21 juni 2017

Triangles Are My Favourite Shape

(I'm not entirely sure about that but it sounds good)

Summer has definitely arrived here, and I try to get away with wearing as little as possible to stay comfortable. I recently discovered that a whole lot of my summer clothes from last year don't fit anymore, so I've been planning some lightweight sewing. At the top of the list was a breezy cotton summer dress:

I had an allergic reaction to an ant bite so could only wear these shoes for a few days. Also pictured: Joost, or at least his shadow.
I had this fabric in my stash for a long time, it came from Pauwels (where I also bought the fabric for this other strappy summer dress. Hey, if it works...). I had intended to make a playsuit out of it, but thought a dress might get more wear. I'm very particular in what length of shorts I want to wear (basically, they have to be quite short or I'll feel really stocky and frumpy) but I'll often lack the confidence to have that much leg on show, so a slightly longer dress will definitely get worn more often. Does that make sense?

The pattern is a simple one, and I drafted it myself, starting from my bodice block. I rotated the side bust darts out to the waist darts and evened out the bottom so I could just gather it for a dartless bodice. The neckline was eyeballed and took two tries to get it right (the first attempt was too low in the back to fully cover my bra band and too narrow in the front).

My previous appartment (from hell) is actually in the backgound.
The gathered bodice is attached to a straight waistband, which has a gathered skirt attached onto it. I had limited yardage (end of the bolt so not my fault for once) and cut everything on the cross grain because I liked the print more with the stripes running horizontally. The skirt is two gathered rectangles, not super voluminous (because not that much fabric) so it's a bit narrower and more tulip-shaped than usual. I was a bit worried that there would be too much gathering all around and that the top part would get super blousy, so I was very careful about the length of the bodice!


Try to ignore the mismatched stripes on the back bodice and look at the strap action going on here! Some people might call this a dress that is not 'bra friendly' but I don't actually mind visible bra straps- as long as the bra itself is covered. (what is the problem anyway? People will know that- gasp!- I'm wearing underwear?). The straps are narrow tubes of fabric, and getting them right took some work. The neckline of the dress is finished with a facing (I thought about lining it but it might have gotten too bulky with all the gathering and just too WARM) and I sandwiched the straps between shell and facing at the front only. I then tried it on, pinned everything in place and hand-stitched the straps down. The outer ones still kind of fall off my shoulders (as seen in these pictures) but I think I'll leave it or they might get too tight.

I really like the shape of this neckline and will probable make another version as a top... There is some silk lurking in my stash that would be perfect.

12 juni 2017

Girls Girls Girls

I'm working on a little something that's called #justgirlythings. It involves lots of drawings of girls, so I dove into my archive of old photographs and made some sketches:











(click for larger versions)

The end result is going to be in cut out paper, not pencil. It's also going to be a lot gorier. Stay tuned!

10 juni 2017

One Granny Bullet, Dodged

Here's something else I've made  with one of the fabrics I bought in Germany! I had spotted this viscose crepe at Stoff & Stil and loved it at first sight, but I knew I'd have to be careful about my pattern choice here. I was a bit worried that the print, combined with the crepe texture, would make for a grannyish look if combined with a pattern that was too... Strict? So I went for something light and floaty, and combined it with short shorts.


Still seems a bit conservative, maybe? Well, the real surprise is in the back:


I had spotted this loose foldover back top thing in one of the sewing magazines at work and took it home one night to trace the pattern. This might have been a quick and easy sew, but I decided to make things harder for myself! The fabric was super shifty so I had to be careful while cutting, and I didn't have much of it (barely a yard, it had been cut very crookedly- the lady in the shop noticed this and asked me if it was ok though, so it wasn't a nasty surprise or anything!) so the only reason I got this top out of it was that it's pretty short.


