24 oktober 2016

The rare Flea Market Leopard has been spotted (haha, get it?)

It's funny how I'm doing loads of things but didn't really have anything to post about. I'm working on a Kelly anorak and another, MASSIVE project, but those are still literally small bits and pieces. I did finish a quick sweater dress in time for a trip to London, and proceeded with the most awkward photo shoot I've ever done.

Yep, that's right, we were at a flea market near Brick Lane and just decided to take pictures there. With lots of PEOPLE around. I felt a tiny bit silly but hey!

The dress is a Linden from Grainline, with 30 cm extra length added. I had done this before but decided to trace a smaller size this time. The previous version was quite large already and I'm swimming in it now. For this one I went with my bust measurement and made sure the bottom part would fit my hips.

The fabric is a sweater knit I got from the shop I work at (in exchange for making something out of it and wearing it at work). I forgot what it's made from but it seems quite synthetic! This is also the first leopard-printed thing I've ever worn. I blame Hanne and the fact that this is sparkly.

I lengthened the pattern by eyeballing how much longer I wanted the dress to be and adding this to the pattern pieces, minus the hem band. Totally legit, guys. Instead of trying to find matching ribbing I just used the wrong side of the fabric for the bands, and think it works really well to break up all the glittery leopard!

I also had an assistant for this photo shoot:

That's right, Roisin from Dolly Clackett happened to be in town that day so we went for pizza and a stroll. It was great to see her again and catch up! We also got a cheesy picture together as definite proof:

We were in London for just two days, to see the Welcome to Night Vale live show at the Palladium (it was AWESOME!). Our friends Ed and Aisling were going to the same show (and Aisling's parents kindly let us stay at their house and made us an amazing breakfast) so we met up on Saturday for huge burgers and fun:

It was a really nice day so we took some time to visit the new Tate and admire the view (and the neighbouring appartments.)

And that was our weekend, basically! Hope yours was just as nice!

05 oktober 2016

Please, just stop it with the shorts already.

After this, no more shorts for a while. Promise!

I found the fabric for this pair of shorts on a trip to a fabric outlet in the suburbs, and it was a really unexpected find. I sometimes go there because they have super cheap light cottons that are still nice quality (good for lining!) and was pleasantly surprised when instead of the usual poly horrors they had loads of other fabric I actually wanted!

I picked up a few pieces, including this roughly woven fabric, and used it to make some more shorts for the summer. The pattern is the same Burda pattern I used for these and my dungarees. Versatility! This time I omitted the pleats and cuffs, added back pockets and changed the front pockets to curved jeans-style pockets.

And this is how they got worn: on the streets of Mérida, feeling slow and overheated, with remnants of a sunburn gotten at Teotihuacan on my back.

My crotch was also eating my shorts. I have to teach the photographer boyfriend to notice things like that.

These are pretty short, but I felt fine in them. I find that there jsut aren't many lengths of shorts that I like, anything longer than the first Burda pair I made just looks super awkward on me. Skirt lengths seem a lot more forgiving! Or is that just me?

Sewing these was pretty uneventful. The pockets are lined with quilting cotton and the waistband is faced with a heavier blue cotton to avoid bulk. I used a bias facing for the hem for the same reason. The fly-front zipper went in without a hitch (still relying solely on Burda instructions, yay) and I used a jeans button and hand-sewn buttonhole (this fabric FRAYS and I wanted buttonhole stitched all around the edges) to finish it!

Here's a close-up picture of my butt so you can see how carefully I matched the pattern on the back pockets. The side seams were equally well matched but then I decided the legs were still too wide (the fabric has no drape so it looked like my legs were wearing individual skirts or something) and fixing that messed with the stripes a bit. Ah well!

That's it for projects photographed in Mexico! Since I got back I've been doing a lot of knitting (and sleeping) but after some major cleaning in my workroom I'd like to get back to sewing because SO MANY IDEAS!

28 september 2016

Oh hi. I'm on a temple. In shorts.

Anyone still here?

We got back from our three-week adventure in Mexico with a backpack full of souvenirs, sand and some awesome new memories. Basically, we travelled from Mexico City to Oaxaca, on to San Cristobal de las Casas, to Palenque, to Mérida, to Chichen Itza and then to Tulum. Then back to Mexico City and home! It was quite a lot to do in three weeks but we never really felt rushed and saw some amazing things (if anyone's interested I can write a post about it, it's just too much to add to this one. WE SAW SEA TURTLES)

Anyway, I'm now going to post the most unflattering pictures I have ever taken for this blog.

Here's the deal: we were staying in San Cristobal and wanted to travel on to Palenque to visit the ruins, then stay there for the night and take a bus to Mérida in the morning. However, the tour we booked (and got up BEFORE 5 IN THE MORNING FOR) never showed. So after waiting for two hours we decided to try and get there by colectivo (a shared taxi). It worked! After a long ride through tiny mountain villages we arrived in Palenque. And it was TROPICAL. So here's me, trying to enjoy temples while being the sweatiest, stickiest mess I've ever been in my life. And wearing Teva sandals.

