We watched Schultz Apparel tease us with fun tops. Sharing them to her socials, they were adorable! We know we declared our top phase had come to a close and it was going to be dresses for a while. But then the Ottilia Top appeared. It has all the great features of a Schultz Apparel Pattern; amazing sleeves and clever construction. Usually we are apprehensive about wrap tops due to cup size and it not sitting well around the bust but we were excited to give this pattern a try.
Ottilia Top Details
Ottilia is a short wrap top with short vintage inspired puffy sleeves and an extra-long belt that can be tied multiple times around the waist.
This pattern is suited for light to middleweight woven fabric such as a cotton, linen, viscose, tencel or polyester.
We made it in a green and white striped cotton fabric we found in our stash. We don’t remember where it came from but based on the colours it is likely something Nanny picked and we are lucky enough to be able to stitch it up.
Constructing the Ottilia Top
The instructions are easy to follow to construct this folky style dress. The tiered skirt is constructed by joining together gathered rectangles. Instead of needing to print pieces for the rectangular pieces, Schultz Apparel gives the measurements for the rectangles. saving on printing and cutting time (not to mention the environment through the saved pieces of paper!).
The sleeve is constructed with two layers, the other fuller body and stabilising under layer. Initially we cut both out of the striped fabric but because of how strong the stripe as you could faintly the stripe in the under fabric. We recut the lining in a white cotton so
How to line something that has a facing
You might have heard us say before what a fan we are of lining garments. There are a few reasons for this. It gives it a better finish, less exposed seams inside of the garment. It also means that the pressure is not on the outside fabric to side flush again the body and appear flat. The lining provides some extra structure.
Not all garments are lined, some just have facings. This is still a great way to finish a garment, it provides clean edges and they are shaped pieces that follow the contours of the outer shape, they mimic the outer layer. It might feel rebellious to divert from the instructions, it does take confidence to know where you are heading with the garment but it can definitely be done. Here is a bit of guide as to how we go about it.
Cut all of the pattern piece as the instructions say, all the bodice pieces and facing.
Cut the bodice pieces in your lining fabric – the same as the outside
Stitch the pieces together to create the outer shell, lining and facing.
Finish the edge of the facing. We over lock ours in a matching thread.
Attach the facing on top of the lining.
You are looking to create to make two shells; the outside and the lining.
The lining should be right side up with the facing also sitting right side up. Think of them as becoming one.
Bag out the lining and the outer shell.
Put the right sides together and stitch around the neck line. Cut back the seam allowance and under stitch.
As this is a top around the hemline.
Leave the armholes open.
Pull the bodice right side out through the open arm holes.
It will now look like this.
You are back to following the instruction booklet
Finish the sleeves.
The Ottilia has a lined sleeve to help hold the puff shape.
Tack the head together using the gathering stitch
Pin the sleeve into place and stitching
Finish around the armhole. We over locked the seam allowance.
This will finish off the garment. Enjoy wearing it!
This is what it looks like inside out.
Finished Ottilia Top
The Ottilia Top absolutely lived up to the dream! Can we say again how good Schultz Apparel sleeves are?
The top is easy to put on, again no fastenings. The wrap fits through a key hole provided in the instructions. The fit is great, our worry about wrap tops and dresses was not needed here. We made an elastic waisted skirt with ruffle to wear with it.
For us the next time we make it we will lengthen it around 3cm so it reaches the waist. It gives us the option to be able to wear it work. Don’t get us wrong, we love the striped version! But it is more casual than what we could wear to the office.
If you have been feeling inspired by the Minna or Begonia how about a hybrid? It is definitely going on our make list. Check out Schultz Apparel mash up on her Instagram.
We really enjoy pattern testing, can you tell? It is exciting to see what pattern companies are exploring in their processes. We think it is a great way to sew a range of different designs and support small businesses. We are part of the a few groups on Facebook where there are call outs for pattern testers. These are usually from smaller start up companies but is a great way to see what is being developed.
A few weeks ago, in the Sewing Pattern Testing Group, we saw a post from Danielle Tchao asking for interest for Testers for a new pattern company she was with co-founder Vicky Quan called SOLA Patterns. The trade drawings of their designs looked really good, which is something we look for. We feel it means the designer has a good technical understanding and that will be reflected in their pattern drafting and design.
SOLA Patterns was launching a few different designs but we put our hand up to test two of their dress patterns. The first was the Magnolia Dress and the Laurel Dress which we will share shortly.
Magnolia Dress Details
The Magnolia design is a shift style dress with two striking sleeve options. There is the voluminous upper sleeve that tapers to highlight a narrow forearm or a pleated petal sleeve. The bodice has a front bust and diamond dart and it is finished at the back with a center back zipper.
This pattern is designed for woven fabrics with a consideration of how you would like your sleeve to sit. Using thicker fabric for the full length sleeves will create quite a lot of volume which could be a fun effect.
We made both versions to explore the pattern style. This is our petal sleeve version in a mid weight woven cotton.
