We had the honour of taking part in Sew Gorgeous which is a special collaboration between Songlines Art, Flying Fox Fabrics & Papulankutja Artists. This is the second year we have worked alongside a great team of makers in this project led by Songlines Art.
We chose to work with the Seven Sisters print by Anwari Mitchell of Papulankutja Artists.
It is a digitally organic cotton fabric printed by Next State Print in Melbourne. The classic cotton is made from organic yarn and woven in a satin finish at 140cm wide.
The artwork by Anwari explains the creation of two constellations: the Pleiades and Orion. Find out more about Anwari’s work and the story behind the design on the Songlines Art website.
For the pattern, we looked through our pattern collection for a design that had a bodice that would showcase the fabric. The trick to this was that it doesn’t have too many design lines. We found Vogue 9343 and adapted the skirt to be A-line to better show off the material.
Cutting this fabric it was really important that we considered the pattern placement in this beautiful work by artist Anwari Mitchell. Enjoy watching us debating the print placement in the video and then see the pattern placement in the skirt captured in the photos below.
Sew Gorgeous Photos
Seven Sisters print by Anwari Mitchell of Papulankutja Artists Model: Jadene Croft Photographer: Nicholas Gouldhurst
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
If you have been following along with your makes over the past few years you will know but this family tradition. If this is a new project for you we are excited to welcome you to our family Christmas! One of our favourite family traditions is that every year we make matching Christmas outfits.
Christmas outfits is something we’ve been doing in our family since our Nan made Christmas shirts and dresses for our Grandad and parents before we were born! You can see last year’s red Liberty outfits here and see the historical collection here. This get pulled out every year as every December you will see us wearing the outfits from previous years.
We continued the tradition of family Christmas outfits continued this year. This year we were all home together in North East Victoria for the first time in a long time. We celebrated this with a green backed echidna print by Jocelyn Proust.
Lauren and Fergus
Lauren made the cotton into Vogue 1723 and put elastic around the sleeve hem instead of using the sleeve stay for a more casual look
We have made this dress before but in more formal fabric for Lauren’s Myer Millinery Award entry and Erin silk fabric from @injalakarts for the Cup Eve celebration but in cotton. It is such a comfortable cut especially for that big Christmas lunch and the cotton sits so well in the dramatic sleeve and neck tie.
Fergus practised this posing and sitting very patiently for his photo his year. If you missed his efforts last year check out our blog post. Let’s just say there was a lot less handsome puppy face and a lot more fluffy happy tail. With his sit more solid than ever thank you to the team at ProDog training Fergus wore a Two Sewing Sisters original dog bow tie pattern that included a D ring for his lead and quick-release buckle.
Robyn and David
For Dad’s shirt, we used McCalls 6044 which features a shaped body, curved hem, collar with stand and front placket detail for the buttons.
This year Mum chose to create her Christmas dress this year using McCalls 7542 bodice and attached a box pleat skirt with pockets. We have made a few versions of hacking this McCalls pattern into a dress, the first was this blue checked number, check it out here.
James and Erin
James chose his go-to collared shirt pattern McCalls 6044 which is a popular shirt pattern in our make set at the moment.
Erin made a variation of the Schultzapparel Senna. We were part of the pattern testing team for this Schultz pattern, you can see this make here. For this Christmas version, we straightened the waist seam and created a tiered skirt but kept all of the great features of the bodice which include a fastening-free finish with very clever ties.
Photography Notes of Christmas Outfits
Photographer: James Christie
Dress Fabric: Jocelyn Proust green background with echidna with Santa hat Christmas fabric
Patterns: James – McCall’s 6044 Erin – Schultzapparel Senna with tiered skirt David – McCalls M6044 Robyn – McCalls 7542 with pleated skirt Lauren – Vogue 1723 Fergus – Two Sewing Sisters drafted doggy bowtie
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Center Back Split
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.
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.
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.
Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse is part of the Melbourne Cup Spring Racing Carnival. Traditionally the dress code for the day is black and white with all race goers wear the mono chrome palette.
This was not the original plan. It is not often when we decide to abandon a project because it is not turning out how we want it or we will not get it finished in time. However, this was one of those rare times where we abandoned the project the day before… this meant we need a new vision quick smart! Insert short amount to time collecting some images on Pinterest and away we went.
Flash forward to 8 pm Friday night before the races the next day. Erin on video call with Lauren is walking around Spotlight collecting every viable black and white fabric option available. After a solid 30 minute debate over patterns, fabric and ‘visions’ it was time to check out and get sewing.
As the photos showed, the dress was finished. With two of us with hands on deck, we even managed to be in bed by midnight.