Thursday, 6 December 2018

The Little Red Dress Project - Rita Blouse By Charm Patterns DRESS HACK

The Rita Dress
The Rita Dress

The festive season is upon us again and for us seamstresses that is usually a trigger for LET'S MAKE EVERYTHING IN RED!

The wonderful and talented Renata from The Twilight Stitcher hosts an annual 'Little Red Dress Project' challenge, and this year I decided to take part!
Christmas in Australia is HOT, so it looks like I now have my Christmas day outfit sorted.

Patterns

I used the Rita Blouse by Charm Patterns and redrafted it into a dress (see below for more details).
The pattern comes in different cup sizes, from B to DD and I cut the size 6 with the D cup.

Fabric

This dress is made in a bright red, cotton seersucker from Spotlight.

Changes

I traced the pattern to the waistline markings on the blouse and then cut it out.
I used my own drafted skirt block and converted the darts on the skirt to princess seams, making sure to line up the princess seams with those of the bodice.  I then taped the bodice and skirt pattern pieces  together to make a dress pattern.

I added a flounce to the hem of the skirt for a little extra fun.

To maximise the ease of getting into the dress, I made the side zipper go all the way up to underarm seam, rather than 3-4cm below. Because this dress is quite fitted in the bodice, that little extra room helps bigger boobs squeeze into the dress.
I usually avoid side zippers for this reason, but the elastic casing along the front and back neckline meant no centre back zipper.

The Rita Dress
The Rita Dress
The Rita Dress

Loves

I love the shoulder/sleaves style of this pattern, which can be worn up on the shoulders, or off the shoulders.

I have been looking for an off-the-shoulder dress pattern for a while, but most of them are free-flowing and loose under the bust and I wanted a more fitted look. I'm bigger on the hips and bust and when the curve of my waist is hidden in loose clothing it can make me look a little frumpy.

I love that this pattern comes with different cup sizes from B - DD. I have made this in both the C and the D cup size. To be honest, the DD would also be a good fit, but I liked how the D cup made the neckline a little lower.

Conclusion

I love how fun this blouse is as a dress! The cotton is cool and comfortable and perfect for summer, so I predict a few more versions of this dress in other colours for this warmer season.

I fell in love with this blouse pattern recently when I made it in THREE different colours! I knew it would make a lovely, fun dress with a little bit of tweaking and I'm happy with how it turned out!

Thank you Renata for hosting another wonderful challenge; I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has made!

Check out my instagram below to see this as a BLOUSE and with movement! Blog post coming soon.

The Rita Dress
The Rita Dress
The Rita Dress
The Rita Dress
The Rita Dress



Friday, 30 November 2018

The Transparent Organza Trench Coat - Simplicity 8554

Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat

The last few weeks I've been suffering from 'dress-traction'. You know what I'm talking about; that mania you feel when you become obsessed with a design (dress) in your head and then the inability to concentrate on anything else (distraction) until you've made it - DRESS-TRACTION.
You're welcome.

My latest creation, a classic trench coat with a twist, is my latest dress-traction and it's all my transparent clothing dreams come true.

Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat

The Pattern

I used Simplicity 8554 in a size 14 to bring this organza trench coat to life.  I made version C with the pockets and flaps, but cut version A for the length and sleeves.

The Fabric

I used a beautiful (!!) silk organza from The Cloth Shop in a striking purple.
When I went into the store I had my mind set on a baby blue trench coat. Then I saw this purple (the last on the bolt!) and everything changed.

Watch the coat in action below:

Changes

The organza is fine and transparent, and I wanted the coat to look as beautiful on the inside as it did on the outside. So I took the time to FLAT-FELL the seams with the exception of the sleeve seams, which I finished on the overlocker.

The BODICE-FLAPS on my trench aren't lined.  This organza was only 115cm wide and I had just over 3 metres. I had just enough fabric for two pieces instead of four, so I finished them both with a narrow hem instead.

No matter how much I played tetris with the fabric pieces, I didn't have enough fabric for both SIDE POCKETS AND PATCH POCKETS. I thought the patch pockets added to the design of the trench and are also very practical, so I sacrificed the side pockets in favour of the patch pockets.

Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat

Loves

I'm a little obsessed with the TRANSPARENT look at the moment, and after successfully making my first sheer garment recently (a black shirt and soon to be blogged) I started planning a trench coat.

