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!

30 maart 2017

Britney's Silver Can

Boy, this blog is suddenly getting updated a lot! It might be the weather and the longer days, but I seem to have more opportunities to get out and take pictures. Earlier this week Hanne and me went out to take some pictures for her Etsy shop, and we took the opportunity to photograph my spankin' new silver jean shorts! (yeah, you heard that right)

Joost saw Hanne's pictures and was like 'ew that alley always smells like pee' but this part really wasn't too bad.

These are the Morgan jeans (AGAIN), obviously shortened a bit. I widened the leg by a few cm to make it a bit looser around the thighs and avoid that sort of reverse muffin top effect super tight shorts give (shudder). Getting this cut out was a puzzle since I only had one meter of this silver-coated denim and had already used a sizeable piece for a tote bag!


I just sewed these up as instructed, since I didn't make any changes apart from chopping most of the length off. My full length pair stretches out quite a lot after wearing it (even for a few hours) but these seem to have more recovery... Maybe it's the silver coating that prevents this non-stretch denim from getting stretched out in the first place?


That same silver coating posed some problems when it came to pressing. I could not apply the iron directly, even with lots of steam, without the silver coming off the fabric and onto the iron. Pressing cloth it was! I topstitched everything with a triple straight stitch and grey thread, and it looks pretty good (apart from that mismatched yoke seam...)


I made Hanne do jumping pictures so she wanted to get even. I've already worn these shorts three times since making them a week ago, which makes them a definite winner in my book! There was some debate about the hem finish, with some people preferring it cuffed and some people liking the hem just turned and stitched. I left the thing long enough to roll up into a cuff without making it look obscene, and thought I could always shorten the hem a bit more if I tire of cuffed shorts!

Hanne was sort of happy to see that I find taking pictures just as awkward as she did. It might sound ceird coming from someone who takes loads of pictures of herself for this blog, but I really don't like having my picture taken. You guys tend to get a selection of what I consider to be 'acceptable' ones, but I have to admit that most of the pictures I take look like this:

Maybe I should do a blog post with only these kind of shots!

This moment of blogging productivity has come to an end though. I'm leaving for a few days in Leipzig and Berlin on Saturday, and don't have anything to photograph! I am planning to try and draw some things, so if I manage to make a few nice sketches I might show you some.

Until then I will say goodbye with the song that inspired this post title (and maybe even these shorts). I tried counting the Justin Timberlakes in this a few times but always had to give up...


27 maart 2017

I Am a Trash Bag From Outer Space

Or at least, that's how these glittery dungarees make me feel. And it's not necessarily a bad thing.






I bought this fabric at Pauli during a very spontaneous (and maybe slightly stressful) shopping trip with Hanne to get a birthday present (aka gift certificate) for Joost. We had ten minutes to find out if they had gift certificates and to get one, but in those ten minutes I managed to spot a bolt of stretch glitter jeans, pet it and take some home with me.





I originally wanted to make a second pair of Ginger jeans out of this, but then I thought dungarees might get more wear in a way. With jeans you still have to pick a top to go with it, while dungarees are more like an outfit by themselves... Does that make sense? I only got 1,5 meters because I'm still delusional about fabric yield (and intended to make jeans at first anyway!) so these had to be shorts, which is fine, because I wore the shit out of those other short dungarees I made until they got wayyyy too big on me.


Let's talk pattern! These are the Morgan jeans, shortened a considerable amount of course, and with some modifications. Adapting a jeans pattern for dungarees isn't too hard, you just have to split the waistband in two pieces (one for the front and one for the back) and create some facings and fly shields for the side splits. I 'drafted' my own bib, back piece and straps for this and it worked fine. The front bib is maybe a tiny bit too large/long though.


Sewing this went really quickly, I've been on a bit of a jeans sewing kick lately (there are some silver shorts still to come!) so the construction was still fresh in my mind! I topstitched the hell out of this with black thread and my usual triple stitch. It's a bit wonky in places where I tried working on this late at night, but I'm pretty sure the glitter will distract from that!


