11 oktober 2014

They tried to make me wear polyester and I just said no, no thanks

This dress was made for a pretty specific reason! As I've mentioned before, I started working in the haberdashery department of a store that also sells hosiery and accessories (fellow Belgians will definitely know who I mean...). Naturally, the employees are expected to wear things from the store whilst working. Yay, free tights!

Some time ago we got a shipment of little black dresses. Classic, shift dresses with a short sleeve and a high neck. My boss loved them. She got this vision of all employees wearing those black dresses on Saturdays, with different tights. Gorgeous! There was only one problem: I hated the fabric (polyester with a polyester lining, and our store gets HOT!) and the fit was way off on me. "Altering the dress would take me as long as just making a new black dress!" I said. "And hey, it kind of makes sense for me to wear something handmade, right? I'll even use trims from the shop!". My boss just sighed since I was like the third person that day to complain about the dresses, and then she told me to do what I wanted. Yay!

On to the facts! I wanted something comfortable but still slightly fancy, and my greedy eyes fell upon the Clover dress by Papercut. I had a black bamboo viscose (ouh!) in my stash that would be perfect, and I even decided to get fancy with some lace!

This viscose was an absolute dream to work with. It's fluid but still has some 'grip' so it's not slippery, and it loves to be pressed and steamed! I decided to not make a muslin since the fit seemed very forgiving (and I remembered the Rigel bomber fitting really well straight out of the package).

Casually defending my territory

This is a very simple dress pattern but there are a few simple and clever ways to keep it from becoming a sack. The front and back are two pieces with a centered seam and some shaping. It's a pullover dress but it's slightly shaped at the waist and extends into a flared skirt, limiting the amount of fabric you have bunched up around the waist. It even looks pretty good without a belt! I also love the soft lines created by the raglan sleeves. One of my favourite things is the underarm curve, actually!

I found this lace trim that was exactly the right width and decided to use it as my contrast fabric. to make the sewing easier I basted the pieces to bits of Soluvlies, sewed everything as instructed and washed it off. It worked like a charm, but the neckline is pretty deep, so I'm thinking of backing the lace with black fabric... The effect wouldn't be as dramatic, but I wouldn't have to choose between flashing my bra or wearing an extra shirt...

The original instructions have you braid a beld with embroidery floss and make your own tassels. I was too lazy and cheap to buy embroidery floss, so I just went for a long tube of self fabric and added some premade tassels. I really should have pressed that.

In the morning I wore this with a heavier coat, but later in the day things warmed up enough to pair the dress with this blazer! It's a classic thing I got handed down from my mother some time ago, and I recently added some embroidery to the lapels. Instant updating, even if the stitching is a bit wonky!

I wore this to work today and got loads of compliments. Paired with being comfortable this makes for a winner! They also go with my new boots-that-go-with-everything-anyway:

03 oktober 2014

Casual Wednesday

Bad blogger! I've been doing some sewing and a whole lot of knitting (I made a sweater! Only need to block it!) but photographing my makes never happened... Until today! I was wearing a new dress to work and decided to take pictures afterwards. Since the days are getting shorter (boo!) daylight was fading fast and I decided to pull a Hanne and take pictures on my little rooftop terrace!

This is the Bleuet dress by Deer and Doe, a pattern I made once before. I hoarded this vintage cotton for ages because I only had a small amount (three very narrow yards) but now I finally mustered up the balls to cut into it! I remembered this dress fitting me really well straight out of the package,  and I wasn't mistaken. The result makes me think of something Wednesday Addams would wear on a casual Friday. Casual Wednesday. And I'm posting this on a Friday. CONFUSION.

The black contrast pieces were made out of a black modal I got from Kokette Katinka. This stuff is pretty cool, it feels almost like a peachskin and presses nicely, even if it's a bid fidgety to sew! I have quite a bit leftover, but no real idea yet about what it will become...

The absolute star of this pattern is the bow in the back. It is so simple to add, but so incredibly CUTE! I started sewing this dress in a radio studio (really) and just couldn't stop looking at it. About that radio thing, Caroline was asked to teach Linde Merckpoel how to sew on Studio Brussel, and she invited me and Lieke along for an afternoon so we could host a sewing club. It was pretty awesome! The room we were in was filmed by a webcam I wasn't aware of until my boyfriend texted me to say he could see me. They also made a little video, you can see me flashing around in the background here and there:

This adventure is also the reason for this extra surprise element:

I had cut my dress the day before so I just had to sew in the studio. Since I had so little fabric (with a directional print) it was impossible to eek the hem facings out. My sleepy head was tired of cutting and figured 'hemming is like, the final step. I won't get to that. Screw finding more fabric, I'll cut those facings some other time'. Upon arriving in Brussels, only carrying my sewing machine and essential items, I noticed the hem was more like, the second step in the garment. Woops! Thankfully, Lieke was working on something gorgeous made out of peacock print and she had some left. Thanks again!

This was a very straightforward dress to make (far easier than the first one, but that probably has more to do with me using cotton this time instead of velvet). I really like how the princess seams make for a fitted silhouette without feeling constricting or uncomfortable! I spent five hours at work in this and it was awesome. One of my collegues bemoaned how I make nice things for me and then say 'nah!' when someone asks me to sew for them. Sorry guys!


In slightly unrelated news: I'm going to ask for money and it's not for me. My amazing friend Nena is trying to raise funds for an exhibition of her work in the train station Brussels North. She graduated from art school with a beautiful comic about the people who go through the station daily, and her plans for the exhibition would make for something truly astonishing. She needs 4200 euros to cover printing costs and an opening night, and we all really want her to get there! Every donation gets a present by the way, depending on how much you give. You can donate here and see more of Nena's work here!