14 februari 2017

My Sister's Tiny Hands

Here's yet another song illustration! I promise I do draw other things from time to time. And this time it's not one drawing, but seven!

I had been listening to the Handsome Family a lot lately, and found the imagery in the song 'My Sister's Tiny Hands' very inspiring. The lyrics tell a very clear story, so I decided to tell that in a series of illustrations!

We came in this world together
Legs wrapped around each other
My cheek against my sister's
We were born like tangled vine

We lived along the river
Where the black clouds never lingered
The sunlight spread like honey
Through my sister's tiny hands

But while picking sour apples
In the wild waving grasses
Sister stumbled in the briar
And was bitten by a snake

Every creature casts a shadow
Under the sun's golden fingers
But when the sun sinks past the waving grass
Some shadows are dragged along

Alone, I took to drinking
Bottles of cheap whiskey
And staggering through the back woods
Killing snakes with a sharpened stick

But still I heard her laughing
In those wild waving grasses
Still her tiny hands went splashing
At the river's sparkling shore

So I took my rusty gas can
And an old iron shovel
I set the woods to burning
And choked the river up with stones

This is something I've been working on from time to time since our trip to Mexico (!!). I spent ages sketching, made four drawings in one day, waited for a few weeks, made two more and finally finished the last one last night. These are a bit more complex than the other song illustrations I posted. Every piece is still hand cut, but the different layers of colour were glued to separate pages and put together in Photoshop. This gives the effect of layers of colour instead of pieces of paper glued on top of each other! I also desaturated some of the colours to get a more muted effect.

I'm going to see this band live tomorrow night and I'm really excited about that! Here's the song if you want to give it a listen:

06 februari 2017

No I shan't! It's Christmas!

... Yeah, I know it's not. But I made this dress for a Christmas party with my family and only got around to taking pictures this weekend. So can we just pretend it's December again for a very short while?

The pattern is the Leotie midi dress by Named, with a few modifications. I had made this dress once before (unblogged) without making a muslin first and remembered being a bit confused about the darts and ease in the waist. The line drawings show darts in the front and a plain back, but the pattern instructions say to stitch the darts in the front and the back. There were no back darts on the pattern pieces so I didn't put any in, but my first version ended up so roomy around the waist it made me wonder! I e-mailed the ladies at Named to ask about this and they told me it was a mistake on their part- the pattern had back darts at some point in its development and they forgot to take that step out of the instructions. They also told me that the dress is supposed to be semi-fitted at the waist.

I prefer my 'fitted bodice, flared skirt' dresses to be fitted though (otherwise I feel it makes me look super boxy) so I took some room out of the side seams. I also remembered to shave down the shoulders by a few cm, as they are very square on the original pattern. I'm talking linebacker here!

I also added a circle skirt instead of the gathered skirt included in the pattern. The main fabric is an amazing green wool-viscose mix with gold sparkles that is being treated very unfairly by the camera, it's gorgeous in person! I got it on my trip to Mood with Ginger Makes and Oonaballoona the last time I was in New York, and it took me over a year to muster up the courage to cut into it. The fabric is pretty roughly woven, a bit like a finy bouclé, so gathers would get super bulky. Thanks to the contrast yoke and sleeves I managed to squeeze this dress out of 1,5 yards! Also: twirly!

My very favourite feature is the back. I like the lines of the yoke in the front, but I love how they flow on the back, with that deep v that is just high enough to not show any bra stuff. I'm also pretty proud of how well the zipper matches!

Sewing this was a breeze. I have made two other Named patterns before and in my experience they're really well drafted and executed. I was told the mistake would be removed from the pattern instructions, so that should definitely be solved!

31 januari 2017

Got a Curse I Cannot Lift

So, I've been knitting a lot lately. I made my father some socks for Christmas, there's an oversized cardigan in the works, I have plans for more socks, hats and sweaters and I finished a scarf!

This yarn was one of those purchases that got the 'you bought something that matches your hair again' comment from the boyfriend, and he wasn't wrong at the time (I've gone a bit greener since then). It's Malabrigo Rios yarn in Teal Feather (I think) and it was amazing to knit with. It's 100% merino wool, so super soft as well. I think my face in the above picture says enough. I have used the worsted version of this yarn in the same colourway to make a hat before, so now I have a (somewhat) matching set!

But what about the pattern? What if I said this scarf was vaguely based on a scarf worn by Remus Lupin for like, one scene in Prisoner of Azkaban? I can't even find a decent picture of the original. Someone had written a pattern for a scarf like this but I can't deal with written cables and just trying to read this gave me a headache. In the end I simplified the pattern to the max, used Stitch Fiddle to make a chart and went to town.

The pattern is not that complicated and was easily memorized. It's basically two cabled rows (mirrored) on either side and a honeycomb panel in the middle. I worked on and off on this for a few months, but all in all it was done surprisingly quickly. I definitely got faster as a knitter! I had four skeins of this yarn, and used almost all of it, so this is a long scarf!

This scarf has been keeping me warm and toasty the past few cold days, and my friend Charlotte seems to approve as well!

Do you want to make your own vaguely Lupin-inspired scarf? Here's my pattern:

(Click to enlarge)

PS: Curious about the title? It's from this werewolf song.

26 januari 2017

Floral Skirts and No Dog Poop in Sight!

That title will be clear at the end of the post, I swear.

As promised: a sewing project! I have a few more waiting to be photographed and stuff, here's to hoping that gets done soon. This is one of those relatively quick things you make between more elaborate stuff, which then get worn to death:

I made this circle skirt right before Christmas and it's become my go-to thing for those 'maybe slightly dressy but not too excessive' occasions. Or just for when I want to feel twirly and draped in lots of fabric.

