29 april 2016

Here to help.

I have a small confession to make: I don't do it all on my own. There's a helper. He's called Jakkepoes and even though he looks legitimately pissed off all the time, he's the biggest old sweetheart there is. You have to earn his trust since he's a bit shy, but when he's at ease he'll charm the pants off anyone (even reducing a vet to giggles about 'those little toe fluffs!')

And it's this helper's birthday! So I thought I'd put him in the spotlight.

This little guy was born two days before my 10th birthday, meaning that he's now been a part of my life for seventeen years already! He's still very strong and healthy, a bit calmer and stiffer than he used to be of course, but I did see him run around the appartment after a ball of paper just yesterday...

No matter what I'm working on, he's always there to lend a helping hand. Here he is, watching the scraps of my master's project:

He will also happily guard my sewing notions, even though sitting on small metal things really isn't that comfortable:

One of his biggest skills is drafting patterns. I'm not sure how exactly he does what he does, but it involves sitting on the paper as soon as it's unrolled.

Sometimes his activities are so secret I'm not even allowed to watch.
When things get more complicated, rolling around is often the solution.

After pattern drafting or tracing it's on to cutting the fabric! Again, I'm getting more help here.

We do sometimes have artistic differences. These mostly involve me picking him up and putting him somewhere else, and him returning immediately. These discussions can get a bit frustrating.

Guess who won this argument.
I usually solve situations like that by giving him his own piece of fabric to do with as he wishes. It works for the both of us.

I think we make a really good team, even if he lacks opposable thumbs. Happy birthday little buddy, and keep up the good work!

He's not helping me here but I'm posting it anyway because OMG CUTE FLOOFBALL!

16 april 2016

Please do dance on my grave. Have a party there.

I was complaining to myself about how I didn't have anything to blog about, and then I realised we photographed a dress in London and I forgot to post it. WOOPS.

We stayed with our friends Steven and Willemien in Stoke Newington, and on our first day Steven took us to see the cemetery at Abney Park. It was really beautiful, if you're into that sort of thing! I wore a dress I'd made some time before, from a self-drafted pattern.

I started with my basic bodice block and rotated the darts to the center front so they would form a V. I then just extended the dart leg closest to the center to get a princess-seamed bodice and did the exact same thing for the back!

The fabric was pretty stiff and heavy, a polycotton jacquard in black and white. I drafted a sort of semi-circle skirt to go along with it. It has a lot of body, which looks pretty snazzy if I do say so myself! The black contrast panels are just plain linen from the stash.

The hem is finished with a bias facing which I handstitched in place. The dress closes with a handpicked side zipper and was a surprisingly quick make, all in all! I drafted the pattern and cut the fabric one afternoon and sewed the dress in one day. I made a few alterations to my bodice block since it was getting roomy, and now it fits really nicely (as long as I stay away from that one Indian vegetarian all-you-can-eat buffet, hmm).

I think this will get lots of wear. It's smart enough with decent shoes and some jewelry, but I can easily dress it down with a hoodie and sneakers. Win!

Next up, if I don't crash and burn on the way there: bathing suits!

30 maart 2016

Screw waistlines, I'm on vacation.

The final stop in our short trip was Bristol, another entirely new city to us. We stayed with Edward Cheverton and Aisling Marray, and had loads of fun exploring the city (and eating places and pubs) with them!

I had bought this graphic french terry sweater fabric from the Sew it Up shop before we left, and thought it would be perfect for a dress to wear on a trip like this. The wrong side of the fabric is super soft, so more secret pyjamas were in order:

This is another version of the Magena fringe jumper by Named patterns, and it's a dress version again! I made this before in a way drapier fabric, so this time I narrowed the skirt part a bit (and also traced a smaller size all over). Making this any more of an a-line would make me look like a trumpet. No no no.

We found this wall on our first day in the city. This is what happens when I try to take blog pictures with people watching.

I cut and sewed this dress in one afternoon and evening. It looks pretty impressive but apart from the pointed yoke insertion it's really straightforward.

I used a black cotton jersey for the yoke and omitted the fringe since the print was already busy enough. Tracing a smaller size was a good idea as well: the previous one is quite roomy by now but it doesn't bother me because of the drapiness. This fabric is way stiffer so it would have looked like a potato sack.

I used the cuff pattern pieces on the sleeves but decided not to use a hem band, just folding the fabric over and topstitching with a zig-zag stitch instead. This makes for less of a cocoon shape.

This dress turned out super cozy, and I'm secretly hoping it will stay cold for a little while longer so I can get a few more wears out of it! It's also perfect for eating lots, which we did. All the cake.

Here's a bonus shot of what our photoshoots look like to an outsider:

Not entirely true: Ed was telling us to 'go full fashion' or something.

26 maart 2016

One Birthday Surprise, coming up!

My week-long vacation is (sadly) over, and in spite of the dreadful news from Brussels, we had a good time. We were in London for the boyfriend's birthday, and I got to give him the present I'd secretly been working on: a flannel shirt!

I had bought this fabric during our first trip to New York, which was ages ago, to make him a shirt; which never happened. I guess it was a combination of not having the right pattern or trust about my own skill set, combined with being a selfish ass. So this year I finally got my act together!

The biggest problem was making this without him knowing what was going on. So after I finished my own flannel check shirt I decided to just lie to his face and tell him I didn't have enough fabric to cut a shirt for him, and that I'd just make a second shirt for me. He took it pretty well, even telling me he was 'getting over plaid shirts anyway'. Crap. (I have since been told that he only said this so I wouldn't feel bad about using the fabric for me. Awww.)

