14 januari 2017

Which Witch

Another drawing! I have a backlog of sewing projects to photograph, but time (and the weather) are working against me. I guess I'll just keep making stuff and then bombard you guys with posts once I get around to take pictures!

Yesterday I made a quick illustration inspired by a song by Florence + the Machine:

I had the song stuck in my head for a while and came up with the image whilst in the shower (where else). The eventual drawing is barely different from my initial sketch, I only added the striped part of the skirt and made it look like her dress was falling apart in a way. At first I wanted her to be walking on stars but the unravelling seemed more in tune with the song!

I made this drawing in my usual way: make a sketch on printer paper and use white carbon paper to transfer it to the back of the black paper, then cut it out. Doing this means that the only lines on the black paper are the final ones, which makes it easier to cut out accurately. I could sketch directly onto the black paper with white pencil, but the lines would get really unclear if I had to redraw some bits. Does that make sense?

I couldn't really find a clear audio version of this song (it's a bonus track on the latest album) but here's a pretty fun live version of you want to hear it:

04 januari 2017

The Rifle

Happy New Year everyone! I was kind of happy to see 2016 go. It wasn't an especially bad year for me personally but it was a bad one for a few people I care deeply about, and moving on to 2017 feels like some sort of closure. I don't know what 2017 will bring but here's to hoping for nicer things!

I spent one of the first days of the new year working on another song illustration :

This one is for 'the Rifle' by Alela Diane, and it's maybe one of my favourite songs of all time. The lyrics have some very clear imagery going on, but I wanted to be less literal with my interpretation. I tried to picture the idea of a threat coming from the woods by drawing a giant wolf/fox thing sneaking around a tiny house. This was one of the easiest illustrations I've done in a while, as in, the process from idea to final result was super quick, apart from agonizing over the position of one front leg for fifteen minutes and a half-hour nap.

The wolf/fox and house were cut out of black paper and scanned, I then cut out around fifty little trees and photoshopped them in the background (so I had more control over the scale and could create a sense of perspective). At first I had placed the trees closer together so there would be more overlap, but this got too crowded and took away from the monster a bit.

Anyway, that's a whole lot of ranting about the endless dilemmas I face while drawing. I like how this turned out, and here's the song for your listening pleasure:

17 december 2016

Yes, nature. I thoroughly enjoy those tree-things.

Do you guys remember the Colette Hawthorn dress I made a few years ago? I liked it a lot at the time (especially the fabric!) but it never really got that much wear. I gave it some thought and figured out a few things that bothered me:

- The length: I felt it was a bit too long on me and felt frumpy, especially combined with the sleeves and collar.
- The sleeves: I don't like wearing cardigans or hoodies over long sleeves, and I'm usually either too hot to wear longer sleeves or too cold to not wear an extra layer.
- It also got a bit too big, which added to the feelings of frumpiness.

These three things could be fixed. I considered taking the sleeves, taking the sides in and rehemming the dress, since I loved the fabric so much. And then I had a massive brainfart and threw the thing into the washing machine with a red linen dress. ALL PINK.

So I did what any reasonable person would do: throw the dress in a corner, sulk, track down the fabric, buy it again and make a new one.

Ta daa!

This time I went for simple. I tweaked my usual bodice block a bit and added a short gathered skirt, so the Liberty tana lawn would have the opportunity to shine (I still love how this looks like birch bark or marble from a distance. It's actually a print of glaciers and mountains in Iceland).

I made the neckline scoop on my bodice a bit higher and a bit wider, and like how it looks. I eyeballed the whole thing (as usual) and luckily it still covers my bra straps. The bodice has been lined in a white lightweight cotton for a bit of extra structure and optimal comfort.

The back got a slight v-neck, because I like how that looks. I didn't really try to pattern match along the zipper or seam lines (because not enough fabric, again), just made sure the lines of the print sort of continued.

