13 november 2017


Remember how I designed a logo for Joost and his pet project a while ago?

I have followed this guy's work for a while now but never made any of his patterns before (because I'm a terrible and selfish person who only makes things for me me me). So when he released the beta version of the Huey I clutched my fists in happiness and called out: 'Finally! A pattern I can use, that isn't drafted for men! I mean, there are definitely not enough women's patterns around and even though this is technically not marketed towards female bodies I'm pretty sure it will work!'

See, the idea is that you enter your own measurements and get a pattern drafted for you, which eliminates most problems a woman making a men's hoodie would face (narrowing the shoulders and maybe adding waist definition). I wrestled the measuring tape (just get someone to help you, seriously), spent some time scratching my head (it's a beta version so no instructions) and came up with this:

Now, sewing this was, in theory going to be easy. Except I'd had a few sleep-deprived nights in a row and I just couldn't think of a way to attach the zipper and facing and make everything look clean (without hand-stitching. Hand-stitching knits just feels... Wrong). Joost sent me an explanation and even drew a picture to clarify when my stupid brain still didn't get it. Here's my version of that sketch in case you want to make this and not feel like an idiot:

So! You basically make one long train of the hood, front, opened ribbing, facing and hood lining, only sewing them together for the first five cm to make life easier. The zipper gets sandwiched between that train and the ribbing and hood seams get joined later on. Does that make sense?

The hardest part is making sure the pockets and ribbing line up. I had to insert this zipper four times (mostly due to my own mistakes and wanting to be fast) and found it was easiest to insert one side, close the zipper, mark where the pocket and ribbing seamlines are supposed to be and use those to line up the other side. It's still a tiny bit crooked but I rarely wear my hoodies closed and the fabric was getting tired of being unpicked, so I left it at that.

Speaking about the fabric: this is a super nice cotton sweatshirt fabric with a brushed back, so it's very warm and snuggly. It also has glitter. I bought it at De Stoffenstraat on a spontaneous expedition with Hanne and Stéphanie!

(The top is a modified Renfrew that's a bit too boring to blog about. I heightened the scoop neckline and added a glitter mesh panel. Fancy.)

So how was the whole made-to-measure pattern experience? Pretty smooth. You make a profile and create a model, entering every measurement you can think of. I should probably review these and maybe get some help since there was some weirdness with the shoulders on this pattern that turned out to be a result of my dodgy measuring, but I don't think it really matters that much in this case since, you know, it's a hoodie.

I wear a lot of hoodies, as a jacket, under another jacket to make it warmer or as an extra layer. This is a very welcome addition to my wardrobe, and I think I might make a few more! Maybe even a woven one. Hmmm.

PS: These pictures are a bit dark and blurry because they were taken inside, on a rainy day, by my little brother who isn't a photographer. He is a drummer however, and pretty good at that.

PPS: This is where that title comes from. And, you know, the political activist and stuff. But that's where I got these specific words.

07 november 2017

I'm A Firefighter

(That's a good post title after that last one)

The question was: can I draw fire and a firefighter from memory, without using any reference pictures?

The answer: not really, and maybe?

This was kind of inspired by a Cigarettes After Sex song and drawn in th cafetaria of the Natural History museum in Brussels (of all places). I saw them live tonight and it was really nice! If you want to hear this firefighter song, it starts at 11:23 :

03 november 2017

Is This Burning An Eternal Flame

That title is for my friend Hélène, who took the pictures for this post, and made people run out of a karaokebar with their hands over their ears by singing that song. She's awesome. We took pictures together once before and it got a bit weird, but this time we were on a really quiet street so what could possibly happen...

Oh. Ok.

So after these girls stopped by to help we got on with our real mission: getting nice and clear pictures of my latest sewing project!


As you can maybe see if you look closely, I've made another Rigel. It is, in fact the fifth time I've made this pattern. Does that mean it's a TNT?  I would change something if I ever make this again (and let's face it, I probably will) and that is to cut a smaller size. I didn't think about it since this is not a fitted garment, but my shape has changed drastically since the first time I made it (three years ago) and I could definitely go down a size or two. It's wearable, but it's on the verge of just plain too large instead of slightly oversized.


This was one of those rare occasions where I got a fabric with a project in mind and never changed my mind about it, even though it spent about a year in the stash before I got around to it. It's a drapey wool bouclé with some gold brushed over it, making the loops look like soft sequins. I bought it from the Fabric Sales when they had a webshop at some point in time. It was easy to work with and didn't fray as much as I had expected, maybe the gold paint holds the fabric together a bit?

