18 oktober 2017

It's My Lifelong Ambition To Become A Cryptid Zookeeper

... I already have the uniform.

In all seriousness, I can't help but think this jacket would be perfect for a zookeeper who spends his or her life taking care of elusive creatures. Or is that just me?

I saw this jacket in one of the latest issues of Knipmode and decided to give them another chance. Usually their styles are way too basic for my taste, or they just don't look like something I'd wear. And even if I did want to wear them, the patterns seem to run so large it's ridiculous. They are drafted for someone who is almost 10 cm taller than me, but there just seems to be way too much ease all the way round. For this pattern I cut a size 36, which has a chest circumference that is about 6 cm smaller than my own, because the waist and hip sizes matched mine more closely and I figured I'd never wear this closed anyway. I can button this. No straining. Over a sweater.

Sizing issues aside: well done Knipmode! This is a military-inspired safari style jacket thing but it's a bit more streamlined, with  front and back darts for shaping. I cut this out of a 2 meter wool remnant (from Pauwels I think) and it was a surprisingly quick project, if not for my machine giving up halfway through. It's gone to the magical repair place now and Joost graciously helped me out by allowing me to use one of his machines until I get mine back. Thanks again Joost!

Not all heroes wear capes.
This is the kind of project I like: lots of small details, precision, natural fibers and not too fiddly. I skimmed the instructions to see if there were any surprised but construction was very straightforward. I didn't make a muslin so the fit isn't perfect (there's some wrinkling around the shoulders that could probably be fixed) but it's definitely wearable.

Of course this jacket wouldn't be 'me' without any additions. I had bought this patch a while ago and it was waiting for the perfect project. I like how the yellow contrasts with the burgundy wool! But the real surprise is on the back:

Yeah, that's a big ass felt snake on the back of my brand new jacket. I spent two days cutting, embroidering and hand-sewing this on but it was worth all the trouble. Do you want a close up? OF COURSE YOU DO

I love working with felt, but it has to be the real thing... And it's getting hard to find. I order mine online now but the colours are always a bit of a gamble. If anyone knows a good source for wool felt in lots of colours somewhere around Antwerp, let me know!

I don't think I'll be making this again anytime soon, since my closet only needs so many cryptid zookeeper jackets. But I'm sure this will get tons of wear when I'm out feeding my hellhounds.

13 oktober 2017

La La La La La La La La La Lee

I'm going to see Nick Cave tonight, so I made a drawing.

I can't imagine a better way to spend an evening on Friday the 13th.

08 oktober 2017

The Bog Witch Has Dressed Up For The Occasion

Guess who decided to emerge from her swamp!

I spent two weeks in Toronto and Montreal, Mostly eating and wandering around. For once I hadn't sewn anything new to wear on this trip (we were wayyy overdressed as well, since the temperatures were way higher than what was predicted while I was packing clothes!) so no outfit pictures from Canada! Instead I made something really fancy when I got back. Here:

Yeah, I told him to zoom in a bit after this. Architecture is all fine and dandy but IT'S ALL ABOUT THE DRESS HERE.

That's better!

Right after my vacation ended the store I work at had a celebration weekend because it has existed for 125 years, and we were supposed to dress up nice for the occasion. The conversation with my boss kind of went like this:

'Can I just go all out?'
'Yeah, sure!'
'But I mean, go alll the way with sequins and stuff?'
'Go ahead!'


Now, in fairness, I didn't make this dress just for that occasion. We have a wedding to go to later this month and I wanted to make this for that occasion, so for once I'm super prepared and won't be sewing at two in the morning the night before!

Here's a peek at the DRAMATIC BACK DETAIL
I got this sequin fabric at Stoff & Stil when I was in Berlin a few months ago. I bought a bit of it because it looked so great, but I had no real idea for it, except that a part of me wanted to combine the gold sparkly leaves with black velvet. Yep.

My first idea was a bustier dress with a full skirt and maybe some panels of sequins in the bustier, but I feared it would look a bit dated... Or like a 1980s ice skater or something. After some pondering I decided on a black velvet bodice with cut-on short sleeves, a deep v in the back and a waistband between the bodice and the sequin circle skirt (of course it had to be a circle skirt. I wanted fullness but pleating sequins seemed like a terrible idea). I started messing with my bodice block, made a muslin and declared it good to go!

Looking really pissed off because cold.
Sewing this was pretty uneventful. I had worked with velvet before so I knew to hand baste everything twice and use tons of pins, and that made everything go pretty smoothly! I was a bit worried about the sequins because I definitely didn't have the time to remove thousands of sequins from the stitching lines... These are pretty small though, so a sharp needle went right through it. Phew.

I underlined the sequins with a black cotton voile because the mesh they were on was quite see-through, and lined the skirt with a slippery acetate lining so the skirt wouldn't stick to my legs. The bodice is lined in cotton because that's way more comfortable. The skirt is hemmed with a bias tape facing. The hem is a little puffy because sequins don't like to be pressed, but at least it doesn't look like shit!

