This dress started with a moment of Erin say, “Loz, I’ve had a vision”. Which usually results in a great feat of sewing marvel and a hopefully incredible outcome. The vision this time was a patchwork dress in which we make hexagons that are then fused to fabric with vlisafix then stitched to the fabric then constructed into a dress. This process started over a year ago with a stack of black and white fabric.
Hexagon construction started but with a few days to go until Derby Day last year we realised it wasn’t going to be possible to finish the dress in time. So in came our black a white version of Vogue 1566, which you can read more about in our post here. This year with a little more planning the dress returned and with a lot of determination and hexagon sewing on trams we made it!
This year are taking on the challenge of wearing a different Two Sewing Sisters made frock each day in October. If you have followed along on our Frocktober journey before you may recognise some pieces but we look forward to sharing the making details of the frocks with you.
Georgia has studied Law at Deakin University for the last six years. Also with Erin this would be her last Law Ball. We wanted to make her dress something special. We started with some inspiration and Erin’s key criteria for Georgia was she had to choose a colour that wasn’t black.
Construction of Jungle Green Silk Satin Dress
The bodice for Georgia’s dress started with Simplicity 6408 as it had a beautiful back shape and the gathered front seam created the perfect neckline. The skirt needed to be cut on the bias to create the drape and fall Georgia was after so we used Butterick 5710 as the base for this.
Erin and Georgia went on a fabric hunt and found a beautiful jungle green (not black) silk satin at Rathdowne Fabrics in Brunswick.
The design of the dress evolved from the original sketch. We chose to remove the bottom ruffle section and keep the straps travelling straight over the shoulders.
The thin straps were created using the fabric, creating a thin tube. The strap was turned through using a bobkin sewing needle (a needle without a point used for sewing chunky knits).
The dress was constructed to a point that meant Georgia could try it on. At the fitting we decided that fully lining the bodice would be the best course to finish it off. The lining of the bodice was interfaced with whisperweft interfacing. A piece of plastic boning along the side seam position to provide some stability. The skirt side seams were finished with a french seam to provide a neat finish. This reduced any damage that might be cause to the fabric by placing it through an overlocker.
Pattern: Simplicity 6408 and Butterick 5710 Fabric: Jungle green silk satin from Rathdowne Fabrics
Erin was nominated for Lawyers Weekly Law Student of the Year for 2019. This was the 19th annual Australian Law Awards, it is the pinnacle awards program for the nation’s legal profession, recognising the outstanding work being done across major legal practice areas, brilliance at the bar, legal in-house powerhouses, innovators and various firm-led pro bono programs.
The dress was designed from some inspiration images that we collected on a Pinterest board
The bodice was created using a black drill bodice from Vogue 9124 and was self lined with the drill. For support the lining of the bodice was interfaced and boned with encased plastic boning.
For the skirt the drill layer was cut to be circle that fell to below the knees and flat at the waist. The top gold layer was a six panel circle that was gathered into the waist seam.
The total length of the hem was 11 meters. The drill under layer (3 meters) was finished with overlocking and turned up to encase a black 15cm wide crinoline and the top gold layer was babylocked in black thread (8 meters)
The bows were attached to the dress following the construction and were supported by black crinoline and floating tails.
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.
Looking for a gift ideas for someone who loves sewing? We just might have the answer. As someone who sews or is a maker there are a few things you can never have too many of.
When you first start there are a lot of things to acquire. This can be quite an expense set up and you do not always know which is best to buy for the projects. Even as an experienced maker you can never have too many. These things are just fun and exciting when they are new, no matter the experience level of the sewer.
The outside might be a strange place to start when thinking about a gift but whatever collection of things you are giving how about wrapping it in some fabric? It is a more sustainable idea than paper gift wrapping as they can transform it into something afterwards!
For this gift we chose a printed cotton with enough fabric for it to be made into a dress with a full skirt. Just over 2 meters of fabric. The fabric is folded over the present and secured with ribbon.
Gift idea – the bits and pieces
No matter your level of experience sewing there are some items that make project a little easier. You can put together a combination of things to suit the person you are buying for and your budget. It is nicer to have fewer nicer quality products than lots of cheaper once.
Here are some suggestions to start your bundle of goodies:
pin cushion – can be magnetic or fabric
sewing needles – customise them to the type of work they do.
tailors chalk – The Clover ones are amazing and you can get refills
measuring tape – The Birch quilt measuring tapes are great, we love the length, the number is well formatted and has both inches and centimeters on it.
Embroidery scissors – for small fine work and snipping threads
good quality thread
thread for the overlocker/serger
threads – Gutermann produce a wide variety of thread types. If you are not sure what they are sewing you could chose a variety of basic colours from the Sew-all Thread collection.
As we know our friend is likely to make this fabric into a dress so we also put in a matching zipper and thread. This means she can get started making straight away an doesn’t need to make a trip to the store herself.
Where to shop?
Shopping for these goodies can be done online but also going into your local fabric store is good browse to see the options. If you are unsure ask the sales staff to help you as at a good craft store they should know their products.
Additions to the list?
Let us know if you have anything else to add to the gift ideas for someone who loves sewing. Contact us here.
OCRF (Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation) hosted their annual Silver Style event at the Georges Ballroom in St Kilda. The theme was a touch of silver. Inspired by this theme and some fabulous silver shoes the outfit planning started.
Lauren found this striped printed silk at the Hand Made Fair at Hampton Court Palace in London in 2018. Unsure what she wanted to create with it the fabric waited in the wings. When the theme the event was announced it felt like the perfect occassion and coordinated well with a pair or existing silver shoes.
The pattern was selected due to panel pieces that would allow for the stripe in the fabric. Placing the strip in different directions and using a circle skirt achieved this.
Eager to pair the statement Maude bag and glittery Wittner shoes with a Tweed the hunt for the fabric began. We found the beautiful white and blue with silver fleck tweed at Darn Cheap Fabrics in Port Melbourne.
Returning to use a favourite pattern, Vogue 1392 with a circle. The bodice was lined with bem silk and cotton tape place around the neckline to reduce stretching.
Silver Style was a great evening to celebrate the efforts of the OCRF. Every woman, everywhere – free from the threat of Ovarian Cancer. You can donate directly to the cause or find out other way to take part such as Frocktober.