Senna Dress made with vintage equipment

When we helped Schultz Apparel test the Senna Dress we were in a lockdown away from our normal machines so we took on the challenge of stitching the dress in a different way. We would normally use our industrial sewing machine or electric domestic Bernina machine then finish our seams using an overlocker. None of this was an option so we scouted our parent’s house to see what we could find.

Senna Dress

The Senna dress is fitted around the bust and loose at the waist. It features a pleated skirt and tie at the center back and waist.

This is a simple beginner-friendly pattern with no fastening just the self-made ties.

Vintage Singer Sewing Machine

We found our Nan’s old Vintage Singer Sewing Machine which is a 306K Model, it has an electric foot pedal and is still working. This was Nan’s first electric sewing machine which would have been purchased in Echuca around 1956 when our grandparents lived in Gunbower. It has made many dresses for our family as has many machines since but this one is lucky enough to still be with us.

In terms of using the machine, it takes some work to get it moving and sometimes required to hand roll the wheel for the first stitch but once moving it stitched really well. The reserve as expected on a machine of this age is a manual leaver which needed to be moved to the reverse position and then back to the forward stitch length position.

Once we had tested the sewing machine worked our next challenge was deciding how to finish the seams. There were a few options including making bias from old sheets but we chose to go with pinking shears which seem appropriate considering the machine we were also using.

Pinking Shears

Before overlockers were available for the domestic market home sewers had to use alternative methods to finish the inside of their garments. Having said this, an overlocker is not essential to have. If you are just starting sewing it can be a large cost and you should not feel the pressure to purchase one, you can find many other ways to finish your seams including bias, zigzag or pinking shears.

Pinking sheers look like a heavier pair of scissors with a sawtoothed instead of straight blades and cut the fabric to have a zigzag edge. This prevents the woven fabric from fraying with the short diagonal cuts of the zigzag that do not provide any long fibres on the edge to get caught or damage and pull their full length. There are few seams in the Senna Dress

Using the selvedge

As we needed the full width of our cotton fabric for the skirt pieces we were to cut across the width of the fabric and we used the already existing selvedges as the finish for our seams. Cheating? Maybe but also using the resources we had on hand, it is an already finished seam and it did not affect the overall finish of the dress

Double Rolled Hem

For the hem of the dress, we created a wide double rolled hem, pressing the material over 1cm and then 4cm. We were able to have such a deep hem because the overall shape of the skirt piece is rectangular meaning that we could work on the straight grain of the fabric.

Finished Zebra Stripes

The Senna dress is simple garment to construct the instructions provided by Schultz Apparel are clever and could be described as the path of least resistant show by the order the all in one neck facing is finished around the neck and armholes.  Always winning points with us the instuctions include understanding in all the good places.

With no fastenings required is a great pattern for beginner sewers to create yourself an easy to wear Summer number. 

Photography Notes

Photographer: Erin Ritchie
Model: Lauren Ritchie
Dress Pattern: Senna Dress by Schultz Apparel

Other Schultz Apparel patterns we have made include Ottlia Top, Begonia Dress and Minna Dress

Minerva Makes

Two Sewing Sisters are proud to be Brand Ambassadors for Minerva.  Fabric for the projects featured in this blog has been provided by Minerva.  The pattern selection, design and photography is taken by Two Sewing Sisters

Two piece checks

We are so excited to finish this vintage inspired two piece outfit just in time to wear it before the weather gets too warm!

For the skirt, we used McCalls 5113, with the copyright year of 1976. It is an A-line skirt, with a centre back zipper and pointed patch pockets. The front skirt panels are cut on the cross of the fabric, allowing the check of the fabric to sing proud as a feature, as the 45-degree angles of the check line up down the centre front seam.

For the top, we used Butterick 3289, with the copyright year of 1985. The top is loose-fitting with dropped shoulders and ¾ sleeves. The pattern originally had buttons down the centre back.
However, we really wanted the top to have an open end zipper to make it easy to get on and off.

