Friday, 14 September 2018

Two LEATHER SKIRTS Are Better Than One


Julia Bobbin - Leather Skirts

Welcome to my new wardrobe staples, the leather mini's!

Recently I spent some time working on patterning a skirt for my body.
Getting the fit right for my lower body has always been my biggest challenge, and I enjoyed taking the time to get the fit right.
I now have a pattern that I can redesign to make new, perfectly fitted skirts and I have no idea why it took me so long to decide to do this!

What did I do once I was happy with the pattern? I made two leather skirts. Obvs.

Julia Bobbin - Leather Skirts
Julia Bobbin - Leather Skirts
Julia Bobbin - Leather Skirts
Julia Bobbin - Leather Skirts

The Leather

Both skirts sit and fit a little differently as they are made from different types of leather.
The black skirt is a super fine nappa leather and sews like a thicker fabric.

The tan skirt is a slightly thicker and higher-grade leather that was left over from my tan leather jacket that I made last year.

I purchased the leather from Leffler's Leather in Melbourne. If you live in Victoria, you need to go and visit this place; trust me.

Julia Bobbin - Leather Skirts
Julia Bobbin - Leather Skirts

The Details

It's a simple skirt, so I added a centre front seam line for a little extra detail. This is a common addition to a lot of leather skirts that you see in the stores.

I top-stitched both sides of all my seam allowances, which flattened bulky seams and gave the skirt a polished look.

I added a waistband and closed the skirt with a metal zip down the centre back seam of the skirt.

Julia Bobbin - Leather Skirts
Julia Bobbin - Leather Skirts
Julia Bobbin - Leather Skirts

Tips for Sewing With Leather

For a detailed list of tips with sewing with leather, check out my leather jacket post here.
  • Use QUILTER'S HOLDING CLIPS instead of pins. They look like pegs and have an excellent grip which is needed for thicker fabrics like leather.
  • TOP-STITCH your seams.  Top stitching makes bulky seams lie-flat and gives a professional finish.
  • Use a LEATHER NEEDLE: It has a sharper head that's specifically designed for this fabric. I used a size 14 on my Janome DC2101
  • WALKING FOOT/Even Feed Foot - If you can get your hands on one of these I HIGHLY recommend using this. Thicker fabric like leather have the tendency to move in opposite directions under a sewing foot, leaving you with uneven seams. The walking foot feeds your fabric from below and above so that both layers move and stay together; game changer.
Julia Bobbin - Leather Skirts
Julia Bobbin - Leather Skirts

Conclusion

I love how leather skirts can be worn casually with a tee, or dressed up with some heels and a nice top.
They were straight-forward and quick to make and they will definitely be on high rotation in my spring and summer wardrobe.

Julia Bobbin - Leather Skirts

Friday, 31 August 2018

Velvet Vintage Dress - BurdaStyle 05/2012 #133

Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage DressJulia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress
Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress
Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress
Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress

The Dress

When I first fell in love with sewing, vintage dresses from the 60's were my thing.
I loved the silhouettes and the drama of those well thought out garments. The styles emphasised proportion and conveyed subtle but undeniable sexiness.

Fast forward through my sewing journey, my style has inevitably evolved and developed as I have learnt more about my shape and my tastes. With the help of modern influences I have been able to find a balance between what I like to wear as well as what actually looks good on me.

This new dress is a perfect example of what I like: A little bit vintage, a little bit modern, a little bit fancy and a little bit sexy.

Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress
Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress
Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress

The Pattern

When I first saw this BurdaStyle patten, I knew I had to make it.
The dramatic back draping in velvet was just the sort of eye-catching vintage that I love.

I made the bodice of BurdaStyle #133 from 05/2012 issue but not the attached skirt. The pattern had box pleats at the waist of the skirt and I just knew that the velvet fabric manipulated into box pleats would look bulky and unflattering on my curves.
Image curtesy of BurdaStyle
Instead, I followed Mimi G's 'DIY pencil skirt' tutorial on Youtube; I have a similar shape to Mimi from waist down. The tutorial was easy and quick and resulted in what I think is a more flattering shape for my figure.

Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress
Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress

Fabric used

I found this gorgeous stretch velvet fabric from GJ's in the most beautiful wine-red.
I love how the light picks up different tones of the colour and the fabric feels lush and firm to touch.

The bodice is lined in the same velvet and the skirt I left unlined.

Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress
Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress
Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress


Pattern Changes

I omitted the petersham-ribbon bows on the shoulders as I felt the silhouette and the fabric colour were enough of a statement without the embellishments.

