01 december 2016

No more star jumps for now

Earlier today Hanne and me were driving back into town from a secret mission when we spotted two people in a bit of shrubbery along the road. One was taking pictures of the other, who was crouched between the greenery. Me and Hanne exchanged a look and just said 'Bloggers!'.

I was doing star jumps in a botanical garden just days before.

Me and a few friends visited Grafixx festival in Antwerp last weekend, and I wanted to get some pictures of a dress I made a while ago. It's wool and stretchy and wide and covered in stars:

This is actually a modified version of the Nettie by Closet Case Files, inspired by Stéphanie. I slashed and spread the front and back pattern pieces to get a swingy shape that was still fitted through the shoulders and lengthened the short sleeves to just above the elbow (finishing them with a band instead of turning and stitching the hem)

My friends Karen and Ed were very helpful. Ed is demonstrating my boyfriend's signature picture-taking stance.

The fabric is an amazing wool jersey I bought at Pauwels stoffen. It's very thin, light and drapey (and not scratchy at all!) but also quite warm! I made the dress and then decided to recreate what I did on this one (now sadly gone from oversized to clownlishly large). I cut some star shaped stencils and spent an evening painting. This caused a major print placement fail which sort of turned into a win:

See that low back? That was supposed to be the front. See that big ass moon there? I painted that on without thinking and it goes right underneath my boob. WOOPS. Thankfully this is not one of those fitted garments with a huge difference between back and front, and I solved the problem by wearing it backwards. I even like it more that way!

There's really not that much more to say about this dress, so I'm just going to post really silly pictures. At one point my friend Karen said 'Hey your dress has stars on it! You should do a star jump!' so this is a picture of me mid-jump, realizing I just kicked into one of the signs in the flowerbeds at the botanical garden:

And here is a more succesful shot, with an enthusiastic audience. The main disadvantage of short, wide dresses in lightweight fabrics is that your underwear is on show when you try this kind of stuff:

... And great fun was had by all.

I really like how the stars look on this dress. I liked the shape and fit but it felt a little plain without them, and the print livens it up a little without being too crazy. I used Setacolor metallic textile paints in silver and gold, and ironed the whole thing for a few minutes to set it. So far it's lasted well!

We had a great time at the zine fest (so many books!) but one of the highlights was being drawn by Benjamin Demeyere with a Mickey Mouse mask on my head:

I think he nailed it.

26 november 2016

Do your bones glow at night?

A lot of the drawings I used to make were inspired by music and songs I liked (see here, here, here or here). There's loads more of that in my teenage sketchbooks! The last few years most of my drawing has been 'functional' in a way, either work for other people or things I intended to sell. I recently got the urge to draw some things just for fun, and went back to one of my favourite subject!

The Veils recently released a new (great) album, and one of the songs immediately resonated, so I made this:
It's entirely hand cut out of black paper (by drawing the mirrored image on the back in white pencil and then cutting all the unnecessary bits away).

Here is the song, for those of you who want to hear it:

I saw them play live at Botanique in Brussels last night, it was a great show and fun was had by everyone, even my slightly sick boyfriend. I got to give the drawing to the band in person afterwards which was awesome!

Would you like to see more of these? If so, I'll keep posting them every once in a while!

13 november 2016

You just watch me jump in my stretchy pants.

I have made a proper pair of jeans!

There have been some forays into sewing pants or sewing with denim in the past, but I had never made a simple, basic pair of jeans before, mostly because I rarely wanted to wear one. However, my single pair of black skinny jeans (an impulse buy from a few years ago when I thought I needed maybe one pair of pants that wasn't paint-splattered) was getting a lot more wear recently, even though it's getting a bit too large. So I decided to give the Ginger jeans a try!

My boyfriend told me to try and look tougher.
According to the chart I am between a size 8 and 10, and decided to go for the size 8 since the denim I was using is pretty stretchy and doesn't have the greatest recovery. (I used it before to make these dungarees). This was intended as a wearable muslin so I didn't make any alterations. They fit pretty well straight out of the envelope, but I'm not sure if I want to be super nitpicky about the fit on a thing like jeans.

