08 december 2017

Exhibitionist Denim Jacket

I bet that title got your attention!

A week or two ago a friend at Kop vzw got in touch about an exhibition they were organizing, and asked me if I wanted to join in. It would be an art show about jean jackets, where different artists create pieces on the back of a jacket. This had my name all over it, the only problem was that the deadline was... A bit tight. Like, I only had two weeks. And of course I was going to make a jacket from scratch, I mean, was there any other option?

I panicked at some sewing friends who all told me to suck it up and just do it. A trip to the fabric store behind the corner got me some 100% cotton non-stretch denim (yay!) and I knew I was going to use the Hampton Jean Jacket since it looked closest to the shape of my own favourite jacket. The only problem was that the denim looked so... New. And a bit too dark. At first I tried to tell myself that I could fix this by distressing whilst sewing, but deep down inside I knew there would have to be an extra step. So this conversation with my mother followed:

"Mom, can I fill your bathtub with bleach?"

"Yeah sure, what are you making?"

I can be a clumsy idiot at times and I have really bad airways, so my denim-bleaching outfit ended up looking like this:


I'm happy to say that I managed to bleach two and a half meters of fabric without completely ruining my clothes, lungs or eyes. It was very much worth it in the end, since it gave the fabric a way more worn-in feel. So how did the jacket turn out?


Well enough, I'd say! I was really impressed by the finishing techniques used in this pattern, it resulted in a very professional look, including some of the cleanest welt pockets I've ever seen on an unlined jacket. (the pocket openings seem weirdly tiny though, I forgot to check them but as you can see I can't really fit my hands inside) I was sewing on a deadline but still tried to take my time to get things right, especially since the jacket will be up for sale. I used sandpaper to distress every seam before topstitching, but decided not to overdo it, since the back of the jacket was going to be the real showstopper. This is also why I chose to go for a matching thread colour for the topstitching.

But what about that backpiece?


I don't know if the linguistic subtleties can translate to a different language, but you might be able to deduce that this says 'Fuck Everything'. To be honest, I was incredibly excited about creating a piece for this exhibition, but I didn't really have an idea about what exactly I was going to do. Until I woke the boyfriend one morning saying "what if I just make all these pretty and happy flowers with felt and embroidery and then just add a banner that says 'fuck everything'?"

"Yes. Do it." was the answer.


This took longer that making the jacket itself. I traced the back on pattern paper for size and sketched my flowers and banner, then decided on a colour scheme. After this I traced the drawing onto the back of the jacket (to have a reference for placement) and cut all individual pieces out of felt. At first I wanted to cut the letters out of felt as well but thought the tiny details would get too messy and inaccurate, so I used a satin stitch to embroider them on. All other felt pieces had details added and were then sewn onto the jacket. I finished by adding the stems of the flowers and breathed a sigh of relief!

If you look closely you can see my blood, sweat and tears.
Seriously, I'm really happy this worked out. It's pretty much exactly what I had imagined, and it's a rare and happy occasion when projects just turn out the way you want them to!

If you want to see this jacket in real life: the exhibition opens on Friday the 15th of December! You can find more information here.

27 november 2017

The Velvet Cat Hair Magnet

Those of you who have been here for a while know that I like me some dungarees. They're like the pants equivalent of a dress, being almost an entire outfit by themselves, which appeals to my lazy side. I have wanted to make a dungaree dress for a while now, since that would solve the only huge problem I have with the pants version: if I'm wearing a hoodie or cardigan as a top layer I have to take all that off before I can go to the bathroom and that's fucking cold. Also: it seemed like it could look cute. Behold!

As for a pattern, I started with the Grainline Moss skirt and added a bib and straps. People have been raving about the Cleo since Tilly released it but while I'm not at all opposed to the occasional potato sack of a dress I thought that one would make me look too much like a giant toddler. I think it's because it's all one straight piece instead of a skirt with a waistband and added bib?


