewing Competion, another interesting and creative competition!

Thank you to James Christie for photographing our makes.  

You can see our 2019 Colour in Thirds entries here and 2018 Skylines Tessuti entry here.  Another few great competition run by Tessuti Fabrics

Two Sewing Sisters Erin Ritchie and Lauren Ritchie image by James Christie

Operation Tiny House NYE – Sewing Resolutions

We celebrated the end of 2019 and welcome 2020 with New Year Celebrations at a Tiny House Escape with our dear friend Kate, also known as Stitches and Sutures! We stay in a lovely tiny house that was situation in Carrickalinga in South Australia. With bushfires threatening so many parts of Australia we were wishing everyone a safe start to 2020.

We wore matching outfits made out of Abstract Multicoloured Digital Printed Cotton Linen Fabric that is 112 cm from Spotlight – you can find the fabric here.

Operation Tiny House NYE
Matching outfits for our New Year’s Celebration
Operation Tiny House NYE
Watching the sunset on 2019 from our Tiny House

Erin’s Outfit

Operation Tiny House NYE - Mccalls 7862
Erin in Mccalls 7862
Operation Tiny House NYE - Mccalls 7862
Sleeve Detail
Shaped hem of Mccalls 7862

Kate’s Outfit

Operation Tiny House NYE
Earrings from Timber and Cotton
Operation Tiny House NYE
#modellyfe

Lauren’s Outfit

Operation Tiny House NYE
Pocket detail of Butterick 678
Operation Tiny House NYE
Earrings to match

2020 Sewing Resolutions

Last year we set ourselves some sewing resolutions- some we were able to complete, others that made it back on the list for this year. See last year’s sewing resolutions here. Our sewing resolutions for 2020 are:

Lauren’s Sewing Resolutions

  • Make a wool coat – this was part of last years resolution but didn’t happen so is here again for 2020
  • Fix 5 projects that I currently don’t like wearing because something isn’t right or it isn’t wearable
  • Make pale blue and black striped crepe flint pants – these have been on my to make list for yonks so it is a must for this year.
  • Only make from the stash. Instead of fabric shopping assume that we have a fabric that will be suitable, shop our stash and only purchase fabric for garments on the exception list. The exception list includes:
    • Oaks Day Millinery Award dress
    • One piece of fabric from overseas travels

Erin’s Sewing Resolutions

  • Make a suit – this was part of last years resolution but didn’t happen so is here again for 2020
  • Make 15 work appropriate garments in fabric from the stash
  • Finish everything before midnight the night before it needs to be worn

Kate’s Sewing Resolutions

  • Make 3 sets of lingerie
  • Make a coat – step one of picking a pattern is complete now to find some fabric!
  • Use 10 pieces from my stash before buying more
Operation Tiny House NYE

Christmas Outfits a Ritchie Family tradition

Christmas outfits have been a family tradition that started in the mid 1980’s when our Dad suggest that his mother-in-law, our Nan make him a shirt out of Christmas fabric. From then on it would not have been Christmas without themed attire.

The fabric for this years outfits had been purchased from Spotlight around two years ago and sat waiting for a family Christmas that involved some sunshine and we could all be together on Christmas Day.

Ritchie Family Christmas Outfits
Ritchie Family Christmas Outfits
Robyn (Mum) is wearing Simplicity 8840 and David (Dad) is wearing McCall's 4399
Robyn (Mum) is wearing Simplicity 8840 and David (Dad) is wearing McCall’s 4399 (out of print)
Ritchie Family Christmas Outfits
Erin is wearing Megan Neilsen Flint Pants with bodice of simplicity 1610 and Luaren is wearing Gertie's Butterick 6556
Erin is wearing Megan Neilsen Flint Pants with bodice of Simplicity 1610 (out of print) and Lauren is wearing Gertie’s Butterick 6556
Ritchie Family Christmas Outfits
Sammywise is wearing custom made Two Sewing Sisters bow tie dog collar.
Sammywise is wearing custom made Two Sewing Sisters bow tie dog collar.

