26 juli 2016

Very nice. Very basic. Very military - the Boyfriend

Guess what! I'm going to Mexico in September!

We had been thinking about this trip for a while but didn't get around to booking tickets until recently. We are flying to and from Mexico City and have about three weeks time to see things! We're not sure yet about how adventurous our trip is going to be, but we'll be travelling light, so bringing three weeks' worth of dresses isn't an option. I decided I wanted to make some shorts and bring those along with a few tops, a skirt and maybe some very light dresses. I finished some shorts last night so when I went to Ghent to talk business with this guy and go for a swim I took them for a test run!

I also found a jar of hair dye in a cupboard so now I'm bright blue again, yay!
The top is a simple copy of a top I already owned, made in a viscose jersey with a Vermeer painting on it. I like the idea of these paintings-printed-on-fabric but finding a pattern for them really isn't easy! This panel wasn't too massive though, just enough for a long tank. The fit is fine (since it's a copy) but I seem to have been a bit too generous with seam allowances on the armholes, since they're a bit tight. Not tight enough to want to redo them, though!

Here's a better picture of the shorts. I went through my collection of Burda magazines and went for this pattern. Burda patterns tend to fit me really well most of the time but for some reason these turned out a bit big. I went for a size 40 after taking my measurements again to be sure and had to take about 8 cm out of the waist and butt to make them fit, and they're still a bit loose. Taking more out of the center back seam would move the side seams too far back though, so I just call these my eating shorts.

Here's a jumping picture that doesn't really show anything! It just indicated the point in time when there were no more people around and our photoshoot became less stiff.

I used a khaki green linen that had been in my stash FOREVER. I'm not even 100% sure it's linen, it frays and presses like linen but it doesn't seem to wrinkle as much.

My photographer then convinced me to channel my sexy side. Little did she know this is an impossible task. I really tried.

By the way, check my fly-front zip! I challenged myself to only use the instructions provided by Burda to see if I could do it, and it was... Surprisingly easy. No problems, really. I had done a fly front before on my Moss skirts, so I kind of remembered how they worked, and suddenly everything made sense.

These shorts are a really good basic, and I like the length (not so long that they make me look like I'm on a jungle expedition, not so short my ass cheeks are hanging out). I'll probably make a second pair in a textured woven cotton, but remove the front pleat and use jeans-style pockets instead of the slanted ones here. Maybe even back pockets if I have enough fabric!

I'm going to leave you with what might be the most awkward blog picture I have ever taken. This is what you get when your photographer has never done this before and you're both super hyper and hungry:

'We need a picture of the back!' 'YES'

18 juli 2016

I heard you like ravens...

I got to release my inner party animal this weekend when my friend Maarten hosted an animal-themed birthday party! Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while (or knows me in real life) knows I'll take any chance to show up in a costume, but on this occasion I didn't have a lot of time so I had to work with my closet. Thankfully there are floor-length black flocked velvet dresses in there, so I only needed a mask to make me a raven. Or something. The Ravenclaw jacket I had made earlier was the perfect finishing touch for when the evening got cooler, so we headed to the field next door for a photoshoot.

I had this dark blue velvet in my stash for a while (as you do) and I wasn't really sure about what to do with it, since velvet can get really cheesy real fast (coming from someone who is dreaming of a green velvet trenchcoat...). In the end I went for a real tried and true pattern: the Rigel bomber by Papercut patterns.

This was the fourth Rigel I've made, and I still love it (one, two and three here). It's a remarkably quick pattern to sew, and it works for SO MANY fabrics. I made the size medium with no modifications and added a lining.

But the real surprise is in the back! I wanted to add a few Ravenclaw touches without being totally obvious, so I cut a raven silhouette and some moon shapes out of silver pleather and hand-stitched them on. As you do. It might be a bit much but I like it a lot!

At this point my friend Hélène decided to help me take my pictures. We both only wore our masks for a short while during the actual party, they look cool but it's hard to stuff your face with a beak of fox face. I made mine by trimming a store-bought papier maché mask until it fit my face better, adding a paper beak and feathers and then painting the entire thing.

She really liked that field.

I've made this jacket three times before, so I can't really tell you anything new about the construction. This velvet seemed to be way easier to work with than the black stuff I used for my Beekeeper's dress back in the day, it didn't slip around nearly as much... The only thing I had to baste was the zipper, and I noticed it turned out a bit asymmetrical. I might rip it out and do it again sometime (probably not).

At this point my friend Nena and the birthday boy also joined the fun, and any hope for serious pictures was lost forever. Maarten managed a few jumps on his bare (!!) feet and the rest of the pictures is mostly everyone laughing like crazy. It was a pretty good weekend!

10 juli 2016

I've never felt so trendy. Witness the glory of the midriff.

Finally! I have been sewing like crazy these past few weeks but my photographer was absent most of the time so we never really had an opportunity to photograph anything. Yesterday was an amazingly nice summer day so when a friend invited us over for lunch I put on my new skirt + crop top set and snuck some pictures in her garden.

Hang on, crop top? Yep! I took a page out of Hanne's book and made my own matchy outfit. Check it out, almost looks like a dress, right?


This was a pretty easy make. I used this Burda pattern as a base because it fit me well and it didn't need closures, and just eliminated the sleeves. And then chopped quite a bit off the length. The skirt is just rectangles and a waistband. Short rectangles since I didn't have that much fabric (I feel like I've been saying that a lot, maybe I should get over my delusion that I can make anything out of 1,5 metres of narrow fabric)! I like the proportions in the end though, a longer skirt would have made it less playful.

The fabric is a yarn-dyed hand-woven cotton that I bought at Bolt in Portland on our trip over there. It was a dream to work with, and is perfect for this in my opinion: enough body to make it look structured but still soft and breathable. I completely abandoned any pattern matching on this though, especially on the back. I couldn't cut it on the fold because not enough fabric so there's a seam, and I ended up taking a chunk out of the waist because it was just too wide so now there's an eyesore of a mismatched seam. Look away, Sewing Bee judges! I did finish all the edges and hems with bias facings, which have been hand-stitched down. Can I get some points back for that?

I did my first ever exposed zipper using this Megan Nielsen tutorial. It's not perfect, but I'll definitely do one of these again (I'm actually planning to sew this exact outfit again in a lightweight denim... And paint it of course). The only problem I have with exposed zippers like these is that the metal teeth are right next to my skin, which can both get hot or cold depending on the weather.

I also painted eyes on the backs of my shoes so I can always spot my enemies. Or something.

I wore this to a friend's garden for lunch first since this is a pretty new silhouette for me, and I wasn't sure how comfortable I would feel with a short skirt and a top that shows skin where I'm definitely not used to showing skin (I haven't even worn a bikini in years). In the end I felt all right in it, so this is an experiment that went well!

Bonus picture of Morris, my friend's awesome cat. The only reason he's not desperately trying to escape my arms here is that there was a bird outside.