FWe used the Stretch Woven Suiting Fabric in Pink & Red. The grey background provides a solid base to allow the red, maroon and bright pink lines to pop. These vibrant colours allow for wonderful mixing and matching with other tops, skirts and pants. See more about this make here.

Floral Pajama’s

Over the last year, we have made a few sets of PJs from the McCalls Sewing Pattern 8056 pattern. The pattern has so many variables to mix and match to create your sleepwear set. For this project, I used the longer dressing gown, view B. I wanted to create a nighty that was light and floaty to wear underneath. This led me to explore our pattern collection and I came across our copy of the Ashton Top by Helen’s Closet Patterns.

For my fabric, we wanted something light and explored the Poplins selection on Minerva. This floral Art Gallery Fabric caught my eye in the Manhattans Glitz colourway. We loved the magenta-purple flowers with contrasting hues of aqua green and orange against a dark background. See more about this make here.

Red Plaid

What a fabulous check. This Polyester Viscose Suiting Fabric Black Red Grey has a bold pattern, complemented by an intense colour combination of black, grey and red. It was screaming to be made into a dress for work.

The challenge to constructing Butterick 5851 is the underarm gusset. Gussets provide a little extra room to enlarge certain areas of garments. In a pattern like Butterick 5851, the bodice and sleeve are in one piece and cut on the cross. So the gusset adds some extra space for the sleeve and arm movement. You may be thinking – wait, that isn’t the skirt to Butterick 5851? You are right. It is in fact our FAVOURITE skirt pattern, Vogue 1743.  Check out the pieced sleeve head! See more about this make here.

Edith Smock

The navy colourway of this poplin has white, lavender and coral paisley shaped repeated paisley shapes. The fabric is 112cm wide and is made from 100% Cotton.

The Edith Smock is a zero-waste design with all the pieces interlocking and cut from a rectangle of fabric. Traditional pattern making has a lot of curves and abstract shapes that do not interlock very easily from a Zero Waste perspective. For the Edith Smock Pattern Union has created there is a clever approach to forming the shapes we need to fit our bodies. Check out the pieced sleeve head! See more about this make here.

Black Crepe Floral

This beautiful black floral polyester crepe features a white floral design with dark red features and a green leaf pattern. The fabric is 150cm wide with no stretch for this 100% polyester crepe. This fabric was easy to work as was easy to stitch with a new shape needle to prevent any pulls. For a crepe fabric, it held its shape well when pressed.

When Vogue 1633 was released I loved the line of the dress.  A fitted waist with an A-line skirt and large statement sleeves.  The stand collar allowed to fall into the drape of the fabric was a nice detail.  The closure of the dress is a zipper at the centre back.  Instead of the recommended press studs, I used vintage buttons with an elastic loop for the closure at the sleeve cuff and neckband.  See more about this make here.

Ruby Brocade

Our most recent project has been working with this stunning ruby and taupe brocade with a metallic feature through it.  This woven fabric is 94% Polyester, 6% Metallic and part of the deadstock range stocked by Minerva. The Marta dress is the latest pattern release from Schultz Apparel.  For our version we selected the style that has a fitted bodice with a beautiful square neckline and straight skirt that features a split to above the knee.  The full-length sleeves have a small amount of gathering in the head of the sleeve and bellow around the forearm before coming in at the wrist. See more about this make here.

Blue Everest Coat

Once Erin saw this bright blue wool, she knew it was time to tackle her sewing ‘Everest’. Blue is one of her favourite colours to wear. The yellow and white line through the fabric breaks up the bold colour and provides a vibrant texture to the fabric. We decided to make the fabric into Butterick 5966. It has a flattering fit and flare shape and is fully lined. The pattern did have its complexities with side pockets, two-piece sleeve and fly button closing.  See more about this make here.