This year we also had a guest, Mr Sammywise Gamgee, a spoodle dog and naturally he also needed a matching bow tie to wear for the family photo.

Christmas Outfits History Gallery

Jackie Trousers – By Hand London

We were thrilled to part of the testing team for By Hand London’s latest pattern release, the Jackie Trousers.  The Jackie style is a semi tailored loose-fit trouser designed to sit comfortably.  They finish just below the natural waist, featuring pleats at the waist, slanted pockets and a gently tapered leg. 

Inspired by the easy fit menswear slacks of the nineties, and nodding fondly also to early modern women’s trouser styles of the thirties, these trousers are designed for women, but have proven to look and fit great on men too!

By Hand London

The fabrics suggestions for the Jackie Trousers is medium weight woven fabrics with some body or weighty drape. This includes materials such as wool suiting, wool crepe, tweed, linen and flannel. We chose to visit The Fabric Store and went to their Brunswick Street Store in Fitzroy. While browsing through their stunning selection of fabrics we found a beautiful cotton and silk woven blue fabric that looked perfect for Jackie!

The Finished Jackie Trousers

Finished by Hand London Jackie Trousers with top from Vogue 1466. They were constructed in a Denim coloured Cotton/Silk from The Fabric Store. Modeled by Lauren Ritchie with photographs by Erin Ritchie.

Jackie Trouser Details

The large pocket bags extend to the fly front contributing to the comfy fit of the pants. The key fit for these pants is to make sure the waistband is the right size for you. We cut a UK12 based on the measurements of the finished garment but ended up bringing it in for a snugger waist fit.

The folded up cuff gives a lovely finish to the tapered wider leg of the pant style. We found the length of the testing pattern a little longer than we needed. When you make them ensure to mark the hem in the shoes you intend to wear them with.

Stakes Day

Seppelt Stakes Day at Flemington Racecourse is a fun family day.  What this screams for us is matching family outfits!  Unfortunately, Mum and Dad were not able to join us like last year.  Luckily (or unluckily for her) Sophia was able to join us and helped design her own dress for the day. 

We purchased the navy and white gingham from Spotlight.  We wanted to ensure that there would be a contrast in the scale of the pattern to add some textural interest to the outfits.  

The great gingham scale debate of 2019 captured by James Christie

Sophia’s Outfit

Pattern: Bodice Simplicity 6408 and skirt Vogue 9349
Fabric: Navy and white gingham from Spotlight
Lexington Headpiece: Lauren J Ritchie

Bodice pattern Simplicity 6408
Skirt Vogue 9349

Lauren’s Outfit

Pattern: Flint Pants by Megan Nielsen with Drop Sleeve Top by The Avid Seamstress
Fabric: Navy and white gingham from Spotlight
Starlight Headband by: Lauren J Ritchie
Shoes: Wittner

Stitches and Sutures

Our dear friend Dr Kate, also known as Stitches and Sutures comes over for Sewing Sundays. The champion helped us with the sewing for this week. Taking on challenges such a large amounts of hand sewing, advanced Vogue Pants and welt zippers. Her dedication can be best demonstrated by her commitment to Lauren’s straight hems on her pants. Thank you Dr Kate!

Erin’s Outfit 

The Myer Millinery Award is a prestigious competition that is open to Milliners across the globe. A selection of 60 of the best applications are invited to present a piece on Kennedy Oaks Day. This year Lauren created this stunning red tulle piece titled Mayfair. Erin modelled the piece and wore the red tulle dress that was created for an event earlier in the year.


Design: Bodice pattern Vogue 9355 with circle skirt with quarter circle godet
Fabric: Navy and white gingham from Spotlight
Abby Bow Headpiece: Lauren J Ritchie
Shoes: Wittner

Bodice pattern Vogue 9355
Cheers to a wonderful cup week! We hope you enjoyed seeing our outfits and we look forward to near year’s racing season.

It was a wonderful week to create outfits for Stakes Day.  Check out our Melbourne Cup Day and Derby Day looks to see what else we made for the week.