Liberty Orchard Garden Pheasant Forest from Fabric Hoarders
For this project we teamed up with Fabric Hoarders who supplied us with a delightful Cotton Liberty Print. Fabric Hoarders stock a wide variety of the iconic Liberty Fabrics on their website, check out their range here. Liberty Fabric is such a distinctive style and it was great to get to work with such a beautiful fabric.
This is the Orchard Garden Pheasant Forest in the blue colourway. It is 112cm wide and 100% cotton.
We fully lined the dress with a white lining fabric. As the petal sleeves is shaped we finished the raw edge off using a bias tape on the side of the hem.
The fabric we made the Bergonia Dress was also from Fabric Hoarders, you can see our post about that here.
Constructing the Magnolia Dress
Our preference is to have a more fitted style bodice so we would recommend checking out the ease allowed for in this pattern. SOLA Patterns list this on their website so check your measurements again the amount of ease and how fitted you would like the finished dress to be.
We like to line all of our dresses. It helps the outer fabric to sit smoothly and allows for ease of movement so it can slip across the body. The pattern uses and neck facing, it is still an important pattern piece as it means that a little bit of the outer fabric can be used along the neck edge. This is important because event if under stitched it helps to make sure the lining doesn’t show through to the outside.
Finished Magnolia Dress
The Magnolia dress is a great style, we loved the sleeve options so much that we made both. It sits so well in the cotton fabrics and it could also be made in other wovens.
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.
Sophia is in her penulimate year Law at Deakin University. We worked with Sophia to develop the design for her Deakin Law Ball dress for this year. Starting with images Sophia had found we sketched up the design. Speaking with Sophia we wanted to make something that could transform so she could also wear it to the after party. With the tiered skirt this was perfect! A zipper!
Construction of Navy Transforming Dress
The tulle layers of the design were a key feature and the lengths needed to be suite for both the full length look and the shorter zipped version. The trick to this was the length of the lining. The zipper was concealed by the hem of the top layer.
Making a strapless bodice stable is important; the choice of lining, stabilisers, interfacing and boning need to considered. The ink blue velveteen and navy cotton drill fabrics sourced from Spotlight was cut in Vogue 8849 . For this velvet bodice the velvet would not carry the weight but this would be the job of the lining. We chose to create the lining in cotton drill that was interfaced and boned.
Four layers of tulle sourced from Remnant Warehouse made up each tier of the skirt and was gathered onto the cotton drill base. The closure of the dress was a welt zipper at the center back with the tulle skirt loose over the top.
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
When your sister is nominated for National Law Student of the year it calls for a new dress for the occasion. Erin was nominated for the award as part of the Lawyers Weekly Law Awards with the presentation hosted at The Star in Sydney. Mum, Dad and I were lucky to be able to attend the awards.
Looking to show off the stripes of the fabric the detail in the pattern, Simplicity 1651 has a twisted feature and center front panel. This meant the front panel could have the stripes run vertical while the side panel the stripes could sit horizontally and run through the twist.
The skirt is a rectangle that had a series of 16 darts stitched into the waist line before being gathered. The hem was supported by wide width crinoline.
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.
A new year, a new set of goals. Resolutions for our sewing. While other people may set an ambitious of getting fit, starting a new career or discovering a new hobby at Two Sewing Sisters we set creative sewing resolutions.
In this last two weeks while enjoying the seasonal festivities we started planning for 2019 and creating visions of future projects. For your benefit and our accountability here are each of our three sewing goals for 2019:
Lauren’s Resolutions Number 1: Make winter coat Many years ago Nan had planned to make each of us a wool coat but didn’t get a chance. This year Lauren plans to pull out the beautiful charcoal wool we bought from at Clegs all those years ago and find a new pattern to make it in.
Number 2: Find a good pants pattern to share with you In 2018 we had a few sewing friends has us about what pattern they should use to make pants. To be honest we don’t have one, there are many elements of pants that need to fit correctly for them to feel comfortable and look great. But this year we are going to come up with a better answer… stay tuned pants lovers!
Number 3: Make Erin’s Law Ball dress Last year while Lauren was living in London, Erin was left sew her own law ball dress. While this may seem like that bigger deal, at the time it was filled with drama. It is the first project that we have ever given up on a bodice and started again…. *cue 2019 vision* which is far from even adapting a commercial pattern adaption, Lauren is likely going to have to call on her Fashion Degree to make this vision a reality.
Erin’s Resolutions: Number 1: Finish 5 started Projects As a lower of starting project but not always finishing them in a timely matter… a goal is to finish five already started projects. For any sewing out there with similar creative habits to Erin, you will know what a large feat this will be!
Number 2: Make a suit As a law student, Erin is often spotted wearing a suit. Despite mastering making dresses, she has never made a suit – 2019 will be the year!
Number 3: Upcycling three items Fashion and textiles are one of the largest producers of waste in the world Now more than ever, ethical fashion and environmentally friend production should be at the forefront of the fashion industry.. while we are waiting for this to happen, instead of throwing things out there is no better time than now to clean up the cupboard and fit, change or adapt a style to wear again.
With less than 12 months to achieve these goals, we can’t wait to keep you up to date with the progress of our resolutions! Best wishes for 2019 and all that it may bring.