Sewing this was quite straightforward, and the instructions were very clear. I decided to go for view A, a low-rise jean with a stovepipe leg. I like my skirts and dresses to hit me at the natural waist but I don't really like how it looks on pants (especially with a contrasting top).

Making these without making a proper muslin first was a bit of a gamble since you can't really try them on until pretty late into the process. There aren't any huge fit issues though, so I could breathe a sigh of relief there. The rise is maybe a bit lower than I expected, but the waist fits snugly which rarely happens with storebought jeans.

I did mess up somewhere along the way, and it was while installing the front fly. I don't really understand how I can install a fly front zip perfectly fine using only Burda instructions and black magic, but manage to do so many things wrong when I have clear instructions and a great tutorial at my disposal. I screwed up the topstitching and had to unpick and start over (the fact that I was using a triple stitch instead of changing my regular thread to topstitching thread every five minutes made this unpicking even more fun) so the fabric looks a bit... chewed up in places. I also feel like the interfacing I used was a bit too lightweight for the tight fit of these jeans, and there's some pulling. I checked my storebought pair (which is a similar fit and made from similar fabric) and it feels like there's some kind of tape along the edge of the fly to keep things stabilized. I decided to not let it bother me enough to not wear these, especially since the majority of tops I'd wear with this hide the issues anyway.

So stretchy!
I also had to shorten the zipper by a considerable amount (the pattern tells you to get a 13 cm zipper and even a 12 cm one was way too long, I think the final zip is more like 10 cm) and of course managed to pull the slider off after assembling everything and attaching the waistband, so I had to do even more zipper surgery to avoid taking EVERYTHING apart or something. It worked.

This was not at all related to the above picture but I'm not going to keep posting close-up pictures of my crotch. Here's one of my butt instead:

I'm pretty pleased with the topstitching on this. The triple stitch stands out nicely and since it's slower than a normal straight stitch it almost forced me to be more accurate. I stuck with the pattern markings for the back pocket placement, mostly because the idea of pinning these onto my butt and stitching them on accurately after the whole thing was assembled gave me a headache.

So yeah, I might be getting back into wearing pants. I have some stretch jeans with a faux-leather coating around that might look snazzy. But for now I'm going to leave you with this:

Boyfriend: 'Do something cool!'
Me: '...'
Boyfriend: 'No, not that.'

03 november 2016

I'll call this business casual.

Me, unpacking fashionable Halloween accessories at work:

'Hey boss, can I dress up for halloween?'

Boss, looking at cute bat-shaped hair clips and dainty fascinators:

'Sure, that could be nice!'

Surprise surprise, this was what was behind the cash register on Saturday 29th:

(Sorry for the horrendous quality but by the time I got around to taking this picture I'd been wearing facepaint for ten hours and was too desperate to wash it off to wait for the boyfriend to come home)

(at least there's a cat in the picture)

So yeah, I didn't do cute or subtle. I got this gold foil-printed fabric at the shop and used 50 cm to make a simple skirt. It's a self-drafted pattern with four slightly flared gores, a very narrow waistband (no fabric left) and an exposed zip in the back. I paired it with a lace bodysuit and spent the entire day annoyed about the snap crotch. I also scared some kids. Win!

Anyway, a good friend was celebrating her birthday at a costume party nearby, and she promised anyone who came dressed as a saying or expression a drink. Challenge accepted!

The first important element are the two dead birds on my head.

The second important thing to notice is the bloodied rock around my neck. To kill two birds with one stone! Get it? Haha!

I decided not to buy anything for this costume and work with stuff I had around the house (or, as was the case with the rock, found in the park). I drafted a pattern for a stuffed bird and roughly sewed two out of black canvas. The wings and tails got some structure with metal wire, and then I generously splattered them with acrylic paint. Put them on a headband and bam! The rock is a painted rock on a string. I paired it with my velvet beekeeper's dress and did a really poor job of washing the black skeleton paint away around my eyes.

One more because I like the smiley face thing in the background. It's a hat the boyfriend made to go celebrate Vastenavond in Krabbegatje last year. GOOD TIMES.

I remember how much I love making costumes every time I have to make one. Adding the challenge of not buying anything to make it with makes it even more fun! I'm sure this dead bird headband will get worn loads more times.

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!