The fabric is a printed Scuba I got at Pauwels stoffen right before they closed (sob). I had never worked with this stuff before and was a bit lost at first about what to do with it. It's bulky and doesn't really hold a crease, so something simple would work best. In the end I just went for a full circle skirt. Almost boring!

But it's so full and swishy! Sewing the fabric was very straightforward, I just had to make sure to topstitch every seam to make things lie flat. This is one of those skirts you can leave balled up on a chair for a week and then just walk out of the door with it. Not that I would ever do that. Ahem.

I also added a golden exposed zipper to the back, because I could. It also felt 'right' to break up the flowery print with something a bit tougher. I'm slowly getting better at these exposed zips.

The hem is finished with a bias facing (which is my preferred hemming method) but topstitched instead of handstitched down. This seemed logical, since I topstitched the hell out of the rest of this thing.

Bonus picture: my mother cleaning the dog poop off the rooftop before we took pictures. Blogging, so glamorous.

14 januari 2017

Which Witch

Another drawing! I have a backlog of sewing projects to photograph, but time (and the weather) are working against me. I guess I'll just keep making stuff and then bombard you guys with posts once I get around to take pictures!

Yesterday I made a quick illustration inspired by a song by Florence + the Machine:

I had the song stuck in my head for a while and came up with the image whilst in the shower (where else). The eventual drawing is barely different from my initial sketch, I only added the striped part of the skirt and made it look like her dress was falling apart in a way. At first I wanted her to be walking on stars but the unravelling seemed more in tune with the song!

I made this drawing in my usual way: make a sketch on printer paper and use white carbon paper to transfer it to the back of the black paper, then cut it out. Doing this means that the only lines on the black paper are the final ones, which makes it easier to cut out accurately. I could sketch directly onto the black paper with white pencil, but the lines would get really unclear if I had to redraw some bits. Does that make sense?

I couldn't really find a clear audio version of this song (it's a bonus track on the latest album) but here's a pretty fun live version of you want to hear it:

04 januari 2017

The Rifle

Happy New Year everyone! I was kind of happy to see 2016 go. It wasn't an especially bad year for me personally but it was a bad one for a few people I care deeply about, and moving on to 2017 feels like some sort of closure. I don't know what 2017 will bring but here's to hoping for nicer things!

I spent one of the first days of the new year working on another song illustration :

This one is for 'the Rifle' by Alela Diane, and it's maybe one of my favourite songs of all time. The lyrics have some very clear imagery going on, but I wanted to be less literal with my interpretation. I tried to picture the idea of a threat coming from the woods by drawing a giant wolf/fox thing sneaking around a tiny house. This was one of the easiest illustrations I've done in a while, as in, the process from idea to final result was super quick, apart from agonizing over the position of one front leg for fifteen minutes and a half-hour nap.

The wolf/fox and house were cut out of black paper and scanned, I then cut out around fifty little trees and photoshopped them in the background (so I had more control over the scale and could create a sense of perspective). At first I had placed the trees closer together so there would be more overlap, but this got too crowded and took away from the monster a bit.

Anyway, that's a whole lot of ranting about the endless dilemmas I face while drawing. I like how this turned out, and here's the song for your listening pleasure:

17 december 2016

Yes, nature. I thoroughly enjoy those tree-things.

Do you guys remember the Colette Hawthorn dress I made a few years ago? I liked it a lot at the time (especially the fabric!) but it never really got that much wear. I gave it some thought and figured out a few things that bothered me:

- The length: I felt it was a bit too long on me and felt frumpy, especially combined with the sleeves and collar.
- The sleeves: I don't like wearing cardigans or hoodies over long sleeves, and I'm usually either too hot to wear longer sleeves or too cold to not wear an extra layer.
- It also got a bit too big, which added to the feelings of frumpiness.

These three things could be fixed. I considered taking the sleeves off, taking the sides in and rehemming the dress, since I loved the fabric so much. And then I had a massive brainfart and threw the thing into the washing machine with a red linen dress. ALL PINK.

So I did what any reasonable person would do: throw the dress in a corner, sulk, track down the fabric, buy it again and make a new one.

Ta daa!

This time I went for simple. I tweaked my usual bodice block a bit and added a short gathered skirt, so the Liberty tana lawn would have the opportunity to shine (I still love how this looks like birch bark or marble from a distance. It's actually a print of glaciers and mountains in Iceland).

I made the neckline scoop on my bodice a bit higher and a bit wider, and like how it looks. I eyeballed the whole thing (as usual) and luckily it still covers my bra straps. The bodice has been lined in a white lightweight cotton for a bit of extra structure and optimal comfort.

The back got a slight v-neck, because I like how that looks. I didn't really try to pattern match along the zipper or seam lines (because not enough fabric, again), just made sure the lines of the print sort of continued.

The skirt it two entire fabric widths, gathered into the waist and hemmed with bias tape. It's super fluffy! Maybe a bit too short to be worn without tights but this feels more like a winter dress anyway (maybe it's the print of the snow-covered mountains that makes it feel wintery. Hm)

I had recently adjusted my bodice block and got a really good fit the last time I used it, but this dress still turned out a bit too wide in the waist, so I'm wearing it with the same belt I wore the previous dress with. Mainly because I don't exactly own many belts. And this works really well.

So that's it, favourite fabric, revisited! I'm happy about the outcome. This final picture is me and the boyfriend testing if my breath showed up on camera as well. It was a cold day!