08 december 2017

Exhibitionist Denim Jacket

I bet that title got your attention!

A week or two ago a friend at Kop vzw got in touch about an exhibition they were organizing, and asked me if I wanted to join in. It would be an art show about jean jackets, where different artists create pieces on the back of a jacket. This had my name all over it, the only problem was that the deadline was... A bit tight. Like, I only had two weeks. And of course I was going to make a jacket from scratch, I mean, was there any other option?

I panicked at some sewing friends who all told me to suck it up and just do it. A trip to the fabric store behind the corner got me some 100% cotton non-stretch denim (yay!) and I knew I was going to use the Hampton Jean Jacket since it looked closest to the shape of my own favourite jacket. The only problem was that the denim looked so... New. And a bit too dark. At first I tried to tell myself that I could fix this by distressing whilst sewing, but deep down inside I knew there would have to be an extra step. So this conversation with my mother followed:

"Mom, can I fill your bathtub with bleach?"

"Yeah sure, what are you making?"

I can be a clumsy idiot at times and I have really bad airways, so my denim-bleaching outfit ended up looking like this:

I'm happy to say that I managed to bleach two and a half meters of fabric without completely ruining my clothes, lungs or eyes. It was very much worth it in the end, since it gave the fabric a way more worn-in feel. So how did the jacket turn out?

Well enough, I'd say! I was really impressed by the finishing techniques used in this pattern, it resulted in a very professional look, including some of the cleanest welt pockets I've ever seen on an unlined jacket. (the pocket openings seem weirdly tiny though, I forgot to check them but as you can see I can't really fit my hands inside) I was sewing on a deadline but still tried to take my time to get things right, especially since the jacket will be up for sale. I used sandpaper to distress every seam before topstitching, but decided not to overdo it, since the back of the jacket was going to be the real showstopper. This is also why I chose to go for a matching thread colour for the topstitching.

But what about that backpiece?

I don't know if the linguistic subtleties can translate to a different language, but you might be able to deduce that this says 'Fuck Everything'. To be honest, I was incredibly excited about creating a piece for this exhibition, but I didn't really have an idea about what exactly I was going to do. Until I woke the boyfriend one morning saying "what if I just make all these pretty and happy flowers with felt and embroidery and then just add a banner that says 'fuck everything'?"

"Yes. Do it." was the answer.

This took longer that making the jacket itself. I traced the back on pattern paper for size and sketched my flowers and banner, then decided on a colour scheme. After this I traced the drawing onto the back of the jacket (to have a reference for placement) and cut all individual pieces out of felt. At first I wanted to cut the letters out of felt as well but thought the tiny details would get too messy and inaccurate, so I used a satin stitch to embroider them on. All other felt pieces had details added and were then sewn onto the jacket. I finished by adding the stems of the flowers and breathed a sigh of relief!

If you look closely you can see my blood, sweat and tears.
Seriously, I'm really happy this worked out. It's pretty much exactly what I had imagined, and it's a rare and happy occasion when projects just turn out the way you want them to!

If you want to see this jacket in real life: the exhibition opens on Friday the 15th of December! You can find more information here.

27 november 2017

The Velvet Cat Hair Magnet

Those of you who have been here for a while know that I like me some dungarees. They're like the pants equivalent of a dress, being almost an entire outfit by themselves, which appeals to my lazy side. I have wanted to make a dungaree dress for a while now, since that would solve the only huge problem I have with the pants version: if I'm wearing a hoodie or cardigan as a top layer I have to take all that off before I can go to the bathroom and that's fucking cold. Also: it seemed like it could look cute. Behold!

As for a pattern, I started with the Grainline Moss skirt and added a bib and straps. People have been raving about the Cleo since Tilly released it but while I'm not at all opposed to the occasional potato sack of a dress I thought that one would make me look too much like a giant toddler. I think it's because it's all one straight piece instead of a skirt with a waistband and added bib?

I had made the Moss skirt before when I was just a baby blogger, and always meant to get back to the pattern (but somehow never did). Both of those old skirts are way too big on me now and the green one is long gone, but I salvaged the floral one by shortening it and wearing it lower on my hips. My measurements put me between a 4 and a 6 so I played safe and went with the larger size, and I'm glad I did! It might be because this velvet has no give at all, but this thing shouldn't be smaller than it is.

