Tag Archives: dress

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FREEDOM FRY retro orange outfits

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I’ve recently connected with the Los Angeles band Freedom Fry, and they asked me to make a set of outfits. The leaders of the band are Marie and Bruce, who are also married to each other. Marie used to work as a stylist, and had a very clear idea of the band’s look and vintage influences.

It was great to work with such an informed yet flexible client! They’re both charming, and creative, and funny, and when they come for a fitting it usually lasts for hours.

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I based the dress pattern on an old favorite of Marie’s, with modifications. Bruce’s shirt was an exact copy of one from his wardrobe. I really enjoy sewing men’s button shirts; they are crisp and precise and so satisfying!

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IMG_2891 Freedom Fry outfits, made by Julianne

I really enjoyed the challenge of the print, and having the designs match up. I’m really proud of this attention to detail! Of course it takes forethought and effort, but what’s the point of making anything at all if it’s not going to be perfect? This is not my mantra by any means, but I say it to myself anyway and laugh, and then get back to work.

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 Freedom Fry outfits, made by Julianne8 IMG_2849

I’ve created garments for a few musicians lately, and it’s work that I really enjoy. I usually listen to my client’s music as I prepare and cut the fabric. Stage wardrobes are more daring than street clothes, and can actively help tell the songs’ stories. It’s such a pleasure to connect with another creator and to contribute to their art.

Freedom Fry at SXSW

They wore these outfits at SXSW, along with another set I will share soon. There’s also a third set of outfits that will be on their upcoming west coast tour! See how busy I’ve been?!

Freedom Fry outfits, made by Julianne

 

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PRE-BIRTHDAY DRESS inspiration and design

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It’s almost time to start delaying on this year’s birthday dress!

Every year I gift myself fabric for a new dress, but this year I’ve sweetened the swag by removing any idea that the dress will be ready for my birthday. My professional sewing work is ruled by deadlines (and I have to make 3 other dresses before my birthday), so it’s rare that I get to create without keeping an eye on the clock. Happy belated birthday to me!

I wasn’t even thinking ‘birthday dress’ but when I came across this aqua, orange, and gold lycra at Blue Moon last month, I knew it had to be mine. But now what?

birthday dress 2015

I’m having trouble coming up with a design. I spent an hour coming up with this sketch, and I’m not convinced it’s the best.

birthday dress 2015

There was a break in the print every yard, so that’s all I got. I want to add in another fabric for contrast, and also for length. I feel like the lycra should be at the top of the dress, so that the gold is near my face and not wearing off from the seat of the dress, because of course I will be riding my bike. The fabric is long enough that I could have it be the entire top of the dress, with only 6-8″ border of a contrasting fabric at the bottom.

My original idea had been to match the light aqua, but now I’m considering adding in an entirely new color. Of course my first thought is goldenrod, or some other shade of yellow. Yellow makes me happy, and my last two birthday dresses have been yellow. The yellow fabric in the photo is a scrap of jersey, and I know where to get more. But I’m thinking different fabric, same color. I don’t want the weight of a lined jersey skirt stretching out the lycra top, so I’m thinking woven fabric.

So now onto pattern. Lately I’ve been wearing sheath-style dresses, without a defined waist. I’m not nuts about a bisected dress that looks like a shirt tucked into a skirt, but I could be swayed.

The stretchy fabric tempts me into cutting sleeves, because I wouldn’t really have to worry about ease. Most of my dresses are sleeveless, with a couple short sleeves. Would lycra sleeves be too warm? And what about pit stains?

And then of course, there are those stripes! Am I to just cut the dress on grain, without playing up diagonal lines that match up perfectly? The fabric already has a lot going on, but it’s hard to imagine playing it safe with horizontal stripes.

birthday dress sketches

Here are some inspiration dresses, in no particular order:

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f6e698a301ebbf1412468610b3622b7c Chloe_Cover.3391ac9027101ef2e994c61f97ef332543

And then there’s always the possibility of just making a dope top. Too many possibilities!

