John Kaldor Lizzano Cotton Sateen from Minerva in Simplicity S9780

We love making fun summer dresses, but we never seem to pick fabric or patterns for dresses with sleeves. This means we feel like we have nothing to wear when spring or autumn comes around! Our challenge in the next couple of months is to fix this before the weather gets cooler.

Fabric: John Kaldor Lizzano Cotton Sateen Fabric from Minerva

This is the John Kaldor Lizzano Cotton Sateen Fabric in the black colourway. It is 100% cotton but has a beautiful smooth finish. Some of the cotton sateens you find in Australia are heavy and have stretch in the fabric – this one is quite the opposite! It is light and soft, but still keeps its shape when gathered.

Pattern: Simplicity 9780

When picking the pattern we wanted to make, we wanted to choose one that showcased the lovely way the fabric looks when it is gathered. Simplicity 9780 is a smock type dress with three views, with different sleeve, length and ruffle variations. We love the way the yoke of the dress continues around the front, back and sleeves of the dress. The front tie provides a creative feature to otherwise very simple design lines.

Finished Make

Photo Credits

Photographer: James Christie Media
Pattern: Simplicity 9780
Fabric:  John Kaldor Lizzano Cotton Sateen Fabric provided by Minerva

Shirley Shirred by Gracie Steel in Ellie Whittaker Leafy Sea

Have you tried shirring?  This might be the time!  Gracie Steel has just released the Shirley Shirred dress that features a shirred bodice and a gathered skirt. We joined the testing team to explore this new pattern.

Pattern: Shirley Shirred by Gracie Steel

The pattern includes a range of options a fully shirred bodice, milkmaid style (not shirring across the bust) and a combination of skirt designs with a dropped waist, v yoke with a regular seam or exposed ruffle. We created the fully shirred v front bodice with v yoke skirt.

Fabric: Ellie Whittaker Leafy Sea in Pink

The pattern called for opaque light/medium-weight wovens with good drape such as linen, cotton, viscose, silk. We wanted to create a fun Summer dress so chose this Ellie Whittaker Leafy Sea Cotton Poplin in pink.

Finished Make

We would highly recommend including the option of including a channel for the elastic around the waist. As you are combining two varying pieces of material, a gathered skirt and a shirred bodice there is nothing that pulls the material into the body, both have movement and a tendency to stretch.

Photo Credits

Pattern: Shirley Shirred by Gracie Steel
Fabric: Ellie Whittaker Leafy Sea in Pink

Mirabel Petite Dressmaker PDF Pattern

Summertime calls for fun playful dresses!  We enjoyed the chance to be part of the testing team for the Petite Dressmaker’s new release the Mirabel Dress.   

Mirabel Pattern Details

The Mirabel dress is a cute, asymmetrical babydoll style. Perfect for a beginner or intermediate maker it has a square neckline at the front and back with no need for a zipper as you can pull it over your head.

The main design feature is the slanted waistline and two slanted tiers. To showcase these design lines there is an optional ruffle feature.

This PDF pattern includes 12 size options in the layered PDF files with A/B and C/D cup options along with high options of Petite (5’2”) and Standard (5’7”).

You can find your copy on The Petite Dressmaker’s website here or in the babydoll bundle here.

Fabric: Ellie Whittaker Golden Gaytime Cotton

This pattern called for a Light/Medium weight woven fabric such as cotton, quilting cotton, linen/cotton blends or broderie anglaise. Given how playful the design lines were with the asymmetrical feature we wanted a fabric that would match this character. We went into our stash to pull out the Ellie Whittaker Golden Gaytime Cotton we had been waiting to use for a fun project.

To showcase the design lines we included matching piping between the tiers instead of the ruffle.

Finished Mirabel Dress Make

This is a fun Summer dress that is easy to stitch. You can create your own details by showcasing the design lines like we did with the tiers by adding a ruffle or piping. Have fun with the designs! The Petite Dressmaker has provided very detailed instructions to help you construct your own playful make. We can’t wait to see your version of this pattern!

Photo Credits

Photographer: James Christie Media
Pattern: Mirabel dress by Petite Dress Maker available here
Fabric:  Ellie Whittaker Golden Gaytime Cotton Print

Matching outfits for Stakes Day 2023

Our family loves a matching outfit opportunity, and there is no better excuse than family day!  Stakes Day at Flemington is known as family day so here we go!  We selected our fabric for the year which was a floral polished cotton from Spotlight.  Mum created our outfit this year, what a task!  All five of us wore a garment in this fabric.  

