15 april 2020

In A Pickle

Hi! Anyone left here, or just crickets?

The end of 2019 and early 2020 were a bit... Crazy. We moved to a new appartment and I had three exams right after that. I spent the month of February taking a bit of a break and working on some projects, and thought 'hey, once the weather gets better I'll be able to go out and take some pictures!'.

And then the lockdown happened.

(For your information, I'm in Belgium, where measures aren't as strict as in Spain or Italy. I'm technically unemployed because all non-essential businesses had to close, but we are allowed to go outside for walks or bike rides. I try not to do this when it's not necessary since the weather is great and everyone seems to have taken up jogging, but it's tough.)

So yeah, going out to take pictures for a blog seems like a stupid idea right now. So we did a living room photoshoot. Get used to this background because you might see more of it!

The moment this dark green wide wale corduroy arrived at my job I knew I wanted to make a pair of overalls out of it. My boss very generously let me take some home and I set to work reworking the Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans to work for this. I previously turned the Closet Case Patterns Morgan into overalls (which I've made a few times and really became a wardrobe staple) and it's a very easy hack: you just need to redraft the waistband to open at the sides and draft some facing pieces for the side closures if you want to do buttons and buttonholes. I went for exposed zippers on this one, so it was even easier.

The bib portion was stolen from an old Knipmode pattern. I shortened it a bit to work with the higher rise of the Dawn jeans (the original was drafted to start just above the hip). I only had 1,5 m of fabric so had to get a bit creative with the layout. The bib lining and underside of the straps were cut from leftover cotton. I also added a caravan pin my friend Karen got me. She calls me Caravanneke.

While making these I was a bit worried about looking like a pickle because of the colour and texture of the fabric, but I think that worked out fine in the end. And even if I do look like a giant pickle... Would it really be a bad thing?

My first pair of Dawn jeans was made in a rigid denim and even though they are comfortable (maybe not after a day of eating) these are a lot softer and feel like pyjamas by comparison.

(Can we get real about lockdown clothing by the way? I try to put on 'real' clothes every day but... I just can't deal with anything tight or rigid right now. I've always been pretty sensitive to fabric textures on my skin and how clothes feel when I wear them all day, and this seems to be worse when I'm home all the time. I also can't stand feeling restricted right now. So most days I'll wear leggings and loose shirts/sweater dresses and call it good enough...)

These overalls did get a load of wear already, and I think they will get worn a lot more often. Even if they make me look like a pickle.

17 december 2019

Welcome Back To The Angry Girls Club

So... I sold out the previous run of my Angry Girls Club patches in a single day. It was pretty amazing, and quite obvious that there was a demand! The Patch Club only does very limited editions of their collabs, so I looked around for a place to work with so I could get a bigger order in. I found an embroidery workshop in the Netherlands who were lovely to work with, and they made a new version of the patch, which is available now!

The new version is a tiny bit larger and a bit more detailed than the previous one, due to the fact that it's been produced by a bigger workshop with bigger embroidery machines! I love both versions, it's still super cool to see one of my drawings in this form.

I put one on my green denim jacket, and can't wait to wear it out once the winter is over!

Quite a few of these have already been sold and shipped, but I do have plenty available this time. If you'd like one you can get it here!

11 november 2019

Flashy Knitting

This is one of those occasions where I saw a pattern and immediately wanted to make it. I saw the Volt sweater by Sue Stratford and something about the simple shape combined with the David Bowie lightning bolt called my name. I picked out some Cascade 220 colours and kept them aside as a nice project to do while I was relaxing a bit after finishing with my previous job.

I took this with me on a family weekend (which was PERFECT after the stressful last couple of weeks at work- the shop I worked at closed and we had a huge sale and then had to pack everything and ship it off- chilling with my family and going on long walks was just what I needed after that).

I started with the front, so after the ribbing it's pretty much headfirst into intarsia, which I'm not that experienced at (My previous major colourwork project was mostly stranded since I couldn't face the thought of weaving in SO MANY ends). With this pattern it's entirely possible to carry the different colours of yarn up along the rows, so apart from small areas in the middle of the lightning bolt I could just work with continuous lengths.

I liked the little details that made this sweater a bit more interesting, like the shaped/cabled ribbing on the sides and sleeve cuffs. As usual I worried the overall sweater would be too small, but it turned out to be perfectly slouchy. Construction is straightforward, you knit the front and back first without casting on the shoulders, which are then joined with a three-needle bind-off (which I think it awesome and way more fun than seaming pieces together). After this, stitches are picked up along the side to knit the sleeves flat, and the side and underarm seam are joined in one go. After this, stitches kept on hold at the front and back neckline are put to work again and additional stitches picked up for the neckband.