I love how LAYERING THE ORGANZA adds multiple shades of purple on different sections of the trench-coat.

The SIDE SLITS are flattering and a modern take on a trench.

I Love the MIDI LENGTH with the oversized square patch POCKETS.

The pattern for this jacket is unlined which results in a faster make. I did a NARROW HEM for the inside facings and the bodice flaps which gives such a clean, finished look.

I omitted the INTERFACING for the facing, collar and belt so that it wouldn't be visible through the organza. This fabric has such a natural 'stiffness' already that it handles perfectly without it.


Look Out For

Step No 27!!  It instructs you to fold the belt in half lengthways which is INCORRECT.

The front facings for the size 14 appeared to be about 1.5cm longer than the actual centre front of the jacket.

Apart from the minor errors in the pattern instructions, I found the steps surprisingly easy to follow and the pattern very well drafted proportionately.

Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat

Conclusion

This is one of those makes that I can't stop staring at and touching.
The trench coat is so pretty in the unexpected fabric of silk organza, and I get an immense feeling of satisfaction when I look at all the extra details I employed to make the coat neat and clean.

It's an excellent addition to my ever growing 'sew-frosting' collection, which is currently threatening to overwhelm the rest of my closet. I'm not mad at it.
You can read about the 'Sew Frosting' challenge hosted by True Bias and Closet Case Patterns, here and here.

The colour is so vibrant and saturated, and I feel a little 'fashionista' when I wear this.
I'm so happy with how it turned out and I highly recommend this pattern! What do you think? Are you currently 'dress-tracted'? Thinking of giving the transparent look a try? I'd love to hear your plans!

Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat


Purple Organza Trench Coat
Purple Organza Trench Coat

Purple Organza Trench Coat

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Melbourne Frocktails 2018 - The Black Sequinned Gown




MELBOURNE FROCKTAILS is an annual event that I excitedly anticipate like a kid waiting for Christmas.
Not only is it a great opportunity to get dressed up in a new me-made, but it enables me to mix with a small part of this wonderful sewing community that I love so much.

This years wonderful event, flawlessly put together by Shelley and Lisa, saw a bunch of fabulous women gather in self-made clothing, sharing stories like we've all known each other for years.

This year, I decided to put aside my recent practical sewing, and get stuck into some of my all time favourite, sew-jo boosting type of sewing; FROSTING.

Have you heard about the recent 'Cake Vs Frosting' challenge, hosted by Closet Case Patterns and True Bias? You can read all about it here.

My wonderful, talented friend Leisl and I had our photos taken by the amazing Samara Clifford in the middle of our beautiful city. The photos was such a great way to give justice to gowns that we had spent so many hours working on!

Julia Bobbin - Melbourne Frocktails 2018
Julia Bobbin - Melbourne Frocktails 2018


The Fabric

A stunning sequinned lace, of the most beautiful quality from Lots Of Fabrics.  It's a stretch fabric with small, densely sewn sequins that did not shed or break after an evening of sitting and mingling.

I underlined the lace in a neutral toned, soft merino wool from The Fabric Store.

In addition the bodice is lined with the same merino wool, and the skirt lined with a stretch jersey from Spotlight.

The Pattern

This dress is one of those fabric-before-pattern scenarios, where I had purchased the yardage and was not yet sure what I was going to make.
Eventually I settled on an evening dress with a classic silhouette, so as to let the fabric do most of the talking.

Bodice
I ended up using an old faithful pattern that is meant for woven fabrics. I'm normally a size 12-14 in the bodice, so to accommodate for the extra room that stretch fabric would give, I cut the bodice in a size 6 and the negative ease was perfect.

Skirt
I drafted my own skirt with one seam down the centre back, so as to not interrupt the pattern of the fabric with side seams.

Effectively,  it was a big rectangle cut on the fold of the fabric, with a slight mermaid tail at the hem.
The width of the rectangle was half the circumference of my waist, and the length of the rectangle was my measurement from waist to floor. I then tapered the skirt in at the centre-back from the waist to just above the fullest part of my bottom/hips.

Julia Bobbin - Melbourne Frocktails 2018
Julia Bobbin - Melbourne Frocktails 2018
Julia Bobbin - Melbourne Frocktails 2018
Julia Bobbin - Melbourne Frocktails 2018

The Details

I spent a LOT of time working out exactly where I wanted the detail of the sequin fabric to be positioned on the dress. I cut out each individual pattern separately, making sure that each piece perfectly mirrored its twin.