The skirt it two entire fabric widths, gathered into the waist and hemmed with bias tape. It's super fluffy! Maybe a bit too short to be worn without tights but this feels more like a winter dress anyway (maybe it's the print of the snow-covered mountains that makes it feel wintery. Hm)

I had recently adjusted by bodice block and got a really good fit the last time I used it, but this dress still turned out a bit too wide in the waist, so I'm wearing it with the same belt I wore the previous dress with. Mainly because I don't exactly own many belts. And this works really well.

So that's it, favourite fabric, revisited! I'm happy about the outcome. This final picture is me and the boyfriend testing if my breath showed up on camera as well. It was a cold day!

11 december 2016

But everybody's bones are just holy branches

Here's another music-inspired drawing I did! Me and the boyfriend went to see Radical Face in Brussels a few weeks ago. The concert was surprisingly hilarious, but also really really beautiful.

I decided to make a really simple illustration for one of my favourite songs of theirs. It's called Holy Branches and according to Ben Cooper it's about survivor's guilt. I liked the imagery of the song and came up with this:

I made this the way I make most of my simpler handcut paper drawings, by sketching a mirrored image on the back of the paper in white pencil and then cutting everything out. When I make more complex drawings or something with multiple colours I'll make a sketch on a piece of printer paper and transfer it to the different pieces of paper with carbon paper. Whew, lots of paper!

If you want to listen to the song this was inspired by you can check it out here:

(And check their other stuff as well because it's gorgeous)

01 december 2016

No more star jumps for now

Earlier today Hanne and me were driving back into town from a secret mission when we spotted two people in a bit of shrubbery along the road. One was taking pictures of the other, who was crouched between the greenery. Me and Hanne exchanged a look and just said 'Bloggers!'.

I was doing star jumps in a botanical garden just days before.

Me and a few friends visited Grafixx festival in Antwerp last weekend, and I wanted to get some pictures of a dress I made a while ago. It's wool and stretchy and wide and covered in stars:

This is actually a modified version of the Nettie by Closet Case Files, inspired by St├ęphanie. I slashed and spread the front and back pattern pieces to get a swingy shape that was still fitted through the shoulders and lengthened the short sleeves to just above the elbow (finishing them with a band instead of turning and stitching the hem)

My friends Karen and Ed were very helpful. Ed is demonstrating my boyfriend's signature picture-taking stance.

The fabric is an amazing wool jersey I bought at Pauwels stoffen. It's very thin, light and drapey (and not scratchy at all!) but also quite warm! I made the dress and then decided to recreate what I did on this one (now sadly gone from oversized to clownlishly large). I cut some star shaped stencils and spent an evening painting. This caused a major print placement fail which sort of turned into a win:

See that low back? That was supposed to be the front. See that big ass moon there? I painted that on without thinking and it goes right underneath my boob. WOOPS. Thankfully this is not one of those fitted garments with a huge difference between back and front, and I solved the problem by wearing it backwards. I even like it more that way!

There's really not that much more to say about this dress, so I'm just going to post really silly pictures. At one point my friend Karen said 'Hey your dress has stars on it! You should do a star jump!' so this is a picture of me mid-jump, realizing I just kicked into one of the signs in the flowerbeds at the botanical garden:

And here is a more succesful shot, with an enthusiastic audience. The main disadvantage of short, wide dresses in lightweight fabrics is that your underwear is on show when you try this kind of stuff:

... And great fun was had by all.

I really like how the stars look on this dress. I liked the shape and fit but it felt a little plain without them, and the print livens it up a little without being too crazy. I used Setacolor metallic textile paints in silver and gold, and ironed the whole thing for a few minutes to set it. So far it's lasted well!

We had a great time at the zine fest (so many books!) but one of the highlights was being drawn by Benjamin Demeyere with a Mickey Mouse mask on my head:

I think he nailed it.

26 november 2016

Do your bones glow at night?