Some details: I lined the bib and waistband in a sturdy wax cotton. I used silver buttons and couldn't find any silver rivets nearby (whyyy) so I used a little burgundy cross stitch instead. It adds a nice little detail! (eagle-eyed readers might notice I added these after taking pictures...)


Looks like the alien garbage truck has arrived. I'll try and post those silver shorts if I ever make it back to earth!

25 maart 2017

A Logo That's So Cool It Makes All Other Logos Look Ridiculous

That title? That was part of the brief Joost sent me when he asked me to design a logo for his new website, freesewing.org. No pressure!

Now, a tiny bit of background. First there was makemypattern.com, where Joost published the patterns he drafted (for free!) in a different way: instead of downloading a pdf and adapting it to fit you, you could enter all the necessary measurements and get a pattern drafted especially for you. Pretty cool/generous, right? Apparently not cool and generous enough, because now he's putting everything out there so people can not only download existing patterns, but draft their own. And for that, he needed a Cool Logo, which is where I came in.

Now, logos are not easy. Or rather, good logos are not easy. You're trying to create something that's recognizable, simple enough to be clear when seen from a distance but still original. Joost sent me a description of what he wanted which boiled down to 'I'm thinking skulls, robots, maybe robots and skulls, and all in all it has to look really cool and intimidating (but maybe also flirty).'

So I started sketching. At first I thought about combining a skull with sewing machine parts in a way, but this was too fussy and detailed for a logo. I even went looking for inspiration in the animal kingdom, looking at weaver birds and stuff! In the end I went back to basics, and made a bunch of sketches that combined skulls with good-looking sewing tools, like scissors and seam rippers. I had drawn one skull with a mohawk where some of the hair was threaded through the eye of a needle, and one skull holding a needle between its teeth, so we decided a combination of these two could work really well. If you're still reading after this wall of text, here's what I made:


This was handcut out of black paper, like most of the things I draw, and cleaned up in Photoshop. The biggest headache was figuring out how to make the hair look good and not be a million different pieces! Everyone involved seems to be really happy with the result, so hooray! It's also proven to work really well layered over pictures from my archives:

So yes, logos are hard, but this one wasn't too bad!


13 maart 2017

Cuz Ur a Sky Full of Starz

I was wondering about my style recently. I have definitely branched out from wearing mostly fit-and-flare silhouettes over the past few years, but I did notice that I wasn't even wearing those fitted bodices with full skirts that often anymore. And then it dawned on me that most of the older clothes I have in my wardrobe are a bit too big now, which means that the silhouette is kind of lost and they feel frumpy. I had a massive clearout a few weeks ago, getting rid of things that no longer fit my body or my style, and kept a few things I'd like to rework some day to get them wearable again. In the meantime I started on a few new dresses in that old beloved silhouette, and here's one of them!


The fabric for this dress was thoughtfully bought by my boyfriend as a Christmas gift, after I sent him a link and how much yardage I wanted. It's a cotton sateen with stars and moons printed in silver, in a kind of random pattern. I know I'm basically a parody of myself by now, but I love a good star print!


The fabric looks fine in real life, but super wrinkly in photos. Or maybe I should just get over myself and iron this one. I used my bodice block (again!) with a slightly raised and widened neckline and a shallow v-neck in the back. The skirt if a full circle skirt, which I seem to prefer over gathered skirts at the moment (although I'll always love me some poofiness). I also added two ties to the side seam to I could tie a bow in the front or back, and maybe cinch the dress a bit more if necessary. I thought this fabric would look better with a bow than with a belt!


I do feel it's time for me to take a long hard look at my block. I lost quite a bit of weight the past few years (intentionally, so don't worry) and I've been adjusting it on the go, mostly just by taking in the side seams. My shape has changed quite a bit though, so I'll have to make a proper muslin sometime and make some serious adjustments!

