05 oktober 2015

I will talk about my travels, Sorry not Sorry.

Hi everyone! I'm back! And there's going to be tons of pictures in this post (and the next one)!

I had this crazy idea about blogging while on vacation, but of course I was way too busy having fun to keep you all updated. We did manage to photograph two projects on the road, and today I'll share the first one (along with some pictures and a travel report, obviously).

Also, hi to all the new followers! Hanne gave me a lovely mention in her guest post on Closet Case Files, and it was great to come back home to such lovely reactions!

So, on with it! Our trip was three weeks long and I didn't really want to bother with washing clothes on the road, so I needed a few lightweight pretty dresses, and quickly! The Kielo wrap dress from Named had been on my mind since its release, but I never thought it could work on me until I saw the version made by the aforementioned Hanne. I traced the pattern, cut and sewed two versions in one day, and this is number one!

This was intended as a wearable muslin, since I wasn't sure about how it would turn out. The pattern itself is super easy, just two large pieces and two ties. It's fairly loose-sitting (as it should be, since you have to pull it over your head!) but there are two bust darts (coming out of the armpits) and two fisheye darts in the back to give some shaping.

It looks pretty funny when it's untied, kind of makes me feel like a manta ray! The fabric is a cheap viscose I picked up at a local fabric outlet some time ago. It was labeled as cupro and has a slightly matte, almost peachskin like texture. It works really well as a summer dress!

I experimented with a few different ways to tie it and found I prefer the bow to be in the back. This dress has all the niceness of a wrap dress with the added benefit of there being no danger to expose yourself if it came undone! I've been untying myself several times a day to show people how brilliant the construction was.

The only 'problem'  found is that the underside of the wrap part shows quite a bit when it's tied, unless I press the hell our of it before wearing. It doesn't really bother me though, and I'm not sure if there's anything to be done about it.

Now on to our vacation! We started out in New York, to revisit old places and friends. I managed to meet up with these two lovely ladies and had a blast going through the fabric shops:

We spent four days in New York and it was lovely to be there again (longtime readers might remember the first time I went there and the pictures we took then in exactly the same location). There was a bit of a bad start since I pulled a muscle in my back upon leaving the airport and spent the first afternoon flat on the bed, crying in pain and hoping it would be over soon! Thankfully I was able to walk around by the next day and almost completely fine by the time we had to take a plane again. We spent most of our time strolling around and looking at things:

After that, we took a plane to Vancouver, Canada, to visit my cousin and her husband. They moved there ten years ago and I was super stoked to see them again! We also met up with Tasia to see some fabric stores (they have a store with just buttons!) and had some of the greatest food ever.

I liked the city of Vancouver, but was even more impressed with the nature surrounding it. We went to visit Lynn Valley park one day, and even though we were terribly unprepared (realising at the start of our walk that we had no food or water on us and didn't even know what to do in the event of BEAR) it was amazing (eating a cinnamon bun the size of my head afterwards definitely helped)! 

We also borrowed some bikes off my cousin and cruised around Stanley Park. I'd definitely recommend doing this on a bicycle, since it's way too big to do on foot (I'd have given up about halfway through). After a few days with only minimal rain we took a train to Seattle, and were baffled by the views. The Amtrak goes right by the water for a good chunk of the trip, and at one point I punched my boyfriend in the arm because there were two bald eagles chilling on a tree in the sunset while a whole bunch of herons flew by. Magical.

Stay tuned for another project and some pictures from Seattle and Portland!

09 september 2015

If only I could wear 200 brooches at once.

A few months ago, two good friends told me and my boyfriend they wanted to start their own business. They wanted to open a store in the middle of Antwerp to sell pretty things and unique souvenirs, and asked me and a couple of other people to make products for them. I went for postcards, limited lino prints, printed tote bags and felt brooches, and today I'll show you one of these things!

I have been making these little brooches for a while now, but never seriously thought about selling them (more in an 'ok if you want it I'll make it' kind of way). Over the past few weeks I spent a few days watching the X-Files and embroidering. With nice results!

Every brooch is made from 100% wool felt, and entirely handcut and sewn. I first sketch the brooch on sturdy paper, cut it out, use the general shape to cut out the background and then cut the smaller shapes out of that to cut the details. This means that each one is unique!

