28 juni 2018

And Then My Friend Got Attacked By A Seagull

Last year the boyfriend and I went to London for Elcaf, a yearly comics and arts festival. There's always great stuff to be found and a lot of our drawing friends in the UK are there as well, which means lots of opportunities for catching up and hanging around (mostly in parks). This year my friend Charlotte Dumortier designed the poster (and just about everything else) so we went over with an entire Belgian delegation, handed out beer and chocolates and convinced people to come visit us. Charlotte decided to stick around with us a little longer, and to get a rest after the craziness that was Elcaf (Jayde won a prize!) we decided to go to Brighton for a day. I wore some clothes I made:

Both the top and skirt are my own patterns in a way, which doesn't mean much when we're talking about the skirt (it's all rectangles). I've been trying to create my perfect tank top pattern by rubbing off an old one I like and tweaking it every time I make it. This version is made from a viscose jersey with a very fine black and white stripe, and instead of using bands for the armholes and neckline I finished them with storebought viscose jersey bias binding. This worked really well, and saved me the hassle of cutting narrow bindings in viscose jersey. I might use this stuff on lighter weight knits more often!

The skirt is a gathered skirt with a front button closure. I simply started from my waist measurement, added a bit of ease and some extra for the overlap and cut three rectangles for the front and sides, using twice the width of the (narrow) fabric. The front edges were interfaced, folded over and topstitched down to form a placket. I also added pockets because there was no reason not to and apparently that's what I do now.

The fabric for this skirt is a poly-viscose crepe, which makes it perfect for travelling since it doesn't wrinkle as much, but the viscose content made it easier to press. I did give myself a bit too much ease in the waist (or the crepe relaxes too much) so this sits a bit lower than I'd like, even after all the food we had on this trip! I think I might open the waistband up (it's hand stitched closed on the inside) and add some elastic in the back to snug things up a little.

I found this at Snooper's paradise and loved it too much to leave it.
All in all, none of these garments are perfect in any way, but they are perfectly fine for days like this:

This little holiday was very needed and I came back with a lot of inspiration, so expect some stuff soon!

(And yes, Charlotte did get attacked by a seagull. Some ice cream was lost but no one got hurt)

18 juni 2018

Only Bring Essentials And Then Everything Else

Handbags aren't really my thing. I tend to carry a lot of stuff around so I usually have a backpack or tote bag on me, and sewing my own isn't really something I'm interested in! However, I felt like I could use something bigger than a backpack for short trips, and decided to give the Portside Duffel bag a try!

I had all the fabrics in my stash already, and only had to source the hardware. The black fabric is a basic black cotton twill reinforced with some heavy interfacing, and I used some heavy upholstery-type stuff I once found in a second hand shop for the contrast. It kind of looks like a grandma's couch, so... I guess that means I'm into making things that look like sofas now?

I didn't really change anything about the pattern, apart from adding zippers to the side pockets. I thought these would be more useful if I could close them and it turned out to be an easy change: I cut the pocket piece in two parts where I wanted the zipper to be and added some seam allowance. The zippers were sewn into the pockets, the top seam allowance was folded over and topstitched in place onto the bag and the rest of the pocket basted in place. I also added a little patch because it was perfect for this!

My zipper was a fraction too short so I added little pieces of folded fabric at the end to make it look a bit neater. I also made sure to hand baste the entire thing before stitching to make sure nothing moved around. It's a pretty large piece to manoeuver underneath the machine so I wanted to avoid the layers shifting.

The instructions were generally very clear, but the marking for the strap placement on the end pieces seem to be missing on my version of the pattern. This wasn't hard to figure out, but I can imagine it would be confusing for a beginner!

All classy with the chalk marks and street dust.
I didn't interface the contrast portions of the bag because I was worried it would get too stiff and the interfacing wouldn't stick well to the textured fabric. This makes the top a little floppy, but it also made the bag easier to work with! Constructing this isn't hard at all (it's mostly rectangles and precise stitching) but the sheer size of it makes it a bit challenging at times! The hardest part was attaching the bottom, which I did in four steps instead of one single pass. I also stitched it twice for a bit of extra sturdiness.

The lining was hand sewn in because I couldn't face the thought of putting all that stuff under the machine all over again!

I'll be testing this bag next week on a short trip! I'll be in London and Brighton, so definitely let me know if you want to meet up! I don't bite.

08 juni 2018

Draw Me Like One Of Your Ektorps

This is the most effort I've ever put into a picture background. Like, this literally took more time than making the actual dress! My friend Karen found an appartment in a really cool building dating back to the 1930s, and when I went over to help her paint everything white it turned into a sort of archaeological dig/restoration project! I liked the original wallpaper we'd dug up, so on another day we took the chance to take some pictures of a dress I made!

I'd had this really pretty stretch linen-viscose around for a while, but wasn't sure about what to make with it. It's a pretty heavy fabric with a rougher weave, and I was worried it would look like upholstery (and that the wrong pattern choice would make me look like a sofa). I then found a pattern for a bustier jumpsuit in a Burda issue and figured it could work with a circle skirt!

Taking pictures with Karen starts like this and ends even worse.
I made a quick muslin to check the fit and didn't have to change much, except for taking a bit of width out of the waist and flattening those horizontal bust seams a bit. They were very pointy! Smoothing this line a bit has helped, but I didn't want to remove too much since that would decrease cup volume. I was working on a deadline this time but I'd like to revisit this pattern and see if I can improve things.

I changed out of my work clothes really quick and failed to notice my bra was on show. SORRY
The bodice is lined in black cotton voile, and I added strips of boning to all the vertical seams for some structure. I also chose to attach the straps by hand after the bodice was assempled. This means the raw edges are visible on the inside, which isn't as pretty, but it did give my full control over the length and placement!

After assembling the dress I noticed the neckline was gaping a bit. My hurried ass scoffed at staystitching and I had probably stretched it during construction. I kind of fixed it with a trick I picked up from Fit for a Queen: cut a length of twill tape slightly shorter than the neckline and handsew it in place, easing in the extra fabric, to snug things up. It's the same as taping a roll line!

90% of my blog pictures look like this. It's a challenge sometimes.
So, is this perfect? No, but neither am I. It's pretty low cut and I'm not really used to that anymore (I seem to gravitate to higher necklines since working in a shop), but I like the shape of the bustier top and would like to revisit the fit issues at some point! Until then I'll just keep scraping wallpaper:

Maybe not the most realistic representation.