Friday, 16 June 2017

Old is New - Butterick 5710

Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress
Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress
Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress
Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while (hi mum!) you may be feeling a case of dejavu!

That's right, this little number was made by me just a short five years ago!

2012 saw William and Kate get married and we were treated to some fashion inspiration. At the time I was pregnant with my first born and so I made this dress and got my sister Angeline to model it for me.

Flash to five years later, and I decided to try it on; it fits!

In honour of Pippa Middleton's recent wedding I thought I would share the NEW pics with ME wearing the dress and give a quick recap for those who are interested. You can find the original review here.

Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress
Julia Bobbin - Pippa DressJulia Bobbin - Pippa Dress


The Pattern
A Butterick Pattern #5710 that comes with two skirt variations; full length and knee length.
I cut this dress in a straight size 8 and it is form fitting but not tight.

Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress
Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress

3 metres of the most stunning ivory wool crepe; seriously this fabric is just heaven!
The dress is fully lined and has hand-dyed lace trim along the neck and sleeve hems.

This dress is free of darts and is cut on the bias for a close fitting, flattering silhouette. Wool crepe has just such a lovely weight and when cut on the bias it drapes so beautifully.

The dress is shaped at the waist and has a self-faced cowl for an elegant, romantic neckline.

The subtle train on the full length skirt adds to the dreamy, sophistication of the garment. I styled the dress with a gold leaf crown, which gives off more of a grecian vibe than perhaps an English sophisticate but I think it works either way!

Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress
Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress
Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress

Instead of closing the dress with an invisible zipper, I used elastic looping trim and 36 wool crepe covered buttons to close. This. Took. Forever. 
I'm glad I took the time to add the buttons as it is such a nice touch and is so visually pleasing.

Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress
yes I know, the lining begs to be pulled down on the right #annoying
Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress

I also added the lace trim to the edging before attaching the lining, exactly as you would with piping. The pattern has you add it after the lining is attached, which would mean a line of top stitching along the edge. I think it looks a lot cleaner without.

Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress
Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress
Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress

The drafting of this dress is really fantastic and when paired with luscious fabric such as wool crepe, the effect is one of subtle elegance and luxury.

The dress took around 14 hours and a lot of love to make and not once had an outing. Off to my lil' etsy store it goes in the hopes that someone else might be able to get as much joy wearing it as I had making it.

Also a big congratulations to Pippa Middleton on her recent nuptials; she looked the perfect bride :)

Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress
Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress
Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress
Julia Bobbin - Pippa Dress

Thursday, 1 June 2017

It's All In The Details - Vogue 1542

Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542

I knew this was going to be a good one the moment I first saw the pattern.

Because shoulder detail.
Because self leaves.
Because bias trim.

Let's just jump straight in!

Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542
Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542


The Pattern
This newest make is Vogue #1542 by designer Patricia Jeanne Keay and it's a beauty.

The instructions are are clear and detailed and explain the detailing on the neckline well.

I did a little Internet sleuthing (stalking) to find out just who this new designer is and I found her on Pattern Review under trishapatk and she seems like a thoughtful and lovely lady who loves to sew and has a whole heck of talent!

Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542

As much as I fantasised about making this in red, I'd made somewhat of a promise to myself to use as much of the fabric in my stash as possible and only purchase new fabric if absolutely necessary (hello news years resolution for the past one zillion years)!

So this dress was made using a stunning powder blue 100% wool crepe that I purchased from Mood Fabrics a few years ago.
Seriously though, how decadent is wool crepe? So soft! So drape-y!

Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542

Style and Features
Fully lined with facings attached on top of the lining for extra support around the neckline and underarms.

A fitted dress with princess seams that flatter and a lovely a-symmetrical flounce along the hem.

For those of you that follow me on instagram you may have seen my post where I um'd and ah'd over whether I should keep the flounce or ditch it for a straight skirt. I love a vintage silhouette and I worried that a flounce might over balance the pretty details along the neckline.

The overwhelming consensus was to keep the flounce and I'm so glad I did! It makes the dress proportioned and just looks pretty! Thanks to those who commented with your advice!

Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542
Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542

The indisputable standout of this dress is the stunning neckline!

The soft folds of the shoulder straps adds elegance and style.

Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542
Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542
Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542
Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542
Didn't realise till later - I forgot to remove the binding stitch on the sleeve ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The delicate leaves and vines hand stitched onto the bodice front make this an unforgettable feature! The individual pieces are machine sewn together and then shaped with hand stitching. Once created they were sewn by hand onto the dress.

