Saturday, October 5, 2013

Barbara

Finally I bring to you - The Barbara dress! 


I actually finished this last weekend, but never got to take photos! Cheeky me, but finally this lovely lady is complete and I love it! Its soft and feminine and even if it's really more 70s than 60s, I must argue - for its inspiration comes from one of the great ladies of the 60s - Barbara Hulanicki



The idea for this dress came when I saw the fabric itself - a black polyester chiffon with tiny gold foil print. The colours reminded me of Big Biba and the fabric design reminded me of the more 60s Biba dresses like the one below

Source

I was initially looking for a pattern that would replicate the above photo, but when I found this beauty at the op shop for 50 cents, I decided that this would be perfect and it suited the dress well.

This pattern is from 1975 - ironically the same year Big Biba closed, but the elements of Barbara's style is there with the slight nod to 30s glamour. I really love this pattern - if you made it long in satin cut on the bias, you could have a gorgeous dress worthy of Carol Lombard


My version is black chiffon, lined with black crepe - here was the original idea; 

Dress with fitted bodice, a-line skirt, gathered shoulders with bishop sleeves and buttoned cuffs. 
Bodice underlined with black crepe, with sleeves to remain unlined. Cuffs to be lined in organza to keep the lightness
Zippered back, hem just above knee length


All of these elements were achieved apart from the puffed shoulders. The sleeve pattern piece I used was for a set-in sleeve and I assumed I could just push all the gathering to the top of the shoulder, but because the sleeve is actually the same size as the arm-hole no gathering was needed! So I settled for set in sleeves and I'm ok with that.

Sleeve shoulder detail
  





Front

Back



The lining was also used as the facing for the neck line. I ended up attempting something I really didn't know how to do! The bodice was fine but I forgot to do the darts separately - you can only see them on the inside anyway.


Then I attached the skirt to the bodice and inserted the zipper in the back before joining it all together. I may have done it in the wrong order trying to be fancy and sewing the bodice as one piece. The French seams also threw me off - trying to do that, while inserting the zipper on two layers of fabric. Oh my head! At least black fabric is forgiving and you cant see the random open seams!  


The sleeves are a little too short and make bending my arms a little tricky - just like the original Biba dresses which stopped their wearers from reaching and bending, ha!
But this was unintentional - The too small cuffs stop the sleeves from moving up and down my arm easily so I have to kind of change the way I move my arm for that day when I wear it


I lined the cuffs with black organza instead of interfacing. It gives a lightness to the cuff and keeps its transparency with the chiffon. You simply sew the organza onto the fabric piece before you construct it. Exactly the same as sew-in interfacing but you're not restricted by the lack of colours and opaqueness 


These are the interior French seams - the bodice seam runs across and the skirt front is the one going up. Their very comfortable and they make everything look nice and neat!


The hems were finished with rolled hems, also called narrow hems. I used this technique because the length of the skirt was perfect and I didn't want to loose too many cm. Its also another good seam for chiffon and light fabrics as it doesn't affect the hang.

Most sewing machines come with a special foot to achieve this, but mastering it takes some practice. These seams look neat - but you should see the start of the hem stitch - its not so neat... 


My make up (which is hard to see) was done with the Dolly Eyes tutorial by Lisa Eldridge. I had wanted a Biba style of make-up and this is what I had found - it's maybe more 60s Biba than 70s but its a good tutorial none the less

My felt hat is from Target of all places and the clogs are from Rubi Shoes. They may or may not be correct for 70s, but overall I think they all match. 

Well there you have it! I'd love to make some more Biba style dress and I'll be sure to use this pattern again one day. 

I have a lot of sewing/craft project due this week - a party dress, engagement present and a skirt for a friend so I'll be a busy little bee!

Cat xo

32 comments:

  1. I'm astonished by the beauty and craftsmanship of this outfit, dear Catherine! This Barbara dress has to be your greatest sewing achievement to date and I applaud you. As always your poses "sell it." If you had a microphone stand in front of you to use as a prop you could pass for Stevie Nicks singing "Rhiannon."

    I hope you are in the midst of a wonderful weekend, dear friend Cat!

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    1. Thank you! and thank your for bringing up Rhiannon and Stevie Nicks - if this was a longer dress i could maybe pass as a welsh witch!

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  2. Oh Cat the dress is gorgeous, you look like such a Biba doll!

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  3. I love this, did I tell ya I love this . No? Listen carefully . . . I love this. Cool! Cool! Cool! https://www.facebook.com/SassySewingBees

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    1. haha! Im glad you like it! you can buy the fabric online if you like

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  4. OMG, it's gorgeous!!!
    I love it, and you are pulling off the BEST Biba look ever! You've done a beautiful job of it; looks like you've conquered chiffon!!!
    Total WOW! XXX

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    1. Yay! thank you! Chiffon is a tricky lass, and this was ok to deal with. But what you don't see in these photos are the random boo-boos ;)

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  5. This looks amazing on you! Such beautiful work.

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  6. You have pulled off this look amazingly -and all the work and detail that has gone into that dress is incredible. Thanks for the construction detail shots.

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    1. Thanks! I love seeing other peoples construction shots so i try to include them and help give people ideas on how to do things

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  7. This is honestly such a beautiful dress and it looks so floaty and soft and feminine! The outfit is so perfect too - you look just like a BIBA girl! The print on it and the style work so brilliantly together. Marvelous work!
    Thank you for the link to the Dolly Makeup video tutorial too. I'm watching it now and it looks really good. Shall definitely give it a try. xx

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    1. Thanks Lucy! Im glad you like the tutorial - it was pretty easy to follow, but i need to get some false bottom lashes

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  8. Oh, this is beautiful! I love the sleeves.

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  9. Your dress is gorgeous ! i love this sheer black / gold fabric .

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    1. aww thank you! I love this fabric too!

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  10. OH.MY.BLOB. ABOUT TIME YOU EXPOSED THIS BEAUTY! I love it :D

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  11. This is so great! Fantastic job. I have to say I am a major fan of 70s Style patterns. They rock, and I have quite a few in my own collection. They make up really nicely and are so adaptable. Such great fabric too!

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    1. Oh i agree! there are some really pretty 70s patterns out there and i used to sew mainly from my mums 70s patterns when i was a teenager. such pretty things i used to make, though none fit now :(

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  12. Beautiful dress and I love your hat! That french seam/zip conundrum sounds like a nightmare! My mum actually used to shop at the original Biba store in London and told me stories about the open-top garden when I was a kid (I think it's part of the reason I wanted to do my degree in London!). She still has a few dresses from there and they really are something special!

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    1. yes! the zipper was weird and but instead of forcing it i just left a little bit open at the bottom, you cant see it though!

      I love hearing everyone's Biba stories - there is a woman at my work who was a teen in the 70s and she tells me all the time about her biba adventures!

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  13. Love love love doll! You did such an amazing job!

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  14. How on earth did I miss this? Glorious, dear Cat! That dress is even more beautiful than I imagined and the hat and clogs make for hippy perfection! x

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    1. Yay! thanks Vix! I wish i could wear this hat more often - this is the dressed up version. for work its just regular heels :(

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  15. Wow this is so gorgeous Cat!!! Great fabric choice, it makes the sleeves just float. You will get much wear out of this one I'm sure.

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    1. Thank you so much! I wish i could wear it everyday!

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  16. Featured on SSB https://facebook.com/sassysewingbees

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  17. You look like Megan Draper in this outfit =] Love it!!

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