I replaced the BurdaStyle skirt with a DIY pencil skirt and didn't elasticise the waist. The Mimi G tutorial had you add a band of elastic to pull the waist in. I may potentially add this in later as extra reinforcement for the waistline.

Because the bodice is quite loose and the fabric has a fair amount of stretch, I decided to remove the side zipper, which could potentially look messy and bulky in this thick stretch fabric. The dress is easy to pull on over my head.

The drape on the front and back bodice are held into place with little pleats at the shoulders, which I hand-stitched together. Being able to pin and hand-sew the shoulders together made it much easier to control the drape and minimise bulk.

Love

That draping though!
The full low back drape, mixed with the subtle drape on the high neck front is just everything I love in an evening dress.

The pleats on the shoulders with the wide neckline give great proportion to the dress and the cut and fit is emphasised so well in this rich, stretchy velvet.


Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress
Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress
Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress


Conclusion

All dressed up and nowhere to go!
I have a habit of making evening dresses without an occasion to wear them, and I'm not fighting it any more!

I get such joy in making these dresses, potentially more than I even get wearing them. In any case, I think I might have to invent an excuse to wear it. A dinner party perhaps, or maybe just a trip to the grocery store. Sometimes a girl just wants to get glam for a bag of potatoes, k?!

Occasion aside, I'm very happy with how the dress turned out, and glad to have a new vintage-inspired dress in my wardrobe.

Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress
Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress
Julia Bobbin - Velvet Vintage Dress

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

The City Stroll Wrap Skirt

Julia Bobbin - The City Stroll Wrap Skirt
Julia Bobbin - The City Stroll Wrap Skirt
Julia Bobbin - The City Stroll Wrap Skirt

Everybody needs a few linen pieces in their wardrobe.

Not only is it one of the world's oldest fabrics (I'm talking 8000BC), it's super durable, loves to soak up colour and is revered for it's exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather.

Yes it gets a little wrinkly, but the fabric is strong, biodegradable and comes from a plant that requires less water and pesticide than cotton so it's more eco-friendly; bonus!

This short post is about a cute little linen skirt that I made this summer.

The Pattern + Fabric

I used the City Stroll Wrap Skirt by Oliver + S and modified it to add a flounce.
It's a simple wrap skirt that closes with a hidden button (see my changes below) and is finished with facings.
The size of the pattern ranges from 0 to 20 and I cut the pattern in a size 6.


I made this skirt using a white linen. The linen in this colour is a bit see-through so I should have lined it, but in a darker colour it would be fine.

Julia Bobbin - The City Stroll Wrap Skirt
Julia Bobbin - The City Stroll Wrap Skirt

Changes
  • I shortened the skirt and made the waist band wider. There is a handy line on the pattern to show you wear to lengthen or shorten the skirt. Spoiler, this skirt also looks amazing lengthened.
  • Closed the skirt with a tie instead of a button. Next time I will make the tie long enough so that it wraps around to the front to close in a long bow.
  • Removed excess fabric just above the hips
  • Removed the pockets to eliminate bulk and weight.
  • Removed 10cm from the length of the hem and replaced it with a flounce of the same length
Julia Bobbin - The City Stroll Wrap Skirt
Julia Bobbin - The City Stroll Wrap Skirt
Julia Bobbin - The City Stroll Wrap Skirt
Julia Bobbin - The City Stroll Wrap Skirt
Julia Bobbin - The City Stroll Wrap Skirt
Julia Bobbin - The City Stroll Wrap Skirt

Conclusion

This skirt is fun, super comfortable and quick and easy to make. This skirt is successful as a wearable toile and I love the flirty touch the flounce adds to the style.

Apart from it being a little see-through, I'm pleased with how it turned out. With any luck I'll fit in a few more wears before summer says goodbye to us here in the Southern Hemisphere.

Julia Bobbin - The City Stroll Wrap Skirt
Julia Bobbin - The City Stroll Wrap Skirt
Julia Bobbin - The City Stroll Wrap Skirt

Thursday, 15 March 2018

FROCKTAILS Dress - BurdaStyle + Style Arc MASH UP


Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc

IT'S MELBOURNE FROCKTAILS TIME!

Ok, so yeah. It was actually four months ago in November but I've been busy (lazy, so lazy).

FROCKTAILS, for those of you that don't know, is a wonderful evening where people who sew, dress up in their finest me-made's and sip on cocktails.

It's an evening of excellent conversation, meeting like-minded people and feeling up the clothing of complete strangers.

This post is about the dress I made for the occasion. Read on for details!

