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.
The Juliet Coat is the latest release from By Hand London. We enjoyed been part of the testing team for this project and partnered with Drapers Fabrics who supplied us with a beautiful wool coating for the project. The Juliet coat is fully lined and features two-piece raglan sleeves, in-seam pockets, a roomy swing shape and the option of a classic notch collar or a softer shawl collar.
Channel your inner Mrs Maisel with this perfectly retro swing coat!
By Hand London
Thank you to Draper Fabrics for partnering with us for this project. They supplied us with the lovely wool and lining for the testing of this pattern. We had a look at their online store which ships from New Zealand to get an idea of they might have available. before we headed into the Fitzroy Store.
We selected a checked blue, grey and cream wool for the outer fabric and a silk twill for the lining
Finished Juliet Coat
This is a PDF pattern which means that you download a PDF file and then need to print it out. Words from the wise – copy shop. Visit your local print shop.
We did the testing for this in the first stages of lockdown of COVID19 so we didn’t feel we should leave the house but if we were to print this lovely coat again it would save so much time to get it printed on A0.
Instead Erin spent a long afternoon with tape and scissors. The other disadvantage of printing at home is that the edge of the pattern pieces fall on tape lines of the A4 pages.
We are big fans of under stitching, big fans! It stops seams from rolling and the underside showing where it shouldn’t. This wasn’t listed in great detail in the instructions. We should suggest under stitching the underside of the collar piece, on the facing from the hem up to the button
If you are nervous about make a coat – don’t be for this one. There are no shoulder pads or complex pocket details to worry about. Essentially make the outer shell, make the lining and stitch the together around the openings (okay there is a little more to it but that is an overview)
Juliet Coat Details
We have been excited to make an Anna Dress since we saw Stitches and Sutures wearing it and it has come one of her favourites. This seemed like a great chance to give it a go. We wanted the coat to have the iconic fitted dress and oversized coat styling. The colours within the coat where specific tones and we found a piece of light wool suiting in our stash to that blended perfectly and did not distract from the stunning coat fabric.
We used the higher neck bodice style of the pattern and as we only had a small amount of fabric replaced the paneled skirt with a straight skirt and back split.
We fully lined the dress in a polyester lining to allow for ease of movement in such a fitted style
We were thrilled to part of the testing team for By Hand London’s latest pattern release, the Jackie Trousers. The Jackie style is a semi tailored loose-fit trouser designed to sit comfortably. They finish just below the natural waist, featuring pleats at the waist, slanted pockets and a gently tapered leg.
Inspired by the easy fit menswear slacks of the nineties, and nodding fondly also to early modern women’s trouser styles of the thirties, these trousers are designed for women, but have proven to look and fit great on men too!
By Hand London
The fabrics suggestions for the Jackie Trousers is medium weight woven fabrics with some body or weighty drape. This includes materials such as wool suiting, wool crepe, tweed, linen and flannel. We chose to visit The Fabric Store and went to their Brunswick Street Store in Fitzroy. While browsing through their stunning selection of fabrics we found a beautiful cotton and silk woven blue fabric that looked perfect for Jackie!
The Finished Jackie Trousers
Finished by Hand London Jackie Trousers with top from Vogue 1466. They were constructed in a Denim coloured Cotton/Silk from The Fabric Store. Modeled by Lauren Ritchie with photographs by Erin Ritchie.
Jackie Trouser Details
The large pocket bags extend to the fly front contributing to the comfy fit of the pants. The key fit for these pants is to make sure the waistband is the right size for you. We cut a UK12 based on the measurements of the finished garment but ended up bringing it in for a snugger waist fit.
The folded up cuff gives a lovely finish to the tapered wider leg of the pant style. We found the length of the testing pattern a little longer than we needed. When you make them ensure to mark the hem in the shoes you intend to wear them with.
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.
OCRF (Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation) hosted their annual Silver Style event at the Georges Ballroom in St Kilda. The theme was a touch of silver. Inspired by this theme and some fabulous silver shoes the outfit planning started.
Lauren found this striped printed silk at the Hand Made Fair at Hampton Court Palace in London in 2018. Unsure what she wanted to create with it the fabric waited in the wings. When the theme the event was announced it felt like the perfect occassion and coordinated well with a pair or existing silver shoes.
The pattern was selected due to panel pieces that would allow for the stripe in the fabric. Placing the strip in different directions and using a circle skirt achieved this.
Eager to pair the statement Maude bag and glittery Wittner shoes with a Tweed the hunt for the fabric began. We found the beautiful white and blue with silver fleck tweed at Darn Cheap Fabrics in Port Melbourne.
Returning to use a favourite pattern, Vogue 1392 with a circle. The bodice was lined with bem silk and cotton tape place around the neckline to reduce stretching.
Silver Style was a great evening to celebrate the efforts of the OCRF. Every woman, everywhere – free from the threat of Ovarian Cancer. You can donate directly to the cause or find out other way to take part such as Frocktober.
Melbourne Cup is known as ‘the race that stops a nation’. It is hosted on the first Tuesday in November at Flemington Racecourse. The style of the day is know for its colour; bright and vibrant. Looking to create something that reflect this Lauren was inspired by a dress from designer Roksanda. She collected a few idea on Pinterest to collate the concept.
I liked the idea of creating something like that with the block colour and design lines looked like an exciting challenge.
Using the Roksanda dress as inspiration was a great base but it was important that it wasn’t an exact replication with alterations to the shapes and colours. Having a play with the shapes in illustrator and exploring different colour combinations in fabric stores in Sheppards Bush in London the final design and colour way was set.
Taking on the process of drafting the pattern, Lauren constructed a toile of a basic block to test fit. From this block she created the geometric design lines. The final pattern had over 30 pieces. Each piece of the outer shell had to be cut separately due to the design lines.
The construction took time to ensure the sharp corners were achieved but exact pivots and the dress fully lined. For colour consistency the threads were changed between panels. Such as down the side seam navy was used to join the navy and white thread to join the white section. If all was constructed in the bright blue you might have been able to see a slight fleck of it in the seamline.
The outfit for Royal Ascot all start with the shoes! Irregular Choice shoes to be exact, and aren’t they amazing!?
The dress was made from McCall’s 7279 with a circle skirt added for a softer line to match the delicate lavender lace sourced from Spotlight in Melbourne. Construction involved tacking the lace to the matching poplin backing before stitching the darts of the bodice.
The details of the make included black piping around the cream Peterpan collar and turned up cuffs
The finished look for Royal Ascot was paired with a black Review belt to highlight the piping and worn with a Lauren J Ritchie Lenox Boater.