21 juli 2013

Belgian Blogger Meet!

Yesterday was the day of the Belgian Blogger Meet I wrote about before. I was amazed at the response it got, and at how many people turned up! Quite a few interested people couldn't make it, but I definitely think there will be a next time...

We decided upon Brussels as a meeting place, and Jo from Jo Sews did an excellent job in planning a great day for all. I met up beforehand with Joost and Stephanie on a very crowded train, And we were joined by Lieke and Ilse (who were in a different part of the train). At the South Station we met all the others: Jo, Louize, Beata, Kamila, Sigrid and Margot (did I forget anyone?). I didn't take a lot of pictures so this will mostly be text... Sorry!

Our first stop was Berger, basically two floors packed with pretty cheap fabrics! I went for a surprisingly basic purchase (which would turn out to be a trend during this day) and bought a nice navy linen. Most blue linens I found before tend to look a bit faded, so I was happy to find this deep colour! I'll probably use this to experiment with fabric stamping...

That's Jo, looking through the fabrics in her awesome Tania culottes. If I didn't know better I would have thought she was wearing a skirt!

After this we went to snoop around the fleamarket at the Vossenplein. I didn't really find anything there, so me and Stephanie sat down for a drink until the rest joined us. We all had something and then headed for lunch at Houtsiplou. I ordered a sandwich which turned out to be massive, and surprised myself (along with some others) by eating it all. Right before eating we realised that some people were leaving early and would miss the planned swap, so everyone got out their fabrics and patterns and went for it. A cheery chaos ensued:

I got rid of almost everything I brought, and got some nice pretties in return! After lunch we said goodbye to a few people and started making our way to Le Chien Vert. I had only been there once before and enjoyed that visit, but didn't find anything during this one. Maybe it was the heat, or the fact that there were sales going on and a large part of the stores were coupons of things in various shades of brown and black... Or maybe there just weren't enough prints. Nothing that really blew my mind anyway!

After this we headed back to the train station and home. I was absolutely exhausted, but it was such a lovely day!

Now, what did I drag to my cave with me?

On the left is the linen I mentioned earlier, on the right a knit I swapped with Margot (who doesn't have a blog, sadly enough). It's a slightly heavier knit and there's quite a lot of it, not sure yet what I'll use it for!

Kamila seems to have a habit of buying things in bulk, and I releived her of some of the massive amounts of this lace she had. Again, I don't know what I'll use it for, but I'm curious to see what it will become!

This vintage cutie came from Jo. I can totally see myself making this in a sleeveless version, maybe with a slightly toned down collar? I just bought this fabric and think it could work pretty well:

So, that was a day well spent in great company! I truly hope we can do this again. I don't really know any people who are seriously into sewing in my own circle of friends, so it's nice to be able to geek out about hems and mathing patterns in real life for once!

15 juli 2013

The Confetti Factory Dress (and my first tutorial!)

This is going to be a long post! I took these pictures on an incredibly tiring day. It was quite hot, I went for a pretty intense swim, and then my boyfriend picked me up for a long bike ride, some cooking and a photo shoot. Phew!

Our first stop was this strange place:

It's a light sculpture currently open for visitors in front of Antwerp central station. The whole thing was really cool, but I loved finding this dragon! It sort of feels like walking inside a very strange bouncy castle, and the shapes make for a surreal atmosphere.

I started to get very hungry (and cranky) after this, so we quickly got food at the store and proceeded to stuff our faces:

Home-assembled veggie burgers and chips. Ow yeah.

After this feast we decided to find a nice spot to photograph my latest make. The Chantilly dress by Colette Patterns was on my list for a very long time, but when I made a muslin it turned out I didn't like the bodice on me. Boo! It looks lovely on so many others, but I just don't like having so many gathers all over. So after pouting for a bit I decided to skip the top gathers and draft a simpler bodice. Here is the result:

I kept the skirt and the midriff piece exactly as-is, but drafted an overlapping bodice to replace the gathered pieces. Sewing this up required a bit of extra thinking since I wanted to line the bodice and I had no instructions whatsoever! Making it up as I went turned out to work pretty well.

