Julia Bobbin Header Image and Menu Past Projects Tutorials Celebrity Copy Cat Awards About Me

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.

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.

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!


  1. WOW WOW WOW! I am in awe of this gorgeous dress that you have created! And can we have an event like this in the Netherlands as well? We all need a reason to dress up like movie stars.

    1. Thank you so much!! Please come to Melbourne and I will MAKE an event for us ;)

  2. Eeeeek! Julia it is amazing and for me, it has a sort of Downton Abbey vibe! You are seriously talented...I have some fabric I’ve been hoarding for nearly ten years that has the odd sequin on it...I’m still to scared to cut into it! 😂

    1. Thank you so much lovely lady! Sequins is intimidating, but it's not as hard as it looks if you use the right tools! I hope you do cut into yours!

  3. OMG! Stunning Gown and you look FABULOUS Darling....

  4. OMG! Girl crush! You look divine! Yes, to a great photographer to capture all that hard work. Well done doll!

    1. We were so lucky to have Samara's amazing photography skills to capture our dresses! Thanks for your kind comment, as always xx

  5. I kept trying to comment, but was rendered speechless! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

  6. Julia, this is simply beyond amazing!! And this photo shoot looks like it came straight off the pages of Vogue!!!!! When you have amazing fabric doubled with a beautiful vision, it's hard to go wrong. STUNNING 😍😍😍😍

    1. Abbey you are so wonderful; thank you!!! You've just gone and made my day!! xxx

  7. You are one talented lady, keep up the good work