Thank god for my new pair of short overalls. And a few friends to help me take pictures.

I made a pair of dungaree shorts a while ago, but they were pretty roomy even then and since I got smaller they started to look almost clownish. So when I found a nice blue denim at Pauwels Stoffen (sadly no longer open) I decided it was time for take two.

I started with the Burda shorts I posted about here and changed just about everything. The original pattern was a bit too large so I removed about ten cm from the waist all around. I also removed the pleats in the front and omitted the cuffs. Then I redrafted the pockets to be more of a curved jeans-style pocket, hacked up the waistband so the shorts had splits at the sides instead of a fly front and added a bib and suspender straps. Whew!

This is the closest view you'll ever get (and want) of my sweaty butt. Also: hi, fellow tourist!

One thing I really paid attention to was to angle the point where the straps attach to the back bib thing. I don't know why but every dungaree pattern I've tried so far (two, haha) had the straps going up in a straight line, causing them to look all twisted and weird when I put them over my shoulders (does that make sense?). It works a lot better this way.

The only thing I would change is to make the front bib a bit smaller, I was scared it would be too small so I went overboard and now it gapes a bit. I dont really mind, and added one of my favourite patches ever to the front. It was a nice contrast with how bloody happy we all were to be on our trip!

Next up: even more shorts, also in Mexico, and maybe pictures and stories of what we did if anyone wants to read that!

04 september 2016

I packed all the essentials. Bug spray, sunglasses, my entire library.

Hi everyone! Just a quick note to let you know that I'm leaving for Mexico tomorrow and since we'll be travelling around for three weeks I don't think there will be a lot of blogging going on!

I have packed a few new handmade items and hope to get some nice pictures of those... I won't post them until I get back, but here's a sneak peek:

Dun dun dunnnn!

I also got a snazzy new sketchbook:

I've already started sketching some things for a little project I've had in mind for a while, but I really hope to do some drawing in Mexico as well! Maybe between all the eating and walking and looking at stuff we've planned.

If this works out it's going to be FUN
See you all in three weeks! I'm in good company, and I'm sure it will be awesome as long as the trip doesn't turn out like this.

24 augustus 2016

I feel like a fancy snake.

The third (and so far final) wedding of this year was a pretty massive one! My dear friend Hanne got married, which is awesome already, but six sewing friends got together to make her wedding dress for her, so to say I was stoked is an understatement. I used the opportunity to dive deep into the stash and cut into a piece of fabric I've been hoarding for a long time! Lieke and I took some time between the wedding ceremony and the party to take some pictures, so I wouldn't have to dress up all over again at a later date:

I have had this linen hoarded for years. It's loosely woven from a rather thick yarn, and super drapey. The base fabric is dark blue, but it has gold brushed over it to give it an amazing texture and loads of shine. It doesn't quite show up on camera so you'll have to take my word for it, but it looks really good in motion!

It's wrinkled because it's linen and I sat down to eat cupcakes. Deal with it.

I had a few ideas in mind for the dress and then changed my mind loads of times. I decided to draft my own pattern, starting from my bodice block, and made no less than five (five!) muslins before I settled on a design. It wasn't that hard to get the fit right, I just kept changing my mind about necklines! The low back is about the only thing that remained the same throughout the process. I experimented with cowl necklines (nope) and pleats (ok but boring) before settling on a pieced bodice front and a faux wrap back.

In the end, the bodice was super easy to draft. All it took was some dart rotation and some slicing! I'm posting a sort-of tutorial at the end of this post.

Construction was very straightforward as well. I inserted some boning in the slanted seams to give the drapey linen a bit more structure, and used stay tape on every single diagonal seam to prevent stretching. This step was very needed since thos loosely woven fabric wanted to change shape as soon as it was touched! I did notice some gaping at the back after fully constructing the thing, not sure if this was something I missed in the muslin stage or some stretching (despite my precautions). This was solved by cutting the shoulder seams open (argh!), taking them up a bit and hand-sewing the lining in place again.

The bodice has a waistband (basically a rectangle) to give a bit of stability at the waist, and the entire thing is lined in a black cotton voile. I'm wearing one of those bra band things you wrap around your waist to keep everything hidden, and this worked a treat!

The skirt is unlined (because warm) and it's a very simple flared skirt, but I inserted a godet at the back to add a bit more interest. It doesn't add any volume (the back skirt is just pieced instead of extra volume added) but I like how it reflects the lines of the bodice!

I was bang on schedule with this dress, only needing a hem and some hand-sewing on the lining the evening before the wedding, but then the aforementioned back gaping happened. And when I had fixed that and tried the dress on, the hem was about ten cm longer in the front than in the back. ARGH! So yeah, I spent some time unpicking a bias hem facing and redoing a lot of handsewing, and finished this at half past one in the morning. WOOPS! I managed to stay awake the entire day, danced and ate my butt off and had tons of fun. All the love for sewing friends!

