26 mei 2014

Shh, it's Art!

Out of all the challenges we got, I was really looking forward to this one. We were supposed to create an outfit inspired by an artist, and incorporate the artist's aesthetic into our own style. The hardest part was choosing an inspiration! I decided to go for Egon Schiele because he has always been a firm favourite and his work gave me an idea!

I especially love his drawings and sketches, with their strong lines and shapes. The linework actually reminds me of the effect you get when you use a sewing machine for embroidery! And thus, an idea was born. I decided to use a dress as a blank canvas and decorate it with machine-embroidered drawings. I chose the Colette Hawthorn because I felt like the style would work well with the art, and used a cotton-linen bland that looked almost exactly like painter's canvas. Here's the result:

I made the sleeveless version so it would be summer appropriate and didn't make any pattern changes (the Hawthorn fits me straight out of the envelope!).

It would have been really easy to make this dress nsfw, but I chose to make my own interpretation instead of just copying a drawing. I embroidered several hands all around the hem and used three different fabric paints to add a painted border. The colour is pretty similar to some of Schiele's paintings, even though it doesn't really show in these pictures!

To make the embroidery I basted a water-soluble stabilizer to the skirt parts, drew the hands on and stitched them with the sewing machine. It took a few nights and there were loads of thread ends to get rid of, but it was worth it! The hands aren't that clear from a distance, so the hem looks like it has some stripey border going on. It looks really cool in motion!

I also added an eye done in the same technique to the collar, to tie things together a bit. It's subtle, like a little surprise!

The buttons were another lovely surprise! I was lucky enough to find them in the store where I work, they are almost the exact shade of green in the top of the 'Seated Woman with Bent Knee'. It adds a tiny bit of colour to the dress, just enough!



As you know, I made this for a competition! 50% of the scores are determined by votes from the public, so if you like what I made, could you please take a minute to cast your vote? Just go HERE, at the bottom of the post there's a poll. All you have to do is click my name! I'm having loads of fun with this competition, so it would be great if I could stay in!

19 mei 2014

But Mom, I Don't Want to Grow Up. Well, Wendy, Sew it Up!

I always imagined shift dresses as something you'd find on those lists of 'ten essential wardrobe classics for every woman', you know, the ones that include a white shirt, a beige trenchcoat and a Herm├Ęs scarf. Shift dresses are not for bike riding, drawing or petting animals, so not for me. And then we had to make one!

I thought the obvious thing to do was to just stop complaining about having to be mature and make something pretty. It ended up looking like it was inspired by Peter Pan. NOT INTENTIONALLY!

I used the Colette Laurel pattern and was surprised after making a muslin that I didn't need to make any changes, apart from taking a small piece out of the top of my back! This thing is quite short though, a word of warning... I'm not exceptionally tall and I can't bend down in this, even though I used a VERY narrow hem!

The major change I made was to completely alter the neckline. I cut out triangles all along the neck, drafted a facing and bound the points of the triangles in self bias binding to create the neckline. There was a lot of hand-sewing fiddly bits involved and I managed to burn my thumb with the iron, but it looks really cool!

I repeated the detail in the back to avoid the 'coffin dress' look. The edges normally look more even but apparently I didn't zip it up all the way and my dear photographer never notices such a thing!

I repeated the triangle detail at the hem by making a slit at either side. Finishing this cleanly took some head-scratching but I figured it out in the end!

I put a belt on the dress because I still can't say goodbye to a defined waist and I wanted to break up the green a bit. The fabric is some mystery blend (it was labelled as viscose but I suspect some poly in there as well) with a gorgeous colour and texture that doesn't photograph well at all, sadly enough. Just take my word for it. Look at this picture of me doing sexy posing. Neighbours were laughing at me through their windows.

I can't remember ever posting a picture of the inside of my makes before, but since fit and finish were important in this challenge I took one! There is not a single raw edge in the entire dress: every seam has been either bound with seam binding or encased in bias tape. The bias tape on the armholes has been handstitched to the facings for an invisible finish, and I'm really pleased with my hem as well!

Last but not least: getting onto this roof wasn't an easy feat, so here's a picture of what I go through in the name of blogging:

Yes, that's a toilet.

This was my entry for the second round of Sew it Up, and if you like it you can vote for me here! (Please do, the next challenge is about art and I'm really excited about that one!)

13 mei 2014

Sew it Up: Cast your Votes!

Excitement all over! The first Sew it Up challenge, the classic jacket, is now open for voting! Take a look at all the entries here and pick a favourite! You can even vote more than just one time if you really want to!

09 mei 2014

Sew it Up: I'm A Closet Old Lady

Noise! Music! Minstrels! Dancing! Here's the first thing I've made for Sew it Up, a personal take on a classic jacket:

The first challenge was to make your own version of a pattern we were given. It turned out to be the Jackie jacket (hah!) by La Maison Victor. I have to admit I was a bit stumped at first, since this is not really the kind of thing I'd see myself wear on a regular basis, even though I have a secret old lady hidden inside me (she complains about aches and the weather and is slightly scared of teenagers).

My own ideas of what makes a wardrobe essential tend to differ a bit from those lists you see pop up from time to time. I'm not really into pencil skirts and white shirts, so after some thinking I decided to give this jacket a bit more edge! I wear dresses most of the time so the first thing I did was crop the thing so it would hit me at the waist. I also decided to use studs instead of a trim along the neckline, and added them around the sleeves as well. This had the added advantage of giving some weight and support to the edges of the jacket!

The fabric I used is a gorgeous rayon blend I bought to make it into a dress (and I have to confess I got some extra later so I can still do that... Soon I'll be able to wear this fabric head to toe). It being striped presented an extra challenge, and I was determined to make the stripes line up as best as I could. Everything was cut on a single layer and sewn with loads of pins. The fabric is loosely woven so it shifted and stretched easily, but I'm really happy with how it turned out! Everything matches except for the princess seams, and even those aren't too bad...

Shall we play 'spot the back seam'? Hah! I had a little sewing boner here. This was something I had never done before (except for some plaid matching here and there) and it was immensely satisfying. I kept running over to my (patient) boyfriend to show him the awesomeness.

This fabric frayed like a crazy person, so I chose to bind every seam instead of just finishing the edges with a zig zag stitch. It was some extra work, but definitely worth it! I also chose to stabilize the hem, neckline and front edges as well using fusible stay tape instead of just the armholes. After applyinf the studs I covered the backs (pointy bits!) and the hem with bias tape as well. It's been sewn on by hand so it's invisible from the outside, but it gives some extra weight and body to the hem.

Now, a word about the dress I made to wear with this jacket! As I said before, I was trying to make the entire thing a bit more relaxed and me, so I went for a flowing maxi dress in a linen-look rayon fabric. The pattern is from the latest Burda magazine, and I love how it turned out, even if it made me swear like hell! This fabric frays really quickly as well, so turning all those little straps took forever and had to be done really carefully so the seams wouldn't just split. I also had to take a huge chunk out of the back to take it out of the very dangerous potato sack territory.

I was a little worried about the modesty of the bodice, but I do think it works out fine... I shortened the straps a bit and now the big 'hole' sits right around where some of my other necklines hit. I wore this all day today and the elastic waist makes it super comfortable. This one will definitely be a summer staple!

So, here it is, my first Sew it Up entry! In the end I really love the result, and think it's pretty awesome someone made me try a pattern I normally wouldn't immediately consider... I'm incredibly curious to see what the other contestants have made!