The pattern came with facings for the neckline and hem, and I just kind of scoffed at that idea (nothing to do with me not having enough fabric to even think about facings, haha). Cutting, interfacing and sewing a hem facing on this thing with all its rounded bias edges sounced like hell, so I decided to make bias tape out of my remaining scraps of fabric. Very sensible! I managed to cut strips that weren't even that uneven, sewed them on and hand-finished everything for a cleaner finish.


 This top also turns out really short, and not really bra friendly! I'm wearing a very cropped black top underneath, because if I bend over or anything my entire back is on show. Which is perfect for summer, of course. I decided to pair it with some high-waisted shorts made from an old Burda issue, and think it looks fine. I'm not too sure about the pleats in these shorts, maybe they would work better in a drapier fabric so they're less poofy. For now I'm happy with my grannyshirt and poofypants though!

04 juni 2017

When You Are The Moon, The Best Form You Can Be Is A Full Moon

And by that I mean that if you get an occasion to get all fancy you should just GO FOR IT!

Every year the students of the Antwerp Fashion Academy present their final work in a fashion show, and since many of them frequent the store I work at now (come say hi if you're in Antwerp!) we thought it would be fun to go see it. I had seen these guys a lot over the past few months, getting more and more stressed out, but it was definitely worth it! The show was awesome, and we saw some really interesting things. But what did I wear?

I had seen this Vogue pattern pop up here and there recently, and got intrigued. The pattern photo looks a bit weird, and the fabric they chose doesn't do the design any justice in my opinion, but I thought the line drawings looked promising!

I had not worked with a Big 4 pattern in ages, so after checking the size chart I decided to measure the pattern pieces. Doing that turned out to be a good decision: I am a size 14 according to their size chart, but the waistband for that size is over 7 cm larger than my actual waist size. That is a lot of ease for a waistband that kind of supports the entire dress, so I sized down. The skirt portion fit really well out of the envelope, but I had to make the top a lot smaller as well. I took about 10 cm of width out of the center back and omitted the split and loop (I was also lowering the neckline so wouldn't need it to be able to pull the dress over my head). I also removed a wedge fron the center front because the neckline was gaping. The bodice was too long on me, causing it to blouse way too much, so I raised the shoulders (also eliminating that crazy shoulderpad) and lowered the armholes to compensate. Phew!


Construction is interesting on this one. It's basically a skirt and top, with the top pleated in front and sewn between the waistband and waistband facing, making it look like it's been tucked in. This means the entire back and side is loose, which makes for a nice breezy feel and easy acces in case of itchiness. The back is still really loose and I considered taking a bit more out of the center, but that would make getting in and out of this dress even more of an adventure! I like how the hem on the top has some interesting curves going on, instead of just being straight across. The neckline and armholes are finished with a facing, and I chose to do all my hems by hand.


The pleats give the skirt some nice fullness at the front. I feel like I could shorten the top a tiny bit more, since it still feels really blousy unless I stand up absolutely straight. Or maybe this dress will finally teach me good posture! Next time I'll probably omit the center front seam and cut that piece on the fold, since there doesn't really seem to be a reason for a center front seam anyway. There are inseam pockets, but they are anchored in the waistband as well, which means they don't shift around too much. This works really well on this type of fabric but would probably be too bulky on heavier things!


All this talk about sewing and fitting and I haven't even mentioned the fabric! I wanted something drapey but not super thin and unstructured, and found the perfect viscose at the Fabric Sales with Hanne and Joost. I had envisioned this in black, but this nice deep not-quite-blue-not-quite-green caught my eye. It also has a slight silvery sheen to it that doesn't photograph at all, so you'll just have to take my word for it. I had 3,5 meters and still have enough left to make something else, even after cutting this in a maxi length!

I went for maxi because the pattern length looked really frumpy on me (I'm not made for midi lengths) and cutting it shorter would look really unbalanced. The skirt is pretty straight, even with the added fullness in front, so I made a split in the back to make walking easier.

I really like this dress and think there might even be room in my wardrobe for another one!

