06 juli 2018

Summer In The Front, Drama In The Back

I've been making a lot of basics lately, to replace things that have gotten too big or just too worn out. All very nice and good, but sometimes I just want to sew something special and a bit more challenging than a t-shirt! I had bought the Centaurée pattern a while ago because it really intrigued me, but had not gotten around to making it yet. Well, it finally happened!

Deer and Doe patterns tend to fit me quite well without adjustments, but because of the unusual style lines on this I did make a quick muslin. I ended up taking a little bit out of the waist and not much else! The pattern itself is unlined but a few tips are given for a cleaner finish inside. I went for a bodice underlining in a black cotton voile. After sewing all those front seams and the side seams I basted the two bodices together and treated them as one from that point. Easy!

The main feature that attracted me to this pattern are of course those style lines on the front bodice. They make for some really interesting looking pattern pieces and it's a bit of a puzzle to get everything to fit together, but the result is worth it! The only thing I'm peeved about is how my points don't line up exactly at the center- I unpicked and resewed it a few times but this was the best I could do without the fabric fraying too much.

About that fabric: I bought it at a Dries Van Noten stocksale last year, mostly for the colour and without a specific plan in mind. I'm not sure what it is, my guess is some kind of heavy brushed viscose twill... It didn't melt after I set it on fire, so that's something. It's hard to tell in photos but the colour is great in real life- a very deep burgundy with hints of black in the background. I had enough fabric to cut the high-low skirt so just went for that, even though that makes the dress a bit dramatic for daily wear!

 I really like the shape of the skirt. The fabric is a bit heavier than what was recommended, but I kind of like the body it gives! My only gripe is the lack of pockets. I know it is possible to do inseam pockets with an invisible side zip, but I was afraid it would get too bulky.

Another thing I liked about this pattern was the use of bias tape to create the straps and finish the edges of the bodice at once. I had just enough fabric left to cut a few longer strips, and carefully positioned them so the seams would be in inconspicuous places. I ended up basting the tape in place before topstitching the straps, which made that process a lot smoother than I expected! The fiddliest part was the little v at the front, but that turned out really nice.

My bra band isn't usually visible in this, and the boyfriend didn't notice. Bummer.
I think it's due to my bulkier fabric, but the straps did not want to lie as shown by the pattern, so I let them do what they wanted, which was crossing over and doing something else in the back. I hand sewed them to the inside of the bias edging and the lining, which looks clean on the outside and sort of clean on the inside!

I'm not sure if I need many of these in my life, but it was a really fun pattern to put together and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

02 juli 2018

Money Can Be Exchanged For Goods And Services

One of the things I wanted to do this year was to get more serious about my drawing, and selling my work. I've been trying to create a lot more and opened an Etsy store in February! Since then I've been updating it regularly, but never really posted about the things I've listed in there so far. So yeah, this post is sort of an ad. For my own work.

(I also want to mention that I am available for commissioned work, so if you want a custom illustration you can always e-mail me and we can work something out!)

So far I have a few larger prints and posters available, which you might have seen on this blog before:

I'm also trying to print a new postcard every once in a while! So far I have listed two and they're both (sort of) jokes in Dutch, but the next one will make sense to a wider audience, I swear!

And lastly, I have a few hand embroidered brooches for sale. These are fun to make, but take a lot of time, so I'm not sure how often they will be available!

I'm currently working on some new ideas and things, so keep an eye out! If you want to see more in-progress pictures you can always follow me on Instagram by the way, it's where I post smaller things that don't always warrant a blog post!

28 juni 2018

And Then My Friend Got Attacked By A Seagull

Last year the boyfriend and I went to London for Elcaf, a yearly comics and arts festival. There's always great stuff to be found and a lot of our drawing friends in the UK are there as well, which means lots of opportunities for catching up and hanging around (mostly in parks). This year my friend Charlotte Dumortier designed the poster (and just about everything else) so we went over with an entire Belgian delegation, handed out beer and chocolates and convinced people to come visit us. Charlotte decided to stick around with us a little longer, and to get a rest after the craziness that was Elcaf (Jayde won a prize!) we decided to go to Brighton for a day. I wore some clothes I made:

Both the top and skirt are my own patterns in a way, which doesn't mean much when we're talking about the skirt (it's all rectangles). I've been trying to create my perfect tank top pattern by rubbing off an old one I like and tweaking it every time I make it. This version is made from a viscose jersey with a very fine black and white stripe, and instead of using bands for the armholes and neckline I finished them with storebought viscose jersey bias binding. This worked really well, and saved me the hassle of cutting narrow bindings in viscose jersey. I might use this stuff on lighter weight knits more often!