From the left: James in a handmade tie, Erin in Butterick 6482, Mum in Vintage Simplicity 7083, Dad in McCalls 4321, and Lauren in Simplicity 8594

Floral Dresses Butterick 6482, Simplicity 7083 and Simplicity 8594

Photographer: James Christie Media
Pattern: Butterick 6482, Simplicity 7083 and Simplicity 8594
Fabric: Spotlight 
Millinery: Lauren J Ritchie Millinery

Looking for more matching family inspiration? Check out our 2022 Stakes Day outfits here or the matching Christmas looks here.

Winter Vogue Wedding Guests

We had the honour of being invited to our dear friends Max and Cassidy’s Wedding in New York! This called for new dresses, a winter black tie wedding in New York isn’t something we have hanging around in our closest.  This was a wonderful opportunity to tackle more advanced Vogue Patterns!  Off we headed to the fabric stores to find some inspiration for some wonderful fabric and patterns. 

Erin in Vogue 1520

We couldn’t think of anything more fitting for a winter wedding than a full-length velvet dress!

We’ve seen Vogue 1520 by @badgleymischka in the pattern books for a while, but never had the opportunity until now to make it!

The pattern only has 5 pattern pieces for the outside layer, each a really unique shape given the side gathering! We sewed about 70% of the dress just on the four-thread overlocker and completed gathering stitches and hems on a domestic sewing machine.

We deviated from the pattern in two ways:
1. added gathering around the wrist (by extending the sleeve piece and using the same method of the side waist of the dress) instead of the lace feature.
2. removed the train to allow for maximum dance floor moves but kept the shaping at the back

Lauren Vogue 1908

A winter black tie wedding in New York was an excellent opportunity to tackle Vogue 1908 in a challenging fabric

This pattern is a wrap-style dress with a button-bodice closure and a wrap skirt. We loved this pattern for the self-covered button and collar feature, even though the self-covered buttons were challenging in the metallic georgette!

This fabric was tricky to work with and looking at the photos afterwards could use a popper on the left side seam to help hold the wrap strap into place. If you would like to follow along with the construction of this dress check out our Instagram Highlight here.


Photographer: James Christie Media
Pattern: Vogue 1520 and Vogue 1908 

The dapper cameraman himself

Melbourne Frocktails

In July we headed to Melbourne Frocktails!  We have seen this wonderful event for several years but this is the first time we got tickets.  Melbourne Frockails is an annual cocktail party for people who enjoy sewing their own garments so the stakes are high for the dress code.  Obviously, me-made is a must!  

The brief was “Sew your finest outfit, and come to chit-chat to sewing peeps from near and far, over cocktails and canapes.” Th event was hosted at The Bank on Collins Street in the heart of Melbourne. Eliza joined us for the event creating a stunning version of By Hand London’s Anna dress in dark green velvet.

Lauren’s Frocktails Dress

We started this dress in 2019 for an event but didn’t get it finished in time – so it got its first outing for this event. I wanted to create something whimsical with a maroon striped lace I had found a Darn Cheap Fabrics and the vision became creating a “maroon fairy”. I was particularly inspired by Needle and Thread dresses with the light lace in gathered ruffles. I had been collecting some images on our Pinterest Board to bring together the concept.

The Pinterest Board

Once I had picked some elements to focus on I started with the bodice of New Look 6494. I liked the rounded bodice detail and sleeves. To test the design lines I took the line drawing from the pattern, which you can just see a faint line of in the sketch and overlaid the additional ruffles.

I wanted to create a soft neckline so I opened up the neckline line and added some gathering into the pattern piece then I used these stand collar pattern piece back to front and added a ruffle at the top edge.

The skirt was formed with three gathered tiers onto a poplin backing (thank you gathering foot, you lifesaver). I wanted to make sure the backing material was not too heavy and take away from the light characteristics of the lace.

The bodice was constructed with the lace basted on a matching poplin which was then treated as one fabric and bagged out with an interfaced support that included boning.

The finished dress

Erin’s Frocktails Dress

Having created many amazing formal dresses for events across the last few years Erin pulled out a favourite that she originally made for the Women in Law Awards when she was nominated for Law Student of the Year. The pattern is Vogue 9343 and we altered the bust to allow for an overlap of the bodice pieces. It is constructed in a printed taffeta weight fabric that was sourced from Darn Cheap Fabrics.