I had to find a way to present them that would look decent but not be too expensive or hard to do. In the end I carved a stamp on some mounted softcut (which I only used because I was going to stamp it by hand, it's horrible stuff that feels like cutting chewing gum and I'd much rather cut real lino and use a press or spoon!) and went to town on sturdy coloured paper. The result looks 'legit' according to the boyfriend!

I have some pictures of the linoprinting process lined up as well, but those will have to wait for after my holiday. See you in about three weeks!

PS: If anyone in New York, Portland, Seattle or Vancouver wants to meet up, don't forget to let me know!

02 september 2015

Watch out, here we come!

Sorry, no sewing to show today, but I do have some exciting news, so here's another gif party!

I've been permanently hired at my job (I'd always work with three-month contracts before so I was basically at risk of being out of a job every three months) and this meant that my boyfriend and I could do some longer term planning! We thought it had been way too long since we went anywhere so I asked for three weeks off... To go on a trip to the US and Canada!

We'll visit New York, Vancouver, Seattle and Portland, and I'm REALLY excited. We haven't been properly travelling since Iceland, apart from a few very short weekend trips. More gifs to express my emotions!

Now for the big question: is there anyone from around those parts who wants to meet up? Show me the nice (fabric) spots, or just to have fun. I can repay you with Belgian sweets and wisdom such as this:

We will be around between September 15th and October 3rd! If you are interested, feel free to send an e-mail to annekecaramin(at)hotmail(dot)com!

29 augustus 2015

I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself.

This was a very simple project. Should have been a quick make. But today I will tell you the tale of how sewing a hoodie took me four days.

I have a few H&M (gasp!) hoodies I like to wear as jackets, and decided to try and make my own a few weeks ago. The pattern is so simple I could just trace it from one of them (two front pieces, a back, a sleeve, a hood and an optional pocket) and I already had my fabric (an interesting textured black-and-white knit). What could go wrong?

Not too much since I finished it.
 Well, for one, the fabric frayed like a motherfucker. it unraveled if you pointed at it, so I realised I'd probably have to bind the seams (guess what got chosen when I had to decide between a printing press and an overlocker- definitely no regrets there though, expect some printing love in the near future- but back to the point). I also wanted this thing to be a bit hard-wearing, so I underlined every piece with a thin viscose jersey.

Except the jersey was very drapey, so to prevent sagging added rows of hand-basting on the inside, catching small bits of the outer fabric. This took a few Doctor Who episodes.

I then sewed the thing up, stitching bias binding to every seam allowance and hand-stitching them to the underlining. This took another few Doctor Who episodes.

I watched the entire first season whilst hand-stitching in the end. And because that got me in the mood, I made a matching patch:

I just started season 4 and gah, I remember why I love this show so much! Realistich characters with backgrounds and real personalities and just really nice stories (take note, Moffat)... But this is a sewing blog.

I used a black sweater knit to make cuffs and a hem band, and finished it with a metal zipper. The end result does feel nice and sturdy, and it has the fit I liked from the storebought hoodies with the added bonus of cool fabric (and hours of hand-stitching).

Super amazing superhero team, the Scarf and the Chin

These pictures were taken during Lieke's birthday party, by the way. Stephanie, Caroline and I are such professional bloggers, we'd even leave an amazing picknick (with CAKE!) to take pictures. And photobomb each other. And then we jumped into a fountain.

Running for my LIFE
Later that day I joined Lieke to the pool and got to pretend I was a mermaid. We also won a diving competition. Not even kidding!

And of course, thanks again to Caroline for making my handiwork look so pretty!

23 augustus 2015

The Hobbits the Hobbits the Hobbits the Hobbits...

It's no secret that I love themed parties. Love, love, love them. I love coming up with an idea for a costume and then doing the best I can to make it come to life (usually as cheap as possible). One of my friends had been planning a movie party for a long time but I wasn't going to be able to make it at first because of work... Until the schedule changed. I suddenly found myself with an unexpected day off and three days to make a movie-themed costume!