I gave the back a low scoop, a feature I love in summer dresses. And if it gets colder I can still cover up. Yay! And how great is this location? It's right underneath a highway just outside of Antwerp. I love how the environment contrasts with the sugary sweetness of the dress.

Speaking of sweetness, this is probably the girliest garment I've made in a while. The fabric is a double gauze by Nani Iro, and it's just perfect for summer. It looks and feels pretty luxurious, but makes you feel like you're wearing pyjamas. Love love love.

The dots are scattered over the fabric, and sort of fade out near the borders. I cut the entire dress on the cross grain to play with this, and love the effect it has on the hem. The Chantilly skirt is proving to be one of my favourite ones: it has the poufiness of a dirndl skirt, but drapes a bit nicer and twirls a lot better because of the curved hem.

See that face? That's a happy face. I like this dress. A LOT.

It's even suitable for awful modelling. (My boyfriend insisted on using at least one of the shots of me horsing around)

Now! I though some of you might be interested in how exactly I made this variation, so I made a really quick tutorial. It's not very difficult, but having someone else do the thinking for you is nice, no?


- a basic bodice pattern without seam allowances, preferably with just one dart at the waist. If your pattern has a bust dart, rotate it to the waist as well.
- pattern piece C (the midriff front), also without seam allowances
- tracing paper, weights, pens, a ruler, scissors, tape,...


Mirror your pattern pieces so they are a full piece (as if you would cut them out of a single layer of fabric). Make sure to indicate the center front.

Fold and tape the darts on the bodice front as they would be sewn, and place the midriff front on top. Adjust the width of the pattern pieces to fit your waist, and trace the curved line of the midriff front on the bodice front pattern piece. Cut away the bottom part and discard this.

Open the darts again. You can now draw a new neckline. I simply marked the point where I wanted my neckline to be at the center front, sketched until it looked ok and drew the final neckline with the help of a french curve. Make sure the overlap isn't too big, to avoid pulling!

Now turn the darts into gathers. I used this method, and found it worked pretty well. Measure 1,5 cm alongside each dart leg and make two new notches. That's all! The fabric is going to be gathered between these two notches.

The final step is to make corresponding notches on the midriff front piece. Make a notch at the center front, and measure the distance from the center front to the first dart leg (which is where the dart would be if it still existed. Now measure 1,5 alongside this mark again, and make notches there. This is where the extra fabric will get gathered into. Make a notch indicating the center front on your bodice pattern piece, check if the shoulders and sides of the back bodice still match up, add seam allowances everywhere and you're done!

I'm not that good at explaining things, so if there are any questions, feel free to ask!

12 juli 2013

Super Sweet Blogging Award

The amazing Hanne from Een nieuwe Jurk nominated me for the Super Sweet Blogging Award! Thank you Hanne! I had a speech prepared but I'm a bit too nervous!

THE RULES: Copy & Paste This Whole Post and Replace All Your Information — who awarded you, for example.


1. Thank the Super Sweet Blogger that nominated you. (See above!)
2. Answer 5 Super Sweet questions.
3. Include the Super Sweet Blogging Award in your blog post.
4. Nominate a baker’s dozen (13) of other deserving bloggers.
5. Notify your Super Sweet nominees on their blog.


1 – Cookies or Cake? That's a very though first question. I really can't choose. I love cookies for the instant gratification they give (without leaving you feeling like you inhaled a buffet) but I can thoroughly enjoy a well-made cake. Damn!
2 – Chocolate or Vanilla? Duh, I'm Belgian. Chocolate. All the way.
3 – Favourite Sweet Treat? It might not be the sweetest, but I have a bit of an addiction to peppermint. Seriously, I'll eat an entire bag of mints in a day if you don't stop me.
4 – When Do You Crave Sweet Things The Most? Around the afternoon, or very late at night.
5 – Sweet Nick Name? If I have one, it's a well-kept secret!


