19 juni 2019

A Jumpsuit On A Bandwagon

To be completely honest, I'm not easily tempted by indie patterns these days. A lot of new releases feel like more of the same thing, or just way too simple to spend money on... And then the Zadie jumpsuit exploded all over the internet. I liked the shape and how it seemed to flatter a host of body shapes, so I decided to give it a go!

I got this plain black linen-viscose blend especially for this on a recent trip to Pauli, and it worked really well for the pattern. There's a good combination of drape and body, so you end up with something soft and flowy that doesn't show every lump and bump!

I noticed that a lot of people size down on this pattern, and after checking the finished measurements I decided to do the same. It turned out really well, and I'm happy I did! I think this would overwhelm my frame if it was larger. I took a risk and didn't make a muslin, and when I quickly tried the pants on (before attaching the top) I was a bit worried it would look like a clown suit, but once the bodice and waist ties were on it looked so much better!

For your information, I'm around 1,65 m (with a short upper torso) and the proportions are fine on me. The waist is in the right place and the rise is low enough to keep me mobile (no wedgies!). There is a bit of extra fabric in the back that suggests I might need a sway back adjustment, but I also feel like there is always going to be excess fabric there because these are wide pants being tied together with a belt... Any thoughts? On the other hand, it's not like I can see my butt, so should I let it bother me?

I followed the instructions for the most part, but I did have a little brain fart and put the tie opening on the wrong side. Woops! It doesn't really matter, but the wrap feels a bit counterintuitive. I also attached the neck binding in two steps instead of one and hand-sewed the inside of the binding and all the hems so I wouldn't have any visible stitches on the outside.

I'll end this with an obligatory jumping jumpsuit picture, because I was feeling cheesy.

The verdict: the hype for this pattern feels justified! It came together very quickly (an afternoon and an evening), the instructions are excellent and I'm very happy with the final product. I won't be making the sleeved version anytime soon (this just screams summer to me) but I do have a length of burgundy linen earmarked for a short version...

28 mei 2019

Clothes With Friends

I might have made a jacket for one specific patch. Is that ridiculous? Maybe, but I think it was worth it! Thijs embroidered a bat patch for my birthday, and I didn't really have a jacket to put it on. Things clicked when I found a heavy dark green denim at Pauli, and I decided to make the Hampton Jean Jacket again, but for myself!

I had made this jacket once before for an art show, but never really wore it. It was made as an art piece so I don't really consider it clothing, if that makes sense? Also, it's not really my colour. (Should I put it up for sale? Let me know if you're interested)

I did like the fit of that first version, so didn't make any changes to the pattern, apart from enlarging the front pockets. The ones on the original pattern are only just big enough to fit my hands into, and I felt like I needed more room for them to be useful. Giant hands strike again!

I really like how this pattern comes together. The instructions are very clear, especially with the sewalong to help you through the trickier bits! I used a triple stitch instead of topstitching thread for the topstitching, and almost ran out of thread. There is a LOT of topstitching in there, so make sure you're well-stocked if you plan on making this.

This denim is 100% cotton and quite thick, so some of the bulkier parts were a bit of a struggle. I managed to get through this project without breaking a single needle though! The standard presser foot on my machine has a really handy button that keeps it level when you start on a bulky seam, which was really helpful as well. I find sewing denim to be really satisfying, because the fabric itself isn't that hard to handle (no shifting!) it's just a bit bulky and heavy. 

Apart from the bat I got for my birthday (thanks again Thijs!) I also added a few patches I'd collected on our roadtrip through the US last September. They had been lying around for a while and all kind of magically went with this jacket. I put this whole thing together over the span of a few days, and finished it in time to take to the Paris Sewcial! 

I had a really really fun weekend in Paris. There wasn't that much fabric shopping for me (apart from something at Malhia Kent I just couldn't let get away) but I met up with Brecht one evening and he very kindly gifted me some pieces of fabric he's once designed for a clothing label. One of them was this poly charmeuse type stuff, and it was just big enough for an Ogden cami!

I've made the Ogden more times than I can count. It's a perfect stashbuster: if I cut the lining parts out of another fabric it only takes around 60 cm. I tried to use some nicer seam finishes on this since the fabric tends to fray a bit: the side seams are french seamed and I tried my best to do a decent narrow hem.

The real star of this top is obviously the print! I love Brecht's work, and I'm thrilled to have it in my wardrobe now. The other piece of fabric is a beautiful jacquard. There's quite a lot of it, so I'll have to do some careful thinking about what to use it for!

16 mei 2019

Birthday Bee

I usually don't have many occasions to wear or sew fancy dresses in my day-to-day life, so when an occasion arises I just go all out! One of those occasions is my birthday. I tend to keep my parties very quiet and low key (people I like gather at my house and we eat all day) so I'm usually ridiculously overdressed, but hey, my party! This year was the year I turned 30, so I went all out and grabbed some embroidered tulle that had been in my stash for a while!