I had a little bit of trouble with the loose weave of the wool crepe and had to repair some of the seams on the 'tubes' that split apart, but I really enjoyed the hand-stitching! I love playing with new sewing techniques and the result of this was so visually pleasing and inspiring.

Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542

I cut this dress in a size 12 and when I first sewed the pieces together it was swimming on me! Looking at the model on the pattern cover it's clear that it's not supposed to be super fitted; there looks to be a few cm's of positive ease.

I however wanted more of a fitted look and should have just cut a few sizes smaller.

Thankfully princess seams make for easy adjustments! I ended up taking in each princess seam and side seam evenly, removing about 8cm in total but leaving the underarms the same size.

Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542

As mentioned above, I did take the dress in a lot but the issue was more with picking the right size as the changes were quite even.

I shortened the skirt by a few extra cm's to suit my shorter frame.

LOOK OUT for the hem length of the lining. I kept looking through the pattern to see if I missed a pattern piece or a step but it appears the hem length is just super short, which I can only assume is an error. Like, it just covers my bum. I would advise adding about 10cm to the length for extra comfort. Before I wear this any where I will add to the hem of the lining for personal preference.

Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542

I really love the design of the dress and how my version turned out! It has unique detailing that is really fun to play with and it is a lovely flattering dress. And when you've been sewing for a few years it's a real buzz to try something out that you've never done before! A great learning dress with lots of wow factor!

Anyone else ready to try this pattern out?

Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542
Julia Bobbin - Vogue 1542

Friday, 14 April 2017

How I Organise My Sewing Pattern and Fabric Collection

Miss Maggie Rabbit (made by me) hanging out in my fabric cabinet.
Hello friends!

I have a lot of fabric and sewing patterns. Like, A LOT.

This post is all about how I organise my many sewing patterns as well as my fabric stash. So for those of you who are a little OCD, grab that bag of m&m's, sort the colours into different bowls (feels good doesn't it?!) and sit back and enjoy.

Sewing Pattern Storage

My sewing patterns used to sit in boxes where they ended up getting bent or torn or somehow mixed with another pattern.
I tried putting some in zip lock bags for a while, but it just added bulk and made it difficult to store.

I wanted to find a better way to:

  1. Store my patterns
  2. Preserve their quality
  3. Protect them from damage or ageing.

Just a few of my vintage patterns, pre-storage solution

I went searching the web for some solutions and came across the super informative blog post by Lladybird who used comic book storage for her patterns. I knew I had found the solution!!

With four people living in a two bedroom house, space is scarce!

Comic Book Storage for the WIN!
If there is another group of people out there more meticulous than seamstresses about preserving original quality, it's comic-book collectors!

The benefits of using comic book storage is that:

  1. Your patterns are stored in resealable bags
  2. Protected from dirt, dust and grotty hands.
  3. Backed by acid free boards to stop ageing and yellowing of patterns
  4. Holds patterns and instructions in place so they can't tear or get bent.
  5. Protects precious vintage patterns and enables you to handle them without damaging them.
  6. Uniforms the size of your patterns for easy storage and cataloguing.
  7. It just makes them look so darn good!

Vintage patterns all safe and secure

  1. Place one board in a resealable bag.
  2. Slide the pattern envelope at the front of the board and pattern pieces behind the board (if pattern already used)
  3. Seal the bag. 

Lastly I stored them in comic-book boxes for protection and easy storage.

I found the easiest way to organise the patterns was by TYPE such as dresses, skirts, pants etc.
I then arranged them by PATTERN NUMBER, regardless of the brand. Only about 1% of my patterns didn't have a pattern number.

standard size pattern
For opened patterns, I store the pieces at the back behind the card

Large Vogue pattern

Storage Supplies
There are heaps of online sites that sell these (there are a lot of comic-book collectors out there!!) And I bought most of mine off eBay.