Schultz Apparel Paisley Dress

For this mash up of Schultz Apparel patterns, Lauren used this stunning Navy Paisley Cotton Poplin Fabric. She really wanted to use the wrap bodice from the Ottilia pattern, it has a great cross over because it does not sit too open with bust darts and long waist ties. We love the long Minna sleeve! The fullness is fantastic with gathering at the sleeve head and into the wrist. For this version, Lauren used elastic around the wrist and created a stitched casing. For the skirt, by selecting to start with 3.5m it meant she could do a tiered gathered skirt. The bottom tier contained 3 times the width of the fabric the top tier was twice the width. This was then gathered into the waist of the bodice. See more about this make here.

Navy Floral Fit and Flare

Hunting through the pattern box, Erin came across Vogue Pattern 1743. She was attracted to this pattern by the large external pockets cut on the bias, complemented with a flared skirt (that wasn’t circular or gathered, which is also perfect for work!). We have no doubt this dress is the first of many Vogue 1743 skirt and pocket combinations Erin will make for work! Paired with Butterick 6410 it was the perfect combination for this navy floral polished cotton. See more about this make here.

Tear Drop Atlas Top

It felt like time for a fun causal top in our make list and this Camelot Fabrics Cotton Poplin Fabric Navy was perfect! We have made the Atlas Top from Stitch Witch Patterns before (see here) and really loved the detail in the style. It is also a quick and easy pattern to sew together with no fastenings. See more about this make here.

Navy Jacquard

For this make, we used Woven Jacquard Fabric Navy with Simplicity 8594, which we have made before and loved the style. The pattern has two bodice options a crewneck with slit and raglan sleeve or a more open halter style. The skirt can be made in straight or flared style and has pockets in the side seam (yes pockets!). See more about this make here.

Floral Wrap Dress

This Lady McElroy, Marlie Cotton Lawn Fabric is light and breathable, perfect for a summer dress. Initially, we planned to make a vintage summer dress with a fitted bodice and a very full skirt. Once the fabric arrived, we changed our mind and decided to make McCalls Sewing Pattern 8036 instead. We wanted to make sure the pattern of the fabric was allowed to shine and not be overshadowed by a more complex bodice or the density of a very full skirt. See more about this make here.

Striped Vogue Skirt

When we saw the Stretch Suiting Fabric, we knew it would be perfect! The double line of a solid and dotted line combination within the fabric, provided a wonderful texture to the material while also providing the feature we were looking for in more subtle contrast. The rich plum colour provided a sophisticated colour, that wasn’t the classic black and white stripe combination.

We have had #vogue1683 sitting in the pattern tub waiting to find the perfect fabric. We paired the skirt with a matching top, adapted from the bodice of #butterick6556. See more about this make here.

 Printed Linen Viscose

As soon as Lauren saw this Linen Viscose Blend Fabric Sage Green she knew what she wanted to make. A new pattern from McCalls called Sasha, pattern number 8036. The variation Lauren made had the Asymmetrical button feature, shoulder bodice tucks, above elbow length sleeves featuring darts in the sleeve head with an A line skirt that finishes below the knee. See more about this make here.

 Fleur-de-lis Blue Printed Cotton

The Copen shade of blue was a beautiful balance of the colourway with the lightly washed blue providing a contrast to the white pattern. For this project, I was itching to make a shirt dress of some variety. Lauren loves a shirt dress! We find them a great style for work as they have a professional appearing with the button detail and collar but keep a feminine style with a skirt. Lauren had been wanting to make Butterick 6090 for quite a while with a love for the detail around the neck and the elbow length sleeve had to create balance to the pleated style skirt for those cooler Spring days. See more about this make here.

Red Floral Jumpsuit

When we spotted this vibrant red background, with white and black abstract floral pattern on the Minerva website it reminded us of one of our favourite dresses we had purchased many years ago. We started to think about how we could take this stretched polish cotton and create a similar feel.

