13 maart 2017

Cuz Ur a Sky Full of Starz

I was wondering about my style recently. I have definitely branched out from wearing mostly fit-and-flare silhouettes over the past few years, but I did notice that I wasn't even wearing those fitted bodices with full skirts that often anymore. And then it dawned on me that most of the older clothes I have in my wardrobe are a bit too big now, which means that the silhouette is kind of lost and they feel frumpy. I had a massive clearout a few weeks ago, getting rid of things that no longer fit my body or my style, and kept a few things I'd like to rework some day to get them wearable again. In the meantime I started on a few new dresses in that old beloved silhouette, and here's one of them!

The fabric for this dress was thoughtfully bought by my boyfriend as a Christmas gift, after I sent him a link and how much yardage I wanted. It's a cotton sateen with stars and moons printed in silver, in a kind of random pattern. I know I'm basically a parody of myself by now, but I love a good star print!

The fabric looks fine in real life, but super wrinkly in photos. Or maybe I should just get over myself and iron this one. I used my bodice block (again!) with a slightly raised and widened neckline and a shallow v-neck in the back. The skirt if a full circle skirt, which I seem to prefer over gathered skirts at the moment (although I'll always love me some poofiness). I also added two ties to the side seam to I could tie a bow in the front or back, and maybe cinch the dress a bit more if necessary. I thought this fabric would look better with a bow than with a belt!

I do feel it's time for me to take a long hard look at my block. I lost quite a bit of weight the past few years (intentionally, so don't worry) and I've been adjusting it on the go, mostly just by taking in the side seams. My shape has changed quite a bit though, so I'll have to make a proper muslin sometime and make some serious adjustments!

I like how this dress turned out though, even if there's some weirdness around the bust and waist. It's one of those things I wear on regular days when I feel like wearing something a bit more 'special', especially with my silver David Bowie party shoes. I wore it on a trip to the zoo this time, where we spotted a meerkat who was having some kind of revelation:

And for those of you wondering about the title: I had this stupid Coldplay song stuck in my head (for obvious reasons). Good thing it was this version:

23 februari 2017

The Year of the Tiger (Butt)

I bought a really cool patch a while ago, and thought it would be perfect for the back pocket of a pair of black jeans.

'Better make some jeans then!'

So I did.

These are the Morgan Boyfriend jeans by Closet Case Patterns, made in a black/dark grey non-stretch denim I bought ages ago. I also really like them!

These have a more relaxed fit than what I'm used to (the very few pairs of jeans I own or made are stretchy and fitted) and I'm not sure if they are actually flattering on me, but they are ridiculously comfortable and I feel good in them. Isn't that the most important thing? I made a straight size 10 after looking at the size chart and sizing recommendations, but I might size down a bit the next time. Maybe it's this specific denim but it seems to relax a lot during wear, so the jeans go from 'slightly slouchy' to 'quite baggy, actually' after a while. Again, it doesn't really bother me, but I'll keep it in mind for the next time!

Sewing these was surprisingly fast. I cut these out on a Monday evening and then finished them in two afternoons or so. I went with a triple stitch for topstitching, just like I did on my previous jeans adventure. The stitching itself is a bit slower, but it saves so much time not having to change threads all the time! I also think the slowness might help a bit with accuracy. These jeans close with a button fly, and even though I was a bit worried about it looking bulky I decided to try it (couldn't be arsed to think about zippers for a while). It looks fine but took some getting used to!

I like the overall fit. There is some excess fabric in the crotch so I might make a small adjustment if I make this pattern again, but chances are I'll forget all about it anyway. I'm wearing this with a t-shirt I made that says 'I have nothing to do with this'. My boss just sighed and said 'you do what you want'when I wore it to work.

Butt view! With a look at the patch that started it all! It's made by Kim Bollaert and if you want one for yourself (or one of the other patches she's made) you can find it here! I have no problems with the fit in the back. It's roomy enough to sit down in but not so baggy it makes me look shapeless.

My brother took pictures for this blog post and we tried a jumping picture. I fell flat on my face. This is about 0.01 seconds before impact, but of course he stopped taking pictures as soon as I hit the ground, so no evidence of that, sadly enough! You can see I'm getting an idea of what's about to happen at this point in the jump.

And finally, here's a clearer picture of the patch (excuse the wrinkles). I like how he looks very 'meh' about... Everything.

14 februari 2017

My Sister's Tiny Hands

Here's yet another song illustration! I promise I do draw other things from time to time. And this time it's not one drawing, but seven!

I had been listening to the Handsome Family a lot lately, and found the imagery in the song 'My Sister's Tiny Hands' very inspiring. The lyrics tell a very clear story, so I decided to tell that in a series of illustrations!

We came in this world together
Legs wrapped around each other
My cheek against my sister's
We were born like tangled vine

We lived along the river
Where the black clouds never lingered
The sunlight spread like honey
Through my sister's tiny hands

But while picking sour apples
In the wild waving grasses
Sister stumbled in the briar
And was bitten by a snake

Every creature casts a shadow
Under the sun's golden fingers
But when the sun sinks past the waving grass
Some shadows are dragged along

Alone, I took to drinking
Bottles of cheap whiskey
And staggering through the back woods
Killing snakes with a sharpened stick

But still I heard her laughing
In those wild waving grasses
Still her tiny hands went splashing
At the river's sparkling shore

So I took my rusty gas can
And an old iron shovel
I set the woods to burning
And choked the river up with stones

This is something I've been working on from time to time since our trip to Mexico (!!). I spent ages sketching, made four drawings in one day, waited for a few weeks, made two more and finally finished the last one last night. These are a bit more complex than the other song illustrations I posted. Every piece is still hand cut, but the different layers of colour were glued to separate pages and put together in Photoshop. This gives the effect of layers of colour instead of pieces of paper glued on top of each other! I also desaturated some of the colours to get a more muted effect.

