21 juni 2016

I'm covered in ink. It's awesome.

Hi guys! No sewing today! I have one finished dress to photograph and show you, but the truth is that I spent the past few weeks working on a pretty big project!

A while ago a few friends contacted me with an idea. They had wanted to start a little collective for a while, a group of arty people who made fun things and sold them together at markets. I thought this could be the perfect thing to give me a kick in the butt and get me to draw more, so I was in right away. We gave ourselves a deadline and went to work, and a few days ago launched De Veranda.

I had decided I wanted to sell printed tote bags, but the success rate with lino printing isn't that high so it would be a pretty massive investment if I had to take the amount of misprints into account. I looked into getting them digitally printed but again, printing small numbers of anything gets real expensive. So I bought a shitload of blank canvas totes, turned to a friend who is awesome at screenprinting and begged for help.

so fast the camera can't even capture it.
I had done a tiny bit of screenprinting before, but never truly from scratch. Charlotte helped me prepare the frames and got me going. It went super smooth with two people (one printing and one putting away the bags) and we managed to print 70 bags in a few hours!

Screenprinting is a really cool way to get designs onto paper or fabric. You basically turn a very fine screen into a detailed stencil by coating it with a light-sensitive emulsion, covering the parts you want printed, exposing it to light and washing away the unexposed bits.

Ink is spread on the screen and then pressed through onto the paper or fabric. I chose to print my designs in one colour each, but you could make different layers and print in more than one colour!

Now, how did the bags turn out?


I'll be selling these in person in Antwerp on Saturday the 25th (come say hi if you're around)! But if you really want a bat bag (or you understand Dutch but live too far away and want one of the two others) email me at caramin.anneke@gmail.com. Bags are €10 each + postage!

I also made a few magnets! These have a diameter of 37 mm and are €3 each + postage! 

I'm really happy with how these things came out and hope you like them as well! Keep your eyes peeled for more...

09 juni 2016

Cosmic Dalmatian

Quite a few people I know are getting married these days. Which is awesome, because it gives me a reason to sew impractical fancy dresses I'd never get to wear otherwise! And also, you know, love and stuff. That as well.

Joost was sweet enough to invite a few sewing friends to his amazing wedding a while ago, and even though we all knew a long time beforehand there were still a few late nights involved to get our outfits finished! I knew exactly what I wanted to do but just... Didn't get around to it in time. It happens. Here's the result though, and I'm thrilled!

Look, here's a super dramatic photo that doesn't really show any details at all. I call it 'building the tension'.

I made a silk Nicola dress a few years ago (for another wedding) and thought it was a perfect pattern for such an occasion: nice and dressy, a few special details and not too fitted so I can eat lots. Winner! This time I decided to lengthen it into a maxi for extra drama.

With the pattern sorted I started my search for a fabric, but I had a pretty small budget and couldn't really find anything that screamed my name. So of course that small voice in my head started shouting: 'just paint your own fabric! How much time can that take anyway!'


In the end I bought a very budget-friendly navy woven viscose and went to town. The sewing came first, and was pretty uneventful. I tried on my first version of this dress and found it was a bit too large, but this was solved by making the overlap a bit bigger (which also solved the cleavage problem I had before!).

To lengthen the skirt I just measured how long it should be in the back, chopped the skirt pieces in two and lengthened accordingly. Sewing this was really quick, especially once I got past all those darts! I followed the instructions, using a slightly crisper cotton for the facings to help the drapey viscose keep it's shape, and didn't line the skirt for maximum flowiness.

The sleeve hems are finished with a self bias binding that I handstitched in place instead of topstitching. This was going to be a FANCY dress, and topstitching felt too... Easy. Haha! For the hem, I turned it under twice and did even more handstitching. Still not as much work as the painting!

That was basically my face at one in the morning when I realised I had not even done the sleeves yet.

At first I had these ideas of painting stars or florals all over it, but the tiniest hiccup on that would look very amateurish very fast, and I had no time for a backup. So in the end I took a small brush and silver textile paint and just made a stippled gradient from the shoulders to the hem of the dress. It looked a bit dandruffy when I started but the finished effect is really nice! A cosmic dalmatian, thus explaining this post title.