For the pattern, we hacked together the bodice of Butterick 6410 and jumpsuit pants from Vogue 9075. We had made the jumpsuit before and loved the style and fit of the pattern. However, we really wanted to add a collar to the jumpsuit. While we could have tried to attach a collar to the existing neckline, we decided to swap out the bodice pattern altogether. Instead, we used the bodice of Butterick 6410 which also meant that we were able to include the horizontal design feature across the bodice. See more about this make here.

Zebra Stripes from Fabric Hoarders - Simplicity 8594 - Two Sewing Sisters

Zebra Stripes from Fabric Hoarders

Fabric Hoarders is an independent fabrics store that is based in Echuca in regional Victoria. Through their online store they have a variety of cotton fabrics and sewing accessories. We first came across Leanne’s business when we were on the hunt for WhipsaWeft interfacing. Whe was the only supplier we could find that had it in stock and we jumped for joy. We were very excited to find her business and even more so when we found out she was from near our home town. We have partnered with Fabric Hoarders to share this project with you with them suppling us with the fabric for this make.

Zebra Stripes Cotton

Previously if you had asked us if we wore animal prints we likely said no. Btut something recently has shifted, Lauren made a leopard print version of Gertie’s Butterick 6556 and then a McCalls 7542.

So when we were looking through the selection available on Fabric Hoarders we stopped to check out the strong pattern of this Zebra Stripe Cotton.

It has a strong contrast between the black and white monochrome pattern and the diagonal line created an interesting effect. The cotton comes in 25cm increments through the Fabric Hoarders website.

Simplicity 8594

We grew up on what are sometimes described as “Big 4” Patterns – this refers to some of the original commercial pattern companies. As part of their A History of series Dressed Podcast have done an episode that explored Paper Patterns that talks about how these were first established. It is interesting to hear about how these companies originated and have evolved into the brands we see today. Take a listen to the episode while you are next sewing.

We have more recently started sewing with smaller often referred to as Indi patterns. Both of these types of patterns are fantastic options and it is worth exploring all different types of patterns to discover different styles and the fit that works best for you.

For this make we used Simplicity 8594, which we have made before, see here. The pattern has two bodice options a crewneck with slit or halter style. The skirt can be made in straight or flared and has pockets in the side seam.

For this version we made the halter style with flared skrit which we lengthened slightly. See Erin cutting the skirt pieces in the video.

Construction

We fully lined the dress, as you might have heard us talk about before we prefer to line our dresses. It helps them to sit smoothly against the body and makes for a cleaner finish on the inside. We cut the lining from an old white striped sheet. For this fabric the background of the Zebra print is white so lining it also prevents the chance of the lighter colour being transparent.

Zipper detail

The sharp lines of the dress make it a very modern and a current style. We wanted to continue this look through the finishings and chose to add an exposed chunky zipper down the center back.

The zipper length starts between the shoulders and runs down to the hips. For this we used a 60cm black open ended zipper that we stitched on the outer of the finished dress.

Pocket Appreciation

Yes to pockets. Always yes to pockets. In some case when there aren’t pockets we add pockets. We have a photo copy of a side seam pocket bag pattern piece we keep around to be able to add it if there isn’t one included but it wasn’t needed for this, the pattern came with it’s own pockets which of course we included.

Finished Zebra Stripes

The pairing of pattern and fabric worked out really well for this one.  It was a great addition to be able to add the feature of the zipper down the back.  The idea of doing this didn’t happen until Lauren was rumaging through the zipper box and found the zipper.  It was the perfect length and we did not have plan for it previously.  

A strong print the Zebra Stripes from Fabric Hoarders could have become over whelming to the eye if cut into by too many design lines but the Simplicity 8594 with its princess line front and A line skirt was a great pairing. 

