30 juli 2015

I'm a bit like the thieving magpie, without all the thieving

I usually try to get new garments photographed and blogged about as soon as possible, since I'll just forget about it otherwise... This was almost one of those. I made this dress in April for another visit to the opera (Don Giovanni!) And only got around to taking decent photos this week. Finding a good spot was proving to be difficult as well:

My reaction to the boyfriend laughing about how small the angle makes me look.
This dress involved a few different techniques! There was sewing (obviously) but also drawing, appliqué and a generous helping of fabric paint. Fun!

The fabric is a red metallic linen I got at Pauli during a blog meet. I scratched my head about what to do with it for a while since it's awesome but also has the potential to look like a Christmas decoration. Not the look I wanted to go for. In the end I decided a giant magpie could help with that.

The pattern is my basic block with a v-neck and a circle skirt. I also lowered the back right to the edge of the skirt, and added a panel in the same fabric as the appliqué (black linen) to keep it bra-friendly. I did lose some weight since April, so now the bodice has gone from very snug to slightly loose. Oh well!

Since the linen is quite drapey I wanted to add some extra poof to the skirt. I was running low on time (opera deadline!) so the finish is less than stellar, but I basically chopped a chunk of the skirt lining off and added a long gathered strip to the hem. Extra fluffy with no added petticoats! The full circle skirt makes for excellent twirling material, but I do have to be careful about flashing my butt. Let's just say a few pretty risqué pictures were taken today.

On to the actual eyecather, the giant magpie! This was relatively easy to do. I laid out my skirt and bodice pattern to get an idea of the scale, sketched the bird I wanted on a big piece of paper and copied it onto the black linen with some tracing paper. Hand-sewing the thing to the dress was the hardest part, with lots of careful pinning to make everything lie nice and flat. I didn't finish the edges at all, since turning them under would disturb the lines a bit too much (and don't even get me started on adding a seam allowance to that) but the slight fraying actually looks really nice!

Here's a closer look at the big bird and all the cat hair all over it. After sewing it in place I used a few different fabric paints to add detail. The most striking parts are just opaque white, applied with a dry brush, but I also added some metallic blue and green for that real magpie look. I wanted to make a real eyecatcher of a dress and think it worked out!

There's more fabric painting in the near future, so I'm going to leave you with my boyfriend doing something he wanted me to do first:

"Lie down on the ground in the fanciest thing I've made in ages? No waaaaay..."

20 juli 2015

My Dungarees still make them Hungry, and then I tell you how to do something.

Remember when I made dungarees before and said I was going to make the short version next? I had envisioned these for colder weather (with tights) but after the success of my playsuit I felt a sudden need for more grown versions of children's clothing, so I here are the Pauline Alice Turia dungarees, part two!

Sadly, I took pictures whilst rushing around a cool museum with friends, so the only shot of the entire thing is this one:

Lesson learned: do one thing at a time.
We went to see an exhibition about Belgian fashion, and I'd definitely recommend it! It was a collection of garments by different designers and from different times with no clear theme, but you could get really close to the garments to take a look. Way nicer than looking at them behind glass!

There were loads of things to covet as well:

That being said, I made some dungarees. These are the short version of the pattern, with no real fitting adjustments. I did change a truckload of things:

I like the first pair I made (where I followed the pattern to the letter) but thought some of the details were a bit too homemade. So I gave the front a waistband, used a button instead of a zipper as a closure and added more of a jeans-style pocket (and even a coin pocket!) instead of patch pockets. This was super easy to do! I even wrote it down in case someone else wants to give it a go:

(Click to enlarge!)
I also lengthened the straps by about 20 cm, which means I can thread them through the clips with plenty to spare and enough room to move. The crossroads demons from a previous post came back at this point, and went at it with their best Britney impressions:

I can't see the difference at all.
I used a pretty heavy dark gray denim for the body of the dungarees, and decided to use something lighter for the facings. I have some treasured scraps of space cotton left, and used them for the inside.

The back piece is faced like this up to the waist as well, instead of only just below the straps. I might add some bias tape to the part below the back facing, since it's the only raw seam that's sort of exposed (the instructions have you just fold the edges down and topstitch, which looks nice from the outside but not so nice from the inside). I do love getting a glimpse of space when I take my clothes off!

I also made the back pockets a bit larger (they are the same size for every size and I felt they were swimming around on a vast expanse of fabric in the previous version). I toyed with the idea of adding a label or patch somewhere, but went with a few stencilled silver stars in the end. Heh heh, butt stars!

I love how this turned out, and already wore it quite a lot! It's an easy thing to throw on when you have lots of cycling or walking to do. It was perfect for this day in Brussels as well! After the exhibition we did a little workshop where you could recycle old clothes into something new. The results were surprising!

There is video footage of me running around in the cape my friend Maarten has made. Good luck finding it.

12 juli 2015

I'll take that cute little playsuit. In black, please.

People, it has been hot as balls lately. I don't cope well with heat, and it has led to some emergency sewing (one time when 'I don't have anything to wear!' is actually true!). With predicted temperatures up to 40° celcius and air conditioning at work that's less than reliable, I needed something loose and comfy.

Enter the Salme patterns playsuit. I've had this pattern for YEARS but something kept me from making it (mostly the combination of not being too fond of my thighs but not liking longer length shorts either. No idea why I bought it in the first place.)

Balancing is though.
Just a word of warning: The instructions are brief. They're literally one page with a few diagrams (which is, admittedly, more than what you can say about Burda). They weren't always clear either, by the way. I don't think I would have figured out the pockets when I first bought the pattern!

As you can see here, I omitted the waistband. That's because this thing is apparently drafted for people who are a lot taller than me! It's weird, I've never really had to adjust patterns when it comes to torso length, and now this is the second time in a month I come across something that is at least ten cm too long! As a quick fix I decided to just skip the waistband and make the casing in the waist seam. (Another thing that wasn't very clear in the instructions: they tell you to cut a rectangle of a certain size for the waistband but omit to mention that you actually need two! One for a lining.)

I had lengthened the shorts a bit to make sure I didn't end with buttcheeks hanging out (there's only so much I can get away with at work) and I ended up chopping it all off again because the shorts hang a bit lower now! The good thing is I can easily bend over now without worrying about bursting out of my clothes. I also added a button to the pockets to keep them from hanging too much.

The fabric is a nice and drapey black viscose I've had in my stash for a while. Nothing much to say here, it's like most of this type of viscose I've worked with: sews and presses well, awesome to wear.

The little kimono sleeves are pretty awesome! I get sunburned really quickly, so covering my shoulders (and loads of sunscreen) is always a plus, but nobody wants to wear sleeves in the heat... So something light and flappy that just about covers them works well enough.

If I make this again i'd definitely take some length out of the bodice. The reason that I didn't do that on this make is mainly because the excess length is more in the shoulder/neckline area: it's way too low to wear without a top underneath it. Apart from the weird pocket instructions (which only really make sense if you use a pocket lining with an entirely different colour) and the slight fit issues I really like this pattern, and might even make a second one!