Sunday, 27 May 2012

It's my party and I can Bedazzle if I want to

 julia bobbin, bedazzler, fabric glue, Catherine Middleton

You would Bedazzle too if it happened to you.

There comes a time in every girls life (and a select few boys) where the urge comes to bedazzle the H out of something. 
Call it an infatuation with shiny things. 
Call it a quarter life crisis (I'm going to live to 120, you do the math)
Call it a cry for help. 

I call it; fabulosity.
It's also my birthday month so I'm allowed to get away with what ever I want in May (I may have made this rule up.)

julia bobbin, bedazzler, fabric glue, Catherine Middleton

Lets be honest, i always knew i had the potential to be a bedazzler.  I have a secret appreciation for sequins, and an unhealthy obsession with gluing things.  Heck i even tasted clag as a primary schooler.  (sort of tastes like porridge - just with that poison after-taste) and i am forever wasteful with post-it notes

The urge to bedazzle came on quite suddenly for me recently. 

I saw a picture of this dress. The lovely Catherine Middleton wearing a creation by Matthew Williamson and all I could see were the pretty sparkly things.

I immediately went into LOADS (lust over a dress shock) and decided there was nothing for it, but to make a sparkly dress of my own. 

julia bobbin, bedazzler, fabric glue, Catherine Middleton

I swooped into spotlight and bought my self some bags of dress Jewels and here's the best part; a bottle of fabric glue! Why is my mouth watering?

These jewels can be sewn on or glued on.  And sewers in my weakness I must admit, I took the easy option and glued them on. Please don't judge me!

julia bobbin, bedazzler, fabric glue, Catherine Middleton 

The good thing about the glue is that it doesn't seep through to the lining, but it sure takes a while to dry. I put my dress on my dress form and started with one jewel in the centre. I then started gluing on either side, mirroring each side as I went. 

julia bobbin, bedazzler, fabric glue, Catherine Middleton

julia bobbin, bedazzler, fabric glue, Catherine Middleton

I cut the dress with a silk/polyester blend fabric and lined it also.  I closed the centre back with an invisible zipper.  It's the same fabric as I used for this dress

julia bobbin, bedazzler, fabric glue, Catherine Middleton, galaxy dress, mad men

I love the shininess of the silk with the strength and firmness of the polyester. 

julia bobbin, bedazzler, fabric glue, Catherine Middleton

I am really liking the navy of this fabric, and how it acts as a nice back-drop to my fancy pantsy jewels. 

julia bobbin, bedazzler, fabric glue, Catherine Middleton

So any other closet bedazzlers out there? Join my support group. You are not alone!

julia bobbin, bedazzler, fabric glue, Catherine Middleton

P.s. - This time next week I'm going to be salivating in New York! Watch out!

Thanks to everyone for their fabulous detailed suggestions on my last post as to where to go for all things fabric in New York! I can't wait to explore!


Sunday, 13 May 2012

New York and Fabric Shopping - Where should I go?

Start spreading the newwws,
I'm leaving todaaaaay .... well in three weeks actually ...

I'm heading to New York real soon and I need your help! For those of you that have visited before, where are the best 'seamstress' places to go?

Me in my Tessuti New York Cape

June 2nd is the day I fly out of Melbourne and after about a 20 our flight (Dear.God) I will be arriving in New York on ... June 2nd. No I'm not handy with a flux-capacitor, it's all thanks to the International date line.

My husband and I are jetting over as part of my prize for winning the wonderful 2011 Tessuti Awards of which my vocal chords have still not recovered (excessive screaming and hysterics will do that).

 My Entry in the Tessuti Awards - Click on the photos to see the full blog post

I am having daily fantasies about talking to squirrels in central park, eating slices of pizza the size of my face, wearing over-sized jerseys at Baseball games and pretending that the TV show 'How I met your mother' is real and that I'm bestys with Robin Scherbatsky.

The very first time I ever visited the U.S. was with my besty Lisa.

And this happened ...

Let's be honest, this photo just makes me want to go back STAT.
This guy was a singer of a heavy-metal band and had recently had his tongue surgically split to resemble a serpents tongue. His name? Lucifer? Darth Vader?

Keith. I kid you not.

Some how this just makes him even more awesome.
Admittedly this was in Hollywood, where I swear to GOD every guy there was named Josh and was an actor. After being dropped off by a bus in a random spot in Hollywood and being convinced we would be murdered we ended up meeting some locals and having one of the best nights of our lives.

This also happened on that visit.

An "interpretive dancer" from New York, and his day job? A child physiologist. Seriously. I still cannot look at these photos without falling into hysterics.

Definitely the most exciting thing about this trip is the Mecca of fabric stores that I can devour. My credit cards have practically disintegrated in my wallet out of fear. I already have Mood on my list of 'must visit' and I've already packed a brown paper bag for when I start hyperventilating in the store.