Photography Notes

Photographer: Erin Ritchie
Model: Lauren Ritchie
Dress Fabric: Zebra Stripes from Fabric Hoarders
Dress Pattern: Simplicity 8594

Other projects we have made from fabrics from Fabric Hoarders include Liberty Orchard Garden Flora Dress, Begonia by Schultz in Micro Dots and Magnolia Dress from SOLA Patterns in Orchard Garden Pheasant Forest

Liberty Orchard Garden from Fabric Hoarders - Flora Dress - Two Sewing Sisters

Liberty Orchard Garden from Fabric Hoarders Flora Dress

Summer dresses are here!  Which means for us a great urge to sew pretty floral cotton dresses.  This project ticked all of those boxes.  Using a floral print Liberty Cotton from Fabric Hoarders we created a variation of the By Hand London Flora Dress.   

Liberty Orchard Garden from Fabric Hoarders

Located in a town on the Murray River in North Victoria, Fabric Hoarders is an independent fabrics store. They have a great selection of cotton and liberty fabrics in their online store. We have partnered with Fabric Hoarders and its business owner Leanne to share with you some of their wonderful fabrics.

This beautiful print is the blue colour way of the Orchard Garden design by Liberty. It is a cotton fabric with an off white background and blue floral repeated design.

There is a wide range of iconic Libery Fabrics on the Fabric Hoarders website and is purchased in 25cm increments.

Flora Dress in Liberty Cotton

The Flora Dress is a lovely pattern from By Hand London – it has a fitted bodice with waist and bust darts. There are two bodice varations, we chose to make the tank style with high neck and thin shoulder straps

Flora comes with two skirt options either a shaped circled or pleated option. We opted for a different style again and created a gathered skirt with darts.

Construction

Adding the shoulder ruffle

To create the ruffle cut a rectangle piece that is twice the length of the strap x 10cm wide (4cm wide ruffle + 1cm seam allowance, doubled)

Press the ruffle in half length ways

Finish the ends of the ruffle by putting right sides together and stitching across the ends

Turn right side out

Create gathering stitch close to the raw edge

Prepare the strap by pressing in half then the edges into the middle

Using the gathering stitch pull the ruffle up so the ends sit 1.5cm from the raw end of the strap (so they don’t get caught up in the bodice)

Tack the ruffle into place

Fold the strap in half, sandwiching the ruffle

Top stitch

The strap is finished and ready to be inserted into the bodice as shown in the instructions

Skirt

We created the skirt by starting with two rectangles, the width of the fabric and 65cm long. Using darts along with gathers creates a more bell shaped skirt and reduces the bulk around the waist. The darts should sit from the waist to the hip, this is approximately 25cm, for this skirt we did a series of smaller darts spread out across the skirt

Finished Liberty Flora

Pattern placement was key.  You will see us talk about pattern placement and pattern matching alot.  It is steps like making sure that if you have a dominate pattern that it is placed well on the body, lined up down the centre front  or on a skirt that the pattern lines up as is runs around the body.  

Making this floral dress in the Liberty print was no expection.  If you watch the video you will see how Erin folded the fabric when she was cutting it.  At first you might say it is not the most efficent way of cutting the piece but when you see the pattern lined up down the center front of the bodice you can then understand why this particular placement.  

Take pattern placement into consideration when select how much fabric you might need and if in doubt check with your fabric supplier how long the repeat is.  Fabric Hoarders have 25cm increments that works very well for a print like this as you can pick the repeat of this fabric with the butterflies being the dominant repeat running down the fabric.  

The Libert Ochard Garden cotton from Fabric Hoarders was lovely to work with.  It was perfect for a style like this, holding well in the bodice darts and enough softeness in the gathers of the skirt and added shoulder detail.  

Photography Notes

Photographer: Lauren Ritchie
Model: Erin Ritchie
Dress Fabric: Liberty Orchard Garden from Fabric Hoarders
Dress Pattern: Flora Dress from By Hand London

Bird and Butterfly Cobalt Jacquard from Fabric Deluxe

We are excited to be working with Fabric Deluxe to showcase this beautiful fabric for this project. We really wanted to make something from the range of Fancies and Textured fabric from the Fabric Deluxe selection.  When we came across their Bird and Butterfly Cobalt Jacquard and knew that was it! 