"Go stand by the motorcycle and do something!" "Eh"

29 mei 2017

Don't Swear! What Are We?

What do you do when you make something as a wearable muslin and it ends up kind of meh, imperfect and bland, but too good to just throw away?

Put some paint on it of course.


I currently have two t-shirt patterns that work really well for me (I've been using the Nettie pattern quite often, never as intended, but never blogged about those t-shirts because they're mostly black and boring. The other one is the modified Renfrew I've posted about twice before) but I would like to have a good basic tank pattern as well, since I don't do well with heat and just want to wear sleeveless things all summer. This is a first try, a copy of a tank top I already owned in a cheap grey viscose jersey. It's wearable, but there are a few issues.


The main issue is that I feel like the armholes and neckline are too high, which I'll try to fix on the next try by lengthening the straps a bit. The binding is also a smidge too short, but that might have been this particular fabric (which had less stretch than what I'm used to with these types of jersey). I do like the overall shape a lot: fitted on top and flared out towards the bottom, with a curved hem I couldn't photograph at home. Next time!

"When I grow up I want to be a vegetarian werewolf" - actually true.

After finishing this I knew it wouldn't really get worn as it was, so I got out my fabric paint and added one of my favourite movie quotes of all time. This took maybe half an hour to do by the way, I cut a round stencil for the shape of the moon and sort of dotted the paint inside of it to get those craters going, and then freehanded the words (which kind of shows, woops!)

So there you go, a 'meh' thing that now makes me smile. This is why:

21 mei 2017

I Sacrificed A Goat For This

Ok, not really. But getting this thing cut out did feel a bit like black magic. See, I had this sudden need for a pair of long black linen dungarees, and thought I had two meters in stash to make it happen. Imagine the infernal screaming that was produced when I discovered it was only a meter and a half, with bits cut away to be used in other projects! I was determined to make it work though, and set up an altar:



Ok, again, not really. I went rooting through my scraps and found two more tiny pieces of black linen from the same shop, did some crazy pattern tetris (while still managing acceptable pattern placement, grain-wise) and cut the whole thing out. Another fabric yield win!


So yeah, linen dungarees. These are exactly the same as my space trashbag pants, only full length instead of shorts (and I also changed the back a bit). I used the Morgan jeans as a base and was a bit worried about how and if these jeans would look in linen, but it turned out fine! I like the first pair of Morgans I made but the non-stretch denim bags out a LOT with wear, and by that I mean that they fit really well right after washing but look like those skater jeans every boy in my school wore when I was fifteen at the end of the day. These have relaxed a bit with wear, but not that much. Phew!


I did one thing differently and that was to forego the back bib, instead making the straps come straight out of the waistband. It took a bit of fiddling to get them in the right position so there wouldn't be any weird pulling, but I think it's a nice variation.


Sewing these is pretty straightforward by now (although I did mess up and sewed the center back seam before attaching the back yoke parts, so there was a bit of cursing and unpicking (top)stitching and stuff. I used the bib pattern from these Knipmode dungarees, which works fine. There's a bit of a weird gape at the side but I can fix that on the next pair (who knows when that will be though). As usual, these close with buttons at the waist, which is a really easy modification to make to a jeans pattern (I can make a sketch if anyone's interested!).


I removed the patch from these short dungarees to put it on these, because it seemed more fitting here. I wore this to go fabric shopping with Hanne and Joost, and then visited Hanne's inlaws to look at dogs and lambs, followed by fries in the sun. This will probably become a wardrobe staple, even if it kind of makes me feel like what a mom in a 90s sitcom or tv movie would look like if she was painting cabinets or something, but in a good way. Does that make sense?

UPDATE

Someone asked for a tutorial, so here it is!

(click for a larger version)
To sew this:

- Interface both the facing and extension piece

- Before sewing the side seams, fold the extension in half with right sides together. Sew the bottom closed and turn right side out.