THE PATTERN

This dress was the marriage of two patterns that I had fallen in love with.
Strapless Corset Dress - Burda Style
Zoe Pencil Skirt - Style Arc

I made the bodice using BurdaStyle Magazine 03/2010 #107 I cut a size 40 in the bodice but then altered it down to a smaller size - see 'changes' below.

The skirt was the 'Zoe Pencil Skirt' by Style Arc in a size 10

Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc

MATERIALS

Fabric - Wool crepe from Clegs
Foundation - Silk organza
Lining - Stretch polyester satin from Lincraft
Trim - Gold chain from Jimmy Buttons
Boning - I ended up using plastic boning from lincraft because a) the steel boning I had at home was the wrong size and didn't want to cut it and b) the steel was too visible under the fabric. 

DETAILS

The BODICE of the BurdaStyle pattern is such a pleasing shape. It mimics a corset but with out the challenge of having to fit bra cups.
The scoop neckline is flattering on both a fuller and a smaller bust.

Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc

I was instantly drawn to the design lines on this PENCIL SKIRT. The side seams curve towards the front, emphasising the classic silohette. I love the elimination of the waist darts and inclusion of the long back darts (or butt darts as they were so eloquently named at Frocktails!) that start from the hem and angle all the way up to your bottom.

The skirt also has a subtle high-low hem, which looks lovely and also allows for move leg movement.

And uh, yeah. Sorry (mum) about the ironing job (or lack there of).

Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc

Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc


CHANGES

At the moment I am really enjoying and appreciating the benefits of making a few muslins before I start making my outfit. I feel that taking the extra time to really perfect the fit has improved my sewing and made me enjoy my finished products more.

I cut the BODICE in a size 40 and then made the following fit alterations:

  • I took in the back princess seams by a total of two cm's from top to bottom
  • Reduced the side seams by almost 6cm from under the arm to near the waist
  • I also lengthened the neckline scoop 1/2 a cm

I ended up with a great fit, but in hindsight it would probably have been easier to have just made a smaller size with a full bust adjustment.


I UNDERLINED the bodice because of the transparency of the wool crepe and made the foundation using silk organza.
I sewed the crepe + underlining + foundation all together as one piece.

Instead of placing the boning along the seam line, I positioned them between each princess seam. This meant that the boning is held flat against the body rather than bowing away along the seam line. The closer to the body the more effective the boning.

Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Wool crepe + Underlining + Organza foundation with boning channels.
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Three layers of horsehair braid hand stitched along bust seam line.

I basted three pieces of HORSEHAIR BRAID together and hand stitched them along the bust seam line. This was a great trick that I saw on an old Susan Khalijie blog post and it completely improved the shape of the bodice because:
  • It gave extra (but soft) support to stop it falling down
  • Helped push out the seam line on the bust and stopped it from buckling or caving in. This is a game changer for strapless tops!
I then hand tacked the waist seam allowance up toward the bodice to cushion and hold the boning in place.

Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc

I cut the SKIRT in a size 10 and

  • I reduced the waist to a size 8
  • Removed 2cm excess from each side seam from the waist down to the hip
  • Made a 1cm dart from the hip to the centre front and again to the centre back to eliminate drag lines (see picture below).
Removing the dart above the fullest part of my bottom meant eliminating the drag lines that I usually get on the back of my skirts. My backside is more like an upside down love heart shape, rather than two beach balls, so there always tends to be excess fabric above the hips. If your waist to hip ratio is a big bigger, I highly recommend this fit change.


I moved the ZIPPER from the side seam of the skirt to the centre back so that it could be joined with the bodice.

I sewed the skirt and skirt lining together at the waist so that the bodice lining wasn't weighed down by the skirt lining. The bodice lining was then hand stitched into place at the waist line seam.

Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc

EXTRA

For a bit of extra drama I hand-stitched a gold chain trim along the neckline of the bodice. This was then closed with a lobster clasp at the centre back.

I then stitched a draped chain below the neck line on the bodice front.

Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Attaching the lining to the bodice.
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc

WATCH OUT FOR

The length of the bodice is QUITE SHORT! I usually have to shorten the bodice and I most certainly did not need to with this pattern. In fact I could have lengthened it slightly. If you make this pattern, make sure you test for length first!

Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc

CONCLUSION

I'm so pleased I took the time to get this fit right. It took about three muslins for the skirt and two for the bodice but it made me enjoy my end look so much more! I also feel like I've learnt a bit doing this dress and that always makes me feel good.

I had a great night at Frocktails and I can't wait to do it again next year!

Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc
Julia Bobbin Frocktails Dress - Burdastyle + Style Arc