Oh, this is so hard... I never know if people have been nominated already or not! I will nominate Sewciopathic, A Bouquet of Buttons, Delfinelise, Jo Sews and RĂªves Mecanique!

10 juli 2013


I completely forgot to post some more images from my final school project! It was very stressy to get everything done in time, but I managed to pull it off, and I'm quite happy with the result. At the moment I'm sick of the thing (which makes sense, I've been working on it for ten months straight) but I definitely see myself revisiting it later and maybe try to get it published!

Here's my previous blog post about the project. I've been getting some new followers lately so I'll give a little summary: I just finished studying comics and illustration in Brussels, and for our Master's degree we had to come up with our own project, defend it and finish it as well as we could, under guidance of a few teachers. Most of the year was spent on my own though, since the purpose of a Master's degree is proving that you can work by yourself. It took me a while to really get going, but the finished book looks something like this:

The process to make these images is pretty tedious: I cut all the elements separately out of coloured paper, using any old blade and a cutting mat. details in pencil are drawn separately. I then scan all the separate elements and piece them together in Photoshop. Doing this digitally allows me to have the slightly overlapping edges and gives the thing an almost screenprinted look.

The entire story is 40 pages long, and tells the story of Josephine, a fictional seamstress living in a small town, somewhere in the past (it's obviously old-timey but in no way historically correct. I went for an atmosphere, not a historical document). She is incredibly shy, and prefers the world she created for herself in her daydreams over real connections with real people. But at one point reality catches up with her dreams and she is confronted by harsh reality.

Whew! That was a long post. I hope it didn't bore you! I posted this on my sewing blog because it's fairly obvious how this passion for sewing has influenced my work, and I thought some of you might enjoy this!


One thing my classmates and I did for the exhibition at the end of the school year was to make and sell postcards of our work. I was surprised at the positive response and decided to keep doing this! If you see an image you like and would want on a postcard, feel free to send me an e-mail at annekecaramin(at)hotmail(dot)com. Postcards are 10 x 15 cm (they fit into a standard envelope) and cost €2 each, plus postage! I ship worldwide!

07 juli 2013

Pretending to be an organized person, part two.

Anyone remember my post on organizing my patterns? This system seems to work for me! The box is nowhere near as neat as it was at first, but I find my patterns and they no longer get damaged.

Today, I took a long hard look at my fabric stash. I had two bins filled with the 'nicer' fabric, but since they are on top of my wardrobe it was too much of an effort to take things down and put them back, so I ended up with a massive pile of fabric on my bedroom floor. I also have a cupboard in the hall all to myself, but it was completely full and REALLY messy. I didn't take a before picture, but it was BAD.

So today I put on my protective gear, armed myself and tried to get some order in there.

It's a fly swatter and a wand. I'm bad at cleaning.
Basically, what I did was drag everything out of the cupboard,sort all the fabric and put it in a logical place. I thrw away two trashbags full of scraps and fabric that was too awful to ever work:

Now I understand why the cupboard was so full...
I've also made a sizeable pile to give away (first blogaversary coming up!) or possibly swap at our Belgian blogger meet! Then I put all of my fabric back into the cupboard, and even employed a system that will allow me to find things easily, without digging!

There are some junk fabrics, such as polyester lining stuff (urgh), fleece from costumes and a whopping six yards of fake fur I once got to make a wolf suit inspired by Where the Wild Things are. I have a shelf with 'neutral' things like solid fabrics, polka dots and the flannel I bought to make my boy a shirt (HAHA). There is a stack of small leftover pieces to be used as facings, pocket linings or other things. I also have a fancy shelf now, with silks and wools!