I loved the Deer & Doe Magnolia dress the moment it was released, and thought it would be a perfect candidate for this dress! I loved the deep neckline but decided to go with the higher one just to stay bra-friendly. This has been a good idea because even the 'higher' neckline is pretty deep!

I have to be honest and admit that I didn't really look at the instructions for this one. I've made enough dresses by now to figure out my own preferred way of construction, and I was going to do the skirt differently anyway! I wanted a plain underskirt with at least one tulle overskirt, and it took a little bit of thinking to figure out how to construct all this and install the zipper.

The bodice is made from a very light black viscose. I lined the front and back but kept the sleeves unlined for floatiness. The fit is pretty good (which is often the case for me with Deer & Doe patterns) but the princess seam could use some tweaking. There is a bit of bubbling at the top, so I'll have to take a look at that if I made this again!

The skirt has three layers: a base layer made from plain black cotton lining, a second layer of plain black tulle for volume and an overskirt of embroidered tulle. I used the skirt pattern pieces for the lining and black tulle layer, but didn't have enough embroidered tulle to do that, so just gathered the entire width of the fabric. It's not as voluminous as I would have liked, but that's entirely my own fault (for not getting enough fabric, AGAIN). I had a good long think about the zipper situation because I wanted all three layers to be separate and only be attached at the waist. In the end I basted them together and folded the seam allowances of the tulle layers back at the seam, so the zipper would only go through the top of the dress and the lining. Does that make sense?

Because of how soft this fabric is the dress tends to relax and stretch a bit, so the waist ties help a bit to cinch it in. I was surprisingly comfortable for how much I ate during the day, although I did switch to a skirt with an elastic waist and a t-shirt later (but mostly so I could sit on the floor with my friends).

Would I make this dress again? Maybe, but in a different fabric, so it's a bit more 'daily wear'. I did enjoy floating around with all my (bee) friends all day!

22 april 2019


A good long while ago, Hanne and Astrid hosted a sale where they sold some of their old stock of materials, costumes and clothes. One of the items was a vintage maxi dress, all black floral chiffon and viscose that looked pretty awesome, but also a bit small. Hanne convinced me to try it on anyway, and it magically fit like it was made for me! I took it home and there it waited for warmer days. I then wore it once, washed it on a cold delicate cycle and discovered the chiffon layer had shrunk in super weird ways, making the dress unwearable.


I sulked for a while and then unpicked the entire thing to make a pattern out of the lining. After a quick muslin to check the fit I cut into some precious viscose from my stash and made this regeneration happen:

It's not a super complicated dress, but it has some interesting details! Which are very hard to spot in this dark and busy print. My bad! The front bodice has a sort of pointy yoke with gathered cups attached to it, the back has a v-neck. All neck and underarm edges are finished with bias tape that extends into ribbons to form shoulder straps and tie into a bow, but there is a separate shoulder strap underneath (which prevents wardrobe malfunctions if the bows become untied!).

The hardest part was figuring out the order of construction! I didn't write anything down (obviously) but did manage to find a way to get a clean finish on the inside. The bodice is lined in a cotton voile to give the viscose some extra structure and stability. I thought about lining the skirt since that would allow for a cleaner waist seam finish but decided I'd be happier if this was as light and airy as possible.

I used this project as a way to get more familiar with my new sewing machine, by trying out some of the different feet that came with it. I fell in love with the edgestitching foot! I don't really have a problem getting straight topstitching on sturdier fabrics (like jeans) but find it a bit of a challenge on light or fiddly stuff, and this foot really helped. I used it to topstitch the bias binding on the bodice and it looks so neat. I also tried the rolled hem foot on the (haha) hem, but that was less of a success. I probably just need more practice but found it a bit challenging to get a neat result: in some places it worked perfectly but sometimes it wouldn't properly catch the fabric or only fold it once. In the end I folded the cole thing over once again and stitched it down, since the fabric is fine enough to get away with that without things getting bulky.

Another thing I'll need to spend some more time on is my invisible zipper installation. I need to figure out the best needle position to hit that sweet spot of stitching close enough to the zipper teeth so it's invisible, but not so close that it interferes with the zipper! This one works (thankfully) but it's not going as smoothly as it should and I'm praying it doesn't break.

I'm really glad that I got to save this dress in a way! The original might be gone, but I think I like this one even more...

10 april 2019

The Lady, The Hare And The Hawk

More drawing!

A while ago my friend Dennis told me about a group exhibition he was putting together. The theme was 'Coupe' (cut) and of course, my papercutting work would fit right in... I had plenty of time but ended up doing most of the work at the last minute, as usual!

The hardest part was that almost everything I make is cut out, so anything would fit the theme, really. I toyed with a few different ideas about surgeries and anatomical illustrations, but in the end I went back to things I like: animals, ladies and skulls.