Fabric Deluxe is a fabric store based in Melbourne and has an online store. They aim to stock lovely, wearable fabrics that fit into the real life of their customers. Their stock is a variety of different fabrics including linens, viscose and wools for everyday wear to more special occasion pieces, which they like to call fancies.  The approach of the Fabric Deluxe team is first that they are sewers too and understand the dedication of making a handmade garment. 

Fabric Details

Fabric Deluxe Bird and Butterfly Cobalt Jacquard v1579 - Two Sewing Sisters
Vogue Dress Pattern v1579
Vogue Dress Pattern v1579

This fabric called for something special! The cobalt and blue tone pattern against the black background is such a strong design. The pattern within the design features a repeat of birds and butterflies amongst leaves and flower shapes.

To highlight the detail of the fabric, we needed to select a style that would best showcase this. It needed to respect the fabric and not cut through the pattern of the fabric. This means considering bust darts over princess lines, how a sleeve is drafted and if the skirt will fall straight or if a fuller skirt will showcase the pattern better.

We have previously made Vogue 1579 and loved how the cape falls over the shoulders. The cape is attached to the dress around the neckline of a sleeveless bodice. This was a great pattern to use for this jacquard fabric as the birds and butterflies could fly around the capeline, and it becomes a smooth showcase of the beautiful detail of the fabric.

Construction

We wanted to make sure we got the pattern placement and matching correct This means making sure there was a bird directly in the middle of the bodice and in the back of the cape. The bird appeared to be the most dominate feature of our eye. They repeats down the skirt with two mirror image birds sitting on the centre front.

The pattern design asks for the front and back to both be cut on the fold with an underarm zipper. As the skirt has a split in the centre back to allow for enough movement to walk it has a centre back seam. Check out our video to see how we shuffle the pieces around to achieve this cutting layout.

Constructing the bodice

Bodice construction of Vogue Dress Pattern v1579
Bodice construction of Vogue Dress Pattern v1579

The instructions list this as an “average” in terms of skill level required. If you can conceptualise how it comes together, it all makes sense. Even for an experienced sewer, it is worth stopping by the instructions for this one to make sure you have the openings in the correct spots and understand how the neckline finished under the cape.

The armholes are finished by leaving the shoulder seams open. This is a great method which used a lot for sleeve garments because it means you do not have to try to contort the garment to pull it through to stitch.

Hemming the Cape

Fabric Deluxe Bird and Butterfly Cobalt Jacquard v1579 - Two Sewing Sisters

As the cape was the hero of this design, it deserved to be beautifully finished. The jacquard fabric could easily “bruise” with a top stitch line, we chose to hand stitch the hem. On the underside of the fabric is contrasting, and because of the shape of the cape could be seen from some angles. To keep a smooth edge and prevent any stray threads from the jacquard weave showing we used a bias tape. This sits on the inside of the hem and using a pick stitch to catch the outer layer.

Hand stitching bias hem
Hand stitched hem cape of Vogue Dress Pattern v1579

Center Back Split

Fabric Deluxe Bird and Butterfly Cobalt Jacquard - Two Sewing Sisters

The original pattern finished above the knee, however we chose to length this. We wanted this dress to have a longer line to show off the fabric. The pattern is a straight skirt, so this is an easy pattern hack to do. Keep the right angles of the side seams measure and mark an even amount down from the hem.

Inside split of Vogue Dress Pattern v1579

The Fabric Deluxe Team recommend lining this fabric as the underside is very textured and may feel rough against the skin. We defiantly agree with this recommendation, it is lovely quality fabric, but this is a natural trait for this type of weave. You want your garment to be comfortable and easy to wear, and a lining will help with this.

As this was a fitted dress, we would have lined the skirt anyway to help it set well while worn and move easily when walking, not cling to the body. This is how we finished off the inside of the split.