It's also super twirly because CIRCLE SKIRT! I was a bit worried about the fit on the bodice for a while, and while it is not the easiest dress to get in and out of (side zippers yo) the fit is surprisingly good considering my hasty pattern drafting and testing! It will definitely get another outing at the wedding I'm going to, well-rested for once!

07 september 2017

Who Needs Armholes Anyway

This project has been a long time in the making. The shop I work at got this really fancy yarn, an alpaca/merino blend that was just the right amount of slightly fluffy and kind of had me drooling. I eyeballed it for a year or so and then it went on sale! Combined with my employee discount this made the whole thing way more affordable, so instead of my usual buy-just-enough-to-make-a-hat-tactic I splurged and got enough for a shawl. I had this one in mind, in black and white. Super stoked, I looked up how to do intarsia and got started right away!

I hated how it looked. The wrong side of the shawl shows so it has to be super tidy, and even though it didn't look awful I knew I was never going to like it. Frog, sulk and think.

I then decided a scarf or shawl wasn't the way to go. I got moar yarn and decided on a sweater. A black sweater with a ribcage on the front. Because what goes better with fancy yarn than pictures of bones?


Finding this (free!) skeleton chart wasn't the end of the saga though. The chart itself was really low quality, so I copied it in Stitch Fiddle to get a larger version (I'll post it at the bottom but beware, there's a mistake somewhere in the ribs so it's not entirely symmetrical and I can't be bothered to fix it). Chart problem solved, I found out that I did not like the pattern that came with the chart (by which I mean I didn't understand it very well) so I looked for a pattern for a super basic sweater and used that instead. This bit about using two different patterns and files is going to be important later on.

I got started, and quickly decided to carry my yarn along at the back to avoid having to weave in ten million ends later. This made the skeleton pucker a bit because my tension wasn't always awesome but I don't care because I didn't have to weave in ten million ends. After a while I got worried the sweater was going to be too small. When holding it in front of me it looked like it was going to be really fitted, which would look... Strange. So I started over and chose a size large.

From then on, it was smooth sailing. I worked on this every once in a while for a couple of months, and it was fun to see the skeleton grow. I finished the last rows of the chart and proudly held my work up in front of me. The following ensued:

'This is great. This might be the coolest thing I've ever made.'

'I forgot to make armholes.'

Yep, because I was so focused on the chart I completely forgot there was another file with an actual pattern I had to follow. BUMMER. At this point there were three options: rip everything back to the point where the armholes should have started (urgghh), keep it the way it was and modify the sleeve pattern so it would be a dropped shoulder (so trendy) or cry.

I chose the second option and knit the back the same way as the front, meaning I had two rectangles with a neckhole. This also meant I had to eliminate the sleeve cap shaping (what a shame) and kind of guess how long the sleeves had to be (I got a bit too cautious, thinking too long would be better than too short, and they cover my hands now. They are also super wide so I can easily get super muscular now. YAY!).

After finishing all the separate pieces I blocked them, and realised things were looking... Big. I either overestimated my own size or everything grew during the blocking process, but this definitely went from 'slouchy' to 'I can smuggle an entire candy store into the movie theatre'.

But you know what? I love it. It's warm and soft and cuddly and just the right amount of fluffy, and I'm going to be the spookiest skeleton all winter.

PS: If you're wondering why I'm standing in this weird room with all the smoke and lipstick and stuff... I was helping Hanne with something for her next lingerie collection. It's going to be awesome, so you should all keep an eye on what she's up to! I mean, SMOKE MACHINE!

PPS: My version of the skeleton chart, for those who also want to be a spooky skeleton:

01 september 2017

I Made Stuff You Can Own!

Remember how I participated in 24-hour comics day and made an alphabet of death in 24 hours?

Yeah, it's still a bit of a blur here as well.

I can happily announce that I published the entire alphabet as a zine!

These are printed in black and white on recycled paper, and have some fancier coloured paper as a cover. I'll give you a peek of the inside as well:

The best thing is that you can own this! Did you always want to teach your child the alphabet and traumatize them for life? Or do you just want this for any reason you can think of? It's yours for 8 euros + shipping. Send an e-mail to caramin.anneke@gmail.com and we'll work something out!

I also have a new illustration available as a print. This is part of a series I've been working on for AGES and it's finally coming together!

Your own bad hair days are nothing compared to hers, believe me. This is a print of an original illustration I hand cut out of black paper.

This is an A3 print on 200 gsm paper, and it's 10 euros + shipping!

I have some more ideas for prints, postcards and zines, so stay tuned!

21 augustus 2017

I Am Sorry To Report Dear Paris Is Burning After All

I recently returned from a short trip to Paris with Hanne, and have some pictures to show you! They are not the best ever since I forgot my camera so these were taken with Hanne's phone, and we were a bit too busy having fun to really put a lot of time into them... But hey!

It seems I had to get some basics sewing out of my system. It was also a necessity: my size has changed over the past few years and a lot of my wardrobe staples just don't fit me anymore, so I actually needed a few things (hence the recent solid jeans/tank tops/t-shirts on this blog). I had a small piece of black linen and felt like a pair of black shorts would be a great addition to my summer wardrobe. Last year I discovered I do feel comfortable in short shorts, but the ones I made then are all too big by now.