The only sneaking around needed for this present was tracing one of his existing shirts while he was out one day. After this I just cut and sewed the entire thing right in front of him, and he had no idea. Muahahaha!

It's a pretty basic shirt, collar with stand, yoke, two pleats in the back, you name it. I did my best with the plaid matching but somehow the sleeves came out a bit off!

I managed to finish the shirt before we left on our trip, and we're both pretty happy with the outcome! It fits him well since I based it on one of his actual shirts, and he still likes the fabric after all this time.

He was also more than eager to pose for pictures. I would make him more stuff just to get shots like this.

We spent the first two days of our trip in London with our friends Steven Kraan and Willemien Rust, and had a blast wandering around new neighbourhoods, seeing new museums and playing sille boardgames in pubs. Steven was assistent supervisor during our little photoshoot:

He later decided to intervene and make everything more interesting:

I think it worked.

16 maart 2016

I'll be doing a tiny part of a trip around the world

Hello people!

Just to let you know that I'll be on a one-week vacation to London, Bristol and Cardiff! If anyone wants to meet up or has recommendations (fabric or general fun stuff), feel free to let me know!

I've been sewing up a storm in the past few weeks, so here's a sneak peek of some things I'm packing to photograph while we're away:

See you soon!

05 maart 2016

Bye bitches I'm off to cut trees or like whatever

Remember how I went to Seattle in September? And even brought some fabric back? I used it to make something!

I found some really nice plaid flannel (pretty sure it's the Robert Kaufman mammoth flannel) and thought a flannel shirt would be the perfect souvenir from Seattle. So I bought a yard and a half. Of 44" wide fabric. Because that sounds like a rational thing to do.


I traced a smaller size of the Archer (the first and so far only one I had ever made was roomy to start with and I've gotten a bit smaller since then) and cut everything on a single layer, paying really close attention.

I had to cut the inside yoke and collar stand from some black cotton but managed to squeeze all other pieces out of the flannel. And match my plaid! The button band, cuffs, yoke, pocket and sleeve plackets were all cut on the bias to avoid having to match the plaid there.

The finished shirt is super comfy, and still the right amount of slouchy, even with the smaller size. The sleeves are maybe a bit too generous, even though my boyfriend had an explanation for that... Apparently I'll need those big sleeves for my lumberjack muscles. My theory is that this shirt was supposed to be for this guy:

But I digress.

Here's a picture of me from the back! There's some pooling up there but it doesn't bother me enough to do something about it. I like the fit throughout the shoulders a lot more on this shirt, they were definitely too wide on the previous one!

Have some details. I always find the super precise stitching on shirts to be a bit daunting, but I did a pretty good job on this one! It might be my finest collar and collar stand to date. I did use the Alder pocket instead of the Archer one because I like the pointy bits more than the rectangle things.

"Do something" he said.

I wore this shirt to work today and it definitely passed the test: super comfortable, nice and snug, makes me feel like I'm actually in pyjamas and forgot to put on proper clothes. Big win.

I will leave you with one more picture of proud plaid matching because 1,5 yards!!!

(If you want to know about the title of this post, go read this comic and then read everything this woman has ever drawn)

28 februari 2016

Valentine's Day with Dead Animals

Talk about an unexpected blogging break! I had a couple of weeks with mostly half-finished projects, or things made for friends who aren't supposed to see the result yet, combined with some sickness and no time to take pictures. But I'm back! With an outfit that was made for an occasion that never happened!

A few friends and me wanted to visit an exhibit on taxidermy at the natural history museum in Brussels, and since the only day everyone could make it was February 14th we quickly decided the dresscode should be 'Valentine's Day and Dead Animals'. It wasn't serious, but you know I never let a chance to make a themed outfit pass me by...

I'm proud to say that this entire outfit was made from stash materials. The red lace was sent to me by Knipmode after winning Sew it Up, but it was a pretty small piece so I wasn't sure what to do with it (I also really liked it and didn't want to mess up!). I decided to make a sort of 1960s - 1970s mini shift dress with massive sleeves. And a vest. Don't ask.

The pattern is from a recent Burda issue. It was a top but I just cut it a little longer and called it a dress. I didn't make a muslin (omg!) but cut the red linen underlining first, basted that together and checked the fit, which was pretty spot on. I had to cut all my lace on a single layer to get everything out, with some truly scary moments (a cat on my fabric! with claws!), but it worked out in the end.

The vest was super easy. I started from the dress pattern, deepened the armscyes a bit and drew a rounded front. I then embroidered a dead rabbit on the back and added some gold trim (also from deep stash!). My boyfriend saw it and said 'Awesome! You look like that monkey!'


'Yeah, the one from Alladin!'


Thanks... I guess

The dress itself is my favourite part of the outfit though. It's pretty wide but also super short, so that kind of balances out the possibility of frumpiness. I'm not sure if I'd wear it without tights, but ask me again when the weather gets warmer...

I did a sort of lining-underlining hybrid in red linen. I didn't want the lace to get too stiff so I sewed the darts, side and shoulder seams and then basted everything together before inserting the sleeves and finishing the neckline (with a bias facing, which then got handstitched to the lining. Totes invisible you guys).

The sleeves are my favourite of everything. Drapey and see-through and wide enough to hide my lunch inside if I'd want to. I'd add these to all my clothes from now on if it wasn't so hard to stuff them into a coat or jacket.

Our trip to the museum never happened, but this dress will definitely get worn! I met up with Lieke to take pictures before going out to a lovely lunch (cheeeese) and a rummage through a costume shop's stock sale with more lovely friends. Most of the good stuff was gone by the time we finally made it there but I found a jacket that makes me look like a ringmaster in a dodgy circus so all is well.