Eagle-eyed people might notice that I added back pockets: I thought this would make it look more like a denim dungaree dress (in velvet). Less eagle-eyed people might see that I totally messed up the placement of the straps: they were supposed to cross in the back but my brain obviously wasn't working and by the time I noticed the seam had been trimmed and I couldn't be arsed to unpick everything.

I didn't want any topstitching since I don't really like how that looks on velvet, so I hand-hemmed everything and sewed the front and back pockets on by hand. I wore this to a brunch with dear friends so I accessorized with a brooch that says 'leave me alone', as you do. (the brooch is no longer available but you can get the same text on a snazzy hat)

Here's me acting all tough and then posing like a twee fucking sparklecupcake
One thing I had forgotten about this skirt: IT IS SHORT! I thought the pattern pieces looked tiny so I traced the longest length (from the size 18) but even with a tiny bias-faced hem it's still barely decent (and completely undecent on a bicycle. Coat-closed skirt, this one).

Do I have room for another dungaree dress in my life? Surprisingly, maybe not. But another Moss skirt might fit in there.

19 november 2017

Yes Please Show Me That Fleet Of Foxes

Last week I spent a day in Brussels with my friends Nena, Laure, Hélène and Karen. We spent time drinking hot chocolate and eating cake, visiting palaces and drawing. I drew this because I was going to see Fleet Foxes on Saturday:

I swear I can draw things that don't include puddles of blood.

The concert was pretty awesome. A lot of people were shouting requests between songs, and me and my friends started giggling about how it would be funny if someone just shouted a song name that wasn't at all a Fleet Foxes song. So in the next quiet moment I shouted 'Wonderwall!' and they tried their best to oblige:

This is why I love live music.

13 november 2017


Remember how I designed a logo for Joost and his pet project a while ago?

I have followed this guy's work for a while now but never made any of his patterns before (because I'm a terrible and selfish person who only makes things for me me me). So when he released the beta version of the Huey I clutched my fists in happiness and called out: 'Finally! A pattern I can use, that isn't drafted for men! I mean, there are definitely not enough women's patterns around and even though this is technically not marketed towards female bodies I'm pretty sure it will work!'

See, the idea is that you enter your own measurements and get a pattern drafted for you, which eliminates most problems a woman making a men's hoodie would face (narrowing the shoulders and maybe adding waist definition). I wrestled the measuring tape (just get someone to help you, seriously), spent some time scratching my head (it's a beta version so no instructions) and came up with this:

Now, sewing this was, in theory going to be easy. Except I'd had a few sleep-deprived nights in a row and I just couldn't think of a way to attach the zipper and facing and make everything look clean (without hand-stitching. Hand-stitching knits just feels... Wrong). Joost sent me an explanation and even drew a picture to clarify when my stupid brain still didn't get it. Here's my version of that sketch in case you want to make this and not feel like an idiot:

So! You basically make one long train of the hood, front, opened ribbing, facing and hood lining, only sewing them together for the first five cm to make life easier. The zipper gets sandwiched between that train and the ribbing and hood seams get joined later on. Does that make sense?

The hardest part is making sure the pockets and ribbing line up. I had to insert this zipper four times (mostly due to my own mistakes and wanting to be fast) and found it was easiest to insert one side, close the zipper, mark where the pocket and ribbing seamlines are supposed to be and use those to line up the other side. It's still a tiny bit crooked but I rarely wear my hoodies closed and the fabric was getting tired of being unpicked, so I left it at that.

Speaking about the fabric: this is a super nice cotton sweatshirt fabric with a brushed back, so it's very warm and snuggly. It also has glitter. I bought it at De Stoffenstraat on a spontaneous expedition with Hanne and Stéphanie!

(The top is a modified Renfrew that's a bit too boring to blog about. I heightened the scoop neckline and added a glitter mesh panel. Fancy.)