I'm cracking up in the top picture because Joost was way too close to the camera.

And here, as promised, a sort of tutorial for this bodice. It's wayyyy easier to do this with a pattern without seam allowances, and I shortened the mine to account for the waistband before making these changes! You'll also need to know how to rotate a dart.

(click to see a larger version)

15 augustus 2016

"What is it?" "Salt!" "No, that's too salty!"

Looks like I took an involuntary blogging break there! There's an even longer one coming up soon because I'm going to Mexico for three weeks in September! I'm sewing some things to pack though, so expect some... pictures of sturdy and simple easy-to-care-for clothes. Ahem. Photographed in Mexico!

Anyway, today I went to see my mother for Mother's day (which we crazy Antwerp people celebrate in August, suck on that) and dragged my brother away from his studying to take pictures of me on the rooftop garden. Mom, if he fails his exam IT'S MY FAULT OKAY?

I have made the Sewaholic Saltspring ages ago and wore that dress to bits (literally-  one of the straps has come loose and it's patiently waiting for me to feel like doing some mending) so when I got this handprinted cotton at Pauwels I thought it was meant to be! (Pauwels is sadly closing by the way, but EVERYTHING is 40% off so go take a look if you haven't already!)

I still love how cleverly this dress is constructed. The lining is a bit shorter than the outer fabric so you get the blousy effect without the dress moving around too much. I made the shorter version due to Not Enough Fabric (not my own fault for once, it was the end of the bolt) and it's basically a perfect summer dress. Even my mother likes it!

This is what happens when my brother starts directing my poses. I also (finally) got a haircut and new color. There's so much blue now!

I made no modifications at all, except for changing the straps a bit (which I also did on the first version). Instead of having a strap in the front and one in the back and tying them on my shoulders I put two straps on the back and a loop on the front. No bows stuck under backpack straps!

The double straps also give a tiny bit more bra strap coverage. Constructing this dress went really smoothly thanks to the great instructions, but I would have changed one thing if I had thought about it earlier: the lining sometimes peeks out at the back (where the zipper is) because the shell isn't attached all the way. If you sew the dress according to the instructions it's the wrong side of the lining that's on show, which is fine in a solid fabric but looks a bit weird with a print. Something to keep in mind for the next one!

PS: I like to think I'm getting better at coming up with post titles. Here's where this one came from!

26 juli 2016

Very nice. Very basic. Very military - the Boyfriend

Guess what! I'm going to Mexico in September!

We had been thinking about this trip for a while but didn't get around to booking tickets until recently. We are flying to and from Mexico City and have about three weeks time to see things! We're not sure yet about how adventurous our trip is going to be, but we'll be travelling light, so bringing three weeks' worth of dresses isn't an option. I decided I wanted to make some shorts and bring those along with a few tops, a skirt and maybe some very light dresses. I finished some shorts last night so when I went to Ghent to talk business with this guy and go for a swim I took them for a test run!

I also found a jar of hair dye in a cupboard so now I'm bright blue again, yay!
The top is a simple copy of a top I already owned, made in a viscose jersey with a Vermeer painting on it. I like the idea of these paintings-printed-on-fabric but finding a pattern for them really isn't easy! This panel wasn't too massive though, just enough for a long tank. The fit is fine (since it's a copy) but I seem to have been a bit too generous with seam allowances on the armholes, since they're a bit tight. Not tight enough to want to redo them, though!

Here's a better picture of the shorts. I went through my collection of Burda magazines and went for this pattern. Burda patterns tend to fit me really well most of the time but for some reason these turned out a bit big. I went for a size 40 after taking my measurements again to be sure and had to take about 8 cm out of the waist and butt to make them fit, and they're still a bit loose. Taking more out of the center back seam would move the side seams too far back though, so I just call these my eating shorts.

Here's a jumping picture that doesn't really show anything! It just indicated the point in time when there were no more people around and our photoshoot became less stiff.

I used a khaki green linen that had been in my stash FOREVER. I'm not even 100% sure it's linen, it frays and presses like linen but it doesn't seem to wrinkle as much.

My photographer then convinced me to channel my sexy side. Little did she know this is an impossible task. I really tried.

By the way, check my fly-front zip! I challenged myself to only use the instructions provided by Burda to see if I could do it, and it was... Surprisingly easy. No problems, really. I had done a fly front before on my Moss skirts, so I kind of remembered how they worked, and suddenly everything made sense.

These shorts are a really good basic, and I like the length (not so long that they make me look like I'm on a jungle expedition, not so short my ass cheeks are hanging out). I'll probably make a second pair in a textured woven cotton, but remove the front pleat and use jeans-style pockets instead of the slanted ones here. Maybe even back pockets if I have enough fabric!

I'm going to leave you with what might be the most awkward blog picture I have ever taken. This is what you get when your photographer has never done this before and you're both super hyper and hungry:

'We need a picture of the back!' 'YES'