Sunday, 7 October 2018

My First Ever PANTS - The Ash Jeans By Megan Nielsen

Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans
Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans

Guys, the IMPOSSIBLE has happened.
I made my first pair of pants; JEANS! And they FIT! Somebody hold me, because EMOTIONS.

I've been sewing for nine years now and have amassed quite the collection of dresses and jackets. Pants however, have not even made it into my pattern collection let alone under my sewing needles because TOO HARD.

I'm 5'4", bottom heavy and pants just seems like an inevitable fit-issue nightmare.
The desire was there though friends, brewing away, until it got to the point where I just couldn't stop thinking about it.

And then this happened ...

Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans
Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans

The Pattern

Enter the new Megan Nielsen pattern, the 'Ash Jeans'.

With FOUR different leg versions; slim, skinny, flare and wide leg, this pattern is a giver.
This pattern met all my 'first-pair-of-pants' requirements:
  • High waisted
  • has a skinny leg option AND
  • is made with stretch denim.
The instructions for this pattern were exceptional,  I mean actually flawless.
Being a complete novice at pants I depended on the instructions. Every question I had was answered and  explained with zero assumed knowledge.  You could tell that Megan really took the time to make sure nothing was left out and obviously pays attention to her testers.
There is also a wonderful and thorough sew-a-long on her website which I also utilised.

Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans
Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans

Size

I made the skinny leg (version 2), cutting out the 29 and grading up to a size 31 on the hips (widest part of the pattern).

I actually measured a size 29 on my waist and a huge THREE sizes bigger on the hips. Help!
I only graded the hips up two sizes as I figured the stretch in the fabric would forgive the size variance.
I ended up taking the hips and the legs in quite a bit. See changes below for details.

The Fabric

I purchased a true-black stretch denim from Mrecht
This denim has 2% Elastane which gave about 15% stretch.
It was nice and strong but still soft and comfortable and I love how well they turned out!

Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans
Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans
Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans

Changes

Despite my hips measuring three sizes bigger than my waist, I ended up taking in each leg from the hips down by a few cm's. I wanted a real fitted 'skinny leg', and the stretch in the fabric allowed for a tighter fit.
I also adjusted the waist so that it was more of a size 28 in the end.

I added my own leather patch to the back waistband, and that little extra detail really makes them look like an official pair of jeans!

I used the triple-stitch feature on my sewing machine instead of using embroidery thread for all those rows of top-stitching. There is a lot of top-stitching done through this pattern, so not having to constantly change thread was a huge time saver.

I increased my stitch length to 2.6 to combat the thicker fabric.

Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans
Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans

Features

One of the things that has always scared me about jeans, is the rivets and buttons. Turns out they are way easier than they look.
What I found the most overwhelming was knowing what equipment to get. I ended up buying a hardware kit from Megan's website and it came with everything that I needed for this pattern.

The hardware makes the jeans look authentic and they also have purpose! The rivets are placed on areas that need reinforcement; areas that are susceptible to being pulled apart or strained through regular use, such as pockets.


I don't know what it is about the little coin pocket at the front but it makes me happy. I mean, it's just so cute and practical and jeans-y, you know?!

I made my pockets out of remnants of this cute New York print fabric. This fabric featured as lining in my first ever blog post here. Awwwww.

The height of these jeans is just right on me. It holds me in without being uncomfortable and doesn't bunch up under tops.

Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans
Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans

Advice

These pants were my toile and amazingly I was able to make the changes as I went, without having to cut out new pieces.
I did however buy double the amount of fabric in the assumption that they would not be wearable and that I would need to make a second pair once I had the right fit.

Denim and stretch can vary so much depending on the fabric, so where possible I highly recommend you make your toile and your finished jeans in the same fabric. It would be so frustrating to get the fit right only for it to not work when you make it in another fabric.

Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans
Conclusion

I still can't believe I've made my first pair of pants AND that I love them!
All these years I've put up with ill fitting pants or avoided them completely. Now I have my very own pair that fit how I want AND I MADE THEM MYSELF! Is this real life??!!

Being curvier from the waist down means the fit has to be right to make the pants look flattering. These aren't perfect, but they fit well and it is so satisfying to know that it can be achieved.

Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans
Julia Bobbin - Ash Jeans

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