So how was the whole made-to-measure pattern experience? Pretty smooth. You make a profile and create a model, entering every measurement you can think of. I should probably review these and maybe get some help since there was some weirdness with the shoulders on this pattern that turned out to be a result of my dodgy measuring, but I don't think it really matters that much in this case since, you know, it's a hoodie.

I wear a lot of hoodies, as a jacket, under another jacket to make it warmer or as an extra layer. This is a very welcome addition to my wardrobe, and I think I might make a few more! Maybe even a woven one. Hmmm.

PS: These pictures are a bit dark and blurry because they were taken inside, on a rainy day, by my little brother who isn't a photographer. He is a drummer however, and pretty good at that.

PPS: This is where that title comes from. And, you know, the political activist and stuff. But that's where I got these specific words.

07 november 2017

I'm A Firefighter

(That's a good post title after that last one)

The question was: can I draw fire and a firefighter from memory, without using any reference pictures?

The answer: not really, and maybe?

This was kind of inspired by a Cigarettes After Sex song and drawn in th cafetaria of the Natural History museum in Brussels (of all places). I saw them live tonight and it was really nice! If you want to hear this firefighter song, it starts at 11:23 :

03 november 2017

Is This Burning An Eternal Flame

That title is for my friend Hélène, who took the pictures for this post, and made people run out of a karaokebar with their hands over their ears by singing that song. She's awesome. We took pictures together once before and it got a bit weird, but this time we were on a really quiet street so what could possibly happen...

Oh. Ok.

So after these girls stopped by to help we got on with our real mission: getting nice and clear pictures of my latest sewing project!


As you can maybe see if you look closely, I've made another Rigel. It is, in fact the fifth time I've made this pattern. Does that mean it's a TNT?  I would change something if I ever make this again (and let's face it, I probably will) and that is to cut a smaller size. I didn't think about it since this is not a fitted garment, but my shape has changed drastically since the first time I made it (three years ago) and I could definitely go down a size or two. It's wearable, but it's on the verge of just plain too large instead of slightly oversized.


This was one of those rare occasions where I got a fabric with a project in mind and never changed my mind about it, even though it spent about a year in the stash before I got around to it. It's a drapey wool bouclé with some gold brushed over it, making the loops look like soft sequins. I bought it from the Fabric Sales when they had a webshop at some point in time. It was easy to work with and didn't fray as much as I had expected, maybe the gold paint holds the fabric together a bit?

I used black velvet for the pocket welts and plain black cotton ribbing for the cuffs, waistband and neckline. This jacket is also lined in a burgundy acetate lining, using the same method I've always used (sew jacket and lining separately until you're about to install ribbing and zipper, then baste together and treat as one layer). The lining is not just to make the jacket easier to put on, it also gives the loosely-woven bouclé some structure and support. That, and the thought of exposing the massacre that is me doing welt pockets gives me hives. Not having to make those things look pretty takes such a huge amount of stress away!

Here's when Hélène told me to pose like I was thinking about art. I was also showing off the yoghurt I'd spilled down my skirt during lunch earlier. Classy.

Making this was pretty uneventful, apart from accidentally cutting my sleeve lining ten cm too short so I had to do some piecing to fix that. It will be too cold for this jacket soon (boo!) but I do have some fabric left, and it might be just enough to squeeze a short straight skirt out of it. Can I get away with a gold bouclé two-piece?

'You should pretend to be a model'
I highly doubt it, but I'll probably try it anyway.

30 oktober 2017

I'd Like To Try And Read Your Palm

It's Halloween time, so I'm going to brush up on my palmistry skills! I think I got this right.

I'm thinking of making this a postcard. Would you send it to anyone?

25 oktober 2017

You As Well Beast

I'm seeing a lot of concerts these days so you are getting a lot of music-inspired illustrations!

We'll be seeing the National tomorrow night in Amsterdam, and I had this image stuck in my head since listening to the final song on their latest album for the first time on a plane to Canada:

I could say something about how you can sometimes choose to just cope instead of deal with stuff when actually solving a problem is just too much, but I'm not sure if it would make sense, so I'll let you guys interpret this the way you want to.