Below is the size dimensions of the packaging I used to store my patterns. I used two sizes in total:

Regular Size Patterns:
Smaller patterns such as Butterick, Simplicity, McCall.
  • Storage Boards (modern size) - Size 6 3/4" x 10 1/2"
  • Resealable comic bags - stores up to 6 7/8" x 10 1/2" (17.4cm x 27.6cm)
  • Box - outside dimensions -  8 1/4 x 11 1/2 x 16 3/4
  • Dividers

Large Size Patterns:
Large or bulky patterns such as Victory Patterns, Designer Vogue Patterns, Sewing Magazines, and print-at-home PDF patterns.
  • Storage Boards (magazine size) - Size 8 1/2" x 11"
  • Resealable comic bags - Magazine size - stores up to 8 3/4" x 11" (22.2cm x 27.9cm)
  • Box -outside dimensions - 9 x 11 3/4 x 15 3/4
  • Dividers
A printed PDF pattern in a large size bag. I wrote the details of the pattern on the front of the card and put the printed pieces at the back.
    printed pdf pieces at back
Sewing Pattern Electrical Organisation

I wanted to take my pattern organisation to the next level, and after reading Colette Patterns post about organising their patterns, I downloaded an iphone app (the same one they used) called 'Tap Forms' which is a data based app made for apple.
I'm sure there are other/better apps out there so let me know in the comments if you know any! 

What it does:

  • Allows you to create categories to sort your patterns
  • Makes cataloguing and searching for patterns you own, easy. 
  • Enables you to search through your patterns via the categories you've created, such as pattern company, decade, style etc.
  • Eliminates the need to handle your physical pattern when looking for pattern details such as fabric requirements.

The options are limitless but the categories that I currently have on my phone are the following:
  • photo of both the front and back of the pattern - this is great when you're at the fabric store and you need to know how much fabric and notions you need for your pattern.
  • Decade - I love being able to search for a particular vintage when flicking through my patterns.
  • Pattern Number
  • Pattern Company eg. Burda, Vogue, Victory Patterns
  • Garment Type - eg. Dress, skirt, pants.
  • Box Location - I have numbered my storage boxes and categorised by garment type and then in order of number, but this is a nice shortcut way of working out what box I've stored the pattern in without having to read the labels on the box.
  • Blog Review Link - If I have already used this pattern and blogged about it, a link to my blog post is a nice way to quickly access details on my previous make.
  • Note - For anything extra I want to put in, for example 'missing the sleeve piece'.

Fabric Storage

I recently sorted through my fabric, keeping only what I truely loved and got joy out of looking at. The rest I gave away to charity.

My fabric used to be folded and piled in a dark, lonely cupboard. No matter how neat I tried to keep it, it always looked messy, and you could never see the entirety of what I had.

Now my fabric stash looks like this:

Yes, that's lego on the top of the cabinet #mumlife

The Cabinet
I keep it stored in a glass cabinet called 'fabrikor' (perfect name much?) which I purchased from Ikea. It stands proudly in our lounge room for all to see. I love how my stash has gone from being a pile of shame in the linen cupboard, to an art feature that I constantly get enjoyment out of whenever I sit in the lounge.

How to

  1. Grab one of your large comic-book boards (so useful!)
  2. Fold your fabric in half, selvage to selvage and then again into thirds.
  3. Starting at one end of the folded length of the fabric, roll it around one large comic-book card paper.
  4. If needed, use one pin to keep fabric in place.

Folded in half and then into thirds
Place your board at one end of the fabric with a small amount wrapped around the edge.
Wrap the fabric around the board.

Electronic Fabric Organisation
I have also recently started cataloguing my fabric collection in the same app I use to catalogue my patterns. It's a great way to see what you own and how much of it you have. Also helps you to store certain information like fabric type, designer and where you purchased it which can easily be forgotten otherwise!

Mr. Basil Fox
Miss Maggie Rabbit
On a side note, meet my two little friends Mr. Basil Fox and Miss Maggie Rabbit!
Both were lovingly handmade by me using patterns from Alicia Paulson. Sometimes they like to sit in the fabric cabinet and feed off its joyful energy.

Both of the softies and all of their clothes were hand-sewn or knitted, except for Mr. Basil Fox's jeans, and Miss Maggie Rabbit's dress, which were machine stitched.


There is no doubt that this process takes time. You need to block off a few solid days and it can be tedious work, but once it's done it makes life so much easier. AND it's so easy to maintain.

Cataloguing a zillion patterns might be hard, but once they're done it only ever takes one minute to catalogue and store a new pattern as it comes into your possession. And speaking from my own experience the joy that I get from seeing all my patterns and fabric neatly organised and accounted for is profound.

There are plenty of fantastic different ways to organise fabric and patterns and this is just one of them, so go with what works for you.

Got any other great ways to sort and store fabric and sewing patterns? Or tried another app? I'd love to hear them!