Are there any new patterns that you’re excited about? What garment do you imagine when you see that gold spandex? What should the centerpiece of my 28-year-old wardrobe be?! Suggestions welcome.

 

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YELLOW FLORAL BIRTHDAY DRESS

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My computer has recently revived from a 3 week hiatus, and yet I’m still just using an old post. Haven’t got quite everything back up and running, and the laptop was really just an excuse to not blog. Maybe I’ll write about it later, but does anyone really care? Long story short: I’m busy sewing all day, working really hard, and also prioritizing my time off. I haven’t really done any personal sewing, and I’m waiting for photos on several large projects for clients. Theoretically I’ll be able to post every day in May.

So in the meantime here’s a post that’s all about eventually getting things done. Pictures were taken in July 2014, when I had an incredibly short cut and was still deep in platinum mania.

 

Happy birthday to meee… from 2013. I bought this fabric as a birthday gift to myself, but between other projects and design uncertainty, wasn’t able to sew it up until 14 months later. Luckily it was worth the wait!

yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne

The yellow floral poplin in from the Lisette line at Joann. I immediately fell in love with the color combination and the paisley-inspired print. But it was that print that got me turned around. Brightly colored flowers… would that be too juvenile? I hate the idea of being ‘cute’ or saccharine, and so the fabric was folded and left in my cabinet…

Would I use a Laurel-esque shift pattern (this was right around the time that design was sweeping the blogosphere)? What about a vintage sleeveless dress? Maybe I should copy a 2005 H&M shirt dress I still wear: even with the heart print and slightly puffed sleeves, the sleek seams and short hem made me feel powerful.

yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne

In the end, I combined all these elements. I made a complete pattern of the H&M dress, but eliminated the sleeves and collar. I used a placket inspired from my vintage pattern, though I constructed this one myself. I copied Laurel’s clean neckline, and from there added my own details.

yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne The raw edges are serged and topstitched. The neckline and arm holes are bound with self-made bias tape, which I sewed on the front using my machine, and then whip stitched the inside and back. yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne

yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne

yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne

I feel like the coral binding creates a neat outline for the wild print. The mustard thread for the buttonholes doesn’t actually match any of the 7 colors of the fabric, but it still felt like the right choice. And the gold shank buttons… somehow, I didn’t even consider that option as I imagined the perfect buttons, but they jumped out at me as I was browsing the Dill racks.

yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne

It’s been a great summer dress so far, and of course it will do well in cooler temperatures with a cardigan and leggings.

yellow floral shift dress, made by Julianne

I already bought fabric for this year’s birthday dress. I’m not sure if I’ll have it done in time (3 weeks!) and I’m not even sure what design I will use. Perhaps I’ll make a blog post all about that… I should have it published in about 4 months!

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MAMI AFRIKA

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I’ve worked with Wawi Amasha for a few years, and now she’s starting to get really serious about her clothing design. These looks are all hers, but I sewed them for a gallery opening this past weekend. They were presented under the name Mami Afrika.

Wawi dresses, made by Julianne

Sewer, designer, tech designer.Wawi dresses, made by JulianneOf course I made my purple miimii dress, as well as the blue halter dress on Inobe. Wawi is on the left. Wawi dresses, made by Julianne

Wawi was showing her paintings at Hamilton Gallery in Santa Monica, and it was a fun party! In our gallery was the artwork, models wearing dresses, wine of course, and African drummers who inspired some fancy dancing.

A neighboring gallery was also hosting an opening, where there was more wine, plus vodka, couscous, gift bags, and a hyper little German man who began our conversations with “I like the look you’re experimenting with on your outfit,” because that’s what you say in Santa Monica. I don’t remember your name, but you were kinda crazy, but also fun.

Wawi dresses, made by Julianne

The fabrics were collected on Wawi’s recent trip to Kenya, and the patterns were drafted by Inobe Nicole, who also made the fabulous geometric necklaces.

I made ten pieces for the show in 4 days, and eventually developed a rhythm for the layout and construction. Sample patterns rarely come with instructions, so it’s up to be to figure out a smooth and efficient technique.   Wawi dresses, made by JuliannePrint matching! The finishing on this sleeveless jacket includes french seams, bias bound, double turned hem, and folding seams under.

