Sunday, 12 February 2012

Is it a curtain? Is it a couch? No, it's my latest DRESS!


This dress is a little different than my other creations.

Why?

 Because it's made out of curtains.

Yes that's right, Julia Bobbin got all 'Maria from the Sound of Music' and got fancy with some curtain fabric.


Ok, so if you come over to my house in the next week you are not going to see big gaping cut-outs missing from our lounge room curtains. I'm pretty sure my husband Robin has set up sensor cameras around all our furnishings ever since he saw me eyeing off our bed linen a few weeks back.

I'm also not the governess of seven children who won't leave the house unless they are all wearing the same out fit.


I bought this fabric from the curtain/upholstery section at Spotlight. I was walking out of the store recently when I walked past that department and out of the corner of my eye spotted this magnificent pattern and I broke out into a sweat!


Firstly, it's bright and colourful.

Secondly, it has stripes. And we all know how Julia Bobbin likes stripes. You can only imagine the sort of joy I now feel when crossing at a zebra crossing. In fact I had only just finished making my 'Flirty Skirty' skirt with stripes when I spotted this fabric.


After standing motionless in the store with smoke coming out of my eyes for more than is socially acceptable (though I'm sure staff at fabric stores are accustomed to these freakish displays) I bounded over to that fabric role and started creepily caressing it. And I KNOW all of you do this too.


I held that bolt of upholstery fabric victoriously in my hands like I was freaking Neil Armstrong on the moon with the flag!

The fabric is super thick and not very breathable, as you would expect for something that is made for windows or couches. But because of this it's also super flattering.


As the fabric had so much structure already I opted for 'quick and easy' and didn't line the dress.


I closed the dress down the centre back with an invisible zipper, and faced the neck seams with bias binding that I had in my stash.



I made cute self-faced cap sleeves with the mustard stripe as the feature. How great is mustard by the way?!!


I made a scooped round neck at both the front and the back which is one of my favourite shapes.


I took extra care to make sure that the stripes matched up as much as possible. 


See how the stripes wrap all the way round?

This type of print can very quickly make a dress look a bit wrong if not matched up properly.


As I've said in a previous post, I have always avoided horizontal stripes in the past as they have a bad reputation for making your backside look ginormous, and I certainly don't need to add any volume to that area.

I am so happy with my recent discovery that with the right fabric and the right cut pattern horizontal stripes can actually work in your favour. I love how this fabric along with the cut of the dress emphasises my natural shape without over exaggerating it.


I live in a country that is rich with fantastic fabric choices thanks to wonderful stores like Tessuti Fabrics and The Fabric Store, but I love that now the options for sewing fabric have just increased! People lock up your curtains, nothing's off limits!


Verdict:  I love how this dress turned out! I love the strong uneven stripes on the dress and the firmness of the upholstery fabric. I've noticed (now) that the prints in the upholstery sections are often full of fun and bright prints which I have a big weakness for, though I do also love my solid prints.


On another exciting note, this week I was the featured seamstress over at Coletterie with my version of the Parfait
It was such a thrill to see me and my dress on such a fantastic blog! Who doesn't love Colette Patterns! If you're curious click on the picture below to see the feature.


So what about you?
Have you made any outfits out of 'untraditional' fabrics like curtains or bed sheets?
Are you shaking your head at me saying 'Oh Julia, I've been doing this for years!'

Leave a comment, I'd love to hear your stories!



65 comments:

  1. OMG!! This dress is so cute and funny :D
    Perfect for Summer!
    Great job...as always :)

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    1. Thanks Alice! It's a great way to give a final farewell to summer as it's almost over!

      Thanks for your comment :)

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  2. That fabric is SO awesome. And you got it from Spotlight? *sigh* I can't believe that.
    Great dress - love the matching balloons! That fabric is awesome. Did I say that already?

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    1. ps - great job on the matching!