I'm glad I bothered to try the i-cord bind off for this neckline, since it's a nice little touch.

This sweater knit up surprisingly fast, and I feel like I learned a lot from something that looks pretty simple! I'm definitely not as afraid of intarsia anymore. I'm pretty short on knitting time these days though, with a new job and (gasp!) school work and other things. But there is some pretty interesting sewing going on!

31 oktober 2019

Welcome To The Angry Girls Club

Quite a while ago, I made a sticker:

I made this because I felt in this day and age girls and women have their reasons to be angry, and I was proven right when this sticker resonated with a lot of people! I've had requests to make this into a patch since the beginning, and it finally happened!

I got together with the lovely ladies from The Patch Club, a small patch embroidery business here in Antwerp. They produced a very limited run of my design, and it's now available on my Etsy!

I'm so stoked about this. It's a very small edition (I have four available at the time of writing) but I'm hoping to be able to produce these in a larger quantity in the near future!

Thank you again to Kim and Sharon of The Patch Club for making this possible, definitely go check out their designs as well!

19 oktober 2019

And Then It Dawned On Me

I have realised something: non-stretch slim fit pants just really aren't for me. I tested the Philippa pants and donated them because they didn't get worn, and I gave my first (tapered) version of the Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans to a friend because they would never get worn either. Why? I need to be able to bend my knees, people! And by that, I don't mean just sitting down on a chair or riding a bike. I'm naturally very flexible, and to be comfortable I need to be able to crouch and kind of roll up... Almost like a frog?

So yeah, I tried the tapered version first, and even though the fit was good I knew it wasn't for me. Those jeans have found a great home with my friend Charlotte though! I decided to give the wide leg a go, and that worked out way better!

I used a navy and white striped denim from Stoff & Stil for these, and I think it worked out pretty well! I went by the measurements and cut a size 10, but could have graded down to an 8 at the waist, since it's a bit too loose there and I definitely need that belt.

Constructing these was a breeze: I've made quite a few pairs of jeans before and the instructions are very clear. I used jeans buttons for the entire button fly because that was what I had around, but next time I might go back to using flat buttons on the fly and one jeans button on the waistband, to reduce some bulk in the front. I did that before on my Persephone pants and it worked a treat!

The waist on these is a bit too big, as I said before, but I feel like I might also need a sway back adjustment. This shouldn't be too hard, I could just take a wedge out of the yoke!

I didn't really try to match stripes, but I did play with stripe direction a bit. The coin pocket has the striped going horizontally, and so do the belt loops. I wanted to keep these jeans as subtle as stripey jeans can be, so decided not to go too crazy.

I've worn these loads of times since I finished them, so that's a good sign! And I can crouch.

Me and Eleonore went to the Dries Van Noten stock sales this week and I found a piece of green shiny jacquard that might look amazing as some shiny 'jeans'. How long before jeans are no longer jeans?

16 september 2019

The Worst Fortune Teller

I seem to have taken a bit of a blogging break! It's been a bit crazy around here, a lot of things were made but not really documented. The biggest thing I made the past few weeks was a project for a drawing festival called Tekenpudding, organized by my amazing friend Charlotte Dumortier. It's a sort of drawing funfair with, apart from the usual talks and zine fair a bunch of attractions. They had an open call for booth ideas so me and my Veranda buddies got together, submitted an idea and then heard we had the all clear to build it!

We wanted to build our own version of the automated fortune telling booths we'd encountered on our US roadtrip last September (Zoltar being the most common one, although we did find an Elvis or two), with a little twist: the fortune teller would only predict bad news. However, our skills are a bit limited when it comes to building robotic wizards. Our solution: make a costume and get into the booth ourselves. Now we only had to build a booth. Easy, right?

Well, it did work out! We ended up having a pretty tight deadline when it turned out that two of the three people involved were a bit too busy to get started already, so I tried to prepare as much as possible by making a costume and sourcing fabric for the decorations. I went through some fabric shops in my area and returned with a bunch of stretch velvet, some golden poly taffeta and a load of poly brocades. I then tried to make a wizard's costume (or at least, the visible top half) in a day and a half.

I don't really have clearer pictures than this, but it was... Quick and dirty! Three different people had to fit into this, so I traced one of Dimitri's sweatshirts (since he was the biggest) to get a basic shape to start from. The under layer is a plain t-shirt with very wide sleeves, with a little robe/jacket on top of it. I cut the collar of the jacket on a single layer to save on fabric and finished the edges with bias tape made from golden taffeta. I also used the same taffeta to add a little decoration to the sleeves and finish the sleeve hems. Sewing this very non-giving taffeta to slinky stretch velvet was an adventure, but it worked!