I normally post a video for the songs I illustrate but only found a single live recording with terrible audio, so you'll either have to take my word for it or go listen to the album or something.

18 oktober 2017

It's My Lifelong Ambition To Become A Cryptid Zookeeper

... I already have the uniform.

In all seriousness, I can't help but think this jacket would be perfect for a zookeeper who spends his or her life taking care of elusive creatures. Or is that just me?

I saw this jacket in one of the latest issues of Knipmode and decided to give them another chance. Usually their styles are way too basic for my taste, or they just don't look like something I'd wear. And even if I did want to wear them, the patterns seem to run so large it's ridiculous. They are drafted for someone who is almost 10 cm taller than me, but there just seems to be way too much ease all the way round. For this pattern I cut a size 36, which has a chest circumference that is about 6 cm smaller than my own, because the waist and hip sizes matched mine more closely and I figured I'd never wear this closed anyway. I can button this. No straining. Over a sweater.

Sizing issues aside: well done Knipmode! This is a military-inspired safari style jacket thing but it's a bit more streamlined, with  front and back darts for shaping. I cut this out of a 2 meter wool remnant (from Pauwels I think) and it was a surprisingly quick project, if not for my machine giving up halfway through. It's gone to the magical repair place now and Joost graciously helped me out by allowing me to use one of his machines until I get mine back. Thanks again Joost!

Not all heroes wear capes.
This is the kind of project I like: lots of small details, precision, natural fibers and not too fiddly. I skimmed the instructions to see if there were any surprised but construction was very straightforward. I didn't make a muslin so the fit isn't perfect (there's some wrinkling around the shoulders that could probably be fixed) but it's definitely wearable.

Of course this jacket wouldn't be 'me' without any additions. I had bought this patch a while ago and it was waiting for the perfect project. I like how the yellow contrasts with the burgundy wool! But the real surprise is on the back:

Yeah, that's a big ass felt snake on the back of my brand new jacket. I spent two days cutting, embroidering and hand-sewing this on but it was worth all the trouble. Do you want a close up? OF COURSE YOU DO

I love working with felt, but it has to be the real thing... And it's getting hard to find. I order mine online now but the colours are always a bit of a gamble. If anyone knows a good source for wool felt in lots of colours somewhere around Antwerp, let me know!

I don't think I'll be making this again anytime soon, since my closet only needs so many cryptid zookeeper jackets. But I'm sure this will get tons of wear when I'm out feeding my hellhounds.

13 oktober 2017

La La La La La La La La La Lee

I'm going to see Nick Cave tonight, so I made a drawing.

I can't imagine a better way to spend an evening on Friday the 13th.

08 oktober 2017

The Bog Witch Has Dressed Up For The Occasion

Guess who decided to emerge from her swamp!

I spent two weeks in Toronto and Montreal, Mostly eating and wandering around. For once I hadn't sewn anything new to wear on this trip (we were wayyy overdressed as well, since the temperatures were way higher than what was predicted while I was packing clothes!) so no outfit pictures from Canada! Instead I made something really fancy when I got back. Here:

Yeah, I told him to zoom in a bit after this. Architecture is all fine and dandy but IT'S ALL ABOUT THE DRESS HERE.

That's better!

Right after my vacation ended the store I work at had a celebration weekend because it has existed for 125 years, and we were supposed to dress up nice for the occasion. The conversation with my boss kind of went like this:

'Can I just go all out?'
'Yeah, sure!'
'But I mean, go alll the way with sequins and stuff?'
'Go ahead!'


Now, in fairness, I didn't make this dress just for that occasion. We have a wedding to go to later this month and I wanted to make this for that occasion, so for once I'm super prepared and won't be sewing at two in the morning the night before!

Here's a peek at the DRAMATIC BACK DETAIL
I got this sequin fabric at Stoff & Stil when I was in Berlin a few months ago. I bought a bit of it because it looked so great, but I had no real idea for it, except that a part of me wanted to combine the gold sparkly leaves with black velvet. Yep.