I'm going to see this band live tomorrow night and I'm really excited about that! Here's the song if you want to give it a listen:

06 februari 2017

No I shan't! It's Christmas!

... Yeah, I know it's not. But I made this dress for a Christmas party with my family and only got around to taking pictures this weekend. So can we just pretend it's December again for a very short while?

The pattern is the Leotie midi dress by Named, with a few modifications. I had made this dress once before (unblogged) without making a muslin first and remembered being a bit confused about the darts and ease in the waist. The line drawings show darts in the front and a plain back, but the pattern instructions say to stitch the darts in the front and the back. There were no back darts on the pattern pieces so I didn't put any in, but my first version ended up so roomy around the waist it made me wonder! I e-mailed the ladies at Named to ask about this and they told me it was a mistake on their part- the pattern had back darts at some point in its development and they forgot to take that step out of the instructions. They also told me that the dress is supposed to be semi-fitted at the waist.

I prefer my 'fitted bodice, flared skirt' dresses to be fitted though (otherwise I feel it makes me look super boxy) so I took some room out of the side seams. I also remembered to shave down the shoulders by a few cm, as they are very square on the original pattern. I'm talking linebacker here!

I also added a circle skirt instead of the gathered skirt included in the pattern. The main fabric is an amazing green wool-viscose mix with gold sparkles that is being treated very unfairly by the camera, it's gorgeous in person! I got it on my trip to Mood with Ginger Makes and Oonaballoona the last time I was in New York, and it took me over a year to muster up the courage to cut into it. The fabric is pretty roughly woven, a bit like a finy bouclé, so gathers would get super bulky. Thanks to the contrast yoke and sleeves I managed to squeeze this dress out of 1,5 yards! Also: twirly!

My very favourite feature is the back. I like the lines of the yoke in the front, but I love how they flow on the back, with that deep v that is just high enough to not show any bra stuff. I'm also pretty proud of how well the zipper matches!

Sewing this was a breeze. I have made two other Named patterns before and in my experience they're really well drafted and executed. I was told the mistake would be removed from the pattern instructions, so that should definitely be solved!

31 januari 2017

Got a Curse I Cannot Lift

So, I've been knitting a lot lately. I made my father some socks for Christmas, there's an oversized cardigan in the works, I have plans for more socks, hats and sweaters and I finished a scarf!

This yarn was one of those purchases that got the 'you bought something that matches your hair again' comment from the boyfriend, and he wasn't wrong at the time (I've gone a bit greener since then). It's Malabrigo Rios yarn in Teal Feather (I think) and it was amazing to knit with. It's 100% merino wool, so super soft as well. I think my face in the above picture says enough. I have used the worsted version of this yarn in the same colourway to make a hat before, so now I have a (somewhat) matching set!

But what about the pattern? What if I said this scarf was vaguely based on a scarf worn by Remus Lupin for like, one scene in Prisoner of Azkaban? I can't even find a decent picture of the original. Someone had written a pattern for a scarf like this but I can't deal with written cables and just trying to read this gave me a headache. In the end I simplified the pattern to the max, used Stitch Fiddle to make a chart and went to town.

The pattern is not that complicated and was easily memorized. It's basically two cabled rows (mirrored) on either side and a honeycomb panel in the middle. I worked on and off on this for a few months, but all in all it was done surprisingly quickly. I definitely got faster as a knitter! I had four skeins of this yarn, and used almost all of it, so this is a long scarf!

This scarf has been keeping me warm and toasty the past few cold days, and my friend Charlotte seems to approve as well!

Do you want to make your own vaguely Lupin-inspired scarf? Here's my pattern:

(Click to enlarge)

PS: Curious about the title? It's from this werewolf song.

26 januari 2017

Floral Skirts and No Dog Poop in Sight!

That title will be clear at the end of the post, I swear.

As promised: a sewing project! I have a few more waiting to be photographed and stuff, here's to hoping that gets done soon. This is one of those relatively quick things you make between more elaborate stuff, which then get worn to death:

I made this circle skirt right before Christmas and it's become my go-to thing for those 'maybe slightly dressy but not too excessive' occasions. Or just for when I want to feel twirly and draped in lots of fabric.

The fabric is a printed Scuba I got at Pauwels stoffen right before they closed (sob). I had never worked with this stuff before and was a bit lost at first about what to do with it. It's bulky and doesn't really hold a crease, so something simple would work best. In the end I just went for a full circle skirt. Almost boring!

But it's so full and swishy! Sewing the fabric was very straightforward, I just had to make sure to topstitch every seam to make things lie flat. This is one of those skirts you can leave balled up on a chair for a week and then just walk out of the door with it. Not that I would ever do that. Ahem.

I also added a golden exposed zipper to the back, because I could. It also felt 'right' to break up the flowery print with something a bit tougher. I'm slowly getting better at these exposed zips.

The hem is finished with a bias facing (which is my preferred hemming method) but topstitched instead of handstitched down. This seemed logical, since I topstitched the hell out of the rest of this thing.

Bonus picture: my mother cleaning the dog poop off the rooftop before we took pictures. Blogging, so glamorous.

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: