It’s all about the mad skillz. In this case, it’s about Ruby Assembly’s Director Iolanthe and her new sewing skillz. These ninja-style skillz lay dormant for some time before popping up in a series of lessons at Dear Gladys in High Street Northcote. Under the tutelage of Remy and Melissa from Dear Gladys, Iolanthe got re-acquainted with her sewing machine. You can see  more on these lessons (which we highly recommend) by clicking here and here to read our earlier blogs on the topic. Today’s blog shares Iolanthe’s first unsupervised foray into creative fashion design. Inset, see the bust details of the beautiful swing dress she successfully made with very little swearing and a prolific amount of tea.

First step. Sewing machine. Mother Ruby Assembly had a beautiful, solid old 1970’s Janome which I thought I could resurrect with assistance from the wizened Enid-Blyton style bloke who runs a sewing shop at the top of Sydney Road. After perusing the machine, he noted that all the internal plastics had warped and the machine had gone to God. No worries. Apparently sewing machines aren’t that expensive anymore, so I headed off to Spotlight and picked up a nifty little Brother machine for under $150. It does everything, even buttonholes! I chose my first project, which I selected from a regal pattern book I picked up from the cooler-than-you Tessuti fabric shop. It’s a Japanese one translated into English, and full of Gorman-style designs with ALL PATTERNS INCLUDED. You just need to trace them onto baking paper and you’re ready to make beautiful clothes for seasons to comes.

The wonder-pattern book from Tessuti. At around $30 it’s an investment in chic style! I’ll be giving away a copy to my readers… details at the end of the blog.

It took me around 7 hours to make the dress in question (which included unpicking time for the few times I royally stuffed it up), and the instructions were really quite clear. I chose a strong, thick cotton in a new series of Vintage materials by Spotlight with a yoke facing in acid yellow. Colour-blocking and all that, you know. Both materials were relatively easy to work with, and created a delightfully idiosyncratic end product.

You likey?

Me likey!


It even matches with the delightfully folkloric Mimco ‘Wilderness’ collection bracelet I picked up at Block Arcade yesterday.

So here’s to giving something foreign a crack, and achieving beautiful results! My business fills me with pride and my client’s success certainly bring me joy – but so does using the ‘other’ part of my brain to create things of beauty which are unique to me.

I will shortly begin running a competition to win the pattern book I’ve featured here called ‘Stylish Dress Book’. You too can be a sew sneaky person! You’ll need to subscribe to the blog (on the right, people!) and ‘like’ the official Ruby Assembly Facebook page to be in the know about this giveaway and others – so click here and get ready to win!