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Fern and Faerie Peasant Smock and Reversible Pants

Hi All,

I made up a sample from the Fern and Faerie, Peasant Smock and Reversible Pants, as I did not have any photos for the estore. Continue reading Fern and Faerie Peasant Smock and Reversible Pants

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Using Sense and Sensibility Sewing Patterns: Part Three

So, I’ve finished the Girls Romantic Era Dress and the pantaloons, just have to cut out and sew the pinafore and will put up the final pics when I get a better background for my photos.

Added the fancy effect thingy to disguise the window blinds, didn’t really work  🙂

I measured my daughter before I sewed the dress, her sizing was somewhere between a size 8 and 10,  I went with the size 8 but should really have cut a size 10 out.  The dress is slightly too tight around the chest area.  Technically it is a perfect fit, but there is not very much room to move.  If the dress was made in a fabric any heavier than the muslin I used, she would probably not be able to move very much, as it is, it is perfect for playing and floating around in.  But does show the importance of making a mock up dress before you cut the real thing out.

I chose the flared sleeve option.

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Using Sense and Sensibility Sewing Patterns: Part Two



Not going to make a step by step, as the S&S instructions and website do that job so well, but just a few tips that I found whilst making up the dress:

Pinning is important when using delicate materials such as muslin and voile, I know this from experience (see below).   As I worked in the commercial sewing industry, pre-marriage and family, I had gotten used to the quickness of not pinning most of my garment.   While it is quick, it is often not a good idea for the domestic sewing machine in my experience, or for the muslin, as it is too stretchy!

Example of why pinning is important:)  

Redone seam!


Ironing, is also essential, at every step of construction.  Not only does it help make sure each piece fits together correctly, the seams lay correctly, and hems lay flat,  it makes the final garment look much neater.

Making up

The pantaloons was super fast to make.  I omitted the side seams to save time and I still have to get some white ribbon for the drawstring.  The dress was pretty quick and easy also, however I have yet to find the perfect ribbon to match a lemon dress.  I did change a couple of things, mainly just the order of sewing, and how I sewed them together, I don’t think it made things easier, just my own preferences so won’t bother journalling them here.

I did have a few problems sewing the muslin, mostly because the material was so fine, but also because my sewing machine has a lot to be desired!  I ended up handsewing the button holes, the sleeve hem, and the bodice to skirt seam.  I now know how to do the button holes correctly by hand, they turned out alright as I did them, but they do not appear to be very rugged.  Will do them properly next time.   I also used french seams almost throughout, I love them now, and may never need an overlocker again!  There a variety of french seam tutorials on the net.


Part 3 and some final photos

Nite, Turina.


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Using Sense and Sensibility Sewing Patterns: Part One

I have just started working on sewing up most of the patterns we stock, firstly because it would be alot of fun!   Secondly, because it is helpful when buying patterns online to be able not only to see how the final product looks once made up, but also a bit about what the pattern contains, how clear the instructions are, how easy or hard it is to sew up, and how others are using them.

Am starting on Sense and Sensibilities’ Girls patterns and will post the photos as my girls and I progress through the stock.  A bit about Sense and Sensibility:

Jennie Chancey, is the founder of Sense and Sensibility, a business specializing in historical sewing patterns.   She has a great website, where you are able to contact the people who have actually designed and used the patterns, for any questions or help you may need in regards to their products.  Some of the patterns also have photo instructions on the website also, just a little bit more help for those that need it!

So I decided to start with the Girl’s Romantic Era Dress size 8 for my daughter, and the pantaloons and pinafore.  I wanted to see how using an epattern compares to a ready printed pattern, so purchased the pattern of the Sense and Sensibility website and I’m using the pre-printed pattern for the pantaloons and pinafore.


Pros ePattern:

  • Obviously faster to receive your epattern compared to having it mailed out, I decided to purchase pattern yesterday, printed it off and had the pantaloons finished by late last night, so super fast if you need something in a hurry 🙂
  • You will never lose a pattern piece.  If a piece gets misplaced you only need to print it out again and voila!
  • Storage is brilliant also, a whole disk of epatterns could easily fit an entire wardrobe of clothing for your whole family on it.

Cons ePattern:

  • If like me you have a printer with super expensive ink cartridges, printing out all your pattern pieces could be a very costly exercise.
  • I disliked taping  A4 pieces of paper together after printing, I think the whole pattern sheet took something like 35 pieces.  It probably took me 1 and 1/2 hrs to trim and tape the whole sheet together, possible longer, I am definitely a fan of the pre-printed in this case.

Just a couple of things to take note of about these patterns that will make your sewing experience much more satisfying.


  1. Each epattern has detailed instructions on how to successfully print them out.
  2. Make sure you take accurate measurements and check which size you may need, don’t assume that your off the rack size would be the same as the pattern sizing.
  3. Sense and Sensibility patterns are based on actual period dress, so the making up and fitting of the finished dress may be different to modern clothing, make sure you read the instructions thoroughly before you start.
  4. Making a mock up of your chosen dress, usually called a muslin, is a good idea to make sure it fits correctly, and to make any changes to pattern,  before you go ahead and cut into your more expensive fabric.
  5. It also pays to have a look at the Sense and Sensibility site as they have tips and forums for further support.  This page on the Sense and Sensibility website, gives tips for troubleshooting fit and sizing problems that is very helpful.

Ready Printed Patterns

The already printed patterns are on a heavy paper stock like cartridge paper. The advice in the booklet, is to use the printed paper as a master pattern, so you don’t actually cut into it, this enables you to use multiple sizes without ruining your pattern.  I used interfacing to trace off the pattern, you can also use baking paper, although this gets a little tricky with the larger pieces, and normal tracing paper.

The recommendation on the Sense and Sensibility website however is to use something called Swedish tracing paper.  Apparently it is sturdy, sewable, so you can sew up the pattern to check fitting, and drapable.  The interfacing I used is good, but is a bit stretchy, definitely something you don’t want when cutting out fabric.  Am going to get me a couple of rolls of Swedish tracing paper to see for myself.

S&S gets their paper from .  In Australia it is available from .  If I like the stuff may start stocking it myself stay tuned!


The information that comes with the ready printed patterns is invaluable.  There are plenty of pictures, and the historical background of each pattern is very interesting, a great bonus.  Jennie Chancey also gives you ideas on the material the original gowns were made out of, and ways of adding extra details to your creations.  Possibly a wee bit much for complete beginners, however with a good sewing how to book, the S&S website, and Google, you’re good to go!

Getting Ready

I was considering sewing this garment using heirloom sewing practices, however hand sewing is not my strong suit, and I just don’t have enough time at the moment.  I did hand sew the button holes however and the hem around the sleeves, as the muslin was just too fine and would not sew in my machine without fraying.


Tools and patterns at the ready!  I just used what tools I had on hand, but I would suggest at least a meter long ruler, a bigger cutting mat, a better craft knife than I have, a small tape dispenser and maybe a rotary cutter once you start cutting the material.  [table is our homeschool table which is also used for art, suggest not sewing light coloured muslin on art tables!]

Taping the first row of printed off pattern pieces

It is best to take your time doing the taping, make sure you cut and line up all papers correctly.


See here for part 2!