My favourite shelf has to be the one with the printed cottons, it just makes me so happy to see them all together! I also put all the cotton fabric I use for linings together, so I have an idea of how much I have and don't keep buying more because it disappears into the fabric void. There's a pile of small scraps that could still be useful, and a shelf for musling fabrics (aka sheets) and mysteries. Some of these mysteries are gifts, or things I got when I first started sewing. I have a load of that blue print flannel even though it's butt-ugly, it will probably serve as an interlining for my winter coat!

Phew, this was me being smug over doing something completely normal. I still have the two other bins with some coatings in them, but those can stay where they are for now. I don't tend to take them out to pet them all the time.

06 juli 2013

Inspiration: the family archives.

Loads of photographs ahead! My mother was cleaning out her office earlier this week, and when she came across a bunch of my great-aunt's photo albums she asked if I wanted to have a look at them. I was excited to find loads of pictures, not only from her childhood but also from her parents! Some of these photographs were pretty good quality, and show some interesting details on clothing, so I decided to make a blog post about them. Without further ado:

Lovely ladies! This photograph comes from the oldest of the albums. It's quite fragile and a lot of the pictures have faded (including a series taken on a boat to Dover) but some of them are still clear. I love the details in the outfit on the lady on the left!

The women's clothing and the multiple men in uniforms lead me to believe that these pictures were taken around WWI. There's no exact date on them, but I really wonder what happened to the men in these photographs.

Was this at the beginning or at the end of the war? How many of them have returned home?

I love how some of the shots are more relaxed and candid, as opposed to stiff portraits.

More dapper gents! See how they all wear their suit in a slightly different way.

The album also included a picture of this lady in a beautiful evening gown. It looks incredibly comfortable as well!


This is my great-grandmother when she was young, if I'm not mistaken. Even if she isn't, she looks an awful lot like other pictures I've seen of her! Digging the sleeves and collar on the dress on the left, and the buttons and doggie on the right.

Here she is again, on her wedding day. If my timeline is correct, this is somewhere in the 1930s. I like the dropped waistline and uneven hem she's wearing!

My great-grandfather was a refugee from Catalonia, he left Spain right before the Civil War started and worked as a waiter in Paris and Antwerp. My great-grandmother had a store selling shirts in the center of Antwerp. My great-aunt later told me it wasn't a very happy marriage, since he really wanted to marry my great-grandmother's younger sister, but their parents thought the oldest one had to marry first.


This is my great-aunt as a child. She was sent to live with family outside the city because of her health, and always told us stories about how she was a massive tomboy and got in trouble all the time. I also found a letter she got from a few friends, telling about a secret club and a fight with another boy.

My great-aunt and her (headless) sister, my grandmother. I want a grown up version of the coat she's wearing here, seriously. These pictures are all taken around the mid-1940s.

The girls are growing up! The girl on the ground is (again) my great-aunt (they were her photo albums, remember) and now I'm sort of mad at her for not keeping her old dresses.

This girl was called Marleen according to the caption next to the picture. I don't know who she is, but I love her outfit!

Sick of full skirts yet? I'm not! I especially like the number on the left. Polka dots and a nice shirt!

These are probably some of my favourites of the bunch. It's a girl's 18th birthday party, probably around 1956. I love the handmade decorations, the birthday girl's dress (looks like taffeta!) and all the dance moves!

This is my grandmother, with a head this time. I like the simplicity of the blouse she's wearing, the structural collar makes it look so cool!

Here she is again, on her wedding day. I don't have a full-length picture of her dress, sadly enough. Also, it's insane how much my dad looks like his father. I don't really remember seeing old pictures of my grandfather before!

This is a beautiful picture of my great-aunt at the wedding. That collar is all kinds of amazing!

And can we say bombshell? 

I'm going to end this post with a bunch of baby pictures of my dad. At least I think they're all my dad, the people in my family tend to look quite similar, especially as babies! I have a feeling I'm going to get a phone call about that last one...