13 november 2020

The Estranged Widow

 So, a while ago I was browsing some fabrics online at three am, as one does. And I came across a very reasonably priced faux leopard fur. It was miles away from my usual style, but with Hanne in mind as a little devil on my shoulder telling me to go for it, I bought two meters. The idea? A very simple coat, to keep me warm in winter. After making said coat I got a bit of a 'estranged widow shows up and demands her late husband's fortune'-vibe, so me and my roommate Julie just went for it and staged a photoshoot. I set something on fire.

"You'll be hearing from my lawyer"

Pattern! I wanted something loose and relatively straight, and Burda 6359 ticked those boxes. It was also drafted to be made in faux fur, so I thought that was a safe bet. Burda fits me really well and... it's a loose-fitting coat, so I didn't make a muslin. I chose the longest version and added another ten cm, because I wanted a short coat and not a long jacket.

"Soon all this will be mine"

Cutting this out took an entire evening, even though there are only 5 pattern pieces. I cut everything on a single layer, keeping the pile in mind and trying to center The 'stripes' running through the fur on the back, collar and sleeves. This fur isn't that long but there was still plenty of fluff flying around!


Sewing this was really straightforward. I glanced at the instructions but there are no real surprises there. I was surprised at the lack of pockets though! I mean, a coat with no pockets at all? I decided to add side seam pockets, with a little fur facing to prevent them showing. It's a little bulky but not enough to bother me.

"The things I have to endure"

All in all this was a very quick sew, even if it covered me and the entire apartment with a layer of hair. After cutting out the pieces I was worried just the fur and a lining wouldn't be enough to keep the wind out, and what is the purpose of a fur coat if the wind just blows straight through it? So I got some cheap flannel from my stash, cut out the lining pieces a second time and basted them together. This makes this thing super toasty and also gave the coat a little bit of extra body.

"It's not real if it's burnt"

Speaking of that, the instructions specifically say not to interface anything. I get that a fusible wouldn't be a great idea, but maybe something sew-in? It's fine the way it is, but I do feel like the collar and front edges could do with a little more structure, even if it's just a thin cotton to help it keep its shape.

"There, all mine now"

All in all, I'm very pleased with this coat and secretly looking forward to colder weather so I can wear it! And even if it's still too cold I'll use my late husband's burning will to keep me warm...

11 oktober 2020

Farting Frogs on a Jacket

It seems like I'm becoming one of those cliché bloggers who start every post with 'I'm back guys! For real this time!'

I mentioned that things had been crazy in my previous post, and that that was why I had not posted in so long. Well guess what: it got crazier. My relationship of over ten years ended during lockdown and I had exams about a month later, and then a summer of healing, taking care of things and picking up the pieces. I remained somewhat active on Instagram and eventually started making things again, but I didn't have the energy to take blog worthy pictures and write a post. Until now! Me and my roommate Julie were showing a friend around the city, and we took a moment or two to take some pictures of a jacket I just finished.

The fabric for this jacket was bought in Paris during the Paris Sewcial in 2019. It feels like forever ago. I visited the Malhia Kent store with a few people and spotted this stretch jacquard. It was about 40 euros p/m but I had never found a more 'me' fabric. One meter came home with me, firmly destined to become a bomber jacket. 

Then the search for a pattern. I didn't want raglan sleeves because I thought the diagonal shoulder seams wouldn't look too great in the print, I wanted a higher (ribbed) neckline and I wanted a lining. It took some searching but then I found the Amelia bomber jacket through Wanderstitch's version. It had all the features I was looking for, and after reading a few reviews I went for it!

Here's the result:

I love it to pieces, but it was a journey to get there. The pattern company (Wardrobe by me) was completely new to me so I made a muslin, and while the fit was pretty spot on I decided to shorten the jacket a bit to make it more cropped (which looks better to me with high-waisted skirts and trousers). This also means I could squeeze it out of my tiny piece of fabric, sleeves and all! 

I also opted for welt pockets instead of the pattern's side seam pockets, especially when I read that they were kind of small. I just like the look of that contrast welt at the front, and used a black cotton sateen to avoid print matching. These pockets are tiny as well because of the croppedness of the jacket, but they hold a face mask!

Now sewing this was... Interesting. I consider myself a pretty advanced sewist, but the instructions for the hem band/facing had me stumped. If I sewed the seams and pressed them in the directions indicated, there was no way the hem band could be attached without weird funky stuff happening at the corners. In the end I unpicked what I had done and did it in a way that made sense to me, and it worked out. I felt a bit frustrated because none of the reviews I'd read mentioned this... Looking back I noticed that most blog posts were by pattern testers, and it looked like there was a difference between their version and mine: the woven part of the hem band seemed to be one with the front and the facing, while mine was a separate piece. I reread the instructions for this post and that part still doesn't make sense to me, so I wonder what's going on there...

I'm really glad I figured things out in the end, but it would have been a very frustrating experience five years ago! All in all, I LOVE this jacket. Even with farting frogs on it. It's a good step in the process towards feeling like myself again.

15 april 2020

In A Pickle

Hi! Anyone left here, or just crickets?

The end of 2019 and early 2020 were a bit... Crazy. We moved to a new appartment and I had three exams right after that. I spent the month of February taking a bit of a break and working on some projects, and thought 'hey, once the weather gets better I'll be able to go out and take some pictures!'.

And then the lockdown happened.

(For your information, I'm in Belgium, where measures aren't as strict as in Spain or Italy. I'm technically unemployed because all non-essential businesses had to close, but we are allowed to go outside for walks or bike rides. I try not to do this when it's not necessary since the weather is great and everyone seems to have taken up jogging, but it's tough.)

So yeah, going out to take pictures for a blog seems like a stupid idea right now. So we did a living room photoshoot. Get used to this background because you might see more of it!

The moment this dark green wide wale corduroy arrived at my job I knew I wanted to make a pair of overalls out of it. My boss very generously let me take some home and I set to work reworking the Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans to work for this. I previously turned the Closet Case Patterns Morgan into overalls (which I've made a few times and really became a wardrobe staple) and it's a very easy hack: you just need to redraft the waistband to open at the sides and draft some facing pieces for the side closures if you want to do buttons and buttonholes. I went for exposed zippers on this one, so it was even easier.

The bib portion was stolen from an old Knipmode pattern. I shortened it a bit to work with the higher rise of the Dawn jeans (the original was drafted to start just above the hip). I only had 1,5 m of fabric so had to get a bit creative with the layout. The bib lining and underside of the straps were cut from leftover cotton. I also added a caravan pin my friend Karen got me. She calls me Caravanneke.

While making these I was a bit worried about looking like a pickle because of the colour and texture of the fabric, but I think that worked out fine in the end. And even if I do look like a giant pickle... Would it really be a bad thing?

My first pair of Dawn jeans was made in a rigid denim and even though they are comfortable (maybe not after a day of eating) these are a lot softer and feel like pyjamas by comparison.

(Can we get real about lockdown clothing by the way? I try to put on 'real' clothes every day but... I just can't deal with anything tight or rigid right now. I've always been pretty sensitive to fabric textures on my skin and how clothes feel when I wear them all day, and this seems to be worse when I'm home all the time. I also can't stand feeling restricted right now. So most days I'll wear leggings and loose shirts/sweater dresses and call it good enough...)

These overalls did get a load of wear already, and I think they will get worn a lot more often. Even if they make me look like a pickle.