Spring is on the horizon for us, the sun is offering a hopeful relief from the chill in the air. What does this mean for our sewing? Dresses, dresses, dresses! We just want to sew dresses. We were invited to be involved in the pattern testing team for By Hand London’s latest release the Tamzin Dress which we couldn’t say no to. It is a folky style dress that we made in a light robia voile fabric, perfect for a Spring day.
Tamzin Dress Details
By Hand London describes the Tamzin as a quintessential folk dress. It has a square neckline that is finished with an external facing which gives the opportunity for lots of different finishes and embellishments. It has princess seams in the bodice with two different waist tie options. The 3/4 length sleeves and gathered skirt both have a stitched tuck detail.
The pattern comes in two cup sizes and in print at home or copy shop format pages.
Tamzin will work beautifully in a multitude of light to medium weight woven fabrics. This could be a linen, viscose rayon / tencel, soft or floaty cottons, double gauze and drapey silks.
We made the version that has the ties from the princess line, instead of the side seam. We used a ribbon for the ties as were were limited by how much of this fabric we had. We got it as a cut piece from the Salvo Store in Wangaratta so the amount was set for us.
Sourcing Fabric from Op Shops
What to look for when finding fabric in op shops? Check for any marks or damages such as pulls or tears it the fabric. If you aren’t in the practice of prewashing your fabric this is a good reminder. It removes any musky smells or light marks and prevents any heart break of your garment shrinking after its made.
Exploring your local Op Shop is a great way to find different fabrics to what might be in a more traditional fabric store. It can also be a way to pick up a bargain. In contrast it can be limiting because the pieces are already cut and there isn’t always something to pick up. It is worth checking in every so often to see what is available, you never know what treasures you might find!
We were looking in the local Salvos Store in Wangaratta for treasures and we came across this green and white checked robia voile fabric.
Normally robia voile is a cotton fabric that is recognisable by the dots but it also had a great dark green check through it. We didn’t have a particular plan for the fabric when we purchased it but knew it was a special piece. And then the Tamzin dress came along and it was the perfect pairing.
Constructing the Tamzin Dress
The stitched tucks are really easy to sew, just press a fold and measure for your stitch line. It is super effect and could be used on any rectangle shape. This feature is on the sleeve and the skirt, it is our favourite part about this pattern as it sat really well in our fabric.
Finishing the facing to the outside of the dress and top stitching, instead of folding it inside is a fun technique. The instruction from By Hand London explain it really well. Our fabric was already busy enough but some other makers have embroidered theirs or you could add a trim along the seam line. There are so many possibilities!
Finished Tamzin Dress
The Tamzin is a lovely style, the higher waist line that is pulled in by the ties creates a casual feeling and is perfect for a warmer day. Because of the folky style fit there is little to worry about exact measurements and is an easy sew. There are no zipper or buttons and it slips over the head. Speaking of slips! Because of how sheer our fabric was we did make a plain white dress to go underneath. If you had a heavier weight or less transparent fabric you wouldn’t need to do this.
We have tested a few different styles for By Hand London and really enjoy their patterns. They have a mix of floating styles to fitted more formal dress like the Jenna Dress, stylish pants in the Jackie and coats including the Juliet.
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
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
Finished Juliet Coat
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.
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
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.
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
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.
We had the exciting task of testing the new release pattern from By Hand London. The new style is called the Jenna Dress. A fitted bodice with darts paired with an empire line dress with a bias cut skirt.
The first options includes a scooped neck and ties on the sleeves, the second a peterpan collar with longer sleeve. These options designed so the elements can be swapped around to create you own combination. We made both version of the dress.
We chose to do the at home print. The skirt pattern which is used for both length options is 32 pages and there is separate file for each bodice style. Variation 1 is 16 pages Variation 2 is 18 pages.
They were stuck together with clear tape before we cut it back to size. We chose to cut a size 12/16. See the images for fit.
Jenna Dress with Ties
We made the Jenna Dress with Ties from Houndstooth Patchwork Stretch Silk Crepe De Chine from The Fabric Store. This striking graphic houndstooth print is a combination of Silk and Lycra and is 115cm wide. You can find the fabric in their online store here.
Due to the light weight of the fabric we chose to line the skirt as well as the bodice. The ties around the arm are finished with a slip stitch and the hem of the top fabric hand finished with a herringbone stitch.
Jenna Dress with collar
We made the Jenna Dress with collar we made in a light woven cotton that was purchased from a fabric store in Paris. A playful confetti coloured print was the perfect modern choice for a vintage inspired style dress.
The collar and cuffs are fused with interfacing and the bodice was lined with pongee lining a softer finish than using bem silk.
The photos of the finished dresses were taken at the Vault sculpture that is in the forecourt of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Southbank Melbourne. You can find out more about the sculpture on the ABC website here.