My first idea was a bustier dress with a full skirt and maybe some panels of sequins in the bustier, but I feared it would look a bit dated... Or like a 1980s ice skater or something. After some pondering I decided on a black velvet bodice with cut-on short sleeves, a deep v in the back and a waistband between the bodice and the sequin circle skirt (of course it had to be a circle skirt. I wanted fullness but pleating sequins seemed like a terrible idea). I started messing with my bodice block, made a muslin and declared it good to go!

Looking really pissed off because cold.
Sewing this was pretty uneventful. I had worked with velvet before so I knew to hand baste everything twice and use tons of pins, and that made everything go pretty smoothly! I was a bit worried about the sequins because I definitely didn't have the time to remove thousands of sequins from the stitching lines... These are pretty small though, so a sharp needle went right through it. Phew.

I underlined the sequins with a black cotton voile because the mesh they were on was quite see-through, and lined the skirt with a slippery acetate lining so the skirt wouldn't stick to my legs. The bodice is lined in cotton because that's way more comfortable. The skirt is hemmed with a bias tape facing. The hem is a little puffy because sequins don't like to be pressed, but at least it doesn't look like shit!

It's also super twirly because CIRCLE SKIRT! I was a bit worried about the fit on the bodice for a while, and while it is not the easiest dress to get in and out of (side zippers yo) the fit is surprisingly good considering my hasty pattern drafting and testing! It will definitely get another outing at the wedding I'm going to, well-rested for once!

07 september 2017

Who Needs Armholes Anyway

This project has been a long time in the making. The shop I work at got this really fancy yarn, an alpaca/merino blend that was just the right amount of slightly fluffy and kind of had me drooling. I eyeballed it for a year or so and then it went on sale! Combined with my employee discount this made the whole thing way more affordable, so instead of my usual buy-just-enough-to-make-a-hat-tactic I splurged and got enough for a shawl. I had this one in mind, in black and white. Super stoked, I looked up how to do intarsia and got started right away!

I hated how it looked. The wrong side of the shawl shows so it has to be super tidy, and even though it didn't look awful I knew I was never going to like it. Frog, sulk and think.

I then decided a scarf or shawl wasn't the way to go. I got moar yarn and decided on a sweater. A black sweater with a ribcage on the front. Because what goes better with fancy yarn than pictures of bones?


Finding this (free!) skeleton chart wasn't the end of the saga though. The chart itself was really low quality, so I copied it in Stitch Fiddle to get a larger version (I'll post it at the bottom but beware, there's a mistake somewhere in the ribs so it's not entirely symmetrical and I can't be bothered to fix it). Chart problem solved, I found out that I did not like the pattern that came with the chart (by which I mean I didn't understand it very well) so I looked for a pattern for a super basic sweater and used that instead. This bit about using two different patterns and files is going to be important later on.

I got started, and quickly decided to carry my yarn along at the back to avoid having to weave in ten million ends later. This made the skeleton pucker a bit because my tension wasn't always awesome but I don't care because I didn't have to weave in ten million ends. After a while I got worried the sweater was going to be too small. When holding it in front of me it looked like it was going to be really fitted, which would look... Strange. So I started over and chose a size large.

From then on, it was smooth sailing. I worked on this every once in a while for a couple of months, and it was fun to see the skeleton grow. I finished the last rows of the chart and proudly held my work up in front of me. The following ensued:

'This is great. This might be the coolest thing I've ever made.'

'I forgot to make armholes.'

Yep, because I was so focused on the chart I completely forgot there was another file with an actual pattern I had to follow. BUMMER. At this point there were three options: rip everything back to the point where the armholes should have started (urgghh), keep it the way it was and modify the sleeve pattern so it would be a dropped shoulder (so trendy) or cry.

I chose the second option and knit the back the same way as the front, meaning I had two rectangles with a neckhole. This also meant I had to eliminate the sleeve cap shaping (what a shame) and kind of guess how long the sleeves had to be (I got a bit too cautious, thinking too long would be better than too short, and they cover my hands now. They are also super wide so I can easily get super muscular now. YAY!).

After finishing all the separate pieces I blocked them, and realised things were looking... Big. I either overestimated my own size or everything grew during the blocking process, but this definitely went from 'slouchy' to 'I can smuggle an entire candy store into the movie theatre'.