Photographer: James Christie
Headpieces: Lauren J Ritchie Millinery
Erin and Lauren’s Dress: Fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics 
Lauren’s Bodice Pattern: New Look 6494
Erin’s Dress Pattern: Vogue 9343
Eliza’s Dress Pattern: By Hand London Anna
Eliza’s Fabric: Spotlight

Viola Dress by Schultz Apparel

Ah dresses! What a key part of our wardrobe. We love added to the collection so we were excited for the new Viola Dress from Schultz Apparel.

Pattern: Viola Dress by Schultz Apparel

The Viola dress has a fitted bodice with three bust designs, three strap options and three skirt options. It has an invisible zipper at Center Back and is fully lined at the bodice.

This is the type of pattern that you can mix and match the elements, however, for something different, we made it just like the pattern! We are as surprised as you are. We created view A that has a pieced cup, ties at the shoulder and a gathered skiert.

Fabric: Bird print cotton

We were recently gifted a stash of fabric from someone in our hometown in Wangaratta. It is also home to Bruck Textiles and was known by locals for creating many home furnishing fabrics. In this bundle, we found this fantastic cotton print fabric initially intended as a curtain fabric but as it did not have a backing on it we could also use it for a dress.

With the sweet bird print it was the perfect pairing for the Viola Dress.

Finished Viola Dress

Photo Credits

Photographer: James Christie Media
Pattern: Viola Dress by Schultz Apparel
Fabric:  Cotton Print from Bruck Textiles

Lexus Melbourne Cup 2019

Melbourne Cup is known as the race that stops a nation.  The day is about celebration and vibrant colours.  We wanted to outfits that had feminine lines with full skirts while remaining true to the spirit of the day.  

Lauren’s Outfit


Pattern: Bodice Vogue 1172 and skirt Vogue 1486
Fabric: Darn Cheap Fabrics
Beret Hat: Lauren J Ritchie
Shoes: Siren Shoes
Earrings: Timber and Cotton

Erin’s Outfit 

A modern day Marie Antoinette out for Erin was inspired by the stunning shoes from Irregular Choice. The quirky design and hues gave a striking base for this outfit.

The cobalt blue fabric was a challenge to work into the curve of the pattern we chose. Both great elements however for future makes we would use a natural fibre for this pattern to be ensure the line around the bust sits flat.


Pattern: Mccall’s 7187 with adapted waist line.
Fabric: Unique Fabrics Brunswick
Marie Topper: Lauren J Ritchie
Shoes: Irregular Choice
Brooch: Rob Humphries Jewellery

See the outfits we wore to last year’s Melbourne Cup here, or check out our other outfits from the 2019 Spring Racing Carnival. 

Derby Day 2019

The Melbourne Cup is here, get ready for a big week of hats and fashion!

Derby Day kicks off the week, with Melbourne putting on a very cold and wet day. Traditionally the dress code for the day is black and white with all race goers wear the mono chrome palette.

The Two Sewing Sisters both opted for fun, yet classic fabrics paired with matching millinery which stayed firmly within the Derby Day monchrome dress code. 

Lauren’s Outfit

Pattern: Project Runway Simplicity 1610
Fabric: purchased at Komolka while visiting Vienna, Austria 
Beret Hat: Lauren J Ritchie
Shoes: Wittner Shoes
Earrings: Tigalf

Erin’s Outfit 

This dress started with a moment of Erin say, “Loz, I’ve had a vision”. Which usually results in a great feat of sewing marvel and a hopefully incredible outcome. The vision this time was a patchwork dress in which we make hexagons that are then fused to fabric with vlisafix then stitched to the fabric then constructed into a dress. This process started over a year ago with a stack of black and white fabric.

Hexagon construction started but with a few days to go until Derby Day last year we realised it wasn’t going to be possible to finish the dress in time. So in came our black a white version of Vogue 1566, which you can read more about in our post here. This year with a little more planning the dress returned and with a lot of determination and hexagon sewing on trams we made it!

Pattern: Vogue 8494 (bodice) and Vogue 8849 (skirt)
Fabric: various fabrics from Darn Cheap Fabrics, Spotlight 
Brimmed Hat: Lauren J Ritchie
Shoes: Wittner Shoes
Gloves: Millinery Online
Earrings: Pigeonhole

Georgia’s Jungle Green Silk Satin Law Ball Dress

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