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    2. Ha! Thanks Mel. Yes I love it when you find a gem at spotlight! I fell in love with the fabric the moment I saw it and knew I had to attempt an outfit it with it.
      And yes I was quite pleased with the matching up, it's so satisfying looking at stripes lined up. I notice so many professional shirts on men these days where the print is not lined up, and these shirts aren't cheap either!

      xx

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  3. When I was young we moved into a house that had green curtains with a shiny turquoise (almost satin) backing on them. My mum hated them and when they came down many things were made from them by me and my sisters. I also bought some second hand curtains at a thrift store that had picture of 'the old lady who lived in a shoe' (although she didn't look very old so maybe she'd had work done) and lots of things were made out of those too. Mainly bags, purses, covered books. Recently we moved overseas and my first purchase was a sewing machine (even before a good knife) and I made an electric piano cover out of an old pillow case. Got to love the make do attitude of using fabric for multiple purposes. Your dress looks fab - love the back!

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    1. Oh my goodness you are inspiring! I love your many uses of different fabrics and I want to see the fabric with the 'old lady who lived in a shoe' - who doesn't love that story. Seriously.
      I also have serious respect for someone who buys a sewing machine over kitchen necessities; you're a girl after my own heart.

      Thanks so much for your comment and for sharing! x

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  4. Sublime!!!!
    You are lucky to wear a so attractive dress,
    The fabric is very nice ;)

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  5. You know my thoughts - divine! And now I want to watch The Sound of Music again! :o)

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    1. We should have a sewing date. A bit of Maria watching while we sew up some garments.
      Screw it, let's also throw in a sing-a-long.

      Thanks lovely x

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  6. Wow. G.r.e.a.t shape. Just perfect for you and those colours are delicious. Did you draft the pattern yourself? Very pretty dress.

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    1. Thanks madam! Yes I was very pleased with how the shape turned out! I drafted the pattern my self but based it off a lot of shapes that I've used before in a lot of patterns. I copied the same neck line front and back from the Vogue pattern 1230 but made quite a few fitting changes.

      Thanks so much for your comment! x

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  7. Julia, new to the blog and loving it so so impressed with your skills after such a short period of time. I may have to head down to spottie myself and check out that curtain fabric!
    My mum made me my year 6 end of year dinner dress out of ken done curtain fabric, I begged and pleaded, it was 1988 after all. I thought it was the best dress ever. Sailor collar, drop waist yellow piping on the edge of the collar, just perfect!

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    1. Hi Jacqui and welcome!

      Oh my goodness, sailor collar with yellow piping sounds divine! I want it! No wonder your loved it!

      Yes take yourself down to Spotlight and check out the fabric - it's cheap too!

      Thanks for your lovely comment xx

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  8. Love, Love, Love your dress! It reminds me of candy. The dress looks fantastic on you!

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    1. And who doesn't love candy! It sort of looks like licorish all-sorts.

      Thanks Florencia!

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  9. Great colours! I like them a lot and they would be perfect for upcoming spring (here). And wow to the matching stripes. I wanted to sew a simple dress like this, but with polka dots (I'm so into dots at the moment). Now I'm really torn between stripes and dots...

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    1. My advice ... do both! I love stripes but I'm just as partial to spots and God knows I've also gone through a spots stage.
      Good luck with your sewing project and thanks again!

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  10. This is such a fantastic showcase of bright colors in a simple dress! Love your stripe matching skills too!

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    1. Thank you! It is so satisfying when the stripes match up right. Now I notice unmatched stripes all the time when I'm out and about and they really stick out!

      Thanks for your comment :)

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  11. Well first of all I adore this, amazing colors and such a lovely shape! Really nice, Julia. I'm a big advocate of the "use inappropriate fabrics" school. Bedsheets are great, especially plain ones that you dye. And I think lightweight
    upholstery makes great bottoms.

    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

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    1. When you're right you're right. I can't believe I'm so new to the 'alternative' fabrics. I'm so excited now about different possibilities!

      Thanks Leah x

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  12. Hi! I did notice you at the coletterie, that is how I found you ;) I then promptly went on to read your previous posts! Hmmm the dress is just so so cute! I tried once to make a skirt from striped black and white upholstery frbric from ikea... But it was the wrong pattern to match stripes and I had forgotten the seam allowances... It still lays in pieces somewhere and I now plan to turn it into pouches. Oh by the way what pattern do you use? Is it princess seams on the bodice? In which case I lift my hat to you for matching the stripes so well!!

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    1. Oh yay that's so good to hear and thanks so much for reading!

      Oh ikea fabrics, you've just given me new inspiration! Now I can't wait to head down there and check out what they've got! How am I going to ever get my heart rate back to normal?!!