I liked the fit of the wide legged Kommatia pants I made earlier a lot, so I decided to just shorten that and call it a day. I like my short legs a bit wider (so they're not tight across the leg when I sit down or anything) and simply chopping off the pattern pieces at the right length did the trick! These are wide and comfortable, but not poofy.

Sewing these was really straightforward and even quicker than the long version (no long side seams, obviously). I decided to topstitch the pocket openings this time because even with bar tacks the pockets on my first version want to peek out! The hem on these is also topstitched, and so short it catches the bottom of the pocket bags, helping to keep them in place. The top is another Ogden cami (I made three of those by now, and brought some silver cotton voile that might become a fourth one, hoho) made from the leftovers from this dress. This time I made the original length! It's already been worn loads and even made an appearance during the birthday celebration of legendary Belgian singer Willy Sommers:

Don't ask me how I ended up there.
Anyway, back to the shorts! I thought just the black was a tiiiny but plain and felt like it could use a secret something something to make it more FUN, so I copied an idea I saw on the internet sometime and embroidered something on the fly shield:

Sorry to all international readers who will have no idea what this says, but it's kind of hard to translate. Me and a few friends have been saying this for years and Dutch-speaking people might understand why it's funny to put it there. This was embroidered on before the fly shield was stiched closed so it looks clean and tidy! Also: yes, I'm standing with my fly open in public. Guess where.

That's right! The things we do for blogging.

I had a blast in Paris. We were really lucky with the weather (the weather forecast was very pessimistic about the amount of rain we were going to get) and we spent most of our time walking around, meeting Lieke and shopping for fabric (I dipped into my tattoo fund and got some amazing stuff) and eating everything on our path. We also found some time to visit one of my favourite places in the world:

I'll have to start preparing my next trip soon, because me and the boyfriend are spending two weeks in Toronto and Montreal next month! If you have any recommendations (fabric stores or, you know, fun things to do) or want to meet up, let me know!

07 augustus 2017

I Will Let You Know As Soon As I Fall On My Face

This post title will make sense at some point, I promise.

So, I've had pants on my mind for a while. Wide-legged ones, especially. It's a silhouette I haven't worn in a long time, mostly because I wasn't sure if it looked good on me- a lot of high-waisted pants seemed to make my upper body look short and stumpy in a way high-waisted skirts don't (does that make any sense?). I also noticed that most patterns for wide-legged pants have pleats in the front, while I prefer the look of a flat-front trouser. And then I spotted Eleonore wearing something that was exactly what I had in mind! She told me she had used this pattern by new-to-me Kommatia patterns. I then dove straight in!

Well, not really. I had never made anything from this pattern company before and PANTS so I made a muslin first. My measurements put me pretty much straight into a size small and the fit was pretty spot on straight out of the package. I took a few extra cm out of the back to make it a bit more fitted, especially because I was making this in linen, which has a tendency to relax a lot with wear (which has happened. I would have taken it in more but it's very comfy now, so yay?). I also had what Eleonore called 'poofy crotch' which was sort of solved by lengthening the front darts a bit.

I have no pictures of the back of this because my photographer (Hélène) couldn't stop laughing when I told her to take pictures of my butt. Ah well! The instructions were very clear, although the fly front had me scratching my head for a bit. I just followed all the steps exactly and it turned out fine (and very nicely finished) but I feel like it might have been unnecessarily fiddly. The instructions also have you add a few bar tacks on the pockets after installing them, which I skipped because I wanted clean lines so I laugh in the face of bar tacks and topstitching, but I ended up adding them anyway because my pocket lining kept peeking out. Woops.

This might be my favourite blog picture ever. That kid is just thinking 'bloggers!'
Can we talk about the fabric? This is some really nice Merchant & Mills linen in a colour that's not black or grey or green, more like something in between. It's very smooth and soft and I was worried it would be too light and transparent for pants, but it worked out fine. I might add some belt loops to these to deal with the relaxing waistband, but these might just become a wardrobe staple!

Oh, and did you notice the top? It's a (cropped) Ogden cami made out of some black viscose I had around (technically it was a dress that rarely got worn so I took it apart to salvage the fabric). It's a very nice shape: loose and flowy, but the low back and front neckline make it be not-frumpy. I cut this out one evening, sewed it up the next morning and promptly made two more. This one is a straight size 8 (based on my bust measurement) and I did everything according to the instructions, apart from pinking the bottom of the partial lining instead of hemming it (I was afraid a hem would show through on the outside in this super drapey fabric) and hemming it by hand (no visible stitches on the outside!). It's a nice pattern that's really quick to sew and would make an excellent gift for others, since the fit is so forgiving.

Me and Hélène were taking these pictures while waiting for Laure to show up, and when she came by in the middle of our little shoot she thought it was hilarious and started to document the entire thing. So here's a rare behind-the-scenes look at blogging:

We had ice cream afterwards, so I forgave her.

Oh, and that title? I was making these and realised one of the main reasons I stopped wearing pants with wide legs: there have been at least ten occasions where one of my feet got caught in the other pant leg and I'd fall over. I'll never be a graceful swan.