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.
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.
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.
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
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.
We celebrated the end of 2019 and welcome 2020 with New Year Celebrations at a Tiny House Escape with our dear friend Kate, also known as Stitches and Sutures! We stay in a lovely tiny house that was situation in Carrickalinga in South Australia. With bushfires threatening so many parts of Australia we were wishing everyone a safe start to 2020.
We wore matching outfits made out of Abstract Multicoloured Digital Printed Cotton Linen Fabric that is 112 cm from Spotlight – you can find the fabric here.
2020 Sewing Resolutions
Last year we set ourselves some sewing resolutions- some we were able to complete, others that made it back on the list for this year. See last year’s sewing resolutions here. Our sewing resolutions for 2020 are:
Lauren’s Sewing Resolutions
Make a wool coat – this was part of last years resolution but didn’t happen so is here again for 2020
Fix 5 projects that I currently don’t like wearing because something isn’t right or it isn’t wearable
Make pale blue and black striped crepe flint pants – these have been on my to make list for yonks so it is a must for this year.
Only make from the stash. Instead of fabric shopping assume that we have a fabric that will be suitable, shop our stash and only purchase fabric for garments on the exception list. The exception list includes:
Oaks Day Millinery Award dress
One piece of fabric from overseas travels
Erin’s Sewing Resolutions
Make a suit – this was part of last years resolution but didn’t happen so is here again for 2020
Make 15 work appropriate garments in fabric from the stash
Finish everything before midnight the night before it needs to be worn
Kate’s Sewing Resolutions
Make 3 sets of lingerie
Make a coat – step one of picking a pattern is complete now to find some fabric!
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.