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

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.

Gobi Culottes Pattern Testing for Itch to Stitch

We were invited to be part of the pattern testing group for Itch to Stitch‘s new pattern release the Gobi Culottes.

Itch to Stitch describes the styles “The Culottes are unique and a lovely addition to your wardrobe. Made to look like a skirt, but with the convenience of pants, the Gobi has a contour waistband that sits high at your natural waist. The buttoned fly front adds interest, and you can also lengthen the legs to create a longer pair for the fall! The Gobi will surely set you apart from run-of-the-mill styles!”

 

Gobi Culottes Digital Sewing Pattern

Gobi Culottes by Two Sewing Sisters

For the testing of the Gobi Culottes we used a patterned polished cotton to create a structured short. We finished the hem of the style 10cm shorter than the original design to create more a Summer look as Melbourne’s temperature is finally creeping up.

The pockets are a placed at a good angle and the tucks lining up with the panels in the waistband is a lovely detail. This style uses a fully buttoned fly which we used black shank buttons for.

Construction Tips

Pants can contain a lot of pieces and it can be difficult to imagine how the pieces, particularly relating to the fly and pocket come together.  For the Gobi Pants there are many pieces to the waist band that line up with the darts in the legs. 

Our suggestion with this pattern and most patterns is until you are familar with how the pieces come together is to lay the pieces out on the ground in the same formation as you expect the to come together.  This gives you a chance to identify which notches line up and that you will be joining the correct seams together the first time.