The skirt is a gathered skirt with a front button closure. I simply started from my waist measurement, added a bit of ease and some extra for the overlap and cut three rectangles for the front and sides, using twice the width of the (narrow) fabric. The front edges were interfaced, folded over and topstitched down to form a placket. I also added pockets because there was no reason not to and apparently that's what I do now.

The fabric for this skirt is a poly-viscose crepe, which makes it perfect for travelling since it doesn't wrinkle as much, but the viscose content made it easier to press. I did give myself a bit too much ease in the waist (or the crepe relaxes too much) so this sits a bit lower than I'd like, even after all the food we had on this trip! I think I might open the waistband up (it's hand stitched closed on the inside) and add some elastic in the back to snug things up a little.

I found this at Snooper's paradise and loved it too much to leave it.
All in all, none of these garments are perfect in any way, but they are perfectly fine for days like this:

This little holiday was very needed and I came back with a lot of inspiration, so expect some stuff soon!

(And yes, Charlotte did get attacked by a seagull. Some ice cream was lost but no one got hurt)

18 juni 2018

Only Bring Essentials And Then Everything Else

Handbags aren't really my thing. I tend to carry a lot of stuff around so I usually have a backpack or tote bag on me, and sewing my own isn't really something I'm interested in! However, I felt like I could use something bigger than a backpack for short trips, and decided to give the Portside Duffel bag a try!

I had all the fabrics in my stash already, and only had to source the hardware. The black fabric is a basic black cotton twill reinforced with some heavy interfacing, and I used some heavy upholstery-type stuff I once found in a second hand shop for the contrast. It kind of looks like a grandma's couch, so... I guess that means I'm into making things that look like sofas now?

I didn't really change anything about the pattern, apart from adding zippers to the side pockets. I thought these would be more useful if I could close them and it turned out to be an easy change: I cut the pocket piece in two parts where I wanted the zipper to be and added some seam allowance. The zippers were sewn into the pockets, the top seam allowance was folded over and topstitched in place onto the bag and the rest of the pocket basted in place. I also added a little patch because it was perfect for this!

My zipper was a fraction too short so I added little pieces of folded fabric at the end to make it look a bit neater. I also made sure to hand baste the entire thing before stitching to make sure nothing moved around. It's a pretty large piece to manoeuver underneath the machine so I wanted to avoid the layers shifting.

The instructions were generally very clear, but the marking for the strap placement on the end pieces seem to be missing on my version of the pattern. This wasn't hard to figure out, but I can imagine it would be confusing for a beginner!

All classy with the chalk marks and street dust.
I didn't interface the contrast portions of the bag because I was worried it would get too stiff and the interfacing wouldn't stick well to the textured fabric. This makes the top a little floppy, but it also made the bag easier to work with! Constructing this isn't hard at all (it's mostly rectangles and precise stitching) but the sheer size of it makes it a bit challenging at times! The hardest part was attaching the bottom, which I did in four steps instead of one single pass. I also stitched it twice for a bit of extra sturdiness.

The lining was hand sewn in because I couldn't face the thought of putting all that stuff under the machine all over again!

I'll be testing this bag next week on a short trip! I'll be in London and Brighton, so definitely let me know if you want to meet up! I don't bite.

08 juni 2018

Draw Me Like One Of Your Ektorps

This is the most effort I've ever put into a picture background. Like, this literally took more time than making the actual dress! My friend Karen found an appartment in a really cool building dating back to the 1930s, and when I went over to help her paint everything white it turned into a sort of archaeological dig/restoration project! I liked the original wallpaper we'd dug up, so on another day we took the chance to take some pictures of a dress I made!

I'd had this really pretty stretch linen-viscose around for a while, but wasn't sure about what to make with it. It's a pretty heavy fabric with a rougher weave, and I was worried it would look like upholstery (and that the wrong pattern choice would make me look like a sofa). I then found a pattern for a bustier jumpsuit in a Burda issue and figured it could work with a circle skirt!

Taking pictures with Karen starts like this and ends even worse.
I made a quick muslin to check the fit and didn't have to change much, except for taking a bit of width out of the waist and flattening those horizontal bust seams a bit. They were very pointy! Smoothing this line a bit has helped, but I didn't want to remove too much since that would decrease cup volume. I was working on a deadline this time but I'd like to revisit this pattern and see if I can improve things.

I changed out of my work clothes really quick and failed to notice my bra was on show. SORRY
The bodice is lined in black cotton voile, and I added strips of boning to all the vertical seams for some structure. I also chose to attach the straps by hand after the bodice was assempled. This means the raw edges are visible on the inside, which isn't as pretty, but it did give my full control over the length and placement!