- Sew the facing and extension pieces on the front and back leg pieces with right sides together. I use a slightly smaller seam allowance so the seam won't be visible on the outside.

- Press both pieces away from the front and back legs and sew the side seam, being careful not to catch the facing or extension in the seam.

- Fold the facing under, press. You can add a bar tack through all layers at the bottom of the opening to keep the facing and extension in place.

- Attach front and back waistbands like you normally would.

- Make buttonholes where needed, attach buttons.

I hope that's clear!

10 mei 2017

It's Basic, Bitch

I've been having basics on my mind lately. Don't worry, there's still plenty of room in my heart (and ideas in my head) for prints and statement dresses, but some days I just want to wear something simple and be done. Since I kind of decided to stop buying things I can make (so, that's almost everything, except for things like socks and underwear- not jumping on that trend anytime soon- or shoes) I suddenly find myself sewing t-shirts and solid linen skirts, like this:


First up: the t-shirt! This is My modified Renfrew again, slightly longer this time (I wanted to be able to wear this with lower waisted jeans or tuck it into a skirt) and in a much drapier viscose jersey. Again, I didn't alter the pattern except for straightening out the side seams for a looser fit. I like how it hits this nice balance between fitted and oversized!


I used a plain black viscose jersey for the bands on the neckline and cuffs, partly for contrast and also because I thought making them in the stripes would be a bit much. Next time I might cut the neck band a tiny bit shorter, since I feel it's maybe a bit too floppy. It was a bit loose on my previous version as well, but it's not as obvious because it was a heavier cotton. I already got slightly dizzy while cutting this thing out! It's very soft and comfy though, and I can see this getting tons of wear over the summer.


Now for the skirt! It's a full circle skirt, again, I know. I used to avoid them because I didn't like the way they looked on me, but I found that cutting them slightly shorter than I used to makes a huge difference! This one is made from a burgundy linen, which makes it drape and flow nicely. I have some more pieces of linen waiting to make something out of them, and can't get the idea of black linen dungarees out of my mind. ALL THE LINEN!


The skirt closes with an exposed zip in the back, which is one of my favourite ways to take a skirt from meh to slightly less boring, maybe? I usually fall back on this Megan Nielsen tutorial to install them and it makes it a breeze.

I was really happy with this skirt and it would make one of those perfect summer things that go with everything, but then I spotted something that put this look on my face:






When I was sewing this, I noticed there was a very clear crease on the front where it had been cut on the fold. These can be stubborn sometimes, but I figured I could always give it a soak and press if I didn't get it out with a steam and press. Anyway, after assembling everything and pressing the crease out I noticed it's not just a fold, it's also slightly faded. As in, there's a faded line right down the center front of my skirt (it doesn't show in pictures but it's definitely noticeable in real life).

I'm going to try throwing this into the wash, hopesully the colour will still run a bit and maybe even things out a little. If that fails I can either:

- Accept this minor defect other people probably won't even notice until I point it out, which I definitely will, every time someone says ANYTHING at all about this skirt
- Take the entire thing apart, turn the front piece around and resew the skirt (the fabric has no right or wrong side and the line doesn't show on the inside of the skirt. WHY DIDN'T I NOTICE THIS IMMEDIATELY I COULD HAVE USED THAT AS THE OUTSIDE AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN PERFECT)
- Throw the skirt into a corner, curl up into a different corner, pout until I realise how ridiculous it all it, shrug, donate skirt and make something else.

We'll see what happens!

Also: thank you Joost for the pictures!

03 mei 2017

It's My Party And I'll Dress Like an Oil Painting If I Want To

I seem to have started a tradition of making a birthday dress every year! Truth is, I love sewing and wearing 'fancy' things, but I do feel like I need a reason to. So I'll grab any occasion for party dress sewing! And make a dress out of cotton canvas. Hm.