I like how this dress turned out though, even if there's some weirdness around the bust and waist. It's one of those things I wear on regular days when I feel like wearing something a bit more 'special', especially with my silver David Bowie party shoes. I wore it on a trip to the zoo this time, where we spotted a meerkat who was having some kind of revelation:


And for those of you wondering about the title: I had this stupid Coldplay song stuck in my head (for obvious reasons). Good thing it was this version:

23 februari 2017

The Year of the Tiger (Butt)

I bought a really cool patch a while ago, and thought it would be perfect for the back pocket of a pair of black jeans.

'Better make some jeans then!'

So I did.


These are the Morgan Boyfriend jeans by Closet Case Patterns, made in a black/dark grey non-stretch denim I bought ages ago. I also really like them!


These have a more relaxed fit than what I'm used to (the very few pairs of jeans I own or made are stretchy and fitted) and I'm not sure if they are actually flattering on me, but they are ridiculously comfortable and I feel good in them. Isn't that the most important thing? I made a straight size 10 after looking at the size chart and sizing recommendations, but I might size down a bit the next time. Maybe it's this specific denim but it seems to relax a lot during wear, so the jeans go from 'slightly slouchy' to 'quite baggy, actually' after a while. Again, it doesn't really bother me, but I'll keep it in mind for the next time!


Sewing these was surprisingly fast. I cut these out on a Monday evening and then finished them in two afternoons or so. I went with a triple stitch for topstitching, just like I did on my previous jeans adventure. The stitching itself is a bit slower, but it saves so much time not having to change threads all the time! I also think the slowness might help a bit with accuracy. These jeans close with a button fly, and even though I was a bit worried about it looking bulky I decided to try it (couldn't be arsed to think about zippers for a while). It looks fine but took some getting used to!


I like the overall fit. There is some excess fabric in the crotch so I might make a small adjustment if I make this pattern again, but chances are I'll forget all about it anyway. I'm wearing this with a t-shirt I made that says 'I have nothing to do with this'. My boss just sighed and said 'you do what you want'when I wore it to work.


Butt view! With a look at the patch that started it all! It's made by Kim Bollaert and if you want one for yourself (or one of the other patches she's made) you can find it here! I have no problems with the fit in the back. It's roomy enough to sit down in but not so baggy it makes me look shapeless.


My brother took pictures for this blog post and we tried a jumping picture. I fell flat on my face. This is about 0.01 seconds before impact, but of course he stopped taking pictures as soon as I hit the ground, so no evidence of that, sadly enough! You can see I'm getting an idea of what's about to happen at this point in the jump.


And finally, here's a clearer picture of the patch (excuse the wrinkles). I like how he looks very 'meh' about... Everything.

14 februari 2017

My Sister's Tiny Hands

Here's yet another song illustration! I promise I do draw other things from time to time. And this time it's not one drawing, but seven!

I had been listening to the Handsome Family a lot lately, and found the imagery in the song 'My Sister's Tiny Hands' very inspiring. The lyrics tell a very clear story, so I decided to tell that in a series of illustrations!

We came in this world together
Legs wrapped around each other
My cheek against my sister's
We were born like tangled vine


We lived along the river
Where the black clouds never lingered
The sunlight spread like honey
Through my sister's tiny hands

But while picking sour apples
In the wild waving grasses
Sister stumbled in the briar
And was bitten by a snake


Every creature casts a shadow
Under the sun's golden fingers
But when the sun sinks past the waving grass
Some shadows are dragged along


Alone, I took to drinking
Bottles of cheap whiskey
And staggering through the back woods
Killing snakes with a sharpened stick


But still I heard her laughing
In those wild waving grasses
Still her tiny hands went splashing
At the river's sparkling shore



So I took my rusty gas can
And an old iron shovel
I set the woods to burning
And choked the river up with stones

This is something I've been working on from time to time since our trip to Mexico (!!). I spent ages sketching, made four drawings in one day, waited for a few weeks, made two more and finally finished the last one last night. These are a bit more complex than the other song illustrations I posted. Every piece is still hand cut, but the different layers of colour were glued to separate pages and put together in Photoshop. This gives the effect of layers of colour instead of pieces of paper glued on top of each other! I also desaturated some of the colours to get a more muted effect.


I'm going to see this band live tomorrow night and I'm really excited about that! Here's the song if you want to give it a listen: