Ah Paris! A fashion capital and a wealth of wonderful fabric stores!
In many of the stores in Montmartre near Sacré-Cœur the fabrics are already cut into length of 3m meters and folded on tables. They are sorted into fibre types with silks, cottons and wools grouped together. Each piece of fabric has a tag attached that lists the fibre composition, the width, meterage and the price.
Here are just a few we have frequented to help you explore and see the full map below
Coupons Saint Pierre (Les Coupons de Saint Pierre)
This fabric store has all precut lengths of 3 meters with an amazing selection of silks. This is the kind of store to let the fabric all to you, explore the piles, pick the pieces you like, and circle back around because the fabrics on top will have changed thanks to the other fabric lovers exploring as well!
When Maaike from MaaiDesign contacted us to see if we’d like to collaborate on a project, we couldn’t respond fast enough!
MaaiDesigns is located locally in Bright, Victoria, just near where we grew up! Operating online Maaike and her team distribute a beautiful selection of fabrics from beautiful North East Victoria to wherever you are!
Maaike started her business with a goal “I had visions of colour, prints and styles that were unique, fun and a joy to wear” and a mission to offer her customers the ability to make unique garments for themselves and their families. We think she has very much achieved this brief!
The fabric, which is made in Turkey, is 150cm wide and made from 80% LENZING™ ECOVERO™ Viscose and 20% Linen.
Due to the fibre content, it is highly recommended to pre-wash the fabric as it has a shrinkage of 2-5%. It is machine washable at 30°C (medium spin) – which is also the temperature we prewashed the fabric!
The print on the fabric is a stunning large-scale brush stroke print on a natural white base. This fabric drapes beautifully, is slightly textured and is divine to wear. It is slightly heavier than a classic viscose fabric.
This fabric is oeko-tex certified as it is a ECOVERO™ Viscose which is a wonderful bonus for the already fabulous fabric!
Fun fact: “ECOVERO™ Viscose fibers are a sustainably certified viscose fiber. It’s made of pulp from wood that derives only from certified and controlled wood sources. The production of ECOVERO™ Viscose only requires half the water compared to regular viscose production, and the CO2 emissions and use of energy is also halved, compared to conventional viscose production“.
Since we started doing this, Schultzapparel has now released the Ottilia Dress pattern, which actually is basically a pattern of this hack!
For the sleeves, we used the full-length Minna sleeve piece that has gathering in the head of the sleeve and into the cuff.
Construction of our MaaiDesign Collaboration
As this was a viscose fabric there is movement in the fabric which can become difficult to cut if you are not careful. To begin the cutting process we carefully laid out the fabric, folding it right sides together on a flat surface. From there, our goal was not to move the fabric but pin the pattern pieces on carefully and cut around each piece ensuring that markings on the pattern were captured.
For the bottom of the waist darts in the bodice, we did a small snip, just under 1cm long. The seam allowance of this pattern is 2cm so this small snip is not seen in the finished garment.
A classic mistake we make when sewing a wrap dress is either forgetting to leave a gap in the side seam for the ‘wrap strap’ or putting it on the incorrect side. To avoid these mistakes, we lay out the fabric pieces as if we will sew them together (as shown in the picture) and read the instructions carefully.
To keep this garment light and airy once finished we used a bias finish around the neck edge. With the light-coloured background of the fabric, we used a white bias so that it would not be visible once finished.
In the past we have tried doing a full lining of this Ottilia Top pattern – however, the fabric was heavy, and it meant the wrap bodice didn’t sit well. Our preference is to do the facing or bias now when we make this pattern, but it would depend on the fabric choice!
As the rayon is quite delicate and any hand sewn stitches, no matter how small, would be visible, we decided that by using a matching thread, we would top stitch the bias and hem of the dress.
When it came time to hem the dress, we overclocked around all three sides – as it is a wrap dress we needed to hem the ‘side edges’ of the hem as well.
As we started to press the hem up, we realised it would be a much better finish to the dress if we did a double-rolled hem. That way, if the wind catches the full skirt or the wrap of the skirt shows the underside, it was as pretty as could be!
You don’t need to overlock the edge of the fabric if you are going to double roll the hem, but given we had already done so there is no harm in keeping it there.
The photo shows the first narrow fold of the held (with the overlocked edge) followed by the slightly wider second fold. We then top stitched, however, if you wanted, you could also hand stitch to provide an even cleaner finish.
Sleeve length band
The Minna pattern has a full-length sleeve. The pattern is drafted to have a cuff that the fullness of the sleeve gathers into. To allow for flexibility when wearing the dress we have inserted elastic into the hem of the sleeve instead. To do this we did not cut the cuff piece, instead finished the raw edge with overclocking and folded over the fabric to create a self-casing, leaving a small gap in the stitching we pull the elastic through using a safety pin, joined the elastic into a loop and then closed up the remaining section of the casing. This method is very similar as inserting elastic in the waist of a pair of pyjama pants.
In this fluid moving fabric, the shape of the sleeve allow it to bello and loved the opportunity to sit in the fullness of the gathering. Using the elastic means that it can sit at different positions on the arm.
Christmas outfits have been a family tradition that started in the mid 1980’s when our Dad suggest that his mother-in-law, our Nan make him a shirt out of Christmas fabric. From then on it would not have been Christmas without themed attire.
The fabric for this years outfits had been purchased from Spotlight around two years ago and sat waiting for a family Christmas that involved some sunshine and we could all be together on Christmas Day.
This year we also had a guest, Mr Sammywise Gamgee, a spoodle dog and naturally he also needed a matching bow tie to wear for the family photo.
Two Sewing sisters Christmas Outfits History Gallery
What could possibly make a frocktober even greater than wearing a frock everyday? Wearing a frock you have made everyday? That is pretty exciting for us. What what could take this one step further? Wearing a frock we had made that has a print of the frocktober girls by Alexandra Nea on it!
We first met the talented Alexandra Nea through Frocktober, first as a fellow frocker and then through her work with the OCRF creating the stunning frocktober girl illustrations.
With Alex’s blessing to use the frocktober girl illustrations we set to work creating the fabric print. It was important to consider the scale and spacing of the sketches so the formatting showcased them. Lauren created the fabric repeat in Photoshop and used the colour splashes thanks to the OCRF.
For our fabric selection we prefer to work with natural fibres in a sturdy weight fabric. We chose to print through Spoonflower, selecting their organic cotton sateen.
Once the fabric arrived we had fairly good idea of the frock styles we wanted to created. How could be go past making our favourite, Butterick 9764? Lauren made the bodice has a flat front with the bust value taken up by tucks in the shoulder. The skirt is an A line style with tucks mimcing the shoulder detail in the waist seam.
Inspried by the Review girl Erin created a fitted bodice with full skirt. With a double bust dart and bodice dart the curved bust line we used Butterick 9771 to create the dress. The skirt features darts and gathers with crinoline in the hem to help the volume of skirt sit out.
Smooth FM hosted their annual Frocktail event at The National Trust’s Como House. Hosted by Mike and Jen the evening featured it was the perfect opportunity for us to wear these wonderful frocks.
Lauren in Butterick 9764 with Frocktober Fabric
Erin in Butterick 9771 with Frocktober Fabric
To see the rest of our frocktober frocks visit our Frocktober blog post here.
“Entry guidelines are super simple. Sew whatever style you want. Sew something that’s sympathetic to the fabric. Sew an original design or use a pattern. You can use one, both or a combination of all three competition fabrics.” –Tessuti Fabric Sewing Blog
The fabric was a Japanese polyester crepe de chine available – as the competition suggests – in three colours. With an open design brief, a fabric we were unfamiliar with, and two colours to play with – it was time to get creative!
What do see our past entries in the Tessuti Sewing Competitions? See our Skylines entry here.
Photos taken by Ben and James Christie.
While we were trying on Pinstripe Asymmetric Dress at Cue Clothing Australia last month we fell in love with the ruched effect through ties. The crepe de chine had the perfect balance between weight and flow of fabric required for these pull up sleeves and skirt to work their magic!
The first thing we noticed when we picked up this fabric, was how well it would drape and float in ruffles… enter the inspiration – Vogue 1413.
This ruffled top pattern we hunted down once we realised it was going out of date from the last one left in Victoria… one phone order from Spotlight Tarragon later and it has been sitting in the collection waiting for its moment to shine. Using this pattern as the base, we added a skirt, extra ruffles and went to town on the Baby Locker overlocker to finish off the metres (and metres) of hems!
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.
Zipper and thread to match
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.