Wawi dresses, made by Julianne Wawi dresses, made by Julianne

This purple skirt was my favorite piece, and that amethyst necklace Inobe made is insane!  IMG_2349

Mami Afrika designs, made by Julianne

This dress was another personal favorite.

Wawi dresses, made by Julianne

It was a week of marathon sewing, but the team was very pleased at the outcome. I’ll be doing more work with Wawi soon (like tomorrow!).

Thanks to Sam / Docta Sez for the additional photos!

 

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ZIGZAG DRESS

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I made this dress for my birthday this year, and it was perfect for my bayou birthday party.

yellow zigzag dress, made by Julianne

The dress had to be lined, and since the seams would have been slightly visible through the white areas of the print, I felt like interlining was the only option. Well, sewing two layers of swishy fabric together while keeping the print centered and the grainlines even can be a pain in the ass. In the end it turned out well, but it was a process to get there.

It’s a very basic shift (or sheath) dress. Easy to make, versatile to wear, and simple design lines that allow the fabric to take center stage. I have a few fabulous fabrics that have been patiently waiting in my sewing cabinet, and I think this new pattern will match perfectly.

yellow zigzag dress, made by Julianne

I bought the yellow printed rayon as soon as it came in the door at Fabric Planet Downtown for $3/yd. The dress is lined with a blush pink rayon, which also came via Fabric Planet (from the Venice store, and was the same price). The invisible zipper and TIffany blue lycra I used for the binding were rummaged from my fabric cabinet. Total dress cost: $12

yellow zigzag dress, made by Julianne

I just love the bright lemon yellow! The crisp chevrons are actually composed of tiny triangles. This print is hitting all my buttons.

I didn’t really think about how prone to wrinkles the finished garment would be. Not that I generally look freshly pressed, but I do like to show off my clothes to their best advantage. I must admit, I’m a little disappointed that despite the care I put into constructing the dress, it will always look a little sloppy.

yellow zigzag dress, made by Julianne

Although I’ve only worn the dress once before, the fabric is starting to pill at the underarms. It’s certainly not a disaster, just another disappointment to overcome. This dress may not have the longevity that I was looking forward to as I began to put it together.

yellow zigzag dress, made by julianne

I drafted the basic shift pattern with a muslin (and 2 sleeves with different cap heights!), and the meticulous fitting on the muslin isn’t quite obvious in the shifty doubled rayon. Oh well, I think that attention will pay off in other iterations of the design.

yellow zigzag dress, made by Julianne yellow zigzag dress, made by Julianne
And yes, I am on Instagram now.
 

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MATMOS DRESS

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Finally able to start unclogging the backlog of posts. Mardi Gras costume will be coming soon!

It’s a simple dress, which means it’s versatile and comfortable and fun to wear.

tie-dye matmos dress, made by Julianne

 I used a vintage pattern that I borrowed from Caroline; I traced the pattern and forgot to copy the name or number! Luckily I haven’t seen her since then, so I actually still have the pattern in a very safe place, so eventually I can find out the relevant information.

tie-dye matmos dress, made by Julianne

Now I’m wearing it with a silk charmeuse slip, and I stay pretty warm. Without the slip, it’s been perfect for warmer days in Los Angeles on the bicycle. The short hem will be fun in the summer!

tie-dye matmos dress, made by Julianne

It’s made from a silky, slinky rayon. I also used the fabric for a dress shirt for my husband (which I will iron and photograph in New Orleans). The print reminds me of the Matmos from one of my favorite movies, Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy.

tie-dye matmos dress, made by Julianne

matmos 2

I finished the seams in the serger. There’s a black invisible zip, which should be 6″ longer, but I had this size in my stash and I can easily get the dress over my shoulders (but the hips are another story).

tie-dye matmos dress, made by Julianne

I’m not sure about the neckline. Maybe I want to do something bold, like an appliqué or contrasting collar? Maybe I want it lower? For now, it’s bound in matching bias tape. I’d love any suggestions!

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