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Hey there! My name is Megan and I'm the sewing, pattern making girl behind Dolly Henry. This is my blog, where I share my own creative adventures and hope to meet fellow fabric enthusiasts. I also design and sell sewing patterns through my online boutique, alongside a beautiful collection of clothing and dolls. Thank you for stopping by!

NEWSLETTER

Teatime Chat with Julia Bobbin


I have met some amazing people since starting my crafting journey. The sewing community on Instagram is such a lovely bunch of like-minded people coming together from across the globe, sharing, supporting and encouraging each other in both their creative endeavours and life in general. It really is a privilege to get to know these talented makers and be part of such a thriving, positive environment.

The Teatime Chat series is about getting to know some of these wonderful ladies just a little bit better, and also share their beautiful work and stories with you. We might be miles apart but I’d like to think of this as a way to have a neighbourly cup of tea and chat, as if it was a simple walk down the block, a tray of freshly baked cookies and basket of craft in hand.

Today I am chatting to the delightful Julia Bobbin, whose amazing blog and stunning personal style opened my eyes to just how wonderful and fun sewing garments for yourself can be!

So lets go......

Hi Julia! It is lovely to have you here on the blog today! I'd love to start by hearing how you first began sewing and what was it that first prompted you to pick up a needle and thread?

It all began with a newfound love of vintage clothing! I had started ‘Swing Dancing’ and had become enchanted by both the music and the clothing of the 40’s and 50’s. I looked everywhere in stores for clothes that resembled the era but could find hardly anything. And whatever small amount I could find was either ill-fitting or just the wrong size all together.

After many frustrated searches I suddenly had a light bulb moment: maybe I could SEW my own clothes! Once the idea had formed in my head I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I went on a hunt for a sewing class. In August 2009 I joined a weekly two-hour class run by the incredible Vikki Leigh Martin and I instantly fell completely, and irrevocably in love with sewing!! The class became the highlight of my week and I would spend my evenings watching youtube tutorials to hurry along my learning and every spare moment practicing. I no longer take the class but my learning hasn’t stopped!



Describe your style in three words. What inspires you?
My style and tastes have evolved over the years, mainly thanks to sewing but to sum it up I would say ‘Bright, feminine, conspicuous’. I find so many things inspiring, from fellow designers, to colours, to current and past fashions to watching an episode of Mad Men! Still one of my favourite ways to get inspired is to walk into a fabric store. I love looking through and feeling the different fabrics and imagining what I could make with them. It is one of my greatest indulgences! More often than not it’s the fabric that I start with, not the sewing design.

When did you start your blog and what prompted you to do so? What is the story behind your blog name “Julia Bobbin”? Any plans to make “Bobbin” your legal surname?

I originally started my blog as a way to document and share with others what I had made and how. It was also a way to communicate with the larger sewing community that I had so much in common with and to whom I had learnt so much from already.

The name ‘Julia Bobbin’ came about without much excitement. My first name is Julia, so that was a little uninventive of me! I originally signed up for the BurdaStyle website and needed to come up with a profile name. On a whim I chose Julia Bobbin because I’d always liked the humble little bobbin threads in our sewing machines that work so hard but don’t get to see the light of day! After that it stuck and it’s stayed with me ever since! I’ve taken on my husband’s surname, but I think it would be fabulous if we changed our surname to Bobbin. Not just for my sake, but because my husband’s first name is Robin. Is there anything more perfect than ‘Robin Bobbin’??!!





Crafty Disaster - come on spill the beans..what is the worst thing that you have ever had happen while mixing fabric and a sewing machine?

I have broken a needle or two on my sewing machine, and most of them were done while sewing with the beautiful yet ferocious sequinned fabric!! Nothing is more panic inducing than seeing your machine start to shake and the machine light flash as your needle mashes into a sequin that won’t be penetrated!!

I love bright and sparkly, so I won’t say ‘never’ for sewing sequins again, but I’d need some serious meditation practice before the next attempt.

If you were a fabric, what would you be?
Silk silk silk!! It has such a luxurious fibre that can be both light as a feather or strong and structured like dupion. It’s the showiest, flashiest of fabrics that makes people ‘oo and ahh’ when they see it and touch it. You can’t wear silk without feeling fancy; it’s a feel good (literally) textile!