I got this fabric during my trip to Leipzig. My friend Stefhany said she knew a store where she gets her embroidery floss that also sold fabric, and would I like to take a look? HELL YEAH! There wasn't that much interesting stuff (apart from maybe the Kermit-printed sweater stuff with neon green fluffy wrong side) but they had this beautiful floral print in the home decor section. (as well as something with kittens my company made me buy. Not so sure about what that will become though). It looks like an oil painting, especially with the canvas texture!


I mentioned before how I would have to rework my bodice block because my shape has changed a bit over the past few years, and I can proudly say that this is the first dress I've made from a block drafted from scratch! I followed the instructions from this book and then messed around with it until I achieved something acceptable enough for me. (I would write a post about it but I only have weird photobooth muslin pictures and really not that much to say since it wasn't as hard as I expected) The bust fit is maybe a bit weird in these pictures but that's because I got a spontaneous ribcage tattoo on Saturday and I was unable to wear a normal bra!


I kept things very simple, trying to keep the front of the bodice a bit plainer so I wouldn't be overwhelmed by florals and letting them shine on the full circle skirt. I cut the bodice in a single layer so I'd be sure there wouldn't be any floral nipples or other weirdness! The bodice is lined in a thin black cotton, the skirt is unlined and hemmed with a bias facing.


I swear that back seam matched perfectly when I started out... But apparently the amount of ease I had decided on during the muslin stage was a bit too much for this stiffer fabric (or maybe I just made that muslin on a fat day?). In any case, I tried it on after finishing (stupid!) and the back was gaping pretty badly. It wasn't horrible and I doubt anyone who doesn't sew would really notice, but I knew it would bother me forever so I unpicked my hand-picked zipper, took arbout 3 cm out of the back and redid the thing. Much better! I think I'll make the neckline a tiny bit wider the next time, but for now this works well.

This is my 'children's tv-show presenter' impersonation. Hey kids!

I wore this on my birthday party (changing into a fleece onesie at one point for the sake of comfort due to the aforementioned fresh ribcage tattoo) and then the next day on my actual birthday, for a trip to the zoo with Hélène. It was raining so we needed an inside location for pictures, and decided the elephant building was perfect since all the elephants were outside and there was nothing to see inside (so no people either). The trouble was that us being in there made everyone outside think there was something to see, so there was some awkward standing around waiting for a ton of confused people with strollers to leave again. Woops! We also met a slightly crazy guy who kept pointing out dead butterflies. Good times.

Now, can someone organize something that would require me to wear something made out of black velvet and gold sequins please?

19 april 2017

Bunny Ears Are For Losers

My family usually has a big gathering around Easter, as lots of families do. It's not a super fancy affair but I had the idea for this outfit in mind for a while, and sometimes you just need a reason to make something, right?

So here is my black lace crop top and skirt ensemble. Because it was my goal to look like a goth curtain (or Spanish widow?) on Easter.


I got this lace at Pauwels when it was still there (eternal sadness) and kind of knew from the start this was what I wanted to do with it. It's a pretty heavy duty lace that feels like cotton (and pressed like cotton) with a nice drape. I decided to play with the transparency by underlining the skirt and leaving the top sheer. Risqué!


I used a Burda dress pattern I've made twice before as the base for the top pattern, shortening (and narrowing) the sleeves, lowering the neckline a tiny bit and taking a chunk out of the back to make it a bit less boxy. The lace was opaque enough for the seams to not be too jarring, so I just finished them with a zig zag stitch. I did trim and finish the bust darts instead of just pressing them down! All the edges and hems are finished with narrow black bias tape. and then handstitched down.


The skirt is my trusty full circle skirt, shortened considerably. I cut this way longer at first (and had to do some real pattern tetris to get everything out of my yardage!) but ended up chopping about ten cm off because I felt the boxy top with a kneelength skirt was too frumpy.

The entire skirt is underlined in a thin black cotton. I used a plain black cotton poplin for the inside of the waistband since the idea of having the lace up against my bare skin all day didn't seem like a good one. The skirt closes with a hand-picked zipper and a big button on the side!