I used two dainty buttons, one for closure and one for symmetry, and made my first thread chain ever. It was super easy and quick to do, but I made it a tiny bit too large I think. I made a sudden movement during my bike ride to the venue and almost flashed a park full of children. True story.

Speaking of bike rides, this dress sadly isn't that bike friendly. I used a safety pin to keep it closed and my underwear hidden, but removed that as soon as I arrived. There were no problems while standing/walking/eating/dancing though!

Hanne, Lieke, Stephanie and me were super stoked to be invited to Joost & Sorcha's wedding, and we all had a blast. Joost made his own wedding shoes! With purple soles! I tried to wish them the best of luck with a handmade card that got a bit out of hand:

Next up is Hanne's wedding! But maybe we should try and finish her actual wedding dress before worrying about our own outfits...

02 juni 2016

Hallo Kevin

(Just a heads up: there's an image at the end of this post that might be considered sliiiightly nsfw. But hey, you shouldn't be reading blogs at work anyway. Unless that's your job of course. Lucky bastard)

I went back to Berlin! And I packed a pair of dungarees that I barely took off since finishing them. Take a look:

That doesn't say too much, I know but we'll get there!

I had bought this stretch jeans from the Sew it Up shop a while before (no link since they sadly closed up) and figured I'd give another pair of dungarees a try, with a different pattern this time. I made the Turia dungarees before and was happy with the fit in general, but thought It needed a lot of tweaking the actual construction before it looked like a 'real' pair of dungarees... So when this pattern popped up in a recent issue of Knipmode I did a little dance.

Now, I don't know about your experiences with these patterns, but they tend to run HUGE on me. I haven't made too many of them since they aren't really my style most of the time, but the previous pattern (a maxi dress) was so large that I ended up chopping the top off to make it a skirt. This pattern was designed for stretch jeans, and when I compared the size I was supposed to cut according to the sizing chart with a pair of stretch jeans I own and like the pattern was almost 10 cm larger all around. There would have been a clown pants situation if I'd just cut the size I needed according to the size chart!

In the end I'm pretty happy with the fit (no muslin, yolo). The closures at the hips have a bit of strain and gape going on, partly because I changed the slanted side pockets to more jeans-style curved pockets and could only use two buttons instead of three. This pattern has loads of topstitching and jeans-y details, like a fake fly I finally understood the instructions for right after doing it wrong. Ah well!

I topstitched with regular thread since, again, sort of wearable muslin, but I'll go through the pain of changing thread all the time next time, promise! The finish on these is pretty clean inside, especially on the top. The front and back bibs are completely lined and there are no raw seams to be seen, unless you take your pants off completely.

I added some rivets because I love hammering away at things, but the jeans buttons really gave me a headache this time. I use these Prym kits that include a little tool to install the buttons and never had a problem before but they seem to have changed the thingy to something way too floppy, so the buttons wouldn't stay in place properly and got crooked and misaligned. I messed up a few times, went looking for the old thingy from a previous kit and bam, problem solved. Better hang on to that.

Now, I wasn't in Berlin just for a vacation! I had an appointment with a German tattoo artist in Amsterdam, but when she had to cancel the trip (and our appointment) I realised that a cheap ticket to Berlin costs about the same as a train ticket to Amsterdam, so I took the trip. And after two and a half hours of pretty intense discomfort (but still not as bad as I expected) Laura Yahna sent me back home with this (look away mom):

It's almost fully healed by now and I LOVE it so much. It looks like it breathes when I take deep breaths!

Anyway, we had two days before my appointment (and one day after but I felt like I had been punched in the ribs by then so couldn't do too much crazy stuff) and we spent most of that time hanging around with our host Miro and other friends. It was a really nice trip, and I already want to go back again!

For those of you who are wondering about the title of this post: my friend Karen gave me the most amazing buttons for my birthday, and these have been on these dungarees since I finished them, but I took them off since I wasn't sure about what security would think about all the pins and didn't want to risk anything! For Dutch-speaking people who still have no idea what this means, look here.