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


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).

The Gram

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