Wearing the lace top by itself was a bit too much, so I shortened a spaghetti strap top I already owned to make it slightly shorter than the lace. It took maybe five minutes and works like a charm!


It was too cold to wear this outfit as intended, so I kept my cardigan on for most of the day. I did attempt to play baseball in this, and I'm pretty sure the dreadful results of that have more to do with my abysmal catching, hitting and running skills that with the actual outfit!

14 april 2017

Universe




Drawn in Berlin while tired one night.

(Click for larger and readable versions)

11 april 2017

I Was Born This Way. And By That, I Mean Tired.

I have a small problem with sleeping. As in, I'm not very good at it. Especially the falling asleep part. On normal days it takes me at least an hour, on bad days... Let's just say that on bad days I'm happy to get three hours.

This means that I often feel a bit tired during the day. So instead of trying to fix the problem I just made a t-shirt that says 'BORN TIRED'. There! Done!

Joost and I try to meet once a week to work on a slightly nerdy project, so I asked him to take pictures of my new t-shirt before we got started. He was obviously very enthusiastic and could hardly wait:

Also pictured: the tote bag I got at Les Voizines last Saturday
So yes, I made a black cotton t-shirt. Here it is:


I used a plain black cotton jersey I got at Stoff & Stil during my trip to Berlin. It might seem like a pretty dull fabric to buy on a trip, but I had a very clear idea of what I wanted this shirt to look like (not too drapey so viscose jersey was a no), my local fabric shop had no black cotton jersey and then I found this and just thought it was meant to be. The white is plain white ribbing, which I did buy in Belgium.

The pattern is the Sewaholic Renfrew, a classic I've had in my possession for ages and never made. I still haven't made it as is though, since I changed a few things!


The most notable change is that I shortened the t-shirt a bit. It's not a proper crop top since it's still lower than my natural waist, but it's a bit shorter than most of my storebought tees, which looks better with this type of skirt in my opinion. I also straightened the side seams for a boxier silhouette.


I'm glad to have finally made this pattern, it's a really well-drafted basic! The hardest part about this t-shirt was the letters. I spent a day thinking about what font to use, decided on Cooper Black (the same as the 'Vote for Pedro' shirt in Napoleon Dynamite!) and then spent an hour painting the letters on (with tiny brushes and some patience).

I already fell asleep wearing this once so it's a success in more than one way! Something tells me it'll be perfectly appropriate for work as well.

06 april 2017

Berlin/Adrenalin

I'm back from my short trip to Germany! We visited Leipzig and Berlin, saw loads of people and had a blast. I gave the Stoff & Stil store in Berlin all my money and ate SO MUCH FOOD!



First we spent the weekend in Leipzig with our friends Stefhany and Tim. They proved to be great hosts and guides, taking us to good food and making up stories when they didn't know the answer to our questions.





After that it was on to Berlin, where we spent our days visiting museums and hanging out with friends. I also managed to make at least one drawing every day:



(click to see larger versions)

We still had quite a few things planned for our last day, but things turned out a bit different! Picture us, waking up at a friend's appartment in the Oranienstraße. It's 9 in the morning, I just got dressed and the boyfriend is slowly waking up, checking his e-mail.

"I guess I'll just check us in for our flight home tonight, now I'm here"
"Yeah, sure!"
"That can't be right."
"What?"
"This says our flight leaves at 11."
"WHAT?"
"We'll never make it! Why did we think it was at eight???"
"GET DRESSED"
"IT'S TOO LATE"
"GO GET DRESSED I'LL GRAB OUR STUFF"

People, we made it. It was a stressful way to end a holiday and we regret not being able to meet the people we were supposed to meet on that last day, but we made it home in one piece (maybe with a few extra grey hairs).

I came back with a suitcase full of fabric, so expect some sewing soon!