These are among the largest papercut pieces I've ever made! They are around 70 by 50 cm, which allowed me to get in a lot of detail, but also made things a bit more unwieldy to work with. If I make pieces like this (where the original is presented and not an edited scan or print) I'll draw a mirrored version of the image on the back of the paper to use as a guide for cutting. This also makes things a bit more complex at times, especially with text! (If something has to be edited anyway I don't bother with this, just draw it the way I want it and mirror everything in photoshop)

The opening of the show is on April 11th at E²/Sterput in Brussels! I'll be there in the evening, so come say hello if you're around. There's a lot of cool stuff being made by others as well, and I'm looking forward to seeing it! You can find some more information here.

01 april 2019

This Is Where I Draw The Line

I've been drawing a lot lately. If you already follow me on Instagram you might have seen some of these pop up. I'm working on a big project that I'm very excited about (you can still send me stories! I'm working on very rough storyboards so it will be a while before I can actually show anything interesting, but stuff is being done!). But there are some other things I've been doing/working on that got me inspired! One of them is the weekly Zine Club at Muntpunt in Brussels, where my friend Gabri (and guests) shares his wisdom. Every workshop has a theme but it feels very free and low pressure, and allows me to just make stuff for fun. A few weeks ago me and Hélène collaborated on a zine about an Emily Dickinson poem, and we were surprised by how much we liked the result!

Tomorrow is the last workshop, but I hope we can keep this vibe going somehow. It's very inspiring!

Hélène and I did recently discover that we seem to work well together, and had an idea for a series of drawings about disappointing mythical creatures. This is another low pressure thing to work on when we have the time, and it makes me laugh. Here are the two I've made so far, the first one is a mermaid, but both her halves are fish. The second one is a unicorn with two horns. There's a vampire who just feels more comfortable in his bat form in the pipeline.

I've also done some more serious work when Thijs invited me to come draw for one of the Relaas podcast evenings. It's a monthly event where people come tell a story about something that happened to them, and illustrators make illustrations to go with these stories. I love this kind of stuff, and had some fun making these! One story was about a girl who got hot tea spilled on her legs at a bar and suffered some serious burns, the other was about an improvised arm wrestling championship in Kyrgystan.

Right now I'm working on a few larger pieces for a group exhibition I'm in, keep an eye out for those!

17 maart 2019

Intergalactic Mechanic

I've seen boiler suits pop up all over the place recently, and thought that was a trend I could get behind! I don't think I've ever made a jumpsuit before (dungarees don't really count) apart from a romper that has long been gone because of being too big. I liked the idea of all the possible details on a boiler suit, and went looking through my stash of Burda magazines (I try to look at those first before falling for a shiny new pattern since I feel like I don't sew from them often enough... The problem is that it takes a while to leaf through all of them before I - maybe - find what I'm looking for). Burda didn't disappoint, and I found a pattern in the February 2016 issue that ticked all the boxes: sleeves with little tabs to soll them up, shoulder tab things, a collar, lots of buttons, a fitted waistband (for some shape) and pockets. I made a muslin and then dove into my fabric, which resulted in this:

Burda patterns tend to fit me really well, although the back tends to be a little too wide for me. I chose a size based on my waist and hip measurement since there seemed to be enough ease around the bust, and the muslin fit almost perfectly! There was just a little excess fabric in the back of the shirt part, and I fixed that by removing some of it and making the back pleat a little less deep.

My fabric is a plain black linen/viscose, but you might have noticed that I added a few details. I've done almost the exact same thing to two other garments before, but none of those get worn that often anymore (the first one had become way too big, the second one indecently short after a washing incident... I should hem that and make it into a top). I cut out my pattern pieces and then used stencils and some fabric paint to add the stars. This seemed like a good way to not end up with stars in awkward places! After constructing I added more smaller dots to tie everything together, and make a sort of Milky Way across the body.

Sewing this was a lot of fun! I enjoy patterns with lots of small details, and this had loads of that and some topstitching to keep me busy. Burda instructions are notorious for assuming you know everything already and don't need any actual explanations, but this was pretty smooth sailing (maybe because none of the techniques were that new, I've made both shirts and pants before... The only step that had me stumped were the sleeve plackets, and I think there might even be a few mistakes in there, actually. I read that part ten times, still couldn't make sense of it, looked up a few tutorials and figured it out on my own. Boom.

I didn't really change anything about the pattern, apart from leaving off the waist ties (I thought it would look too busy and I didn't have enough fabric anyway) and slightly tapering the leg instead of adding an elastic cuff. I think I could have done a bit more tapering since the hem is still pretty wide, but it looks fine rolled up.

This was also the day I discovered the edgestitching foot that came with my machine, and OMG. My old machine had a similar foot but it was less sturdy and not as neat, so I usually didn't bother. But this thing makes topstitching both fast AND accurate, and it has resulted in what might be my best cuffs ever. On a garment I'll usually wear with the sleeves rolled up.

I wore this for a day in Charleroi, at the Papier Carbone festival. Was it way too cold for a linen jumpsuit? Admittedly, yes. Did I wear leggings and my warmest undershirt hidden underneath all this? You bet. I loved wearing this and even got a big thumbs up from a girl working there who asked me if I'd made it myself.

I'm not sure if there is room for another boiler suit in my wardrobe, but this one can stay.