Proudest Achievement - what is your sewing/blogging Eureka! Moment?


My proudest sewing achievement is without a doubt when I won the Australian Tessuti Awards in 2011. I had entered the awards as a way to challenge and push my new sewing and designing skills and the result exceeded my wildest expectations.

Winning 1st place enabled me to travel to New York and really cemented in me the growing desire to create and design. It also was what prompted me to start my own sewing blog and really connect with the sewing community outside of my sewing class.

What haven’t you tried yet that you secretly harbour ambitions to do?

I have such a soft spot for sewing evening wear and have big ambitions to make couture gowns and wedding dresses. (sorry to break in here but that would be AMAZING!) But my short term ambition is to make my own bras and swimwear!

There are so many great patterns out there and I have seen some fantastic makes, but for some reason the idea scares the heck out of me! So many notions and new sewing techniques. But it’s also all of those unknowns that excites me and makes me want to give it a go. I have a feeling once I make a perfectly fitted, personally styled bra I will never be able to go back to ‘store-bought’ again.




You have a fantastic “celebrity copycat” collection - if you could design costumes for a movie, which movie would it be and why?
Well thank you so much!! I so easily get inspired by fashions of the past, in particular the 60’s. It was an era of change and empowerment and the fashions really reflected that. I love the silhouettes and the colours and watching Mad Men was a sensory overload.
I don’t know what movie I would like to design for, but it would have to be something with a lot of evening wear and maybe set in the 30’s. The rich fabrics and intricate details would be such a dream to recreate and give my imagination a chance to run wild.


You spoke recently on instagram about how much you are loving running and fitness - what made you decide to take up this activity and how has it impacted your sewing?

I originally started running as a means to an end. I had given birth to my second child and knew that I wanted to increase my fitness (which at the time was zero) and promote a healthier lifestyle.

I downloaded an app called ‘map my run trainer’ with a goal to eventually run 10k. I’d never done a structured running routine before; my previous attempts had been to just run until I’d reached a distance and I always hated every second of it. With this app the distance and speed was done step by step with purpose, progression and mini goals and to my complete surprise I found that I loved running!!

In the meantime, I started a 12-week strength training course which I could do in my backyard. It is 3 x 28 minute sessions each week where you train legs, upper body and core. I’d never done any strength training of any kind so at the start I felt like a dead weight. Everything was too hard. But with persistence my body started responding and my muscles grew and suddenly I could do everything. It still shocks me to see what my body can do with a bit of training. I used to think that sport and fitness was something that I would never be able to do or enjoy. I was so WRONG!



I entered my first ever ‘fun run’ in July 2016 and was completely blown away with the euphoria and team spirit of a big sporting event! Being a ‘creative type’ I had never participated or thought I was at all capable of being part of anything ‘sporty’ and to suddenly be part of a world that I thought was out of my reach and to be able to achieve goals and feel included was life changing for me.

I now train with an athletics group each week, and participate on Saturday mornings in ‘Park Run’ which is a timed 5km run and free community run held across Australia and the U.K. I also sign up for every fun-run I can find, with my first half marathon coming up at the end of this year.

With both running and strength training I am the fittest I have ever been and it has helped me claim back my body after over 5 beautiful years of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Sewing has given me an appreciation of my body and its shape, and running and fitness has given me a complete respect and understanding of what my body can do. I find that incredibly empowering and it’s a daily reminder that anything is impossible.

And Julia also knits....is there anything she can't do? 


Any words of advice for seamstresses yet to dip their toes in the water?
Do it! We are so lucky to be in an information rich time where you can find tutorials and communities everywhere online to support and teach you.

It is so rewarding to be able to create something from scratch that brings you joy every time you wear it. It allows us to be inventive and creative and to discover our own unique styles and tastes.

Don’t be disheartened by mistakes; you will make plenty of them! It is also where you learn the most and that’s where your sewing will really take off.

And if for nothing else, do it for the love of saying to others ‘Thank you, I made it myself!’ which absolutely never fails to get old.

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It was wonderful having Julia on the blog today! Below are a few links you may want to check out! You can also follow Julia on instagram @juliabobbin

Julia's Blog
Project Gallery
Celebrity Copycat
Julia's Tutorials
Julia Bobbin on Etsy

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