I ended up attaching the jacket thing to the shirt at the shoulder seams and sewed it together in the front, covering that with two decorative buttons. This turned out to be a good idea because now we wan just pull the costume on over our head without having to pay attention to things laying right! Finally, I made the hat by ironing a heavy interfacing to two cone-shaped pieces of brocade, stitching them together and turning. The edge is finished with more bias tape to tie it together. The hat is a little big (there was wig talk at first) but I might have worn it to a bar afterwards. A cheap costume beard finished the whole look!

With this sorted out, we tackled the actual booth. I think it was a good idea to make the costume first so we could choose our paint colours around that, since it's much easier to source a paint colour than a specific fabric! We sourced a few wooden beams and leftover pieces of plywood, and I made a little sketch of how things could go together. It had to be somewhat sturdy, not too precise, and not too had to take apart and put together again (since we would have to transport it in pieces). We ended with a wooden frame that was the same width all around, with all the wooden crossbeams postitioned so they would be covered with panels or fabric. The back part is open for easy access, and there's a little table at the front for props, cards and dramatic leaning.

The biggest job was painting. We primed everything and then I spent a couple hours putting down the base colours (plain old acrylic paint). After this we went through all our books with old etchings, tarot cards and other magical things and sketched out a bunch of things for inspiration! Me, Hélène and Dimitri then all got thogether and covered all the panels with drawings in gold paint marker. And I mean covered:

We were very happy with things at this point, and relieved it worked out! Our idea was that people would insert a coin into a slot at the front of the booth, and then get a little spoken prediction and a printed card with an illustration and some more wisdom, most of it bad news. At first we were going to have it printed somewhere, but then Hélène got all next level and decided to screenprint the cards. I designed a little tiled pattern with little things we'd drawn (recycling a fabric design I'd made before) and each of us made two small illustrations for the front. We then wrote a few short words of wisdom/horoscope type predictions and all this made for some really cool looking cards to hand out!

We were at the festival all day and had such a blast! People really wanted to hear how their lives would go wrong, and I actually did a few scarily accurate predictions. This is something I definitely want to do more of, all we need is an occasion!

We had a lot of fun working together to make this, especially because it wouldn't have been possible without a few other amazing people. All the love to Heziz for helping us source some materials, and to Viktor for helping out with the heavy machinery and tolerating us in his workspace! And of course, the entire Tekenpudding team for letting us do this!

30 juli 2019

Business In The Front, Party In The Back!

I actually had the fabric (and the idea) for this dress around for a long time. And then I got a new tattoo that would make this dress idea even better and decided to get started! This was an adventure in pattern drafting that ended really well, and I had a lot of fun figuring out construction!

Looks pretty basic so far, right? Sleeveless bodice, waistband, gathered rectangles for a skirt? I drafted the bodice myself, but this isn't all that adventurous, right?

BAM! It's a mullet dress. I wanted to make a bra-friendly cut out in the back so I got out the block I drafted a while ago and tried to figure it out. The block has high necklines, but I marked a few key points when I made it (the lowest points in the front and back before underwear becomes visible) and those turned out pretty helpful. I wanted the back to look a bit like a bow, so I figured it would be the easiest to rotate the back waist dart to the center back seam and turn it into gathers!

The bodice is fully lined, which was the hardest part to figure out (because I wanted a clean finish on the waistband as well). In the end I left the gathered edges open and stitched those together last, since they were going to be covered up with the little tab anyway. That little tab isn't just decorative by the way! Instead of stitching it closed I added a snap fastener and now I can loop it around my bra band to keep things in place. It's a bit fiddly but it works very well! I loved the idea of this back cutout before I got this really cute bat from Lozzybones but now it just makes it ten times better. I'm not sure if you can see it in this picture but HIS FACE.

I wanted an invisible zipper on the side (so the back would look as clean as possible) but I also wanted pockets! I had done this combination of a zipper/inseam pocket before but I rarely sew side zippers so it had been a while. I followed a tutorial online and it turned out fine, not my neatest sewing ever but it'll probably be better the next time!

I'm not sure if my way of finishing the insides was the most logical one, but it worked! There was some hand stitching involved to attach the inside waistband and the lining to the zipper, and I really enjoyed trying to figure it out. That's the thing with drafting your own patterns: you have no instructions to go on, and once you veer away from basic things it's not like you can rely on instructions for similar garments!

This turned out as a perfect little summer dress! I haven't made a quilting cotton dress in a while, and don't really have that kind of fabric in my stash anymore, but I'm happy I could turn this into something that still feels very 'me'.