A lot of the drawings I used to make were inspired by music and songs I liked (see here, here, here or here). There's loads more of that in my teenage sketchbooks! The last few years most of my drawing has been 'functional' in a way, either work for other people or things I intended to sell. I recently got the urge to draw some things just for fun, and went back to one of my favourite subject!

The Veils recently released a new (great) album, and one of the songs immediately resonated, so I made this:
It's entirely hand cut out of black paper (by drawing the mirrored image on the back in white pencil and then cutting all the unnecessary bits away).

Here is the song, for those of you who want to hear it:

I saw them play live at Botanique in Brussels last night, it was a great show and fun was had by everyone, even my slightly sick boyfriend. I got to give the drawing to the band in person afterwards which was awesome!

Would you like to see more of these? If so, I'll keep posting them every once in a while!

13 november 2016

You just watch me jump in my stretchy pants.

I have made a proper pair of jeans!

There have been some forays into sewing pants or sewing with denim in the past, but I had never made a simple, basic pair of jeans before, mostly because I rarely wanted to wear one. However, my single pair of black skinny jeans (an impulse buy from a few years ago when I thought I needed maybe one pair of pants that wasn't paint-splattered) was getting a lot more wear recently, even though it's getting a bit too large. So I decided to give the Ginger jeans a try!

My boyfriend told me to try and look tougher.
According to the chart I am between a size 8 and 10, and decided to go for the size 8 since the denim I was using is pretty stretchy and doesn't have the greatest recovery. (I used it before to make these dungarees). This was intended as a wearable muslin so I didn't make any alterations. They fit pretty well straight out of the envelope, but I'm not sure if I want to be super nitpicky about the fit on a thing like jeans.

Sewing this was quite straightforward, and the instructions were very clear. I decided to go for view A, a low-rise jean with a stovepipe leg. I like my skirts and dresses to hit me at the natural waist but I don't really like how it looks on pants (especially with a contrasting top).

Making these without making a proper muslin first was a bit of a gamble since you can't really try them on until pretty late into the process. There aren't any huge fit issues though, so I could breathe a sigh of relief there. The rise is maybe a bit lower than I expected, but the waist fits snugly which rarely happens with storebought jeans.

I did mess up somewhere along the way, and it was while installing the front fly. I don't really understand how I can install a fly front zip perfectly fine using only Burda instructions and black magic, but manage to do so many things wrong when I have clear instructions and a great tutorial at my disposal. I screwed up the topstitching and had to unpick and start over (the fact that I was using a triple stitch instead of changing my regular thread to topstitching thread every five minutes made this unpicking even more fun) so the fabric looks a bit... chewed up in places. I also feel like the interfacing I used was a bit too lightweight for the tight fit of these jeans, and there's some pulling. I checked my storebought pair (which is a similar fit and made from similar fabric) and it feels like there's some kind of tape along the edge of the fly to keep things stabilized. I decided to not let it bother me enough to not wear these, especially since the majority of tops I'd wear with this hide the issues anyway.

So stretchy!
I also had to shorten the zipper by a considerable amount (the pattern tells you to get a 13 cm zipper and even a 12 cm one was way too long, I think the final zip is more like 10 cm) and of course managed to pull the slider off after assembling everything and attaching the waistband, so I had to do even more zipper surgery to avoid taking EVERYTHING apart or something. It worked.

This was not at all related to the above picture but I'm not going to keep posting close-up pictures of my crotch. Here's one of my butt instead:

I'm pretty pleased with the topstitching on this. The triple stitch stands out nicely and since it's slower than a normal straight stitch it almost forced me to be more accurate. I stuck with the pattern markings for the back pocket placement, mostly because the idea of pinning these onto my butt and stitching them on accurately after the whole thing was assembled gave me a headache.

So yeah, I might be getting back into wearing pants. I have some stretch jeans with a faux-leather coating around that might look snazzy. But for now I'm going to leave you with this:

Boyfriend: 'Do something cool!'
Me: '...'
Boyfriend: 'No, not that.'