28 januari 2014

Sewing Fine Silk on a Deadline is Genius

... Or maybe not.

I went to a wedding some time ago. It had been a while since I had been to a real fancy event so I thought a new dress was in order. I had this lovely light silk in my stash that I meant to use for the Nicola dress by Victory Patterns, and thought the best time to make a new pattern in a fabric you've never worked with before was a week before the event. Duh!

It turned out ok! I was slightly terrified to cut into this fabric, it's not super shifty but very fine. I got it at a Dries Van Noten stock sale about a year ago, and it had been sitting in my stash until I found the perfect pattern.

I made a bodice toile and found I had to take out some length. The neckline is super deep on me but I opted to wear a cami underneath instead of more complicated wrap dress alteration shenanigans. There are some weird drag lines but it doesn't really bother me.

I lined the entire dress in another silk from my stash, instead of just lining the skirt and using facings on the body, like the pattern suggested. This made it possible to cut the entire thing from two metres, and the lining gave the bodice some, uh, body and opacity. I didn't line the sleeves and they are as fluttery as ever.

Hah! My boyfriend found this Pinocchio head near his parents' place and called me because we just had to take pictures there, so I got my ass over there as soon as I could. This is just to explain the unwashed, messy hair.

Applying the binding to the sleeves was fiddly, and I chose to handstitch it down with an invisible hem instead of topstitching. It's not entirely invisible, but nice enough! The sleeves are very floaty and sort of make me feel like a fairy.

Yes  Sherlock, thank you for your input.

The pattern fit me slightly loosely around the waist, but I didn't want to make it too tight since the silk is so fine I didn't want to risk straining it too much. Instead I made sure I had one long strip of fabric left and made a tie belt.

Were you guys waiting for a silly face? Because here is one. I have another one where my face looks like it's melting but I'll save it for Halloween.

Sewing this was pretty straightforward, it was the first Victory pattern I tried and the instructions were clear enough. I got a bit stressed about the omg silk thing but it helped that this wasn't the hardest silk ever. My machine handled it really well, no sudden chewing of fabric!

Aah scary thing to pose next to!
I'm still not entirely sure if this dress is flattering on me, so I don't know if I'd make it again. Maybe in a lightly less drapey fabric?

22 januari 2014

We should totally meet up for texting and scones.

Wow, I'm probably one of the last people to write about this! On Saturday we had our second Belgian Blogger Meet, in Antwerp this time! Loads of people turned up, and I was a bit scared at the prospect of gathering twenty sewists and getting them around the city on a schedule, but Lieke did an amazing job...

As usual I only took like three pictures. I was too busy chatting and having fun to look through a lens! We started the day with coffee (and cake in my case) at Viggo's, followed by some fabric shopping. I managed not to buy anything (!!) but I did score a few bits and bobs at the swap!

I also got rid of most of the fabrics I brought, so I guess that was justified. We then rushed off to Aahaar for an amazing lunch (vegetarian all-you-can-eat buffet? Count me in baby! This is one of my favourite eating spots in Antwerp). After this we decided to split up: part of the group wanted moar fabrics, and me and some others went to the fashion museum to see the current exhibition. It was incredibly inspiring to see loads of garments made by fashion students up close, and I picked up loads of details to use in my own sewing...

We took one group shot, but our camera guy wasn't the most talented and the background was a bit disappointing as well. Thank god I have a master's degree in graphic design:

Look at all those happy faces! Even the mayor stopped by to show off his new skirt.

I'll leave you with something that still makes me smile and a list of everyone who came along. I had loads of fun, even though it was a truly exhausting day. On to the next one!

Heh heh heh! Misdurk!
(Sadly, this is one for the Dutch speakers...)

Here are all the lovely ladies (and the one gentleman)! Let me know if I forgot someone...

Karolien - http://karootje.blogspot.be/
Ivy - http://www.neven-jansen.be/mama
Annie – http://moekehandmade.blogspot.be/
Sofie - http://dewereldvansofiew.blogspot.be/
Lieselot - http://liesellove.blogspot.be/
Lieve - http://piekewieke.blogspot.be/
Regina - http://tweeemmerkeswater.blogspot.be/
Lindy: http://stannel.blogspot.be/
Caroline: http://www.carolinedelaere.com/#sthash.AIUoJ7NP.dpbs
Emily: http://belgianseams.blogspot.be/
Eline: http://plutomeisje.be
Louize: http://grtescp.wordpress.com/
Jo: http://jo-sews-etc.blogspot.be/
Joost: http://joost.decock.org/

14 januari 2014

It's not easy being green. People tend to think you're in Slytherin.

Here's what I was wearing on New Year's Eve! I wanted a dress that was pretty enough by itself, but also warm and comfortable enough to walk around outside in Reykjavik for a long time without getting too cold. Enter the Esja dress!