Finished Dress

The Bird and Butterfly Cobalt Jacquard from Fabric Deluxe was beautiful to work with.  It has a natural body and structure to it.   This was a great combination of fabric and dress pattern.  We how the cape sat out around the body and just as we had planned the bird was placed on the centre focal points.   

Fabric Deluxe Bird and Butterfly Cobalt Jacquard v1579 - Two Sewing Sisters

Photography Notes

Photographer: Ben Chrisite Media
Modelled by: Lauren Ritchie
Dress Pattern: Vogue 1579
Dress Fabric: Bird and Butterfly Cobalt Jacquard from Fabric Deluxe

This garment was formed through a partnership project between Fabric Deluxe and Two Sewing Sisters.

Fabric Deluxe Bird and Butterfly Cobalt Jacquard - Two Sewing Sisters

This dress was featured in the Lauren J Ritchie Millinery Taminick Spring Collection photoshoot. See those images on Lauren’s website here.

Ottilia Top - Schultz Apparel - Two Sewing Sisters

Ottilia Top from Schultz Apparel

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.

Garment Construction for Ottilia Top from Schultz Apparel by Two Sewing Sisters

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.

Garment Construction for Ottilia Top from Schultz Apparel by Two Sewing Sisters

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.

Garment Construction for Ottilia Top from Schultz Apparel by Two Sewing Sisters

Pull the bodice right side out through the open arm holes.

It will now look like this.

Garment Construction for Ottilia Top from Schultz Apparel by Two Sewing Sisters

You are back to following the instruction booklet

Finish the sleeves.

The Ottilia has a lined sleeve to help hold the puff shape.

Garment Construction for Ottilia Top from Schultz Apparel by Two Sewing Sisters

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.  

Photography Notes

Photographer: Erin Ritchie
Model: Lauren Ritchie
Pattern: Ottilia Top by Schultz Apparel
Fabric: Nanny’s Fabric Stash

Who knows what we were laughing about but it was great.

Magnolia Dress from SOLA Patterns

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

Magnolia Dress from SOLA Patterns

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.

Magnolia Dress by Solace Patterns made in Liberty Fabric from Fabric Hoarders by Two Sewing Sisters

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.

Inside dress finished for Magnolia Dress by Solace Patterns made in Liberty Fabric from Fabric Hoarders by Two Sewing Sisters

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.   

Photography Notes

Dress Pattern: Magnolia Dress from SOLA Patterns
Dress Fabric: Orchard Garden- Pheasant Forest in blue from Fabric Hoarders
Photographer: Erin Ritchie
Model: Lauren Ritchie

Legends 2.0 by Stay and Stitch

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.

Finished Dress

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.  

Photography Notes

Photographer: Erin Ritchie
Model: Lauren Ritchie
Dress Pattern: Legends 2.0 by Stay and Stitch
Dress Fabric: Spotlight

Solace Top from Stay and Stitch

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

Finished 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. 

Photography Notes

Photographer: James Christie
Model: Erin Ritchie
Headpiece: Lauren J Ritchie Millinery
Top Pattern: Juliet Coat By Hand London
Dress Fabric: Two Sewing Sisters fabric stash

Operation Tiny House NYE – Sewing Resolutions

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.

Operation Tiny House NYE
Matching outfits for our New Year’s Celebration
Operation Tiny House NYE
Watching the sunset on 2019 from our Tiny House

Erin’s Outfit

Operation Tiny House NYE - Mccalls 7862
Erin in Mccalls 7862
Operation Tiny House NYE - Mccalls 7862
Sleeve Detail
Shaped hem of Mccalls 7862

Kate’s Outfit

Operation Tiny House NYE
Earrings from Timber and Cotton
Operation Tiny House NYE
#modellyfe

Lauren’s Outfit

Operation Tiny House NYE
Pocket detail of Butterick 678
Operation Tiny House NYE
Earrings to match

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!
  • Use 10 pieces from my stash before buying more
Operation Tiny House NYE