      Yes you're right, they are princess seams and they are impossible to match the stripes all the way along thanks to the curve, but I pulled and pushed as much as I could to get them to match up as far as possible before they got lost in the curve.
      I drafted my own pattern based on a lot of different shapes that I've used before, and I used the shape of the neck front and back from Vogue 1230 for the bodice.
      Thanks so much for your kind comment :)

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  13. I love love love this! In fact I love everything you've ever made, my major sadness is that I'm about to move to Hong Kong and I'll have to leave my beloved sewing machine here in the UK! On the weird fabric usage, I am that person who makes clothes from sheet's and duvet's - my favourite summer dress was made from my favourite duvet cover...

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    1. Oh my goodness a duvet cover?! Genius! I'd love to see that!

      Nelly I'm devestated to hear you have to leave your sewing machine behind! I don't know what I'd do without mine! Will you be able to get a cheap one in Hong Kong? On a side note though, how exciting that you're moving to another country! I hope you have a fabulous time! How long are you going to be there for? You'll probably have access to some fabulous fabrics over there too!

      All the best for your move and thanks for your comment and for sharing your 'alternative fabrics' story!

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    2. I seem to be sewing like a demon now I know I'm going to have 14 months off... and you've finally managed to persuade me to put up my "duvet dress"!! The photography's terrible, but You can have a peep if you like : http://www.burdastyle.com/projects/the-duvet-dress

      Thanks for your continued inspiration :P

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  14. Oh my goodness what a fun & colourful dress!!!!! You posing with the balloons reminds me of that kids movie UP!!! That ovie is so cute. And so is this dress. Your creations are amazing!!!!!!!!

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    1. Neeno thank you! And I love your reference to 'Up', I hadn't thought of that until now. Love it!

      Thanks so much for your super kind words :)

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  15. girl, i am continuously in awe of you. this is just plain adorable. is it self drafted?

    and congrats on the coletterie post!

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    1. Dixie that it is a massive compliment coming from you; you're garments are amazing!

      Thanks for the congrats on the Coletterie post, I was very happy about it indeed.

      Yes the pattern was self drafted, but I did use the shape of the Vogue pattern 1230 for the front and back neck shapes, with quite a few alterations.

      Thanks for reading x

      P.s. I'm your newest follower!

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  16. I actually do this all the time! Laces and embroideries are often much, much cheaper to buy as curtains than in the fabric store, and are usually drapier, too. Check out the dress I just made using two kinds of curtains: http://makeabigseam.blogspot.com/2012/01/watersdown-mansion-of-england-1936.html
    Glad you caught on to the trick!

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    1. Ooh la- la! You're so clever, i love your dress!

      Well I'm a late starter with this trick but I can tell it'll be one I use continuously. I will have to go and check out some more lace curtains now too!

      Thanks for your comment xx

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  17. Just gorgeous! What absolutely fabulous fabric! Is the dress made from a self-drafted pattern or one we might find somewhere?

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    1. Hi Jillian and thank you!

      The fabric is lovely isn't it!?! I can't wait to head back to the store and have a good look at their other options in the upholstery section.
      I drafted the dress based on bits and pieces I've used before. I based the shape of the front and back neck on Vogue pattern 1230 which has a really nice curve. though I made quite a few adjustments.

      Thanks for reading! xx

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  18. What a cute little dress! I imagine it's perfect for those days when you need a bit of boost to your mood!

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  19. This is officially my favourite dress I have ever seen anyone make. FABULOUS fabric, amazing fit and amazing workmanship and matching. Love it!

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  20. You've only gone and done it again! You are going to have to stop making such awesome clothes, I can't stand it!!!! Lol. LOVE this dress so much, could be my favourite yet.

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  21. I just saw a piece from Stella McCartney in a store and the fabric felt exactly like home decor fabric, so you are totally on-trend !

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  22. Hi Julia,
    Cette robe est magnifique!
    Pourtant les rayures sont difficiles à porter!
    Tu m'épates! Cette robe te va super bien!
    Très jolis coloris!
    J'adore!
    Have a good evening!

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  23. When asked to make a wedding dress for a friend's Hawaii beach wedding, I met her at a fabric store, and we began our search for the perfect champagne-colored fabric, which we found in the home decor section of the store after the special occasion section failed to produce something with the desired appearance and "hand."