(I'll give you a minute to take in the view)
I ordered a green textured cotton online a few months ago, and was slightly disappointed by the colour when it arrived. It had looked a nice emerald in the picture, but was a lot brighter in real life, and didn't really suit my skin tone. At first I considered giving it away, but then I realised I could dye it to a nicer shade... So the entire piece got tossed into the washing machine with some forest green dye and I crossed my fingers. The end result was exactly the colour I was looking for, even if it came out a lottle mottled and splotchy (due to me not being able to get the whole piece damp enough I think, but it adds character! I actually like it).

The colour doesn't really show well in these pictures (it was around 11 in the morning and the sun had not been up for long, haha!), it's a bit lighter and greener in real life. I used Simplicity 2444, a great basic pattern I've used before to make my Space Oddity dress. I used the same changes I made to the bodice before (scooping out the neckline in the front and back), added the long sleeves and omitted the sashes.

I think it turned out pretty well! The four darts in the front bodice give it a lovely shape, and the entire dress feels relaxed and comfortable. I wore a thermal undershirt with it, cut down so it wouldn't show with the scoop back (and thereby defeating the entire purpose of a thermal undershirt). During the day I was fine with just wearing my coat over it, but at night I layered it up a notch with a woolen cardigan.

Here you can see the colour differences in the fabric pretty well. I really like the full skirt that comes with this pattern, it has a nice shape but not too much fulness around the waistline. I fully lined the dress and hemmed it using a bias tape facing, quite possibly my favourite hemming method!

So, what did me and my dress get up to?

Not much, really.


Oh, and just a public service announcement: this weekend (Saturday the 18th) is the time for the second Belgian Blogger Meet! The fun is happening in Antwerp this time, and it looks like loads of people are going to be there. We meet at Viggo's coffee bar at 10 to prepare for a day of fabric shopping, swapping, museum visits and fun. If you want to join us, drop me a line at annekecaramin(at)hotmail(dot)com and I'll send out more details!

08 januari 2014

I'm back bitches! Here's a coat.

I have safely returned from Iceland, and I still have all my fingers and toes! Truthfully, it wasn't all that cold. Very bearable, even. I managed to be comfortable with decent boots, thicker tights or leggings, layers and a good coat. I actually made the coat, right before leaving! Here it is, being used:

I'm wearing wool trousers here because we were supposed to be going on a whale-watching trip (which was cancelled because of the rough weather. We did go the next day but didn't see any whales. Great day though!)

I do own a coat that would have been warm enough for Reykjavik, a great 1940s number that I'm sadly wearing to death, but I felt like a hood would be welcome in this particular climate, and I wasn't mistaken! There was a lot of wind at times, and being able to hide my entire head easily made a huge difference.

I used a Burda pattern for a casual hooded coat and didn't really make any adjustments, or a muslin. I measured the pattern pieces and thought I could get away with the thing not being a perfect fit. Guess what? It's ok! It came together pretty easily, except for the sleeves: there was a huge amount of ease in them, making it impossible to set them in as intended without gathers.

I opted to add belt loops to make things easier, and went for six wooden buttons instead of one and five hidden snaps. The outer fabric is a combination of two boiled wools, interlined with a densely woven suiting for warmth, windproofness and stability. I lined the entire thing in cotton flannel and it turned out perfectly fine for Reykjavik in January. Layering with a long woolen cardigan even made it warm enough to go exploring at night, in some pretty windy weather!

The hood makes me happy. No matter how cool elves are, I'll always be a hobbit at heart, and this wooly coat makes me feel like one. I can't really explain it.

The scarf is another handmade thing by the way! I found a knitting chart based on the wallpaper in 221B Baker Street (the one in the BBC version of Sherlock) and used it to knit a giant tube, which I then sewed up at the end and decorated with tassels.It's massive and perfect for hiding my face or protecting it against the wind!

Seriously, all this together feels like wearing blankets. I was a bit worried about how lining something in flannel would make it harder to put on, but I was trying to use stash fabrics for most of this project and wanted to avoid buying a lining. It works quite well, as long as I hold my sleeves whilst putting the coat on!

This little vacation was really awesome! We went to see a friend who is doing a three-month internship over there, and she was so happy to see us (likewise). The week went by incredibly fast, and I think all of us fell in love with Iceland. Here's some other stuff we saw/did:

We celebrated New Year's Eve in the city, between all the crazy people shooting off fireworks left and right. It sort of felt like very happy anarchy, and we had a blast!

I took loads of pretty pictures and walked on ice. Most of those birds were assholes, though.

I would recommend the Golden Circle tour to anyone, it's a pretty intense way to see a few really beautiful spots, even if quite touristy. These are the Gullfoss falls, and my jaw dropped when I saw them.

Oh yes, and this (omfg). Northern lights. We were SO LUCKY, the weather was clear, there was a very big chance to see them and one of Nena's lovely new friends wanted to drive us around to look for them. It got pretty late and it was immensely cold and windy (that's why my pictures are all blurry and stuff) but I'll never forget this. It looked otherworldly.

I have two more new things that I photographed in Iceland, so keep an eye out for them!