But you know what? I love it. It's warm and soft and cuddly and just the right amount of fluffy, and I'm going to be the spookiest skeleton all winter.

PS: If you're wondering why I'm standing in this weird room with all the smoke and lipstick and stuff... I was helping Hanne with something for her next lingerie collection. It's going to be awesome, so you should all keep an eye on what she's up to! I mean, SMOKE MACHINE!

PPS: My version of the skeleton chart, for those who also want to be a spooky skeleton:

01 september 2017

I Made Stuff You Can Own!

Remember how I participated in 24-hour comics day and made an alphabet of death in 24 hours?

Yeah, it's still a bit of a blur here as well.

I can happily announce that I published the entire alphabet as a zine!

These are printed in black and white on recycled paper, and have some fancier coloured paper as a cover. I'll give you a peek of the inside as well:

The best thing is that you can own this! Did you always want to teach your child the alphabet and traumatize them for life? Or do you just want this for any reason you can think of? It's yours for 8 euros + shipping. Send an e-mail to caramin.anneke@gmail.com and we'll work something out!

I also have a new illustration available as a print. This is part of a series I've been working on for AGES and it's finally coming together!

Your own bad hair days are nothing compared to hers, believe me. This is a print of an original illustration I hand cut out of black paper.

This is an A3 print on 200 gsm paper, and it's 10 euros + shipping!

I have some more ideas for prints, postcards and zines, so stay tuned!

21 augustus 2017

I Am Sorry To Report Dear Paris Is Burning After All

I recently returned from a short trip to Paris with Hanne, and have some pictures to show you! They are not the best ever since I forgot my camera so these were taken with Hanne's phone, and we were a bit too busy having fun to really put a lot of time into them... But hey!

It seems I had to get some basics sewing out of my system. It was also a necessity: my size has changed over the past few years and a lot of my wardrobe staples just don't fit me anymore, so I actually needed a few things (hence the recent solid jeans/tank tops/t-shirts on this blog). I had a small piece of black linen and felt like a pair of black shorts would be a great addition to my summer wardrobe. Last year I discovered I do feel comfortable in short shorts, but the ones I made then are all too big by now.

I liked the fit of the wide legged Kommatia pants I made earlier a lot, so I decided to just shorten that and call it a day. I like my short legs a bit wider (so they're not tight across the leg when I sit down or anything) and simply chopping off the pattern pieces at the right length did the trick! These are wide and comfortable, but not poofy.

Sewing these was really straightforward and even quicker than the long version (no long side seams, obviously). I decided to topstitch the pocket openings this time because even with bar tacks the pockets on my first version want to peek out! The hem on these is also topstitched, and so short it catches the bottom of the pocket bags, helping to keep them in place. The top is another Ogden cami (I made three of those by now, and brought some silver cotton voile that might become a fourth one, hoho) made from the leftovers from this dress. This time I made the original length! It's already been worn loads and even made an appearance during the birthday celebration of legendary Belgian singer Willy Sommers:

Don't ask me how I ended up there.
Anyway, back to the shorts! I thought just the black was a tiiiny but plain and felt like it could use a secret something something to make it more FUN, so I copied an idea I saw on the internet sometime and embroidered something on the fly shield:

Sorry to all international readers who will have no idea what this says, but it's kind of hard to translate. Me and a few friends have been saying this for years and Dutch-speaking people might understand why it's funny to put it there. This was embroidered on before the fly shield was stiched closed so it looks clean and tidy! Also: yes, I'm standing with my fly open in public. Guess where.

That's right! The things we do for blogging.

I had a blast in Paris. We were really lucky with the weather (the weather forecast was very pessimistic about the amount of rain we were going to get) and we spent most of our time walking around, meeting Lieke and shopping for fabric (I dipped into my tattoo fund and got some amazing stuff) and eating everything on our path. We also found some time to visit one of my favourite places in the world:

I'll have to start preparing my next trip soon, because me and the boyfriend are spending two weeks in Toronto and Montreal next month! If you have any recommendations (fabric stores or, you know, fun things to do) or want to meet up, let me know!