We were so excited when Nerida Hansen approached us to be guest sewing ambassadors to celebrate this new fabric collection in collaboration with Australian designer and artist Rachelle Holowko from Pattern and Design.
The fabric prints and colours are so beautiful, it was wonderful to sew these two projects!
For these projects, we used three of the Nerida Hansen and Rachelle Holowko collection fabrics.
The first fabric was the Bold Gingham by Nerida Hansen, which we used for the culottes.
The second fabric was the Carina fabric in navy by Rachelle Holowko which we used for the Cuff Sleeve Top.
The third fabric was the Manifesto fabric in wine by Rachelle Holowko which we used for the jumpsuit.
All of the fabrics were the Tencel Linen. We haven’t sewn with Tencel very much before. It has a wonderful drape and silky feel even though it is a medium-weight fabric.
Tencel is a natural fibre made from wood pulp, which is blended with a small amount of linen for these fabrics.
Project 1 – Nerida Hansen Culottes
For this outfit, we really wanted to contrast the pretty floral with a bold contrast fabric for the pants. The ‘Bold Gingham fabric has the perfect scale of print for pants and balances the large floral of the top. We don’t usually pair different prints together – so this was a great project to challenge our style!
This was our first time sewing with Nerida Hansen. The cuffs sleeve top and culottes are both simple but effective designs that allow the fabric to be the feature! The patterns are great staple pieces that would be perfect for new sewists looking to expand these skills or for seasoned sewists looking for classic designs to add to their collection.
In particular, we loved that the culottes pattern has a flat front band even though it has an elastic back.
Note: We sized down in the top as we wanted the top to be more fitted than the finished garment measurement indicated on the pattern.
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.