And so now I need your help.
Locals or visitors of New York, where else is a 'must visit' for all things fabric, notions and fashion?
Or perhaps there's something unrelated to sewing that I simply must do! Let me know!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Hey Mr, she's my Sister! Pippa Middleton Copy-Cat - Butterick 5710

julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710 

Ladies and gentleman, I would like to introduce to you the mother of all copy-cat dresses:

The Pippa Middleton bridesmaids dress.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

Yes sir! I was one of the many millions of viewers that tuned into the Royal wedding just over a year ago and oohed and ahhed over the many fancy-pantsy dresses. 

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

... And gagged too, let's be honest. What the H were Princess Beatrice and Eugenie thinking? Seriously, when did hats that resemble lobsters come in vogue? Dear God!

julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

When Butterick released a copy-cat pattern of the bridesmaid dress (pattern #5710) I purchased me a copy straight away. I didn't have any plans to make it for myself but the stalker in me insisted on having it.

julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710
Not so long ago I got this crazy idea that it would be fun to push my sewing skills and make a dress to fit someone else's body.
I don't know where this un-selfish epiphany came from - maybe I ate something funny that day - but it started nagging away at my brain until I decided I would seriously give this a crack. I started flicking through my patterns and this Butterick pattern commanded my attention.

The pattern appealed to me for a few reasons:

1. I'm a total sucker for a copy-cat dress.
2. It would a fun challenge to see if I could make a full gown and have it half resemble the inspiration dress, and
3. My sister Angeline would totally look ACE of BASE in this dress. (Coincidently Angeline was also my Maid of Honour at my own wedding back in October 2011)

Challenge accepted!

Yes, that's right, the knock-out model wearing the dress I made is none other than my spunk of a sister, Angeline.
julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710 

Is she a total babe or what?!!!

We don't look much alike I know. I think dad ran out of his Italian genes by the time Angeline was born; She's the fourth child and I'm the first.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

This pattern was a breeze to follow and well explained. The skirt of the dress is cut on the bias which gives such a lovely drape to the form fitting dress.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

Instead of inserting an invisible zipper down the centre back, I used elastic looping trim and hand sewed 36 fabric covered buttons down the spine. I love the effect! I was pretty slow putting them all in as I wanted to make sure they were perfectly straight and spaced apart. It took soooo long, but it was worth it.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

I also added the lace trim before I attached the lining, just like you would do with piping. The pattern had you add the lace once the dress was finished, exposing a top-stitch which I thought was unnecessary. It was just as easy to add it before the lining and it makes it look much neater.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710 

The wool crepe colour was white, but in reality it was more ivory than white. The lace trim I purchased was a stark white and looked almost blue against the ivory of the wool crepe.
Instead of buying new trim I dyed it using a natural dye; an Earl Grey tea-bag.


I filled a bowl with hot water, diffused it with the tea bag, and then put in the lace.I kept pulling the lace out every five seconds to check the colour of the lace; I didn't want it to get too dark. At about 20 seconds the colour was just right. I removed the lace from the tea water and left it out to dry. Once it dried I ironed it flat again.


The amazing part about my sister Angeline is that she is one of those rare people that is one pattern size all over. According to the back of the pattern, her measurements should have meant I cut out a size 12 but instead I cut an 8 and it fits perfectly.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

The dress is fully lined and the fabric shell is made of luscious 100% wool crepe which drapes and sews like a dream.

Dress Cost

I decided to record exactly how much this dress cost me to make, including fabrics and a wage of $25AUD per hour for labour. Here's what it came to:
  • 3 Metres of 100% wool crepe, 2.5 metres of lining from Clegs $160
  • Fabric covered buttons made by Button Mania $21
  • Lace trim and notions $10
  • 14 hours to make the dress - $350
Total Cost = $541AUD 

Bear in mind however that the original Alexander McQueen dress was reportedly around 20,000 British pounds ($31,600AUD) though that seems a bit excessive.

Also recently Sarah Burton, who designed the dress for Alexander McQueen started selling a silk-crepe version on-line for 2,118 pounds ($3,346AUD) and that version has an invisible zipper down the centre back instead of buttons and no lace trim. You can see it online here

So $541 isn't looking so bad for a fully lined, floor length, 100% wool-crepe dress!
Don't know what I'm going to do with the dress now that it's finished. Maybe I'll see if someone wants to buy it!

I've never been a 'cowl neck' sort of gal, but I love it on this dress. It sits so perfectly with the wool crepe and the cut of the pattern is very flattering on the bodice.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

The cowl neck folds in and and looks like this when it's pulled out.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710
There are no darts on the skirt front and back, and with the fabric cut on the bias, there would be a lot of ladies that wouldn't be able to get away with the bottom half of this dress. 

i.e. -Me

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

Angeline has the perfect shape for this sort of dress. Though she is very petite, she still has a lot of shape and I think she definitely gives Pippa a good run for her money in the bottom department.

julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

So there you have it ladies and gentleman. I have made my very own Pippa Middleton bridesmaid dress and I am very happy with the results.
That's what's been keeping me busy these last few weeks! Has any one else attempted this pattern or are thinking about giving it ago? I'd love to see your versions!

A special thanks to my wonderful sister Angeline for modelling the dress for me.

Happy sewing!
julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

Julia Bobbin, Pippa Middleton, Butterick 5710, Alexander McQueen