After assembling the dress I noticed the neckline was gaping a bit. My hurried ass scoffed at staystitching and I had probably stretched it during construction. I kind of fixed it with a trick I picked up from Fit for a Queen: cut a length of twill tape slightly shorter than the neckline and handsew it in place, easing in the extra fabric, to snug things up. It's the same as taping a roll line!

90% of my blog pictures look like this. It's a challenge sometimes.
So, is this perfect? No, but neither am I. It's pretty low cut and I'm not really used to that anymore (I seem to gravitate to higher necklines since working in a shop), but I like the shape of the bustier top and would like to revisit the fit issues at some point! Until then I'll just keep scraping wallpaper:

Maybe not the most realistic representation.

21 mei 2018

We All Know Black Lace Is Very Summery

The chain of stores I work for has a pretty sweet deal going on: employees have a monthly budget to use on accessories to wear while they're working. The particular location I work at doesn't sell any accessories, so I can use that budget on fabric! I had taken this black lace home in November, but since the heating wasn't working all winter it didn't make sense to use it then (since it would have been covered in sweaters anyway). Recently my boss reminded me that I still had it, so I set out to make a nice spring/summer outfit! In black lace.

 I wanted to play with transparency a bit, and flipped through the Burda catalog to see if I found anything inspiring. Burda 6438 had an interesting bodice going on, with raglan sleeves and curved inset pieces that reminded me of the Colette Rue (which is a dress that I like in theory but read so many horror stories about I'm not even going to bother trying to make it work). The pattern comes with a straight skirt which isn't at all my jam, so I added a circle skirt instead.

 The entire dress is underlined in a thin cotton, apart from the sleeves. Initially I wanted to leave the side panels transparent as well (as shown in one of the views of this pattern) but after trying the dress on before adding the lining it just looked... weird. Maybe it's because the detail doesn't continue on the back, or because my bra band would always be visible, or maybe because I'm just not used to drawing attention to that part of me. After some laughing at myself in the mirror I just added the side panels to the lining and solved that issue.

 I didn't make a muslin because Burda patterns tend to fit me really well, and just cut my size based on my waist measurement. According to their size chart I'm a 40 in the bust and 38 everywhere else, but I find that a straight 38 usually fits fine in the bust department. I usualle do have to remove some width from the back, which is a common alteration for me!

An invisible zipper would break instantly with this bulky lace/underlining combination, so I used a regular one and hand picked it. I think this finish is somewhere between an invisible and a topstitched lapped zipper in terms of niceness. Also, hand sewing is relaxing. Deal with it.

I don't think anyone would associate this dress with summer, but that's definitely not going to stop me from wearing it! And in winter as well, of course. I think our heating has been fixed by now.

10 mei 2018

Childhood Dream Come True

If there is one pattern that can be considered a TNT (tried and true) for me it's the Ogden cami by True bias. I've made four of them now, in different fabrics and lengths, and they are perfect for warmer days when I want to look a bit more put together than when I'm just wearing a tank or t-shirt. I really like the shape of the neckline, so when Hanne gifted me some jersey and I thought of making a maxi dress out of it, I didn't have to think for long!

This was really easy to make. I measured where I wanted the waistline to sit (a little lower than my natural waist measurement so it would blouse a bit) and cut the Ogden at that shorter length, with a large seam allowance (to make the casing for the waist elastic).

Also in this picture: my birthday present to myself
I cut two of the front and back instead of cutting a facing, because facings and lightweight jersey don't really mix in my book. The self lining gives the bodice some extra structure and makes for a nice finish on the inside!

Construction was really simple! I assembled the bodice according to the instructions, using a straight stitch for the straps so they wouldn't stretch with wear. I also chose not to understitch the lining since it would be caught in the waist seam anyway and wouldn't flip to the outside too much. After the bodice was assembled I sewed the waist seam with a wide seam allowance, pressed it down and topstitched it to make a casing.

The skirt is made out of two rectangles, with a split at both sides. The stripes on this fabric are a bit irregular, but I managed to match the side seams pretty well!

I really like this fabric, especially the print. It reminds me of rows of pointy teeth, which is a good thing in my book. This also meant that it was the perfect dress to wear to my birthday party! I turned 29 and thought it would be a good idea to have people dress up as what they wanted to be when they grew up. In my case, that was a vegetarian werewolf:

I didn't have that much time to make my costume and didn't think it would be a good idea to cover myself in fur since it was going to be warm, so I kept things simple. I had some grey faux fur around that was made into ears and a tail, which were attached to a headband and a belt.

I combined those with a full moon necklace I already owned and embroidered some felt brooches to show my veggie werewolf feelings. Most people thought I was a rabbit of dog, but I can't blame them for that!

I think this will get worn a lot this summer, maybe without the ears and tail. I have some gorgeous linen jersey lying around, so I could even make a second one!