I had made the Moss skirt before when I was just a baby blogger, and always meant to get back to the pattern (but somehow never did). Both of those old skirts are way too big on me now and the green one is long gone, but I salvaged the floral one by shortening it and wearing it lower on my hips. My measurements put me between a 4 and a 6 so I played safe and went with the larger size, and I'm glad I did! It might be because this velvet has no give at all, but this thing shouldn't be smaller than it is.

Eagle-eyed people might notice that I added back pockets: I thought this would make it look more like a denim dungaree dress (in velvet). Less eagle-eyed people might see that I totally messed up the placement of the straps: they were supposed to cross in the back but my brain obviously wasn't working and by the time I noticed the seam had been trimmed and I couldn't be arsed to unpick everything.


I didn't want any topstitching since I don't really like how that looks on velvet, so I hand-hemmed everything and sewed the front and back pockets on by hand. I wore this to a brunch with dear friends so I accessorized with a brooch that says 'leave me alone', as you do. (the brooch is no longer available but you can get the same text on a snazzy hat)

Here's me acting all tough and then posing like a twee fucking sparklecupcake
One thing I had forgotten about this skirt: IT IS SHORT! I thought the pattern pieces looked tiny so I traced the longest length (from the size 18) but even with a tiny bias-faced hem it's still barely decent (and completely undecent on a bicycle. Coat-closed skirt, this one).

Do I have room for another dungaree dress in my life? Surprisingly, maybe not. But another Moss skirt might fit in there.

19 november 2017

Yes Please Show Me That Fleet Of Foxes

Last week I spent a day in Brussels with my friends Nena, Laure, Hélène and Karen. We spent time drinking hot chocolate and eating cake, visiting palaces and drawing. I drew this because I was going to see Fleet Foxes on Saturday:

I swear I can draw things that don't include puddles of blood.

The concert was pretty awesome. A lot of people were shouting requests between songs, and me and my friends started giggling about how it would be funny if someone just shouted a song name that wasn't at all a Fleet Foxes song. So in the next quiet moment I shouted 'Wonderwall!' and they tried their best to oblige:



This is why I love live music.

13 november 2017

Pleasure-Dot-Loathing-Dot-Huey-Dot-Newton

Remember how I designed a logo for Joost and his pet project a while ago?

I have followed this guy's work for a while now but never made any of his patterns before (because I'm a terrible and selfish person who only makes things for me me me). So when he released the beta version of the Huey I clutched my fists in happiness and called out: 'Finally! A pattern I can use, that isn't drafted for men! I mean, there are definitely not enough women's patterns around and even though this is technically not marketed towards female bodies I'm pretty sure it will work!'

See, the idea is that you enter your own measurements and get a pattern drafted for you, which eliminates most problems a woman making a men's hoodie would face (narrowing the shoulders and maybe adding waist definition). I wrestled the measuring tape (just get someone to help you, seriously), spent some time scratching my head (it's a beta version so no instructions) and came up with this:


Now, sewing this was, in theory going to be easy. Except I'd had a few sleep-deprived nights in a row and I just couldn't think of a way to attach the zipper and facing and make everything look clean (without hand-stitching. Hand-stitching knits just feels... Wrong). Joost sent me an explanation and even drew a picture to clarify when my stupid brain still didn't get it. Here's my version of that sketch in case you want to make this and not feel like an idiot:


So! You basically make one long train of the hood, front, opened ribbing, facing and hood lining, only sewing them together for the first five cm to make life easier. The zipper gets sandwiched between that train and the ribbing and hood seams get joined later on. Does that make sense?


The hardest part is making sure the pockets and ribbing line up. I had to insert this zipper four times (mostly due to my own mistakes and wanting to be fast) and found it was easiest to insert one side, close the zipper, mark where the pocket and ribbing seamlines are supposed to be and use those to line up the other side. It's still a tiny bit crooked but I rarely wear my hoodies closed and the fabric was getting tired of being unpicked, so I left it at that.