I used black velvet for the pocket welts and plain black cotton ribbing for the cuffs, waistband and neckline. This jacket is also lined in a burgundy acetate lining, using the same method I've always used (sew jacket and lining separately until you're about to install ribbing and zipper, then baste together and treat as one layer). The lining is not just to make the jacket easier to put on, it also gives the loosely-woven bouclé some structure and support. That, and the thought of exposing the massacre that is me doing welt pockets gives me hives. Not having to make those things look pretty takes such a huge amount of stress away!

Here's when Hélène told me to pose like I was thinking about art. I was also showing off the yoghurt I'd spilled down my skirt during lunch earlier. Classy.

Making this was pretty uneventful, apart from accidentally cutting my sleeve lining ten cm too short so I had to do some piecing to fix that. It will be too cold for this jacket soon (boo!) but I do have some fabric left, and it might be just enough to squeeze a short straight skirt out of it. Can I get away with a gold bouclé two-piece?

'You should pretend to be a model'
I highly doubt it, but I'll probably try it anyway.

30 oktober 2017

I'd Like To Try And Read Your Palm

It's Halloween time, so I'm going to brush up on my palmistry skills! I think I got this right.

I'm thinking of making this a postcard. Would you send it to anyone?

25 oktober 2017

You As Well Beast

I'm seeing a lot of concerts these days so you are getting a lot of music-inspired illustrations!

We'll be seeing the National tomorrow night in Amsterdam, and I had this image stuck in my head since listening to the final song on their latest album for the first time on a plane to Canada:

I could say something about how you can sometimes choose to just cope instead of deal with stuff when actually solving a problem is just too much, but I'm not sure if it would make sense, so I'll let you guys interpret this the way you want to.

I normally post a video for the songs I illustrate but only found a single live recording with terrible audio, so you'll either have to take my word for it or go listen to the album or something.

18 oktober 2017

It's My Lifelong Ambition To Become A Cryptid Zookeeper

... I already have the uniform.

In all seriousness, I can't help but think this jacket would be perfect for a zookeeper who spends his or her life taking care of elusive creatures. Or is that just me?

I saw this jacket in one of the latest issues of Knipmode and decided to give them another chance. Usually their styles are way too basic for my taste, or they just don't look like something I'd wear. And even if I did want to wear them, the patterns seem to run so large it's ridiculous. They are drafted for someone who is almost 10 cm taller than me, but there just seems to be way too much ease all the way round. For this pattern I cut a size 36, which has a chest circumference that is about 6 cm smaller than my own, because the waist and hip sizes matched mine more closely and I figured I'd never wear this closed anyway. I can button this. No straining. Over a sweater.

Sizing issues aside: well done Knipmode! This is a military-inspired safari style jacket thing but it's a bit more streamlined, with  front and back darts for shaping. I cut this out of a 2 meter wool remnant (from Pauwels I think) and it was a surprisingly quick project, if not for my machine giving up halfway through. It's gone to the magical repair place now and Joost graciously helped me out by allowing me to use one of his machines until I get mine back. Thanks again Joost!

Not all heroes wear capes.
This is the kind of project I like: lots of small details, precision, natural fibers and not too fiddly. I skimmed the instructions to see if there were any surprised but construction was very straightforward. I didn't make a muslin so the fit isn't perfect (there's some wrinkling around the shoulders that could probably be fixed) but it's definitely wearable.

Of course this jacket wouldn't be 'me' without any additions. I had bought this patch a while ago and it was waiting for the perfect project. I like how the yellow contrasts with the burgundy wool! But the real surprise is on the back:

Yeah, that's a big ass felt snake on the back of my brand new jacket. I spent two days cutting, embroidering and hand-sewing this on but it was worth all the trouble. Do you want a close up? OF COURSE YOU DO

I love working with felt, but it has to be the real thing... And it's getting hard to find. I order mine online now but the colours are always a bit of a gamble. If anyone knows a good source for wool felt in lots of colours somewhere around Antwerp, let me know!

I don't think I'll be making this again anytime soon, since my closet only needs so many cryptid zookeeper jackets. But I'm sure this will get tons of wear when I'm out feeding my hellhounds.

13 oktober 2017

La La La La La La La La La Lee

I'm going to see Nick Cave tonight, so I made a drawing.

I can't imagine a better way to spend an evening on Friday the 13th.