I got an idea really quickly though. I reread the Lord of the Rings trilogy about a month ago (and saw the movies again for good measure) so my head was kind of full of hobbits and elves, and when I came across this classic my mind was made up. Inspired by the genius of Cation Designs I went for a Party Legolas look!

Now, it was going to be a hot Saturday, so I decided to forego total screen accuracy. I found a green top and a jersey skirt and set to work to add some Elvish touches:

The lettering and the brooch took the most time, but in the end everything was done in an evening and a morning. I cut a stencil out of a heavier paper and used silver fabric paint to get the text on the top. This is a super easy way to transform t-shirts, and if your printer can handle the heavier paper you don't even have to do hand-lettering!

The brooch is made out of felt and embroidery thread. I wasn't sure how to do the silver wire bits that go around it at first since it's a bit too fragile to do in felt, but in the end I decided to add a background layer and just embroider on that. The result is clear enough! Both the t-shirt and the brooch will get some wear after this (but maybe not together). I love it when parts of a costume become part of my wardrobe (and it happens more often than you'd think).

I decided to make a bow and arrow on the morning before the party, and challenged myself to only use things I already had because I didn't have time to go to the shops wanted to push my creativity. The bow is entirely non-functional, it's basically rolled up paper wrapped with masking tape and string. I added a coat of acrylic paint in three colours to make it look pretty. The quiver was made from a plastic water bottle wrapped with paper and masking tape and painted again. I used my long double-pointed knitting needles as arrows and gave them masking tape fletchings. I finished the look with an Elvish-inspired hairdo (tiny braids, that's the secret) and some green eyeshadow.

Sadly enough the party was too much fun to bother with outfit shots, so you'll have to imagine what it looked like! We did manage to take some photobooth pictures. If you look closely you can spot one or two other celebrity guests:

30 juli 2015

I'm a bit like the thieving magpie, without all the thieving

I usually try to get new garments photographed and blogged about as soon as possible, since I'll just forget about it otherwise... This was almost one of those. I made this dress in April for another visit to the opera (Don Giovanni!) And only got around to taking decent photos this week. Finding a good spot was proving to be difficult as well:

My reaction to the boyfriend laughing about how small the angle makes me look.
This dress involved a few different techniques! There was sewing (obviously) but also drawing, appliqué and a generous helping of fabric paint. Fun!

The fabric is a red metallic linen I got at Pauli during a blog meet. I scratched my head about what to do with it for a while since it's awesome but also has the potential to look like a Christmas decoration. Not the look I wanted to go for. In the end I decided a giant magpie could help with that.

The pattern is my basic block with a v-neck and a circle skirt. I also lowered the back right to the edge of the skirt, and added a panel in the same fabric as the appliqué (black linen) to keep it bra-friendly. I did lose some weight since April, so now the bodice has gone from very snug to slightly loose. Oh well!

Since the linen is quite drapey I wanted to add some extra poof to the skirt. I was running low on time (opera deadline!) so the finish is less than stellar, but I basically chopped a chunk of the skirt lining off and added a long gathered strip to the hem. Extra fluffy with no added petticoats! The full circle skirt makes for excellent twirling material, but I do have to be careful about flashing my butt. Let's just say a few pretty risqué pictures were taken today.

On to the actual eyecather, the giant magpie! This was relatively easy to do. I laid out my skirt and bodice pattern to get an idea of the scale, sketched the bird I wanted on a big piece of paper and copied it onto the black linen with some tracing paper. Hand-sewing the thing to the dress was the hardest part, with lots of careful pinning to make everything lie nice and flat. I didn't finish the edges at all, since turning them under would disturb the lines a bit too much (and don't even get me started on adding a seam allowance to that) but the slight fraying actually looks really nice!

Here's a closer look at the big bird and all the cat hair all over it. After sewing it in place I used a few different fabric paints to add detail. The most striking parts are just opaque white, applied with a dry brush, but I also added some metallic blue and green for that real magpie look. I wanted to make a real eyecatcher of a dress and think it worked out!

There's more fabric painting in the near future, so I'm going to leave you with my boyfriend doing something he wanted me to do first:

"Lie down on the ground in the fanciest thing I've made in ages? No waaaaay..."