Speaking about the fabric: this is a super nice cotton sweatshirt fabric with a brushed back, so it's very warm and snuggly. It also has glitter. I bought it at De Stoffenstraat on a spontaneous expedition with Hanne and Stéphanie!

(The top is a modified Renfrew that's a bit too boring to blog about. I heightened the scoop neckline and added a glitter mesh panel. Fancy.)


So how was the whole made-to-measure pattern experience? Pretty smooth. You make a profile and create a model, entering every measurement you can think of. I should probably review these and maybe get some help since there was some weirdness with the shoulders on this pattern that turned out to be a result of my dodgy measuring, but I don't think it really matters that much in this case since, you know, it's a hoodie.


I wear a lot of hoodies, as a jacket, under another jacket to make it warmer or as an extra layer. This is a very welcome addition to my wardrobe, and I think I might make a few more! Maybe even a woven one. Hmmm.

PS: These pictures are a bit dark and blurry because they were taken inside, on a rainy day, by my little brother who isn't a photographer. He is a drummer however, and pretty good at that.

PPS: This is where that title comes from. And, you know, the political activist and stuff. But that's where I got these specific words.

07 november 2017

I'm A Firefighter

(That's a good post title after that last one)

The question was: can I draw fire and a firefighter from memory, without using any reference pictures?


The answer: not really, and maybe?

This was kind of inspired by a Cigarettes After Sex song and drawn in th cafetaria of the Natural History museum in Brussels (of all places). I saw them live tonight and it was really nice! If you want to hear this firefighter song, it starts at 11:23 :

03 november 2017

Is This Burning An Eternal Flame

That title is for my friend Hélène, who took the pictures for this post, and made people run out of a karaokebar with their hands over their ears by singing that song. She's awesome. We took pictures together once before and it got a bit weird, but this time we were on a really quiet street so what could possibly happen...


Oh. Ok.

So after these girls stopped by to help we got on with our real mission: getting nice and clear pictures of my latest sewing project!


Um...

As you can maybe see if you look closely, I've made another Rigel. It is, in fact the fifth time I've made this pattern. Does that mean it's a TNT?  I would change something if I ever make this again (and let's face it, I probably will) and that is to cut a smaller size. I didn't think about it since this is not a fitted garment, but my shape has changed drastically since the first time I made it (three years ago) and I could definitely go down a size or two. It's wearable, but it's on the verge of just plain too large instead of slightly oversized.


FINALLY, DETAIL!

This was one of those rare occasions where I got a fabric with a project in mind and never changed my mind about it, even though it spent about a year in the stash before I got around to it. It's a drapey wool bouclé with some gold brushed over it, making the loops look like soft sequins. I bought it from the Fabric Sales when they had a webshop at some point in time. It was easy to work with and didn't fray as much as I had expected, maybe the gold paint holds the fabric together a bit?


I used black velvet for the pocket welts and plain black cotton ribbing for the cuffs, waistband and neckline. This jacket is also lined in a burgundy acetate lining, using the same method I've always used (sew jacket and lining separately until you're about to install ribbing and zipper, then baste together and treat as one layer). The lining is not just to make the jacket easier to put on, it also gives the loosely-woven bouclé some structure and support. That, and the thought of exposing the massacre that is me doing welt pockets gives me hives. Not having to make those things look pretty takes such a huge amount of stress away!


Here's when Hélène told me to pose like I was thinking about art. I was also showing off the yoghurt I'd spilled down my skirt during lunch earlier. Classy.

Making this was pretty uneventful, apart from accidentally cutting my sleeve lining ten cm too short so I had to do some piecing to fix that. It will be too cold for this jacket soon (boo!) but I do have some fabric left, and it might be just enough to squeeze a short straight skirt out of it. Can I get away with a gold bouclé two-piece?

'You should pretend to be a model'
I highly doubt it, but I'll probably try it anyway.

30 oktober 2017

I'd Like To Try And Read Your Palm


It's Halloween time, so I'm going to brush up on my palmistry skills! I think I got this right.

I'm thinking of making this a postcard. Would you send it to anyone?