Thursday, 18 October 2018

Wool and Linen - The Skirt Edition

Julia Bobbin Wrap Skirts
Julia Bobbin Wrap Skirts

It's fair to say, your girl has a soft spot for skirts. Leather, wool, linen; they are an easy way to mix up your wardrobe and they're so darn comfortable.

Here are another two recent skirts, and they certainly won't be the last.

Bonus drinking game: one shot for every photo where I'm touching my hair. You're welcome.

Julia Bobbin Wrap Skirts
Julia Bobbin Wrap Skirts

Pink Faux Wrap Skirt

I used a beautiful heavy weight linen from The Fabric Store for this self drafted skirt.

It's unlined and is closed at the centre back with an invisible zipper. I can't overstate how comfortable it is wearing linen. It feels light, breathes well and they say, improves with age.

Make The Look

McCall patterns recently released a pattern that is very similar to my version, minus the front darts. So if you are wanting to make a skirt like this, check out M7845

McCall 7845
Julia Bobbin Wrap Skirts
Julia Bobbin Wrap Skirts
Julia Bobbin Wrap Skirts
Julia Bobbin Wrap Skirts
Julia Bobbin Wrap Skirts

The Wool Wrap Skirt

A self drafted, wool-blend wrap skirt, made with fabric from Spotlight.

This skirt is unlined and sits just below the waist, with facings instead of a waistband.

I repurposed the leather straps from an old, very loved pair of boots that had 'gone to God'. 
Using a leather needle on my sewing machine, I attached the straps to the skirt to use as closures. I love that I was able to breathe new life into an old pair of boots, to create something new.

Make The Look

If you're looking to make your own wrap skirt, The Nita Wrap Skirt by Sew DIY is a similar pattern and comes in different skirt lengths.



Or use Simplicity 8459 and substitute the self-fabric closure for leather straps.

Julia Bobbin Wrap Skirts
Julia Bobbin Wrap Skirts
Julia Bobbin Wrap Skirts
Julia Bobbin Wrap Skirts
Julia Bobbin Wrap Skirts
And that's a wrap! Get it?!! (Worth it).

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