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    1. Wow that's fantastic! And what an epic task making a wedding dress, your friend sure is lucky to have you as a friend! Thanks for sharing your story, I can't believe it's taken me so long to use these other fabrics! X

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  24. LOVE your dress, lovely work Julia Bobbin! x

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  25. I love your dress! I am slightly tempted to rush down to my nearest Spotlight and see if they have the fabric but perhaps it's best I don't add to the stash. You did such a good job with it. Other movies with dresses made from curtains: Enchanted (in that one you actually see the curtains with dress shaped holes in them!) and of course Gone With The Wind but I don't recommend that (I can't stand Scarlett O'Hara).

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    1. That Scarlett, will she ever learn!

      Thanks Kathleen! I hope you do add this fabric to your stash as it injects serious happiness!

      Thanks for your lovely comment x

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  26. Oh what a perfect dress! The stripes line up beautifully and the shape is fantastic!! :)

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  27. Is it bad that I saw your dress and just went and got some of the fabric? One of my adopted sewing 'aunts' made her formal gowns out of curtain fabric, so I'm not sure why I wasn't keeping an eye on that section of Spotlight!

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    1. Oh it's not bad at all it's fantastic! I also go on the hunt for fabric when I see other people that have made something lovely with it. We have to share the love!

      Thanks for your comment and good work!

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  28. New to your site. The dress is just fantastic! The colors are lovely - excellent fabric find. I always keep my eye out for fabrics in the home decor section of stores, especially the clearance section, where you can get great deals on bed sheets, tablecloths, curtains.

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    1. Thanks Kristi and welcome!

      Yes the world has opened up so many more fabric opportunities for me! I was even eyeing off some doilys the other day as pretty little trimmings.

      Thanks for your comment :)

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  29. OMG! I just found your blog through 'cirque de bebe' and I'm in love!! This stripey dress is to DIE for! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! The fabric, the pattern everything... ok have I gushed enough yet?? LOVE IT! Can I ask what pattern you used???

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    1. Well thank you Mrs. Smith and welcome! I based the bodice of the dress on Vogue 1230 which has a nice scoop neck front and back. The skirt part of the dress is my basic that I drafted ages ago and keep using. I joined the two patterns together and came up with this dress!

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  30. i don't know what spotlight it, but i have to have this fabric and dress pattern. HELLLLLLLPPPPP!

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  31. I just discovered your blog through your Mad Men Challenge link. (Which BTW I'll be sending you some pictures soon) You are adorable and such a talented seamstress! I did just make a skirt from a vintage Vera bedsheet that I found at a thrift store. You can see it here if you'd like http://chicenvelopements.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/upcycle-a-vintage-vera-sheet-set-to-a-cute-skirt/
    Happy Sewing!
    Beth
    aka
    The Renegade Seamstress

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  32. I just love the colourful striped fabric! I'll have to keep my eyes open in the drapery department :)

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  33. SO cute! I found your blog (hope you're still writing!) when I searched "can you use upholstery fabrics for apparel"...lol! I found some incredible decor fabric the other day that I'm dying to turn into a dress!

    Love what you did with this!

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  34. Love this! Found you when I searched for "can you use upholstery fabrics for apparel"...lol. Up came your delightful dress and entertaining blog - hope you're still writing!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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  35. So I found a gorgeous skirt in a store (White House Black Market) very out of budget. I bought it in hopes that I have something suitable should I get hired for a recent job posting. Then I thought of upholstery fabric which is more versatile and offers a high end feel. So glad my google search produced a like mind. Cheers!

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  36. Adorable dress. I just logged on and did a search on using upholstery fabrics for clothes. I'm making some dresses for my 6 year old granddaughter, and have a piece of Waverly cotton print fabric that goes beautifully with a solid knit that I have on hand. I want to use the print for the skirt part of the dress. I'm concerned about washing and drying the dress. I just pre-washed (by hand) for shrinkage, but I suspect it will fade faster and possibly shrink more with machine washing over time. It's the only thing that's holding me back from using it because the combination would make such a pretty little dress. Can you give me any feedback on care of the dress. Since it's for a 6 year old, I know her mom is not going to want something that needs to be dry cleaned.

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