I HAND APPLIQUÉD sections of the fabric around the midriff to create a smooth transition of the pattern from the bodice to the skirt.

I took great care in PATTERN MATCHING the lace down the centre back seam of the skirt.

HORSEHAIR BRAID was hand stitched into the hem for a bit of extra fullness.

The sequin fabric is both UNDERLINED AND LINED for the entire dress.

Button loops and 18 BUTTONS SEWN BY HAND, close the dress down the centre back.

The underlining and the lining of the SKIRT are sewn together at the hems, which sits just above the knees. This stops the skirts from riding up or shifting away from each other.

WATCH this dress in action below:



Sewing With Sequins

Guess how many sewing needles I broke. You might need to sit down for this one. NONE!

I know, right?!!

I changed my sewing machine needle to a stretch needle (I used a SCHMETZ 'Stretch' 130/705 H-S 90/14) and I don't know what sort of wizardry was placed on it, but it just. did. not. break.

If you're thinking of trying sequined fabric, it is advised you removed the sequins from the seam allowance to eliminate bulk, and to stop your needle from snapping on all of those little bits of plastic.

Julia Bobbin - Melbourne Frocktails 2018 Julia Bobbin - Melbourne Frocktails 2018 
Julia Bobbin - Melbourne Frocktails 2018 Julia Bobbin - Melbourne Frocktails 2018    Julia Bobbin - Melbourne Frocktails 2018 Julia Bobbin - Melbourne Frocktails 2018 Julia Bobbin - Melbourne Frocktails 2018 

You probably can't tell from my excessive smiling in these photos, but this dress almost didn't happen!

After a week of being unwell, and not being convinced by my pattern drafting, my sister Angeline gave me a good 'Tim Gunn' talking to and told me not to give up on it. I'm so glad I took her advice!



Thursday, 1 November 2018

Kate Bias Top - By Just Patterns

Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns
Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns
Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns

Is sewing with silk a super power?

Because this silk camisole, saturated in the most beautiful mustard yellow is making me feel a little bit EXTRA and people need to KNOW.

Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns
Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns
Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns

The Pattern

It's the Kate Bias Top by Just Patterns and it's available in sizes 34 to 46.
The top is lined, cut on the bias and has self-fabric spaghetti straps.


The Fabric

I purchased this stunning crepe de chine silk from The Fabric Store. In fact I loved it so much that I later went back and purchased another three metres.
It has the most beautiful drape, vibrant in colour and hangs so nicely on the body when cut on the bias.

A word to the wise - pre-wash this fabric. I made the HUGE mistake of thinking I could make a dress out of this without washing it first - stay in school kids. I got a tiny bit of water on it, which ended up staining it and shrinking it in that one area. So I washed the whole dress and now it's too darn small. The. Shame. Is. Real.

I lined this bias top with a polyester georgette that I purchased from Spotlight. Ideally this camisole would have been best lined with silk, but I do like the extra body the poly gives, and it saves me a bit of coin; cutting on the bias chews up meterage!

Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns
Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns
Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns

Changes

I didn't add fusible stay-tape to the neckline and that was the only change that I made. Because camisoles are body skimming but not form fitting, there is room for error in the fitting department.

I kept the side-seams clean with french seams, and under-stitched the neckline to the lining.

Tip: French seams are more labour intensive, but so well suited to delicate fabrics such as silk. Overlocked/serged edges can sometimes show through, add weight to light fabrics, and even leave indents on the delicate fabric.

Take Note: The seam allowances vary through this pattern, with 1/2" for side seams and 1/4" for neckline and hems. Be mindful when you're sewing not to go into automatic 1.5cm seam allowance mode.

Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns
Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns

Loves

Those spaghetti straps look so pretty and petite and the neckline is such a flattering cut.

This whole top is giving me some serious nineties vibes and I have strong urges to put some butterfly clips in my hair, chuck on some doc martins and watch 'Reality Bites' (oh Troy!).

Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns
Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns
Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns

Conclusion

Oh, do I have plans for this pattern. A top that is both gorgeous and comfortable is a winner for any wardrobe, and I have plans to make many more.

Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns
Julia Bobbin - Kate Bias Top By Just Patterns